Fantasy football rankings, Week 9: Running backs in PPR, standard leagues

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

We've heard about how much of a mess the running-back position has been this year, but is it really? That and more in this week's RB rankings.

Hey, quick question: Was Arian Foster supposed to be named "Adrian"? Did his parents forget a letter? Just wondering; you don't see "Arian" much.

Anyway, looking ahead to Week 9, fantasy owners are going to have to do without so-far studs like Knowshon Moreno, Reggie Bush, Frank Gore and Peyton Hillis (just kidding). There's a popular perception that, so far this year, the start-of-season running-back rankings were a disaster, and it's become a crapshoot. That's true in some ways, certainly if you started the year with Ray Rice and Doug Martin (hey, they were mine) or C.J. Spiller and Trent Richardson. But six of the top seven in running yardage through eight weeks were in ESPN's preseason top ten. All of the top eight started the year in the top 14. Heck, even Martin, who has been such a disappointment and injured, is tied for 11th in rushing yards.

Meanwhile, only four of the preseason top-ten wide receivers currently have the same standing in receiving yards. And no running back has remotely been the disaster that Roddy White or Randall Cobb have been (even though those two have good excuses). Yeah, running back has been confusing, but not that confusing.

At least, assuming you weren't me. Owning Martin and Rice was rough, guys.

Meanwhile, a fun race for most overall yardage is shaping up so far. Jamaal Charles (the only guy in the NFL with 100-plus yards in every game this year) sits at 1,018 yards, while LeSean McCoy has 1,017. Reggie Bush, with 853 yards, sits in third, so the aforementioned pair should have the battle to themselves for a little while at least.

Alright, those were my talking points, let's move on to the explanations of a few rankings:

Eddie Lacy, GB - Take out his concussion-shortened outing in Week 2, when he got only one carry before his departure, and Lacy is averaging better than 100 yards a game, with three touchdowns. Now he's one of an ever-diminishing number of weapons available to Green Bay, and he gets a home game against a Chicago Bears defense that is in the bottom eight in the league in yards per game allowed. Lacy comes in fourth in standard-league rankings, sliding to sixth in PPR by virtue of his low reception number. Either way, Lacy is a huge value going forward.

Fred Jackson, BUF - I mentioned in this week's Ticker that I'm a proponent of selling on Jackson. Yeah, C.J. Spiller is hurt (and I don't expect him to play this week, explaining his absence in the rankings), but Jackson's value can only go down from here. Even with Spiller banged up, Jackson hasn't topped 60 rushing yards in October, and his yards per carry have been dropping. His value is very touchdown-dependent, and it's not like he's the picture of health. That said, Jackson is still most viable weapon the Bills have right now, particularly against a Chiefs defense that doesn't let quarterbacks do much of anything. I might not love Jackson in the long run, but this week, he's 12th in standard, ninth in PPR.

Pierre Thomas, NO - I don't really know what it is they do with running backs in New Orleans. First they had Darren Sproles, who catches more passes than half the league's wide receivers, then Thomas joins the fold. In his first two years, more than 80 percent of his touches came via runs. And now in two of the last three years, it's been below 70 percent. Somehow running backs join the Saints and they become pass-catchers. Anyway, Thomas is facing a Jets defense that is tough against the run, but again ... he doesn't run the ball as much anymore. That's why I have him 24th in standard scoring and, with that pass-catching of his, he climbs to 20th in PPR.

Jacquizz Rodgers, ATL - Steven Jackson returned last week, but in name only. He wasn't ready yet, and it was obvious in his performance. With the team facing a Carolina defense that isn't fun for anyone, I expect Jackson's workload to be limited again, leaving more touches for Rodgers, who had four touchdowns in two weeks before last week's disaster in Arizona. Also, he has 27 receptions already this year, helping him somewhat. I have him 25th in standard scoring, and 24th in PPR.

Deji Karim, HOU - I never thought I'd type Deji Karim's name again; frankly, I can't swear I'd ever typed it before. But with Arian Foster and Ben Tate both battling injury, the team signed Karim and a couple others as emergency insurance policies. (By the way, who did Michael Turner piss off? I get that he's bad, but he's better than Deji Karim, isn't he?) I've got Karim at 39th in standard scoring, 43rd in PPR. That ranking is entirely based on the off chance both Foster and Tate are inactive. If either is out there, Karim is unranked. If they're both out, Karim doesn't climb much, even with the bulk of the carries. He's still Deji Karim, guys. I've knocked Foster a bit in my rankings because of the concern, and Tate has slid a lot, both because of his injury worries and because he frankly isn't very good anymore.

