It seems one of the biggest questions we have been seeing in the running back world is what to do with Chris Johnson? Through 7 games, Johnson is averaging career lows in almost every rushing category and has yielded more carries to backup Javon Ringer in the last couple weeks. Mike Munchak has stated that Johnson will continue to start, but Ringer could easily get a bigger workload if Johnson doesn't snap out of his slump. Johnson owners are likely stuck with him for the time being, unless they can somehow convince a trade partner that he will eventually bounce back. And right now, I just don't see it. It's clear that Johnson has taken the year off after stealing $30 million in guaranteed money.
And on that note, below are my running back rankings going into Week 9.
Byes: Panthers, Lions, Jaguars, Vikings
Update: It's being reported that Ahmad Bradshaw is now out indefinitely with a cracked bone in his foot. Brandon Jacobs will get a majority of the carries and is a must-start RB2 this weekend.
Update: Peyton Hillis suffered an aggravation of his hamstring in Friday's practice, leaving his availability very much in doubt. With Monterio Hardesty (calf) also out, check out my sleeper going into Week 9.
TOP FIVE WEEK-NINE MATCHUPS (MUST START)
1. Matt Forte (CHI) @ PHI: The Eagles have been better defensively over the last two weeks, but DeMarco Murray was still able to rack up 74 rushing yards off of only 8 carries. The biggest problem for Murray was Dallas having to abandon the run after falling behind so fast. Since he is already a big part of the passing game, Forte could come up huge under the Monday night lights.
2. LeSean McCoy (PHI) vs. CHI: It's simple. When the Eagles run a lot, they win more games than they lose. McCoy has averaged 29 carries over the last two games, equaling two-straight wins over divisional opponents. Andy Reid has had the problem of abandoning the run for a stretch of games, but I am hoping it's not in Week 9. McCoy will be looking for his third-straight 100+ rushing game against the Bears.
3. Michael Turner (ATL) @ IND: Nothing like coming off a bye week and facing the Colts run defense. Turner has racked up four 100+ rushing games so far this year, which is surprising since many had Turner falling in terms of stats after he carried the ball more than 300 times in 2 of the last 3 years. Expect Turner to put up another 100 yards this weekend.
4. Arian Foster (HOU) vs. CLE: Foster could have easily been ranked higher than No. 4, but I think Forte, McCoy and Turner were a little bit more deserving. Still, coming off back-to-back 100 yard games and scoring 4 total touchdowns in that span, Foster could wind up being the top dog when the dust settles.
5. Steven Jackson (STL) @ ARI: The Rams have been awful this year, but Jackson has been one of the few bright spots. He was one of the main reasons the team was able to pull off the upset over the Saints after he rushed 25 times for 159 yards and two touchdowns. S-Jax should have no problems facing a Cardinals Defense that gives up close to 20 fantasy points a game to running backs this year.
|6.||Darren McFadden (OAK)||vs. Denver Broncos: Great matchup, but will he play? Have Bush on hand.
|7.||Fred Jackson (BUF)||vs. New York Jets|
|8.||Ahmad Bradshaw (NYG)||@ New England Patriots: Should play despite sore foot|
|9.||Ray Rice (BAL)||@ Pittsburgh Steelers|
|10.||Beanie Wells (ARI)||vs. St. Louis Rams|
|11.||Frank Gore (SF)||@ Washington Redskins|
|12.||Mike Tolbert (SD)
||vs. Green Bay Packers: Making a switch from Mathews to Tolbert.|
|13.||Shonne Greene (NYJ)||@ Buffalo Bills
|14.||Jackie Battle (KC)||vs. Miami Dolphins
|15.||LeGarrette Blount (TB)||@ New Orleans Saints
|16.||Rashard Mendenhall (PIT)||vs. Baltimore Ravens
|17.||Cedric Benson (CIN)||@ Tennessee Titans
|18.||DeMarco Murray (DAL)||vs. Seattle Seahawks|
|19.||Darren Sproles (NO)||vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|20.||Daniel Thomas (MIA)||@ Kansas City Chiefs: Keep an eye on Thomas' status with his hamstring.
|21.||BenJarvus Green-Ellis (NE)||vs. New York Giants: Could lose steam with Kevin Faulk back.
|22.||Javon Ringer (TEN)||vs. Cincinnati Bengals: Might want to try and avoid this backfield if possible.|
|23.||Michael Bush (OAK)||vs. Denver Broncos: Could be a flex option even if McFadden plays.
|24.||Joseph Addai (IND)||vs. Atlanta Falcons: Will he play if he's active?
|25.||Reggie Bush (MIA)||@ Kansas City Chiefs: Should come back down to Earth this week.|
|26.||Chris Johnson (TEN)||vs. Cincinnati Bengals: Oh how the mighty have fallen.
|27.||Marshawn Lynch (SEA)||@ Dallas Cowboys
|28.||James Starks (GB)||@ San Diego Chargers
|29.||Willis McGahee (DEN)||@ Oakland Raiders
|30.||Ryan Torain (WAS)||vs. San Francisco 49ers
BEST OF THE REST:
|31. Peyton Hillis (CLE) @ Houston Texans: With Monterio Hardesty (calf) out, Hillis will have to play at less than 100 percent (hamstring).
| 32. Mark Ingram (NO) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
| 33. Delone Carter (IND) vs. Atlanta Falcons
|34. Roy Helu (WAS) vs. San Francisco 49ers
| 35. Pierre Thomas (NO) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I wish everyone the best of luck this week. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post below.