by Ray Kuhn
This is when it starts. We have six teams on bye this week, and while some (the Giants) don’t offer us much from a fantasy perspective, we are also without Todd Gurley and Leonard Fournette (although an extra week for his ankle to heal isn’t a bad thing). This week also sees the Cardinals, Titans and Packers on the sidelines, as fantasy owners will have to work a little harder to fill their lineups. Let’s take a look at how our options rank:
- Le’Veon Bell – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Detroit
- Melvin Gordon – Los Angeles Chargers – at New England
- Ezekiel Elliot – Dallas Cowboys – at Washington
- LeSean McCoy – Buffalo Bills – vs. Oakland
- Kareem Hunt – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Denver
- Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints – vs. Chicago
- Devonta Freeman – Atlanta Falcons – at New York Jets
- Jordan Howard – Chicago Bears – at New Orleans
- Carlos Hyde – San Francisco 49ers – at Philadelphia
- Joe Mixon – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Indianapolis
- Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. Carolina
- Jay Ajayi – Miami Dolphins – at Baltimore
- Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers – at Tampa Bay
- Lamar Miller – Houston Texans – at Seattle
- Duke Johnson – Cleveland Browns – vs. Minnesota
- Jerick McKinnon – Minnesota Vikings – at Cleveland
- James White – New England Patriots – vs. LA Chargers
- Chris Thompson – Washington Redskins – vs. Dallas
- Ameer Abdullah – Detroit Lions – vs. Pittsburgh
- Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints – vs. Chicago
- LeGarrette Blount – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. San Francisco
- Javorius Allen – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Miami
- Bilal Powell – New York Jets – vs. Atlanta
- C.J. Anderson – Denver Broncos – at Kansas City
- Theo Riddick – Detroit Lions – vs. Pittsburgh
- Tarik Cohen – Chicago Bears – at New Orleans
- Tevin Coleman – Atlanta Falcons – at New York Jets
- Marlon Mack – Indianapolis Colts – at Cincinnati
- Jalen Richard – Oakland Raiders – at Buffalo
- Dion Lewis – New England Patriots – vs. LA Chargers
- Matt Forte – New York Jets – vs. Atlanta
- Alex Collins – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Miami
- Wendell Smallwood – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. San Francisco
- Jamaal Charles – Denver Broncos – at Kansas City
- Latavius Murray – Oakland Raiders – at Cleveland
- Isaiah Crowell – Cleveland Browns – vs. Minnesota
- Frank Gore – Indianapolis Colts – at Cincinnati
- Giovani Bernard – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Indianapolis
- Thomas Rawls – Seattle Seahawks – vs. Houston
- DeAndre Washington – Oakland Raiders – at Buffalo
- After two straight weeks of C.J. Anderson being a disappointment, maybe it is time to reevaluate how we feel about him. Game flow wasn’t working in his favor, but when he did get the ball we didn’t see much in the way of results. On 10 carries Anderson gained just 44 yards while catching one pass for 17 yards. Overall he is averaging 4.3 yards per carry on 92 carries, but he has 1 TD and isn’t a factor in the passing game with 11 catches for 84 yards. The good thing is that Devontae Booker doesn’t appear to be a factor. However, Jamaal Charles is someone that might deserve a little attention. While coach Vance Joseph has been talking up Charles lately, his touches only rose to eight last week and he was on the field for 23% of Denver’s snaps which is about where he has been for the past few weeks. Charles is averaging 4.7 yards per carry while catching eight passes for 43 yards, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see him get a bigger role. However, with six teams on bye you might have no choice but to roll with Anderson.
- Up and down. That is the best way we can describe the trajectory of Latavius Murray this season, and unfortunately we are stuck with him. After a 28 yard effort two weeks ago he picked up 113 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries last week. A large chunk of those yards came on a 35 yard run and then on a 31 yard touchdown run, as Murray managed just under three yards per carry otherwise. It wasn’t much better than the 47 yards on 14 carries Jerick McKinnon had, as he also caught three passes for 10 yards. What is clear is that both running backs are going to be a factor for the rest of the season, and both do have some value. Just don’t expect another 100 yard day from Murray as his value is solely dependent upon finding the end zone.
- Marshawn Lynch has lost his appeal and is suspended for this week. Quite honestly, it is not a big loss as his performance has left a lot to be desired. After his ejection last week, Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington took over. Touches were divided pretty evenly, 13 for Richard compared to 12 for Washington although the former out gained the latter 76 yards to 40. Of the two backs, Richard is the one I would target since he is the preferred option in the passing game as he caught four passes for 45 yards. Washington is the goal line back as he found the end zone last week (and he caught three passes for seven yards). Try not to read too much into this situation, even if Oakland begins a trend of reducing Lynch’s role.
- After Adrian Peterson was sent packing, Mark Ingram has eclipsed 100 yards in each of the last two weeks. After carrying the ball 25 times for 114 yards and 2 TD two weeks ago, Ingram gained 105 yards on 22 carries last week while scoring another touchdown. While Alvin Kamara will continue to be a factor, the Saints offense is rolling and there is enough room for both. With New Orleans taking on the Bears at home this week, Ingram will likely be relied on once again to control the clock, and I would look for him to eclipse the century mark for the third straight week. That doesn’t mean Kamara isn’t without value though, as he gained 57 yards on nine carries while also catching five passes for another 50 yards.
- This also says a lot about the running back position, but Carlos Hyde was a higher-end RB2 this week. That came in game where the 49ers never really had a chance, and Hyde didn’t even find the end zone. This isn’t to say he had a bad game, 68 yards on 14 carries and four catches for 20 yards, but there is also not enough to really get excited about here. Hyde will continue to be ranked highly, for season long leagues, but in reality he is TD dependent and isn’t someone I would consider outside of seasonal formats. However, the fact that Matt Breida hasn’t been a factor, nine touches in the last two games, does work in Hyde’s favor.
- We know Isaiah Crowell is going to touch the ball often, but is it really worth it? At this point give me the upside and a running back who actually has the potential to break a big play and be a factor in the passing game. This past week the Browns played a close game against the Titans, and as expected Crowell carried the ball 17 times. The issue is that he only gained 35 yards; although he did catch four passes for 36 yards. So far this season Crowell is averaging 3.2 yards per carry, and he has yet to find the end zone. Stay away here if you can.
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Make sure to check out all of our Week 8 rankings: