We’re into Week 8 of the NFL season, and the running back position continues to get thinner and thinner. Guys like LeSean McCoy, Matt Breida, Sony Michel, Royce Freeman, and Peyton Barber are all questionable, at best, for Sunday’s contests, and Marlon Mack has once again popped up on the injury report for the Colts. Updates on these injuries will need to be monitored by fantasy football owners everywhere, and some — namely the McCoy head/ankle injury — could create some very difficult start ’em, sit ’em decisions or necessitate adding a handcuff RB from the waiver wire.
Ahead of Week 8, we’ll keep you posted on everything you need to know about these key injuries. You can also follow us on Twitter @SN_Fantasy for more fantasy football advice and updates.
Week 8 Rankings:
Quarterback | Running Back | Wide Receiver | Tight End | D/ST | Kicker
Is LeSean McCoy playing Monday night?
McCoy suffered a concussion and an ankle injury last week against the Colts that kept him out for a majority of the contest. His status ahead of Monday night’s game with the Patriots is unknown, but there was recently a positive update about his status.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, McCoy is still in concussion protocol, but he was practicing on a limited basis Thursday. That would seemingly indicate that he’s at least trending in the right direction as he looks to return. And with the extra day off before Monday’s game, that could give him just enough extra time to get back on the field, provided that he keeps progressing.
Still, McCoy’s owners should do everything they can to add top handcuff Chris Ivory for this week. Ivory has proven that he can be productive with McCoy out, and though the Patriots may be able to bottle him up more than usual, the volume should be there for Ivory. For now, we still have McCoy ranked as an RB2 in our Week 8 RB rankings, but if anything changes, expect Ivory to jump up the rankings and take over that slot.
WEEK 8 PPR RANKINGS: Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end
Matt Breida injury update
Breida sat out practice on Wednesday after aggravating his ankle injury last week against the Rams. Considering that the 49ers (1-6) are not contending for any playoff positioning, it may benefit them to just sit Breida and give him a chance to get right and healthy. There’s no sense in risking his long-term health just to get him some meaningless in-game action at the halfway point, especially with the team’s bye week approaching in Week 11.
If Breida does miss time with his ankle injury, Raheem Mostert and Alfred Morris will see carries against the weak Cardinals defense. Mostert has been the primary backup to Breida for the last two weeks, so he would stand to benefit from Breida’s absence more. It’s also notable that he’s more similar to Breida in terms of running style than Morris, as Mostert is quicker, shiftier, and can catch passes. Mostert would certainly be an RB2 with Breida out, but the potential for Morris to vulture goal-line carries could make this a bit more of a frustrating split than many are anticipating.
MORE WEEK 8: How You’ll Lose | Preview podcast
Is Marlon Mack playing in Week 8?
UPDATE: Mack was downgraded to a DNP on Thursday, according to George Bremer. This might be bad news for his availability, and now his Friday availability will be critical to helping determine his Week 8 status.
Once again, Mack has popped up on the injury report. This time, it’s not a hamstring injury that’s keeping him down. Instead, an ankle injury caused him to be limited at practice. That said, it shouldn’t be a major issue for him, and he should be ready to take on the Raiders in Week 8.
Mack is coming off the best game of his career in which he totaled 159 scrimmage yards and two TDs (one rushing, one receiving) against the Bills. The Raiders run defense can be beaten, so Mack is a fringe RB1 in this matchup, and provided that he doesn’t suffer any setbacks, he should be in good position to play and produce.
In the unlikely event that Mack doesn’t suit up on Sunday, the run game responsibilities would fall on Nyheim Hines, Jordan Wilkins, and Robert Turbin. Hines would be the best fantasy start of that group given his pass-catching prowess, but nobody in that trio would be ranked as highly as Mack.
WEEK 8 DFS CASH LINEUPS: Yahoo | FanDuel | DraftKings
Peyton Barber injury news
UPDATE: Barber returned to practice on Thursday, according to Greg Auman of The Athletic. This should give him a chance to play this week, but he still may end up splitting carries if he gets on the field. Like Mack, Barber’s Friday status will help determine if he’s able to go this week.
Barber suffered an ankle injury in the Buccaneers win over the Browns last week and didn’t return to the game for the fourth quarter or overtime. On Wednesday, Barber was absent from practice, per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, and is looking like a toss-up to play against the Bengals this week.
With Barber out of practice, rookie second-round pick Ronald Jones handled a majority of the first-team reps. In all likelihood, he will get a chance to serve as the lead back if Barber needs to miss time. This will be a good test for Jones and if he performs well, he could overtake Barber as the starter. After all, it’s not like Barber has been doing a ton as the starter (297 scrimmage yards, 3.5 yards per carry) so this may be the time to pounce on Jones if he’s still available on the waiver wire.
WEEK 8 DFS GPP LINEUPS: Yahoo | FanDuel
Is Sony Michel playing Monday night?
Michel (knee) hasn’t practiced all week and seems unlikely to play Monday night against the Bills.
If Michel is in fact out, Kenjon Barner would see a big uptick in touches as New England’s co-lead back. He’s one of our Week 8 sleepers given the matchup.
MORE WEEK 8 DFS: Values | Stacks | Lineup builder
Royce Freeman injury news
Freeman (ankle) missed Wednesday’s practice and is looking more “doubtful” than “questionable” at this point.
If he is able to play, he would still have plenty of value against a porous Chiefs defense that he posted 67 yards and TD on only eight carries against a few weeks ago. If he’s out, Phillip Lindsay would become a solid RB1.
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