Week 9: RB Roundup
Knowshon Moreno; Montee Ball; C.J. Anderson; Ronnie Hillman
Current scenario: For the time being, Denver's backfield is Knowshon Moreno's to lose. The past few weeks he has not run the ball well, but his ability to make plays out of the backfield on the receiving end has made up for it. Ball has now become the top backup in Denver, making him fantasy worthy in bigger leagues or as a handcuff to Moreno. Hillman losing the ball late in the game against Indianapolis may have cost him any chance of seeing signicant action again this season.
Future scenario: Denver has a bye Week 9, so fantasy owners will need to look elsewhere for running back assistance. In the final eight games of the season Denver will play four games against Kansas City and San Diego -- have each allowed just two rushing touchdowns this year. The remaining four games have more favorable run matchups for Denver's backs and fantasy owners.
Kansas City Chiefs
Jamaal Charles; Anthony Sherman; Knile Davis; Cyrus Gray
Current scenario: Much to everyone's amazement, the Chiefs have gone from winning just two games in 2012 to winning eight straight to start the 2013 season. A big part of their success is because Jamaal Charles has been healthy this year. In the first half of the season Charles has rushed for 635 yards with six touchdowns and made 41 receptions for 383 yards and a pair of touchdowns. At this pace Charles will finish the season with more than 2,000 all purpose yards and 16 touchdowns. Fantasy owners would have to be crazy to even think about sitting Charles.
Future scenario: The schedule for Kansas City doesn't get any easier the second half of the season. Sure week 9 against the Bills is a nice match up for Jamaal Charles, but when the Chiefs return from the bye they'll play at Denver, home against San Diego and home against Denver. Denver is allowing just 81 rushing yards per game and the Chargers have allowed just two rushing touchdowns all season.
Darren McFadden; Marcel Reece; Rashad Jennings
Current scenario: Darren McFadden is a fantasy owner's biggest nightmare. One week McFadden is healthy and running for 93 yards and a pair of touchdowns (as was the case last week against Pittsburgh), then he could carry the ball five times for 29 yards as was the case week 4 against Washington. If McFadden is healthy (and that's a big IF), he is a solid running back for fantasy owners. The problem is McFadden spends nearly as much time watching as he does playing. Fantasy owners with McFadden on their roster would be wise to carry Rashad Jennings too. This would at least give you a starting back each week.
Future scenario: We can't predict injuries, so you'll need to keep an eye on McFadden's health. When available, the sixth year man out of Arkansas is a must start. Oakland has played better at home this season than on the road, so you'll want to give Raiders backs a little more consideration at home. Oakland backs may find running the ball very difficult the final four games of the season. Owners expecting to make the post season may want to consider trading McFadden now while his numbers are good and before it's too late.
San Diego Chargers
Ryan Mathews; Danny Woodhead; Ronnie Brown
Current scenario: With back to back 100-yard games, Ryan Mathews looks to have secured his role as the Chargers' primary back. At his current pace, Mathews will finish the season with just over 1,000 yards and a pair of touchdowns -- which could be 4-6 touchdowns with a couple multi touchdown games. Danny Woodhead has been used as a change of pace back and will likely continue to do so the remainder of the season. Woodhead's value comes in the passing game where he averages 5-7 receptions for 50 yards and a touchdown every other week. Woodhead is a nice start in PPR leagues, in a flex position or, possibly as a bye week filler against the right opponent in standard scoring leagues.
Future scenario: The Chargers return from their bye this week to face a Washington Redskins defense that has allowed the most fantasy points to running backs. Following their Week 9 game against Washington, the Chargers' schedule is not favorable for the run game. In San Diego's final eight games of the season they will play seven games against five different teams with run defenses ranked in the top 12. The Chargers' run game may struggle from week to week down the stretch and fantasy owners holding on to Mathews should be prepared for the ups and downs.