2. Brandon Jacobs (NYG) – With Derrick Ward still feeling the effects of injury, Jacobs should see a vast majority of the carries in week 8. Jacobs appears to be completely healthy himself, and managed to gain over 100 yards and a TD last week. He faces a Dolphins run D that ranks a pitiful 31st, so Jacobs is in line for another big day. You should start him with confidence this week.
3. Adrian Peterson (MIN) – He has been slightly limited the last few weeks with the number of carries he is receiving, but Peterson continues to make the most of every opportunity. He is capable of doing more with 12 carries than most backs can do with 20 or more. Peterson will face a fairly stout Eagles run defense in week 8, but there has yet to be a defense that could shut him down to this point. Look for another big performance for Peterson.
4. Willie Parker (PIT) – He has another great match up against one of the worst run D’s in the business. Parker does have a downside in that he rarely finds the end zone, but he did find the end zone 4 times in 2 games last season against the Bengals. At the very least, he should have a big yardage day, and is a must start.
5. Brian Westbrook (PHI) – Westbrook has not been as impressive as in season’s past, but he is still a top flight fantasy back. If he fails to have a stellar day on the ground, he generally makes up for it in the receiving department. Westbrook faces one of the best run defenses around this week, but he is the total package, and he will find a way to put up solid numbers at Minnesota.
6. LenDale White (TEN) – He made the most out of his first start as the feature back going for 104 yards and a score last week. White will once again be the feature back for the Titans at home against the Raiders 29th ranked run D. Expectations are high for a big outing on Sunday.
7. Reggie Bush (NO) – Bush is still learning how to be a feature RB instead of a versatile athlete. He has done an admirable job to this point, and appears more than capable of handling his increased workload. He also remains a staple in the Saints passing game, and should be a very solid start at San Francisco.
8. Marshawn Lynch (BUF) – He was able to exceed everyone’s expectations last week against the stingy Ravens D. He should have a much easier go of it this week against the Jets, a defense Lynch already has a TD against from week 4. You should consider him a very solid option for your fantasy roster.
9. Joseph Addai (IND) – It is apparent that Addai will now have to share carries with fellow RB Kenton Keith, which will cut into his fantasy value. The good news is that Addai’s fantasy value still remains moderately high, and he will still get enough carries to do some damage. Addai is always a strong contender for a TD any week, and this week looks as good as any against a mediocre Panthers run defense.
10. Maurice Jones-Drew (JAC) – It was thought that he would be sidelined this week with a knee injury, but Jones-Drew fully participated in practice, and wrote the injury off as “minor”. He has played very well in the last few weeks, and barring any setbacks, he should be a quality starter this week against the Bucs 21st ranked run D. (Check injury report: knee)
11. Steven Jackson (STL) – He is finally back, and this offense has never needed him more. Jackson was off to a shaky ’07 before his injury, and will likely be a little rusty this week, but it is almost impossible not to start him against the Browns, who have allowed a 100 yard rusher in every game this season. This is a great match up for him to gain confidence, and perhaps start to live up to his fantasy billing. He should be a good start this week given the match up. (Check injury report: groin, full practice and looks good to go)
12. Frank Gore (SF) – He has yet to crack the 100 yard mark this season and only has 3 scores to date. Gore has loads of upside, but he needs more carries to be effective. We realize that the Niners have to throw a lot because they are usually playing from behind, but with that passing game, they may be better off handing the ball to Gore. He should see his fantasy lot improve some this week against the Saints. (Check injury report: ankle)
13. Jamal Lewis (CLE) – He is practicing on a limited basis, and the outlook for him to play on Sunday is optimistic. If Lewis starts, and has no further trouble with his foot, he could have a really nice day against a pouris Rams run defense. (Check injury report: foot)
14. Travis Henry (DEN) – Henry has struggled a bit since the news of his possible suspension for an alleged positive drug test broke. In his defense, he has faced 2 top notch run defenses in that time. He has yet to practice this week with a rib injury, but Henry claims he will be ready to hit the field on Monday night. This is the best match up Henry has had in a few weeks, but it won’t be easy against the Packers 11th ranked run defense. (Check injury report: ribs)
15. Thomas Jones (NYJ) – In his first meeting with the Jets in week 4, Jones was held to a mere 35 yards on 12 carries. That game was on the road, where he averages just over 50 ypg on the ground. This week’s meeting is at home where Jones averages 94 ypg and 4.5 ypc. Jones should have a much better outcome at home against the Bills 25th ranked run defense.
16. Earnest Graham (TB) – He had a better game last week than most RB’s and WR’s combined. He did not find the end zone, but he did rush for close to 100 yards, and had a staggering 13 receptions for 99 yards. He faces a pretty stingy Jaguar run D, but he is a huge part of the Bucs’ passing game, and should have another solid day as a receiver out of the back field. You can start him with a fair amount of confidence.
17. Kevin Jones (DET) – He has been very impressive in limited play thus far. He is now the starting RB in Detroit, and his fantasy value is definitely on the rise. Jones plays in a pass heavy offense, but they are running the ball almost as much as they throw in recent games. He should be a Td candidate every week, and is a decent option for your starting line up this week against the Bears.
