1. LaDainian Tomlinson (SD) – He faces a difficult match up this week against a stingy Vikings run defense, but when you really think about it, who else could you possibly want more in your starting line up than L.T. He is a stud, and a potential monster against any defense, any week.
2. Kevin Jones (DET) – We may be stepping out on a limb here a bit with this one, but Jones is hot and the match up is ripe. The Detroit offense has gone to a more balanced attack in recent weeks. They should be in run mode this week against a Denver defense that ranks last against the run, and near the top against the pass. Jones has been playing great and should see a lot of carries, so we think he is a lock in week 9.
3. Larry Johnson (KC) – Johnson will be in for a bit of a challenge this week against a solid Packers run defense, but he finally seems to be hitting on all cylinders, which means trouble for any defense. We like his chances for a big game.
4. Brian Westbrook (PHI) – This is not one of his better match ups, but Westbrook is pure talent, and should provide strong numbers. The Cowboys are very solid against the run, and may limit him in that capacity, but even if Westbrook is contained on the ground; he is still very dangerous as a receiver out of the backfield.
5. Marshawn Lynch (BUF) – Lynch has not exactly torched opposing defenses this season, but he had a strong rookie campaign. He is looking at a great match up against a soft Cincinnati run defense, which has a lot of trouble containing speedy backs, which Lynch qualifies as. This could be his best performance yet, so start him with confidence.
6. Joseph Addai (IND) – He is coming off of his best effort of the season with 100 yards rushing and 2 TD’s against Carolina. Addai will face a very tough New England run defense on Sunday, but he should be a workhorse for the Indy offense. Unless the Colts start getting blown out, and have to turn strictly to the pass (unlikely), Addai should have a nice day.
7. Edgerrin James (ARI) – He should be called upon early and often against the Bucs 22nd ranked run defense. Expect a very solid outing from James in week 9.
8. LenDale White (TEN) – As we expected, White had his third big game in a row, rushing for 133 yards against the Raiders. We really like his chances for a fourth this week against a mediocre Carolina run defense. Although White did not find the end zone in week 8, he is a strong candidate to do so at home against the Panthers.
9. Clinton Portis (WAS) – Portis did not have a strong rushing game in week 8 against the Patriots, but he did contribute heavily to the passing attack. He should have a much easier go of it this week against a weak Jets run defense. We expect a very solid game from Portis, and there is a strong probability of at least one TD for him.
10. Adrian Peterson (MIN) – Peterson is coming off of his weakest fantasy effort of the season against the Eagles. He should have better production this week, but do not expect his numbers to increase by much against a very strong Chargers run defense. He is capable of torching any defense, so despite the poor match up, he is a must start.
11. Shaun Alexander (SEA) – If you were to place Alexander’s week to week fantasy numbers on a line graph, and be able to stand at the top of that graph and look down, you would see a decline as steep as Everest. For whatever reason, he has progressively gotten worse throughout each week of the season. When a RB back is in a slump, there is only one tried and true remedy, facing the Cleveland Browns defense, and that is exactly what Alexander will do on Sunday. If he does not snap out of it this week, there may be no hope for him. We like his chances.
12. Travis Henry (DEN) – After guaranteeing a week 8 start, Henry was a no show against the Packers. This week he has had full participation in practice, and should almost certainly be in the starting line up. He faces a very mediocre Lions run defense, so it should be a productive day for Henry. (Check injury report: ribs)
13. Marion Barber (DAL) – It will likely be a grind for Barber this week against a very tough Eagles run defense. You can not expect much in the way of ground yardage from him, but he should be very present in the Cowboys passing game. Barber is also a big threat to find the end zone, so he should probably be in your starting line up.
14. Maurice Jones-Drew (JAC) – This week’s match up against the Saints may be tougher than many anticipate, but Jones-Drew has been strong of late, and he should be completely free of the knee injury that limited him last week. Jones-Drew is much too talented to keep out of your starting line up.
15. Reggie Bush (NO) – You should not expect Bush to have a huge game on the ground against Jacksonville’s underrated run defense, but he should be able to supplement any lack of ground yardage with a solid day in the receiving game. We look for him to have a decent week 9.
16. Frank Gore (SF) – He has been limited much of the season by a lack of carries. This is something that should change in week 9 against the Falcons. This is a game that the Niners should finally be competitive enough in to run the football, and the Falcons defense is pretty bad against the run. This could be the week that Gore bounces back, but a bad ankle, lack of momentum and a very uncomplimentary passing game seems like a lot to overcome. (Check injury report: ankle)
17. Laurence Maroney (NE) – We anticipate that the Patriots may actually need a running game to compliment their high powered passing attack this week. There is a good chance that Maroney could see more action against the Colts than he has seen all season given the match up. He has yet to produce much in the grand scheme of things given his limited use, but he has a solid yards per carry average of 4.8, and this could be the week he does some damage.
