Week 8 Start ‘Em: Running Backs
Byes: Cardinals, Football Team, Jaguars, Texans
Start of the Week
Jamaal Williams vs. Vikings
Williams put up a nice stat line last week, scoring 21.4 points in the absence of Aaron Jones. He played 55 offensive snaps and saw 23 touches, which was far more than A.J. Dillon (14 snaps, five touches). Jones has been ruled out for Week 8, so Williams is in another smash spot against what is a vulnerable Vikings defense. Minnesota has allowed four running backs to score at least 17.6 fantasy points, and the position has averaged more than 24 fantasy points a game against them overall. Williams has top-10 value.
Week 8 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em
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Boston Scott vs. Cowboys (SNF)
Scott came up big for fantasy fans last week, scoring 18.2 points in a Thursday night win over the Giants. If Miles Sanders (knee) cannot go once again, Scott will be in the RB2 mix when the Eagles host the Cowboys. The pitiful defense has been gashed by running backs, allowing eight total touchdowns and the ninth-most fantasy points to the position. What's more, Dallas has allowed four backs to score 18-plus points, a list that includes Antonio Gibson, who put up 128 scrimmage yards and a touchdown.
Melvin Gordon vs. Chargers
Revenge! Gordon didn't look all that great last week, as he lost two fumbles and put up a modest 12 fantasy points. The Broncos did lose Phillip Lindsay (concussion) in the game, and his status for Week 8 is in question. If Lindsay is ultimately out, Gordon would be a solid RB2 against his former team, the Chargers. Their defense has been bad against enemy running backs, which was evident last week when James Robinson put up nearly 32 fantasy points. You should start Gordon in a game where he'll be motivated.
Darrell Henderson at Dolphins
Henderson appears to have locked in the top spot on the Rams depth chart, as he continued to lead the backfield in snaps and touches in a win over the Bears. What’s more, Cam Akers hasn’t even touched the ball in recent weeks. The Rams are also fourth in the NFL in run percentage, and Henderson is in a good spot to find success when the Rams face the Dolphins. Their defense has struggled against backs, giving up an average of 145.7 total yards and the eight-most fantasy points to the position.
Le’Veon Bell vs. Jets
This is the revenge game to end all revenge games! Bell, who was released by the Jets a few weeks back, gets to exact the harshest of penalties when he faces the Men in Green this week. Their defense has allowed eight total touchdowns and the seventh-most fantasy points to runners, and the 20.5-point spread suggests this will be a blowout. What better way for Bell to put up a nice line, maybe in the second half with the game already in hand for the Chiefs? I'd consider him a flex starter this weekend.
- Giovani Bernard vs. Titans
- Ronald Jones at Giants (MNF)
- JaMycal Hasty at Seahawks
- Le’Veon Bell vs. Jets (DraftKings: $4,600)
- J.J. Dobbins vs. Steelers (DraftKings: $4,600)
- Zack Moss vs. Patriots (DraftKings: $4,400)
Week 8 Sit ‘Em: Running Backs
Sit of the Week
David Montgomery vs. Saints
Montgomery was my Week 7 running back sit of the week, and he finished with a ho-hum 11.9 fantasy points. He now ranks outside of the top 25 among running backs with at least four games in fantasy points per game (13.2 PPG), and his 0.77 fantasy points per touch average is plain awful. Next up is a date with the Saints, who have allowed five touchdowns and the eighth-fewest points to runners. Montgomery’s high touch totals will keep him in the flex conversation, but I’d again temper expectations.
Devin Singletary vs. Patriots
The Patriots have been gashed by opposing running backs over the last two weeks, as both Phillip Lindsay and Jeff Wilson Jr. rushed for over 100 yards against them. Still, it’s tough to trust Singletary. He’s failed to exploit good matchups in recent weeks, and the return of Zack Moss has put a dent into Singletary’s snaps and touches. The fact that he’s averaged fewer than four yards per rush doesn’t endear him to fantasy fans either. I could argue that Moss, not Singletary, is the better fantasy back this week.
Jerick McKinnon at Seahawks
McKinnon barely touched the ball in last week’s win over the Patriots, after which time Niners coach Kyle Shanahan admitted he was resting the veteran back. Jeff Wilson Jr. was the featured back in the contest, but he was injured late and is out of the mix for Week 8. That leaves McKinnon and JaMycal Hasty as the Niners top backs, though Tevin Coleman could also return from injured reserve. In what figures to be a very confusing committee regardless, I’d fade McKinnon for the second straight week.
Myles Gaskin vs. Rams
Gaskin is getting a ton of volume as the top running back in Miami, so he’s always on the flex starter radar. The matchup this week, however, is anything but favorable. The Rams have been tough on backs, allowing just 85 rushing yards and the 10th-fewest fantasy points this season. What’s more, only Ezekiel Elliott and Miles Sanders have put up more than 16.1 fantasy points against them. The Rams have also held David Montgomery, Antonio Gibson, and Raheem Mostert to fewer than 12 fantasy points.
Justin Jackson vs. Broncos
Jackson was in a good spot to succeed last weekend, but he produced a modest 10.5 fantasy points and was second to Joshua Kelley in both snaps and touches. This has all the looks of a backfield committee, and a matchup against the Broncos is anything but favorable. Their defense has been tough on running backs, allowing two rushing scores and the third-fewest fantasy point to the position. What’s more, only James Conner and Derrick Henry have posted more than 73 scrimmage yards against them.
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- Wayne Gallman vs. Buccaneers (MNF)
- Damien Harris at Bills
- Adrian Peterson vs. Colts
- James Conner at Ravens (DraftKings: $6,400)
- David Montgomery vs. Saints (DraftKings: $5,900)
- Jerick McKinnon at Seahawks (DraftKings: $5,700)
Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on Sports Illustrated and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram for the latest news and analysis!
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