Fantasy football owners who started Marlon Mack in Week 8 received a huge boost, but which running backs could have a breakout performance in Week 9?
In Week 8, Marlon Mack, James White, Kenyan Drake, Latavius Murray, Chris Carson, and Phillip Lindsay all blew up for over 20 fantasy football points. Mack, in particular, was impressive, producing an encore performance that entrenches him as the Indianapolis Colts feature back, making him a must-start in fantasy going forward.
Drake and White have always had the potential to be solid cogs for a fantasy team, but Carson and Lindsay have emerged as reliable options on the ground for their respective teams. Behind a surprisingly stout Seattle Seahawks offensive line, Carson has solidified himself as “the answer” to the Seahawks running back woes, whereas Lindsay has made a case for being the NFL’s most underrated back.
Week 9 could have some big-time sleeper performances, too, and here are ten running backs to target this week. The likes of Murray and Peyton Barber will hope to put together another big game, as they must take full advantage of injuries to other backs on the roster. Murray’s rise in Dalvin Cook’s absence has been important for the Minnesota Vikings offense, while Barber can take another step towards entrenching himself as Tampa Bay’s best running back.
Latavius Murray, Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions
At 4-3-1, the Minnesota Vikings are locked in a battle for the NFC North crown with all four teams, and they are currently ranked second behind the Chicago Bears. While the Lions traded away Golden Tate and don’t seem to be contenders, they aren’t out of the playoff race yet.
This is a critical mid-season game for both of these teams, and a close eye should be kept on both rushing attacks, even with most of the intrigue surrounding quarterbacks Kirk Cousins and Matthew Stafford.
ESPN.com’s Courtney Cronin reported that Vikings highly-touted feature back Dalvin Cook is set to return in Week 11 against the Bears, as the Vikings are expected to manage his hamstring injury through the bye. This cautious approach from the Vikings has been wise, and Latavius Murray’s emergence behind Cook has allowed the team to exercise patience with the former second-round pick out of Florida State.
Murray is having the most productive season of his career, as he’s averaged 4.7 yards per carry so far in 2018, which would be the second-best mark of his career since his rookie season. The former Oakland Raiders starter has added four rushing touchdowns, with all four of those scores coming in his past three games.
Highly productive against soft matchups, such as when he scampered for 155 yards on the Arizona Cardinals notoriously porous run defense, Murray could own a Lions defense that allows 5.1 yards per carry to opposing running backs.