18. Earnest Graham (TB) – He probably won’t wow you this week, but he has a decent match up against the 15th ranked run defense of Arizona, and he is solid out of the backfield as a receiver.
19. Willis McGahee (BAL) – He is coming off back to back solid efforts, with a TD in each of his last 2 games, and 114 rushing yards last week. This week should prove to be a big test for him against the Steelers 4th ranked run D.
20. Jamal Lewis (CLE) – He appears to have completely recovered from his foot injury and should see most, if not all, of the carries on Sunday. Seattle has an average run defense, and we expect at least an average day from Lewis.
21. Ryan Grant (GB) – He looked very impressive last week in his first ever start, rushing for over 100 yards. Grant has a little tougher match up this week against Kansas City, but he should produce fair numbers and a TD is not out of the question.
22. Willie Parker (PIT) – He has been destroying opposing defenses this season with 100 or more ground yards in 5 of his 7 starts. As solid as he has been, this may be a week to forget for Parker and fantasy owners alike. He faces a Baltimore run defense that ranks 2nd and he only managed games of 22 and 29 yards against them last season. He is talented enough to work some magic, but we seriously doubt he will do much in week 9.
23. Thomas Jones (NYJ) – He is showing some signs of improvement, but he has still yet to score a TD, and has been mediocre at best as a fantasy RB. He faces a pretty good Washington run D in week 9, so do not expect a whole lot from him.
24. Kenny Watson (CIN) – It looks as though Rudi Johnson will be back this week, but we anticipate that Watson will get the start for at least one more game. He has a great match up against Buffalo, but he will likely give up a lot of carries to Johnson this week, so you may be best suited sitting him if you have a better option for week 9. It is really unclear how he and Johnson will be used, so pay attention to his status as Sunday approaches.
25. Ahman Green (HOU) – Green has been troubled by a knee injury for several weeks now. It was bad enough that he was held out of last week’s game entirely. He has been limited in practice, and it is unknown if he will be cleared to play at this time. This week offers a great match up against the Raiders, but his status and ability to play a complete game are in question. If you like to gamble, it could pay off to start him, but we suggest you know Green will at least start before inserting him into your line up. (Check injury report: knee)
26. Fred Taylor (JAC) – Taylor has not proven to have a lot of fantasy value this season with average performances at best. Despite a healthy amount of carries, he is has yet to top the 100 yard mark or score even 1 TD. He should provide some relief to a needy fantasy owner in week 9 against the Saints, but do not expect much.
27. DeShaun Foster (CAR) – He faces the monumental task of overcoming the Titans top ranked run defense, something no back has been able to do with any success this season. Expect a mediocre game at best from Foster in week 9.
28. Rudi Johnson (CIN) – Johnson will almost certainly see action this week returning from a hamstring injury. Just how much action he will see remains unclear. Kenny Watson will likely start, but Johnson should see at least a few carries and possibly more. He has a very good match up against the Bills 24th ranked run defense, but you should check up on his status for any hints of possible playing time before throwing him on your starting roster. (Check injury report: hamstring, probable)
29. LaMont Jordan (OAK) – He was looking great before his nagging back injury started to act up, ever since, he has been a bust. He has a good match up this week against Houston and could bounce back, but he will likely split carries with Justin Fargas who may outshine him again.
30. Justin Fargas (OAK) – He has performed admirably in his limited call to duty. He split carries with LaMont Jordan last week, and could see an even bigger piece of the action against Houston. Fargas is a risky start, but he could very well be the surprise of the week, and come off with a big game.
31. Julius Jones (DAL) – He has had decent success against the Eagles in the past, but that was before Marion Barber stole the show. He will have a tough time accumulating enough touches to do any real damage this week, so he is a bye week fill in at best.
32. Jerrious Norwood (ATL) – He is still considered the Falcons back up RB, but he has proven to be the better option over Warrick Dunn. Norwood is capable of busting a long run for a TD any week, but that is the best you can hope for, and more unlikely than likely.
33. Chris Henry (TEN) – Henry has played very well the last 2 weeks scoring a twice in a back up role. He is likely to have a limited number of carries again this week, but he has proven that he can get the job done when called upon.
34. Kevin Faulk (NE) – He is unlikely to see a lot of action against the Colts, but he should produce at least a few fantasy points, primarily as a receiver out of the backfield.
35. Chester Taylor (MIN) – Taylor has officially lost his starting gig to Adrian Peterson. While he should still see a few carries, his value is very minimal at this point. He may get you a few points, but do not count on much against a tough Charger run D.
* Other notable RB options for week 9 include: Warrick Dunn (ATL), Adimchinobe Echemandu (HOU), DeAngelo Williams (CAR), Kenton Keith (IND), Michael Bennett (TB), Vernand Morency (GB), Ron Dayne (HOU), Jason Wright (CLE) and Selvin Young (DEN)