1. Clinton Portis (WAS) – The average game for Portis over the last 4 weeks includes 143 rushing yards and a TD. Portis should have a field day once again against Detroit’s 31st ranked run defense in week 8. The Lions are giving up 168 yards rushing per game this season and have allowed 9 TD’s on the ground in 6 games. Check injury report: hip
2. Thomas Jones (NYJ) – He has been on fire the last 2 weeks, combining for 224 rushing yards and 3 TD’s. Jones should continue the trend with an exceptional week 8 match up against Kansas City. The Chiefs currently rank dead last in run defense and seem to get worse every week. Kansas City is giving up a whopping 207 yards and 2 TD’s on the ground per game. Our grandmother could go for over 100 yards with a score against this defense, so Jones should absolutely dominate them.
3. Brian Westbrook (PHI) – He has had a couple of weeks now to heal up and should be good to go for week 8. This week’s match up against Atlanta is probably his best to date, and Westbrook should shred a shaky Falcons defense on the ground and through the air barring any setbacks with his injuries. Check injury report: ankle/ribs
4. Frank Gore (SF) – He is coming off of a tough week 7, but Gore should rebound nicely in week 8 at home against Seattle. The Seahawks rank 21st in the NFL against the run and allow 1 TD per game on the ground. Gore totaled 99 yards and scored a TD against them back in week 2. He should top that this time around.
5. Steven Jackson (STL) – He was a beast in week 7 rushing for 160 yards and 3 TD’s against a strong Dallas run defense. While you shouldn’t expect similar numbers this week, the match up is promising. Jackson will face a New England run defense that can best be described as mediocre so far this season. He is battling a thigh injury that could limit or prevent him from playing on Sunday, so monitor his status closely. If he is given clearance to play, Jackson should be in your starting fantasy line up. UPDATE: Steven Jackson is inactive for week 8 against New England. Do not start him in your fantasy league ! Check injury report: thigh
6. Marion Barber (DAL) – He might have a tough time getting things going on the ground in week 8 against a stout Tampa Bay run defense. The Bucs have yet to give up a rushing TD all season and only allow 92 yards per game on average. That said, the Cowboys will have to get Barber the football early and often to have any chance this week, and he should be able to make up for any ground deficiencies with solid numbers in the passing game. The match up isn’t great, but Barber is.
7. Chris Johnson (TEN) – He is coming off of a monster week 7 with 168 rushing yards and a TD. Johnson should carry that momentum into week 8 with another favorable match up against Indianapolis. The Colts rank just 28th against the run allowing 154 ground yards per game. Johnson loses a little fantasy value with LenDale White getting the goal line touches, but he is still capable of scoring from anywhere on the field. Johnson should have a strong showing on Monday night.
8. Steve Slaton (HOU) – He should continue his exceptional play in week 8 with yet another promising match up against Cincinnati. The Bengals have been horrible against the run this season giving up 152 rushing yards per game and have also allowed 10 rushing TD’s. Slaton will give up some carries to Ahman Green, but there should be more than enough to go around. Slaton is a great fantasy option this week with this match up.
9. Maurice Jones-Drew (JAX) – In spite of his inconsistency, Jones-Drew has been great in favorable match ups. The good news is that week 8 will provide him with an excellent match up against Cleveland. The Browns give up 146 rushing yards per game on average and have allowed 8 rushing TD’s through 6 games this season. Jones-Drew should give this defense fits and he has monster momentum on his side from his last game.
10. Marshawn Lynch (BUF) – He still isn’t putting up huge yardage totals, but the end zone has been a home away from home for him this season with 5 rushing TD’s in 6 games. He will face Miami in week 8. While Miami has been solid against the run for the most part this season, they struggled badly in week 7 in that capacity. Lynch will be challenged with this match up, but he should come out on top. He combined to rush for 168 yards and a score in 2 games against the Dolphins last season.
11. Michael Turner (ATL) – We all know that Turner can be a monster with the right match up, but we also know that he struggles against solid run defenses. The problem with his week 8 match up is that Turner will face an Eagles run defense that was dominant early in the season, but they have had difficulty stopping opposing RB’s in their last 2 games. In all honesty, this game could go either way for him, but the bottom line is that Turner is way too talented to sit.