Here are the full weekly rankings, for both standard and PPR:

Rank Standard Opponent PPR Opponent
1 Jamaal Charles, KC @BUF Jamaal Charles, KC @BUF
2 Adrian Peterson, MIN @DAL Adrian Peterson, MIN @DAL
3 Marshawn Lynch, SEA TB LeSean McCoy, PHI @OAK
4 Eddie Lacy, GB CHI Matt Forte, CHI @GB
5 LeSean McCoy, PHI @OAK Marshawn Lynch, SEA TB
6 Matt Forte, CHI @GB Eddie Lacy, GB CHI
7 Alfred Morris, WAS SD DeMarco Murray, DAL MIN
8 DeMarco Murray, DAL MIN Alfred Morris, WAS SD
9 Ryan Mathews, SD @WAS Fred Jackson, BUF KC
10 Stevan Ridley, NE PIT Darren Sproles, NO @NYJ
11 Darren McFadden, OAK PHI Ryan Mathews, SD @WAS
12 Fred Jackson, BUF KC Arian Foster, HOU IND
13 Ray Rice, BAL @CLE Stevan Ridley, NE PIT
14 Trent Richardson, IND @HOU Darren McFadden, OAK PHI
15 Chris Johnson, TEN @STL Ray Rice, BAL @CLE
16 Arian Foster, HOU IND Danny Woodhead, SD @WAS
17 Le'Veon Bell, PIT @NE Giovani Bernard, CIN @MIA
18 Danny Woodhead, SD @WAS Chris Johnson, TEN @STL
19 Giovani Bernard, CIN @MIA Le'Veon Bell, PIT @NE
20 Zac Stacy, STL TEN Pierre Thomas, NO @NYJ
21 Darren Sproles, NO @NYJ Trent Richardson, IND @HOU
22 BenJarvus Green-Ellis, CIN @MIA DeAngelo Williams, CAR ATL
23 DeAngelo Williams, CAR ATL Zac Stacy, STL TEN
24 Pierre Thomas, NO @NYJ Jacquizz Rodgers, ATL @CAR
25 Jacquizz Rodgers, ATL @CAR Mike Tolbert, CAR ATL
26 Mike Tolbert, CAR ATL BenJarvus Green-Ellis, CIN @MIA
27 Lamar Miller, MIA CIN Bilal Powell, NYJ NO
28 Bilal Powell, NYJ NO Brandon Bolden, NE PIT
29 Brandon Bolden, NE PIT Lamar Miller, MIA CIN
30 Steven Jackson, ATL @CAR Steven Jackson, ATL @CAR
31 Willis McGahee, CLE BAL Roy Helu, WAS SD
32 Roy Helu, WAS SD Daryl Richardson, STL TEN
33 Ben Tate, HOU IND Ben Tate, HOU IND
34 Daryl Richardson, STL TEN Chris Ogbonnaya, CLE BAL
35 Khiry Robinson, NO @NYJ Willis McGahee, CLE BAL
36 Donald Brown, IND @HOU Donald Brown, IND @HOU
37 Chris Ogbonnaya, CLE BAL Khiry Robinson, NO @NYJ
38 Mike James, TB @SEA Joseph Randle, DAL MIN
39 Deji Karim, HOU IND Marcel Reece, OAK PHI
40 Joseph Randle, DAL MIN Rashad Jennings, OAK PHI
41 Marcel Reece, OAK PHI Bernard Pierce, CLE BAL
42 Rashad Jennings, OAK PHI Daniel Thomas, MIA CIN
43 Bernard Pierce, BAL @CLE Deji Karim, HOU IND
44 Daniel Thomas, MIA CIN Mike James, TB @SEA
45 Chris Ivory, NYJ NO Brian Leonard, TB @SEA
46 Tashard Choice, BUF KC Chris Ivory, NYJ NO
47 LeGarrette Blount, NE PIT Tashard Choice, BUF KC
48 James Starks, GB CHI James Starks, GB CHI
49 Brian Leonard, TB @SEA Robert Turbin, SEA TB
50 Jackie Battle, TEN @STL Jackie Battle, TEN @STL

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