Would you believe me if I told you during the preseason that James Conner, Javorius Allen, Austin Ekeler, TJ Yeldon, Nyheim Hines, and Latavius Murray would be top 25 running backs in PPR leagues heading in to week 9? No, and I would love to see an expert that had any ranked that high. The overall state of the running back position in fantasy is one for its own article. Unless you went RB heavy during your draft, we should change our expectations for RB 2’s and flex RBs.

With the amount of teams deploying an RBBC (running back by committee) the value for the backup running back exceeds more than just a ‘handcuff.’ You will hear that rostering your handcuff is not worth it but the names above would say otherwise. Even though some of the players below are not sexy acquisitions don’t let that prevent you from insuring your team for the championship run. Keep this in mind as you question if you should roster a Giovani Bernard or Nyheim Hines. There is value in owning your handcuff even if they are the clear #2.

Teams on bye: Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Arizona Cardinals, Jacksonville Jaguars.

Looking ahead to week 10: Denver Broncos, Minnesota Vikings, Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans.

Here we go, the Bad Boyz of week 9.

Getting Released

  • Carlos Hyde and TJ YeldonI can sympathize with Carlos Hyde owners, I am one of them. My original thought on the Jaguars acquiring Hyde was a concern around Leonard Fournette’s ability to return this year. Everything, for now, points to Fournette returning week 10. Yeldon is not worth owning and Hyde can be dropped in leagues 12 teams and smaller, unless in dire need. Hyde was averaging less than 4.0 yards per carry in Cleveland. This is weird for me to type but, for fantasy purposes the Jags offense might be in a worse state than Cleveland. We have visited this backfield a lot this year and I’m ready to release them. If Fournette ends up re-injuring his hammy then Hyde is the handcuff to own. This horse is dead, let’s move on.

Repeat Offenders

  • Devontae BookerDid Booker show to the coaching staff the he deserves more touches? Booker was on the field for 44% of the snaps compared to 56% for Phillip Lindsay. 101 total yards on 13 touches (4 catches) is enough to get the coaching staffs attention, in my opinion. Royce Freeman missed practiced Wednesday and was a non-participant Thursday, he is trending towards the bench for Sunday. We will keep Booker in handcuffs this weekend. I would feel comfortable starting Booker as a flex or even RB2 if Freeman sits out, given the amount of teams on bye this weekend and his usage last weekend.
  • Elijah McGuireIsaiah Crowell was trade bait a couple of weeks ago, hopefully you did not bite. If you remove the two outliers from Crowell’s resume, he has never exceeded 40 yards in a game this season. Powell was out-touching Crowell consistently throughout the season and the Jets are dying for someone to supplement his usage. McGuire is the dark horse in the stable. I’m okay with passing on Trenton Cannon and stashing McGuire to see how things shake out with him over the next couple of weeks. Sleeper DFS play if he is a full go this weekend.
  • Mike Davis- Yes, Chris Carson exploded for 124 totals yards, 1TD on 27 touches. Mike Davis still received 10 touches and is the handcuff to own in this backfield, Rashaad Penny is struggling to find the field. Carson was limited in practice this week with the same hip injury from earlier this season. I am not ready to release Davis given Carsons injury history and Seattles run first offense. Seattle is 2nd in the league in rushing attempts this season.
  • Nyheim HinesThe Colts offense is warming up with Andrew Luck and Frank Reich starting to gel. Frank is committed to finding ways to get Hines involved in the game plan. Marlon Mack carried a ‘questionable’ injury designation heading in to last weeks game with an ankle injury but was still able to play. Hines was dropped in a number of leagues this week with the Colts on bye. Now is the time to add Hines as your handcuff if you have the room on your roster.
  • Quick Hits: We have at least one more week to use Latavius Murray as a lead dog. Dalvin Cook is returning to practice but is not expected to suit up until after their bye. Hang on to Murray even when Cook returns. Check you waivers for Austin Ekeler. He has been dropped in a number of leagues during his bye and after his recent drop in production. Melvin Gordons hamstring is reported to be minor and he will be a full go Sunday. Gordon owners, I am keeping Ekeler on my bench after the last minute inactive scare in week 7. Usage is the name of the game for Doug Martin and Jalen Richard. An offense that is one to avoid, these two backs in Oakland are desperations starts for bye week fill-ins. Alfred Blue still received 15 touches to Lamar Millers 18. Miller owners should handcuff Blue. Raheem Mostert looked like he broke his arm in the Thursday Night football game. I guess we are putting Alfred Morris back in handcuffs. Gio Bernard is expected to be back soon and should return to his complimentary role in this offense. Get ahead of the Gio Bernard train in PPR leagues.

