Jalen Nixon, QB-ULL vs LA-Monroe
Last week, Nixon ran for 201 yards and accounted for three touchdowns in LA-Lafayette’s 37-27 loss at Arkansas State. In Week 9, expect another big game from Nixon as the Ragin’ Cajuns face a defense that is giving up 36.6 points per game and 252.7 yards per game on the ground, eighth-worst in the FBS.
Greg Ward, QB-HOU vs Vanderbilt
Ward leads an offense that is fourth in the FBS in scoring, but in Week 9 the Cougars host Vanderbilt, a team amongst the best in the FBS in points allowed per game (16.3). Fantasy owners should not expect another 35-40 point performance from Ward against the Commodores’ defense, but he should be able to improvise in the pocket and once again accumulate enough fantasy points with his legs and arms to warrant a starting spot as a QB2 this week.
Terrell Newby, RB-Nebraska at Purdue
Newby has only topped 100 yards rushing in a game twice this year, but in Week 9 he faces a Purdue defense that is allowing nearly 200 yards per game on the ground (198.1), which is worst in the Big Ten.
Peyton Barber, RB-Auburn vs Ole Miss
One thing is for sure in Auburn’s Week 9 matchup against Ole Miss: Barber will get a ton of carries. The sophomore back is averaging 29 carries in the past four games and has scored eleven of the team’s 14 offensive touchdowns in Auburn’s previous three games.
Brandon Wilds, South Carolina at Texas A&M
After missing three games due to injury, Wilds returned last week to run for 119 yards in a 19-10 win over Vanderbilt. In Week 9, he’ll face a Texas A&M defense that is allowing 200 yards per game on the ground, which is tied for last in the SEC.
Wayne Gallman, RB-Clemson at North Carolina State
Last time Gallman faced one of the nation’s top rushing defenses (Boston College), he failed to reach the 50-yard mark, but we think he’s worth a roster spot this week against an NC State defense ranked in the Top 20 against the run because in three conference games, the opposing teams’ leading rusher has averaged 97 yards per game on the ground and has scored at least one touchdown.
Marcus Marshall, Georgia Tech at Virginia
Marshall led all Georgia Tech running backs last week in carries in the Yellow Jackets’ 22-16 upset of Florida State. We believe the freshman’s role will be just as big, if not bigger in Week 9 when Georgia Tech travels to Virginia to face a defense that is giving up 165.9 yards per game on the ground.
Jacobi Owens, RB-Air Force at Hawaii
Owens ran for a season-high 137 yards in last week’s win against Fresno State. In fact, it was the first time all season that the junior back topped 100 yards rushing in a game. In Week 9, the Falcons travel to Hawaii and Owens could be in line for his second 100-yard game of the year going up against the thirteenth-worst run defense in the FBS (228.8 yards per game on the ground).
Elijhaa Penny, RB-Idaho at New Mexico State
Penny topped 100 yards rushing in a game for the first time last week in the Vandals’ 27-13 win over Louisiana-Monroe. This week, the senior running back will face a New Mexico State defense that has allowed the second-most rushing yards per game on the ground in the FBS (291.4), allowed the third-most rushing touchdowns (25), and has allowed the highest yards per carry average in the nation (6.6).
Kyle Allen, QB-Texas A&M vs South Carolina
Allen was abysmal last week against Ole Miss completing only 12 of 34 passes for 88 yards before being replaced by Jake Hubenak in the fourth quarter. Head coach Kevin Sumlin announced that decision on this week’s starting quarterback would be made on Friday, but even if Allen is announced the starter for Week 9, he would seemingly be on a tight leash.
Perry Hills, QB-Maryland at Iowa
Hills has passed for at least one touchdown, run for at least one touchdown, and surpassed 120 rushing yards in back-to-back games against Ohio State and Penn State, but this week the Terrapins travel to Iowa and face one of the nation’s best defenses. The Hawkeyes are ranked 10th in the nation in scoring defense (15.3), 12th in points allowed per game (294.3), and 3rd in rushing yards allowed per game (78.5).
Travon McMillian, RB-Virginia Tech at Boston College
McMillian has topped 90 yards for three consecutive weeks and is fresh off his first 100-yard game of the year, but this week he faces one of his toughest tests of the season at Boston College. The Eagles have not allowed an opposing player to run for 60 yards in a game all year, a list that includes Clemson’s Wayne Gallman and Florida State’s Dalvin Cook.
Kenneth Farrow, RB-Houston vs Vanderbilt
While we believe that starting quarterback Greg Ward is a start in Week 9, we cannot say the same for running back Kenneth Farrow. The Commodores are only giving up 110 yards per game on the ground and have allowed a total of five rushing touchdowns this year. Unlike quarterback Greg Ward, who can improvise in the pocket to create a running game, Farrow has to produce from the read-option, making him a bit of a risky play against a Vandy defense allowing fewer than 17 points per game.
Joseph Yearby, RB-Miami at Duke
Duke is allowing 130 rushing yards per game, but Yearby has a handful of factors working against him in Week 9. First, the Canes are likely to be without starting quarterback Brad Kaaya, who suffered a concussion last week. Second, Miami fired head coach Al Golden and we are concerned the team just isn’t ready to pick up the pieces and deliver in a road game against a quality opponent. Lastly, the Duke run defense is tied for fifth in the FBS in allowing touchdowns (4) in 2015.
Nick Wilson, RB-Arizona at Washington
Wilson returned from a foot injury to carry the ball six times for eight yards against Washington State last week, while teammate Jared Baker received twice as many carries and scored three touchdowns. There just seems to be too much uncertainty at running back and quarterback as the Wildcats head into their Week 9 matchup at Washington, and until we see Wilson receiving most of the carries, fantasy owners should leave him on the bench. Update: Wilson is questionable to play with a knee injury.