Ryan Mathews is not No. 1 on Athlon Sports' fantasy football Week 9 running back rankings, but he is in the top 10 for the first time in quite a while. Mathews has posted back-to-back 100-yard games for the first time since 2011 and could make it three in a row this Sunday against Washington's 30th-ranked rushing defense. Maybe, just maybe, Mathews is finally ready to live up to all the hype and promise that surrounded him when the Chargers took him with the 10th overall pick of the 2010 draft as the heir apparent to LaDainian Tomlinson. Those who have stuck with Mathews this long can only hope.
Meanwhile, Jamaal Charles remains No. 1 in the running back rankings, as he leads the NFL in yards from scrimmage with 1,018. Charles has been dealing with his own bumps and bruises, including a sore knee that limited him in practice this week, but he should be ready to face a Buffalo defense that is allowing nearly 118 yards rushing per game.
In fact, with six teams on bye, health situations like Charles' play an even more important role this week. That is why particular attention needs to be paid to players like Charles, as well as Arian Foster (dealing with a hamstring injury, watch closely) DeMarco Murray (may return this week), Zac Stacy (rolled his ankle late on Monday night), DeAngelo Williams (hurt his quadriceps last Thursday vs. Tampa Bay), C.J. Spiller (missed last week because of high ankle sprain) and even Ben Tate (dealing with cracked ribs). This week is not one you want to take a chance on starting a running back that may not end up playing.
Each week during the NFL season, we will rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any website can give you.
2013 NFL Week 9 Fantasy Football Rankings — Running Back
Teams on bye: Arizona, Denver, Detroit, Jacksonville, New York Giants, San Francisco
Leads NFL in yards from scrimmage (1,018).
Has 62 yards rushing or fewer in each of last 3 G.
at GB (Mon.)
No 100-yard rushing games yet, but 8th in NFL.
Season-low 8 carries and 23 yards vs. Rams.
vs. CHI (Mon.)
Averaging 99 yards rushing over last four games.
Averaging 3.1 ypc over last 2 G, 5.1 in first 6.
Averaging 5.2 ypc, but only getting 15.4 att/game.
Dealing with a hamstring injury, monitor closely.
Very appealing matchup for his hopeful return.
Has posted back-to-back 100-yard games.
Season-best is 74 yards rushing, averaging 2.8 ypc.
Just 24 yards on 13 att. vs. OAK, but did score.
Had 73 yards, 2 TDs in first game after bye.
Knee issue is keeping his workload down.
Had 79 yards, TD despite not playing in 1st quarter.
His longest run this season has been 23 yards.
Huge game (134 yds.) on MNF, but rolled ankle late.
Hurt quadriceps last week, but should be OK.
at MIA (Thurs.)
Dolphins allowing second-most rec. yds to RBs.
Can T-Rich get going vs. Texans (28th vs. rush)?
vs. CIN (Thurs.)
Basically splitting carries with Thomas right now.
Redskins giving up most fantasy points to RBs.
Finished with 0 yards (4 rec.) vs. Saints.
Jets No. 1 against rush (77.9 ypg).
Grounded (11 att., 6 yds.) in return from injury.
at MIA (Thurs.)
Miami giving up fourth-most fantasy pts. to RBs.
Held out last week b/c of high ankle sprain.
Yards could be tough to come by in Seattle.
Tops in team with 10 carries (also 4 rec.) last week.
Falcons have allowed just 3 rushing TDs.
Dealing with cracked ribs, but hopeful to play.
Went from 34 carries in Week 7 to 6 last week.
vs. CHI (Mon.)
Picked up 57 yards, TD in return from knee injury.
Continues to see 8-10 touches, has TD in 2 straight.
Got just 4 touches in SJax' return.
Got just 6 touches last week, after 10+ in last 3 G.
Ravens have yielded one rushing TD.
vs. CIN (Thurs.)
Making most of opportunities recently.
Got season-high 11 carries, 14 touches in last game.
Vikings giving up second-most fantasy pts. to RBs.
Teamed w/ Stacy for effective 1-2 punch on MNF.
Will be a factor as long as Spiller is sidelined.
11 carries vs. MIA was third game w/ 10 or more.
Now healthy, could eat into Johnson's workload.
Got 3 carries, but no targets last week vs. Steelers.
Added to roster this week b/c of injury concerns.
Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:
All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points
Additional Week 9 Positional Rankings