Alvin Kamara prepares to keep catching passes against the Ravens, Travis Etienne eyes up a plus matchup in the Raiders, and Rhamondre Stevenson aims to keep doing his best Kamara impression vs. the Colts.
Week 9 Running Backs
RB Notes: Although we know the Titans will remain committed to the run no matter what, the negative game script they are likely to encounter as nearly two-touchdown road underdogs to the Chiefs is enough to plant Derrick Henry behind Austin Ekeler for Week 9. There is also the fact that Ekeler should continue vacuuming up targets with Keenan Allen (hamstring) likely to join Mike Williams (ankle) on the shelf against the Falcons' porous run defense. … I'll let Dalvin Cook's higher rushing floor take the day over Alvin Kamara's usage in the passing game. Both backs have good Week 9 setups, though Kamara will be dealing with a Ravens defense that just added Roquan Smith. … Averaging 7.3 yards per carry since he vaulted ahead of James Robinson four weeks ago, Travis Etienne has ripped off at least one run of 30-plus yards in each of his past four appearances. He has also set a new career high for rushing every game the past month. The Raiders' defense permits the third most running back fantasy points. … Ken Walker finally hit a Week 8 speed bump but still handled 18-of-20 Seahawks running back carries. Any time a back with Walker's breakaway ability is seeing 18-22 weekly handles, they are an RB1. That is especially true in scoring environments like the one Walker will be featured in Sunday (49.5).
Fantasy managers have to shake off Josh Jacobs' Week 8 disaster. The Raiders' passing game was even worse than its rushing attack against the Saints. Jacobs will remain Vegas' offensive engine against a Jags team that will be highly unlikely to pull away and create negative game script. … Seeing Alvin Kamara-type usage even with Damien Harris back in the lineup, Rhamondre Stevenson has multiple ways to produce for fantasy managers. The Patriots are 5.5-point home favorites against the struggling Colts. … You could argue Aaron Jones belongs higher against a Lions run defense coughing up 5.1 yards per carry and 155 yards per game. Weirdly, the Lions have allowed the fourth fewest running back receptions, perhaps because quarterbacks don't need to check down against their defense. We would still expect Jones to snag 4-5 balls through the air. … Jonathan Taylor's ankle is back to requiring maintenance days. Or at least we hope that was the cause of Taylor's Wednesday DNP. If Taylor can go against the Pats, it will be with Nyheim Hines now a Bill, and New England remaining highly vulnerable on the ground. It's enough to keep Taylor in the low-end RB1 mix as he battles his ailing joint.
Never quite what you want him to be, Miles Sanders has his best setup all season as a two-touchdown road favorite vs. the Texans' league-worst run defense. … Settling in as something of a running back Diontae Johnson, Joe Mixon has combined elite usage with underwhelming returns. Frustrating as it has been, Mixon is still well positioned for positive regression in the touchdown department, especially with Ja'Marr Chase (hip) sidelined. Mixon continues to have no meaningful backfield touch competition. … Dameon Pierce won't have game flow against the Eagles, but he's all the collapsed Texans have on offense. His 18-20 touches will also be coming against a Jordan Davis-less defensive front on a short week. … Raheem Mostert has settled in as a safe if not particularly high upside RB2. He retains a higher-end Week 9 rank because an already-embattled Bears run defense just traded Roquan Smith. … Opposite Mostert will be the Bears' emerging committee, one where Khalil Herbert has provided the pizzazz while David Montgomery maintains the snap advantage. Even with Chase Claypool now aboard, this is going to remain an offense that wants to run the ball 40 times per game. Montgomery can get home as a touch-based RB2 while Herbert offers a solid floor and higher upside.
Leonard Fournette's weekly range of outcomes remains between “benched” and “scores three touchdowns.” … Chuba Hubbard (ankle) is no better than questionable, setting up another potential “D'Onta Foreman week” against a far-from-great Bengals run defense. Even if Hubbard goes, his injury and Foreman's more impressive performance make Foreman a legitimate RB2. Hubbard will have an uncertain floor as a FLEX. … Nyheim Hines' addition is a real problem for Devin Singletary. It is approximately the Bills' 100th attempt to pair Singletary with a real pass catcher. Just don't expect it to cost him in Week 9. Singletary will receive no shortage of carries with the Bills just trying to get through a date with the Jets where they are getting nearly two touchdowns on the road. … Although Dan Campbell hinted earlier in the week it would be mere maintenance, D'Andre Swift (ankle, back) was back to “DNP” Wednesday. Campbell also admitted Swift is nowhere close to 100 percent healthy and could remain snap counted for the foreseeable future. That's why Jamaal Williams maintains a decisive Week 9 advantage as the RB2 vs. the Packers' awful run D. … With Cam Akers potentially returning and Kyren Williams (knee) set to be activated, we are in blindfold mode with the Rams' backfield.
It's difficult to say what's going on with James Conner (ribs). It's not difficult to say Eno Benjamin has likely carved out a committee role even if Conner finally returns against the Seahawks. Conner would be difficult to trust in the top 24. … Cordarrelle Patterson (knee) is trending toward a Week 9 return. Neither Patterson nor Tyler Allgeier figure to have a meaningful touch advantage if C-Patt suits up. You could argue Allgeier will have the higher touch floor while Patterson's advantage in the high-value touch department will make him the preferred FLEX. … It was a Week 8 to forget for Michael Carter, though James Robinson did not seize the day in his Jets debut. It's an uncertain situation, but one where Carter has the Week 9 advantage with Gang Green likely to spend the entire afternoon in comeback mode. You don't throw a player into that role in his second week with the team. … Gus Edwards (hamstring) is probably on the wrong side of questionable with the Ravens' Week 10 bye looming. Kenyan Drake would be a plug-and-play RB2 in Edwards' absence for an offense recommitted to the run. … J.D. McKissic's (neck) status could decide the Commanders' Week 9 Brian Robinson/Antonio Gibson question. Gibson is the backup pass catcher.