10 RB sleepers to target for fantasy football week 7
It’s another big NFL Sunday, and you can fill in your fantasy football lineup with these top 10 RB sleepers who could produce big fantasy points in fantasy football week 7.
Oct 3, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Matt Asiata (44) is one of the RB Sleepers who can help your fantasy football team in Week 7. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Every week more running backs get injured, others return, and workloads are re-distributed. To have a big fantasy football week, you have to be aware of the ever-changing backfield landscape and get your team in a place to succeed. To help you stay on top of the latest changes, every NFL Sunday you can find my top 10 last-minute RB sleepers. These players could step up big-time this week and be helpful to fantasy football owners who need a boost this week from some RB sleepers.
Each Sunday, you can find these position-focused last-minute sleepers here on FanSided along with plenty of other posts to help you throught the week. Check out my top 10 last-minute WR sleepers if you’re also hitting the market for receiver help this Sunday
In case you haven’t found been able to use them yet or this is your first visit to our weekly RB sleepers post, FanSided has assembled some great tools to help you get your lineup set for fantasy football each week. You can find all our coverage throughout the season on the fantasy football hub where you’ll find the top 10 Week 7 matchups to attack for the week as well as full Week 7 start/sit rankings. You can also get any specific lineup question answered by checking out the new start/sit tool.
In this post, we’ll take a look at some running backs that I think come into the week a little bit underrated. Whether they are mid-range players with a chance to join the elite options this week or players on waiver wires that may be nice plug-and-play options, I think they’ll excel this week based on projected workload and matchup. At the end of the day, I think they’ll be the best RB sleepers in fantasy football week 7.
All these RB sleepers are risky to some degree which is why other owners are passing them up. However, I think they can be used as cheap DFS plays or are worth a pickup off of many league’s waiver wires. However, even though I think they’ll step up, they are still risky which is why they are still considered RB sleepers.
Let’s get going with my top 10 last-minute RB sleepers for week 7 by starting with a running back who is set up for a second monster week in a row.
Oct 16, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Spencer Ware (32) escapes Oakland Raiders outside linebacker Bruce Irvin (51) during the third quarter at Oakland Coliseum. The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Oakland Raiders 26-10. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Spencer Ware-Kansas City Chiefs
In Week 6, Kansas City came back off their bye with a nice win over Oakland. The star of the game was running back Spencer Ware who is distancing himself as the clear feature-back even though Jamaal Charles was available last week. This week, Charles experienced a setback which should leave as much work in the KC Backfield as Ware can handle.
Last week in that win over the Raiders, Ware was dominant running for 131 yards on his 24 carries and adding 32 yards on two catches. He only found the End Zone once, but he still was one of the best fantasy backs of the day.
He’ll get another great matchup this week as the Saints come to Kansas City. No team in the NFL is allowing more fantasy points per game to opposing running backs than the Saints. New Orelans has allowed more RB rushing touchdowns than any other team in the NFL despite the fact that have already had their bye week while most teams have played an extra game. They lead the NFL in fantasy points per game to opposing RB by an average of over three fantasy points over the No. 2 ranked team.
In another great matchup this week, Ware can be started with confidence. He isn’t one of the RB sleepers who is coming out of nowhere, but I think he’s a top-five back this week, and he’s consistently being rated much lower. Given the matchup and Charles’ iffy injury status, I think Ware is set up to explode at Arrowhead today.
Oct 10, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Jacquizz Rodgers (32) carries the ball against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Jacquizz Rodgers-Tampa Bay Buccaneers
While the Saints have given up more fantasy points to opposing RBs, the 49ers are on track to be a historically bad run defense this season. They are allowing the third-most fantasy points to opposing RB’s but have given up by far the most rushing yards. Last week San Francisco was steamrolled by the Bills rushing attack, and this week its Jacquizz Rodgers who should get a chance to pile up plenty of fantasy points against them.
Rodgers will start for Tampa Bay for the second week in a row despite not joining the team until the end of training camp. He opened the year as the third back behind Doug Martin and Charles Sims, but both Sims and Martin are out this week. Sims is on IR and Martin suffered a setback this week making Rodgers on e of the RB sleepers who could be huge over the next few weeks.
Before their bye-week, Rodgers helped Tampa get a big win over the Panthers by rushing for 101 yards on 30 carries and adding 28 more yards on five catches. He didn’t get into the end zone in that contest, but he is in the RB1 conversation this week based on his expected heavy workload against the struggling 49ers run defense.
