We’ve learned that the NFL and fantasy football has tended to favor quarterbacks and receivers over the last few years. Well, after Week 7’s first batch of Sunday games, it’s clear many running backs choose to differ.
There were some terrific performances from running backs this week, mostly by committee. The Green Bay Packers tandem of Eddie Lacy and James Starks ran over Carolina for a pair of touchdowns and 99 yards. With No. 1 back Zac Stacy on the sideline, the St. Louis Rams sent rookie Tre Mason out to help Benny Cunningham and receiver Tavon Austin, and the trio wrecked defending Super Bowl champion Seattle.
Even former No. 1 pick and Colts rusher Trent Richardson got in on the action, tearing up Cincinnati for 77 yards, and Ahmad Bradshaw continued his incredible year with two touchdowns.
Of course it wasn’t all roses for running backs, with Buffalo’s Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller both carted off the field in the first half against Minnesota. It’s unclear how long Jackson or Spiller could be out, but when the cart is involved it usually means a long stay on the sidelines. But the Bills do have a couple of other options they can use.
Owners can always use some depth at running back, especially with Week 9 and Week 10’s crippling byes creeping up. As we enter the second half of the fantasy season, let’s look at which rushers should be targeted for Week 8’s waiver wire. We’ll also delve into a couple other positions. Remember, always drop and add at your own discretion.
Denard Robinson, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
With Toby Gerhart out for the second straight week, the former Michigan quarterback got the starting nod, despite Storm Johnson playing pretty well last week. Robinson responded with 127 yards and a touchdown on 22 attempts. Gerhart’s status for the next few weeks is still up in the air due to a foot injury, and Robinson’s made a case to keep getting touches. He’s owned in 0.4 percent of ESPN and three percent of Yahoo! leagues, and will shoot up the waiver wire this week for teams in need of a second or third RB.
Tre Mason, RB, St. Louis Rams
The rookie didn’t even get on the field until Week 6 against San Francisco, and played well with five attempts for 40 yards. He earned some extra time with Stacy struggling, and the Rams going with a committee in the backfield. Eighteen carries for 85 yards and a touchdown later, and Mason might be a certifiable starter in the next two weeks. He’s owned in less than three percent of ESPN and 11 percent of Yahoo! leagues, but that will change before Week 8. With owners scrambling for replacements for Spiller and Jackson, many will use a roster spot on Mason now and wait and see. So snag him now if you’re in need of another RB.
Bryce Brown, RB, Buffalo Bills
When Jackson and Spiller went down in rapid succession, it was Anthony Dixon that came out of the backfield, but eventually it could be Brown. Dixon’s the only one of the two to see game action this year, but Brown was more explosive for the Eagles before he was traded to Buffalo. Brown and Dixon will likely split carries, with the latter more of a threat in the red zone than in the open field like the former. Brown, who’s owned in zero percent of Yahoo! and 1.3 percent of ESPN leagues, also provides more versatility with better pass-catching abilities out of the backfield than Dixon. Both Brown and Dixon will be targeted on waivers this week. The priority should be Brown but put a backup claim in for Dixon.
Indianapolis Colts DST
Known more for their offense, the Colts DST held the Bengals No. 9 ranked offense to 27 total yards and zero points the first half, and shut them out the rest of the way. Indy’s on the road for the next two weeks, but they’ll face an inconsistent Steelers offense and a N.Y. Giants squad prone to cough up plenty of turnovers. The Colts are owned in 12 percent of ESPN and 43 percent of Yahoo! leagues, and fantasy owners should put in a waiver claim or wait for Week 8’s free agency period.
Others to Watch: James Starks, RB, Packers; Marqise Lee, WR, Jaguars; Anthony Dixon, RB, Bills; Charles Clay, TE, Dolphins; Travaris Cadet, RB, Saints