NFL Week 9 RBs: Looking For a Few Good Men

Do you want the truth? Can you handle the truth? The truth is that the bellcow RB is a dying position in football. This isn't college football where you have Georgia Tech still running the triple option. This is the NFL. Adapt or die. Back when I started playing fantasy football there were fantasy gods at the RB position: LaDanian Tomlinson, Marshall Faulk, Shaun Alexander; backs who routinely put up multiple TDs in a game. I wonder what a Greatest-Show-on-Turf-Era Marshall Faulk would cost on DraftKings? $12,000? Entirely possible. Back then it was considered a bad day when your stud back only put up 100 yards and 1 touchdown. To quote Bob Dylan: "The times, they have a... changed?" Hmm. I'll think of a better quote tomorrow.

I miss you, Shaun Alexander.

There are so few good RBs available on our slate for Week 9 it seems. Last week saw scarce RB production everywhere which made the Gurley chalk play almost a necessity to cash. This week we will look at Gurley and Devonta Freeman as big chalk plays. Jeremy Langford will also be pretty chalky as he is low-priced and facing a San Diego D. We need to think about the value of fading Langford in a GPP.

Let's outline some RBs that are in consideration this week. Note that I have already ruled out several so this is the list I'm currently looking at. Note: salary is for DraftKings.

  • Darren McFadden vs PHI $4300
  • C.J. Spiller vs TEN $3100
  • Chris Ivory vs JAC $5900
  • Devonta Freeman @ SF $8000
  • Jeremy Langford @ SD $4000
  • Mark Ingram vs TEN $6500
  • LeSean McCoy vs MIA $5500
  • Todd Gurley @ MIN $6900
  • Ronnie Hillman @ IND $4600
  • DeAngelo Williams vs OAK $5500
  • Antonio Andrews @ NOS $3600
  • Danny Woodhead vs CHI $4800
  • Doug Martin vs NYG $5700
  • Charles Sims vs NYG $3600
  • Latavius Murray @ PIT $6000
  • Lamar Miller @ BUF $5000
  • DeMarco Murray @ DAL $6400
  • Dion Lewis vs WAS $6400
  • Adrian Peterson vs STL $7300
  • Jonathan Stewart vs GB $4300
  • LeGarrette Blount vs WAS $4800
  • Frank Gore vs DEN $4800

First, let's discuss chalk plays. Devonta Freeman and Todd Gurley will likely be chalk plays, and I get the feeling Freeman is going to trending up and Gurley down because of matchup. Also take into consideration that Freeman might be due to another big game and Gurley might be due for a letdown. I also think Jeremy Langford is going to be a guy a lot of people are on due to low cost, opportunity, and a good matchup. Recipe for success? We always have to weigh talent vs opportunity in the NFL as we do in any sport. Talent does matter (unless you are Mike Shanahan's post-Elway Broncos that could plug in any random grandmother in the backfield and watch her rumble for 1000 yards and a dozen scores).

We live in a pass-happy time for NFL football. Our QBs are cheap, our WRs are plentiful, and our RBs need to be involved in the passing game for us to feel good about them. Let's examine a few under-the-radar picks for Week 9. DeMarco Murray gives us a narrative play. He's returning to Dallas where he was the NFL's best back last season. But this is not that DeMarco Murray. This is the DeMarco Murray that runs sideways on stretch plays and then watches Ryan Mathews shoplift the paydirt. If you believe in the narrative street play, I think DeMarco could be a contrarian option this week.

I also believe DeAngelo Williams will be popular, because of how he performed when Le'Veon Bell was suspended. Is this a LeGarrette Blount week? You never know, but you always want to be on board when it is, because it could mean 150 yards and 2 scores. I also find Jonathan Stewart intriguing this week with Green Bay travelling. I'm also wondering if we will see a rejuvenated Denver running game against a tired Colts defense that just played a long Monday Night game. The question is, will Ronnie Hillman continue to be Maverick to CJ Anderson's Goose? Likewise we delve into gameflow issues and contemplate not only Lewis vs Blount, but Mark Ingram vs CJ Spiller, Doug Martin vs Charles Sims, and possibly Frank Gore vs Ahmad Bradshaw (but not really).

Plenty of things to think about in the mired mess that is the NFL running back stable. I'll be back tomorrow to discuss a happier subject: wide receivers!

Shine on you crazy diamonds,

-- DFD

Derek Finley

Existing in a world of psychotic monkeys. Writing about sports for passion. Thirsting for knowledge and beer.