New Offenders

  • Josh AdamsCorey Clement has been ineffective so far and maybe he is still dealing with an underlying lower body injury that has plagued him since pre season. Adams tied Wendell Smallwood in touches last week with 10 and was more productive with his carries. Averaging 6.8ypc to Smallwoods 3.0ypc. Yes, Smallwood did catch a 36 yard screen pass for a touchdown. Smallwood is worth a bench spot but clement is safe to drop. The Eagles are still a team that leans on a dreadful RBBC and I am not expecting a massive explosion from Adams down the stretch but he is a speculative add for now.
  • Jamaal Williams#FreeAaronJones. Hopefully you have held on to your Aaron Jones stock because now is the time for him to be an end of season savior. Ty Montgomery was shipped out before the trade deadline to Baltimore. Jamaal Williams is not an exciting play but with Ty out Jamaal should continue to assume 3rd down and change of pace duties. Williams value comes from passing situations and his usage at the goal line. Williams scored from the 1-yard line last week. In an offense lead by Aaron Rodgers we expect multiple scoring opportunities. A bench stash for now, let’s see how his role plays out against the Patriots this weekend. 
  • Ty MontgomeryTy Montgomery puts a dent in Alex Collins and Javorius ‘Buck’ Allens value. Alex Collins missed practice on Thursday after putting in a limited session Wednesday with a foot injury, not good. Foot injuries can be tricky and with the Ravens on bye in week 10 there is a possibility they rest Collins if the injury is serious. This would be a huge boost to Buck Allen for this weekend and Ty as he integrates in to the offense, if Collins were to miss more than one week. Keep an eye on Fridays practice report.

Before I wrap this up, I want to bring light to the Trade Analyzer that Razzball offers. Right now is the time to leverage trades as you prepare your roster for the playoffs. The trade tool compares rest of season stats for the player(s) that you are looking to move and acquire. This allows you to make an educated decision and to avoid getting taken advantage of by your league mates. I’ve used this tool multiple times this season to make win-win deals and you should to.

A light week for us, which is a good thing. Our starting backs produced and remained fairly unscathed. Let us hope for the same after week 9. Comment and tweet me your questions. Good luck this weekend!

  1. miles proudfoot says:
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    Rest of the season, How would you rank carolina, KC, or philly defense?

    • Nic Romero

      Nic Romero says:
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      @miles proudfoot: first, i like streaming per week because all three team you mention still have tough matchups ahead. i believe carolina has the worst of it left with the steelers, saints twice and atlanta left on the schedule. if you are committing to keeping 1 its between the chiefs and philly. the rams play the browns and cardinals this and next week. i chose them for the immediate future but then they have a matchup against the rams. eagles D has dallas and saints as their next two opponents.and then a lot of division games down the stretch which can be unpredictable. so i’m going with the chiefs, they have two matchups against oakland left on the schedule too.

  2. Nick says:
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    Would you try to trade A Robinson or D Thomas for Aaron Jones in a 10 team standard? I have good WR depth with both those guys above on my bench along with Brown, Cooks & Golladay starting…I have decent RBs but am nervous down the stretch as I have McCaffrey & Coleman starting with Cohen flexing and Ekler, Ito on bench and Freeman on IR.

    • Nic Romero

      Nic Romero says:
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      @Nick: i think trading either player for aaron jones is a good move. I’m indifferent about both players but A Rob would be the one i would try moving first. we have a large sample size of his production with the bears and he has a groin injury. then if that doesn’t go through then try D Thomas. a lot of unknown how his role will play out. i do believe he is a very different player than Will Fuller but the Texans are looking for pass catching help outside of Hopkins. i love the upside for aaron jones on the packers offense. go get him!

  3. Clokwerc says:
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    Hurst, Herndon, or B. Watson for my TE… they’re in FA… I got Doyle on a bye week.. who should I play…

    I have D. Thomas & Geronimo on my team with Sutton & MVS in FA who should take??

    Baldwin, Diggs, to start & if I get Sutton should I drop D. Thomas or Geronimo to get him??

    I need a starting WR my only other WR is TY Hilton on a bye…

    Need help!!

    Also just to note I’m trading Kamara for Mahomes.. I have no QB.. Just dropped Winston.. & Fitzmagic was picked up b4 me on waivers..

    Have Flacco, Mayfield, Mariota, Keenum, Osweiler, Darnold in FA I’d trade gets veteoed… Who should I rely on??

    Still have L. Bell in IR, Conner, A. Jones, K. Johnson, Chubb, & Sony… Who should I start?? I’ll probably need 3 backs this week 1 for flex..

    • Nic Romero

      Nic Romero says:
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      @Clokwerc: I have Herndon as a spot start for a couple of my teams this week so you can ride or die with me on that one, lol. pick up sutton asap!!! drop geronimo. he is still dealing with his injury and his role was unclear last week in his return. honestly might even take MVS over geronimo if you can’t get sutton. im wait and see on thomas, need at least two weeks to see how is role plays out.

      starting conner, chubb and then toss up between johnson and jones. i believe with detroit shipping out Tate that they will start to lean on the run little more. i think johnson is the safer play but jones has the most upside in a potential shootout, he could end up with a lot of goaline opportunities. just know that sony could start but too many unknowns with how the patriots report injury news and with it being a late game you do not want to risk it and get stuck with no one. see if you can get an rb along with the trade for mahomes if its not too late. trading a top 10 talent for a qb is always tough to swallow but i understand mahomes is on another level right now. hard to trust any of the FAs you listed unless you just decide to stream weekly.

      good luck.

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