12. LaDainian Tomlinson (SD) – Once again Tomlinson claims that he is over his toe injury and ready to break out. He will face a pretty solid New Orleans run defense in week 8, but unless you have better options at RB, you probably can’t afford to have him on your bench. Tomlinson is certainly due for a big game, but don’t count on it, and there can be no guarantees until he starts to produce on a consistent basis. Check injury report: toe
13. Willis McGahee (BAL) – In spite of a painful and swollen knee, McGahee had his best fantasy effort of the season in week 7 totaling 152 yards and a TD. McGahee appears to have regained the feature RB position and coaches have promised to keep him more involved in the offense moving forward. He will still lose some carries to Le’Ron McClain, but McGahee should be the go to back once again. He has a promising week 8 match up against Oakland. The Raiders give up 136 rushing yards per game on average and have allowed 9 rushing TD’s in 6 games this season. McGahee should be a solid fantasy play with this match up. Check injury report: knee
14. Ronnie Brown (MIA) – It was only a matter of time before someone figured out how to slow down the wildcat offense, and it wasn’t really all that surprising that the Ravens were the team to do it with their speedy 3-4 defensive scheme. In week 8 Brown will face the Buffalo Bills. While the Bills will likely use the Ravens game film as a blue print on how to stop Brown this week, it will be a difficult task. For one, the Bills have been a little shaky against the run lately and secondly, they run a 4-3 defensive scheme and their linebackers are much slower than the Ravens. That said, don’t expert Brown to torch the Bills this week, but he should rebound with a solid effort.
15. LenDale White (TEN) He exploded in week 7 for 149 rushing yards and 3 TD’s. It was almost as if there was a 2 for 1 cheeseburger sell in the Kansas City end zone last Sunday. While week 8 doesn’t look to be as fruitful for White, it is quite favorable in its own right. He will face a struggling Indianapolis Colts run defense on Monday night. The Colts currently rank 28th in the NFL against the run and White should be in line to find pay dirt once again as the Titans goal line back. White leads the NFL with 8 rushing TD’s on the season.
16. Brandon Jacobs (NYG) – He will definitely have his work cut out for him against Pittsburgh’s 2nd ranked run defense, but if any RB can bust through the steel curtain, it is Brandon Jacobs. He has now scored at least 1 TD in his last 4 games totaling 6 TD’s in the process. Rushing yards will be difficult to come by with this match up, but Jacobs is always a threat to get into the end zone against any opponent.
17. Jamal Lewis (CLE) – Much of Lewis’ week 8 success will depend heavily on the Browns passing game. If Derek Anderson can get it going through the air like he did in week 6, than Lewis should have quality numbers against a middle of the road Jacksonville run defense. With the Jaguars pass defense struggling in recent weeks, it seems logical that the Browns offense should be able to move the football through the air and open up running lanes for Lewis. At the very least, he should get plenty of touches as the Browns feature RB.
18. Earnest Graham (TB) – He remains a risky fantasy option, but Graham does have some things in his favor this week. For one, Warrick Dunn has a bad ankle and a pinched nerve, so at the very least, Graham should see an increased workload if not all of the Bucs carries this week. Secondly, he will face a Cowboys run defense that was embarrassed last week by Rams RB Steven Jackson who is similar in style to Graham. Unfortunately, there is a risky down side to starting Graham this week as well. The week 8 match up against Dallas is on the road. In 3 road games this season, Graham is only averaging 71 total yards per game and hasn’t scored a single TD as opposed to a 91 total yards average and a TD in each of his 4 home games this season. You are rolling the dice if you start Graham in week 8, but depending on your other options, he is probably worth the risk.
19. Dominic Rhodes (IND) – With Joseph Addai expected to be inactive for at least 1 more week; Rhodes will get his second consecutive start on Monday Night against the Titans. Rhodes has been great in relief of Addai over the last 2 weeks totaling 187 yards and 3 TD’s. While Rhodes has proven to be a capable fantasy RB, he will be tested in week 8 against a stingy Tennessee run defense. The Titans currently rank 8th against the run, but they are allowing 1 TD on the ground per game on average. If the Colts can get the passing game back on track, Addai could be in for another solid fantasy effort, but don’t count on that happening against this defense.
