Week 8 Rankings (2017): Top 40 Running Backs

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:

  1. Le’Veon Bell – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Detroit
  2. Melvin Gordon – Los Angeles Chargers – at New England
  3. Ezekiel Elliot – Dallas Cowboys – at Washington
  4. LeSean McCoy – Buffalo Bills – vs. Oakland
  5. Kareem Hunt – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Denver
  6. Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints – vs. Chicago
  7. Devonta Freeman – Atlanta Falcons – at New York Jets
  8. Jordan Howard – Chicago Bears – at New Orleans
  9. Carlos Hyde – San Francisco 49ers – at Philadelphia
  10. Joe Mixon – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Indianapolis
  11. Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. Carolina
  12. Jay Ajayi – Miami Dolphins – at Baltimore
  13. Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers – at Tampa Bay
  14. Lamar Miller – Houston Texans – at Seattle
  15. Duke Johnson – Cleveland Browns – vs. Minnesota
  16. Jerick McKinnon – Minnesota Vikings – at Cleveland
  17. James White – New England Patriots – vs. LA Chargers
  18. Chris Thompson – Washington Redskins – vs. Dallas
  19. Ameer Abdullah – Detroit Lions – vs. Pittsburgh
  20. Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints – vs. Chicago
  21. LeGarrette Blount – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. San Francisco
  22. Javorius Allen – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Miami
  23. Bilal Powell – New York Jets – vs. Atlanta
  24. C.J. Anderson – Denver Broncos – at Kansas City
  25. Theo Riddick – Detroit Lions – vs. Pittsburgh
  26. Tarik Cohen – Chicago Bears – at New Orleans
  27. Tevin Coleman – Atlanta Falcons – at New York Jets
  28. Marlon Mack – Indianapolis Colts – at Cincinnati
  29. Jalen Richard – Oakland Raiders – at Buffalo
  30. Dion Lewis – New England Patriots – vs. LA Chargers
  31. Matt Forte – New York Jets – vs. Atlanta
  32. Alex Collins – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Miami
  33. Wendell Smallwood – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. San Francisco
  34. Jamaal Charles – Denver Broncos – at Kansas City
  35. Latavius Murray – Oakland Raiders – at Cleveland
  36. Isaiah Crowell – Cleveland Browns – vs. Minnesota
  37. Frank Gore – Indianapolis Colts – at Cincinnati
  38. Giovani Bernard – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Indianapolis
  39. Thomas Rawls – Seattle Seahawks – vs. Houston
  40. DeAndre Washington – Oakland Raiders – at Buffalo

Notes:

  • 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:

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defenses
Week 8 Rankings (2017): Top 50 Wide Receivers: Is Amari Cooper "Back" & More
Week 8 Rankings (2017): Top 20 Tight Ends: Intriguing Options Fill The Middle Tier

23 comments

  1. Graffiti says:

    I think Blount and Thompson have a good chance to break 10 points.
    I have a tough match up this week, can I trust Miller to break 10, or will we see Kamara have another solid game in Chicago?

  2. Carol says:

    Standard League scoring- Need 1 RB from Kamara vs Chicago or Mixon vs Indy?

    PPR League need 2 RB’s from: Kamara, Miller @ Seattle, McKinnon @ Cleveland.
    Than Flex from the RB’s above or WR Fuller @ Seattle, RB-C.Thompson vs
    Dallas.

  3. Brian says:

    Hey Prof,

    Should I hold onto Jordy Nelson or try and trade him? Possibilities include for Golden Tate,, Thielen, or DaVante Parker……are any worth it?

  4. Chu says:

    Wendell Smallwood or J McKinnon – need 75 yds threshold 1/3 ppr

  5. Sheldon Williamson says:

    Hi, Prof. I’m playing in a 14-team league. So the pickings are really thin. Need help at FLEX: Wendell Smallwood vs. SF or Jalen Richard @BUF? Smallwood has a great matchup against he last-ranked SF run-D. But I have Richard starting at FLEX now. Should I start Smallwood instead? Thanks.

  6. Ted says:

    i have a couple of trade options this week, what do you think?

    Dak and Zuerlein for Gurley (they are on the fence for this one)
    Dak for Roethlisberger and Kamara
    Dak for Hogan

    if the Gurley trade is not an option which one of the others would you do?

    my main QB is Wentz.

  7. carmen says:

    Hey prof,
    Need an RB2 and flex (courtesy of Gurley’s bye)- I’ve got Duke Johnson, Will Fuller, Wendell Smallwood, Amari Cooper, Nelson Agholor, and DeSean Jackson- I currently am rolling Johnson/Fuller but the minn/seattle matchups have me a bit concerned- was considering sliding smallwood somewhere in there but his split touches are also concerning, despite a juicy matchup

  8. Joe says:

    Hi Prof,

    Standard scoring flex help: JuJu vs Detroit, Mixon vs Indy or Kamara vs Chicago. If PPR Kamara all the way, but it is just standard scoring. 🙁

    Thank you!!

  9. Stan Gable says:

    Hello Doc,

    I need a nonppr RB. Currently I have Martin, Adbullah, Mack , and Henry (cut bust Crowell).

    We play 3wr nonppr. I have AB, Cooper, D.Adams, Parker,Agholor, and Doctson.

    Would you trade Adams and Doctson for Carlos Hyde? I realize Hyde has some difficult ROS matchups.

    I could grab Corey Davis of waivers with roster spot.

    Thanks!

  10. Brian says:

    Hey Prof,

    Mack or Dion Lewis in the flex?

    Funchess or Doctson?

    1 point PPR

  11. Brian says:

    Rudolph or sefarian Jenkins?

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