Week 8 Rankings (2016): Top 40 Running Backs

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.
Week 8 Rankings (2016): Top 20 Tight Ends
Week 8 Rankings (2016): Top 25 Quarterbacks


  1. Patriots says:

    Hello Professor, 12 team standard, looking at some roster mgmt.
    Wrs:Julio, aj, Mike thomas, DeVante Parker
    RBs : Gordon,Crowell, Howard, McKinnon, dixon, coleman.
    Looking at picking up moncrief.
    Who would you drop? , maybe dixon, McKinnon or Howard? , thank you

  2. Smidge says:


    I am heavy at running back with Ingram, Ware, J.Stew, Riddick and Booker, and Beasely is just sitting out there tempting me in a 12 team PPR
    WR I have are Nelson, Beckham, and Pryor
    Would you drop any of the RB’s for Beasley?

  3. Patriots says:

    Just to follow up on the? Above, I start 2 wr’s, 2 rb’s & wr/rb flex, thank you

  4. Haggy says:

    Got Howard now. Langford is on the wire. What do I do.

  5. Hbomb says:

    hey professor, i have carson palmer and blake bortles as my QBs, and Roethlisberger is on the waiver wire, which should i drop for Roethlisberger? or should i just keep carson and blake?

    thank you

  6. Barney says:

    Hey professor would you start mariota Thursday or Prescott Sunday thanks

  7. Sahel kazemi says:

    Where does Booker place in your rankings now that it looks like CJ Andersen will be held out?

  8. Patriots – id probably drop Dixon first, but any of the three are expendable

    Smidge – Riddick definitely droppable for him

    Haggy – Depends what’s out there, but it’s a situation I’m avoiding if possible

    Hbomb – I like Bortles, but I’d drop him to stash Roethlisberger without a thought

    Barney – I guess Mariota, but don’t koce either

    Sahel kazemi – If Anderson is out he’s a Top 10 option for me

  9. haggy says:

    Got D.Johnson, Ware, Charles, Lacy and Starks too. And Howard. Grab Langford and Drop Howard or Drop Howard and not take Langford.

  10. haggy – At this point I’d lean Langford, but if I could I’d avoid the situation all together.

  11. BWAY says:

    Grade the trade or which is the better deal:
    I’m trying to trade RB Ajayi for a better WR like Dez (ROS)

    My other RB’s are Hyde, Blount, CJ, Latavis Murray, and Jaquizz
    My Wr’s are Moncrief, Alshon Jeffries, M Evans, T Benjamin
    My TE is Gronk

    1.) RB Ajayi & WR Travis Benjamin for WR Dez & TE Hunter Henry
    or TE Julius Thomas

    2.)RB Ajayi & WR D Moncrief for WR Dez & TE Hunter Henry
    or TE Julius Thomas

  12. BWAY says:

    My QB’s are Russell Wilson & Cousins
    Do I stand pat with this squad?
    Im 3-4 in a 10 team league 2 games out of 1st place and 3 teams make the playoffs out of each division?
    I want Dez because of his easy schedule down the stretch

  13. Haggy says:

    Do I continue to carry Eddie Lacy on my bench or not. I should be in playoffs but wonder if he may be back or not. At what point do I drop him.

  14. BWAY – I wouldnt just give a blanket stand pat, that would be complacent. I’d look around for the deal that makes most sense.

    Haggy – It all comes down to need really, if you needs he roster spot or not

  15. Krysta says:

    Hi professor! Need to sit one of the four: Mark Ingram, Melvin Gordon, Christine Michael or Jonathan Stewart?

  16. BWAY says:

    1 pt PPR: Beasley DAL or Micheal Thomas NO ROS?

  17. Haggy says:

    Just dropped Howard. Picked up Langford. Got Lacy and Starks. Thinking Lacy don’t return so keeping Starks. Or keep Lacy and pray he comes back.Think he will Prof. Or drop him.

  18. Billy says:

    Who should I start in a non PPR league this week league Jacquizz Rodgers vs the Raiders or Melvin Gordon vs the Broncos?

  19. Haggy – I think he will be back, but who knows how effective he’ll be

    Billy – I’d lean Rodgers, based on the matchup

  20. Jay says:

    I’m in a desperate situation with C.J. Anderson out. All of my other RB’s have Bye’s this week. And Booker is already taken, Zenner, K. Davis, J. Langford, and D. Washington are on the waiver who would you recommend? 12 team standard league. Thanks!

  21. Barney says:

    Prof Doyle this week a good start

  22. Jay – I’d gamble on Zenner of those guys, with Langford #2

    Barney – I’m using him!

  23. Andrew says:

    Hey roto 1ppr can you rank Edelman, j Matthews, kelvin and Michael Thomas Lao I can start either Chris Thompson or j hill thx

  24. Donnie says:

    Mr. Roto
    I am in a ten team standard scoring league. I just traded for Brandin Cooks and Asiata. Should I play Asiata over Fuller in one flex spot, Asiata over Blount in my RB spot, or play Cooks and M. Thomas in my two flex spots? Any advice would be great.

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