Welcome to Week 8 #NerdHerd!! Dennis Bennett here. I’m covering for Jake this week. I hope your fantasy season has been filled with victories.
The last couple of weeks have settled down on the serious injury front. Here’s hoping I didn’t jinx us. Jonathan Taylor is back and seems to be gaining momentum. Jahmyr Gibbs is showing how effective he is with a full workload (you seeing this, Arthur Smith?). Heck, Gus Edwards even caught a pass.
Be sure to follow our other start/sit articles and authors; they contain great advice to help you each week.
There is one thing I want to note. For this article and every running back start/sit article I write, I won’t include players like Christian McCaffrey or Austin Ekeler. These are apparent starts so long as they aren’t on bye or injured. If you don’t start them, well, you’re a Taco. I’ll be focusing on players who are a bit harder to decide whether to start or what to expect from them. All scoring in this article series will be PPR. All stats/RB# number finishes come from FantasyPros. So, let’s make this a great season as we watch over 200+ games of NFL football. It’s back! Good luck with this dynasty fantasy football season.
Start: D’Onta Foreman, Bears, RB26
I know, I know, there’s nowhere to go but down for Foreman after his RB1 performance in Week 7. But hear me out.
Yes, Roschon Johnson is back from his injury. And we should expect Johnson to get some work in the passing game. Tyson Bagent is back for another week under center. Bagent is a cool story, but he has an aDot of 4.0 yards, which is 38th (last) for all quarterbacks with a minimum of 45 dropbacks. His 5.7 yards per attempt is 35th in the league. I bring this up because that is where running backs run their routes.
Foreman has a respectable 10% (21st) target share on 28.3% (45th out of 67 RBs) routes run for running backs with at least 30 targets. Running backs accounted for 34.4% of Bagent’s targets in Week 7, including five targets for Foreman. Combine that with a Chargers defense that gives up the 13th most fantasy points to running backs, and you have a guy ready for a mid-RB2 game in Week 8.
Start: Gus Edwards, Ravens, RB27
Since the JK Dobbins season-ending injury, Gus Edwards has steadily taken control of the Ravens backfield. Well, at least the part of it that Lamar Jackson doesn’t take. Edwards is earning 64% of the running back opportunities. He is out snapping backfield mate Justice Hill 47% – 42%.
The Ravens have a 26% positive matchup per Brad Custer’s Positional Matchup (POSAFPA) chart. The Cardinals give the third most fantasy points to running backs and an average of 95 yards rushing per game. Arizona is 22nd in scoring, which should push the game script toward Gus Edwards. Lock him in for a mid-RB2 game.
Sit: D’Andre Swift, Eagles, RB10
I bet you are thinking, Dennis, why am I sitting the starting running back on the fourth-best rushing offense in the NFL? Well, you aren’t. But you are going to get your expectations in line with reality.
First, Jalen Hurts is a touchdown vulture. Hurts has six rushing touchdowns to Swift’s two. The Commanders give up the 9th fewest rushing touchdowns and just 14.8 (18th in the NFL) fantasy points to running backs.
The Eagles have rushed for less than 100 yards per game in the last two weeks. The running back matchup is rated as neutral in the Positional Matchup Report; however, the quarterback and wide receiver matchups are very favorable at +25%. Look for Swift to finish as an RB2 in Week 8.
Sit: Kareem Hunt, Browns, RB20
September 18, 2023. The day that led to the Browns re-signing Kareem Hunt. Don’t get me wrong, as a Browns fan, I have a great appreciation for Hunt’s on-field contributions over the previous four seasons. But it was time to move on from the 28-year-old running back. Hunt looked to have lost a step and had remained unsigned and was available to return to the Browns after Chubb’s injury.
Anyway, on to why Hunt is a sit. Hunt is in line to be the lead back against a Seattle defense that gives up the 11th fewest fantasy points to running backs. Since his return to Cleveland, Hunt has a league-low .09 Missed Tackles Forced/attempt (minimum 30 carries). We have a third week of PJ Walker under center who, despite earning two victories, has only completed 50% of his passes the past two games. The Browns can’t count on teams turning the ball over four times like the Colts in Week 7.
Good luck this week with your running back start/sit dilemmas!
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As always, May the Force be with You…