* Participants in Thursday nights Denver @ Cleveland game are not recognized in week 10 RB rankings (see Thursday night fantasy recommendations for info on those players)
1. LaDainian Tomlinson (SD) – It was vintage L.T. in week 8 against the Saints as he totaled 170 yards and a TD. For the first time all season, Tomlinson looked like an elite fantasy RB. He was able to make his traditional breathtaking cuts and his speed appeared to be back. In addition, the week 9 bye should have helped further aid in the healing process of the turf toe that has limited him all season. He is not listed on the injury report and we are expecting a monster week 10 for Tomlinson against the worst run defense in the NFL. The Chiefs are giving up an average of 182 rushing yards per game to go along with 13 TD’s allowed on the ground in 8 games. This should be his week.
2. Adrian Peterson (MIN) –In his last 3 games, Peterson is averaging 124 rushing yards and a TD per game. He should continue the trend in week 10 with a favorable match up against Green Bay. The Packers run defense is among the worst in the NFL giving up 146 ground yards per game. In week 1, Peterson rushed for 103 yards and a score against them. He should be better this time around. As usual, A.P. is a must start fantasy option.
3. Brian Westbrook (PHI) – Surprisingly, he was held in check in week 9 by a horrible Seahawks defense that focused all of their attention on stopping him. Despite a difficult week 10 match up against the Giants 7th ranked run defense, we expect Westbrook to rebound nicely. He has scored at least 1 TD in each of his last 4 contests (1 playoff game) against the G-Men with 5 total TD’s, while averaging 142 total yards per game during that stretch. If history is on his side, Westbrook should be fine. Check injury report: knee
4. Frank Gore (SF) – While Gore’s week 10 match up against a solid Cardinals run defense isn’t ideal, history says that he will have a big day. He has at least 1 TD against Arizona in 5 consecutive games with 8 total TD’s during that stretch. Gore is also averaging 139 total yards per game against the Cards in his last 5 and totaled 151 yards with a TD against them back in week 1 of this season. He is a must start regardless, but his track record against Arizona doesn’t hurt matters.
5. Michael Turner (ATL) – The match up RB lived up to his billing again in week 9 rushing for 139 yards against a weak Oakland run defense. The bad news is that Turner failed to find the end zone for the third straight game now. While this means he is probably due to hit pay dirt in week 10, it won’t be particularly easy against a Saints run defense that has allowed only 4 rushing TD’s all season. The good news is that the New Orleans run defense is fairly mediocre over all which bodes well for Turner’s rushing numbers. Turner should have a good game against this defense as they have struggled lately, but keep in mind that they were able to shut down Adrian Peterson back in week 5.
6. Mewelde Moore (PIT) – With FWP (Fragile Willie Parker) expected to miss week 10 with a shoulder injury, Moore will return to a familiar starting role. In 3 previous starts, Moore found pay dirt 4 times while averaging 115 total yards per game. He should prove to be extremely effective once again in week 10 against a soft Indianapolis run defense. The Colts have allowed 10 rushing TD’s in 8 games while giving up a whopping 144 ground yards per game on the season. Pull Moore back off of the waiver wire and get him on your starting week 10 fantasy roster.
7. Tim Hightower (ARI) – In his first stint as the Cardinals feature back he rushed for 109 yards and a TD. Hightower should be impressive again in week 10 against a fairly soft San Francisco run defense. The 49ers rank just 19th in the NFL against the run while allowing 10 rushing TD’s in 8 games. Hightower makes for a solid fantasy option in week 10.
8. DeAngelo Williams (CAR) – With 5 Td’s in his last 4 games, Williams continues to be one of the most overlooked fantasy backs out there. He has already proven that when the match up is right, he can do some real damage. Fortunately, week 10 against the Raiders provides an excellent match up for him to showcase his underrated talents. The Oakland run defense ranks among the worst in the NFL allowing 158 yards per game in addition to 12 rushing TD’s in 8 games. As a side note, there is a very good chance that Williams will get a full compliment of carries this week with fellow RB Jonathan Stewart nursing a heel injury. Williams can be hit or miss, but we like his chances under the circumstances.
