For the first time this regular season, running backs made a significant impact in the world of fantasy football.
Six of the top 10 points producers in NFL.com's standard scoring system were runners, while the rest of the best came from a combination of five quarterbacks and one wide receiver. In what seemed like another first, all of the top performers are considered regular fantasy starters. There were no Cleo Lemons, Sage Rosenfels or Roydell Williams. Instead, the stars shined and proved their fantasy worth.
So without further adieu, let's take a look at the best and worst performances from Week 9.
1. Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota (46 points): Peterson outperformed the best running back in fantasy football in Week 9, and he's now taken over that elite status with eight weeks on the schedule. The rookie runner rushed for an NFL-record 296 yards and three touchdowns in a 35-17 blowout win over LaDainian Tomlinson and the San Diego Chargers. A.P. scored on runs of 1, 64 and 46 yards en route to his memorable performance. He is on pace for 2,000-plus rushing yards and close to 20 total touchdowns.
2. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans (33 points): Brees is back, and he's back with a vengeance in the world of fantasy football. The stud quarterback threw for 445 yards and three touchdowns in a 41-24 win over Jacksonville. Brees, who completed 71 percent of his passes, tossed scores of 2, 8 and 4 yards. After a slow start that worried some owners, Brees has thrown for a combined 11 touchdowns and one interception in his past four contests. He should once again be considered a must-start option across the board.
3. Jamal Lewis, RB, Cleveland (33 points): Lewis rushed for 37 yards on 20 carries (1.8 YPC), so how in the world did he make our list of the top fantasy performers. Well, four of those carries ended in the end zone. Lewis scored on runs of 2, 1, 2 and 1 yards and posted 67 yards as a receiver out of the backfield in Cleveland's overtime win over Seattle. Lewis hasn't been consistent in the box scores at all this season, but this weekend's solid fantasy numbers did help countless owners take home a win.
4. Joseph Addai, RB, Indianapolis (28 points): Addai was the lone offensive bright spot in what was an otherwise forgettable contest for the Colts. The versatile back out of Louisiana State recorded five catches, 226 all-purpose yards and one touchdown in the 24-20 loss to the undefeated New England Patriots. Addai's score came on what was an elusive and impressive 73-yard catch and run in the second quarter. One of the top backs in fantasy football, Addai should continue to shine next week in San Diego.
5. Tony Romo, QB, Dallas (28 points): While Tom Brady has received most of the accolades in fantasy football (as he deserves them based on his ramapnt pace), Romo hasn't been half bad himself. He threw for 324 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-17 win over Philadelphia and is now on pace for over 40 total touchdowns. His scores came on passes of 1, 45 and 20 yards, the longest of which went to Terrell Owens. Romo is a must-start quarterback next week when he heads to the Meadowlands to face the Giants.
6. Marshawn Lynch, RB, Buffalo (27 points): If it weren't for the presence of Peterson, Lynch would be the favorite to win this season's Rookie of the Year award. A versatile back, Lynch recorded 160 all-purpose yards with two touchdowns in a 33-21 win over Cincinnati. Lynch's scores came on an 8-yard pass to Robert Royal and a 56-yard run where he looked dead behind the line of scrimmage but broke tackles and took it to the house. Look for his success to continue next week in Miami against the Dolphins.
7. Tom Brady, QB, New England (25 points): Based on his ridiculous numbers headed into the weekend, Brady's 255-yard, three-touchdown performance in a win over the Colts was a bit mediocre. Brady, who threw two interceptions (he had one before the contest), connected on scores of 4, 3 and 13 yards and is still on pace to finish the season with 60-plus total touchdowns. Fantasy football owners who have Brady could be in trouble in Week 10, however, as the Super Bowl hero and his Patriots are on a bye.
8. Clinton Portis, RB, Washington (25 points): In what was his most productive and dominant performance of the season, Portis rushed for 196 yards on 36 carries and scored one touchdown in a 23-20 win over the New York Jets. Portis, who has been inconsistent all season, looked fresh and motivated against one of the NFL's most pitiful run defenses. The competition will be much more formidable next week when the Skins host Philadelphia, but Portis still remains an attractive No. 2 fantasy runner in all formats.
9. Reggie Bush, RB, New Orleans (23 points): No Deuce McAllister, no problem for the Saints and Bush. The former Heisman winner caught seven passes and recorded 115 all-purpose yards and two total touchdowns in a win over the Jacksonville. Bush scored on a 1-yard run and a 2-yard pass from Brees, both in the first quarter. The Saints are back on track after an atrocious start, and Bush should remain productive next week when his team faces a St. Louis defense that has been vulnerable to the run all season.
