As Tampa Bay Buccaneers rising star Doug Martin proved last week, running backs are still a key part of fantasy teams even though their value has slowly slipped in recent seasons. Martin carried plenty of teams to victory with his 51-point outburst.
His performance ranks among the all-time great fantasy games, so it's highly unlikely any back will come even close to that number this week. That said, there are some options that should be able to crack the 20-point barrier, proving a major boost in the process.
Let's take a look at the top options at running back in Week 10 and make a projection for each player's point total.
1. Ray Rice
Rice remains one of the most reliable, consistent running backs in the league. And with more and more teams moving toward a committee approach in the backfield, his unabashed status as the Baltimore Ravens lead back should ensure that trend continues.
The diminutive powerhouse comes off a game in which he rushed 25 times for 98 yards and a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns. For some RBs, that type of workload would cause some concerns for the next week. Not for Rice.
He gets to face an Oakland Raiders team that has been giving up 124 yards per game on the ground and has allowed 10 rushing touchdowns, the third most in the league. Expect Rice to use his dual-threat abilities to pick apart the Raiders en route to the week's top RB score.
Projection: 23 points
2. Doug Martin
Martin is being treated like a fantasy hero after scoring 83 points over the last two weeks, which is a truly amazing total. His improved play actually dates back to when the Bucs returned from bye and he started running with more assertiveness.
Something clicked during the week off that allowed the rookie to transform from a fantasy disappointment to a must-start option. He's finally starting to show why Tampa Bay decided to snag him at the end of Round 1 in April.
Normally, facing the San Diego Chargers (fourth in rush defense) would be a downgrade for a fantasy RB. But when you consider the roll Martin has been on and the fact San Diego has allowed 33 points to opposing backs over the past two weeks, Martin should shine again.
Projection: 22 points
3. Stevan Ridley
Fantasy owners have had a hard time deciphering Ridley's value in recent weeks. The New England Patriots have been using several different backs, which has cut into his playing time, but he's still putting up solid numbers overall.
After a couple lackluster showings in a row, Ridley bounced back to score 18 points last week. Although it's not ideal that Shane Vereen and Danny Woodhead are stealing snaps, the Patriots are still treating Ridley like the go-to guy and that's all that matters.
He gets a rematch with the Buffalo Bills in Week 10. Ridley put up 22 points when the two teams faced earlier in the season thanks to a porous Bills run defense that hasn't improved. Despite the timeshare issues, he should be in all lineups on Sunday.
Projection: 20 points