9. Chris Johnson (TEN) – He continues to rip opposing defenses on a weekly basis, but things will be much tougher for Johnson in week 10 against the Bears. The Chicago run defense is extremely solid allowing only 82 ground yards per game. Johnson will have his work cut out for him against this defense, but he is always just one play away from a strong fantasy effort, and he should be solid in the Titans passing game as well.
10. Brandon Jacobs (NYG) – While a week 10 match up against the Eagles is not especially promising, Jacobs is not your average RB. Philadelphia ranks 8th against the run and have only allowed 3 rushing TD’s on the season. It will be a tough row to hoe for Jacobs in week 10 without question, but you can’t bench a guy that has at least 1 TD in 5 of his last 6 games.
11. Thomas Jones (NYJ) – He has now pieced together 4 solid rushing efforts in a row and he has a favorable match up in week 10 that should prove beneficial to Jones efforts to continue the trend. Jones will face the Rams 29th ranked run defense which allows 156 rushing yards per game. In addition, St. Louis has allowed 12 rushing TD’s on the season. He has benefited greatly in recent weeks from the Jets struggling passing game. When Brett Favre gets back on track, you can probably expect Jones numbers to go down, but until that happens, stick with him.
12. Maurice Jones-Drew (JAX) – It is difficult to sell a player as inconsistent as Jones-Drew has been this season, but for what it’s worth, he has a great week 10 match up and a pattern of blowing up every 3rd game. If the pattern holds true, he should be in for a big game this week. MJD will face the NFL’s second worst run defense, a Detroit unit that allows 162 ground yards per game on average. The Lions have also given up 11 rushing TD’s in 8 games making Jones-Drew a strong candidate to find the end zone. If he can’t get it done against this defense, you might want to consider going with another option.
13. Ronnie Brown (MIA) – He managed to salvage an otherwise unspectacular rushing day in week 9 with a TD, but it is obvious that the wildcat offense is on its last legs as Brown has yet to rush for more than 59 yards in his last 4 games. That said, Brown is still a solid fantasy back and a week 10 match up against Seattle holds promise. The Seahawks run defense ranks just 21st in the NFL and they have been gashed on several different occasions this season. The bad news is that Seattle was great in containing Brian Westbrook last week, so don’t expect Brown to get back to putting up monster numbers with this match up, but it is possible.
14. Matt Forte (CHI) – He will have his work cut out for him in week 10 against the Titans top 10 run defense, but Forte is one of the most consistent fantasy performers in the NFL. He never puts up monster numbers, but he always seems to find a way to crack double digits. If he doesn’t get many ground yards, he usually makes up for it with a TD or a solid day in the passing game and vice versa. This match up isn’t ideal, but Forte should find his way to another solid fantasy day. He hasn’t given us any reason to think otherwise.
15. Marshawn Lynch (BUF) – Despite 52 receiving yards, Lynch was shut down by the Jets in week 9 with only 16 rushing yards on 9 carries. He should be able to find a little more running room in week 10 against a good, but not great Patriots run defense. Lynch has yet to reach 100 rushing yards in a game all season, so you probably shouldn’t expect it to happen against New England, but he does have 6 rushing TD’s this season and he is always a candidate to find pay dirt. Lynch rushed for 74 yards and a TD in his only career start against the Patriots last season.
16. LenDale White (TEN) – He didn’t manage to find the end zone in week 9, but White’s 77 rushing yards were his second highest total of the season. White continues to be a risky fantasy option because if he doesn’t find pay dirt, his yardage totals are typically mediocre at best. Fortunately, he finds the end zone enough to make him worth the risk and considering that he went scoreless last week, it seems logical that he will find pay dirt in week 10. It won’t be easy against a stingy Bears run defense, but Chicago does give up 1 rushing TD per game on average.
