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USATSI

After injury and 'Byenado' carnage last week, Week 8 seems breezy by comparison. We will be missing the Ravens and Raiders this week, but that still leaves most of us with running back options.

Jamey Eisenberg has his Start and Sit calls for RB here. His Waiver Wire column also can direct you to the best players who may be available. And don't forget to check out Heath Cummings' running back preview for more help with matchup notes, Week 8 numbers to know and more. 

START 'EM & SIT 'EM
Running Backs
Start 'Em
Projections powered by Sportsline
KC Kansas City • #31
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs NYG KC -10 O/U 52.5
OPP VS RB
27th
PROJ PTS
12
RB RNK
17th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
181
REC
13
REYDS
102
TD
4
FPTS/G
9.4
The Chiefs will bounce back at home this week after losing to the Titans in Week 7, and Williams will have the chance for another quality outing. While he was held to just eight total touches at Tennessee, he still played 64 percent of the snaps and will again lead this backfield. He had 23 PPR points in Week 6 at Washington, and I could see another standout performance this week against the Giants, who have allowed seven running backs to score at least 12 PPR points this year.
NE New England • #37
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ LAC LAC -5.5 O/U 49
OPP VS RB
21st
PROJ PTS
12.2
RB RNK
19th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
437
REC
10
REYDS
60
TD
5
FPTS/G
12.3
This is the perfect game for the Patriots to lean on Harris because the Chargers pass defense is stout, while their run defense has been beatable this season. The Chargers have allowed six rushing touchdowns in their past two games against Cleveland and Baltimore, and four running backs have at least 90 rushing yards against Los Angeles, with five guys gaining at least 90 total yards. Harris has four touchdowns in his past three games and back-to-back outings with more than 100 rushing yards. He's a top-15 running back in non-PPR leagues and a top-20 option in PPR.
CHI Chicago • #24
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs SF SF -3.5 O/U 39.5
OPP VS RB
10th
PROJ PTS
11.8
RB RNK
16th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
279
REC
7
REYDS
48
TD
1
FPTS/G
6.5
I hope the Bears continue to stick with Herbert as the lead running back and not go back to Damien Williams in a timeshare. Williams returned in Week 7 at Tampa Bay from his one-game absence on the reserve/COVID-19 list, but Herbert still played 77 percent of the snaps and was excellent against the Buccaneers with 18 carries for 100 yards, along with five catches for 33 yards on five targets. He's scored 18 PPR points in consecutive games and has at least 21 total touches in each outing over that span. The 49ers have allowed a running back to score in four games in a row, and hopefully Herbert keeps that streak alive. He's worth using as a No. 2 running back in all leagues.
WAS Washington • #24
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ DEN DEN -3 O/U 43.5
OPP VS RB
11th
PROJ PTS
11.9
RB RNK
18th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
408
REC
14
REYDS
124
TD
4
FPTS/G
12.5
I hope Gibson is healthy for this matchup because the Broncos run defense has fallen apart of late due to injuries. In their past four games, Denver has allowed seven total touchdowns to running backs, with Najee Harris and D'Ernest Johnson each rushing for at least 122 yards over that span. The Broncos traded for linebacker Kenny Young from the Rams this week because linebackers Josey Jewell and Alexander Johnson are out for the season with chest injuries, and Johnson's replacement, Micah Kiser (groin), just went on IR after the Week 7 loss to the Browns. Gibson is dealing with a hairline fracture in his shin, but hopefully he'll keep playing through it. And he does have at least 15 PPR points in three of his past five games, so he should be considered a No. 2 Fantasy running back in all leagues this week.
SF San Francisco • #25
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ CHI SF -3.5 O/U 39.5
OPP VS RB
15th
PROJ PTS
11.7
RB RNK
20th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
296
REC
4
REYDS
30
TD
2
FPTS/G
12.2
Mitchell has three games this season with at least 17 carries, and he's scored 16 PPR points in both of them. He should continue to lead the San Francisco backfield in touches, and he's a solid No. 2 Fantasy option in all leagues, with his value higher in non-PPR. It will help if defensive lineman Akiem Hicks (groin) is out again for the Bears, who have allowed a running back to score in three games in a row. And Khalil Mack (foot) is also out for the Bears, which is a plus. Mitchell would also benefit if left tackle Trent Williams (ankle) returns this week, but I still like Mitchell even if Williams is still out.
Sleepers
Projections powered by Sportsline
PHI Philadelphia • #14
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ DET PHI -3.5 O/U 48
OPP VS RB
29th
PROJ PTS
9.3
RB RNK
27th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
120
REC
19
REYDS
164
TD
3
FPTS/G
9.3
We'll find out this week how the Eagles plan to replace Miles Sanders (ankle) with Gainwell, Boston Scott and potentially Jordan Howard, but I like Gainwell the best. He should be considered a borderline starter/flex in all leagues, with his value higher in PPR. He has three games this season with at least nine total touches, and he's scored at least 11 PPR points in each outing. The Lions are No. 5 in Fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs, and Detroit has allowed six total touchdowns to running backs in the past four games and 12 total touchdowns to the position this year, which is the most in the NFL. Scott is also a sleeper in deeper leagues.
BUF Buffalo • #20
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs MIA BUF -13.5 O/U 49.5
OPP VS RB
28th
PROJ PTS
9.5
RB RNK
24th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
208
REC
10
REYDS
109
TD
4
FPTS/G
12.7
