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Week 8 Rankings (2016): Top 40 Running Backs

Wednesday, October 26, 2016 2:14
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by Ray Kuhn

The injuries are just not going to stop. LeSean McCoy really had no business being on the field last week, and we likely won’t have much more clarity on his situation for Sunday, while Atlanta has already confirmed that Tevin Coleman will not be taking the field this week. To make matters even more stressful as fantasy owners attempt to navigate the running back position, six teams are on bye. Let’s take a look at how the running backs who are taking the field this week look:

  1. DeMarco Murray – Tennessee Titans – vs. Jacksonville
  2. Ezekiel Elliot – Dallas Cowboys – vs. Philadelphia
  3. David Johnson – Arizona Cardinals – at Carolina
  4. Spencer Ware – Kansas City Chiefs – at Indianapolis
  5. Lamar Miller – Houston Texans – vs. Detroit
  6. Christine Michael – Seattle Seahawks – at New Orleans
  7. Devonta Freeman – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Green Bay Packers
  8. Matt Forte – New York Jets – at Cleveland
  9. Jacquizz Rodgers – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. Oakland
  10. Melvin Gordon – San Diego Chargers – at Denver
  11. Giovani Bernard – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Washington
  12. James White – New England Patriots – at Buffalo
  13. C.J. Anderson – Denver Broncos – vs. San Diego
  14. Frank Gore – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Kansas City
  15. Latavius Murray – Oakland Raiders – at Tampa Bay
  16. LeGarrette Blount – New England Patriots – at Buffalo
  17. Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints – vs. Seattle
  18. Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers – vs. Arizona
  19. Jeremy Hill – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Washington
  20. Theo Riddick – Detroit Lions – at Houston
  21. Isaiah Crowell – Cleveland Browns – vs. New York Jets
  22. Mike Gillislee – Buffalo Bills – vs. New England
  23. Matt Jones – Washington Redksins – at Cincinnati
  24. Ryan Mathews – Philadelphia Eagles – at Dallas
  25. Matt Asiata – Minnesota Vikings – at Chicago
  26. Duke Johnson – Cleveland Browns – vs. New York Jets
  27. Jerick McKinnon – Minnesota Vikings – at Chicago
  28. Devonate Booker – Denver Broncos – vs. San Diego
  29. T.J. Yeldon – Jacksonville Jaguars – at Tennessee
  30. Chris Thompson – Washington Redskins – at Cincinnati
  31. Zach Zenner – Detroit Lions – at Houston
  32. Darren Sproles – Philadelphia Eagles – at Dallas
  33. Bilal Powell – New York Jets – at Cleveland
  34. Chris Ivory – Jacksonville Jaguars – at Tennessee
  35. Jeremy Langford – Chicago Bears – vs. Minnesota
  36. LeSean McCoy – Buffalo Bills – vs. New England
  37. Jamaal Charles – Kansas City Chiefs – at Indianapolis
  38. Knile Davis – Green Bay Packers – at Atlanta
  39. C.J. Prosise – Seattle Seahawks – at New Orleans
  40. DeAndre Washington – Oakland Raiders – at Tampa Bay


  • Last week was a roller coaster ride for McCoy and his owners, and things worked out about as bad as they possibly could have. After seeing him leave practice on Wednesday it seemed like he would be sidelined last week, but after hearing conflicting reports leading up to game time, he was in the lineup in Miami. McCoy was clearly limited by his hamstring, in which he admittedly had pain, and gained just 11 yards on eight carries before leaving the game after aggravating his injury. It was the worst possible scenario as Mike Gillislee also didn’t play a factor as he gained 20 yards on five carries while not catching a pass. It is still early in the week and Buffalo has yet to commit to anything different for this week, but I would not expect them to make the same mistake twice. That would mean a legitimate workload for Gillislee, who has shown the ability to find the end zone and move the chains. So far this season he has 22 carries for 137 yards and two touchdowns while catching three passes for 27 yards and another touchdown. This is a situation to watch closely leading up to Sunday with the hope that Gillislee carries the ball 20 times.
  • With Tevin Coleman sidelined might we be returning to the glory days of Devonta Freeman from last season? While sharing time with Coleman, Freeman is already more than halfway to 1,000 yards on the ground (508 yards) while averaging 4.8 yards per carry and scoring two touchdowns. Freeman has also caught 22 passes for 169 yards, and this week the entire workload will go to him as Coleman has 59 carries and 19 receptions. While it is not be ideal that Atlanta is facing the Packers and their number one ranked run defense, they did allow 157 yards on the ground to Ezekiel Elliot.
  • It is clear that Kansas City is going to take it slow with Jamaal Charles, and fantasy owners should do the same. After last week Andy Reid said that Charles’ leg was just not feeling right, and he carried the ball one time for no gain. On the other hand, Ware once again looked like an RB1. Against a weak New Orleans defense he capitalized, gaining 77 yards on 17 carries while also catching two passes for 54 yards and a touchdown. Facing an Indianapolis defense that allowed DeMarco Murray to gain 107 yards and a touchdown last week, Ware is appropriately ranked for this week. Averaging 5.2 yards per carry on 95 carries, he has become the center of Kansas City’s offense.
  • While I wouldn’t rush to judgement, Jordan Howard’s time as being a fantasy relevant running back might be coming to an end. Over the past two weeks his stock has sunk quickly and his spot on your roster has to be considered tenuous. After eclipsing 100 yards in two straight weeks he has gained 56 yards on the ground in the last two weeks on 22 carries. Last week he got just one carry in the second half while Ka’Deem Carey took over his touches. Carey carried the ball 10 times for 48 yards, but game flow also has to be taken into account after Brian Hoyer was injured. This is week is tough for any Chicago back as they face the Vikings, but Jeremy Langford is also back in practice. Of the three Langford might be the back to own if he returns, but it is a situation I would avoid if possible. So far this season, Langford was averaging just 3.7 yards per carry on 31 carries with two touchdowns, so it’s not like he was tearing up the field either.
  • Unfortunately for fantasy owners this has become the new norm, but there appears to be some sort of timeshare taking place in Denver. While C.J. Anderson is still the back to own, and at worst should be treated as a mid-tier RB2, Devontae Booker is now officially on the radar and has become worthy of FLEX consideration. While Anderson gained more yards on Monday, 107 to 87, Booker was on the field for more snaps (35 to 29) and also had more touches. I wouldn’t expect to see both backs receive such a heavy workload moving forward, but it also wouldn’t be surprising as Denver looks to minimize Trevor Siemian. Anderson has had success this season, averaging four yards a carry while scoring four touchdowns, but Booker is the more explosive back. So far the rookie has 51 carries for 244 yards and his role is certainly beginning to increase.


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