Week 8 Fantasy Football Projections: 5 RBs Poised for Big Days
Even with several big-name running backs on byes in Week 8, the position is projected to have at least five players put together productive days for fantasy football owners.
Owners who are missing bye-week backs like Arian Foster, Ray Rice, C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson and Benjarvus Green-Ellis can take comfort in these five players producing fantasy-wise.
In the following slides, we break down each of the five backs and project their fantasy output for Week 8.
Matt Forte, Chicago Bears
Don't read too far into the Panthers' recent two-game run of holding opposing backfields under 100 yards (vs. Dallas, vs. Seattle). Forte is still a plus matchup against the 25th-ranked fantasy defense against running backs this season.
More importantly, keep in mind that Forte has rushed for a whopping 371 yards over the last two games against Carolina (205, one TD in 2011; 166, two TDs in 2010). He's also added six catches for 45 yards. Over his career, Forte averages more total yards against the Panthers (176.3) than any other NFL team.
Projection: 22 rushes, 134 yards, two TDs; three catches, 21 yards
LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles
Over the last two games, McCoy has been much more productive as a receiver than rusher. Despite rushing for just 75 yards, McCoy has actually caught two scores to keep fantasy owners mostly content.
That could change Sunday.
The Falcons have yet to keep an opposing backfield under 100 yards in 2012, and running backs have scored at least one touchdown in four of the six games. Overall, Atlanta is allowing an average of 18.3 fantasy points a game to opposing running backs.
Hopefully, with that knowledge in hand, the Eagles took their bye week to formulate a game plan that includes a lot of McCoy against this run defense.
Projection: 21 rushes, 121 yards, TD; four catches, 35 yards
Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans
Trusting CJ2K for another week? Better check out his history after big rushing games just to be sure.
After games in which he rushed for 180 yards or more, Johnson is averaging 128.3 the next week. Johnson rushed for 195 and two touchdowns in Week 7 against the Buffalo Bills, so history indicates another 100-yard performance is in the cards for Sunday.
Also, the Colts fantasy run defense—which is allowing an average 21.8 points to backs and is ranked 29th—should give Johnson the matchup he needs to again run wild.
Projection: 16 rushes, 121 yards, TD; one catch, 11 yards
Reggie Bush, Miami Dolphins
All the smack talk this week has clouded what should be a very good matchup for Bush against the New York Jets.
Back in Week 3, New York held Bush to just 61 yards, but the Dolphins rushed for a total of 182. Expect Bush to bite off a bigger chunk of that rushing total Sunday.
Don't disregard how much the bye week could have helped Bush's lingering knee issue too. At 100 percent, he could do real damage to a shaky run defense in New York.
Projection: 22 rushes, 121 yards, TD; two catches 14 yards
Willis McGahee, Denver Broncos
No fantasy running back has a better fantasy matchup this week than McGahee, who faces the second-worst fantasy run defense in the New Orleans Saints.
This season, New Orleans has allowed an average of 24.7 points to opposing running backs (only the Bills are worse at 25.6). Only against Green Bay did the Saints hold a run game to under 100 yards and no touchdowns.
Peyton Manning and the Broncos will do plenty of throwing against a similarly suspect pass defense, but McGahee will gets his too. Going over 100 yards for the first time in three weeks is definitely in the cards for McGahee Sunday night.
Projection: 25 rushes, 145 yards