BYE:  Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, NY Giants, Philadelphia

A lot of big name RBs are on BYE this week including Michael Turner, Ray Rice, Matt Forte, Ahmad Bradshaw, LeSean McCoy, and early favorite for waiver wire find of the year Cleveland’s Peyton Hillis. Each week we will analyze the matchups and provide our take on which Running Backs should be toting the rock for your team and which should be benched based on difficult matchups, loss of playing time, injuries etc.  With six teams on BYE many fantasy owners will scrambling to the waiver wires in order to field a full roster. LaGarrette Blount (Tampa) and both Colts Donald Brown and Mike Hart are a few potential options that we detailed in this weeks Waiver Wire report for Running Backs.

If your Running Backs are facing these defenses you may want to go in a different direction unless you have every week stud starters. These Defenses have allowed less than 80 yards per game in 2010:  Pittsburgh, Seattle, Chicago, NY Jets, Houston. 

On the flip side if you have RBs facing these porous rushing defenses its probably worth rolling the dice and putting them in the backfield for your fantasy squad.  These Defenses have allowed over 140 yds/game in 2010: Tampa, Indianapolis, Arizona, Oakland, Buffalo.

VIEWS: is very high on Washington’s Ryan Torain ranking him 6th for a week 8 matchup with a Detroit defense that ranks 25th against the run (139 yards/game). is concerned that this week’s finger surgery could hamper Steven Jackson as they rank him 11th  despite a favorable home matchup with a Carolina defense that ranks 24th against the run (129 yards/game).

AOL Fanhouse has waiver wire find LaGarrette Blount ranked 15th this week as he faces an Arizona defense that ranks 29th allowing 141 yards/game on the ground. expects the loss of QB Tony Romo to result in a greater emphasis on the Dallas run game as they have Felix Jones at #14 for a matchup with a Jacksonville defense that has allowed 10 rushing TDs and 129 yards/game.


UPGRADE: Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones (vs Buffalo) – Kansas City leads the NFL in rushing through 8 weeks averaging 176 yards/game.

This week the dynamic combo of Charles and TJ get to feast on Buffalo’s league worst rushing defense which has been sliced and diced for an average of 175 yards/game and eight TDs on the ground. JC remains the more explosive option but is playing 2nd fiddle to the veteran Jones. Charles is averaging 13 carries for 81 yards (impressive 6 YPC) with two touchdowns.  The 32 year old Jones is averaging 16 carries for 77 yards (4.6 YPC) with 3 TDs.  TJ needs 39 rushing yards  in week 8 to become the first player in NFL history to gain 500 or more rushing yards with five different teams (ARZ, TB,CHI,NYJ, KC).
DOWNGRADE: RB Darren McFadden (vs Seattle) – In week 7, DMC returned from injury and exploded for 196 yards and 4 TDs.  He has shown an ability to break tackles something he struggled with during his first two NFL seasons ( 325 of his 557 rushing yards have come after initial contact). Despite the dominant week 7 performance, I would temper my expectations this week against Seattle’s #2 ranked rush defense which is allowing 78 yards/game and have yielded only 4 rushing TDs. In week 1, Seattle held Frank Gore to 17 carries and 38 yards and Steven Jackson had 22 carries for 70 yards against the Seahawks in week 4. The Raiders will continue to use Michael Bush (6’1, 245) in the red zone which also limits McFadden’s fantasy upside this week.

SLEEPER: Jonathan Stewart (@ Carolina) - As DeAngelo Williams continues to miss practice with a foot injury the odds are increasing that J-Stew could get the bulk of the work in week 8 against a St Louis defense that ranks 15th (allowing 108 yards/game).  The 3rd year back out of Oregon has been a major disappointment for fantasy owners that expected a breakout 2010. After two straight 10 TD seasons, Stewart has only 1 TD through 6 games. The entire Carolina offense has struggled but the return of QB Matt Moore to the starting lineup last week could signal a 2nd half improvement. Stewart (5’10, 235) averaged 5 YPC last season (220 carries) and has the size/speed combo to emerge as a high end RB2 if Deangelo’s injury keeps him out multiple weeks.

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