20. Julius Jones (SEA) – He is a risky fantasy option right now with the sputtering Seahawks passing game offering little in assistance and the return of Maurice Morris. That said, he does have a great week 8 match up against San Francisco. The 49ers currently rank 23rd against the run and have allowed 9 TD’s on the ground this season. Jones had one of his best games of the season against the 49ers back in week 2 totaling 141 yards and a TD. You shouldn’t expect that kind of production with Morris back in the mix, but the match up bodes well.
21. Fred Taylor (JAX) – He has been a huge disappointment so far this season, but week 8 appears promising. Taylor should be fresh coming off of a bye week and he typically picks up momentum around this time every year. He will face a shaky Browns run defense that allows 146 ground yards per game. Taylor is also a candidate to get his first TD this week as well. Cleveland has given up 8 rushing TD’s on the season. He is risky based on his performance to date, but this match up has breakout performance written all over it.
22. BenJarvis Green-Ellis (NE) – With Sammy Morris and LaMont Jordan both expected to miss week 8 with injuries, Green-Ellis should carry most of load for the Patriots against a porous Rams run defense. Green-Ellis will likely give way to Kevin Faulk on passing downs and Heath Evans at the goal line, but he should manage to get a significant number of touches, and he looked great in week 7 rushing for 65 yards and a TD on just 13 carries. He should make for a decent sneaky start if you are in a pinch. St. Louis ranks 30th against the run allowing 162 yards per game and they have also given up 10 TD’s on the ground in just 6 games.
23. Jonathan Stewart (CAR) – He isn’t a great fantasy option for week 8 against a solid Cardinals run defense and having to split carries with DeAngelo Williams, but Stewart is extremely talented and he is always a TD threat. While Arizona is not a pushover ranking 11th in the NFL against the run, Stewart should muster up semi-productive numbers.
24. Deuce McAllister (NO) – With Reggie Bush out with a knee injury, McAllister should get the majority of carries in week 8 against the Chargers. McAllister will probably give up some touches to Aaron Stecker and Pierre Thomas, but it shouldn’t be enough to significantly damage his fantasy value. The match up against San Diego is somewhat favorable, and McAllister has been solid when called upon so far this season, so he could provide decent production. As a side note, McAllister apparently failed a drug test for an illegal diuretic commonly used to lose weight, but is also utilized as a masking agent for steroids. As of right now, McAllister is still expected to play this week, but a suspension is almost certain to come soon. Monitor the situation closely as there is a slight chance that the Saints could deactivate him for week 8 under the circumstances.
25. Mewelde Moore (PIT) – Based on the job he has done filling in for the injured Willie Parker over the last few weeks, it is hard to believe that Moore was listed as the 4th RB on the Steelers depth chart just a few weeks ago. In his last 2 starts Moore has put up stud fantasy numbers totaling 240 yards and 3 TD’s. Unfortunately, he will get his first real test as a starter in week 8. The Giants are currently ranked 5th in the NFL against the run and have only allowed 2 rushing TD’s all season. Moore should get plenty of touches, but yards and TD’s will be tough to come by with this match up.
26. DeAngelo Williams (CAR) – He has been a hard case to crack this season. While Williams has proven to be a very capable fantasy back at times, he is equally capable of going bust any week. He should see plenty of touches this week in spite of splitting carries with Jonathan Stewart, but the match up against Arizona’s 11th ranked run defense is not especially promising.
27. Cedric Benson (CIN) – We aren’t big fans of Benson in terms of his fantasy value, but he appears to have won the Bengals starting job outright, and he was fairly impressive last week against a tough Steelers run defense. Benson will have a favorable week 8 match up against Houston. The Texans allow 122 ground yards per game on average and they have given up a whopping 11 rushing TD’s in just 6 games this season. Benson could do some damage with this match up, but the Bengals passing game isn’t going to open many lanes for him, and he is still a risky fantasy play at best.
28. Ahman Green (HOU) – While Green has been written off as a washed up fantasy option by most, he is putting up numbers to the contrary. He is still injury prone, but Green seems to have a little left in the tank, and he is starting to see a decent number of carries. While he is not highly recommended for week 8, Green should be fairly productive against a soft Bengals run defense. Steve Slaton will get the majority of the carries for Houston, but Green should see an adequate number of touches with this match up.