Oct 16, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Terrance West (28) scores a first quarter touchdown against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Terrance West-Baltimore Ravens
West has become a regular on my RB sleepers list and continues to quietly turn in good performances. He has been the Ravens featured back for three weeks and has been extremely productive throughout that time while not being threatened at all by rookie Kenneth Dixon.
Last week, West had a season-high 23 carries and finished with 87 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Giants. He added 36 more yards on a season-high four catches. In his three games since the Ravens let Justin Forsett go, West has run for 113, 95, and 87 yards and has a total of three touchdowns.
This week, he’ll look to keep things rolling in a great matchup against the struggling Jets. New Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg looks like he’ll commit to getting West the ball enough to make him a solid RB2. Last week, the Jets were trampled by David Johnson in Arizona, so West should be started this week in almost every format.
Oct 16, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Chris Ivory (33) scores a touchdown against the Chicago Bears in the second half at Soldier Field. The Jacksonville Jaguars beat the Chicago Bears 17-16. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Chris Ivory-Jacksonville Jaguars
As a fantasy football owner, there’s little more frustrating when your player ends up on the short of a time share and not getting any opportunity to produce fantasy points. That has been the case for owners of both Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon at different points this season as the backs have split time in the Jacksonville backfield. Both have shown the potential to deliver fantasy points, but they are dividing time at an unpredictable rate from week-to-week leaving owners with nothing but two high-risk plays even in good matchups like this week.
Whichever Jaguars running back gets the playing time will be a good option from the RB sleepers today, but it’s tricky to know who will get the work. Whoever gets carries will be running against the Raiders who are allowing the fifth-most fantasy points per game to opposing RB. Spencer Ware gashed them for a huge game last week in Oakland.
As the Raiders come east for an early game, I think one of the Jags’ backs will post a big number, and I’d give Chris Ivory the slight edge making him a good flex play for Week 7. Ivory gets the nod for me since he got more touches coming out of Jacksonville’s bye week in Chicago last week, and he usually gets he the all-important goalline work as well. He only totaled 32 yards on his 11 carries last week, but he had a 13-7 workload advantage over Yeldon which could allow him to be a solid flex consideration this week..
Oct 9, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; New England Patriots running back James White (28) runs the ball for a first downs against the Cleveland Browns during the first quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Patriots won 33-13. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
James White-New England Patriots
The Patriots offense is loaded with weapons as they roll into Pittsburgh for what was supposed to be a possible AFC Championship preview. The air was taken out of this matchup a little bit when Ben Roethlisberger was injured last week, but it should still be a good game to watch in the later-afternoon slot.
From a fantasy perspective, the Patriots can be frustrating since they distribute the ball to their playmakers slightly differently each week. While Martellus Bennett and Rob Gronkowski have been getting a lot of attention in their dual-TE sets, don’t overlook the Patriots’ receiving running back James White who has also been getting good work lately.
White has played a larger role in the New England attack the last three weeks with at least 47 receiving yards in each of those contests. He had a season-high eight catches last week against the Bengals and found his way into the end zone for his first two touchdowns of the year. While also set his season-high with seven carries but he only totaled 19 yards.
It’s tricky to determine exactly how much work White will get from week-to-week, but in a Tom Brady offense there’s definitely enough work to make him a flex consideration in PPR leagues. He’s one of the RB sleepers who can be used if you’re stretched thin at the position, but he is still too touchdown-dependent to be locked into lineups across the board.
Oct 9, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Buffalo Bills running back Mike Gillislee (35) runs 5 yards into the end zone for a touchdown in the 2nd quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Gillislee-Buffalo Bills
On Thursday, it looked like Gillislee would be near the top of this list of RB sleepers since LeSean McCoy looked unlikely to play. However, the Bills’ star running back was able to practice on Friday (limited) and now is trending toward being active for today’s contest against the Dolphins.
Gillislee is a high-risk, high-reward play if McCoy does suit up today against the Dolphins. McCoy has been on fire lately for the Bills, but the Bills offense is built to run the ball so Gillislee should be able to step in with some success if he is called upon. Last week against the 49ers, Gillislee ended up with six carries for 61 yards and a touchdown giving him two straight weeks with a rushing score and three touchdowns total on the season.
Even if McCoy is active, he’ll likely be limited leaving more work for Gillislee to take against a beatable Miami run defense. If he’s still on your waiver wire, Gillislee is a plug-and-play option with RB2 upside if McCoy is out. If McCoy is active as expected, both backs will be high-risk but usable options as the Bills go for their fifth win in a row.
