Start 'Em Sit 'Em Week 9: Diagnosing Best and Worst RB Matchups
Setting your fantasy football lineup can be tricky—especially at the running back position. But some decisions are easier than others.
For instance, you didn't need Matthew Berry to tell you Frank Gore would have a big game against the Jacksonville Jaguars last weekend. Jacksonville came into the game with the worst run defense in the league, and the veteran running back not surprisingly scored twice on the ground.
There are a a few matchups in Week 9 that are just as easy to predict, though not all of them are favorable.
Start: Eddie Lacy vs. Chicago Bears
Rookie Eddie Lacy has scored double-digit points for fantasy owners three weeks in a row, and he's carried the ball no less than 22 times in his last four starts.
Green Bay finally has its power running back, and the Packers are dedicated to utilizing Lacy as an anvil against opposing defensive fronts as a means to keeping quarterback Aaron Rodgers from getting killed in the pocket.
Lacy's productivity on the ground has also opened up passing lanes, as defenses can no longer keep both safeties deep for fear of getting gashed for huge gains in the running game.
Chicago travels to Green Bay for a Monday Night Football showdown, but it will be without quarterback Jay Cutler and linebacker Lance Briggs.
Losing Briggs will really hurt the Bears on defense, which is bad news considering Chicago was already one of the worst teams in the league at shutting down opposing running backs.
Projected Stats: 120 total yards and two touchdowns.
Sit: Willis McGahee vs. Baltimore Ravens
McGahee titillated fantasy owners in Week 5 by rushing for 72 yards and a touchdown—looking sharp, quick and fresh in the process.
Unfortunately, the Browns haven't been able to generate any semblance of a running game in the three games since that breakout performance by McGahee, and he's been a fantasy bust.
Making matters worse for his fantasy stock, McGahee and the Browns host the Ravens on Sunday. Baltimore features the league's top fantasy defense against opposing running backs, allowing just 10.1 points per game.
This is a recipe for disaster for fantasy owners hoping to get production out of McGahee. If he's still on your roster, now is the time to consider dumping him for someone else.
Projected Stats: 50 total yards and zero touchdowns.
Start: Zac Stacy vs. Tennessee Titans
Someone who turned on Monday night's game featuring the Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams without any preconceived notion of what both teams are capable of would certainly come to the conclusion that Seattle's defense was one of the worst against the run this year.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The Seahawks have one of the league's most dominant defensive fronts, and Seattle features one of the top fantasy defenses against opposing running backs.
However, Zac Stacy absolutely tore through this elite unit, rushing for 134 yards on 26 carries. He even sat out some of the fourth quarter with an ankle injury, which thankfully is a low-ankle sprain, as noted by Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports:
Low-ankle sprain for Rams RB Zac Stacy. Good news for the kid, who played well last night.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) October 29, 2013
St. Louis' rushing attack has become formidable since Stacy took over as the team's starter. The Tennessee Titans are in town this weekend, and running backs have done surprisingly well against this defense, averaging 17.7 points per game.
Projected Stats: 120 total yards and one touchdown.
Sit: Alfred Morris vs. San Diego Chargers
The Washington Redskins host the San Diego Chargers in Week 9, and this game is going to turn into an offensive shootout. Philip Rivers leads a dynamic, efficient passing offense that will shred Washington's porous secondary.
This will negate Alfred Morris' ability to put together a big fantasy game. He isn't a receiving threat, and Roy Helu Jr. will likely see plenty of action as a result, but it's not the only reason to stay away from one of last year's biggest stars.
The Chargers haven't allowed more than 77 rushing yards in each of their last four games, and this team hasn't allowed a single rushing touchdown to a running back this year.
This defense is second only to the Ravens in terms of shutting down fantasy running backs, allowing just 10.4 points per game.
Projected Stats: 75 total yards and zero touchdowns.
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