10 RB sleepers to target for fantasy football week 8
It’s a busy NFL Sunday today, so get your lineup locked and ready to roll with the help of these top 10 RB sleepers primed to produce solid fantasy points in Week 8.
Cincinnati Bengals running back Jeremy Hill (32) is one of the RB sleepers to target this week as he and Bengals take on Washington in London this morning. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Throughout the season, no position has values that fluctuate more wildly than running back. There have been a ton of injuries this season giving backs a chance to step up while others have forced their way into larger roles with strong play. With all the transition at the position, it’s easy to miss who has fantasy football value and who could be set up to produce. To help you stay up to date on all 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 RB sleepers in either DFS or season-long fantasy action.
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 8 matchups to attack for the week as well as full Week 8 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 8.
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 leagues waiver wires. However, even though I think they’ll step up, they are still risky to some degree which is why they are still considered RB sleepers.
Let’s get started with my top 10 last-minute RB sleepers for week 8 which starts with a player who is clearly emerging as a star.
Oct 16, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Spencer Ware (32) carries the ball against the Oakland Raiders during the fourth 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
This has to be Spencer Ware’s last week in my RB sleepers since he has become such a fixture in the top tier of RB that he can’t really be considered a “sleeper” anymore. Ware has emerged as the top Chiefs running back while Jamaal Charles has been trying to battle back from knee issues.
Charles is out again tonight leaving Ware to be a member of our RB sleepers who should be considered right up there with David Johnson and Ezekiel Elliott for the top spot overall. Ware gets a tasty Week 8 matchup as he and the Chiefs travel to Indy to take on the Colts in an interesting AFC matchup.
Ware has exploded since returning from Kansas City’s bye two weeks ago. In Week 7, he crushed the Raiders for 131 yards on the ground and 32 yards receiving with a rushing touchdown. He kept that momentum going last week in another tasty matchup rolling over the Saints for 77 rushing yards and 54 receiving yards with a receiving touchdown.
Both the Raiders and the Saints were great matchups for Ware, and he’ll continue with another good matchup against the Colts. Indianapolis is allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing RBs in the NFL this season. DeMarco Murray and Lamar Miller have both had good fantasy games against them the last two weeks, and Ware should continue to be one of the top fantasy options in the backfield this week.
Oct 23, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Matt Forte (22) celebrates his touchdown run during the second half at MetLife Stadium. The Jets defeated the Ravens 24-16. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Forte-New York Jets
Another one of my RB sleepers who I think has potential to be a top ten option today because of his matchup is Jets’ running back Matt Forte. The Jets offense hasn’t been flying high for much of the season and Ryan Fitzpatrick lost his starting job as a result. However, with Geno Smith’s injury last week FitzMagic is back in control this week as the Jets look to soar against the struggling Browns in Cleveland.
A few weeks ago, it looked like Matt Forte was being phased out of the Jets rushing attack and fading off the fantasy map, but he’s back in the RB1 conversation this week. Last week, Forte ended up with exactly 100 yards rushing for the second time this season against the Ravens while also adding 54 more yards on four catches. He finished with a rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown after not finding the end zone for four weeks.
He has a chance to build on those numbers this week in Cleveland. The Browns have been a very beatable defense all season both through the air and on the ground, but over the last four weeks they have given up the second-most fantasy points in the NFL to opposing RB. The Browns offense has struggled as well giving teams shorter fields and more rushing attempts as a result.
Oct 10, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Jacquizz Rodgers (32) carries the ball during the second quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Jacquizz Rodgers-Tampa Bay Buccaneers
One of the biggest RB sleepers to step out of the shadows this season has been Jacquizz Rodgers who has been usable as a solid RB1 for the last two weeks. At the start of the season, he was buried behind Charles Sims and Doug Martin on the depth chart, but Sims and Martin are both out again this week leaving him plenty of working in a solid matchup.
Rodgers has taken advantage of his opportunities and favorable matchups so far with a pair of big weeks. In Week 5, Rodgers ran for 101 yards and added 28 more yards on five catches against the Panthers. After a bye week, he continued to step up with 154 yards in Week 7 against the 49ers. He’ll get a heavy workload for the third game in a row since Martin is out indefinitely and Sims is on IR.
The only thing keeping Rodgers from being a total fantasy stud is that he hasn’t been able to get in the end zone. He’s in a good matchup to change that this week as he faces a Raiders defense that has been very beatable on the ground. So far this season, Oakland is allowing the eighth-most fantasy points per game to opposing RB. Spencer Ware demolished them at home in Week 6, so look for Rodgers to post another big game in Tampa on Sunday. I definitely have him in my top ten RB this week with so many other options sidelined due to injury or their bye week.
Sep 18, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Indianapolis Colts nose tackle David Parry (54) and outside linebacker Erik Walden (93) attempt to tackle Denver Broncos running back Devontae Booker (23) in the second half at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.The Broncos defeated the Colts 34-20. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Devontae Booker-Denver Broncos
One of the biggest stories in the backfield this week has been the injury to Broncos former starting RB C.J. Anderson. With Anderson out for the rest of the season it’ll be time for Broncos rookie Devontae Booker to move into the starting lineup making him one of the hottest RB sleepers for the rest of the season. The fourth-round pick out of Utah was already siphoning carries away from Anderson, but with Anderson’s knee injury Booker will step in as the top back.
Booker had the best week of his career last week on Monday Night Football against the Texans rumbling for 83 yards and a touchdown. He added a catch for four yards, but he has been involved in the passing attack in previous weeks like when he had four catches for 36 yards against the Falcons.
