Saturday, October 31, 2020

Fantasy Football Week 8 RB Start'em, Sit'em

The decision on which player to start, or sit, largely comes down to the options on your roster (and/or possibly the players available on your league's waiver wire).

As an example, Giovani Bernard is listed below as a "start" for Week 8. And I'd certainly be comfortable going into Week 8 with him as one of my starting running backs.

Then again, Bernard may be a "sit" for your team.

In other words, if you own both Alvin Kamara, Jonathan Taylor and Bernard, you should start Kamara and Taylor and, in turn, bench Bernard.

For a more direct answer on whether we would start Player X over Player Y, check our Week 8 Fantasy Football Rankings. Instead of making those direct comparisons, the goal here is to highlight players that we like, or dislike, for the week.

Week 8 Fantasy Football RB Start'em

Boston Scott, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. DAL)

With Miles Sanders (knee) out in Week 7, Scott carried the ball 12 times for 46 yards and added three receptions for another 46 and a touchdown on five targets. That performance was good enough for him to finish as a top-10 weekly running back across all scoring formats.

Once again, Sanders will be out and Scott is set up for another outstanding performance. The Eagles are double-digit home favorites and have one of the week's highest implied totals based on Vegas odds.

In addition, the Cowboys, who have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, have allowed a top-14 running back in four consecutive weeks. More recently, Kenyan Drake (20/164/2 rushing, weekly RB2) and Antonio Gibson (20/128/1, RB5) really gashed this defense in Weeks 6 and 7, respectively. On the season, the Cowboys have allowed running backs to average 5.00 YPC (only three teams have allowed more).

Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. TEN)

Like Scott, Bernard stepped in for an injured workhorse (Joe Mixon) and delivered for fantasy owners that started him. While the rushing numbers (13/37/0) weren't all that inspiring, Bernard was productive as a receiver with five catches for 59 yards and a touchdown and he finished the week as fantasy's RB7. Mixon (foot) will get another week of rest before the team's Week 9 bye, which makes Bernard a viable RB2 in Week 8.

Jamaal Williams, Green Bay Packers (vs. MIN)

The theme continues as Williams will get one more week as lead back with Aaron Jones (calf) ruled out. Williams handled 23 (82.1%) of the backfield's touches with Jones out last week and turned those opportunities into 114 scrimmage yards and a touchdown.

After allowing Jonathan Taylor (101) and Derrick Henry (119) to eclipse the 100-yard rushing mark in Weeks 2 and 3, respectively, the Vikings rush defense has been better. Over the past three weeks, they have limited running backs to 3.69 YPC. Even so, Williams will get the vast majority of work for what should be one of this week's highest scoring offenses, which makes him a back-end RB1 this week.

Myles Gaskin, Miami Dolphins (vs. LAR)

One of the biggest surprises of the season, Gaskin has become Miami's workhorse back. Not only does Gaskin have at least 13 touches in every game, but the former seventh-round pick out of Washington has more than 20 touches in consecutive games and three of his past four. Gaskin's volume and production has led him to churn out consecutive top-10 fantasy performances.

The Dolphins are home underdogs as Tua Tagovailoa makes his first-ever NFL start. Even though the matchup isn't favorable for Gaskins and the team's backs, his role as a receiver boosts his floor. Through the first six games of the season, Gaskin is averaging 4.5 receptions per game.

Week 8 Fantasy Football RB Sit'em

Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills (vs. NE)

In a week with four teams on a bye, Singletary isn't a terrible play, but he's outside of my top-24 running backs (albeit barely at RB25), which makes him a flex option. That said, Singletary has been inefficient as a runner (3.78 YPC) and has averaged 3.1, 2.3, 3.2 and 3.6 YPC over his past four games, respectively. Last week, Singletary played only 54% of the offensive snaps and had only 10 touches, both of which are season lows.

The Bills used a third-round pick on Zack Moss, who has played only four games this season but is healthy again. Last week, it was an even split with Singletary and Moss and the rookie was more effective (seven carries for 47 yards and three receptions for 25 yards). It wouldn't be surprising if the duo continues to get an even split and it also wouldn't surprise me if Moss is more effective than Singletary the rest of the way.

Wayne Gallman, New York Giants (vs. TB)

Devonta Freeman (ankle) has been ruled out for Monday night. With Freeman leaving Week 7 early, Gallman had 10 carries for 34 yards and a touchdown and five catches for 20 yards against the Eagles.

The matchup this week against the Buccaneers is one of the most difficult for running backs. The Buccaneers have allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs, but no team has limited opposing running backs to a lower YPC average (2.72) than the Bucs. The Eagles (3.30) are the next closest team. Outside of the Jets, no team has a lower implied total than the Giants this week.

Adrian Peterson, Detroit Lions (vs. IND)

Peterson had 12 touches for 30 scoreless yards against the Falcons in Week 7. With limited work as a receiver (six catches all season), Peterson now has 40 rushing yards or less in three consecutive games. The Colts have limited opposing running backs to only 3.48 YPC and the fifth-fewest fantasy points this season. Meanwhile, rookie D'Andre Swift should continue to be more involved than Peterson and the former Bulldog is a top-20 option in our Week 8 rankings.

Damien Harris, New England Patriots (at BUF)

In a game where there were almost no bright spots, Harris carried the ball 10 times for 58 yards and added a 12-yard reception against the 49ers in Week 7. The second-year back is averaging 5.4 YPC in his three games played this season, but taking a cautious approach with the generally anemic Patriots offense makes sense.

Especially if he leads the backfield in workload and production again in Week 8, it's possible that Harris lands on the "Start'em" side of this post with a matchup against the woeful Jets in Week 9. But for now, keep him (and the team's other backs) on your bench.

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