Entering Week 8, only three running backs are averaging more than 20 fantasy points (Austin Ekeler – 24.96, Josh Jacobs – 22.23), and Saquon Barkley – 20.23). Ekeler scored 129.90 of his 174.70 fantasy points (74.4 percent) over the past four weeks. Jacobs delivered three weeks in a row with more than 30.00 fantasy points (34.50, 30.30, and 36.50). Rhamondre Stevenson also played at a higher level over his previous three matchups (19.50, 25.10, and 23.80 fantasy points), lifting him to ninth in running back scoring (112.20 fantasy points).
Teams on bye: Kansas City, Los Angeles Chargers
Here are the top running back plays in Week 8:
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (DraftKings – $8,100/Fanduel – $9,500)
After seven games, Barkley is third in fantasy scoring among running backs (20.23 FPPG) while being on pace to gain 2,200 combined yards with 10 touchdowns and 61 catches. Despite his success, he only has one impact game (33.40 fantasy points). Barkley hasn’t been a winning investment in the daily contests over the past six weeks (11.80, 22.60, 18.20, 19.60, 18.50, and 17.50 fantasy points).
The Seahawks rank 28th in defending the running back position (1,138 combined yards with nine touchdowns and 46 catches). They allow 4.9 yards per carry. Three players went over 100 yards rushing (Cordarrelle Patterson, 17/141/1, Jamaal Williams, 19/108/2, and Alvin Kamara, 23/103). Kamara (6/91), Austin Ekeler (12/96/1), and Javonte Williams (11/65) had the most success catching the ball.
Barkley brings a stud opportunity to an excellent matchup, making him a top target to roster at running back in Week 8. He needs at least two scores with more than 150 combined yards to fill his salary bucket. Lingering in the background for Barkley is a shoulder issue that wasn’t a factor against the Jaguars.
Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans (DraftKings – $8,400/FanDuel – $10,000)
Henry saw his four-week scoring streak end against the Colts, but he gained more than 100 yards for the fourth consecutive game. Over this span, Henry gained 560 yards with four touchdowns and 13 catches while averaging 28.25 touches. He didn’t play against Houston in 2021 due to his foot injury while dominating two matchups in 2020 (514 combined yards with four touchdowns and two catches). The Texans have the worst defense against running backs (1,043 combined yards with nine touchdowns and 33 catches). They allow 5.2 yards per rush, with offenses averaging 31.5 carries. Henry has a stellar matchup, but Tennessee’s quarterback play has been dismal. The daily contests almost priced him off the market this week, a potential benefit as it may lead to low ownership. Worth a share, but Henry shouldn’t be an all-in candidate.
Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders (DraftKings – $7,500/FanDuel – $9,000)
Over the past three games, Jacobs has developed into an elite RB1. The Raiders fed him the ball 82 times over this span, leading to 523 combined yards with six touchdowns and 13 catches. His success pushed him to second in running back scoring (22.23 FPPG). New Orleans is 11th in running back defense (179/796/5 with 25 catches for 164 yards and two scores). Four opponents (ATL, CAR, SEA, and ARI) gained more than 140 combined yards from their backs. Cordarrelle Patterson (136/1 with three catches), Christian McCaffrey (115/0 with two catches), and Eno Benjamin (113/1 with four catches) produced the best results.
A three-game winning streak and foot issue points to a drop in results, but his salary at DraftKings will look more attractive than the other top-tier options. I must see Jacobs fully cleared by Sunday before taking him on my daily ride.