Week 9 is here, and with great running backs such as Christian McCaffrey and Travis Etienne on bye, the running back landscape is more treacherous than ever. Oh, and don’t forget about Jahmyr Gibbs also being on a bye and Dameon Pierce out this week due to injury.
With the fantasy football playoffs right around the corner, every fantasy victory is even more valuable than the previous week. Bijan Robinson and Tony Pollard are projected as top-10 running back options this week, so which one should you start?
Bijan Robinson’s Fantasy Outlook This Week
Robinson came into the draft as the can’t-miss prospect from Texas, and so far, he has flashed the talent that made him a first-round draft pick. He’s averaged 5.6 yards per touch this season, ranking 11th in the NFL.
Robinson has superior pass-catching skills as well, ranking first among running backs in routes run, seventh in target share, and eighth in receptions. The Falcons will be playing without superstar wide receiver Drake London, so more targets are likely headed to Robinson as the team adjusts on the fly without its top receiver.
The Falcons have had some drama this week regarding the quarterback position, and Taylor Heinicke is the new starting quarterback. This change could bode well for Robinson, as Heinicke adjusts to live game speed and can check down early and often to the star running back.
Tony Pollard’s Fantasy Outlook This Week
Pollard came into the 2023 season knowing that he would have complete control of the Cowboys’ backfield. So far, the results have been mixed. He’s produced only one game this season as a top-10 fantasy running back, and that was back in Week 1 against the Giants.
MORE: Fantasy News Tracker
He’s getting plenty of opportunities as the lead back in this offense, but the end results have not met the expectations fantasy managers had in mind. Pollard is currently eighth in receptions and 11th in carries among running backs, but he’s RB16 in fantasy. With that kind of opportunity, you would hope that he would be in the top 10 fantasy scorers.
Which of the Running Backs Should You Start?
Pro Football Network’s Start/Sit Optimizer says that Pollard is the player to start. His projected 15.8 points include a projection of 58 rushing yards, three receptions, and 27 yards. That doesn’t seem like a big stat line, but it outperforms the consensus projection for Robinson (14.2 points).
However, when you isolate my rankings, I have Robinson outperforming Pollard due to the matchup and the potential for Robinson to be more involved in the passing game. Pollard will be squaring off against the Eagles, who are first in the NFL in rush defense, allowing only 65 yards per game on the ground.
Robinson squares off against the Vikings and their 13th-ranked rush defense. He’s also set up to earn more work in the passing game without target-hog Drake London playing. The Cowboys may have a higher team total, but don’t leave Robinson on your bench this weekend!
Looking to make a trade in your fantasy league? Having trouble deciding who to start and who to sit? Setting DFS lineups? Check out PFN’s Free Fantasy Football Trade Analyzer, Start/Sit Optimizer, and DFS Lineup Optimizer to help you make the right decision!