Fantasy GMs are to be commended for rising to the unique challenges that have unfolded during this regular season. Injuries to critical players is an unwelcome reality that occurs every year. This is also the case for backs that were expected to operate as RB1s, but have been relegated to committees. However, this season has required a new level of flexibility to also absorb the COVID-related postponements and ever-changing scenarios for adjusted schedules.
We have also progressed into weekly planning for scheduled bye weeks, which includes the four teams that will be affected by this week’s revised schedule - the Colts, Ravens, Dolphins, and Vikings. This ensures that Jonathan Taylor, Myles Gaskin, Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison. Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards, and J.K. Dobbins will not be available this week. It also will provide managers with an additional factor that could fuel interest in locating alternative options on the waiver wire.
These recommendations will appear in three tiers - beginning with the most enticing and progressing to runners for anyone that is struggling with desperation. You will also find a group of backs that can be dropped in order for you to secure your replacements. After you've finished this breakdown, you can also find news updates and data-fueled analysis that is designed to help you maximize the scoring potential of your rosters.Editor's Note: Love the strategy of season-long fantasy sports? Live for the short term gratification of DFS? Try Weekly Fantasy Sports on OwnersBox - a new weekly DFS platform. Sign up today for a FREE $50 Deposit Match. Sign Up Now!
Running Back Leaderboard
|Week 6 Rushing Leaders||Team||Attempts||Yards||TDs|
|Ronald Jones||Tampa Bay||23||113||2|
|Darrell Henderson||Los Angeles Rams||14||88||0|
|Raheem Mostert||San Francisco||17||65||0|
|Devonta Freeman||New York Giants||18||61||0|
Frontrunners - Week 7 Waiver Wire Running Backs
These backs should be your top priorities among the options that are available on most waiver wires. Some will be more beneficial in PPR formats than standard. All players have 60% or less ownership in typical fantasy leagues.
Justin Jackson, Los Angeles Chargers
Jackson and Joshua Kelley were expected to split touches during Austin Ekeler’s absence (hamstring) and that is what transpired during the Chargers’ Week 5 matchup in New Orleans. However, Jackson garnered the most extensive workload by accumulating eight more touches than Kelley (20/12). Jackson easily accrued more total yards than Kelley (94/38), while also capturing a 59% snap share. Kelley’s 35% share was his lowest since Week 3 after he had exceeded 50% in two of his three previous matchups. While this was only the first contest in which Ekeler was unavailable, the results were encouraging for Jackson - who also performed more effectively with the touches that he received.
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) October 13, 2020
Not only did he run with a greater burst with his rushing attempts, but he also collected more targets (5/1), and receiving yards (23/9) than Kelley. The promising touch distribution and Jackson’s superior production have elevated him among this week’s most enticing waiver wire options. Any fantasy GMs who are successful in securing him can also start him as a low-end RB2/high-endRB3 during this week's matchup with Jacksonville.
Gus Edwards, Baltimore Ravens
Mark Ingram’s ankle injury forced him to the sideline during the Ravens' Week 6 matchup with Philadelphia. That shifted the touch distribution for Baltimore's backfield to Edwards and J.K. Dobbins. It also elevated Edwards and Dobbins among this week’s most viable waiver wire options at the running back position, as the tandem could absorb expanded workloads if Ingram is absent from Baltimore's lineup. Dobbins is already rostered in 64% of all leagues. However, Edwards’ resides on 97% of all waiver wires.
GUS BUS TO THE END ZONE
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) October 18, 2020
The third-year back received a team-high 14 attempts versus the Eagles and has averaged 8.8-attempts per game since Week 2. He has also accumulated 48 carries throughout the season, which is just two fewer than Ingram. Baltimore's Week 7 bye will supply Ingram with additional time to recover before the Ravens host Pittsburgh in Week 8. However, fantasy GMs with Ingram on their rosters should prioritize the addition of Edwards as they monitor Ingram's health. Anyone else can also target Edwards, who could become a viable resource for your rosters in the upcoming weeks.
Boston Scott, Philadelphia Eagles
Miles Sanders bolted for 118 yards on just nine carries when Philadelphia hosted Baltimore. However, he was also sidelined by a knee injury at the conclusion of a 74-yard burst. His status for Week 7 will remain uncertain until the severity of his issue is determined by an MRI. However, the Eagles are scheduled to play on Thursday night, which increases the possibility that he could be absent for that matchup. Scott’s role would expand considerably if that scenario transpires, which elevates him among this week’s primary targets on the waiver wire.