18. DeShawn Wynn (GB) – Wynn has not been spectacular from a yardage standpoint, but he does have 4 TD’s in 3 starts. He has been limited in past weeks as far as carries due to the Packers pass heavy offense. Look for Wynn’s workload to increase against the Broncos 32nd and last ranked run defense. This could be his best game to date, and despite a slight risk, he should prove to be worth the start this week.
19. Cedric Benson (CHI) – Benson has been a pretty big disappointment thus far this season. He actually has more fumbles than TD’s. On paper this looks like a decent match up for him against the Lions 19th ranked run D, but Benson only managed 50 yards on the ground against them in an earlier meeting. He should have better results this time around, but not much better.
20. Clinton Portis (WAS) – He has struggled to find yardage on the ground this season, but has been pretty productive in the TD category. Portis found the end zone twice last week against the Cardinals, but goal line carries will likely be kept to a minimum this week against a stingy Patriots run defense. Depending on your other options, Portis should likely make his way into your starting line up, but do not expect one of his better games.
21. Laurence Maroney (NE) – He was limited to 6 carries last week in his first game back from injury. Maroney was barely even needed in last week’s blowout, but he should see his carries and production increase this week against Washington. He may still be a little shaky with the injury, and the Redskins run defense is no push over, so do not expect a big night. He is still a risky start at this point, but it is only a matter of time before Maroney gets on track.
22. Kenny Watson (CIN) – Watson had a breakthrough performance last week with 130 yards rushing and 3 TD’s against the Jets. He is likely to be back in the starting line up again due to the fact that Rudi Johnson has yet to practice this week. Week 8 is unlikely to be as kind to Watson as he faces a very tough and intimidating Steelers defense. He is probably a #2 or flex RB this week in your lineup at best. Check for updates on Rudi Johnson’s status for this week if you have intentions on starting Watson, better safe than sorry.
23. Jesse Chatman (MIA) - He has big shoes to fill, but Chatman may be up to the challenge. He looked great in the preseason, and was even considered for the starting job over Ronnie Brown after training camp. Chatman is no Ronnie Brown, but he may be the real deal, none the less. He looked great last week, averaging over 10 ypc and scoring a TD. We will find out what he is worth against a solid Giants run D.
24. Kenton Keith (IND) – Despite the return of Addai to the Colts starting line up, Keith remains a viable fantasy option. Coach Tony Dungy said that Keith will continue to share carries with Addai from here on out. Keith had a solid week 7 with 56 yards rushing and a TD. He may be a decent fit in your starting line up this week against the Panthers.
25. DeShaun Foster (CAR) – Foster has had a couple of solid games this season, but for the most part he has been pretty quiet. This week does not look especially promising with Foster battling turf toe, but he should provide a few points for you. (Check injury report: toe)
26. Fred Taylor (JAC) – Taylor has yet to piece together a big game this season. He is generally consistent, but his consistency falls under the ok category. He should see plenty of action this week with starting QB David Garrard out, and the Jaguars having to depend heavily on the run. The bad news is that as mediocre as the Tampa run defense may be, they should be able to stack the box, and keep Taylor in check.
27. Ahman Green (HOU) – To say Green has struggled since returning from a knee injury would be an understatement. He has faced 2 top flight run D’s in that time, but unfortunately he gets another one this week in the form of the Chargers, who rank 6th against the run. If you have the luxury, you may be best suited sitting Green until his knee is completely healed and/or his match ups improve. (Check injury report: knee)
28. Chester Taylor (MIN) – He continues to see a fair amount of action in the Vikings offense. Taylor does not have near the fantasy value as back mate Adrian Peterson does, but he may help you out in a tight spot this week if he is not limited by a groin injury. (Check injury report: groin)
29. DeAngelo Williams (CAR) – Considering he only got 10 carries in his last game against Arizona, Williams was off the charts with 121 rushing yards and a TD. Unfortunately, it has been the only real bright spot for him in an otherwise inconsistent and mediocre season. He should see a decent share of the carries this week against Indi, so he might make for a quality bye week fill in, but do not expect a repeat of his last game.
30. LaMont Jordan (OAK) –We have seen his numbers steadily decline each week since returning from a lingering back injury. To make matters worse, he is now splitting carries with Dominic Rhodes. Did we mention that he is facing the NFL’s top run defense in the Tennessee Titans this week? It may be a good idea to keep Jordan on the bench for week 8.
31. Chris Henry (TEN) – With Chris Brown likely out of the line up again in week 8, Henry is in line to steal a few carries from LenDale White. Henry was very impressive last week with 57 yards on 11 carries and a score. He also had 2 catches for 12 yards. This kid has a lot of raw talent, and might make a desperate fantasy owner pretty happy this week.
* Other possible options at RB this week include: Dominic Rhodes (OAK), Kevin Faulk (NE), Derrick Ward (NYG) - check injury report, Brian Leonard (STL), Najeh Davenport (PIT), and Jason Wright (CLE)