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Fantasy Football: Week 8 Running Back Sleepers

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Streaming running backs might be the hardest thing to do on a week-to-week basis, with only ~40 players getting significant enough carries every week to garner usage, and with many of those backs on rosters. With the first of the two week Bye Apocalypses upon us, it will get even tougher. However, we are here to help you out with your week eight sleepers. Every week we explore three players at each fantasy football position that can help you with your streaming or spot starts. In this article, we will highlight two wide receivers available in 50% or less fantasy football leagues (per Yahoo! statistics) and typically we highlight one wide receiver is available in 90% or more leagues for you deep divers.[embedit snippet=”jeff-ads”]

Bilal Powell at Cleveland (32% owned)
Powell has taken a significant back seat to Matt Forte, who is just racking up the touches with the Jets. Powell was a trendy sleeper, especially in PPR, but the opportunity has not yet materialized. However, the Jets travel to Cleveland to take on an awful Browns defense that gives up the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs.  The Browns have given up six touchdowns to running backs in the last four games, and have yielded a touchdown to two different backs in the same game three times this season, including three to Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill last week. Todd Bowles would be smart to start spelling Forte, meaning more opportunities for Powell.

Robert Kelley in London versus Cincinnati (19% owned)
Washington announced today that Matt Jones is out for the very early Sunday morning game in London against the Bengals. The play seems to be a ton of Chris Thompson with a good amount of Rob Kelley worked in. He hasn’t had a whole lot of opportunity yet this season but did bust a long 45-yard run. Unfortunately, outside of that run, he has mustered just about 3.6 yards per carry. The Bengals are in the upper-half of fantasy points per game allowed to running backs, giving up six in their last three games.

Zach Zenner at Houston (10% owned)
I am not the biggest Zach Zenner fan, but the Lions went out and signed Justin Forsett to be the traditional running back role, and he hasn’t been spectacular. Zenner has been much better than Forsett and is the banger back for the Lions. He isn’t a great runner to start, running the lines need to touch before he gets going and getting ankle-tackled far too much, but once he gets a head of steam, he’s difficult to bring down. The fly in the ointment is that Dwayne Washington is also back, creating a messy committee. I still like Zenner to pound in a score. Houston is just outside the top-ten in fantasy points allowed to running backs, but they desperately miss J.J. Watt. They have given up touchdowns or 100 yards games to five different backs in the last four weeks.

 Honorable Mentions:
Have roster spots to spare? Looking towards the future a bit? These two players are under 50% owned and are on their way back from injury. If you have the roster space to spare, they’re worth a stash.
Thomas Rawls versus the fibula (44% owned)
Dion Lewis versus the PUP (31% owned)

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at [email protected]