Fantasy Football Week 9 Rankings: RB
Six-team bye weeks, we certainly won't miss you. Who came up with that idea anyway? Why couldn't they just start the byes a week earlier and have eight, four-team bye weeks? Someone get Roger Goodell on the horn. I've got a bone to pick with him.
Thankfully, after this week and next, the byes are gone for good. Although that's little consolation to owners who have to go without Frank Gore, Maurice Jones-Drew, Steven Jackson and Chris Johnson in Week 9. Talk about stripping away talent; that's half your first round right there.
On the bright side, guys like Donald Brown, Tashard Choice, and Julius Jones add some much-needed depth to the pool this frame (more on those guys below). Of course, there's no guarantee those guys will actually produce, but we could've said the same about LeGarrette Blount last week and look what happened there. Something tells me the guys who took a chance on Blount feel just a wee bit better about their teams right about now.
My point? Sometimes all it takes is that speculative add -- even if you don't start the guy the week you pick him up -- to turn your season around. Ask the guy in your league who scooped up Jamaal Charles around this time last year, he'll tell you.
I know, I know. This isn't a waiver wire column and you just want your rankings. Fine. Just make sure that in addition to using this week's list to make your lineup decisions, you keep an eye out for the names that look like they don't belong (like Choice or Julius Jones). If you have the bench room, add 'em. Who knows? Maybe that shot in the dark becomes the next Charles or Blount.
Javarris James, anyone?
1. Adrian Peterson, MIN (vs. ARI)
2. Michael Turner, ATL (vs. TB)
3. LeSean McCoy, PHI (vs. IND)
4. Matt Forte, CHI (at BUF)
5. Peyton Hillis, CLE (vs. NE)
6. Arian Foster, HOU (vs. SD)
7. LaDainian Tomlinson, NYJ (at DET)
8. Darren McFadden, OAK (vs. KC)
9. Rashard Mendenhall, PIT (at CIN)
10. Ray Rice, BAL (vs. MIA)
11. Jamaal Charles, KC (at OAK)
12. Brandon Jackson, GB (vs. DAL)
13. Jonathan Stewart, CAR (vs. NO)
14. Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG (at SEA)
15. Thomas Jones, KC (at OAK)
16. LeGarrette Blount, TB (at ATL)
17. Ryan Mathews, SD (at HOU)
18. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, NE (at CLE)
19. Jahvid Best, DET (vs. NYJ)
20. Cedric Benson, CIN (vs. PIT)
21. Brandon Jacobs, NYG (at SEA)
22. Fred Jackson, BUF (vs. CHI)
23. Donald Brown, IND (at PHI)
24. Julius Jones, NO (at CAR)
25. Felix Jones, DAL (at GB)
26. Shonn Greene, NYJ (at DET)
27. Beanie Wells, ARI (at MIN)
28. Mike Tolbert, SD (at HOU)
29. Ricky Williams, MIA (at BAL)
30. Justin Forsett, SEA (vs. NYG)
31. Danny Woodhead, NE (at CLE)
32. Chester Taylor, CHI (at BUF)
33. Michael Bush, OAK (vs. KC)
34. Tashard Choice, DAL (at GB)
35. Ronnie Brown, MIA (at BAL)
36. Marshawn Lynch, SEA (vs. NYG)
37. Jason Snelling, ATL (vs. TB)
38. Willis McGahee, BAL (vs. MIA)
39. Derrick Ward, HOU (vs. SD)
40. Marion Barber, DAL (at GB)
41. Darren Sproles, SD (at HOU)
42. Chris Ivory, NO (at CAR)
43. Cadillac Williams, TB (at ATL)
44. Tim Hightower, ARI (at MIN)
45. Ladell Betts, NO (at CAR)
46. John Kuhn, GB (vs. DAL)
47. Kevin Smith, DET (vs. NYJ)
48. Mike Goodson, CAR (vs. NO)
49. Earnest Graham, TB (at ATL)
50. Javarris James, IND (at PHI)
• If you were worried about Kevin Smith taking a bite out of Jahvid Best's value, I've got some good news for you. Not that I'd ever wish injury on anyone, but Smith was limited in practice on Wednesday with a sore knee. Meanwhile, Best (toe) returned to a full practice for the first time in a long time. It's not all good news, though; the Lions face the Jets in Week 9. Gang Green is the stingiest unit in the league when it comes to surrendering points to running backs (9.2 per game).
• The Saints' Chris Ivory (concussion) has been practicing in full this week. Unfortunately, his true talent level has already begun to surface (22 carries, 55 yards the past two weeks). In fact, it wouldn't be a surprise at all to see Julius Jones handle the bulk of the ground work until Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush return, which makes Jones a super-sneaky start against Carolina in Week 9. The Panthers are ceding 141 total yards per game to opposing RBs, along with six TDs in seven contests.
• Poor Mike Hart. He's handed the biggest workload of his career (15 touches), makes the most of it (career-high 103 total yards), and then is forced to the sidelines in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury. He didn't practice on Wednesday and is scheduled for an MRI, leaving his Week 9 status in doubt. Even worse news for Hart owners is the revelation that Donald Brown didn't re-aggravate his hamstring injury this past Sunday -- it was thought that he did when he went MIA in the fourth quarter against Houston -- and he's been practicing in full. Against a Philly squad that's middle of the pack in terms of fantasy points allowed on the ground, Brown looks like the one you'll want in your flex spot this weekend (Joseph Addai doesn't look like he'll be back).
• Felix Jones missed practice on Wednesday with forearm and ankle injuries, and word on the street says Tashard Choice might finally see some significant action in Week 9. For now, I'm still ranking Felix over Choice (and Marion Barber); just keep in mind that Thursday and/or Friday practice reports could easily reverse the order in which they appear. Regardless, I can't see any of the 'Boys running backs warranting anything more than a flex play against the Packers, who, like Jacksonville did last week, could render the Dallas running game irrelevant by the second quarter (the D in Dallas is anything but big). .
• Beanie Wells was limited in practice Wednesday due to some soreness in his surgically-repaired knee. The Cardinals coaching staff doesn't seem too concerned, and neither am I ... at least not about his knee. I'm a little more worried about his matchup with Minnesota. The Vikings may be 2-5, but they're giving up just a hair over 100 yards per game to opposing rushers, on just 3.9 yards per carry. BenJarvus Green-Ellis is the only running back to go over century mark on the ground against Minnesota (he did it last week) since Jonathan Stewart did it in Week 15 last season.