by Ray Kuhn
This was not a pleasant week for fantasy owners. In general poor performance has sabotaged a lot of running backs who were drafted in the first few rounds of drafts this past summer. That has been a burden teams have had to carry, but this week injuries also took hold. Did I also mention that bye weeks begin this week with six teams getting a rest? So not only do you have account for injuries and poor performance, but your options have also diminished.
Let’s take a look at how the running backs rank heading into Week 8.
|1. Marshawn Lynch -Seattle Seahawks – at St. Louis|
|2. Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings – vs Green Bay|
|3. Jamaal Charles -Kansas City Chiefs – vs Cleveland|
|4. LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. New York Giants|
|5. Reggie Bush – Detroit Lions – vs Dallas|
|6. Knowshon Moreno – Denver Broncos – vs. Washington|
|7. Frank Gore – San Francisco 49ers – at Jacksonville|
|8. Alfred Morris – Washington Redskins – at Denver|
|9. Eddie Lacy – Green Bay Packers – at Minnesota|
|10. Darren Sproles – New Orleans Saints – vs. Buffalo|
|11. Giovani Bernard – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. New York Jets|
|12. Stevan Ridley – New England Patriots – vs. Miami|
|13. Fred Jackson – Buffalo Bills – at New Orleans|
|14. Le’Veon Bell – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Oakland|
|15. D’Angelo Williams – Carolina Panthers – at Tampa Bay|
|16. Darren McFadden – Oakland Raiders – vs. Pittsburgh|
|17. Zac Stacy – St. Louis Rams – vs. Seattle|
|18. Lamar Miller – Miami Dolphins – vs. New England|
|19. Andre Ellington – Arizona Cardinals – vs. Atlanta|
|20. Maurice Jones-Drew – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. San Francisco|
|21. Chris Ivory – New York Jets – at Cincinnati|
|22. Pierre Thomas – New Orleans Saints – vs. Buffalo|
|23. Jacquizz Rodgers – Atlanta Falcons – at Arizona|
|24. Steven Jackson – Atlanta Falcons – at Arizona|
|25. C.J. Spiller – Buffalo Bills – at New Orleans|
|26. Mike James – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. Carolina|
|27. Joseph Randle – Dallas Cowboys – at Detroit|
|28. Brandon Jacobs – New York Giants – at Philadelphia|
|29. Willis McGahee – Cleveland Browns – at Kansas City|
|30. Bilal Powell – New York Jets – at Cincinnati|
|31. Roy Helu – Washington Redskins – at Denver|
|32. Joique Bell – Detroit Lions – vs Dallas|
|33. BenJarvus Green-Ellis – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. New York Jets|
|34. Rashard Mendenhall – Arizona Cardinals – vs. Atlanta|
|35. Chris Ogbonnaya – Cleveland Browns – at Kansas City|
|36. Ronnie Hillman – Denver Broncos – vs. Washington|
|37. Daniel Thomas – Miami Dolphins – vs. New England|
|38. Mike Tolbert – Carolina Panthers – at Tampa Bay|
|39. Kendall Hunter – San Francisco 49ers – at Jacksonville|
|40. Brandon Bolden – New England Patriots – vs. Miami|
- Doug Martin has certainly been a disappointment this season, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t better than the alternative. What is clear is that Martin injured his labrum this week and most likely tore it. Whether he is out for the season is up for debate, but for the next few weeks you will have to fill his spot, as will Tampa Bay. That responsibility falls to Mike James. Prior to this week the rookie only had three carries in his brief NFL career, but after Martin got hurt the rookie carried the ball 14 times for 45 yards and caught another three passes for eight yards. It’s not like Martin was having much success prior to getting hurt. The Buccaneers offense is looking a little better with Mike Glennon at quarterback, so perhaps the running game will improve some. James is not the ideal option, but he is a legitimate one.
- This was the third straight week of 20+ carries for Eddie Lacy, and he finally found the end zone. Lacy carried the ball 22 times for 82 yards and a touchdown, and was also a factor in the receiving game. Aaron Rodgers completed five passes to Lacy for 26 yards which makes him that much more valuable. At this point, Lacy is pretty close to being a RB1.
- Just because CJ Spiller is playing, it does not mean that his ankle is healthy. At this point the Bills might be better served to rest him for a week, as his performance is clearly suffering. Spiller only carried the ball six times for 11 yards, with only one carry of some value. The first round pick didn’t do much better as a receiver, catching just three passes for -4 yards. Fred Jackson is clearly the running back to own here based on health and recent performance, but that is not saying much. Jackson carried the ball 11 times for just 36 yards, but he did add a touchdown and four catches for 49 yards. Not great numbers, but Jackson has done a pretty good job of finding the end zone so far this season. Despite the fact that he left the game temporarily and has been battling his own knee injury, he is the better option at this point.
- After the last two games, it looks like Stevan Ridley might be getting back into the swing of things. Ridley carried the ball 11 times for 50 yards against the Jets and scored a touchdown on the heels of a 96 yard, two touchdown game the week prior. The Patriots offense clearly is not what it used to be, but they will need Ridley. With the return of Rob Gronkowski, perhaps New England is closer to getting back to normal. He might be the one early round running back who has actually redeemed himself the last two weeks and earned his way back into your starting lineup.
- Steven Jackson is set to return to practice this week, so it looks like you can expect him to see about 10-15 carries, at a minimum, this Sunday. While at first glance this hampers the value of Jacquizz Rodgers, I would not be too concerned. Rodgers has not had much success running the ball and only gained 16 yards on 8 carries this week. His value is as a receiver in the passing game, and I don’t think that Jackson’s return will eliminate that production as Rodgers caught eight passes for 46 yards and two touchdowns this week.
- Alfred Morris has had a pretty solid season, but not the standout production you want to see from your first round pick. Morris has scored just three touchdowns, and has only cracked the 100 yard mark once. This week the running back gained 95 yards on 19 carries in what was a pretty good performance, but he saw his backup Roy Helu score three touchdowns. I would not let this sour your opinion of Morris as he is still worth starting, but Helu is now on the radar as a FLEX option.
Make sure to check out all of our Week 8 rankings: