Najee Harris, Ezekiel Elliott, Austin Ekeler, Dalvin Cook, James Robinson — all gone this week. But while those five running backs (and Zack Moss, Devin Singletary, and Tony Pollard) take some well-deserved time off, fantasy football owners are left trying to figure out who to start. Our Week 7 fantasy RB rankings can help, but finding sleepers at fantasy’s most important position isn’t easy in a week like this, especially when key guys like Saquon Barkley and Nick Chubb figure to be ” questionable” and several more star RBs will be out.
When a lot of key starters are out, at least a few fantasy owners won’t be happy with their RB2s or flexes. That’s just the way it goes. When you look at this week’s rankings and see someone like Michael Carter (@ Patriots) around the top 25, it’s a bit jarring, but who do want to put in front of him? Sure, you can make arguments for some of the backs below him, but the bottom line is there aren’t a lot of “sure starters” based on usage, and it gets worse when you start looking at matchups.
Perhaps the most eye-catching thing about these rankings is Cordarrelle Patterson (@ Dolphins) in the RB1 range. Patterson got more than seven carries for the first all year last game (14), and he’s had at least five catches in each of his past four games. Perhaps most important, his snap share saw a huge jump prior to the bye, as he was in on 59 percent of plays. Touchdowns are still a potential worry, so perhaps we’re being generous with our near-RB1 ranking of him in standard leagues, but Patterson is explosive and has a highly favorable matchup against Miami. That’s why his running mate, Mike Davis, is also worth starting this week.
Damien Harris (vs. Jets), Mike Sanders (@ Raiders), Myles Gaskin (vs. ATL), and James Conner and Chase Edmonds (vs. Texans) also get big boosts from their matchups. These are guys that have looked unplayable at times this year, but, again, in a week with fewer options, they stand out as relatively “safe” plays, as crazy as that sounds. Obviously, Gaskin and Edmonds are worth more in PPR leagues, but you still have to take shots on them in standard. Yes, even Gaskin. We all saw what happened when he disappointed and was universally faded the next week (he scored twice). Don’t let that happen again.
The biggest matchup worries are Devontae Booker (vs. Panthers), Elijah Mitchell (vs. Colts), Damien Williams/Khalil Herbert (@ Bucs), Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams (@ Browns), and Mark Ingram (@ Cardinals). It will be tough to sit the primary backs like Booker and Mitchell, as their workloads figure to be high, but committee backs like Gordon and Williams are much riskier. Chances are, many will have to use those guys as RB2s or flexes, but there’s always hope for a short TD. If Barkley is back, then he has a lower ceiling than usual, but he’s still a must-start. Mitchell might get a bump down in the rankings depending on if JaMycal Hasty (ankle) and/or Jeff Wilson Jr. (knee) are due back for San Francisco.
If you have to dig deep this week, guys like Malcolm Brown (vs. Falcons), Samaje Perine (@ Ravens), Rhamondre Stevenson (vs. Jets), and Sony Michel (vs. DET) at least have favorable matchups on paper. It’s always tough to guess how many touches they’ll get, but if they get close to 10, then they’ll have some value in a week like this.
Ultimately, these are the types of weeks where you should count yourself lucky if you have two legitimate starters, never mind three. If you’re walking in tall cotton with a trio (or quartet) of high-quality backs, then it might not be a bad idea to see what’s available in a trade. Some owners might be desperate, so you never know much extra value you could net.
Note: We’ll be updating these RB rankings throughout the week, so check back for analysis and the latest player movement.
Fantasy RB Rankings Week 7: Who to start at running back
Rankings are based on standard, non-PPR scoring
|1||Derrick Henry, TEN vs. KC|
|2||Alvin Kamara, NO @ SEA|
|3||Aaron Jones, GB vs. WAS|
|4||Jonathan Taylor, IND @ SF|
|5||Nick Chubb, CLE vs. DEN|
|6||Darrell Henderson, LAR vs. DET|
|7||Antonio Gibson, WAS @ GB|
|8||Chuba Hubbard, CAR @ NYG|
|9||Joe Mixon, CIN @ BAL|
|10||Leonard Fournette, TB vs. CHI|
|11||D’Andre Swift, DET @ LAR|
|12||Damien Harris, NE vs. NYJ|
|13||Cordarrelle Patterson, ATL @ MIA|
|14||Miles Sanders, PHI @ LV|
|15||Josh Jacobs, LV vs. PHI|
|16||Darrel Williams, KC @ TEN|
|17||Mike Davis, ATL @ MIA|
|18||Damien Williams, CHI @ TB|
|19||James Conner, ARI vs. HOU|
|20||Devontae Booker, NYG vs. CAR|
|21||Elijah Mitchell, SF vs. IND|
|22||Alex Collins, SEA vs. NO|
|23||Myles Gaskin, MIA vs. ATL|
|24||Chase Edmonds, ARI vs. HOU|
|25||Michael Carter, NYJ @ NE|
|26||Melvin Gordon, DEN @ CLE|
|27||Jamaal Williams, DET @ LAR|
|28||Mark Ingram, HOU @ IND|
|29||Javonte Williams, DEN @ CLE|
|30||Latavius Murray, BAL vs. CIN|
|31||Rhamondre Stevenson, NE vs. NYJ|
|32||D’Ernest Johnson, CLE vs. DEN|
|33||AJ Dillon, GB vs. WAS|
|34||JD McKissic, WAS @ GB|
|35||Samaje Perine, CIN @ BAL|
|36||Sony Michel, LAR vs. DET|
|37||JaMycal Hasty, SF vs. IND|
|38||Khalil Herbert, CHI @ TB|
|39||Malcolm Brown, MIA vs. ATL|
|40||Le’Veon Bell, BAL vs. CIN|
|41||Rashaad Penny, SEA vs. NO|
|42||Devonta Freeman, BAL vs. CIN|
|43||Kenneth Gainwell, PHI @ LV|
|44||Nyheim Hines, IND @ SF|
|45||Tevin Coleman, NYJ @ NE|
|46||Salvon Ahmed, MIA vs. ATL|
|47||David Johnson, HOU @ ARI|
|48||Jerick McKinnon, KC @ TEN|
|49||Ronald Jones II, TB vs. CHI|
|50||Ty Johnson, NYJ @ NE|
|51||Kenyan Drake, LV vs. PHI|
|52||Giovani Bernard, TB vs. CHI|
|53||Jeremy McNichols, TEN vs. KC|
|54||Phillip Lindsay, HOU @ ARI|
|55||Brandon Bolden, NE vs. NYJ|
|56||Trey Sermon, SF vs. IND|