Week 8 is almost here, and it’s time to start setting lineups and making sure you’re ready to win your fantasy matchup.
Every week, FanSided will bring you rankings compiled by our duo of fantasy experts. This week, the list was derived from averaging rankings from myself and Zachary Thompson.
Let’s take a look at the running backs and how they rank for Week 8. (Unless otherwise noted, statistics obtained from ESPN Fantasy Football.)
1. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs
The Cleveland defense should not be as bad as it is, as there’s far too much talent there for the Browns to allow the 21st most points to running backs in fantasy football.
But they do. And Jamaal Charles is next, so don’t expect a defensive revolution from the Browns that somehow shuts down Charles and the Kansas City offense.
2. LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles
McCoy would probably be number one on the list if Michael Vick were fully healthy, but instead he finds himself just behind Jamaal Charles as he faces the Giants this weekend.
New York has actually done a good job against running backs for the past month, and did a decent job containing McCoy on the ground in Week 5. But 100 or more total yards with a touchdown or two is still the norm for McCoy, and facing the Giants doesn’t change that prediction.
3. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks
Every team that has a real, healthy running back (which means excluding the Cardinals and Jaguars) has run very well against the St. Louis Rams so far this season, leading them to allow the fourth most points to running backs in the NFL.
Lynch will do more of the same this weekend. Expect the Seahawks to win big with Lynch finding the end zone twice.
4. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
It seems weird to have Peterson this low on the rankings, but the Packers have been surprisingly stingy against the run this season. They’ve not allowed 100 yards on the ground in five of six games this season, and allowed a total of 12 fantasy points to the running backs of the Ravens and Browns in their last two games.
But, it’s still Adrian Peterson. He’s a moment away from an 80-yard touchdown on any handoff, so you can’t bench him.
5. Reggie Bush, Detroit Lions
Before facing the Eagles and their quarterback nightmare in Week 7, the Cowboys were on a three game stretch of allowing a ton of fantasy points to running backs.
Enter Reggie Bush, who hopes to pick up where the Chargers, Broncos, and Redskins left off and run all over the Dallas defense. Include Bush’s ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, and you have guaranteed points as long as Reggie stays healthy for the entire game.
6. Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos
Before this season I was as high on Knowshon Moreno as anyone, but even I couldn’t have expected to see him as the sixth-ranked running back during any week of the NFL season.
And it’s not just my ranking this week that has him this high, as Zachary agrees with me and placed him in the sixth position.
Washington allows the most points per game to running backs, and Moreno is the best running back in Denver. It’s way too easy to figure this one out, folks.
7. Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers
He’s playing the Jaguars, and he’s only failed to reach double digit fantasy points once this year, and that was against the Seahawks.
Gore is a lock for a solid week this week. Start him with confidence.
8. Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers
Before I explain anything about Lacy, let me tell you, reader, that Zachary and I were unanimous on the top-eight running backs this week. Every single guy was ranked the same by both of us. That means this week is really easy to predict, or we’re both dead wrong. I’d prefer the former.
As for Lacy, he’s facing a defense which is allowing the second-most fantasy points to running backs this season in the Minnesota Vikings, and his Packers teammates will likely earn him a lead which he’ll be responsible for holding by running for first downs and getting yards for fantasy players.
9. Darren Sproles, New Orleans Saints
Zachary and I actually agreed on Sproles as well, but we both had him 10th. Either way, we believe he’s an RB1 this week against Buffalo.
Sproles is going to be involved in the passing game for New Orleans, especially if Jimmy Graham is out or limited with his foot injury. And while it’s impossible to predict which player will get the most carries for the Saints, not having to worry about that nonsense is a benefit of owning the versatile and frequently thrown to Sproles.
10. Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers
The Raiders have allowed four rushing touchdowns to running backs in their last four games. I would say that’s a strong indicator that Bell is due to find the end zone against Oakland this week.
The Steelers may find it a bit hard to move the ball against Oakland, who are in the top half of the league in yards and points allowed per game, but if they get into scoring range they will likely find that Bell is able to punch the ball in for a score.
11. Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders
I don’t trust McFadden quite as much as Zachary does this week, but we both think he’s a top-15 back. Since their bye week, the Steelers have not allowed a rushing touchdown to opposing running backs, but before their bye they allowed six touchdowns on the ground from enemy RBs in just four games.
So McFadden’s production depends on which Pittsburgh defense shows up, and the Raiders’ ability to stay competitive and keep the running game as a viable offensive option.
12. Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins
The Denver Broncos have allowed double-digit points to running backs in every game this season. And while it appears that Morris is now splitting time with Roy Helu, he’s still the primary guy and should be treated as such until further notice.
Washington might not have the same dynamic rushing attack as they did in 2012, but Morris could still be in for a big day if he’s called upon in the red zone in a high-scoring affair with Denver.
13. Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots
Is it time to trust Stevan Ridley again? The Patriots have handed the ball to Ridley 31 times in the past two games after only giving him 47 carries in the first four weeks of the season.
And going against the Miami Dolphins should be a favorable situation for Ridley to get things going and pick up some big points to earn fantasy owners’ trust once again.
14. Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills
C.J. Spiller just doesn’t look right yet, and that means Jackson is still a go-to running back in fantasy football.
The Saints don’t have the strongest defense against the run, allowing over 110 yards per game on the ground. That should be enough to give Jackson the space he needs to earn fantasy points this week.
15. Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals
The New York Jets are a tough task, but bye weeks and injuries cause the well to run dry really quickly at running back this week so we’ll need to include one of the Cincy running backs.
So rather than banking on the Bengal RB most likely to run into their strong front seven (BenJarvus Green-Ellis), let’s opt for the Cincinnati running back most likely to get to the outside, catch passes, and otherwise cause a nusicance against a strong New York defense.