Week 8 Rankings (2019): Top 40 Running Backs: Identifying Those Who Can’t Be Trusted, New Top Options Emerge & More


Based on how last week went it’s really not breaking news to expect the unexpected. Granted I didn’t have Chase Edmonds and Latavius Murray highly ranked early in the week, but those owners who handcuffed David Johnson and Alvin Kamara shouldn’t have been complaining all that much on Sunday… Wait, I take that back. Johnson carried the ball once for two yards after we were led to believe he would be a normal participant in last Sunday’s game. So Johnson owners should be complaining, because if both players are active you are going to play your first round pick.

So for as much you plan and research, sometimes things just don’t work out. I know that sounds like an excuse, but there is only so much you can do as fantasy owner. Once you find a practice that works, stick with it and trust your process. Here are how this week’s options rank, just remember your process shouldn’t conclude until your lineups are locked:

  1. Dalvin Cook – Minnesota Vikings – vs. Washington
  2. Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers – at San Francisco
  3. Saquon Barkley – NY Giants – at Detroit
  4. Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints – vs. Arizona
  5. Chris Carson – Seattle Seahawks – at Atlanta
  6. John Conner – Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. Miami
  7. Leonard Fournette – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. NY Jets
  8. Nick Chubb – Cleveland Browns – at New England
  9. Le’Veon Bell – NY Jets – at Jacksonville
  10. Josh Jacobs – Oakland Raiders – at Houston
  11. Derrick Henry – Tennessee Titans – vs. Tampa Bay
  12. Todd Gurley – LA Rams – vs. Cincinnati
  13. Marlon Mack – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Denver
  14. Carlos Hyde – Houston Texans – vs. Oakland
  15. David Johnson – Arizona Cardinals – at New Orleans
  16. Austin Ekeler – LA Chargers – at Chicago
  17. Devonta Freeman – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Seattle
  18. Aaron Jones – Green Bay Packers – at Kansas City
  19. Philip Lindsay – Denver Broncos – at Indianapolis
  20. Tevin Coleman – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Carolina
  21. Sony Michel – New England Patriots – vs. Cleveland
  22. James White – New England Patriots – vs. Cleveland
  23. LeSean McCoy – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Green Bay
  24. Jordan Howard – Philadelphia Eagles – at Buffalo
  25. Ronald Jones – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Tennessee
  26. Melvin Gordon – LA Chargers – at Chicago
  27. Ty Johnson – Detroit Lions – vs. NY Giants
  28. Joe Mixon – Cincinnati Bengals – at LA Rams
  29. Matt Brieda – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Carolina
  30. David Montgomery – Chicago Bears – vs. LA Chargers
  31. Jamaal Williams – Green Bay Packers – at Kansas City
  32. Royce Freeman – Denver Broncos – at Indianapolis
  33. Mark Walton – Miami Dolphins – at Pittsburgh
  34. Frank Gore – Buffalo Bills – vs. Philadelphia
  35. Miles Sanders – Philadelphia Eagles – at Buffalo
  36. Chase Edmonds – Arizona Cardinals – at New Orleans
  37. Devin Singletary – Buffalo Bills – vs. Philadelphia
  38. Damien Williams – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Green Bay
  39. Rashaad Penny – Seattle Seahawks – at Atlanta
  40. Duke Johnson – Houston Texans – vs. Oakland

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  • At first glance it’s not good news. Todd Gurley had his lowest snap percentage of the season on Sunday at 60.5%, and given the health issues he entered the year with some concern is natural. Also, with Malcolm Brown sidelined we finally saw some of what we were expecting from Darrell Henderson (at least based on snap percentage). Gurley out touched the rookie by a margin of 19 to 12, but before we go any further we have to look at the full picture. The outcome of the game was never in doubt as the Rams jumped out to an early lead thanks to the lack of a passing defense by the Falcons, and they never looked back. With that being said, why would the Rams want to risk the health of Gurley anymore than they needed to? However, with 18 carries for 41 yards the veteran wasn’t exactly productive, although with 3.8 yards per carry on the season it should’t be all that surprising. I’m not going to overreact to the snap percentage and just take Gurley for what he is, and that is more of an RB2. Of course facing the Bengals at home this week does make him a little more attractive and into RB1 territory. With eight carries for 31 yards and Brown nearing a return, I wouldn’t go too crazy for Henderson either.
  • At this point it appears that Kerryon Johnson will be sidelined for at least one week, and likely a few, with the knee injury that caused him to leave Sunday’s game early. With 3.3 yards per carry on the season it’s not like Johnson has really been lighting up the scoreboards, but he is still a starting running back. That brings us to Ty Johnson, who despite the fact that he has just 83 rushing yards will be at the top of waiver wire lists this week. After seeing what Edmonds did against the Giants last week, there is no reason not to think Johnson shouldn’t find similar success , although we can’t exactly bank on it. Detroit leaned on Ty Johnson following Kerryon’s injury, and he received 14 touches (10 carries for 29 yards and four receptions for 28 yards). By the nature of the beast, he has to be on our radar.
  • The Falcons offense, well really their whole team, is just a complete mess. Ito Smith left last week’s game with a stinger and Devonta Freeman was ejected in the third quarter, so that left us with just Brian Hill in Atlanta’s backfield. Smith will be out next week so that elevates Hill, but with just 11 rushing yards on the season I’m not sure how much fantasy relevance there is. The bigger concern is how Freeman will be effected as he has yet to rush for a touchdown this season, although he does have three receiving touchdowns. Last week he gained just 19 yards on the ground prior to his ejection, and for the season he is averaging 3.5 yards per carry with a season high of 88 rushing yards (which he reached twice). What has helped to preserve his value is the fact that he has 27 receptions for 209 yards on the season. This week he should at least benefit from the expanded workload.
  • We are really getting to the point, if that hasn’t been the case yet, where starting Joe Mixon requires some real consideration. Entering the week the Jaguars made opposing running backs Top 10 options, but that wasn’t the case for Mixon. In fact it wasn’t even close. Granted game flow didn’t work in his favor, but you would expect to see him gain more than two yards on 10 carries. What saved Mixon’s day from being a complete lost cause is the fact that he converted his lone catch into a two yard touchdown reception. At this point we can’t count on the Bengals offense for anything, as they and their offensive line are just a mess. It’s time to look for other options.
  • One weak defense to another. After taking advantage of the Bengals last week Leonard Fournette gets to feast on the Jets and their lackluster defense this week. Jacksonville leaned on Fournette early and often, and he didn’t disappoint with 131 yards on 29 carries. For good measure he added two receptions for 14 yards, as he continues to have a steady role in the Jaguars’ passing game with 28 catches, on 38 targets, for 203 yards. If we want to get picky here, and when we are talking about an RB1 we have that right, it would be a lot nicer if he had more than one rushing touchdown on the season. But with three games of over 100 rushing yards and an average of 5.0 yards per carry, it’s hard to complain all that much.
  • Welcome back Josh Jacobs. The rookie running back gave us a scare as he briefly went to the locker room after starting the game off with 53 yards on three carries, but ultimately all was well. He finished the day with 124 yards on 21 carries for his second straight 100-yard game, which brought his average for the season up to 5.4 yards per carry. Seeing Jacobs catch three passes was a positive development for his potential increased role in the passing game, and so far this season he has proven to be a legitimate option.

