Is this the week that Chubb, Isiah Crowell and Kenyan Drake all finish as top-five fantasy RBs?
The fantasy football bye week apocalypse has finally arrived. Week 9 means that there are six teams on bye. From a running back standpoint alone, this means no Saquon Barkley, David Johnson, Joe Mixon, Marlon Mack, T.J Yeldon or whoever you want to pick for the Eagles’ backfield.
That’s a lot of holes to fill on a fantasy roster, which means choosing the right players to start, and the right players to sit can be frustrating.
So can you really trust Isaiah Crowell this week? What about Peyton Barber? And is LeSean McCoy finally back?
Those answers and more can be found below. But first, let's take a quick look and see how the Week 8 advice did.
Good Calls for Week 8...
Start Chris Carson (18.4 fantasy points) – The Seahawks are a run-first team, and they are going to give Carson everything he can handle, which is great for his fantasy owners.
Start Phillip Lindsay (17.2 FP) – With Royce Freeman out with an ankle injury, Lindsay dominated the Broncos' backfield.
Sit Carlos Hyde (1.1 FP) – Hyde had 11 rushing yards in his Jaguars debut and now Leonard Fournette should be back after their bye week, so you can probably drop Hyde.
Bad Calls for Week 8...
Start Jalen Richard (6.4 FP) – He only had 14 rushing yards, but he did catch eight passes for 50 yards. That translates to 14.4 PPR fantasy points, which is perfectly fine.
Teams on bye: Arizona, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, New York Giants, Philadelphia
START THESE RBs...
Kenyan Drake, MIA (vs. NYJ)
Despite losing handily to Houston last Thursday, the Dolphins showed a willingness to get creative in order to involve Drake. It was still a 56/44 split in snaps with Frank Gore, but Drake ran for 58 yards and a TD on 12 carries (in line with his 4.9 yards per carry) and added two receptions for 37 yards and another score. He’s averaging roughly 14 touches per game since Week 4’s mind-numbing four and should be a solid RB2 at home against a reeling Jets team that struggles to let its defense rest. Gore will get his work in but the potential for big plays, such as the 70-yard TD by Tarik Cohen against these same Jets last week, will be there for Drake.
Isaiah Crowell, NYJ (at MIA)
Crowell has really struggled the last three games. After scoring 29 PPR points against Denver in Week 5, Crowell combined for 16 PPR points in his past three outings against Indianapolis, Minnesota and Chicago. The Bears game last week was the first without Bilal Powell (neck), but Crowell should rebound on Sunday against Miami, even though he was limited to five PPR points against the Dolphins in Week 2. Powell had the big game that week with 18 PPR points. For the season, Miami has allowed 10 running backs to either score or gain at least 100 total yards, including one in every game this year. The Dolphins also have given up the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs this season.
Nick Chubb, CLE (vs. KC)
Chubb was a star back in Week 7 in PPR leagues when he scored 14 PPR points against the Buccaneers, but he struggled last week against the Steelers with just nine PPR points. If that's the floor — 18 carries for 65 yards and two catches for 10 yards — we’ll take it. It doesn't matter that the Browns have a new interim head coach (Gregg Williams) or offensive coordinator (Freddie Kitchens) after Hue Jackson and Todd Haley were fired. The game plan will be for Chubb to touch the ball plenty against a Chiefs defense that has allowed 13 running backs to either score or gain 90 total yards this year.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Dion Lewis, TEN (at DAL, Mon.)
Lewis had his best game of the season back in Week 7 in London against the Chargers, and he should stay hot coming off Tennessee's bye week. Against Los Angeles, Lewis had 21 PPR points, and he now has at least six catches in two of his past four games. Hopefully that continues, and Lewis is worth using as at least a flex against Dallas. The Cowboys have struggled with pass-catching running backs, as four — Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, Alfred Blue and Kapri Bibbs — have scored double-digit PPR points with just their reception totals alone.
SIT THESE RBs...
LeSean McCoy, BUF (vs. CHI)
With Josh Allen and Derek Anderson both injured, the Bills are likely going back to Nathan Peterson at quarterback. At least Buffalo’s at home, and maybe Khalil Mack won’t play because of an ankle injury. That said, not a single Bill can be started — even McCoy. Yes, McCoy just put up 82 receiving yards and a total of 95 vs. the Patriots on Monday night, but Chicago’s another caliber of defense and Anderson was a veteran smart (and capable) enough to target McCoy on short routes. Is Peterman? Probably not.
Alex Collins, BAL (vs. PIT)
While the Ravens will benefit from the home-field advantage in this key divisional matchup against the Steelers, it’s still an ugly matchup for Collins and crew. Collins’ Week 3 date with Pittsburgh was salvaged by a three-yard TD catch but his 11-42-0 rushing line was bogged down by a lost fumble. He’s yet to top 70 rushing yards or 90 total yards in a game and his longest gain on the ground this season has been 19 yards. He’s averaging a mere 3.7 yards per carry and the Steelers are sixth in the league against the run while giving up the third-fewest fantasy points to running backs. Don't forget Baltimore just traded for former Packer Ty Montgomery, which clouds the backfield picture. Collins also is dealing with a foot injury that prevented him from practicing on Thursday.
Peyton Barber, TB (at CAR)
Barber was a must-add in all fantasy leagues this week with Ronald Jones expected to miss several games because of a hamstring injury. Barber has played well of late with at least 14 PPR points in two of the past three games. But this could be a tough week to trust him. He has not been much of a factor in the passing game (six catches, 37 yards, TD this season), and he's one of the few Buccaneers who hasn't had better numbers with Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback. There's also this: the Panthers have given up just three running touchdowns thus far.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Tevin Coleman, ATL (at WAS)
Because of all the teams on bye this week, you’re probably going to start Coleman no matter what since you might not have any other options. But beware. He'll need to score a touchdown because he has just one game with more than 45 total yards in his past three. And in his last road game at Pittsburgh in Week 5 he scored just four PPR points. Washington has allowed only four running backs to score or gain at least 100 total yards this season – David Johnson in Week 1, Nyheim Hines in Week 2, Mark Ingram in Week 5, and Saquon Barkley last week. Coleman will continue to split touches with Ito Smith, and his ceiling is limited on the road in this matchup.
— 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.