Green Bay Packers v Las Vegas Raiders
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The good news at the running back position heading into Week 8 of the Fantasy Football season is, we don't have any absences to deal with because of bye weeks. The bad news is, well ... everything else. The position as a whole hasn't been what we hoped it would be, and we still have plenty of injuries to keep track of. Most notably is Jerome Ford's ankle injury, which was described as a "low-grade, high-ankle" sprain by Adam Schefter; it's an injury that carries a 1-to-2 week timetable.

That likely pushes Kareem Hunt and Pierre Strong into significant roles for Sunday's game against the Seahawks, and makes both priority pickups on the waiver wire. I'd prioritize Hunt, but would still rather have Darrell Henderson, who looks like the lead back in a better offense with the Rams. Hunt should be a viable starter for this week, while Strong is more of desperation play in PPR.

You can see where I have all of those players ranked for Week 8 below, but first: I took to Twitter to get some questions from our audience about the RB position, and here are my thoughts on some of the most interesting. 

This is a big-picture question more than a Week 8 one, but I think it's worth talking about, because the RB position is in rough shape right now. There are actually four running backs averaging 20-plus PPR points right now, and 13 at 15-plus, which is better than last season, but that's kind of a misleading stat for a few reasons. First of all, De'Von Achane (RB1 in points per game) and Kyren Williams (RB6) are among that group and are on IR right now, while David Montgomery (RB10) seems likely to miss at least Week 8, and he's also in that group. That also includes Zack Moss (RB7), who seems unlikely to get anywhere near that level moving forward, as well as D'Onta Foreman (RB13), who had 12.1 combined points prior to his Week 7 explosion -- he's only played three games total. Oh, and, of course, Saquon Barkley missed three games with an injury, while Alvin Kamara (RB3) missed three games due to suspension. 

That being said, there are plenty of underperforming backs I do expect to clear that 15-PPG mark moving forward, and I have a few questions in the rest of this piece about some of them. And I always want to caution against overlearning the lessons of the most recent game/week/season, and there's some risk there. The RB position has been a bit old at the top tier in recent years, so we might be seeing a scenario where, over the next year or two, the likes of Austin Ekeler, Christian McCaffrey, Derrick Henry, and the rest of the stalwarts at the position start to fall off, and if the next group isn't ready to step up, we could be on the verge of some lean times at the position; think back to 2015, when Devonta Freeman was the only RB to crack 300 points and Danny Woodhead managed a top-three PPR finish with fewer than 1,100 total yards and single-digit touchdowns. 

I don't think we're necessarily there yet, and I think it's important not to overlearn the lessons of the most recent game/week/season. Just because the high end of the RB position hasn't been as good as expected for a month and a half doesn't mean we need to fundamentally rethink how we approach the position. That will still depend on the makeup of the overall player pool next summer, and bounce-backs by Josh Jacobs, Tony Pollard, and others could dramatically change how we feel about a question like this. 

I'll tackle the Mostert part of this question first, because we have another Jacobs question coming. Mostert has been a pretty obvious sell-high candidate for the past few weeks, and I made the case for selling high on him last week here in reaction to a Twitter poll from Adam Aizer that saw 50.2% of respondents pick Mostert ahead of Tony Pollard for the rest of the season. 

Now, however, he's coming off his worst Fantasy performance of the season, so it might not be the right time to trade Mostert, exactly, because if you're moving him right now, I do think you need to value him like a top-12 RB. That's not exactly where I would rank him the rest of the season, but it's well within his range of outcomes in this offense, and I need that kind of upside back if I'm moving him.  Pollard would be a fine target; so would Jacobs, and perhaps Derrick Henry, though he feels like less of a sure thing. But I wouldn't be moving Pollard for someone like Joe Mixon or Rhamondre Stevenson; we have good reasons to expect neither is going to live up to their preseason expectations (especially Stevenson). 

One reason I think it still makes sense to try to move Mostert is because of how we tend to think about injuries as Fantasy players and analysts. Or, in this case, how we sometimes stop thinking about injury risk with certain players. Injury risk is a huge topic of conversation in draft season, but I doubt Mostert is going to carry a significant injury risk penalty in trades right now, because he's healthy and has been healthy all season. We tend to suffer from recency bias when it comes to how we think about injuries, and Mostert hasn't gotten hurt yet this season; and he only missed one game last season, too. But his longer track record suggests there is still plenty of risk here that probably isn't being factored into how people are viewing him. 

With Jeff Wilson working his way back to full strength and De'Von Achane's return looming in November, Mostert could have a lot more competition for touches soon. I expect he'll still be worth starting, but there's at least a chance he ends up in a three-way, hot-hand committee that causes more frustration than he's worth. You might be running out of chances to cash him in, though, again, I'd need a top-12 RB to move him still. You're not just giving him up for anything. 

