With six teams on bye, and a number of starting running backs already ruled out (C.J. Anderson, Doug Martin, Jamaal Charles, Tevin Coleman, Matt Jones) and LeSean McCoy listed as Doubtful (but likely not going to play), finding trustworthy options to fill out fantasy lineups is going to be difficult in Week 8.
Plenty of backup running backs are likely available, but before plugging in an Alfred Blue, for example, check on the status of the starter. The inactive report is always the last word, which usually comes out fairly early on Sunday, so be sure to check those for any surprises. Also don’t forget about injury updates for wide receivers and tight ends before setting your lineup.
Teams on bye: Baltimore, Los Angeles, Miami, New York Giants, Pittsburgh, San Francisco
Note: All games on Sunday unless otherwise noted. All times are ET.
LeSean McCoy (hamstring) and Mike Gillislee (foot), RBs, Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots, 1 p.m.
McCoy may be listed as Doubtful, but after leaving last week’s game when he re-aggravated his hamstring injury and then not practicing all week, he’s pretty much out. That leaves Gillislee, who had five carries for 20 yards in the loss in Miami. Gillislee hasn't shown that he has a lot of burst or upside in general throughout his career. However, he’ll get the start for Buffalo and figures to get all the work he can handle. He’s a desperation flex play in a week with six teams on bye.
Lamar Miller (shoulder), RB, Houston Texans vs. Detroit Lions, 1 p.m.
Miller is going to be a game-time decision. Odds are that he'll be active, which makes it tough on fantasy owners. He injured his shoulder in Week 7, which caused him to be used sporadically the rest of the game. Today’s matchup is appealing, but it's going to be hard to trust him if he's limited. Alfred Blue isn't a great fantasy option, which makes this backfield one to avoid if possible on Sunday. If Miller is active, it will be hard to sit him, but understand that he’s not at 100 percent and if he tweaks the shoulder during the game, he may leave early.
Jeremy Langford (ankle), RB, Chicago Bears vs. Minnesota Vikings, 8:30 p.m. (Monday)
Langford may end up being a game-time decision, which makes it tough for fantasy owners looking to start a Chicago running back. Jordan Howard and Ka'Deem Carey have been carrying the load, and the addition of Langford makes this even more muddled. The Vikings have only allowed one rushing touchdown to a running back this season, so this is a tough matchup anyway. Langford will likely be limited if he does play, so he should remain on fantasy benches.
Jerick McKinnon (ankle), RB, Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears, 8:30 p.m. (Monday)
McKinnon didn't practice Thursday, Friday or Saturday and was wearing a boot on his ankle up through Thursday. While he does have an extra day, McKinnon should be left on fantasy benches. Even if he does play, he's clearly not at 100 percent. Matt Asiata becomes an interesting RB2 if McKinnon is out. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, that decision will need to be made before knowing McKinnon's status. In a week where running backs are hard to come by Asiata is worth starting over the Houston running backs or the Chicago running backs, for example.
Andrew Luck (ankle, shoulder), QB, Indianapolis Colts vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 1 p.m.
Don't worry about Luck playing on Sunday. He's been banged up and has played through it all year. The Chiefs just allowed Drew Brees to throw for 367 yards and three touchdowns in Week 7. Luck is a solid QB1. He may have Donte Moncrief back as well, which will help him. Start Luck with confidence this week, and ignore the Questionable tag.
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for SoCalledFantasyExperts.com among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.