The top-two running backs in fantasy football from week nine may seem similar, but they have far different trajectories for 2017. Alvin Kamara finished first in points among running backs, while Philadelphia's Corey Clement finished second.
Both are pass-catching running backs who have had their moments this season. However, only Kamara offers the long-term value that fantasy owners can look to on a consistent basis. Clement is in a backfield with so many options, it's impossible to judge who will garner the most touches. And while Kamara is not the goal line or early down running back, the Saints do enough in the passing game to make him relevant on a weekly basis.
Don't be enamored by Clement's week nine performance. His value is limited thanks to the crowded backfield in Philadelphia. Here's the week 10 running backs start 'sm, sit 'em guide for fantasy football.
Lamar Miller vs. Los Angeles Rams
Miller's fantasy value is taking a major hit with the injury to Deshaun Watson. Miller has had to not only share playing time at the running back position, but he's having to carry a major load with the loss of Watson.
That creates some major challenges.
Even with the disappointing results in week nine with Tom Savage at quarterback, I anticipate Miller and the Houston offense should be more competent in week 10. The Rams are one of the worst defenses when limiting the opposing teams' running backs. Los Angeles gives up 28.7 fantasy points per game against running backs, the second-worst mark in the NFL.
That should open up some lanes for Miller, who still outsnapped D'Onta Foreman 52-20 in week nine. The offense needs to incorporate Miller as a receiving option out of the backfield, so expect some designed action toward Miller's direction in week 10.
Doug Martin vs. New York Jets
Put week 9's major disappointment behind you. Martin had an opportunity to put up major production in week 9 against a New Orleans defense not known for stopping the run, but the Buccaneers continued their head-scratching decisions by giving Martin just eight carries.
Tampa Bay's offense just seems confusing, so I won't try to make sense out of the limited production, which disappeared early in the third quarter when the game was still somewhat within reach. I'm not going to let week 9 cloud my judgment, though. Martin still was a volume monster from weeks 5 to 8, notching at least 13 carries in each of those games.
I'm expecting that kind of volume against a New York Jets team that allows 121 yards per game on the ground, the 10th most in the NFL. The Jets also allow 4.2 yards per rush play, the 10th most in the NFL.
The Buccaneers need Martin to deliver. He should have the opportunity in week 10, so I'll back his volume in hopes that he will produce.
Isaiah Crowell vs. Detroit Lions
Remember when you dropped Crowell to either your bench or the waiver wire? He hasn't necessarily been a game-changing running back in recent weeks, but he's at least been in that RB2 conversation.
He's starting to catch the ball out of the backfield, making him a multi-dimension running back. That's enough for fantasy owners to put him back in the starting lineup. The last time we saw Crowell, he gained 118 total yards, with 54 of those being on the receiving end.
Crowell was a player many anticipated before the season began would be in the RB1 conversation each week. That hasn't happened yet, but he's trending in the right direction. That's a good sign against a Lions team that isn't great against stopping the run. Detroit allows 24 fantasy points per game to running backs. They also have allowed six rushing touchdowns this season, the 11th most in the NFL.
Crowell is going to get attention from the Browns in week 10. The volume is back to a place where he's an easy RB2 decision and should compete to be an RB1 in week 10.
Rob Kelley vs. Minnesota Vikings
You've been fooled in the last two weeks by Kelley's fantasy production. He's rushed for a combined 37 yards, but because he has three touchdowns in that time, he's been relevant in fantasy football.
That's not sustainable, so don't take a chance on him in week 10 against the Vikings.
Running backs are averaging 17.9 fantasy points per game against the Vikings, the third-lowest mark in the NFL. Running backs who have success are players more likely to catch the ball out of the backfield. The Vikings have allowed opposing running backs to catch 43 balls out of the backfield, the 10th-highest amount in the NFL.
That doesn't work well for Kelley. That does mean that Chris Thompson could have some value in week 10.
You can't count on Kelley to score again in fantasy football. Bench him for a better option.
Kenyan Drake vs. Carolina Panthers
It became clearer in week 9 what role the two running backs in Miami would play.
Drake looks to be the rusher between the tackles, taking on most of the early down work, while Damien Williams will do most of the work in the receiving department. In this matchup, Williams should have more value if that continues to be the case.
The Panthers give up the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game against running backs and allow just 78.4 rushing yards per game, the second-best number in the NFL.
The Dolphins won't be able to run, but they should have some room to throw to running backs. The Panthers have allowed running backs to total 44 catches out of the backfield, which would rank in the bottom-10 for receptions allowed against running backs.
Carolina doesn't give up a ton of yards, but the volume rests with Williams, not Drake.
Adrian Peterson vs. Seattle Seahawks
This goes against pretty much everything I believe in, but I can't back an aging running back on a short week after tallying a career-high in carries. Peterson notched 37 carries in week 9, mustering 159 yards on the ground. He's still not doing much out of the backfield in catching the ball and how can we trust him after that much volume in week 9?
I can't. I know he's going to get a good amount of carries in week 10, but his production will take a hit based on recent workload (74 carries in his last three games). And he's squaring off against a Seattle team that allows just 109 yards per game on the ground, the 18th-most in the NFL. That doesn't tell the entire story, though. In the last three games, the Seahawks have been much better against the run, giving up 79 yards per game on the ground, the sixth-lowest total in the NFL. Even better, the Seahawks are giving up 3.2 yards per rush attempt in the last three games, the fifth-best mark during that span.
It's difficult to sit Peterson in this role based on his recent production. But his volume has been too much coming into a short week that I can't back him against such a consistently good rush defense.
Scott Levine is the Associate Editor for the Clinton Herald. During his free time, he blogs about fantasy sports and handicaps games.
Scott Levine can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @ScottLevineCH