I think you just have to hold on to him. I know it's been a rough season, but I'll just point out that Jacobs actually led all running backs in ESPN's expected Fantasy Points metric before Week 7. Of course, Jacobs went out and had just 5.1 PPR points in Week 7, so I understand if you don't give that much credence, although I will point out that Jacobs had a touchdown overturned by review in Week 7 that would make things look somewhat less dire. 

But, to be clear, things would still look pretty dire. The Raiders offense has taken a step back, and Jacobs hasn't played nearly as well as he did last season -- he is losing 0.63 yards per attempt relative to expected, per NFL NextGenStats, the seventh-worst mark in the league, after being plus 0.47 per attempt last season, a solid mark. Jacobs' ability to combine massive workloads with plus efficiency was a big part of why he was so good last season, and while the workload hasn't been quite as healthy as it was last season (he's down from 20 carries per game to 16.9, though he's made up for that a bit by going from 3.8 to 5.6 targets per game), the bigger issue has been the diminished circumstances as well as Jacobs' personal regression.

But I still think it's worth betting on a bounce-back here. We know Jacobs has been a very good running back in the past, and Josh McDaniels (for all his flaws) has schemed up very good offenses for running back Fantasy production for nearly two decades. If Jacobs figures things out, he's a top-five back, and you almost certainly aren't getting anyone with anywhere close to that kind of upside if you move him right now. 

D'Onta Foreman was so good in Week 7 that you have to think he did enough to earn a significant role moving forward. On the other hand, he was pretty terrific last season, rushing 79.7 yards per game over the final 11 games for the Panthers, which was enough to land him a contract with the Bears this offseason but not enough to get him on the field until both Roschon Johnson and Khalil Herbert were injured. So, who knows?

My guess is, Foreman will be in the Khalil Herbert role until Herbert is back, and Johnson will more or less return to the role he was in prior to the injury. The Bears never quite reached the point where they were willing to use Johnson as more than a passing-downs option before Herbert's injury, and my guess is they'll go back to that being his primary role. He'll have a rushing role, but I wouldn't expect double-digit carries every week. Foreman has proven he can handle that kind of role and more, and I'd expect he'll be the lead back until Herbert comes back (which can't happen until Week 10 against the Panthers, at the earliest). Foreman and Johnson will both be in the RB3 range if Johnson is cleared; if Johnson can't play in Week 8, Foreman will be an RB2. 

Here are my full rankings for Week 8 at running back for PPR leagues:

Week 8 Running Back Rankings

  1. Christian McCaffrey vs. CIN
  2. Austin Ekeler vs. CHI
  3. Alvin Kamara @IND
  4. Saquon Barkley vs. NYJ
  5. Tony Pollard vs. LAR
  6. Bijan Robinson @TEN
  7. Jahmyr Gibbs vs. LV
  8. Travis Etienne @PIT
  9. Josh Jacobs @DET
  10. Kenneth Walker vs. CLE
  11. Breece Hall @NYG
  12. Jonathan Taylor vs. NO
  13. D'Andre Swift @WAS
  14. Raheem Mostert vs. NE
  15. Derrick Henry vs. ATL
  16. Isiah Pacheco @DEN
  17. Joe Mixon @SF
  18. Javonte Williams vs. KC
  19. Aaron Jones vs. MIN
  20. D'Onta Foreman @LAC
  21. Gus Edwards @ARI
  22. Najee Harris vs. JAX
  23. Rhamondre Stevenson @MIA
  24. Emari Demercado vs. BAL
  25. Dameon Pierce @CAR
  26. Darrell Henderson @DAL
  27. Alexander Mattison @GB
  28. Jaylen Warren vs. JAX
  29. Zack Moss vs. NO
  30. Kareem Hunt @SEA
  31. Miles Sanders vs. HOU
  32. Brian Robinson Jr. vs. PHI
  33. Jerome Ford @SEA
  34. AJ Dillon vs. MIN
  35. Chuba Hubbard vs. HOU
  36. Kenneth Gainwell @WAS
  37. Ezekiel Elliott @MIA
  38. Devin Singletary @CAR
  39. Roschon Johnson @LAC
  40. Royce Freeman @DAL
  41. Cam Akers @GB
  42. Tyjae Spears vs. ATL
  43. Jerick McKinnon @DEN
  44. Tyler Allgeier @TEN
  45. Justice Hill @ARI
  46. Jaleel McLaughlin vs. KC
  47. Dalvin Cook @NYG
  48. Craig Reynolds vs. LV
  49. Joshua Kelley vs. CHI
  50. Tank Bigsby @PIT
  51. Antonio Gibson vs. PHI
  52. Zach Charbonnet vs. CLE
  53. Rico Dowdle vs. LAR
  54. Chris Rodriguez Jr. vs. PHI
  55. Salvon Ahmed vs. NE
  56. Trayveon Williams @SF
  57. Damien Williams vs. BAL
  58. Cordarrelle Patterson @TEN
  59. Jeff Wilson Jr. vs. NE
  60. Elijah Mitchell vs. CIN