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Fantasy Points Against: Running Backs to Start and Sit Week 8

Fantasy stats based around 4 points per passing TD and 0.5 points per reception.

There are two main approaches when look at fantasy player scoring trends. The first is to see how that player is performing from an output perspective. The second is to look at how their upcoming opponent has performed.

This article leans heavily on Fantasy Points Against (FPA). This number measures the total fantasy points given up per game to a position group by a defense. Other stats referenced may come from sources including Pro Football Reference, Pro Football Focus, and Football Outsiders.


Leonard Fournette

Just when everything was coming up Ronald Jones, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers backfield ran right back to a committee setup. Jones is still likely the best back to own but Leonard Fournette is pushing his way back into the mix.

The overall matchup for Tampa Bay is juicy as they get the New York Giants on Monday Night Football. The Giants have allowed seven top 24 running backs and the 10th most FPA to running backs.

Fournette has surprisingly taken a hold of the passing downs back which furthers his advantage in this matchup. The Giants have allowed 4+ receptions to running backs in five of their last six games. Fournette is coming off of a six catch performance against Las Vegas in Week 7 in which he also outsnapped Jones 40-31.

Both Jones and Fournette should be rostered. Any injury concerns with Fournette should be allayed this week. Fournette is a good flex play and RB2 in half-PPR and PPR formats.

Le’Veon Bell

The New York Jets traded away their bell cow running back just in time for him to get a revenge game! Le’Veon Bell, in his second game as a Kansas City Chief, is due to face the team that just got rid of him. Revenge narratives are entertaining but also trendy in the world of fantasy sports.

The regular stats support Chiefs running backs this week too. The Jets allow the ninth most FPA to running backs and have allowed seven top 24 running back performances this season.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire has wowed recently to extend his leash as the lead back but Bell will certainly be incorporated in the offense especially against his former team. Bell can be comfortably started as a low-end RB2 and a fun flex.


La’Mical Perine

With the departure of Le’Veon Bell, running responsibilities have fallen to Frank Gore and La’Mical Perine. Perine, a fourth-round rookie out of Florida, had his season-high in carries and rushing yards as well as his first touchdown against Buffalo in Week 7.

The Chiefs have allowed six top 24 running backs this season. With the revenge narrative potentially going both ways, Perine is the better bet if the Jets really want to see what they have.

Perine is a low flex play mainly in half-PPR and PPR formats. The game script should necessitate passing and Perine should see ample opportunity there.


Streaming Running Backs

This week’s article has a bit of a twist on the sit portion. Instead of a specific running back who should be utilized more cautiously or sat altogether, a group of running backs all merit mention. The committee-based stream opportunities are all very weak this week.

Gus Edwards (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

The three toughest defense to face from an FPA perspective are San Francisco, Pittsburgh, and Denver. They match up with Seattle, Baltimore, and the LA Chargers, respectively. With no certainty in the backfields, there is a decent chance that seven running backs across those three teams are owned.

Seattle’s Carlos Hyde and DeeJay Dallas may split time and both have appeal. Hyde is the more proven back, but a hamstring issue may limit or sideline him Sunday. Stay away from these two if at all possible.

Baltimore’s three-headed crew of Mark Ingram, JK Dobbins, and Gus Edwards is the worst of the bunch because Lamar Jackson may still be the leading rusher on Sunday. Edwards has seemed the best lately but there is no clear commitment, thus these guys hopefully can be benched as well.

Lastly, the Chargers are still without Austin Ekeler and have seen flashes from both Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley. Neither as stood out as a true running back but Jackson is more likely to return value in pass game.

Some teams are going to need to start players in these foggy situations but now may be the time to approach the trade market with greater urgency. Over halfway through the season, matchups become more pivotal and few of these backs can be trusted.


Featured Image courtesy of Scott Varley / Orange County Register

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