Coming into this week as the workhorse back in a run-first attack, look for Booker to get over 20 touches against the Chargers as the Broncos look to avenge their Week 6 loss in San Diego. The Chargers run defense is giving up the sixth-most fantasy points in the NFL to opposing RBs but has been worse lately allowing the third-most over the last four weeks. Booker should be ready to leap into the RB1 conversation in his first NFL start.
Oct 23, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Jeremy Hill (32) against the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 31-17. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Jeremy Hill-Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals have been rotating their running backs all season mixing in Jeremy Hill with Giovani Bernard. Hill began the year as the starter and early-down back, but a chest injury and Bernard’s strong play had him fading not many teams benches entering this middle stretch of the season. Hill changed that last week, though, with his monster game against the Browns putting him back on the radar as one of the RB sleepers to watch this week.
Hill only got nine carries last week against Cleveland, but he made the most of them totaling 168 yards and a touchdown while also adding 24 yards on two catches. He was still out-carried by Bernard 17-9, but it was a big bounce back for the LSU product who hadn’t had 100-yard game this season.
If you’re going to go with Hill, make sure to get your lineup ready early. He plays the early game this week against Washington in London. Washington ranks No. 9 in fantasy points per game allowed to opposing RBs. Hill and Bernard are both startable this week since It think for the most part Washington will be playing from ahead and keeping the ball on the ground.
Oct 23, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Matt Asiata (44) rushes the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second half at Lincoln Financial Field. The Philadelphia Eagles won 21-10. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Asiata-Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings have been beaten up by injuries all year and Asiata is their one healthy running back headed into a good week 8 matchup against hte Bears. Asiata is a low-risk option in our RB sleepers since he’ll get a ton of work this week as the team’s main back.
Jerick McKinnon was spittle time with Asiata, but is out this week with a foot injury. Each of the last two games, Asiata has run for exactly 55 yards. He added a touchdown back in Week 5 against the Texans and last week caught a solid six passes for 25 yards. Asiata isn’t a burner who will pull off big-time plays, but he is a good ball-control back who has a nose for the end zone.
Asiata will face a surprisingly effective Bear run defense, but he’s till a nice RB2 consideration this week since he’ll get all the work.
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
The Bills pushed LeSean McCoy to play last week in Miami with disastrous results for everyone except Mike Gillislee’s fantasy owners. McCoy struggled to play at less than 100% and ultimately re-injured his hamstring forcing him to miss more time. While he’s out Mike Gillislee will be one of the biggest RB sleepers to watch.
Gillislee’s per-touch numbers are solid with 22 carries for 137 yards this season (a 6.2 yards per carry average) with a pair of touchdowns. He has also added 27 yards and another touchdown on three catches. Many expected Gillislee to be more involved last week, but he only ended up with 20 yards on five carries.
This week, he should get more work with McCoy doubtful against New England. The Patriots’ defense is a tough matchup for Gillislee, but Rex Ryan will continue to ground and pound enough to make him a solid RB2 candidate in the bye-week-thinned RB pool.
Oct 23, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Washington Redskins running back Rob Kelley (32) shakes hands with quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) after scoring a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Lions won 20-17. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Another one of the RB sleepers making this first start of the season is Washington running back Rob Kelly who will get the call because of Matt Jones injury. Jones has been ruled out leaving Kelley and Chris Thompson to carry the load against the Bengals in London.
Thompson is much more of a receiving back which should leave Kelley the early-down and goalline carries. Kelly hasn’t had more than five carries in any one game this season, but he has managed to get 103 yards on his 17 carries.
Cincinnati’s run defense is in the middle of the pack, but with Kelley getting the start he can be a flex play directly off the waiver wire if you need help this week. He’s also a good DFS play since it didn’t break until late in the week that he would be the starter for Washington this week.
Oct 24, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Houston Texans running back Alfred Blue (28) runs the ball on a hand off from quarterback Brock Osweiler (17) against Denver Broncos outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett (48) in the first quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Alfred Blue-Houston Texans
Blue doesn’t have the upside of the names above him on my RB sleepers list, but he is worth noticing since he could end up playing quite a bit for the Texans today against Detroit depending on the health of Lamar Miller. As of this morning, it looks like Miller is ready to give it a go against Detroit, but if he struggles or his shoulder injury flares up Blue could get an increased workload.
Last week, Blue rotated into the Texans loss in Denver running 11 times for 63 yards while failing to haul in any of the three passes thrown his way. Blue actually played more snaps than Miller 35-23. He lost a costly fumble as well, but he didn’t look awful against a tough Denver defense.
Blue should fine more room to work if he gets the same amount of carries today, and he would be set up for a great run if he is the top back in the coming weeks. Unless Miller is inactive, he’s a long shot to produce a big game, but if you’re looking for instant help off the waiver wire he is one of the better widely-available options.
Aug 25, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks running back C.J. Prosise (22) picks up a first down during a preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys at CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks won 27-17. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
C.J. Prosise-Seattle Seahawks
If you’re really looking for a flier who I think has the potential to produce surprisingly numbers as one of the deep RB sleepers for Sunday, check out rookie C.J. Prosise of the Seahawks. Prosise played 25% of the Seattle snaps last week against the Cardinals. He only got three touches being stopped for no gain on one rush and adding 17 yards on two catches.
That work last week was the first time Prosise has been involved as a ball-carrier or pass-catcher since Week 1. He had been sidelined with a hand injury, but now that he’s back he should be the team’s receiving back this week.
Russell Wilson needs all the weapons he can get in the passing game as he and the Seahawks take on the Saints in New Orleans. So far this season, the Saints have been very generous to RB sleepers which is enough to make Prosise a deep-league flier to check out today. He doesn’t have big-time, long-term upside since Thomas Rawls is also nearing his return.
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