Fantasy Football Week 9 Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em

Start ‘Em

DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys

He is returning from his MCL sprain just in time to face the Vikings defense, which has allowed the second-most points to running backs to date. Sure, there is some remaining injury risk, but you can bet the Cowboys will monitor him, and all it will take for Murray to perform like a worthy fantasy starter is one touchdown. He will get that against the team that has 10 of them to backs.

Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers

He has to deal with a timeshare with Danny Woodhead, but what back in fantasy doesn’t have someone stealing the points? Mathews went into his bye with back-to-back 100-yard games, and he draws a Redskins defense this week that is third-worst against the run and third-worst against fantasy backs. Mathews is a borderline must-start in all leagues here.

Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers

This one is a bit obvious, but there was talk late this week James Starks would get more work coming off his 57 yards and a touchdown last week. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel‘s Tyler Dunne reports the Packers want to get more work for Starks to lessen the load on Lacy down the stretch.

It makes sense. But sitting Lacy in fantasy won’t. The Bears have proved to be soft up front and are fifth-worst in fantasy against backs. Lacy is a must-start option, while Starks is a nice sleeper for Monday night magic.

Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans

Another year and another disappointing start for Johnson owners. It is becoming a yearly thing. The good news is second-half rebounds have too. The schedule shapes up favorably for CJ2K down the stretch, and it starts this week with the Rams, who have allowed the sixth-most points to fantasy backs. Johnson will also get the benefit of a more lively Jake Locker back under center, pushing the offense into scoring position.

Zac Stacy, St. Louis Rams

That was an impressive performance against the Seahawks run defense Monday night, and you shouldn’t let his ankle issue keep you from starting him this week. The Rams offense is built around the rookie Stacy now, and the Titans are seventh-worst in fantasy against backs to date. Expect 80 yards and a touchdown even if he needs to give more carries to the slew of Rams backup runners.

Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots

It took eight weeks, but the Pats have finally figured out where their bread is buttered. With Tom Brady (shoulder…uh…hand—we’re not fooled) banged up and struggling with his lack of continuity at wide receiver, Ridley came on last week and owned the day. The Steelers are up next, and they have struggled mightily against the run (eighth-worst in fantasy). Expect the busiest day of the year for Ridley and the Pats running game this week.

Sit ‘Em

Roy Helu, Washington Redskins

Everyone jumped on Helu after his three-touchdown performance, and then he went and posted a mere 25 yards on six touches last time out. Helu is a function of game circumstances, and he needs a fast-paced game and the Redskins’ hurry-up offense on the field. Don’t count on that happening against the Chargers, who also happen to boast the No. 1 team in fantasy against backs.

Darren Sproles, Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram, Khiry Robinson

This is a mess best avoided right now. Sproles was blanked last week with four catches for zero yards, while Ingram (toe) has practiced fully this week and is no longer on the official NFL injury report. That should affect Thomas at least and likely Robinson too. Topping all this off, the Jets boast the No. 1 rush defense in the NFL and are top five against fantasy backs.

Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills

C.J. Spiller (ankle) is probable against the Chiefs, so we should fully expect the Bills to finally unleash him on the NFL and in fantasy. The problem is the Chiefs are top 10 against the run and No. 2 in fantasy against backs. You shouldn’t sit Spiller—you drafted him in Round 1 to carry you—but you should shy away from Jackson now in this tough matchup.

Willis McGahee and Chris Ogbonnaya, Cleveland Browns

The Browns just are not running the ball with any kind of success, and it could be a function of the banged-up, past-his-prime McGahee just not being good enough. Ogbonnaya has stolen touches in recent weeks too. Neither back is intriguing against a Ravens defense that has allowed just one touchdown to backs and is No. 4 in fantasy against the position.

Mike James and Brian Leonard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Don’t expect another surprise rushing game against the Seahawks defense, especially not in a non-division game when it is teeing off on its opponent in Seattle. This shapes up to be a bad, bad week to be trusting the Bucs, especially these two spare-part running backs. 

Week 9 Running Backs Rankings – Eric Mack
1 Adrian Peterson Min at Dal 2 +1
2 Jamaal Charles KC at Buf 1 -1
3 LeSean McCoy Phi at Oak 3 0
4 Matt Forte Chi at GB 6 +2
5 Eddie Lacy GB vs. Chi 4 -1
6 Marshawn Lynch Sea vs. TB 5 -1
7 Ray Rice Bal at Cle 8 +1
8 Chris Johnson Ten at StL 13 +5
9 DeMarco Murray Dal vs. Min 9 0
10 Arian Foster Hou vs. Ind 10 0
11 Stevan Ridley NE vs. Pit 14 +3
12 Alfred Morris Was vs. SD 7 -5
13 Darren McFadden Oak vs. Phi 11 -2
14 Trent Richardson Ind at Hou 19 +5
15 Le’Veon Bell Pit at NE 12 -3
16 C.J. Spiller Buf vs. KC 31 +15
17 Ryan Mathews SD at Was 17 0
18 Giovani Bernard Cin at Mia 20 +2
19 Steven Jackson Atl at Car 21 +2
20 Zac Stacy StL vs. Ten 15 -5
21 Fred Jackson Buf vs. KC 16 -5
22 DeAngelo Williams Car vs. Atl 23 +1
23 Lamar Miller Mia vs. Cin 24 +1
24 Chris Ivory NYJ vs. NO 29 +5
25 Darren Sproles NO at NYJ 22 -3
26 BenJarvus Green-Ellis Cin at Mia 27 +1
27 Danny Woodhead SD at Was 18 -9
28 James Starks GB vs. Chi 40 +12
29 Pierre Thomas NO at NYJ 25 -4
30 Ben Tate Hou vs. Ind 35 +5
31 Jacquizz Rodgers Atl at Car 37 +6
32 Mike James TB at Sea 26 -6
33 Chris Ogbonnaya Cle vs. Bal 43 +10
34 Brandon Bolden NE vs. Pit 30 -4
35 Donald Brown Ind at Hou 32 -3
36 Roy Helu Was vs. SD 33 -3
37 Bilal Powell NYJ vs. NO 28 -9
38 Daryl Richardson StL vs. Ten 41 +3
39 Willis McGahee Cle vs. Bal 36 -3
40 Daniel Thomas Mia vs. Cin 38 -2
41 Bryce Brown Phi at Oak 49 +8
42 Bernard Pierce Bal at Cle 42 0
43 Mike Tolbert Car vs. Atl 34 -9
44 Jonathan Stewart Car vs. Atl 47 +3
45 Knile Davis KC at Buf 56 +11
46 LeGarrette Blount NE vs. Pit 46 0
47 Michael Bush Chi at GB 65 +18
48 Joseph Randle Dal vs. Min 45 -3
49 Jason Snelling Atl at Car 57 +8
50 Brian Leonard TB at Sea 44 -6
51 Shonn Greene Ten at StL 39 -12
52 Tashard Choice Buf vs. KC 48 -4
53 Johnathan Franklin GB vs. Chi 69 +16
54 Robert Turbin Sea vs. TB 52 -2
55 Khiry Robinson NO at NYJ 55 0
56 Fozzy Whittaker Cle vs. Bal 51 -5
57 Jackie Battle Ten at StL 68 +11
58 Lance Dunbar Dal vs. Min 50 -8
59 Rashad Jennings Oak vs. Phi 64 +5
60 Ronnie Brown SD at Was 61 +1
61 Toby Gerhart Min at Dal 59 -2
62 Felix Jones Pit at NE 63 +1

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