Week 9 Fantasy Football Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Running Backs: Ezekiel Elliot faces mighty obstacles

Week eight of fantasy football had some interesting names in the running backs standings with Giovani Bernard, Jordan Wilkins, and Damien Harris all in or near the top ten. There have been many running back injuries this year, but there should be returns from Aaron Jones, Christian McCaffrey, and the chance of Chris Carson. Running backs Myles Gaskin, Jonathan Taylor, and Jamaal Williams are possibly due to missing some time as well. Check out who you should start and sit for week nine of the fantasy football season.

Start ‘Em

Indianapolis Colts
Jordan Wilkins received a gift of touches last game with a whopping 20 carries against the Lions last week. He scored 20.3 fantasy points off of 89 yards and one touchdown in the backfield last week. Jonathan Taylor was limited in practice Wednesday and has a good chance to play on Sunday, but barring any setback to Taylor, Wilkins should be ready to go. Plus, Taylor only ran for 22 yards on 11 carries in last week’s game, giving Wilkins a chance to maintain the hot hand for the Colts. He is not a guaranteed starting running back knowing that Taylor could go back to his usual touches, but his 6.2 point projection could go higher if he gets a decent amount of touches. Wilkins is a better flex option for week nine.
Seattle Seahawks
DeeJay Dallas had a great week of fantasy last week with 18 carries for 41 yards and one touchdown, with an added five catches for 17 yards and another receiving touchdown. Dallas posted 22.8 fantasy points, which ranked fourth amongst running backs for the week in fantasy. Since running backs, Carlos Hyde has already been designated as out for next week, plus Carson’s inability to practice fully until Friday, Dallas has a strong chance of leading this backfield. Meanwhile, Travis Homer is coming back from his injury in full health, but Dallas has the hot hand in the backfield and has done a great job catching out of the backfield as well. The Buffalo Bills present a difficult challenge in the secondary, most likely forcing the Seahawks to run the ball a little more than usual. Dallas is an excellent RB2 filler for week nine.
San Francisco 49ers
JaMychal Hasty/Jerick McKinnon are taking over the 49ers backfield with Tevin Coleman, Jeff Wilson, and Raheem Mostert all out due to injury. Last week, Hasty took on 12 carries for 29 yards and one touchdown, while McKinnon did most of his work in the passing game with four catches for 40 yards and two total touchdowns. Hasty put up 10.1 fantasy points to land him the 27th spot in fantasy, while McKinnon put up 13.9 fantasy points for 16th place. The 49ers have relapsed with injuries now with Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle, and Brandon Aiyuk all out due to injury. The Green Bay Packers have allowed the most points to running backs this season in fantasy, and I expect these two to have another solid fantasy outing. They should both be considered RB2 potential backs for week nine.

Gus Edwards has certainly been having his fair share of fantasy success in the Ravens’ backfield. In the last two weeks, he has averaged 15 carries for 56 yards and one touchdown. Last week he put up 87 rushing yards and one touchdown for 14.7 fantasy points, landing him in 14th in the fantasy point standings for week eight. The Ravens are taking on a tough Colts defense, who has one of the best rushing defenses in the league. However, the Ravens ran the ball an incredible 47 times last week against the Steelers, who similarly have an excellent rushing defense. The Ravens put up 265 rushing yards last week, making them viable for a similar week between Edwards and J.K Dobbins, who finished last week with 113 yards. Both of these running backs have great opportunities for successful weeks with RB2 potential.

D’Andre Swift has arguably been the most reliable fantasy option for the Lions this season, averaging 12.7 fantasy points in the backfield. His carries are unpredictable, but he gets a lot of attention in the passing game. Last week he struggled against the Colts’ tough rushing defense, but the Vikings have a seemingly average run defense. With starting quarterback Matthew Stafford also being placed on the COVID-19 injured reserve list, it bodes better for the Lions to run the ball against the Vikings. Swift has projected 11.75 fantasy points next week and has a reasonable chance of exceeding that.

Sit ‘Em

Ezekiel Elliott is one of the most premier running backs in the NFL, but I am reluctant to say that he should not start in week nine. The Cowboys are handing him an enormous amount of challenges for him on offense. The Cowboys are relying on practice squad quarterbacks Cooper Rush and Garrett Gilbert to run this offense after Ben DiNucci failed miserably for them. Their offensive line does help him a bit, but they are terrible in allowing him open level yards, ranking 30th in that category. He also posts under 4.0 yards per carry, ranking him at 35th in the league. Next week the Cowboys take on the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have one of the strictest defensive lines in the league and are bound to scheme around holding Zeke from going anywhere. He is not worth the start next week even with the level of touches he gets.

Latavius Murray, while getting his fair share of carries with the Saints, has not produced much in the last three weeks. In the last three weeks, he has averaged nearly 3.56 yards per carry with zero touchdowns and under 10 fantasy points in each contest. While I believe he is due for a solid week of fantasy, I do not believe it is next week against the Buccaneers, who are ranked ninth in fantasy points allowed to running backs with one of the best defensive lines in the league. Murray is a no go next week and has projected 8.05 fantasy points.

Devin Singletary has not been producing nearly as much as his teammate Zack Moss in the last two weeks. These two are very hard to predict in carries and performance, but I think that helps the argument that Singletary is a no-go for next week. Moss is coming off of a large game with two touchdowns and 20.1 fantasy points last week. Singletary had his fair share of touches with 14 carries for 86 yards but failed to see the endzone. He hasn’t seen a touchdown since week four against Las Vegas, and I do not think he will next week. The Seattle Seahawks are a high scoring team and will force the Bills to pass the ball most of the game if they cannot contain them on defense. He has projected 9.85 fantasy points next week, but I would not count on him as a starter for week nine.

I have played football, baseball, hockey, golf, and basketball separately when I was young. Now I run cross country and track for DePaul University. My favorite part about sport is the mental strength. I am a big fan of all of the Chicago sports teams that don’t end in “Cubs.”

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