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For most of this season, we've ignored anyone on the Houston Texans not named Brandin Cooks. With Mark Ingram traded to the New Orleans Saints, that probably needs to change.

Ingram's absence creates a void of 14 touches from an offense that has been surprisingly reliant on its  running backs. The trio of Ingram, David Johnson, and Phillip Lindsay averaged more than 22 carries and 100 total yards the first three weeks of the season. They also averaged 17.7 PPR Fantasy points, essentially the same number as James Robinson. The problem is, split three ways, that's not very enticing.

With Ingram gone, if Johnson or Lindsay grabs 60% of the Texans running back production they would be a flex in the range of what James Conner or Javonte Williams has been so far this season. But Johnson could be even more. 

For one thing, Johnson has been far more effective than Lindsay each of the past two seasons. If the team is trying to maximize efficiency they should give Johnson all the touches he can handle. At the very least, they should give him the majority of the carries and all the passing game work, which is generally more valuable. But also, Tyrod Taylor will be returning from IR in the next three weeks. While Taylor is no star, he's a big step up from Davis Mills, which should lead to more scoring opportunities for the running backs.

Treat Johnson like a flex this week, and Lindsay as a stash. Both need to be added before Sunday in a majority of leagues.

Let's get to the rest of the Week 8 RB Preview:

Week 8 RB Preview
RB Preview
Who's Out

The following players are not being projected to play Week 8 at this time. Here's what it means:

Who's Out
Projections powered by Sportsline
PHI Philadelphia • #26
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott should split the load.
MIA Miami • #34
Age: 28 • Experience: 7 yrs.
With Brown on IR, Myles Gaskin has a clear runway to top-20 production.
RB Preview
Numbers to know
  • 63.2% -- James Robinson has a 63% rush share since Week 2. Carlos Hyde concerns are long gone.
  • 3.5 -- The New Orleans Saints allow 3.5 yards per carry, the best mark in the league.
  • 19 -- Alvin Kamara has seen 19 targets over the past two weeks.
  • 23% -- Michael Carter saw team-best 23% target share in Week 7. He may be the second-best rookie running back this season.
  • 55% -- Zack Moss's snap rate regressed back to 55% in Week 6. Hopefully this week is a better game script for him.
  • 13 -- Joe Mixon leads all running backs with 13 broken tackles.
  • 34 -- Jonathan Taylor has 34 red zone rush attempts this season, five more than any other running back.
  • 79.8 -- The Jets are giving up 79.8 receiving yards per game to running backs.
RB Preview
Matchups that matter
Matchups that Matter
Projections powered by Sportsline
TB Tampa Bay • #7
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ NO TB -4.5 O/U 50.5
OPP VS RB
3rd
PROJ PTS
14.6
RB RNK
16th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
413
REC
27
REYDS
222
TD
4
FPTS/G
16.4
JAC Jacksonville • #25
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ SEA SEA -3.5 O/U 44
OPP VS RB
31st
PROJ PTS
15.4
RB RNK
6th
CAR Carolina • #30
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ ATL ATL -2.5 O/U 46
OPP VS RB
16th
PROJ PTS
13.8
RB RNK
12th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
309
REC
17
REYDS
110
TD
1
FPTS/G
9.3
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
9.7
RB RNK
15th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
350
REC
15
REYDS
133
TD
3
FPTS/G
11.6
RB Preview
Waiver Wire Targets
Week 8 Adds
HOU Houston • #31
Age: 29 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs LAR LAR -14.5 O/U 47.5
OPP VS RB
22nd
RB RNK
34th
ROSTERED
47%
YTD Stats
RUYDS
104
REC
19
REYDS
154
TD
1
FPTS/G
7
Johnson has top-20 upside if Taylor returns and Johnson gets the feature role.
MIA Miami • #31
Age: 27 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs LAR LAR -14.5 O/U 47.5
OPP VS RB
22nd
RB RNK
NR
ROSTERED
23%
YTD Stats
RUYDS
97
REC
3
REYDS
37
TD
2
FPTS/G
4.1
Lindsay could very well earn more early down work than we expect. He's worth a stash just in case.
CIN Cincinnati • #34
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ NYJ CIN -10.5 O/U 42.5
OPP VS RB
32nd
RB RNK
42nd
ROSTERED
26%
YTD Stats
RUYDS
139
REC
8
REYDS
77
TD
2
FPTS/G
7
Perine is not a bad dart-throw flex if you're desperate. He should handle the fourth quarter work if it's a blowout, and he's been playing a lot on third downs.
Stash
IND Indianapolis • #25
Age: 25 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs TEN TEN -1 O/U 49
OPP VS RB
9th
RB RNK
NR
ROSTERED
23%
YTD Stats
RUYDS
101
REC
2
REYDS
8
TD
0
FPTS/G
2.6
The Colts are looking for a trade partner. Mack could make a big impact in Baltimore or maybe even Kansas City.
RB Preview
DFS Plays
Top Play
Projections powered by Sportsline
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
9.3
RB RNK
16th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
279
REC
7
REYDS
48
TD
1
FPTS/G
6.5
Last week's contrarian play is this week's chalk play. Neither the return of Damien Williams nor the Buccaneers defense could slow Herbert down last week. He played 77% of the snaps and became the first running back this year to reach 100 yards against Tampa Bay. He even caught all five of his targets. Herbert is a top-12 running back until David Montgomery returns and huge value in DFS this week.
Contrarian Play
Projections powered by Sportsline
NO New Orleans • #41
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs TB TB -5 O/U 50.5
OPP VS RB
12th
PROJ PTS
19.8
RB RNK
4th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
419
REC
25
REYDS
241
TD
5
FPTS/G
20.2
Tampa Bay has now allowed three straight running backs to average 5 yards per carry. So I'm not totally sure it's still a terrible matchup. But even if it is, Kamara has 19 targets over the past two weeks, so I'm not sure the matchup matters that much.
RB Preview
Heath's Projections

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