Fantasy Football Week 9 Running Back Start Em, Sit Em: Mark Walton, Tra Carson, More

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Tra Carson
Detroit Lions running back Tra Carson (34) carries the ball under the pressure of New York Giants defensive back Grant Haley (34) during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants in Detroit, Michigan USA, on Sunday, October 27, 2019. (Photo by Amy Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Week 9 of the NFL season is right around the corner, and fantasy football owners everywhere are trying to optimize their lineups. Deciding on who to start and sit isn’t easy, especially when an untested player like Tra Carson comes out of nowhere and establishes a role in the backfield. Let’s take a dive into all of the best start em’, sit em’ matchups of the week to put together the best possible lineup.

Mark Walton, Tra Carson Highlight Fantasy Football Week 9 Start Em, Sit Em

Start: Mark Walton

Being the starting running back for the Miami Dolphins isn’t the most valuable thing in the world of fantasy football, but Mark Walton’s guaranteed workload means he’s going to be a safe play moving forward. Kenyan Drake is out of town, and the Dolphins clearly don’t believe in Kalen Ballage. During Walton’s lone game as the unquestioned lead back, he recorded a combined 14 touches and saw six targets out of the backfield.

Mark Walton obviously doesn’t have the highest ceiling in the world. Miami’s offense is atrocious and won’t present many scoring opportunities. Additionally, the Dolphins offensive line is the worst in the league and won’t create many rushing lanes. However, Walton’s high workload makes him a safe play if you’re looking for an RB3/flex play in deeper leagues.

Sit: Tra Carson, Ty Johnson

Remember the Ty Johnson hype train? That was nice while it lasted. Instead of running solely with Johnson, the Lions opted to go full-on running back by committee. Ty Johnson played in just 31% of the snaps, recording seven carries for 25 yards and one reception for 13 yards. Johnson isn’t good enough to carry fantasy relevance if he’s not given a full workload.

The same goes for fellow Detroit Lions running back Tra Carson. Carson earned a surprising start in Week 8, but only recorded 12 carries for 34 yards and didn’t see a single target in the passing game. Just like with Johnson, Carson is a fringe NFL talent who needs a full workload to carry fantasy football relevance. Detroit’s offensive line isn’t particularly great at opening rushing lanes, and the Oakland Raiders are surprisingly stout against the run. Unless a clear frontrunner emerges in this backfield, you’re better off leaving both players out of your lineup.

Start: Jaylen Samuel

If Jaylen Samuels plays in Week 9, he’s a must-start. The running back is coming back from arthroscopic knee surgery but practiced in full leading up to Week 8. It’s safe to assume he’ll be back in some capacity, and he should see a reliable workload in his return to the field.

The Pittsburgh Steelers running backs simply cannot stay healthy. James Conner suffered an AC injury and Benny Snell suffered a knee injury in Week 8’s win over the Miami Dolphins, leaving the backfield void of any playmakers. Mike Tomlin prefers to use a workhorse back, but there’s a good chance Conner won’t be physically capable of taking the majority of the carries, even if he does play.

Sit: Devin Singletary

Frank Gore will not go away, and the longtime NFL veteran is still the star of the Buffalo Bills backfield. Rookie running back Devin Singletary had a solid day for fantasy last week, but that was entirely due to his touchdown. On the whole, Singletary recorded just seven touches in a blowout loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Singletary projects as the passing game specialist, so Week 8’s game script should have actually improved his overall production. The fact that he could only get seven touches in that type of game is worrisome for the remainder of his season.

The Buffalo Bills face off against an atrocious Washington Redskins unit in Week 9. The Bills should win this one, but they typically don’t win by wide margins. Despite their 5-2 record, the Bills only have one game where they won by more than 10 points. This thing is probably going to be relatively close, and that game script favors Frank Gore. The only way Singletary earns any fantasy relevance is if he happens to find his way into the endzone. Chances are, you can find someone safer than Singletary to put into your lineup.

Start: Kenyan Drake

Kenyan Drake faces a terrible matchup in Week 9, but the opportunity here is too good to ignore. David Johnson and Chase Edmonds won’t play on Thursday Night Football, meaning that Drake has complete control of the Arizona Cardinals backfield. Even though Drake has only been on the Cardinals for a few days, he should jump right in and start over the similarly inexperienced Zach Zenner. This high-volume workload ensures that Drake’s going to have some fantasy relevance, even if he won’t be the most efficient runner in Week 9.

The Arizona Cardinals will probably trail for the vast majority of this contest, which is actually good news for Drake. The Cardinals run plays at a faster rate than just about anyone else, and Drake can make plays in the passing game. If the San Francisco 49ers have any weakness on their defense, it’s at the linebacker position. Drake should be able to win this matchup, and Kliff Kingsbury loves flexing his running backs out into passing patterns.

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