The last time the Bills faced the Dolphins in Week 2 we saw Moss and Devin Singletary both play well. Moss had eight carries for 26 yards and two touchdowns, along with two catches for 8 yards on two targets. Singletary had 13 carries for 82 yards and a touchdown, along with two catches for 9 yards on three targets. Both are in play as at least flex options this week, but I like Moss more. He's scored at least 11 PPR points in four of five games, and the Dolphins are No. 6 in Fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs. A running back has either a touchdown or 100 total yards against Miami in every game this year.
CIN Cincinnati • #34
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ NYJ CIN -10.5 O/U 43
OPP VS RB
32nd
PROJ PTS
6
RB RNK
42nd
YTD Stats
RUYDS
139
REC
8
REYDS
77
TD
2
FPTS/G
7
There's a chance for some garbage-time production here for Perine against the Jets, who lead the NFL with 10 touchdowns allowed to running backs this year. We saw that last week against the Patriots when J.J. Taylor scored two rushing touchdowns after Damien Harris did plenty of damage. Joe Mixon should have a big game this week, but Perine is worth using as a flex option in deeper leagues. He just had 11 carries for 52 yards and a touchdown late in the game in Week 7 at Baltimore, along with one catch for 23 yards, and he's scored at least 14 PPR points in each of his past two games.
Sit 'Em
Projections powered by Sportsline
ATL Atlanta • #28
Age: 28 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs CAR ATL -3 O/U 46
OPP VS RB
2nd
PROJ PTS
8
RB RNK
40th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
214
REC
18
REYDS
88
TD
2
FPTS/G
9.7
Davis played 60 percent of the snaps in Week 7 at Miami, but he only had four carries for 10 yards and no targets. It's troubling that he wasn't used, and clearly Cordarrelle Patterson has become the star of Atlanta's backfield. Davis had been an OK flex option prior to facing the Dolphins with between 10-12 PPR points in each of his previous four games. But if he's being phased out of the game plan, it's hard to trust him in any capacity, even in a matchup against his former team this week. While Carolina's run defense has fallen apart lately, they are still No. 1 in fewest Fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs. I'm starting Patterson with confidence, but Davis makes me nervous given his light workload against Miami last week.
CLE Cleveland • #30
Age: 25 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs PIT CLE -3.5 O/U 42.5
OPP VS RB
4th
PROJ PTS
7
RB RNK
37th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
157
REC
3
REYDS
29
TD
1
FPTS/G
3.9
Johnson was the star of Week 7 when he stepped up for the Browns with Nick Chubb (calf) and Kareem Hunt (calf) out against the Broncos and had 22 carries for 146 yards and a touchdown, along with two catches for 22 yards on two targets. But he's headed for a significant downturn in production this week. Chubb is expected to return, which won't completely kick Johnson off the field, but he'll be used in a complementary role. And facing the Steelers is much tougher competition than the Broncos since only one running back has scored against Pittsburgh this season. At best, Johnson is a flex option in deeper leagues, but I would prefer to sit him if Chubb plays as expected.
DEN Denver • #25
Age: 28 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs WAS DEN -3 O/U 43.5
OPP VS RB
19th
PROJ PTS
9.6
RB RNK
30th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
350
REC
15
REYDS
133
TD
3
FPTS/G
11.6
Gordon and Javonte Williams continue to split work for the Broncos, but I like Williams slightly better this week. Both are just flex options at best, and Washington has actually done well against running backs this season, including holding Aaron Jones to a combined 39 total yards last week. Gordon scored a touchdown last week at Cleveland, but he's been at 10 PPR points or less in four games in a row. Meanwhile, Williams has scored at least 11 PPR points in three of his past five outings and has been much more involved in the passing game.
DET Detroit • #30
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs PHI PHI -3.5 O/U 48
OPP VS RB
30th
PROJ PTS
9.2
RB RNK
34th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
312
REC
16
REYDS
99
TD
2
FPTS/G
9.9
Williams has clearly taken a back seat to D'Andre Swift when it comes to Fantasy production, and Williams also isn't involved in the passing game as we expected or saw early in the year. He had no catches in Week 7 at the Rams and has just three catches for 6 yards on four targets in his past four games combined. Williams hasn't scored more than seven PPR points in any of his past four outings, and he hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 3 against Baltimore. Even with a positive matchup in Week 8 against the Eagles, Williams should just be considered a desperation flex option in most leagues.
Bust Alert
Projections powered by Sportsline
MIA Miami • #37
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ BUF BUF -13.5 O/U 49.5
OPP VS RB
1st
PROJ PTS
11
RB RNK
28th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
243
REC
28
REYDS
146
TD
3
FPTS/G
12.1
Gaskin will benefit with Malcolm Brown (quad) on IR, and we saw an uptick in production last week against Atlanta with Brown going out. Gaskin had a season-high 15 carries for 67 yards against the Falcons, and he also added four catches for 10 yards and a touchdown on four targets. He's trending in the right direction after scoring at least 17 PPR points in two of his past three games, but I would only use him as a flex this week. The Bills held Gaskin to eight PPR points in Week 2 in a game where Tua Tagovailoa injured his ribs. Still, Buffalo is No. 2 in fewest Fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs, and only Derrick Henry in Week 6 had more than 45 rushing yards or a rushing touchdown against this defense this year. And Gaskin's four receptions against the Bills in Week 2 is the season high against them. This could be another down week for Gaskin given the matchup on the road.

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