Boy, Week 6 games in the NFL featured some standout performances from running backs. The Week 7 running back rankings reaction looks at who stepped up and performed for their team and who continues to remain an unappealing start in RB and FLEX spots.
Unfortunately, the teams with byes force Fantasy Football owners to bench James Starks, Matt Forte and Jeremy Hill. Starks dominated last Sunday (10 carries for 112 yards and a TD). In an impressive showing, Starks pressed the spin move button when he bumped into the line and ran 65 yards for the score. If you do not need RB help in Week 7 but could use the cushion the rest of the season, Starks is a nice addition. He’s only 38 percent owned in ESPN leagues.
Hill did not have a full breakout game, but he had a pretty TD when he leaped and glided over a defender to reach the end zone. Forte continues to be a presence in the Bears offense, but he too has a bye. The Broncos join the Bears, Bengals and Packers in having Week 7 off, so keep that in mind.
I’m also bummed that a weak run defense faces a weak running offense this week. The Atlanta Falcons have allowed 11 TDs and 25.9 Fantasy points per game against RBs this year, but they take on the Tennessee Titans. Antonio Andrews is the highest ranking Tennessee RB on the running back rankings (30th), so the whole matchup is a wash. Below I discuss the New York Giants’ similar situation this week when they play the Dallas Cowboys.
On the other hand, a bunch of RBs have favorable matchups this week: Todd Gurley plays the Cleveland Browns, LeSean McCoy plays the Jacksonville Jaguars and Frank Gore plays the New Orleans Saints. Those are some clear-cut RBs with great spots in the running back rankings, but read on for more reactions.
Week 7 Running Back Rankings Reaction
Who I Like
Chris Ivory, New York Jets
I was dead wrong on Ivory last week despite being eighth on the running back rankings. Now he’s moved up two spots to sixth after his second consecutive game with more than 140 rushing yards. He looked outstanding on a 54-yard run last Sunday, and also made three catches for 50 yards. With the third most rushing yards in the league (460), Ivory is a safe start every week, even when he faces the New England Patriots this Sunday.
Latavius Murray, Oakland Raiders
At 11th in this week’s running back rankings, Murray gets the chance to return to form after a bye week. In Weeks 4 and 5, the Raiders pulled him in the second half because of poor performance, which could have been the result of a shoulder issue. Before Week 4, Murray had yet to collect fewer than 80 total yards of offense in a game. Against the San Diego Chargers this week, Murray has an opportunity to explode since the Chargers have allowed the most Fantasy points per game against RBs (26.3) according to Pro-Football Reference. Murray is a stout RB2 or low-end RB1 in Week 7.
DeMarco Murray, Philadelphia Eagles
Murray looked resurgent in his Week 6 performance (22 carries for 109 yards and a TD, plus three receptions for 14 yards). His upside is becoming more apparent, as his Week 5 performance produced more than 100 total yards of offense and a TD. The Eagles draw a somewhat challenging road matchup this Sunday against the Carolina Panthers, a team that’s given up 18 Fantasy points per game to RBs. Murray jumped from 21st to 16th in the running back rankings and could perform well enough on Sunday to be a Top 15 RB next week.
Christine Michael, Dallas Cowboys
In general, I make an effort to avoid hype, but Michael took first-team looks in practice this week. Without Lance Dunbar and with an inconsistent Joseph Randle, the Cowboys seem willing to roll the dice with Michael. Against the New York Giants, the Cowboys RBs should perform well. Through six games, the Giants have allowed 857 total yards and six TDs to RBs. In a FLEX spot, Michael is a high-risk, high-reward play. Ranked 22nd, Michael is coming off a bye week, so here’s hoping the rest and preparation help. By the way, Michael is only 40 percent owned in ESPN leagues, but that number keeps rising.
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) October 14, 2015
Who I Don’t Like
Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers
Hyde’s foot hurts and the 49ers play the Seattle Seahawks on short rest Thursday night. Against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 6, Hyde carried the stone 21 times for just 55 yards. Slotting Hyde into your FLEX or RB2 should not be your first option as the Seahawks have allowed just 12.6 Fantasy points per game against RBs. Due to last week’s performance and the tough matchup, Hyde fell from 14th to 18th in the running back rankings.
Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins
In the last two weeks, Morris is averaging 1.9 yards per carry and has yet to record a TD. More opportunities arose for Morris in Week 7 when Matt Jones rested his injured toe, but 11 carries and 21 yards won’t do Morris’ owners any good. If you’re out of options, use Morris, but otherwise do not count on him to capitalize on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers shoddy run defense. The Bucs have allowed RBs to score more than 19 Fantasy points per game. If Jones returns, he and Morris become low-end FLEX plays, at best.
Rashad Jennings, New York Giants
Through six games, Jennings has one rushing TD, one receiving TD and has yet to rush for 100-plus yards in a game. Eli Manning hasn’t targeted him more than four times in a game. Last week, Jennings totaled 83 yards of offense, but coughed up a fumble in a messy Monday Night Football battle with the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s too bad the Giants’ RBs have struggled because their Week 7 foe, the Cowboys, have allowed RBs to score 24.8 Fantasy points per game this year. Jennings sits 29th in the Week 7 running back rankings.
Andre Ellington, Arizona Cardinals
Injuries snubbed Ellington this year. Once Chris Johnson and David Johnson took over for the banged-up Ellington, that pushed Ellington down the depth chart. In Weeks 5 and 6, Ellington played 13 and nine snaps, respectively. That limited playing time makes him valueless in almost all leagues. Where owners do have him, he is not worth starting unless the Johnson RB duo suffers injuries or falters. At 36th in the running back rankings, Ellington has disappointed owners who thought they had a starting RB with high upside.
It feels unusual, but Week 7 has far more RBs I’m excited to start than ones I’m saddened to bench. Several RBs draw outstanding matchups and have the chance to post huge Fantasy Football weeks. Now that you’ve read through the running back rankings, do not forget to peruse the other positional rankings for Week 7.
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