29. Leon Washington (NYJ) – He is not a safe fantasy option playing behind Thomas Jones in the pass happy Jets offense, but we really like Washington’s potential this week against a ridiculously bad Chiefs run defense. This is purely speculation, but it seems logical that the Jets will probably focus more on their running game this week given the match up. It also seems logical that the Jets will use Washington and Jones much like the Titans did last week against Kansas City with L. White and C. Johnson. Washington is an explosive RB, and he is capable of putting up big numbers on this defense with only a handful of carries. He is a high risk-high reward prospect for week 8, but we like his chances.
30. Edgerrin James (ARI) – We have learned the hard way that you can never count him out in any match up, but in all honesty, week 8 does not appear promising for him. James will face a pretty solid Carolina run defense this week, you couple that with the emergence of Tim Hightower and the Card’s tendency to lean heavy on the passing attack, and the obvious conclusion is that James is not a very good fantasy play. He should only be used if you are in a tight spot this week.
31. Justin Fargas (OAK) – He should see an increased workload this week with Darren McFadden’s toe injury taking a turn for the worse, but Fargas is a long shot to do much damage against Baltimore’s top ranked run defense on the road. If you have other options, you might want to use them.
32. Kevin Faulk (NE) – He will likely see an increased role in week 8 with Sammy Morris and LaMont Jordan both expected to be inactive. That said, BenJarvis Green-Ellis is expected to be the lead RB for the Patriots over Faulk, but Faulk should still put up decent numbers, especially in the passing game against a soft Rams defense. Faulk is not a bad week 8 fantasy play as a flex or bye week filler.
33. Le’Ron McClain (BAL) – He is just barely hanging on in terms of fantasy value with Willis McGahee returning to a feature role in the Ravens backfield. You can probably only expect McClain to see a handful of carries each week moving forward, with a few goal line touches still a possibility. Even with a favorable week 8 match up against the Raiders, McClain qualifies as nothing more than a risky bye week replacement or flex play.
34. Maurice Morris (SEA) – He has a great match up against San Francisco and he should start to see an increased number of carries starting this week, but there are no guarantees. Morris should be considered risky at best, but he is capable of decent production with this match up.
35. Warrick Dunn (TB) – He has proven to be pretty solid as a bye week fill in and possibly even a week to week flex play when the match up is right, but Dunn seems pretty risky in any capacity for week 8. He is battling a sore ankle and a pinched nerve in his back. Even if he plays against Dallas this week, Dunn will likely be limited. Check injury report: back/ankle
36. Tim Hightower (ARI) – He always has the potential to find pay dirt, but it will be difficult in week 8 against a Carolina run defense that has only allowed 3 rushing TD’s all season. If Hightower doesn’t get in the end zone, you are probably looking at a goose egg.
37. Kevin Smith (DET) – He doesn’t have a lot to offer this week playing behind Rudi Johnson with a tough week 8 match up against Washington, but Smith has been impressive lately with limited touches. While Smith should get at least 10 carries this week, the Redskins are not an easy team to run the football against. He is a risky fantasy play at best.
38. Aaron Stecker (NO) – He will play in a platoon role this week with Deuce McAllister and Pierre Thomas. Stecker should grab a few carries and will likely be in on 3rd downs as the most capable receiver and pass blocker out of the backfield of the three. He probably won’t get you more than a handful of points, so he is only good for a desperation fantasy start for week 8 against a middle of the road San Diego run defense.
39. Kolby Smith (KC) – He is expected to start for Kansas City again this week with Larry Johnson suspended, but that is about all he has going for him. He should get the goal line touches, but it is somewhat laughable when you consider the possibilities of goal line touches even coming available with the Chiefs horrible offense.
40. Patrick Cobbs (MIA) – He is a real long shot fantasy option, but Cobbs has been extremely productive for 2 straight weeks as a receiver. During that stretch, he has 8 receptions for 202 yards and 2 TD’s. Chances are that he won’t see a single carry in week 8 against Buffalo, but he could be worth a look in PPR and receiving heavy leagues if you are desperate.