Who's in and who's out at running back for Week 9? That's the first question you have to answer before you can even begin to figure out who you're going to start and sit for your Fantasy lineup, and as has been the case all season, there's plenty of backs out. Starting, of course, with the bye week absences: There's no Joe Mixon or Giovani Bernard, Kareem Hunt or Nick Chubb, Miles Sanders or Boston Scott, or Darrell Henderson, Malcolm Brown or Cam Akers. That's four big-time backfields already off the list.
And we know Myles Gaskin (knee), Austin Ekeler (hamstring), Raheem Mostert (ankle), Jeff Wilson (ankle), Tevin Coleman (knee), Sony Michel (reserve/COVID-19), A.J. Dillon (reserve/COVID-19), and Jamaal Williams (reserve/COVID-19) won't be playing in Week 9. Kenyan Drake (ankle), Mark Ingram (ankle), Devonta Freeman (ankle) also won't be, while Chris Carson (foot) remains very much in question as of Friday.
But hey, at least Christian McCaffrey is back! Running back has been a problem all season long for most Fantasy players, but making the right lineup calls can be the difference between a win and a loss. Jamey Eisenberg's Start 'Em & Sit 'Em calls can help.
More Week 9 help: Starts & Sits, Sleepers & Busts | RB Preview | WR Preview | QB Preview | PPR Cheat Sheet | Non-PPR Cheat Sheet | Matchup Notes | Game Previews | Sleepers | Start 'Em & Sit 'Em: QB | Start 'Em & Sit 'Em: RB | Start 'Em & Sit 'Em: WR | Biggest Questions | Waiver Wire | TE Preview | Trade Values | Cut List | Winners and Losers | Believe It or Not
SEA Seattle • #31
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
We'll have to wait and see what happens with Chris Carson (foot) and Carlos Hyde (hamstring) this week, but it sounds like both will be out again against the Bills. If that's the case then consider Dallas a borderline No. 1 Fantasy running back in all leagues. The Seahawks gave him 23 total touches in Week 8 against San Francisco, and he delivered 22 PPR points. Now, it wasn't pretty at 2.3 yards per carry on his 18 attempts, but he got goal-line work, as well as five catches on five targets. And his matchup against the Bills is much easier than against the 49ers since Buffalo has allowed a running back to score in four games in a row, with Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Damien Harris going over 100 rushing yards over that span.
SF San Francisco • #23
Age: 24 • Experience: Rookie
Hasty and Jerick McKinnon are both worth using this week -- Hasty is better in non-PPR, while McKinnon has an edge in PPR -- with the matchup against the Packers. Dalvin Cook proved in Week 8 that Green Bay is still awful against the run with 30 carries for 163 yards and three touchdowns, and he added two catches for 63 yards and a touchdown to further the misery. Hasty and McKinnon won't do that, but the Packers have allowed a running back to score in every game this season and lead all teams with 14 touchdowns allowed to running backs. It helps that the 49ers lead the NFL in most Fantasy points scored from their running backs, and we all remember what happened in the playoffs last season when Raheem Mostert had 220 rushing yards and four touchdowns against Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game.
NE New England • #37
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
The key number for Harris this week will likely be 13. If he can get at least 13 carries then he should be successful given what running backs have done against the Jets. The past four running backs with at least 13 carries against the Jets -- Jonathan Taylor, Melvin Gordon, Kenyan Drake and Myles Gaskin -- all had at least 11 PPR points. Harris has two games this season with more than 13 carries (Week 4 at Kansas City and Week 8 at Buffalo), and he's run for at least 100 yards in both of them. He also scored his first NFL touchdown against the Bills, and the Jets are among the league leaders with seven rushing touchdowns allowed to running backs this year.
J.K. Dobbins RB
BAL Baltimore • #27
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
My bold prediction on last Sunday's Fantasy Football Today on CBS Sports HQ was that Dobbins would run for over 100 yards and score against the Steelers in the first game without Mark Ingram (ankle). I was half right since Dobbins had 15 carries for 113 yards, but he failed to score. Gus Edwards also played well against Pittsburgh with 16 carries for 87 yards and a touchdown, and both are worth using this week against the Colts with Ingram out again. I like Dobbins better since he played 66 percent of the snaps compared to Edwards (32 percent), and even though it's a tough matchup you can use both Ravens as No. 2 Fantasy running backs this week.
LAC L.A. Chargers • #22
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
I hope we're not about to be fooled by Jackson again like what happened in Week 7 against Jacksonville when he only had 10 total touches for 55 total yards following his breakout game in Week 5 at New Orleans with 20 total touches for 94 total yards. He looked like that guy against the Saints again in Week 8 at Denver with 17 carries for 89 yards, as well as three catches for 53 yards. Now, he could be sharing touches with Joshua Kelley and Troymaine Pope, but Jackson should be the lead back for the Chargers. And he has at least five targets in three games in a row, which is great for his role in the passing game. I like Jackson as a No. 2 Fantasy running back in all leagues this week.
WAS Washington • #41
Age: 27 • Experience: 4 yrs.
McKissic might be the best Washington running back this week against the Giants. The Giants haven't allowed a running back to score on the ground in their past three games, including Antonio Gibson in Week 6, but they have struggled with pass-catching running backs. McKissic had six catches for 43 yards on six targets against the Giants, and they have allowed at least six catches to running backs in three of the past five games.
