Start of the week
Jamaal Charles vs. St. Louis — Ranked #1 in weekly rankings
We were tempted to go with DeMarco Murray yet again here, but the Redskins front four have proven more effective than the rest of their defense and could keep Murray in check on Monday night in a divisional rivalry game where the two teams also tend to play each other tough.
After leading all RBs in fantasy points last season, Charles got off to a slow start in 2014 but is starting to pick up steam. Over the last three games, he's rushed for 92, 80 and 95 yards. He also scored two touchdowns in that same span. While his receiving numbers haven't been what they were a year ago (just 11 catches for 55 yards in five games so far this year), Charles has a lot going for him in this matchup against St. Louis.
The Rams are giving up 145 yards rushing per game which ranks 28th in the league. They've given up an average of 4.8 yards per carry to running backs as well.
Charles' worst enemy may in fact be his own coach, Andy Reid, a guy who tends to get pass happy especially if Kansas City gets down early. Kansas City is one of the top 10 best rushing teams in the league, averaging 4.5 yards per carry among their entire backfield, but they're middle of the road in rushing attempts with 186. Charles is most effective when he sees between 15-20 carries per game, a number he'll likely see against a bad Rams run defense. Just hope the Rams and on-his-way-to-being-a-certified-gunslinger Austin Davis don't jump out to an early lead and force Kansas City to throw.
Joique Bell vs. Atlanta (in London) — Ranked #11 in weekly rankings
Earlier in the week, this matchup was like a pile of Ramen Noodles simmering over a pot of tap water sitting atop a gas oven burner set to medium low heat. Well, that temperature knob cranked up to high as the week progressed and now the water is boiling.
Fellow running back Reggie Bush is currently listed as doubtful for Sunday's early morning matchup, which gives Bell the clear cut feature duties. Plus, with Calvin Johnson likely out as well, Bell should see more targets out of the backfield.
The Lions (who are somehow 5-2 even though it doesn't feel like they are) will be matched up against perhaps the worst defense in the league in Atlanta. The Falcons have allowed the most rushing touchdowns so far this season (13) in addition to a 27th-ranked rushing defense that's allowing 137 yards per game. If you have Bell in deep leagues, consider him an RB2/flex with the potential to put up RB1 numbers in Week 8.
Bell hasn't played great this season as he's only averaging 3.3 yards per carry, but he scored a touchdown in 3-of-6 games so far. He's also PPR-friendly with six catches over his last three games and he's also recorded a 6 catch, 61 yard effort in Week 2. There's just a lot of ways he can score for your team this week.
Bishop Sankey vs. Houston— Ranked #17 in weekly rankings
In light of Shonn Greene's recent arrest, Sankey is once again primed to see the majority of the carries in Week 8. He's slowly starting to gain confidence in the Titans' run scheme, as he's notched 117 yards and averaged 17 carries over the last two games. He's not the most explosive back on the planet, but he'll likely approach the 70-80 yard mark and maybe add a touchdown due to his big role within the offense. He's a great flex play in deep leagues.
The Texans' defense ranks 20th against the run and is allowing 119 rushing yards per game. While the return of Jadaveon Clowney is probable, he's still battling a nagging knee injury and likely won't be 100 percent. The Titans will trot out rookie Zach Mettenberger, so the Texans may stack the box and force Mettenberger to throw the ball. If the rookie QB struggles, Sankey's numbers may take a hit. But since Sankey is expected to be one of the big, if not the biggest factors in the offense, it's likely he'll be in line for some sort of production in Week 8.
Denard Robinson vs. Miami— Ranked #21 in weekly rankings
Robinson saw a season-high 22 carries for 122 yards and a touchdown in the Jagaurs' win over Cleveland last week. He played on 62 percent of the team's offensive snaps, which was as high as most RB1's. But that's where the positives end for Robinson in Week 8.
The Miami rushing defense is formidable, as they've allowed just four rushing touchdowns this season and rank 10th against the run. The Jaguars' offensive line is still atrocious and they won't have the benefit of Brian Hoyer playing as poorly as he did last week to help them control the tempo of the game. Toby Gerhart is due to come back and Jordan Todman is also expected to see third down work. It's likely Robinson will struggle against a much better overall team in the Dolphins.
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