Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
They are not the names that you have become accustomed to seeing at the top of the charts over the past few years (no Ladainian Tomlinson, no Larry Johnson, no Steven Jackson), but the quintet of newcomers - Ray Rice, Matt Forte, Tim Hightower, Jamaal Charles and Cedric Benson along with Minnesota's Adrian Peterson led the way for their teams and fantasy owners as the first games of Week 9 came to a conclusion.
In fact, Rice, who was expected to watch Willis McGahee for most of the afternoon, posted a one o'clock-best 154 yards on 21 carries.
Peterson helped Minnesota dominate Houston with 139 yards rushing and one score. Forte, the rookie Chicago Bears running back, has been a solid performer all year, but hadn't cracked the 100-yard mark since opening day.
Meanwhile, for Hightower (22-109-1) and Charles (18-106) it was their first real opportunity to "carry" their team's running game. Hightower looks to have permanently passed Edgerrin James on the depth chart and Charles took advantage of Johnson being made inactive and Kolby Smith's injury. In the upcoming weeks Hightower is the play in Arizona, but Charles' future is less certain.
Benson (24-104-1) had a great day as Cincinnati posted a big early lead and then held on to edge Jacksonville, but how many times this year will that happen?
Michael Turner (31-139-0) led the late session running backs as Atlanta crushed the Oakland Raiders and should have another good stats week next Sunday as Atlanta hosts the defensively challenged New Orleans Saints. Brandon Jacobs also cracked the 100-yard mark for the Giants.
One o'clock receivers also started the week well led by Donald Driver (7-136-1), yes he is still alive and playing in Green Bay, and Baltimore's Derrick Mason (9-136-1). Driver cracked the 80-yard mark for the first time this season to reward those who have had the patience to stay with him.
The list of six 100-yard plus pass catchers in the early session included tight end Owen Daniels who went 11-for-133 and no doubt pleased those fantasy owners in PPR leagues.
In the four o'clock games, Seattle's Koren Robinson quickly guaranteed his 100- yard day when he caught a 90-yard TD pass from Seneca Wallace in the first quarter. Considering his best performance year-to-date was a 4-for-31 effort in Week 8 against San Francisco, you would have to have been a genius to have started him against Philadelphia. More unlikely candidates to be fantasy "studs" were Brent Celek, backup to injured Eagles tight end L.J. Smith (6-131) and Denver Broncos' rookie fullback Peyton Hillis (7-116-1).
Kurt Warner was again a "big-time" performer at quarterback with a 23-34-342 day which included two scoring passes. Two overtime games helped Jeff Garcia (339 yards) and Aaron Rodgers (314 yards) garner the 300-yard points bonus. Donovan McNabb (28-43-349) and Jay Cutler joined the 300-yard group in the late session, though Cutler did it in a losing effort.