Tyler Ervin RB
GB Green Bay • #32
Age: 27 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Ervin and Dexter Williams could be headed for big roles with Aaron Jones (calf) hurt and Jamaal Williams and A.J. Dillon out because of COVID-19. I like Ervin better than Dexter Williams given his expected role in the passing game, and the Packers have had a running back catch at least four passes seven times this year. The 49ers have allowed 22 receptions to running backs in their past four games.
HOU Houston • #30
Age: 27 • Experience: 4 yrs.
It would be nice to see the Broncos turn to Lindsay for more work over Melvin Gordon based on how he's played over the past three weeks. Over that span against New England, Kansas City and the Chargers, Lindsay has 38 carries for 263 yards and a touchdown, as well as one catch for 3 yards on three targets. He's averaging a whopping 6.9 yards per carry, and he looks more explosive than Gordon.
SF San Francisco • #22
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Gallman has scored in back-to-back games for the Giants with Devonta Freeman (ankle) hurt, but I didn't like that Gallman shared playing time as much as he did with Alfred Morris and Dion Lewis in Week 8 against Tampa Bay. Gallman played 43 percent of the snaps, while Morris and Lewis were both at 28 percent. This week, it's a tough matchup for Gallman -- or insert Freeman in this spot if he plays -- since the Washington Football Team hasn't allowed a running back to gain more than 68 total yards in four games in a row, including matchups with the Ravens, Rams, Giants and Cowboys. Now, Washington has allowed three total touchdowns to running backs over that span, and Gallman could find the end zone for the third week in a row. But if he doesn't score, his production will be minimal, and I would only consider him a flex at best.
Ronald Jones RB
TB Tampa Bay • #27
Age: 23 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Jones will likely still start for Tampa Bay and hopefully stay on the field, but it's hard to trust him now that Leonard Fournette is healthy. Jones went from three games in a row with at least 20 total touches when Fournette was out with an ankle injury to 25 total touches in the past two games combined against the Raiders and Giants after Fournette came back. And Week 8 at New York was bad for Jones after he lost a fumble, resulting in just 24 percent of the playing time compared to 73 percent for Fournette. I'm still hopeful for Jones being a quality Fantasy option, but I'm benching him in all leagues in Week 9 against the Saints, who also held him to just nine PPR points in Week 1.
DEN Denver • #25
Age: 28 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Gordon and Lindsay have played one full game together, which was Week 8 against the Chargers. Gordon played a season-low 55 percent of the snaps (Lindsay was at 45 percent), and he managed just 47 total yards. He was saved by six catches on seven targets, and he should continue to play ahead of Lindsay on passing downs. But Lindsay might start taking on more work as a rusher, and Gordon could be in trouble as a must-start Fantasy running back. He's still a flex option in all leagues, but you also have to be concerned that the Falcons have allowed just one rushing touchdown since Week 2.
BUF Buffalo • #26
Age: 23 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Singletary had a solid game in Week 8 at New England with 14 carries for 86 yards, as well as one catch for 6 yards, but he's still not doing the things we like to see, which is to get scoring opportunities or work a lot in the passing game. He has just one touchdown on the season and has only five catches over his past four games. Zack Moss outplayed Singletary last week -- and played more than him with 53 percent of the snaps to 48 percent -- with 14 carries for 81 yards and two touchdowns, and Moss should be considered a low-end starter in all leagues against Seattle. Singletary is just a flex, and he hasn't scored double digits in PPR in four games in a row.
Le'Veon Bell RB
KC Kansas City • #26
Age: 29 • Experience: 8 yrs.
I thought Bell would have a quality outing in Week 8 against the Jets with the chance for a revenge game vs. his former team. But he once again had minimal impact with his new team, finishing with six carries for 7 yards, along with three catches for 31 yards on three targets. Clyde Edwards-Helaire has the chance for a breakout game this week against the Panthers, so continue to start him with confidence, and he played 50 percent of the snaps compared to just 26 percent for Bell in Week 8. Bell should be considered a good handcuff for Edwards-Helaire, but he's not playing enough to warrant consideration as a starter in most Fantasy leagues in Week 9.
IND Indianapolis • #28
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
First, you have to check on Taylor's health since he's dealing with a minor ankle injury following Week 8 at Detroit. Next, you have to see if the Colts remain committed to Taylor after he was outplayed by Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines against the Lions. We're not going to worry about Hines because he's not a direct threat to Taylor. But Wilkins is, and he had 21 total touches against Detroit compared to just 13 for Taylor. And Wilkins was praised by the Indianapolis coaching staff since he had 89 rushing yards and a touchdown, as well as one catch for 24 yards. Taylor still has plenty of upside, and I would start him ahead of Wilkins if both are healthy. But the Colts might start giving Wilkins more playing time, which would clearly be problematic. And in Week 9 against the Ravens you might want to consider finding another running back to use just in case Wilkins has more touches than Taylor for the second week in a row.
So who should you start and sit this week? And which surprising quarterback could lead you to victory? Visit SportsLine now to get Week 9 rankings for every position, plus see which QB is going to come out of nowhere to crack the top 10, all from the model that out-performed experts big-time last season.