Week 7 Running Backs
RB Notes: Aaron Jones is coming off his worst performance. That means there has never been a better time to face the Texans, who are fielding a run defense in name only. 178 rushing yards per week. My goodness. … Even with the Saints having already had their bye week, Alvin Kamara’s 38 receptions are sixth in the NFL. That formula will be put to the test with Michael Thomas’ long-overdue return vs. the Panthers. Thankfully, even if Thomas takes a considerable bite out of that apple, the Panthers have a bottom-five run defense in terms of RB fantasy points allowed. It doesn’t hurt that the Saints are 7.5-point home favorites. … The Big Dog ate the whole bowl vs. the Texans. The Steelers are a much tougher opponent, but Derrick Henry has notched multiple touchdowns in three straight starts and has yet to be held below 20 touches. He is averaging 26. … Things haven’t gone as planned for Kareem Hunt as the Browns’ lead back. Facing back-to-back elite defenses will do that to you. His Week 7 setup is more hospitable. The Browns are three-point road favorites against a Bengals run defense coughing up 142 yards per game and 5.1 yards per carry.
Ezekiel Elliott’s 69 rushing yards per game leave something to be desired. Zeke has yet to have a 100-yard day, while the Cowboys’ defensive awfulness has prevented him from reaching 15 carries in three of his past four contests. Washington’s “Football Team” is permitting the seventh fewest RB fantasy points. … Ronald Jones’ 331 yards rushing are 61 more than any other player over the past three weeks. Even if Leonard Fournette (ankle) finally returns, RoJo has earned RB1 treatment vs. a Raiders Defense doling out the second most RB fantasy points. The Bucs are four-point road favorites. … If you eliminate Joe Mixon’s 25/151/2 Week 4 vs. the Jaguars, his second highest YPC of the season is 3.6. The Browns allow the fourth fewest rushing yards. We bet on Mixon’s volume every week. Don’t expect Week 7 ceiling. … James Conner has scored every Sunday since his disappointing opener. The Titans hand out more than five yards per carry. The Steelers are one-point favorites for a contest with a 50.5 over/under. … Josh Jacobs already seemed like he could use a bye week. Hopefully he will be refreshed vs. the Bucs’ Vita Vea-less defense that nevertheless just shut down Aaron Jones. Jacobs is averaging 24 touches.
Week 7 is looking like the last dance for Mike Davis. Despite Twitter roughhousing over Davis’ production almost being 1-for-1 for Christian McCaffrey’s, that has ultimately not been the case. Davis is less efficient both as a runner and receiver. Amidst their defensive struggles, the Saints have remained stout on the ground. … Where there’s an elite offense, there’s a way to RB1 production. It’s been a little different each week for Chris Carson. A 56.5 over/under with the Cardinals will get it done. … With James Robinson, we are seeing the limits of a 4.64 back in a bad offense. When game flow goes south, which will be often, 15 carries will be a stretch. Robinson keeps himself in the top 18 with his surprisingly consistent passing-game production. … The Falcons got a little greedy with Todd Gurley last week. This is not a runner who should be handling 20 carries at this stage of his career. Although the Lions have settled down a bit in recent weeks, this is still a spot for Gurley to get his top-15 numbers. … Zack Moss handled only five touches in his Week 6 return, but Devin Singletary remained stuck in neutral in the Bills’ misfiring offense. The long-term Singletary trends are concerning. The New York Jets are not.
The second the Chiefs signed Le'Veon Bell, it basically became a guarantee that Clyde Edwards-Helaire would have a big game. CEH barbecued the Bills for the fifth most rushing yards by any player all season. There was still a forcefield between CEH and the end zone. I originally thought I would have CEH in the RB20-28 range for Bell’s debut. That just wasn’t the reality when sitting down at the keyboard this week. The Broncos are a tough matchup, surrendering the third fewest RB fantasy points. Bell, who will hopefully see a goal-line look or two, is a wait-and-see RB3. … David Johnson continues to look like a back whose best days are long gone. Fantasy managers hang their Week 7 hat on a showdown with a Packers run D silver plattering the most RB fantasy points. … The Chargers had their bye week to reconsider their running back usage, but Justin Jackson soundly out-touched and out-produced Joshua Kelley before the break. The Chargers are 7.5-point home favorites against the Jaguars’ bottom-five run defense, so both will receive Week 7 work. Jackson gets an RB2 gander. Kelley is a floor-based FLEX flier. … It took truly pathetic Cowboys Defense, but Kenyan Drake finally had a day. Seattle is tougher on the ground than through the air. Drake gets top-20 benefit of the doubt because of the 56.5 over/under scoring environment.
All it took was a mysterious (negative) Adrian Peterson MRI to get D’Andre Swift more involved on early downs. He responded with 14/116/2, seeing carries both early and late. Rational coaching would assume it will remain a theme going forward. Assuming rational coaching in Detroit, of course, is a dangerous game. Either way, Swift gets a top 20 look against a Falcons Defense that continues to gift wrap running back receptions. … Boston Scott and Corey Clement will committee in Miles Sanders’ (knee) absence. Scott handled 13-plus touches three times last December. Clement hasn’t had a 10-touch game since 2018. … David Montgomery has received enough chances. He’s just not very good. 15-20 weekly touches are guaranteed. Production is not. … Why the Rams went away from Darrell Henderson in Week 4 remains something of a mystery, but they have re-committed to him to the point that Cam Akers didn’t even touch the ball in his Week 6 return. The Bears are (slightly) more susceptible to the run than pass. … Jerick McKinnon already seems to be wearing down. With Raheem Mostert (ankle) out for Week 7, it’s quite possible McKinnon stays in his usual role and practice squad promotee JaMycal Hasty handles 10-15 carries. … Phillip Lindsay turned 23 Week 6 carries into 101 yards in Melvin Gordon’s bizarre absence. It is safe to assume there has been some tightening in this committee.