Whenever a big bye-week hits like this one (six teams not playing this week), the position that gets stretched the thinnest is running back. If you find yourself in a tough spot this week, here are five players who aren’t normally starters who make good week 8 sleeper picks that could pay off.
1. Le’Veon Bell-Pittsburgh Steelers
Bell is a solid RB2 option with RB1 potential this week as the Steelers head to Oakland. The Raiders have defended the pass well but have given up five TD’s in their last four games to opposing running backs. Bell has gotten an average of 20 touches a game in his first three games of the season and should be a solid play in lineups in almost every format this week.
2. Maurice Jones-Drew-Jacksonville Jaguars
MJD has been brutal this year so going to London to face the 49ers would seem to be a stay-away situation, but San Francisco actually hasn’t been great against the run this year. Jones-Drew has put up 70 yards a couple times in the last three games but his team just falls behind too fast for him to get enough carries to make him ultimately valuable. This week, I think he could end up around 75 yards again with a touchdown and a few receptions making him a low-end RB2 or a flex consideration.
3. Chris Ivory-New York Jets
Last week, Ivory looked good against the Patriots rushing for 104 yards on 34 carries. He has more fantasy potential than Bilal Powell, but the two continue to split carries. Long-term, I like Ivory’s upside but he continues to split time and is in a tough matchup this week. He’s high risk, but he’s also available in many leagues and could contribute again this week.
4. Jacquizz Rodgers-Atlanta Falcons
Don’t let the return of Steven Jackson scare you away, Quizz should still be part of the Falcons offense at least in the receiving game for the near future. He won’t get as many carries with S-Jax back, but will continue to run routes, make catches, and be a safety valve for Matt Ryan who needs receiving options with Roddy White and Julio Jones injured. Rodgers and the Falcons are in a nice matchup this week against the Cardinals.
5. Marcel Reece-Oakland Raiders
Reece is an ultimate wild-card. When he gets the touches, he produces, but far too often he doesn’t get the touches. The Raiders are aware of the need to get Reece the ball and hopefully were able to work some play for him into their offense on their bye week. He’s high-risk, but he could be high-reward against Pittsburgh this Sunday.
If you have any questions about who I’d start/sit for week 8, you can find me on twitter @ZT_Sports or drop the question in the comments at the bottom of the page. For information on other positions, starter rankings, waiver wire pickups, and plenty of fantasy football insight, check out our Fansided fantasy football page.