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It wouldn’t be a Running Back Rankings reaction piece if a few soft-tissue injuries didn’t pop up and create opportunities for the next RBs on the depth chart, right? Right!

Last week, Fantasy Football fans watched Arian Foster tear his Achilles tendon and Joseph Randle injure his oblique. Week 7 was not a good week to mess with Texas RBs in Fantasy Football. On the bright side, Darren McFadden busted through the New York Giants with 29 carries for 152 yards and a TD. Unfortunately, McFadden’s matchup against the Seattle Seahawks this Sunday is unfavorable. Against Seattle, RBs average 11.6 Fantasy points per game.

As for the Texans, a running-back-by-committee system led by Alfred Blue is imminent. For more on that, read the “Who I Don’t Like” section. To me, Blue is only valuable to Fantasy Football owners in dire straits at the RB position considering the empty pit that is the RB waiver wire selection. Meanwhile, top-tier RBs that have remained healthy continue to perform. Devonta Freeman, Doug Martin, Todd Gurley, Adrian Peterson and LeVeon Bell reached or neared the century mark on the ground in Week 7. Obviously, those are all must-start RBs and here’s to their health going forward.

Even Charcandrick West, attempting to fill Jamaal Charles’ shoes, posted a great game against the Steelers: 22 carries for 110 yards and a TD. Not to take anything away from West, but the Steelers run defense is nothing special. West gets another nice matchup in Week 8 against the Detroit Lions, a team that RBs have average 109 rushing yards against while scoring nine TDs.

Keep in mind the four bye teams this week: Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, Washington Redskins, Philadelphia Eagles. For more help, take a look at NFL Game Previews and Fantasy Football Start/Sit recommendations. With all of that in mind, let’s look at the Week 8 running back rankings reaction to see who else is due for a nice week or a disappointing one.

Week 8 Running Back Rankings Reaction

 

Who I Like

Justin Forsett, Baltimore Ravens

He struggled mightily in Week 7—12 carries for 36 yards and a TD—but Forsett and the Ravens take on the San Diego Chargers in Week 8. Only the Cleveland Browns have allowed RBs to score more Fantasy points than the Chargers (184.2 vs. 179.6). At home against a middling run defense, Forsett has a platinum opportunity at a ferocious bounce back week, which is how he ended up ranked seventh this week.

Chris Johnson, Arizona Cardinals

Not only has Johnson replaced Andre Ellington with consistency, he gets a phenomenal matchup this week against the Cleveland Browns. Johnson has three games with 100-plus rushing yards and the Browns have allowed a RB to run for at least 100 yards every game in 2015. Unfortunately, the TDs still aren’t coming in bulk for Johnson, who has only three TDs on the year. Johnson is second in the NFL in rushing yards (567) behind Devonta Freeman. Sitting 11th in the running back rankings, Johnson remains a reliable RB1.

Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers

Coming off his first 100-plus yard rushing game, Stewart faces an Indianapolis Colts run defense that needs improving. The Colts have allowed the fourth most Fantasy points to RBs (162.2) because of 739 rushing yards, 321 receiving yards and nine total TDs. Playing at home, Stewart could easily carry 20 times for 4.0 yards per carry. He’s another RB that’s had the playing time, but seldom finds the end zone, as he has just two TDs this year. In the running back rankings, he is sitting 13th and remains a low-end RB1.

 

Who I Don’t Like

 

Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals

Even returning from a bye week, Hill does not thrill me with his meager 3.1 yards per carry. Six total TDs are holding up some value, but as mentioned in a previous running back rankings reaction, Hill rushed for five TDs across two games. In Week 8, the Bengals go to Heinz Field to play the Pittsburgh Steelers, a team that’s allowed only 13.7 Fantasy points per game to RBs this year. Maybe in a deep-league FLEX you can play Hill, but I’m waiting to see something from him before I set him as an automatic play. The SCFE rankings tend to disagree, as Hill jumped from 20th in Week 6 to 15th this week.

Latavius Murray, Oakland Raiders

Last week, I touted Murray, but his matchup this week is tough. He is still a must-start, but expect his numbers to come up short when the Raiders play the New York Jets on Sunday. In six games, the Jets have allowed RBs to rush for an average of just 50 yards per game and score 9.4 Fantasy points. The Jets have allowed only one rushing TD and one receiving TD to RBs. This matchup explains the drop in rankings for Murray, from 10th last week to 23rd.

Duke Johnson, Cleveland Browns

In standard formats, Johnson’s receiving potential goes to waste, which is why he’s ranked 28th this week. But in PPR rankings, Johnson jumps to 20th. However, the Browns Week 8 opponent (Arizona Cardinals) have been tough on RBs, who scored an average of 15.6 Fantasy points against the Browns. Johnson has been key to the Browns passing game though and has earned seven or more targets in four of the last five games. But with only one TD to show for it, it’s hard to insert Johnson into more than a FLEX spot in PPR leagues with 12 or more teams.

Eddie Lacy and James Starks, Green Bay Packers

What’s happened to the Packers backfield? Well, Lacy’s ankle injury just subsided this week, according to Coach Mike McCarthy, but he certainly tried to play through it in Week 6. When that didn’t work, Starks broke out for a huge game, but reportedly sat for Wednesday’s practice this week. So he too could be ailing. Follow the practice news this week, as it’s difficult to gauge who will get the bulk of carries against the Denver Broncos in Week 8. Given the uncertainty and Denver’s stubbornness against the run, do not anticipate monster weeks from Lacy or Starks, ranked 20th and 30th respectively this week.

Alfred Blue, Houston Texans

I hope you did not blow your FAAB on Blue once Foster went down. The Texans will incorporate a RBBC system in the backfield, which makes it hard to roster Blue, Chris Polk and Jonathan Grimes this week. Blue’s toes were hurt, too, so Polk might be the feature back the Texans use in the passing game that they lean on so much. I’m not interested in this committee until I see something I like. At 26th in the running back rankings, Blue is nothing more than a cheap waiver wire add that you have to hope surprises everybody.

There’s a lot to take in the Week 8 running back rankings reaction, so never hesitate to find us on Twitter or reach out to us in the comments section below.

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