Week 9 Running Back Fantasy Rankings (PPR): Dalvin Cook Returns with Monster Game

The most important position in fantasy football is widely considered the running back. Beyond a handful of fantasy superstars, it is difficult to find reliable RBs. This point is why so many fantasy experts urge managers to draft a running back in the early rounds. If you secure a solid back early, you are poised for a good season. But between injuries, suspensions, and extraneous circumstances, our fantasy seasons never go as planned.

The following up-to-date rankings will predict the best running backs for Week 9, followed by analysis on specific players and their matchups that fantasy managers should keep in mind.

(The * represents the player may sit out with an injury).

RankTierPlayer NameTeam
11Dalvin CookPanthers
21James RobinsonJaguars
31Derrick HenryTitans
41Alvin KamaraSaints
51James ConnorSteelers
62Chase EdmondsCardinals
72Josh JacobsRaiders
82Todd Gurley IIFalcons
92Clyde Edwards-HelaireChiefs
102Christian McCaffery*Panthers
112Aaron Jones*Packers
122Chris Carson*Seahawks
132Justin JacksonChargers
142Ezekial ElliotCowboys
153David MontgomeryBears
163Myles GaskinDolphins
173David JohnsonHouston
183Melvin Gordon IIIBroncos
194Ronald Jones IIBuccaneers
204JaMycal Hasty49ers
214Antonio GibsonWashington
224Deandre SwiftLions
234Mike DavisPanthers
245Le'Veon BellChiefs
255Devonta FreemanGiants
265Johnathan TaylorColts
275Tevin Coleman*49ers
285Joshua KelleyChargers
295Damien HarrisPatriots
305Adrian PetersonLions
315Nyehim HinesColts
326La'Mical PerineJets
336Rex BurkheadPatriots
346Jerick McKinnon49ers
356J.K DobbinsRavens
366Zach MossBills
376Devin SingletaryBills
386Philip LindsayBroncos
397Latavius MurraySaints
407James WhitePatriots
418Duke JohnsonTexans
428Frank GoreJets
438Brian HillFalcons
449Cordalle PattersonBears
459Tony PollardCowboys
4610Eno BenjaminCardinals
4710Alexander MattisonVikings
4810Matt BreidaDolphins
4910Jordan WilkinsColts
5010Wayne GallmanGiants

Tier 1 Running Backs

No one in the NFL had a worse week than the Packers’ defensive line. Dalvin Cook mercilessly torched Green Bay’s defense with 163 yards from 30 carries and three rushing touchdowns. To top it off, Cook also brought in a receiving score. What makes this statline even more impressive is that Cook is coming off a groin injury that sidelined him for the Falcons week 6 game before a timely bye week. Despite heroic efforts from Davante Adams to keep his team in the game, the Cook led Vikings won in fashion against a favored Packers team. For a home game this weekend against the Lions, I have complete confidence Cook will keep the momentum going. He is the number one running back for me.

While James Robinson is by no means a surprise pick at a high ranking, I am much more bullish about his fantasy value this weekend than most would expect. Robinson is a PPR fantasy star, earning 4+ receptions in five consecutive games, averaging to 20.52 fantasy points per game in that time period. The Texans rank 30th in fantasy points allowed to running backs this season, and 31st in yards given up on the ground. Expect Robinson to have a dominant performance on Sunday.

While the names on the tier 1 list are all recognizable, one might stick out to NFL fans as an odd man out. Even though James Connor is a talented running back, he is often left out of conversations for a lack of eye-catching highlights and unbelievable games. But James Connor has quietly been producing a very strong season, and he is in position to have a huge game against a very weak Cowboys team. Dallas ranks dead last in rushing yards allowed this year with 170.9 per game, and Connor is the Steelers’ workhorse back. The twenty-five year old has had at least 15 carries every game since week 2. Look for Connor to appear on the Redzone channel this Sunday afternoon.

Derrick Henry and Alvin Kamara should both continue their fantasy dominance this weekend. They both regularly touch the ball 20+ times a game, and reach the endzone a fair amount. Most lists might favor Kamara slightly more than Henry for PPR, but the Buccaneers defense slightly worries me. Tampa Bay ranks as the 10th best defense against running backs in fantasy, and first in stopping the run. The speed they have at the linebacker spot with Jason Pierrre-Paul, Levonte David, and Shaquil Barret are bad news for Kamara who may not be used to getting beat rushing the outside. The Saints’ offensive scheme is still strong enough for Kamara to have a solid outing, but I ranked him slightly lower than he otherwise would be.