17. Ray Rice (BAL) – You probably can’t anticipate him getting a full compliment of carries in week 10 with the expected return of Willis McGahee, but Rice’s monster 154 yard rushing effort in week 9 should earn him a significant role in the Ravens backfield against Houston. While a repeat of last week is unlikely with the uncertainty surrounding the shared workload this week, Rice should be solid against a shaky Texans run defense. Houston allows127 ground yards per game in addition to the 12 rushing TD’s they have given up through 8 games. Check injury report: chest
18. Deuce McAllister (NO) – He probably won’t get you a ton of yards, even against a porous Atlanta run defense, but McAllister should be in line for the goal line touches, and a respectable yardage total is likely. While he is going to give up a few carries to Aaron Stecker and Pierre Thomas, McAllister will be the feature back in this match up. He is not a bad fantasy play against the Falcons 22nd ranked run defense.
19. Jamaal Charles (KC) – With Larry Johnson suspended and Kolby Smith gone for the season with a knee injury, the talented rookie will get his first career start in week 10. Charles was very impressive in week 9 rushing for 106 yards against a stingy Tampa Bay run defense. He will need help from the Chiefs passing game in week 10 to produce on a similar level, but things seem to be clicking there as well. Charles should put up respectable totals against a middle of the road Chargers run defense.
20. Ryan Grant (GB) – While the match up against the Vikings 2nd ranked run defense is far from ideal, Grant is capable of solid numbers in week 10. While he still isn’t back to 2007 form, Grant has shown vast improvement over the last few weeks. In addition, he has a pretty good track record against Minnesota in spite of their strong play against the run. In 2 career starts against them, Grant has accumulated 211 rushing yards and a TD, including a 92 yard rushing effort back in week 1.
21. Steve Slaton (HOU) – Can you say brutal? For the second straight week, Slaton will have to face one of the top run defenses in the NFL, last week against Minnesota’s 2nd ranked run D and this week against Baltimore’s #1 ranked run defense. While Slaton was not extremely successful against the Vikings rushing for only 62 yards, he was able to salvage his day with a solid 8 receptions for 56 yards. He should be used in a similar fashion in week 10. If you are in a PPR league, Slaton should be a solid fantasy play. If not, you might want to consider a different option.
22. Kevin Faulk (NE) – He is not highly recommended for fantasy use this week splitting carries with BenJarvus Green-Ellis, but Faulk should put up acceptable numbers as a bye week fill in. While you shouldn’t expect a big rushing total against the Bills 12th ranked run defense, Faulk always seems to put up solid numbers as a receiver out of the backfield, making him especially appealing in PPR leagues.
23. Joseph Addai (IND) – While Addai always has a chance to do some damage if the Colts offense gets rolling, you probably shouldn’t bet on that happening in week 10. Not only is Addai facing one of the best run defense in the NFL this week (Pittsburgh), he is also expected to lose more carries to Dominic Rhodes. Addai is capable, but you are probably better off taking your chances with someone else under the circumstances.
24. BenJarvus Green-Ellis (NE) – With Sammy Morris and LaMont Jordan expected to be on the sidelines again in week 10, Green-Ellis will likely get his 3rd consecutive start. He hasn’t put up monster numbers to this point, but he has managed to find the end zone in 3 straight games now. That said, week 10 will provide his biggest test to date and his fantasy value remains limited splitting carries with Kevin Faulk. While he is not a strong fantasy start against a solid Buffalo run defense, Green-Ellis will be in line for the goal line carries, and should be an acceptable bye week fill in.