Corey Clement would also garner touches. But Scott would operate as Philadelphia's primary back. He has carried 21 times during the season opener while accumulating 67 yards. While those numbers are uninspiring, he did explode upon the fantasy landscape last season by accumulating 350 total yards from Weeks 14-17. He should become a top priority for any managers who depend on Sanders in their starting lineups. He is also included in this week's frontrunners among backs that are available on most waiver wires.
In The Running - Week 7 Waiver Wire Running Backs
These backs remain available on the waiver wire but are not necessarily must-adds.
Joshua Kelley, Los Angeles Chargers
Even though Jackson's stock has risen significantly following his performance in Week 5 that does not mean that Kelley should be dwelling on waiver wires. He was dropped by some fantasy GMs during the Chargers’ bye week which expanded his availability to 45% of all leagues. He did assemble 167 yards on 43 carries in Weeks 1-3 and has been utilized with consistency in the red zone (10 attempts/7 inside the 10).
Kelley will continue to split touches with Jackson, and his usage and production should normally reside somewhere between the expanded workload that he experienced earlier in the season and the role that he was entrusted with during Week 5. His ability to function as an inside runner will also keep him involved in the offense whenever Ekeler resurfaces. Managers who invest in him will be attaining a back that has already completed his bye week, and he remains a viable RB3/flex option.
Adrian Peterson, Detroit Lions
It's an @adrianpeterson TOUCHDOWN!
— NFL (@NFL) October 18, 2020
Even though Detroit is operating with a committee approach, Peterson's role as a vital component with the Lions’ rushing attack remains intact. He was 16th in attempts prior to the team’s Week 5 bye and has now led the team in carries and rushing yards during four of their five matchups. Since Week 3, he has accumulated 48 carries, compared to 10 for Kerryon Johnson and 18 for D’Andre Swift. That includes his team-high 15 carries in Week 6 versus Jacksonville when Swift was allotted 14 attempts, and Johnson only rushed four times.
Swift did deliver the most prolific performance of his rookie season in Week 6 (17 touches/123 total yards/2 touchdowns), and should continue splitting touches with Peterson as the season continues. The combined usage for the tandem will remove Johnson completely from the fantasy radar. But the timeshare will not deter Peterson from absorbing a respectable number of early-down carries, along with a sizable percentage of red zone opportunities. That presents your motivation for adding him as a flex option.
Zack Moss, Buffalo Bills
As fantasy GMs have steadily released Moss from their rosters, he has now become available in over 40% of all leagues. He generated 64 total yards on 20 touches in Weeks 1-2. But interest in the once-promising rookie has diminished during his three-game absence, as he recovered from a toe injury. However, he should eventually recapture a role that is similar to his previous responsibilities. This should include red zone carries, as Moss collected seven during those initial two matchups.
He is now healthy and will resume his responsibilities in a committee with Devin Singletary. But Moss remains capable of performing effectively between the tackles, while also running with sufficient power to accumulate carries near the goal line. This presents fantasy GMs with greater potential to deliver fantasy points than many other options that are available on the waiver wire. It also elevates his potential for him to develop into as a flex option for anyone who is contending with bye weeks and injuries.
Dark Horses - Week 7 Waiver Wire Running Backs
This group consists of running backs that can be added if you are willing to wait for the possibility of a larger role during the year, or consider your situation to be desperate due to injuries.
J.D. McKissic, Washington Football Team
There is a dearth of productive players contained in Washington’s 32nd ranked offense, and Antonio Gibson remains the most appealing option from the team’s backfield. But McKissic has absorbed a consistent role as the pass-catching specialist while providing managers with increased incentive to seize him in PPR leagues. McKissic collected all six of his targets and generated 43 yards during Washington’s Week 6 matchup with long-time NFC East rival New York in Week 6.
34% of Kyle Allen's pass attempts have gone to RBs over the last two weeks.
JD McKissic out-snapped Antonio Gibson today and is suddenly a viable PPR flex.
— Adam Pfeifer (@APfeifer24) October 19, 2020
That easily led his team’s running backs in each category, while McKissic also expanded his lead in season-long numbers among all Washington’s backs (31 targets/23 receptions/167 receiving yards). This also places McKissic second only to Terry McLaurin in receptions and yardage, while he has also averaged 7.3 targets, 6.3 receptions, and 43 yards per game since Week 4. McKissic was also included in this section one week ago. However, he still remains available in nearly 90% of all rosters. Anyone searching for scoring from your running backs in the PPR format should strongly consider securing him this week.
