Week Nine Running Back Rankings
1. LaDainian Tomlinson @ Vikings – Well, what are you going to do? The Vikings have been one of the best run defenses in the league for the last few years, but Tomlinson is Tomlinson. Maybe he’ll make a play out of the backfield.
2. Adrian Peterson vs. Chargers – Well, what are you going to do? The Chargers have been one of…umm, yeah. You know the rest.
3. Brian Westbrook vs. Cowboys – While many top backs have depressing matchups, it’s the guys who can make plays through both the running game and passing game that stand to have the best days. Westbrook fits this to a tee, and you know the Eagles will find a way to get him to touch the ball a number of times.
4. Joseph Addai vs. Patriots – The Patriots’ game plan against the Colts has always been using confusion and extra men to stop the pass. This should open the game up for Addai. And, lord, not having to hear about Peyton Manning and Tom Brady all game would really be great.
5. Willis McGahee @ Steelers – If you just look at the yards allowed per game, the Steelers’ rush defense is one of the top groups in the league. In terms of rush yards allowed per play, however, they are barely in the top 10. Considering McGahee has been one of the most consistent backs in the league, I’m not dropping him down my rankings.
6. Laurence Maroney @ Colts – He’s back! Alright, there’s no way to tell what will happen with the Patriots’ running attack. I do like his prospects, though.
7. Clinton Portis @ Jets – Portis will get 100 yards this week. I’m flat-out calling it. That felt good.
8. Maurice Jones-Drew @ Saints – If Jones-Drew were 100 per cent healthy, he’d probably be a top five option this week. With the potential injury concerns, I drop him down to just inside the top 10.
9. Marshawn Lynch vs. Bengals – If it weren’t for an early injury that kept Lynch out of a portion of last week’s action, he would have had his first 100-yard game of the year. As it stands, I’m saying he gets it here.
10. LenDale White vs. Panthers – It seems as though White is finding his groove, as he’s had two straight 100-yard games. Those two games did come against the Raiders and Texans, so the stats do need to be taken with a grain of salt. Of course, the Panthers aren’t that much better than the aforementioned teams. Basically, expect 90 yards or so and a potential score.
11. Willie Parker vs. Ravens – It’s tough to bench Parker, but his track record against the Ravens is, well, crappy. This is a different, more talented Steelers’ offense than last year, but Parker didn’t get more than 30 yards rushing in either game. I do think he’ll do better than that, but you might have better options this week.
12. Ryan Grant @ Chiefs – Well, if you’re going to go for it, go big. Grant is getting the starting gig and I’m convinced a Packers’ running back will be good this year. I just don’t know which one it is. Maybe it will be Grant.
13. Frank Gore @ Falcons – Coach Mike Nolan claims that he will give the ball to Gore at least 20 times. This is good news as Gore hasn’t hit that mark since Week Two, when he had 80 yards and two scores.
14. Reggie Bush vs. Jaguars – Bush has had a number of good games this year, but no great ones. And a great one ain’t in the offing for him against the Jaguars’ defense.
15. Kevin Jones vs. Broncos – For some reason, Jones is having a great return from injury. Maybe he felt the pressure from Tatum Bell stealing the starting job. Ha ha. Okay, just kidding. But really, he’s playing with a passion and fire we haven’t seen since his rookie year. Keep the good times rolling.
16. Larry Johnson vs. Packers – And now for the portion of the rankings for past-their-prime players. Yay.
17. Shaun Alexander @ Browns – Yep.
18. Travis Henry @ Lions – Still not suspended, eh? Well, alright. Selvin Young looked pretty decent, didn’t he?
19. Kenny Watson @ Bills – With Rudi Johnson practicing again, Watson’s carries will probably be down. Still, Watson is the better Bengal to play, and he’s always a touchdown threat.
20. Edgerrin James @ Bucs – The Bucs’ run defense isn’t exactly setting the world on fire, but their defensive line might match up well against the Cardinals’ offensive group. I just see the yards and points coming from the passing game, although James certainly has a chance to be forgotten in the Bucs’ defensive game plan.
21. Marion Barber @ Eagles – Barber has never had much success against the Cowboys’ division rival. On the plus side, he should score a cheap touchdown.
22. Thomas Jones vs. Redskins – I have a long-standing tradition of not caring too much about Jones. Sorry.
23. Earnest Graham vs. Cardinals – Graham had his one shining moment, which is more than most people have in the NFL. I say good for him.
24. Jerious Norwood vs. 49ers – If he just got enough carries, he’d be a weekly fantasy starter. Unfortunately, it just isn’t going to happen. If he doesn’t score on a long run, he won’t be worth starting.
25. Jamal Lewis vs. Seahawks – Lewis has the advantage of not being a focal point of the Seahawks’ defensive game plan. That’s mainly because his career was over a good number of years ago.