Week 9 offered more workmanlike performances by the most trustworthy running backs in fantasy football.
The top-10 each week is being littered by the same names. Kareem Hunt, Alvin Kamara, James Conner, Christian McCaffrey, Melvin Gordon and Tevin Coleman were once again top-tier running backs in week 9. Even Todd Gurley, who didn't register one of his regular standout games, was still an RB1, with the 12th-most fantasy points among running backs.
The running back position is the sacred cow in fantasy football and it will likely shine once again in week 10. For running backs on the edge of the RB2 stratosphere, here's the week 10 fantasy football start 'em, sit 'em guide for running backs.
Austin Ekeler vs. Oakland Raiders
It's not easy backing the second-best running back on a team. But against the Raiders, garbage time production is the most likely outcome.
The Raiders have given up on the season. It's rare to see NFL teams employ the NBA-style approach to tanking, but the Raiders are fully embracing it. That spells trouble against an offense playing as well as any unit in the NFL.
Ekeler hasn't had a ton of standalone value at times this season, especially if Gordon is at full strength. However, Ekeler should have some opportunities at catching balls out of the backfield against a Raiders defense that is allowing the most fantasy points per game to running backs.
I'm not regularly a fan of Ekeler, based on usage, but this is a prime spot to get some RB2/Flex value from him. Gordon will get his touches, but Ekeler should see far more than he saw in week 9.
Aaron Jones vs. Miami Dolphins
It's becoming more apparent that Jones is the lead back for the Packers.
That's good news for his fantasy football owners.
Jones was effective for the most part in week 9 against New England, other than a fumble in the third quarter. He looks like the best running back on the Green Bay roster, and as long as the Packers commit to using him, he should have a borderline RB1 day against Miami.
One of Jones' main drawbacks is Green Bay's desire to pass on basically every down. Even with Jones seeing big holes, the Packers routinely ignore him for the passing game. Miami is bad on both fronts, so this should be a case where the passing and rushing units should be in sync.
Miami is allowing the fifth-most fantasy points per game to running backs in the last four weeks for a reason. Trust Jones in week 10.
Dion Lewis vs. New England Patriots
I like this matchup on multiple fronts. There should be a bit of revenge aspect to this game with Lewis formerly playing for the Patriots. There's also that nice part of this matchup where teams have had success exposing New England's defense by using running backs in the passing game.
In the last four weeks, New England is allowing the 15th-most fantasy points per game to running backs. That's not terrible. However, teams have targeted running backs 47 times, completing 34 of those passes, generating the most targets and completions during that timeframe.
That works directly into Lewis' hands. Tennessee will use Lewis consistently out of the backfield in multiple ways, so he should definitely be on the RB2/Flex radar in week 10.
Adrian Peterson vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I just can't back a Washington team without pretty much its entire starting offensive line.
It's one thing for a quarterback to have to deal with an injured offensive line. It's an entirely different story for a running back to have to deal with this. Peterson has been a nice surprise this season for the Redskins, but I'm not sure there's any running back who can overcome all the injuries.
Tampa Bay is not good against the run, but they're at least better in that phase of the game than against the pass. Washington is likely to come into this game in a passing mode anyway, which is not in their comfort level.
Peterson won't contribute out of the backfield in the passing game, so he should be sat if possible for your fantasy football team.
Derrick Henry vs. New England Patriots
There's not enough room in Tennessee's backfield for two running backs.
The Titans offensive line is not as good as I believed it would be at the start of the season. That has created a troublesome year for Henry, who hasn't been able to generate much on the ground. It showed once again in week 9 against Dallas, with the Titans opting to use Lewis more often than Henry, even on first and second down.
That will likely be the case again in week 10, especially with New England's difficulties in stopping running backs from catching the ball out of the backfield.
Henry hasn't gone for more than 60 yards rushing yet this season, so he should earn a seat on your bench in week 10.
Doug Martin vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Martin actually hasn't been bad in the lead back role for the Raiders.
He has 158 total yards combined in the last two games, even with the Raiders being atrocious. So this isn't about Martin's ability, which has been the lone bright spot recently for Oakland. This has more to do with expected game flow.
The Chargers' offense is one of the best units in the NFL. That means the Raiders will either be in a big hole early, thus throwing the ball on pretty much every day, or they'll need to keep up in a shootout, which will likely mean abandoning the run altogether.
That spells doom for Martin's fantasy projection.
Martin was a nice pickup in recent weeks off the waiver wire, but he shouldn't earn a start in week 10.
Scott Levine blogs about fantasy sports and handicaps games. His Against The Chalk blog has earned him back-to-back Iowa Newspaper Association awards for Best Blog. Check out more fantasy football coverage at Against The Chalk.
Scott Levine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ScottLevineCH