Brian Hill, Atlanta Falcons
The fifth-year back currently does not present stand-alone value. However, he is performing proficiently when he receives carries (35 attempts/161 rushing yards/4.6 yards per attempt). His value would also surge significantly if Gurley would be sidelined during the season. Hill would share touches with Ito Smith if Gurley were to become unavailable for any reason. However, Hill has attained a 27% snap share while Ito Smith's share dwells at 17%, and Hill would commandeer the largest workload if that scenario transpires.
Even though Hill’s numbers as a receiver might appear unimpressive (11/targets/9 receptions/75 yards), he has already established new career-highs in receptions and receiving yards. Those numbers would also rise substantially as he absorbed more opportunities, should Gurley be absent from the lineup. Hill remains available in over 80% of all leagues and presents an excellent insurance policy for anyone with Gurley on their rosters. He is also a viable roster stash for all managers in deeper leagues.
La'Mical Perine, New York Jets
The release of Le’Veon Bell was just the latest unsightly development for the increasingly beleaguered Jets. But it also reshaped the landscape of New York’s backfield. This presents an opportunity for any fantasy GMs who are willing to stash Perine and exercise patience after they have secured him. Perine’s usage and production after six matchups will not excite you, as he has now carried 22 times, and has accumulated 83 yards (3.8 yards per attempt).
However, his prospects of Perine being entrusted with a larger workload provides your motivation for including him on your rosters. The inexplicable decision-making of Adam Gase is well-chronicled, as is Gase’s ongoing comfort level with Frank Gore. But Perine possesses a ceiling that easily exceeds the 37-year old Gore's. This could eventually lead to an expanded touch total – particularly if Gase is no longer determining the weekly touch distribution. This supplies an opportunity for anyone who is searching for a back that could reward your decision as the season progresses.
Also-Rans - Time To Say Goodbye
These backs can be dropped in order to secure a running back with greater potential to bolster your scoring during the year.
Sony Michel, New England Patriots
Michel was already on injured reserve due to his quad injury, before New England placed him on the COVID-19 list. These issues will keep Michel affixed to the sideline. However, there are additional concerns surrounding the third-year back. Whenever Michel does return, it is highly unlikely that he will receive a role that even remotely resembles his touch total prior to his absence. New England’s backfield remains highly congested, starting with Damien Harris – who has accumulated 23 carries during Michel’s absence. Rex Burkhead remains capable of pilfering opportunities, while James White has attained a 54% snap share since he returned to the Patriots in Week 5.
Michel’s inability to capitalize on his touches has also diminished considerably since his 2018 rookie season. He averaged just 3.7 yards per attempt and 57 yards per game during 2019 and had manufactured even lower averages in Weeks 1-2 (28 yards/3.2 yards per game) before an uncharacteristically productive outing in Week 3 (117 yards/13 per attempt). There are other backs that should be targeted for your critical roster spots.
Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions
Lions final HB snap count
D'Andre Swift 28
Adrian Peterson 27
Kerryon Johnson 19
Out of 77 plays
— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) October 18, 2020
Adrian Peterson's frequent usage was discussed previously as was D'Andre Swift's season-best performance in Jacksonville. While that tandem has commandeered the majority of opportunities, Johnson has been relegated to a minimal touch total. The third-year back has averaged an anemic 3.3 attempts per game since Week 3, while has he managed just 34 rushing yards during that sequence. Peterson has consistently received early-down opportunities, and 48,3% of the team's red zone usage, while Swift’s role should expand following his highly productive outing against the Jaguars.
These developments have left Johnson as an after-thought within the offense. His nominal usage is primarily creating frustration for anyone with Peterson or Swift on their rosters, while also failing to present any reason for optimism if your roster contains Johnson. No improvement in Johnson’s situation is imminent unless Peterson is sidelined by a health issue. There are running backs on your waiver wire that are accumulating more touches than Johnson. This provides tremendous justification for dropping him this week.
Jordan Howard, Miami Dolphins
Howard will be included yet again in this section since managers in nearly 30% of all leagues continue to waste a valuable roster spot by retaining him. Since Week 1, he has experienced a steady decline in his weekly allotment of rushing attempts (8/5/3/2) which were punctuated by the fifth-year back being relegated to healthy scratch status in both Week 5 and 6. His inability to generate yardage with the carries that he did receive was undoubtedly a factor, as Howard had only managed 14 yards on his 18 attempts (0.8 per attempt) before being removed from the backfield equation completely.
Myles Gaskin has easily confiscated lead back duties for the Dolphins, while Matt Breida has been entrusted with a modest role as Miami’s RB2. The team’s interest in Le’Veon Bell also provided an indication of how Howard is perceived by the team’s offensive decision-makers. The alternative options that are now available on the waiver wire eliminate all rationale for managers to use valuable roster space by retaining Howard.
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