Week 8 Fantasy RB Rankings: Must starts, sleepers, potential busts at running back

Rank Player 1 Derrick Henry, TEN @ CIN 2 Dalvin Cook, MIN @ GB. Cook (groin) missed his final game before the bye but if he returns, he’ll have a great matchup against a Packers defense that has allowed the second-most fantasy points per game (FPPG) to RBs this season. 3 Christian McCaffrey, CAR vs. ATL. McCaffrey may or may not return from IR before Thursday night’s game against the Falcons. If he does, fire him up in a top-tier matchup. If not, Mike Davis will be a top-10 play once again. 4 Alvin Kamara, NO @ CHI 5 Aaron Jones, GB vs. MIN 6 Todd Gurley, ATL @ CAR 7 Kareem Hunt, CLE vs. LV 8 Jonathan Taylor, IND @ DET 9 Josh Jacobs, LV @ CLE 10 Clyde Edwards-Helaire, KC vs. NYJ. Edwards-Helaire has a great matchup against the Jets in Week 8, but he is clearly splitting touches with Le’Veon Bell. CEH out-touched Bell 9-6 against the Broncos, but in what is a revenge game for Bell against his former team, the rookie could see less work, especially if Bell gets going early. 11 Ronald Jones II, TB @ NYG 12 Ezekiel Elliott, DAL @ PHI. In two games without Dak Prescott, Elliott has totaled 131 scrimmage yards, hasn’t scored, and has fumbled twice for the Cowboys. With Ben DiNucci presumably starting in place of an injured Andy Dalton (concussion) in Week 8, Elliott’s upside is lower than usual since the Eagles will be able to sell out to stop him. He still has to be considered an RB1 for now, but if the Cowboys struggle to move the ball again and his offensive line can’t get healthy, Zeke may be further downgraded. 13 Darrell Henderson, LAR @ MIA 14 Carlos Hyde, SEA vs. SF. Chris Carson (foot) left Sunday night’s game against the Cardinals with an injury and didn’t return. In his stead, Hyde handled most of the work. If Carson is out this week, Hyde will likely serve as the lead back and should be a volume-based RB2 despite facing San Francisco’s top-ranked defense against RBs (12.7 FPPG allowed to RBs). 15 Giovani Bernard, CIN vs. TEN. With Joe Mixon (foot) out last week, Bernard was able to log 96 scrimmage yards and a TD on 18 touches for the Bengals. If Mixon can’t play again, Bernard will be an RB2 who makes up for his lack of between-the-tackles ability with his receiving skills. 16 Myles Gaskin, MIA vs. LAR 17 Melvin Gordon, DEN vs. LAC 18 James Conner, PIT @ BAL 19 David Montgomery, CHI vs. NO 20 Boston Scott, PHI vs. DAL. Miles Sanders (knee) missed the Eagles’ win over the Giants and was expected to be out one to two games. With the Eagles on bye in Week 9, it would make sense to sit Sanders and give Boston Scott a chance to prove himself against a weak Cowboys defense. Scott had 92 yards and a TD on 15 touches against the Giants and should be able to put up similar numbers against a Cowboys defense that has allowed the second-most yardage to RBs this season (1,015 yards). 21 D’Andre Swift, DET vs. IND. Swift is emerging slowly but surely as the lead back in Detroit. He out-touched Adrian Peterson 13-12 against the Falcons and racked up 48 yards and a TD for the team. Swift has scored in three straight weeks, be it on the ground or through the air, but he may find trouble moving the ball on a Colts team that allows fewer than 15 FPPG to opposing RBs. Still, Swift’s receiving floor (at least four targets in 5-of-6 games) will make him a solid RB2 in standard and a definite top-20 play in PPR. 22 Le’Veon Bell, KC vs. NYJ. Bell looked good in his first game with the Chiefs. He averaged 6.5 yards per carry in a Chiefs blowout of the Broncos and should be positioned to get plenty of touches moving forward. The Jets released Bell a couple of weeks ago, so this is undeniably a revenge game for him. The Chiefs may look to get him involved in the game plan early and often to expose a Jets defense that has allowed the seventh-most rushing yards to RBs this season (735). 23 Wayne Gallman, NYG vs. TB. Devonta Freeman (ankle) left the Giants’ Thursday night loss to the Eagles with an ankle injury and didn’t return. His status moving forward is unclear, but after Gallman rumbled for 34 yards and a TD on 10 carries while adding 20 yards on five catches, he may be given a chance to serve as the lead back. Unfortunately, Gallman will face a Tampa defense that allows the fewest rushing yards to RBs on the season (48.7) so he can’t be considered anything more than a low-end RB2. 24 Damien Harris, NE @ BUF. Harris was one of the tiny bright spots of the Patriots’ loss to the 49ers. Harris ran for 58 yards on 10 carries and added 12 yards receiving to complete a 70-yard day. Given their lack of receiving weapons, the Patriots should look to lean on the run, and Harris is well-positioned to take advantage of a Bills run defense that has allowed the ninth-most rushing yards to RBs this season (732) and just let La’Mical Perine and Frank Gore rack up 99 rushing yards against them. 25 JaMycal Hasty, SF @ SEA. The 49ers are on to about their fifth lead RB of the year with Hasty now set to be the top option. Raheem Mostert (ankle) and Tevin Coleman (knee) are both on IR. Jeff Wilson Jr. just ran for three TDs against the Patriots, but he had a calf injury. Meanwhile, Jerick McKinnon got three carries for -1 yards against the Patriots in what was supposedly a “rest day” for him. McKinnon may get more carries, but it’s hard to trust Kyle Shanahan not to mix things up. Thus, Hasty, who had 10 touches and 73 yards against the Patriots, profiles as the 49ers’ top back. The Seahawks allow just 3.9 yards per carry, but Hasty is elusive enough to make some plays against a tough defense. 