The changing of the guards at running back started over the last three weeks. Alvin Kamara (26.23 FPPG) regained his elite status, while Rhamondre Stevenson, Kenneth Walker, Travis Etienne, and Tony Pollard look poised to be top-10 backs over the back half of the season. Injuries can change the dynamics of the running back position quickly, so a daily fantasy player needs to be a step ahead of the curve to gain an edge.
Teams on bye: Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, New York Giants, Pittsburgh, San Francisco
Here's a look at the best mid-tier running backs in Week 9:
Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals (DraftKings – $6,500/FanDuel – $8,100)
Since Week 1 (21.50 fantasy points), Mixon has been a steady option for fantasy points. He scored between 11.80 and 18.10 fantasy points over his last five starts while averaging 18.4 touches. Mixon ranks poorly in yards per rush (3.3) and yards per catch (6.3) due to only two of his 163 plays gaining more than 20 yards.
The Panthers fell to 21st defending the running back position (23.73 FPPG). The run defense showed cracks in three games (CLE – 39/217/1, SF – 2/153/2, and ATL – 37/167). The key to Mixon's success is the Bengals playing from the lead and volume of touches. I wouldn't dismiss a multiple-touchdown game.
Rhamondre Stevenson, New England Patriots (DraftKings – $6,200/FanDuel – $8,000)
Over the last four weeks, the Patriots gave Stevenson 23 touches per game, leading to 507 combined yards with three touchdowns and 21 catches. He moved to seventh in running back scoring (16.69 FPPG) while scoring more than 20.00 fantasy points in his previous three starts (25.10, 23.80, and 21.30). Stevenson had a much higher opportunity in the passing game over the last two contests (8/59 and 7/72).
The Colts drifted to 23rd against the running back position (23.86 FPPG). Indianapolis will give catches to backs (47/384/1 on 58 targets), but they allow only 3.5 yards per rush to running backs with four touchdowns (three rushing scores by quarterbacks). New England wants to run the ball and Stevenson is trending toward being used as a workhorse. His salary supports his current opportunity, with plenty of upside still left on the table.
Travis Etienne Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars (DraftKings – $6,300/FanDuel – $7,600)
With Jacksonville finally giving Etienne the keys to their starting running back job over the last two weeks, he delivered back-to-back 100-yard rushing games (14/114/1 and 24/156/1) while chipping in with four catches for 11 yards. The Jaguars had him on the field for about 79 percent of their plays over the last two weeks.
The Raiders faded defending running backs (27th – 27.01 FPPG). Over the past two games, they’ve allowed RBs to score 33.80 and 45.30 fantasy points. Etienne should see more action in the passing game based on Las Vegas struggling in this area (52/428/3 on 66 targets – 24/188/2 over the previous two games). Etienne is priced to pay while having the talent and opportunity to match the top backs in the league.