With the recent rash of new running back injuries (Marshawn Lynch, Bilal Powell, Peyton Barber), and with fantasy studs Melvin Gordon and Ezekiel Elliot (as well as Tevin Coleman and the Titans' duo) unavailable because of they are on bye, finding the right ones to start in Week 8 could be quite the challenge.
So what we are left with is a bunch of questions. Which Raiders running back should you start and which one should you sit? Which Eagles running back is worth starting this week? And what about Kerryon Johnson, can he do it again?
The answers to these questions and more can be found below, but first let's see how the Week 7 start/sit advice turned out.
Good Calls for Week 7...
Start Kerryon Johnson (17.9 fantasy points) – Hopefully, the Lions have learned their lesson and will lean on Johnson more as the season progresses as he is by far their best RB.
Sit Alex Collins (4.8 FP) – Collins was drafted to be at least a fantasy RB2, but he is losing touches to Javorius Allen more and more each week.
Bad Calls for Week 7...
Sit Lamar Miller (15.9 FP) – Miller has been terrible all season, but somehow against the Jaguars he becomes a RB1 for the week.
Teams on bye: Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles Chargers, Tennessee
START THESE RBs...
Jalen Richard, OAK (vs. IND)
With the Raiders putting Marshawn Lynch on IR earlier this week, Richard and Doug Martin will now lead Oakland's backfield. While Martin is a must-sit this week, Richard is worth starting, especially in PPR leagues. He has scored at least 11 PPR points in four of six games, and he already has 31 catches for 253 yards on 37 targets. So far this year he hasn’t had a game with five or more carries, but that should change this week. Indianapolis has already allowed six running backs to either score or gain at least 90 total yards, and the Colts are tied for second in the NFL in receptions allowed to running backs with 49.
Phillip Lindsay, DEN (at KC)
Lindsay has come out of nowhere to be consistently good all season, with at least 11 PPR points in six of seven games. The lone exception was Week 3 when he was ejected at Baltimore for throwing a punch. But this could be his best game ever if Royce Freeman doesn't play due to an ankle injury. The Chiefs have already allowed 11 running backs to either score or gain 90 total yards, including Lindsay (15 PPR points) and Freeman (12 PPR points) in Week 4. Running backs are averaging a healthy 5.1 yards per carry against Kansas City.
Chris Carson, SEA (at DET)
Since returning from a hip injury two games ago, Carson has out-carried Mike Davis 33-18 and out-snapped him 62-49. Carson has looked great in that span with 175 rushing yards and a touchdown while averaging 5.3 yards per carry. The Seahawks run the ball at the highest rate in the league while the Lions have been getting run into the ground, surrendering a league-worst 5.3 yards per carry. They’re 30th in run defense DVOA and near the top when it comes to fantasy points allowed to running backs. A virtual lock for 15-plus carries, Carson should have a chance at 100 yards and a touchdown as a shoo-in RB2.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Raheem Mostert, SF (at ARI)
If Matt Breida is out this week due to his ankle injury (and he should be), consider Mostert a must-start option against the Cardinals, who allow the most fantasy points to running backs. Mostert can even be a flex option if Breida plays. In the past two games against Green Bay and the Rams, Mostert has 19 carries for 146 yards, as well as four catches for 19 yards.
SIT THESE RBs...
Doug Martin, OAK (vs. IND)
Those of you who picked up Martin likely did so out of necessity so sitting him may not be an option as the bye-week blues have hit. If that’s true, be sure to lower your expectations. Martin is good for at least 12-14 touches but he's in an offense that lacks any real playmaker and doesn’t have a defense to lean on. The Colts' defense is better than you think, especially against the run (allowing 4.0 yards per carry, 10th in the league).
Isaiah Crowell, NYJ (at CHI)
Crowell should be in line for a bigger workload this week with Bilal Powell going on IR, but don't play him if you have a better option. The Bears are the only team in the NFL that has yet to allow a rushing TD to a running back and only three have recorded a TD catch or gained at least 100 total yards against them. And Chicago has already faced the likes of David Johnson, Frank Gore and James White. Crowell has three games with at least 18 PPR points this season and four games with seven points or fewer, including two in a row against Indianapolis and Minnesota. You can expect another down performance given the matchup with the Bears on the road.
Carlos Hyde, JAC (vs. PHI, London)
Hyde was inactive last week against the Texans but is fully expected to make his Jaguars debut Sunday in London. With Leonard Fournette (hamstring) still out, Hyde and T.J. Yeldon should form the one-two punch. But the problem is the Eagles annually play exceptional run defense and are once again facing the fewest rushing attempts per game through seven weeks. Philly is allowing fewer than four yards per carry (3.87) and surrendering the fifth-fewest fantasy points to RBs. The only running back to have any sort of success against this defense was Saquon Barkley (13-130-1) in Week 6. Hyde is your run-of-the-mill, early-down grinder. He’s going to have to score a touchdown to be useful in fantasy. Jacksonville’s implied team total of 19.5 points is the fourth lowest of 28 teams this week. You’re playing Hyde at your own risk.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Kerryon Johnson, DET (vs. SEA)
This is for you in shallower waters this week due to bye weeks. Johnson was electric on 20 touches in Week 7, leaving most of his fantasy owners (and Lions fans) wondering why Detroit didn’t get him the ball more. Well, believe it or not, the answer is simple. Johnson has said he works best in a committee and doesn’t want to be a bell-cow ball carrier. His upside also is capped once Theo Riddick returns from injury and with LeGarrette Blount still around to vulture the goal-line work.
— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.