10 running back sleeper targets for Week 9

Fantasy Football

Use these recommendations for a little last-minute pep in your fantasy football lineup or an investment for the future.

In this series, I’ll try to help find some fantasy football running back diamonds in the rough to help you for this week and beyond. Some will be better suited as bye week fill-ins, others will be wait-and-see bench stashes, and hopefully some will be stars in the making.

I’m shooting for under 50 percent ownership in ESPN and Yahoo! leagues to make this column, but there will occasionally be exceptions. Here are the previous weeks’ picks:

Week 6: 10. Alex Collins, 9. Jalen Richard, 8. Elijah McGuire, 7. Semaje Perine, 6. Wayne Gallman, 5. Thomas Rawls, 4. Shane Vereen, 3. Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden, 2. Marlon Mack, 1. Matt Breida

Week 7: 10. Rex Burkhead, 9. Charles Sims, 8. D’Onta Foreman, 7. Jamaal Charles, 6. Devontae Booker, 5. CJ Prosise, 4. Chris Ivory, 3. Dion Lewis, 2. Marlon Mack, 1. Wendell Smallwood

Week 8: 10. Malcolm Brown, 9. Danny Woodhead, 8. Tarik Cohen, 7. James White, 6. Rob Kelley, 5. Latavius Murray, 4. Theo Riddick, 3. Matt Forte, 2. Jalen Richard, 1. Dion Lewis

With 32 teams and (at most) two fantasy options at running back on any given team, my goal here is to not give you the same player two weeks in a row unless there’s a significant breakthrough in their status. And given the enormous amount of byes this week, I’m going to break my under 50 percent ownership rule a few times again this week. But hey, desperate times, desperate measures:

10. TJ Yeldon, Jacksonville

Ownership % — ESPN: 4%; Yahoo!: 9%

Role: Bye week filler

Adding Yeldon is certainly risky, and definitely not ideal. His last appearance was Week 7 against Indianapolis, where he carried nine times for 122 yards and a touchdown. Sounds great, except the only reason he was afforded that opportunity was that Leonard Fournette was a surprise inactive. Fournette will surely be back this week, meaning that Yeldon could fade back to a reserve role.

That said, Yeldon does appear to have jumped Chris Ivory on the depth chart for No. 2 back responsibilities, if reports are to be believed. Against the lackluster 3-4 Cincinnati Bengals this weekend, the usually mistake-prone Andy Dalton could fall prey to the turnover-happy Jags defense, meaning Jacksonville could have the ball often and be looking to run clock.

The Bengals’ run defense was actually rounding into form before the teams’ Week 6 bye, but has since allowed 153 and 109 ground yards in back-to-back weeks to the Steelers and Colts, respectively. If you add Yeldon for this week, you hope that the Jags can take a lead and then split carries between him and Fournette down the stretch in order to run clock and keep Fournette fresh for the rest of the season.

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