10. Terrell Owens, WR, Dallas (23 points): T.O. didn't have an eventful return to Lincoln Financial Field last season, but he more than made up for it this week. The talented T.O. had his best stat line of the season with 10 catches, 174 yards and one touchdown in a win over Philadelphia. His score came on a 45-yard connection with Romo in what seemed to be a vacant defensive backfield. Owens, who is on pace for close to 1,500 yards and 12 touchdowns, should remain active across the board in Week 10.
1. Rudi Johnson, RB, Cincinnati (1 point): Johnson is part of a long list of runners that have been enormous disappointments for fantasy football owners. He did return from an injured hamstring, but Johnson didn't start and was held to 11 yards on nine carries in a loss to Buffalo. The more versatile Kenny Watson seems to have moved past Johnson on the depth chart, and the veteran's streak of three seasons with 1,000-plus rushing yards and double-digit touchdowns appears to be in serious trouble.
2. Steve Smith, WR, Carolina (1 point): The presence of David Carr as the Panthers' No. 1 quarterback has turned Smith into Troy Williamson in the realm of fantasy football. He had a mere three catches for 15 yards in a 20-7 loss to Tennessee. Defensive pressure could be the reason, but Carr never looks to Smith in the vertical pass attack. Unless you're still in a position to trade him for value, it's hard to even start Smith in leagues that require two wideouts while Carr is atop the depth chart.
3. Antonio Gates, TE, San Diego (1 point): Sometimes the matchups work, sometime the matchups explode in our faces. The latter was the case with Gates, who was in line to dominate Minnesota's 32nd-rated pass defense. Instead, Gates recorded one catch for 10 yards against a unit that had allowed 510 yards to tight ends headed into the weekend. Gates is still on pace to record monster numbers and remains a must start at the position, but this performance was a real detriment to fantasy owners this week.
4. LaMont Jordan, RB, Oakland (2 points): If you haven't paid attention to the backfield situation in Oakland, Jordan has taken an enormous plunge down the fantasy ranks in recent weeks. Now it seems he has also fallen down the Raiders' depth chart, as Justin Fargas started and rushed for 104 yards and one touchdown in a 24-17 loss to Houston. On the other hand, Jordan had four carries for 10 yards and didn't find the end zone. The veteran out of Maryland is now at best a flex starter in larger formats.
5. Shaun Alexander, RB, Seattle (3 points): Remember when Alexander was a touchdown machine and one of the best backs in fantasy football? Well, those seasons (and his dominance between the white lines) is over. He rushed for 32 yards against a bad Cleveland run defense and failed to find the end zone for the fifth consecutive start in a 33-30 loss to the Browns. Alexander, who is on pace to rush for fewer than 1,000 yards, should now be reserved if at all possible until (and if) he can turn it around.
6. Travis Henry, RB, Denver (4 points): Much like Jordan, Henry has seem his numbers fall across the board after a hot start to the season. He rushed for a mere 31 yards on nine carries and was held out of the end zone in a 44-7 blowout loss to Denver. Henry, who has one touchdown in his past five starts, has now failed to rush for 100 yards in for of his past five contests. He has a difficult matchup next week against a hardened Kansas City defense, so his struggles are almost certain to continue.
7. Anquan Boldin, WR, Arizona (4 points): The Cardinals didn't muster much offense in a 17-10 loss to Tampa Bay -- the offense finished with a miniscule 195 net yards -- so it was no shock that Boldin had three catches for 40 yards with no touchdowns. The veteran wide receiver out of Florida State is back to 100 percent and should record improved numbers in Week 10 when the Cardinals host Detroit, but this week Boldin was a serious disappointment and a detriment to owners' chances of an important win.
8. Chad Johnson, WR, Cincinnati (4 points): Johnson started the season like a house of fire, but he has cooled off quite a bit in recent weeks. He totaled three catches for 48 yards in a loss to Buffalo and has now failed to find the end zone in six consecutive starts. What's worse, Johnson left the contest on a stretcher and was taken to a local hospital when he hurt his neck after a hard hit. A CT scan of Johnson's neck was normal, but his status for Week 10 in Baltimore remains in question.
9. Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville (5 points): The true definition of inconsistent, Jones-Drew totaled a mere 59 all-purpose yards and no touchdowns in a loss to New Orleans. Jones-Drew was much better in leagues that include special teams points as he ran back a kick 100 yards for a touchdown, but he was a real disappointment in all standard formats. His overall fortunes could remain bad next week, when Jones-Drew and the Jaguars head to Tennessee to face the Titans' top-rated run defense.
10. Thomas Jones, RB, N.Y. Jets (5 points): Jones was considered one of the better off-season additions in the NFL, but his numbers have been mediocre at best at the midseason point. The veteran out of Virginia rushed for 49 yards on 13 carries in a loss to Washington, and he's now gone 11 consecutive contests (dating back to last season) without a rushing touchdown. The Jets have a bye next week but then have to face Pittsburgh, so Jones seems destined to produce more unimpressive stat lines for owners.