Sep 25, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; Detroit Lions running back Dwayne Washington (36) during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Green Bay won 34-27. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Dwayne Washington-Detroit Lions
The Lions backfield has been decimated by injury this season, and the team hasn’t been able to generate hardly anything on the ground as a result. Ameer Abdullah was sent to IR, Theo Riddick has already been ruled out for the second week in a row, and Dwayne Washington missed the last two weeks. The team was forced to rely on Zach Zenner and recent-signee Justin Forsett last week, but neither ended up with huge games.
This week, Detroit will likely get their running back Dwayne Washington back as they host the team from Washington this afternoon. To make the situation more confusing Dwayne Washington played his college football at Washington University which is on the other end of the continent from the Washington where the Lions opponent is coming from.
Anyway, Washington makes sense for your fantasy team since he’s expected to take a lot of the work in the backfield and platoon with Zach Zenner. Washington and Zenner are similar runners in many ways, but Washington has more upside. It’s a low-upside platoon situation, but it’s a good matchup since Washington’s run defense is in the top ten in the NFL for most fantasy points allowed per game to opposing RB. Washington is an option you can start if your desperate since he’ll get some work and could find the end zone. He’s one of the riskier RB sleepers on this list, but he does have potential to produce.
Oct 3, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Matt Asiata (44) rushes away from New York Giants linebacker Jonathan Casillas (52) in the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings win 24-10. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Asiata-Minnesota Vikings
Another player in a timeshare who has been a useful fantasy option lately is Matt Asiata. The bigger option in the Vikings RB rotation doesn’t have the sizzle that Jerick McKinnon offers, but he has been putting up good totals while Adrian Peterson has been out.
Last week, Asiata and the Vikings had a bye, but in week 5 he had his best game of the season rushing for 55 yards on 14 carries and adding 46 yards on three catches. Asiata found the end zone for the second week in a row as well as the Vikings cruised past the Texans.
The win over Houston made Minnesota 5-0 as they roll into Philadelphia today. Asiata and McKinnon will split work in the backfield again making both high-risk but playable options. Asiata was getting more work before the bye, and he performed well enough that he should keep grinding out yards this week against the Eagles.
Another reasonI like Asiata as one of my RB sleepers for today is that he does get the goal line work and has shown a knack for getting into the end zone. Sam Bradford and the Vikings are the last undefeated team, so everyone will look to see if they can keep it going today as Bradford returns to the team that traded him at the beginning of the season.
Oct 9, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) warms up before the game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Derrick Henry-Tennessee Titans
It’s been an interesting rookie campaign for last year’s Heisman winner Derrick Henry. Henry was impressive in preseason and has looked pretty good when he gets work. However, he is still a very risky play for fantasy purposes because almost all the work in the Tennessee backfield is going to DeMarco Murray.
Henry hasn’t found the end zone yet, but he has been able to total 158 yards on his 36 carries for a healthy average of 4.4 yards per carry. Last week, he only got two carries which he took for seven yards but did add 20 yards on two catches out of the backfield.
When Henry does get playing time, he makes it count, but his playing time isn’t at a level where he is anything more than an absolute flier. That being said, if he got ten carries against the Colts today he would be a flex consideration since the Indy defense has been so bad against the run. Henry should still be owned, but until he gets more carries he’s a ultra-high risk option in our RB sleepers.
Oct 16, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills linebacker Lorenzo Alexander (57) tries to make a tackle on San Francisco 49ers running back Mike Davis (22) as he runs the ball during the second half at New Era Field. Buffalo beat San Francisco 45-16. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Davis-San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers are going to have to take on the Bucs this afternoon without the cornerstone of their offense–Carlos Hyde. In Hyde’s place, coach Chip Kelly is expecting to use a RB rogation including Mike Davis, the second-year running back out of South Carolina. Davis will share time with Shaun Draughn and DuJuan Harris, but he’ll l likely be the back with the most carries by the end of the day.
Last week, Davis ran for 13 yards on five carries and added a six yard reception. He is a solid back who can get the available yards but not make dynamic plays aside from that. It is a good matchup for him, though, against the Bucs defense which has been hurting against the run this season.
Davis is a startable option since he could get a touchdown today, but he doesn’t have a high ceiling in San Francisco’s struggling attack. He’s worth a look if you’re desperate, but don’t expect him to win your week for you.
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