Fantasy Football Week 8 Rankings: RB
If you thought the open dates wreaked havoc on your lineups the last few weeks, you ain't seen nothing yet. Six teams have byes in each of the next two frames, taking a big fat bite out of the already dwindling pool of available running back talent.
With Michael Turner, Ray Rice, Peyton Hillis, Matt Forte, Ahmad Bradshaw, and LeSean McCoy sipping pina coladas in Week 8 (not to mention TD vultures like Brandon Jacobs, Willis McGahee, and soon-to-be thorn in the side of Forte owners, Chester Taylor), we're left with a more bottom-heavy list in Week 8. For some of you, this means one thing: you're going to have to dig deep to fill out some of those roster spots.
Let's take a look at this Week's top-50 before investigating where the value can be found at the position this weekend.
1. Rashard Mendenhall PIT (at NO)
2. Frank Gore, SF (vs. DEN)
3. Arian Foster, HOU (at IND)
4. Adrian Peterson, MIN (at NE)
5. Chris Johnson, TEN (at SD)
6. Jahvid Best, DET (vs. WAS)
7. Maurice Jones-Drew, JAC (at DAL)
8. Darren McFadden, OAK (vs. SEA)
9. Steven Jackson, STL (vs. CAR)
10. LaDainian Tomlinson, NYJ (vs. GB)
12. Thomas Jones, KC (vs. BUF)
13. Beanie Wells, ARI (vs. TB)
14. Jonathan Stewart, CAR (at STL)
15. Jamaal Charles, KC (vs. BUF)
16. Marshawn Lynch, SEA (at OAK)
17. Felix Jones, DAL (vs. JAC)
18. LeGarrette Blount, TB (at ARI)
19. Fred Jackson, BUF (at KC)
20. Cedric Benson, CIN (vs. MIA)
21. Ryan Torain, WAS (at DET)
22. Justin Forsett, SEA (at OAK)
23. BenJarvus Green-Ellis NE (vs. MIN)
24. Knowshon Moreno, DEN (at SF)
25. Shonn Greene, NYJ (vs. GB)
26. Mike Hart, IND (vs. HOU)
27. Ronnie Brown, MIA (at CIN)
28. Ryan Mathews, SD (vs. TEN)
29. Tim Hightower, ARI (vs. TB)
30. Brandon Jackson, GB (at NYJ)
31. Ricky Williams, MIA (at CIN)
32. Derrick Ward, HOU (at IND)
33. Chris Ivory, NO (vs. PIT)
34. Michael Bush, OAK (vs. SEA)
35. Cadillac Williams, TB (at ARI)
36. DeAngelo Williams, CAR (at STL) -- Oct. 30 Update: Williams did not travel with the team. Bench him. Jonathan Stewart will get the full workload for Carolina.
37. Mike Tolbert, SD (vs. TEN)
38. Earnest Graham, TB (at ARI)
39. Marion Barber, DAL (vs. JAC)
40. Darren Sproles, SD (vs. TEN)
41. Ladell Betts, NO (vs. PIT)
42. Keiland Williams, WAS (at DET)
43. Danny Woodhead, NE (vs. MIN)
44. Javon Ringer, TEN (at SD)
45. C.J. Spiller, BUF (at KC)
46. Bernard Scott, CIN (vs. MIA)
47. Deji Karim, JAC (at DAL)
48. Correll Buckhalter, DEN (at SF)
49. Donald Brown, IND (vs. HOU) -- Oct. 30 Update: Brown practiced in full on Saturday and is on track to play against Houston on Monday night.
50. John Kuhn, GB (at NYJ)
• Tampa Bay bruiser LeGarrette Blount is one of the more popular adds this week, after rushing for 72 yards on 11 carries against St. Louis in Week 7. Cadillac Williams is still in play here, but Blount figures to draw plenty of early down work to go along with short-yardage and goal-line duties. In other words, he'll probably only come off the field on passing downs (and for the occasional breather). Against a Cardinals unit currently yielding 23.3 points per game to opposing RBs (fifth-worst), the 14%-owned Blount is definitely worth the start. Just don't forget about Earnest Graham, deep leaguers. Graham was inactive last week with a bum hamstring, but he practiced in full on Wednesday and looks like a go for the upcoming weekend. Remember, Graham was ahead of Blount on the depth chart just two weeks ago; if Blount screws up, the illness that limited him in practice on Thursday gets worse, or this game gets out of hand, it's possible Graham puts in enough work to matter.
• Knowshon Moreno tweaked his hammy in practice on Wednesday. Josh McDaniels thinks he'll be fine but Moreno hasn't exactly been a model of health in his short NFL career. Proceed with caution and pay attention to Thursday/Friday practice reports.
• Finger surgery? Please. Steven Jackson played with a broken back last season (that's not an exaggeration). Trot him out there like you would any other week. No fear.
• Jonathan Stewart is ranked significantly higher than DeAngelo Williams because Williams hasn't practiced since limping off the field with a foot injury at the end of last week's game. He hasn't been ruled out yet, but if he doesn't practice on Friday, Stewart's value will go through the roof. Don't wait until that happens. If he's been dropped in your league (69% owned in Fleaflicker leagues as of this writing), pounce. The Rams defense is much improved from a year ago, but they're still ceding 141 total yards per game to opposing backs.
• Reggie Bush probably won't suit up this week and Pierre Thomas is still a game or two away. That gives Chris Ivory one more game to prove his worth, although unfortunately, a matchup with Pittsburgh isn't ideal for a bounce-back (Ivory picked up just 48 yards on 15 carries against Cleveland in Week 7). Consider Ivory no more than a low-end flex play against the league's stingiest run D. In fact, Ladell Betts might actually be the better play in PPR setups (eight catches, 48 rec. yards in Week 7; 18 grabs the last four weeks).
• Beanie Wells is hardly a sleeper pick, but in case you haven't heard, Tim Hightower is expected to see his workload "curtailed" after coughing up the ball last week (ball-security issues are nothing new for Timmy). It's perfect timing for Wells, who gets to face a Tampa Bay defense allowing 183 total yards per game to opposing rushers, but also for Hightower, who might still warrant a flex against the Bucs, even with the smaller role.
• Joseph Addai (shoulder) will probably be a game-time decision in Week 8 (optimistically speaking), and Donald Brown (hamstring) hasn't practiced or played in three weeks. That leaves Mike Hart to pick up the slack in the Indy backfield, something he did pretty well in Weeks 5 and 6 (22 carries, 93 yards, TD). The Texans have ceded seven TDs to running backs in six contests, and are giving up the 10th-most points to the position (20.9 points per). Hart is available in 95% of Fleaflicker leagues.