Fantasy Football Week 9 Rankings: Top 40 Running Backs

Eric StashinSenior Writer INovember 2, 2011

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 30:  LeSean McCoy #25 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs against Sean Lee #50 of the Dallas Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field on October 30, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

There are a lot of stories going on when it comes to many of the running backs around the league. 

Who's healthy?  Who is going to carry the load in Washington and Denver, among other places?  What has happened to Chris Johnson?  Let’s take a look at how everything shakes out for the coming week:

  1. Arian Foster – Houston Texans – vs. Cleveland
  2. LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles– vs. Chicago
  3. Fred Jackson – Buffalo Bills – vs. New York Jets
  4. Matt Forte – Chicago Bears – at Philadelphia
  5. Frank Gore – San Francisco 49ers – at Washington
  6. Michael Turner – Atlanta Falcons – at Indianapolis
  7. Steven Jackson – St. Louis Rams – at Arizona
  8. Darren McFadden – Oakland Raiders – vs. Denver
  9. Ray Rice – Baltimore Ravens – at Pittsburgh
  10. DeMarco Murray – Dallas Cowboys – vs. Seattle
  11. Ryan Mathews – San Diego Chargers – vs. Green Bay
  12. Cedric Benson – Cincinnati Bengals – at Tennessee
  13. Beanie Wells – Arizona Cardinals – vs. St. Louis
  14. LeGarrette Blount – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at New Orleans
  15. Darren Sproles – New Orleans Saints – vs. Tampa Bay
  16. Ahmad Bradshaw – New York Giants – at New England
  17. Shonn Greene – New York Jets – at Buffalo
  18. Peyton Hillis – Cleveland Browns – at Houston
  19. Chris Johnson – Tennessee Titans – vs. Cincinnati
  20. James Starks – Green Bay Packers – at San Diego
  21. Knowshon Moreno – Denver Broncos – at Oakland
  22. Rashard Mendenhall – Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. Baltimore
  23. Jackie Battle – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Miami
  24. BenJarvus Green-Ellis – New England Patriots – vs. New York Giants
  25. Reggie Bush – Miami Dolphins – at Kansas City
  26. Marshawn Lynch – Seattle Seahawks – at Dallas
  27. Mike Tolbert – San Diego Chargers – vs. Green Bay
  28. Pierre Thomas – New Orleans Saints – vs. Tampa Bay
  29. Daniel Thomas – Miami Dolphins – at Kansas City
  30. Delone Carter – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Atlanta
  31. Ryan Torain – Washington Redskins – vs. San Francisco
  32. Alfonso Smith – Arizona Cardinals – vs. St. Louis
  33. Michael Bush – Oakland Raiders – vs. Denver
  34. Ben Tate – Houston Texans – vs. Cleveland
  35. Carnell Williams – St. Louis Rams – at Arizona
  36. LaDainian Tomlinson – New York Jets – at Buffalo
  37. Ryan Grant – Green Bay Packers – at San Diego
  38. Danny Woodhead – New England Patriots – vs. New York Giants
  39. Brandon Jacobs – New York Giants – at New England
  40. Kregg Lumpkin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at New Orleans


  • There’s a lot of talk surrounding if Darren McFadden is going to play this week against the Denver Broncos.  If he plays, we all know he’s a good option, despite having failed to break 100 yards and having scored just 1 TD over his past four games.  He’s been included in the rankings, but owners will have to monitor the news just in case.
  • If Beanie Wells were healthy, he would be a much better option against the St. Louis Rams.  While he did produce in Week 8 (83 yards and 1 TD), he averaged just 3.8 yards per carry.  In fact, he’s averaged under 4.0 yards per carry in each of his last three starts.  He’s a viable option, but I would prefer having him as a RB2 for now.
  • Philadelphia’s vaunted secondary could play right into the Chicago Bears' hands.  It’s not like their passing game is electric as it is, with the offense running through Matt Forte (1,091 total yards through seven games).  Look for him to be the focus early and often, giving him an opportunity for yet another big day.
  • The Indianapolis Colts defense has been among the worst in the league against the run this season.  In fact they are currently allowing 24.33 points to running backs per game (according to  Having allowed 144.0 yards/game and 10 TD, it really shouldn’t be a surprise.  Even with Julio Jones likely back, Michael Turner has rushed for 100 or more yards four times this season and is a must-use RB1 in all formats.
  • Despite DeMarco Murray’s “poor” showing in his second start, you have to remember that the Cowboys fell behind early and were forced to pass.  He still managed to rush for 74 yards on eight carries.  Over the past two weeks he has 327 yards on 33 carries.  You would think he has earned the right to carry the load, even if Felix Jones is back in the lineup.
  • Chris Johnson’s stock plummeted this week, having split carries with Javon Ringer (14 apiece).  We all know what type of upside potential and how good he is, but is it possible to trust him as anything but a mid-level RB2, especially against a Bengals defense allowing just 85.4 rushing yards per game?  He’s rushed for 302 yards on 107 carries, an average of just 2.8 yards per carry.  Maybe the holdout really hurt his performance, but this is looking more like a lost year.
  • The New Orleans Saints have a positive matchup for their running backs once again, taking on a Buccaneers defense that has allowed 123.4 rushing yards per games as well as 7 TD.  That said, after Darren Sproles managed 76 total yards (16 rushing, 60 receiving) and Pierre Thomas had 34 yards and 1 TD (23 rushing, 11 receiving) last week, is anyone considering them RB1 this week?  Obviously, falling down early hurt their ability to produce, but it is still a little bit eye-opening.  Sproles remains the better option, but he should be considered a RB2.
  • We’ll have to wait and see if Peyton Hillis is healthy and ready to go for this week.  It would appear like he is going to be, especially with Montario Hardesty out, but you never know.  The ranking is conservative, for now, but look for him to potentially move up once we get more information.
  • The situation in Miami is going to be an intriguing one.  The first question is if Daniel Thomas will even play.  The second is, even if he does, will Reggie Bush once again be the lead back?  Bush rushed for 103 yards in Week 8, and at the least the two should share carries.  It’s going to be a tough situation for fantasy owners, limiting both to more of a FLEX option, if possible.
  • We never know what Mike Shanahan is going to do.  Now, they’ve added Tashard Choice (though he’s not expected to play) to join Ryan Torain and Roy Helu.  Throw in a matchup with the best rushing defense in the league (the 49ers have allowed 73.4 yards/game and 0 TD) and this is basically a situation to avoid.

Make sure to check out our other Week 9 articles: