Christian McCaffrey… James Conner… Nick Chubb…
Yes I am naming three running backs who are valued as an RB1, but I’m not simply seeking out to list top fantasy options. Instead each of those running backs are on bye this week. That means fantasy owners are left with a gaping hole in their starting lineup (Tampa Bay is the fourth team with a bye this week), so things might be a little tougher for some this week. Of course that shouldn’t slow us down, so let’s take a look at how our options rank for this week:
- Leonard Fournette – Jacksonville Jaguars – at Cincinnati
- Dalvin Cook – Minnesota Vikings – at Detroit
- David Johnson – Arizona Cardinals – at NY Giants
- Ezekiel Elliot – Dallas Cowboys – vs. Philadelphia
- Saquon Barkley – NY Giants – vs. Arizona
- Le’Veon Bell – NY Jets – vs. New England
- Todd Gurley – LA Rams – at Atlanta
- Chris Carson – Seattle Seahawks – vs. Baltimore
- Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints – at Chicago
- Derrick Henry – Tennessee Titans – vs. LA Chargers
- Tevin Coleman – San Francisco 49ers – at Washington
- Marlon Mack – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Houston
- Mark Ingram – Baltimore Ravens – at Seattle
- Josh Jacobs – Oakland Raiders – at Green Bay
- Devonta Freeman – Atlanta Falcons – vs. LA Rams
- Kerryon Johnson – Detroit Lions – vs. Minnesota
- Phillip Lindsay – Denver Broncos – vs. Kansas City
- Joe Mixon – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Jacksonville
- James White – New England Patriots – at NY Jets
- Melvin Gordon – LA Chargers – at Tennessee
- Damien Williams – Kansas City Chiefs – at Denver
- Aaron Jones – Green Bay Packers – vs. Oakland
- David Montgomery – Chicago Bears – vs. New Orleans
- Carlos Hyde – Houston Texans – at Indianapolis
- Jordan Howard – Philadelphia Eagles – at Dallas
- Austin Ekeler – LA Chargers – at Tennessee
- Royce Freeman – Denver Broncos – vs. Kansas City
- Frank Gore – Buffalo Bills – vs. Miami
- Jamaal Williams – Green Bay Packers – vs. Oakland
- Miles Sanders – Philadelphia Eagles – at Dallas
- Sony Michel – New England Patriots – at NY Jets
- Matt Breida – San Francisco 49ers – at Washington
- Tarik Cohen – Chicago Bears – vs. New Orleans
- Adrian Peterson – Washington Redskins – vs. San Francisco
- Devin Singletary – Buffalo Bills – vs. Miami
- LeSean McCoy – Kansas City Chiefs – at Denver
- Kenyan Drake – Miami Dolphins – at Buffalo
- Duke Johnson – Houston Texans – at Indianapolis
- Chase Edmonds – Arizona Cardinals – at NY Giants
- Nyheim Hines – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Houston
- At the top we focused on those who aren’t going to be active, but we also welcome back Saquon Barkley to the fold. For a fleeting moment it looked like he was going to return last week (I’m not sure it was ever that realistic of a possibility), but all indications are that he will be good to go against the Cardinals. The second year running back started the week off by practicing on Monday, and with Wayne Gallman still battling a concussion the newly signed Buck Allen is Barkley’s lone competition in the Giants’ backfield. In other words he will go back to being the focal point of New York’s offense, as his workload will be as much as he can handle. After eclipsing the century mark on the ground in each of the first two weeks, things do look a little different for Barkley as he now gets to play with both Daniel Jones and Golden Tate. The Cardinals have done well against opposing running backs, but they likely will have difficulty slowing Barkley down.
- You would like to see Chris Carson facing a more hospitable defense than Baltimore, but there is no questioning who the number one running back is in Seattle’s backfield. With 4.3 yards per carry he isn’t necessarily an explosive threat, but with 118 carries for 504 yards the volume is there. In PPR leagues it is also a nice touch that Carson has 19 receptions for 140 yards, but you would like to see him with more than four total touchdowns (two rushing and two receiving). After carrying the ball 15 times in each of the first three weeks he has turned it on as of late. In each of his last three games Carson has eclipsed the century mark on the ground, and his volume has increased with between 22 and 27 carries. There is no reason not to expect that to continue moving forward.
- We still have to consider Alvin Kamara as an RB1, but for the second straight week fantasy owners will likely be disappointed. Kamara went into the week dealing with an ankle injury but ultimately suited up against Jacksonville. With 11 carries for 31 yards he didn’t make an impact on ground, but with just 373 rushing yards (an average of 4.3 yards per carry), that is how things have been going for him all season. When it comes to the passing came Kamara is coming through with 33 receptions for 276 yards. Last week his seven receptions for 35 yards helped to save some of his value. This week, with Kamara still likely dealing with the ankle injury and facing a tough defense in the Bears, he should be in line for another similar performance.
- After Aaron Jones had his game of the season two weeks ago against the Cowboys, he came crashing back down to earth against Detroit. A large part of that is Jones’ own fault as he both fumbled and dropped what would have been a clear touchdown reception. He still finished with 15 touches, 11 carries for 47 yards and four receptions for 13 yards, but it was Jamaal Williams who stole the show. Moving forward things will likely go back towards more of a timeshare, and with 3.9 yards per carry on the season it is likely best there.
- Frank Gore is still going to be a factor, both this week and moving forward, but as the Bills face the Dolphins on Sunday there is plenty of production to go around. Miami is currently allowing the second most points to opposing running backs and Devin Singletary will likely be returning. The explosive rookie had just 17 touches on the season before dealing with injury, but with 10 carries for 127 yards and a touchdown while catching five passes for another 28 yards he has big play potential.
- Wait, we said the Bears have a tough defense? Well two weeks ago, granted the game was in England, Josh Jacobs debunked that myth. The rookie had the best game of his career with 26 carries for 123 yards and two touchdowns as he headed into his bye week on a high note. Jacobs now returns to face the Packers who have allowed opposing running backs to finish in the top-5 against them so far this season. With just six receptions for 77 yards we can’t really count on him to do much in the passing game, but with 4.9 yards per carry, and now his first 100-plus yard game, the rookie is coming through on the ground. That makes him a legitimate RB2 option moving forward.
Make sure to check out all of our Week 7 rankings: