After having to deal with six teams on a bye in Week 7 we get a break this week. Only two teams, the Ravens, and Raiders, are on a bye in Week 8. We probably won’t be missing the Ravens RBs too much this week. It’s tough to trust any Ravens RBs based on how the team distributes its carries from week to week. Raiders RB Josh Jacobs (chest) can use the week off to get himself healthy for Week 9. Meanwhile the Patriots, as they often do when it comes to their RBs, are keeping us on our toes. Rhamondre Stevenson was a surprise scratch in Week 7, but Brandon Bolden is really settling into James White’s old role as a pass catching back. Dolphins RB Salvon Ahmed should see some more opportunities and will be Myles Gaskin’s handcuff with Malcolm Brown hitting the IR. There’s a lot more NFL backfield news to share with you as well as our RB handcuff grid. Please enjoy this week’s RB Handcuff Report.
It’s quite clear that the Browns have one of the best offensive lines in football this season. Pro Football Focus has consistently ranked the Browns’ O-line as being within the top two in the NFL, but results mean more than rankings. With both Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt out in Week 7 it was D’Ernest Johnson taking advantage of the huge holes and running lanes created by his O-line. He scored a TD in the first offensive series of the game and never looked back, rushing for a total of 146 yards. Johnson scored the fourth most PPR fantasy points for the week, but Chubb was back at practice early this week and seems to be on track to play in Week 8. With Kareem Hunt on the IR and the Browns featuring a run first offense, Johnson could steal several carries from Chubb and even catch a few passes in the backfield. With Hunt still on the mend hold onto Johnson, at least for the short term.
We’re still awaiting confirmation from the Eagles, but it appears that Miles Sanders (ankle) may miss at least one game. Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell will probably split time in the Eagles backfield with Sanders sidelined. Gainwell had a couple of more carries than Scott (7 and 5 respectively) but Gainwell (4 catches for 41 yards and a TD) was more active in the passing game, but Scott (48 catches between 2019 and 2020) can contribute as a pass catching back as well. With the Lions giving up the fourth most fantasy points per game (FPPG) to RBs both Scott and Gainwell could have a productive Sunday afternoon in Week 8.
The Eagles, like the aforementioned Lions, have been decimated by opposing RBs. They have yielded the third most FPPG to the position, as well as the most total rushing yards to RBs. That leaves the door wide open for D’Andre Swift to have a potential monster game. Swift has solidified his role as the Lions’ primary back with a 75% snap rate over his past four games and leads all RBs in targets and receptions. The Eagles have given up the fifth most receptions to the position making Swift, who has the fifth highest PPR FPPG average among RBs, a player to target in DFS.
Whenever we football fans think of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offense the first player that comes to mind is Tom Brady. With 22 total TDs he’s had a phenomenal season thus far, but even though the Bucs are a pass happy team, RB Leonard Fournette has managed to score four TDs in his last three games and is RB6 in FPPG in PPR scoring during that time frame. He has clearly wrestled the starting RB job away from Ronald Jones who didn’t help his cause by losing his second fumble of the season in Week 7. When the Bucs want to run the ball and the game is on the line Fournette will be the Buccaneers RB carrying the ball.