Best Running Backs for Week 7

Best Running Backs for Week 7

by Jon Helmkamp

Week 7 is here! It’s hard to believe that we’re already approaching the halfway mark of the season. It feels like just yesterday that we were banging our heads against our desks in the beginning of August, waiting on the football season to get here. Now, we’re in full-swing and building some good sample sizes for our data.

So, this is weird. For rushers with 50 or more carries, who leads the ‘Rush Rating’ metric?

Lamar Jackson.

Sure. Logical.

Let’s get into some matchups for this week.

The Best Running Backs for Week 7:

Josh Jacobs – RR: 61.87

vs Green Bay Packers – RR: 42.40

Josh Jacobs is the real deal. He has the fourth highest RR in the league through six weeks. The rookie is everything the Raiders were hoping for when they took him in the first round of the 2019 draft. Jacobs has topped 79 rushing yards in four of his first five games in the NFL, and in a game where I (wrongly) predicted that the Bears’ defense would shut him down in London, he had his best game to date (26 carries, 123 rushing yards, and 2 TDs). Up against a porous rush defense in Green Bay (124.5 YPG), Jacobs is locked in for a top-15 finish this week.

Matt Breida – RR: 69.28

vs Washington Redskins – RR: 39.63

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the highest graded RB in the Rush Rating metric. That running scheme in San Francisco is firing on all cylinders right now, which is great news, as the undefeated 49ers should roll right through the Washington Redskins. Last week, Tevin Coleman received more carries than Breida, 18-13, which definitely does give some pause. It is a trend to monitor, but I believe this backfield still belongs to Breida. The 49ers want to pound the ball, and there should be more than enough opportunities for both RBs to be productive, largely because of how unbelievably stifling their defense has been. Breida is a solid RB2 play in Week 7.

Joe Mixon – RR: 35.32

vs Jacksonville Jaguars – RR: 30.41

Mixon has been terrible this year. He’s vastly underperformed in a dysfunctional offense with an awful offensive line. He was drafted as an RB1, and he has been far from it. That said, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ defense is last in the RR against metric this season. If Mixon is going to show any sign of life for his fantasy owners this year, it has to be in this game. I’m cautiously optimistic in his value this weekend and would be fine putting him in the flex spot, hoping he has some semblance of a breakout game.

The Worst Running Backs for Week 7:

Le’Veon Bell – RR: 36.92

New England Patriots – RR: 59.91

This is a bad matchup. Out of 33 qualified RBs, Le’Veon Bell is dead last in the RR metric. Fortunately, his workload is secure, which is the only thing keeping him afloat through his slow start to the season. Even with Sam Darnold back and the promising outing the New York Jets had last week, Bell only had 50 rushing yards on 14 carries.

This New England Patriots’ defense looks great to start the year, and I want absolutely no part of the Jets’ offense in this game. That said, the Jets’ schedule is easier after this week, and you may be able to buy low on Bell. This will likely be your last window of opportunity to do so. 

Sony Michel – RR: 43.45

vs New York Jets – RR: 70.97

The New York Jets have been better against the run than the New England Patriots, the Chicago Bears, and the Minnesota Vikings this season. Sony Michel has been a bit of a dart throw this year with a couple great finishes and a few clunkers.

Michel carried the ball 22 times last week, but the New York Giants are significantly softer against the run than the Jets. This could be a game where James White sees a lot of opportunities both in the run game and in passing situations out of the backfield. Michel should be considered a flex play this week, but nothing more. 

Aaron Jones – RR: 38.71

vs Oakland Raiders – RR: 58.06

The Oakland Raiders are another surprisingly good team against the run this year, ranking eighth best in opposing RR score. Two weeks ago, Aaron Jones set the world on fire with his four-TD performance against the Cowboys, but he followed it up by being overshadowed by teammate Jamaal Williams against Detroit. It is apparent that Matt Lafleur doesn’t like us having nice things, as he is determined to work both Jones and Williams into the script.

Fortunately, Jones is seeing good work in the passing game, which will help keep his floor elevated. He has 7, 8, and 7 targets in his last three games. Jones is an RB2 in this matchup, but not much more than that.