26 Gus Edwards, BAL vs. PIT. Mark Ingram (ankle) may not be ready to go in Week 8. If that’s the case, one part of the Ravens’ three-headed monster of a backfield will be taken out and it will open the door for either Edwards or JK Dobbins to emerge in a large role. Edwards led Baltimore with 14 carries against the Eagles before the bye and though he had only 26 yards, he did find the end-zone. He could be in for a similar day against an excellent Steelers run defense that has allowed only 351 rushing yards to RBs this year, but he can still be trusted as a high-end RB3/flex because of his volume. 27 La’Mical Perine, NYJ @ KC. Adam Gase was finally able to get Perine more involved in the Jets’ game-plan. He had 13 touches to Frank Gore’s 11 and totaled 55 yards on the day along with a TD. Perine should continue to be involved in the Jets’ game-plan after playing 70 percent of the snaps, so he may be a good play against a Chiefs defense that has allowed 833 rushing yards to RBs this year, good for third-most in the league. 28 Joshua Kelley, LAC @ DEN. Kelley was the leader in backfield touches for the Chargers on Sunday with 12 carries for 29 yards and five catches for 24 yards. That said, Justin Jackson totaled 55 yards on 10 touches, so this situation seems likely to seesaw each week between the two backs. The Broncos are allowing only 12.9 FPPG to RBs this year, so trusting either Kelley or Jackson would be a risk this week. 29 Justin Jackson, LAC @ DEN. See above. 30 Devin Singletary, BUF vs. NE. Singletary hasn’t performed well in his second season and is only averaging 3.8 yards per carry and has found the end-zone just once all season. He’s not doing much in the receiving game either and is averaging only 15 receiving yards per game in his last four outings. The Patriots have struggled against RBs in recent weeks and just let Jeff Wilson gash them for over 100 yards and three TDs, but Singletary’s sub-par performance and carry split with Zack Moss makes him a flex play at best this week. 31 Leonard Fournette, TB @ NYG. It looks like we’re back to a frustrating carry split in Tampa Bay with Leonard Fournette out-touching Ronald Jones 17-14 against the Raiders. Fournette gained more on the ground than Jones (60-34) but Jones found the end-zone and will likely continue to be relied on as the de facto top back with Fournette being more of a change-of-pace and pass-catching back. Fournette could be an RB2 in PPR leagues, especially since the Giants give up the fourth-most receiving yards (361) and second-most receiving TDs (3) to RBs. 32 Frank Gore, NYJ @ KC. Gore’s snap share dropped to 28 percent last week, but he still got 11 carries and turned them into 60 yards. It was one of his best games of the season. He could find the end-zone against a weak Chiefs run defense but predicting whether he or Perine will get the goal-line carries is a dangerous game. 33 Zack Moss, BUF vs. NE. After playing just 14 snaps against the Chiefs, Moss went back to having roughly a 50-50 split with Singletary at the RB spot. He racked up 72 total yards against the Jets and looked better than Singletary getting the job done there. Perhaps he’ll overtake Singletary with a good game against the Patriots, but until he can do that, the two will be flex considerations in a frustrating split. 34 Jerick McKinnon, SF @ SEA. It would’ve been nice of Kyle Shanahan to give us a heads up about McKinnon’s “rest day” against the Patriots. That said, with just him and JaMycal Hasty confirmed to be healthy, McKinnon should be a solid play against a Seahawks defense that allows 28.7 points per game but after last week, we’re considering him a flex play, just to be safe. 35 Adrian Peterson, DET vs. IND. Peterson is averaging just 3.05 yards per carry in his last four games and is losing touches rapidly to D’Andre Swift. Peterson will still get some work to help keep Swift fresh, but his days as a lead back in Detroit appear to be numbered. 36 Jamaal Williams, GB vs. MIN 37 JK Dobbins, BAL vs. PIT 38 James White, NE @ BUF 39 Alexander Mattison, MIN @ GB 40 Malcolm Brown, LAR @ MIA 41 Corey Clement, PHI vs. DAL 42 Mike Davis, CAR vs. ATL 43 Latavius Murray, NO @ CHI 44 Nyheim Hines, IND @ DET 45 Royce Freeman, DEN vs. LAC 46 Jordan Wilkins, IND @ DET 47 Benny Snell, PIT @ BAL 48 Dion Lewis, NYG vs. TB 49 Brian Hill, ATL @ CAR 50 Matt Breida, MIA vs. LAR 51 Tony Pollard, DAL @ PHI 52 Travis Homer, SEA vs. SF 53 Kerryon Johnson, DET vs. IND 54 Jeremy McNichols, TEN @ CIN 55 Rex Burkhead, NE @ BUF 56 Jalen Richard, LV @ CLE 57 Darrel Williams, KC vs. NYJ 58 Deejay Dallas, SEA vs. SF 59 Anthony McFarland, PIT @ BAL 60 D’Ernest Johnson, CLE vs. LV 61 Cam Akers, LAR @ MIA 62 Lynn Bowden Jr., MIA vs. LAR 63 AJ Dillon, GB vs. MIN

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