Fantasy football: Five running backs to avoid in Week 9

Running back Leonard Fournette (C) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will host the Los Angeles Rams at 4:25 p.m. EST Sunday in Tampa, Fla. File Photo by Steve Nesius/UPI
1 of 5 | Running back Leonard Fournette (C) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will host the Los Angeles Rams at 4:25 p.m. EST Sunday in Tampa, Fla. File Photo by Steve Nesius/UPI | License Photo

MIAMI, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- D'Onta Foreman and Leonard Fournette are among my five running backs to avoid for Week 9 of the fantasy football season. Dalvin Cook leads my Top 30 weekly rankings for the position.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Michael Carter and Ronnie Rivers are among the other players I would lower my expectations for or try to keep out of my lineup.


Week 8 performance, opportunity, strength of Week 9 opponents and expected game script are among the factors I considered when determining the players to avoid. My full Top 30 rankings are below.

Nick Chubb, Saquon Barkley, Najee Harris, Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliott, Melvin Gordon and Tony Pollard are among the players who should be benched as the Cleveland Browns, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers, Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys serve Week 9 byes.


D'Onta Foreman

Foreman ran for 118 yards in each of his last two games for the Carolina Panthers. This week, he lands at No. 16 in my rankings due to a tough matchup and potential competition for work.

Foreman and Chuba Hubbard jumped up the depth chart after the Panthers traded away All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey last month. Hubbard, who is listed as the Panthers' starter, did not play in Week 8, but could return in Week 9. His presence and expected workload should hinder Foreman's value.

The Panthers also will face the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday in Cincinnati. The Bengals allow the eighth-fewest fantasy points per game to running backs. Foreman can still be used as a low-end RB2, but I wouldn't expect him to produce like he did over the past two weeks.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette (7) can still be used in fantasy football in Week 9, but you should only expect RB2 production. File Photo by Steve Nesius/UPI

Leonard Fournette

Fournette salvaged a lackluster fantasy football performance with a touchdown in Week 8 and I would stay away from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back in Week 9.


Fournette eclipsed 65 rushing yards in just one of his first eight games this season. He also totaled 14 or fewer carries in five of his last six appearances.

This week, the Buccaneers will face the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams allowed the 10th-fewest rushing yards per game to running backs through eight weeks.

I expect the Buccaneers to be much more successful with their passing game than their running game in this meeting. Fournette is my No. 19 option. You should expect low-end RB2 production.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire

Edwards-Helaire ranks 50th among running backs in fantasy points per game this season. The Kansas City Chiefs running back eclipsed 42 rushing yards in just two of his seven games this season.

He also averaged just 26.7 rushing yards per game over his last three contests. The Chiefs were on bye in Week 8 and started Isiah Pacheco at running back in their last game.

Pacheco should continue to eat into Edwards-Helaire's workload, which limits his upside. Edwards-Helaire is a very risky play for Week 9 and lands at No. 21 in my rankings.

New York Jets running back Michael Carter should be avoided this week in fantasy football lineups. File Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI

Michael Carter

Carter totaled seven carries for 26 yards and four catches for 35 yards in the New York Jets' Week 8 loss to the New England Patriots. The Jets traded for fellow running back James Robinson last month and gave him six touches last week in his first appearance with the team.

I expect Robinson to keep getting more work as he acclimates to the Jets' offensive system. This week, the Jets also will face the Buffalo Bills.

The Bills allow the third-fewest fantasy points per game to running backs. They also allowed a league-low 73.4 rushing yards per game to the position through eight weeks.

Carter has very limited upside going into this matchup due to an expected decreased workload and the tough matchup. I would keep him out of all lineups, unless you don't roster a better option.

Ronnie Rivers

Rivers received his first start last week when the Los Angeles Rams lost to the San Francisco 49ers. That start came due to an illness for typical starter Darrell Henderson.

Rivers provided just 26 yards on 12 touches in Week 8 and isn't likely to become a superstar anytime soon due to Henderson's presence and the expected return of rookie running back Kyren Williams from injured reserve.


Rams coach Sean McVay told reporters there's a "chance" Williams plays Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Williams' potential return and Henderson getting closer to a typical workload should make Rivers irrelevant for fantasy football purposes.

The Buccaneers also allow the sixth-fewest fantasy points per game to running backs. I would stay away from Rivers and all other Rams running backs in Week 9. Williams should be added to all teams as a high-upside play for the fantasy football stretch run.

Week 9 fantasy football running back rankings

1. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings at WAS

2. Kenneth Walker III, Seattle Seahawks at ARI

3. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals vs. CAR

4. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans at KC

5. Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers at ATL

6. Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers at DET

7. Travis Etienne, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. LV

8. Raheem Mostert, Miami Dolphins at CHI

9. Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders at JAX

10. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints vs. BAL

11. David Montgomery, Chicago Bears vs. MIA

12. Eno Benjamin, Arizona Cardinals vs. SEA

13. D'Andre Swift, Detroit Lions vs. GB


14. Deon Jackson, Indianapolis Colts at NE

15. Rhamondre Stevenson, New England Patriots vs. IND

16. D'Onta Foreman, Carolina Panthers at CIN

17. Tyler Allgeier, Atlanta Falcons vs. LAC

18. Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills at NYJ

19. Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. LAR

20. A.J. Dillon, Green Bay Packers at DET

21. Clyde Edwards-Helarie, Kansas City Chiefs vs. TEN

22. Jamaal Williams, Detroit Lions vs. GB

23. Brian Robinson Jr., Washington Commanders vs. MIN

24. Khalil Herbert, Chicago Bears vs. MIA

25. Michael Carter, New York Jets vs. BUF

26. Rachaad White, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. LAR

27. Kenyan Drake, Baltimore Ravens at NO

28. Dontrell Hilliard, Tennessee Titans at KC

29. Isiah Pacheco, Kansas City Chiefs vs. TEN

30. James Robinson, New York Jets vs. BUF

This week in the National Football League

The San Francisco 49ers' Christian McCaffrey hauls in a nine-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., on Sunday. The 49ers defeated the Rams 31-14. McCaffrey became the first player since LaDainian Tomlinson in 2005 to throw for, run for and catch a touchdown in the same game. Photo by Jon SooHoo/UPI | License Photo

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