Pre-order Rotoprofessor’s 2020 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide for just $7.25!!  Click here for the details, but don’t miss out on the best bargain in fantasy baseball preparation.

Make sure to check out all of our Week 8 rankings:

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends


  1. Hi Prof…

    Last week you gave me great advice. Asking again…

    Need 2 WR 2 RB, 1 TE and flex (TE can not be flex only RB and WR ). Full PPR

    RB- Gurley vs Cinny (Must start IMO) WR- J.Brown vs Philly TE- Waller @ Houston
    JJacobs @ Houston Hops (Must start) Henry @ Chicago
    Ekeler @ Chicago Golladay vs NYG (Can’t go wrong here)
    Singletary vs Philly Woods vs Cinny
    Montgomery vs LAC

    Right now I have RB- Gurley, and JJacobs. TE- Waller, WR- Hops and Golladay. Flex- Ekeler. Agreed? Was going back and forth from Brown and Ekeler for flex spot.

    Thank you.

    • RB – Jacobs, Gurley
      WR – Hopkins, Golladay
      TE – Henry (but it’s really a coin flip)
      FLEX – The “safe” choice is Ekeler, but Brown is right there. I’d lean the safe choice as of today, but I do like Brown

  2. UGH came out horrible on here RB’s- Gurley, JJacobs, Ekeler, Singletary,Montgomery, WR’s- Hops. Golladay. J.Brown, R.Woods..TE’s- Waller or Henry. Sorry for the confusion. 2 RB, 2 WR, 1TE and flex ( can not use TE for flex). Full PPR.


  3. Hey prof,
    I’m strapped for RBs this week (non-PPR). For my second RB, my choices are either Frank Gore or Jamaal Williams. I was leaning towards Gore just because he’s getting the volume but I feel like his ceiling is a little lower. Who would you go with?


  4. Hi, Prof. I’m in a 14-team 0.5 PPR league. How much should I pay from my FAAB budget to get RB Jordan Howard off waivers? I have $60 at my disposal. Thanks.


    10 TEAM PPR


  6. Your earlier advice was: FULL PPR League
    RB – Jacobs, Gurley
    WR – Hopkins, Golladay
    TE – Henry (but it’s really a coin flip)
    FLEX – The “safe” choice is Ekeler, but Brown is right there. I’d lean the safe choice as of today, but I do like Brown. Your advice earlier.

    Now that Jacobs might not play and even if he does is he trustworthly (injury)? Do you agree with changing my line up to RB: Ekeler and Gurley WR: stay the same. And put Brown as flex? Or leave as is if Jacobs is active?

    Still think Henry over Waller (coin flip still)? WR- Allen might be out ( added late to injury list yesterday) and Oakland WR- Williams might be back. How do these effect either TE?

    Thank you.

    • I’d go the exact way you laid it out, as of today. That said a lot could change between today and Sunday so let’s continue monitoring the news and see what happens!

  7. I have abundance of RB’s this week. I’m playing Fournette but then I have Coleman, Sony Michel, Latavius Murray and Ty Johnson. I was leaning with Johnson and Michel as my second and flex. Thoughts? Other flex option is John Brown if not one of those RB’s. I have a tight matchup this week!

  8. Hey Prof,

    1 point ppr…I’m going to assume David Johnson and Kamara are out…

    Need 2 of the 4 for an RB2 and a flex…..Latavius Murray, Chase Edmonds, Tevin Coleman, Robert Woods

    Starting Wilson at QB, McCaffrey RB1, Evans and John Brown at WR

    • I continue to have a tough time trusting Patriots’ running backs, and it’s impossible to ignore the upside of Johnson after Edmonds torched the Giants last week. I’m rolling with Johnson this week


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