In the Panthers' first game without Christian McCaffrey we saw Chuba Hubbard and D'Onta Foreman both produce as top-24 Fantasy running backs, and remarkably, both outscored McCaffrey as well. While we expect McCaffrey to bounce back and be a must-start option moving forward, it's more difficult to know what to do with the Panthers. Or, at least, it will be if Chuba Hubbard gets healthy.
Hubbard left Week 7 with an ankle injury that was reported as minor but he missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday, which makes him questionable at best for the team's Week 8 matchup with the Falcons. If Hubbard is out, Foreman could be an absolute star.
This Panthers offense looks like it will run through D.J. Moore and the running backs. Last week, Foreman and Hubbard combined for 28 touches. For the year, Panthers running backs are averaging 23.8 touches per game. If Hubbard is out, I'd project Foreman for 20 touches, which would easily get him into the top-20. If Hubbard is able to go, they'll both be high-end flexes. One change I've made due to the Thursday practice report is moving Hubbard behind Gus Edwards in full PPR. You can't risk the injury if Edwards is your backup plan.
Now let's get to the rest of the Week 8 RB Preview:
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Week 8 RB Preview
The following players are not being projected to play in Week 8 at this time. Here's what it means:
Breece Hall RB
NYJ N.Y. Jets • #20
Age: 21 • Experience: Rookie
We expect Michael Carter to lead the backfield with James Robinson spelling him on early downs.
Mike Boone RB
DEN Denver • #26
Age: 27 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Melvin Gordon and Latavius Murray should share the load. They're flexes this week.
Numbers to know
- 73% -- Michael Carter played 73% of the snaps in Week 7. He averaged 22 FPPG in the three games he topped 70% of the snaps in 2021.
- 4 -- D'Onta Foreman had four carries in the first three quarters on Sunday. If Chuba Hubbard is 100%, Foreman's role could shrink quite a bit in Week 8.
- 113.3 -- Travis Etienne has averaged 113.3 yards from scrimmage in his last three games. He looks like a league winner with James Robinson shipped off to New York.
- 80% -- Josh Jacobs has played at least 80% of the snaps in three straight games. He's a true workhorse back and my No. 1 RB overall this week.
- 36% -- Gus Edwards had a 36% rush share and a 36% snap share in his first game back. Both will need to grow significantly for him to be a must-start running back.
- 6.5 -- Khalil Herbert is averaging 6.5 yards per touch. David Montgomery (4.8 YPT) has a big challenge to hold on to anything close to a majority of the touches.
- 18 -- 49ers running backs have only seen 18 targets all season long. That offense is presumably in for a big change now that they've acquired Christian McCaffrey.
Matchups that matter
Waiver Wire Targets
DEN Denver • #28
Age: 33 • Experience: 10 yrs.
If you're looking for a running back this late in the week, I have bad news for you. They're pretty much all gone. But Murray is working in a split with Melvin Gordon, may be the short yardage back, and may be one Gordon fumble away from a feature role. He's a desperation flex this week against Jacksonville.
PIT Pittsburgh • #30
Age: 24 • Experience: Rookie
I know it's getting more difficult to stash backup running backs, but Warren still possesses top-20 upside should something happen to Harris.
Tony Pollard RB
DAL Dallas • #20
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Pollard will be the chalk this week with Ezekiel Elliott likely out and you should not shy away from it. I project 29 touches for more than 100 yards against a Bears defense that has surrendered the eighth-most Fantasy points to opposing running backs.
I have Mostert projected as a borderline top-12 back against a Lions defense that has surrendered the second-most FPPG to running backs. Mostert saw a season-high five targets last week and produced well on them. He's looking like a bell cow back for as long as he stays healthy.