25. Willis McGahee (BAL) – After being listed as active heading into week 9, McGahee did not play a single down, and he may have lost his feature role to rookie Ray Rice who exploded for 154 rushing yards in his stead. That said, McGahee is expected to return in week 10 and if that’s the case, it seems likely that he will see a decent number of carries. There is a lot of uncertainty with the Ravens back field right now, but we can’t imagine the Baltimore coaching staff going exclusively with Ray Rice. Monitor the situation closely as McGahee could put up solid numbers against a mediocre Houston run defense, but as of right now, he is very risky with so many question marks. He could get 20 carries and he may never set foot on the field, no one knows at this point, probably not even the Ravens coaching staff. If something changes, we will let you know. Check injury report: ankle
26. Jonathan Stewart (CAR) – In spite of an excellent week 10 match up against Oakland’s 30th ranked run defense, Stewart is a very risky fantasy play. In fact, he may not even play at all. Stewart is nursing a heel injury that he describes as extremely painful with even the slightest pressure. Even if Stewart decides to gut it out, it may not be for long and his effectiveness may be limited with the injury. Monitor the situation closely, as the match up is almost too good to pass on if he plays, but don’t count on that happening, and have a back up plan in place. Check injury report: heel
27. Kevin Smith (DET) – While Smith continues to back up Rudi Johnson, he remains the better fantasy option of the two. Unfortunately, that isn’t saying much and Smith has fairly limited fantasy value in his current role. That said, he could do some damage in week 10 against a shaky Jaguar run defense making him a viable candidate as a bye week fill in.
28. Le’Ron McClain (BAL) – He is a risky week 10 fantasy option, especially if Willis McGahee returns, but McClain should still see a handful of carries regardless, and he should get the goal line touches. The match up against a Houston run defense that has allowed 12 rushing TD’s this season is favorable. Check injury report: ankle
29. Jerious Norwood (ATL) – He may get 10 or 15 carries this week and he may only get 3 or 4, you never know, but as he proved in week 9, it doesn’t take much for him to make a fantasy impact. Norwood makes for a risky bye week fill in or flex play against a mediocre Saints run defense.
30. Fred Taylor (JAX) – He has an excellent match up against Detroit’s 31st ranked run defense, but Taylor has been horrible most of the season, and he can’t be trusted against anyone at this point. Check injury report: knee
31. Kenneth Darby (STL) – With Steven Jackson and Antonio Pittman expected to miss week 10, Darby should carry most of the load, giving up a few carries to Samkon Gado. In spite of the feature role, the match up is bad against the Jets 4th ranked run defense and Darby is unproven. He would be a desperate fantasy play.
32. Leon Washington (NYJ) – He probably won’t get more than a few carries, but Washington doesn’t need many touches to do some damage, especially against a weak St. Louis defense. Regardless, he is a risky bye week fill in at best.
33. J.J. Arrington (ARI) – He was extremely impressive in limited week 9 action totaling 119 yards against the Rams. Arrington could be a decent sneaky play as a bye week fill in against the 49ers in week 10 as well. There is an obvious risk, however, and you shouldn’t expect him to duplicate week 9’s production.
34. Derrick Ward (NYG) – Ward continues to put up impressive numbers in spite of limited action, but you should probably expect less from him than usual this week with a tough match up against the Eagles on the road.
35. Justin Fargas (OAK) – He is typically a solid fantasy RB, but with the overwhelming struggles of the Raiders offense, we suggest sitting him against a solid Carolina run defense in week 10.
36. Julius Jones (SEA) – With the return of Maurice Morris and the lack of QB Matt Hasselbeck, Jones has become almost irrelevant in fantasy football. The week 10 match up against Miami’s 9th ranked run defense is not especially promising either.
37. Ricky Williams (MIA) – He has a good match up against Seattle’s 21st ranked run defense in week 10, but Williams doesn’t get enough carries or show the consistency to be a reliable fantasy option.
38. Dominic Rhodes (IND) – Rhodes is expected to get an increased workload moving forward, perhaps even splitting carries evenly with Joseph Addai, according to team officials. Even if that happens (unlikely), you shouldn’t expect much from him against the Steelers 3rd ranked run defense in week 10.
39. Maurice Morris (SEA) – He is a pretty good RB, but he is extremely limited with regard to fantasy, splitting carries with Julius Jones and being without QB Matt Hasselbeck.
40. Rudi Johnson (DET) – He makes for a very desperate fantasy start based on his recent numbers, but the week 10 match up against Jacksonville is favorable, especially if Jag’s DT John Henderson is out.