High-Tier (Not 1) Running Backs

I was very tempted to list Chase Edmonds as a tier 1 running back this week. There is a lot I like about starting the Cardinals running back week 9. While it remains uncertain if Kenyan Drake will play on Sunday, it is more than likely Edmonds will see more than his usual share of touches. Edmonds did not put up big numbers last season, but that was largely because he was not given the ball. With his measly 4.6 attempts per game, he capitalized by averaging 5.1 yards a carry. That impressive average would have placed him tied for fourth alongside Derrick Henry, Devin Singletary, and Matt Breida if he had enough attempts to qualify. I believe Edmonds is a talented running back who only now is getting an opportunity to prove himself with a defacto starting role. I rank him at 6th for week 9.

Christian McCaffery is rumored to be returning next weekend against the Chiefs. The first overall draft pick in most leagues suffered an ankle injury in week 2 that sidelined him for the first half of the season. McCaffery last year averaged a ridiculous 25 touches per game, and looked set to continue that trend going into this year. It is unlikely, however, that he will return to his usual workload this weekend. I gave him a generous 10 spot ranking with an asterisk for if he plays at all. Mike Davis will probably continue owning touches as the Panthers ease McCaffery back into his usual workhorse role.

Pressure may be put on Packers’ Aaron Jones to suit up on Thursday after Jamaal Williams and A.J. Dillion are officially out due to Covid protocol. Jones has been suffering a calf injury since week 7 and is listed as questionable going into Thursday night football. If he does play, I expect a below average fantasy performance for the 25 year old. He is still an RB2 in most leagues, but don’t expect him to carry your team like you normally would.

Mid-Tier Running Backs

No team in the NFL has been hit harder by injuries than the 49ers. After a promising start to a season with their running back, Raheem Morstert, he suffered a high ankle sprain and was placed on the injured reserve. Backup running back, Tevin Coleman, returned from IR himself just to become re-injured with his knee. All eyes will be on their third string running back, JaMycal Hasty as he looks up to have an increased role against a Packers’ team that Dalvin Cook just dismantled. Not that it says much, Hasty is coming off his best game of the season with 10.1 fantasy points. I give Hasty an optimistic spot at 20th in the rankings.

Jets fans might smirk after Le’Veon Bell was held to a disappointing performance against his former team. Not that Jets fans have much to smirk about at all this season. Bell signed with the Chiefs after a short and ugly tenure with the New York Jets. It remains to be seen how the Chiefs can use the veteran effectively, but given the Andy Reid offensive scheme running backs tend to do well. Against a Carolina team that gives up the 29th most points to backs, I expect Bell to have a better than expected game. I place him at 24 this week.

Low-Tier Running Backs

Despite splitting carries with Devin Singletary, Zack Moss had a breakout game last week against the Patriots. While each of the backs carried the ball 14 times with similar yardage, it was Moss that owned the goal line carries that ultimately rewarded him two touchdowns. This is great news for fantasy managers that own shares of Moss. He had previously been held to a high of just 11.6 fantasy points. Moss might not get the double touchdown game this week against the Seahawks, but definitely look for this back on the waiver wire if he is not on a roster already.

It doesn’t excite me to write about Wayna Gallman, especially after that heartbreaking loss on Monday night. Like the Mr. Irrelevant of the NFL Draft, however, I figured it would be interesting to analyze my ranking’s last player. In the Giants’ week 7 matchup at Philadelphia, Gallman had himself a decent game with 16.4 fantasy points. It looked as though the fantasy world took notice, with a roster increase from almost 0 to 24 percent. On Monday, Gallman had another respectable outing with 13.2 fantasy points. Don’t expect Gallman to keep this momentum going next week at Washington, especially with Freeman likely coming back next game, but keep an eye out for him as the season progresses.

Luc is the reigning champion and commissioner for three years running of his fantasy football league. He treats fantasy football as competitively as any sport he plays organized, or not. He is a helpless optimist about his team, the New York Giants. He is studying Sports Management at the University of Michigan.

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