Week 8 of the NFL season is here, and that means your hitting the biggest stretch of games in fantasy football before your league's playoffs begin. Depending on when your postseason starts, you're looking at 6-7 games left in the regular season, which means every game from here on out is critical to determining your potential spot in the playoffs.
That said, here's a look at the top running back starts of Week 8.
Bengals RB Giovani Bernard
Coming off one of the worst fantasy performances of his career, Bernard is in for a bounce back against the Ravens. Though Baltimore is one of the best when it comes to stopping RBs (3rd-fewest points allowed), Gio has performed big in the friendly confines of Paul Brown Stadium, where he'll play in Week 8.
Bernard is averaging 20.7 fantasy points at home this year, and he already scored 11.7 points at Baltimore in Week 1. It's a tough matchup, but expect Bernard to come through for you. He's a solid RB 2 this week.
Browns RB Ben Tate
After Tate was able to reclaim the No. 1 spot in Cleveland's backfield, he tossed out a measly 3.4 points against Jacksonville last week. However, with Oakland's putrid run D on deck (allowing 2nd-most RB points this year), you've got to give Tate another chance to show he's capable of being a consistent RB 2. Prior to last week, Tate had scored 33 combined points in the previous two games.
This week, Tate is a solid RB 3 or flex play, but he needs to produce this week to avoid going to the fantasy bench for the rest of the season.
Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon
It looks as though Jerick McKinnon is now firmly entrenched as the No. 1 RB in Minnesota. He had 19 carries for 103 yards in Sunday's Week 7 loss to the Bills. For the second week in a row, McKinnon remained the starter over Matt Asiata, who finished with just seven touches.
McKinnon broke off a pair of impressive 20-yard runs and was the featured player on offense. He is the only running back to rush for over 100 yards on the Bills this year.
With Tampa on deck (allowing most points to RBs over past three weeks), McKinnon is a solid RB 2 play this week.
Lions RB Joique Bell
Though Reggie Bush returned from an ankle injury in Week 7, it was clear he wasn't close to being himself. Head coach Jim Caldwell said Bush's ankle was still bugging him during Sunday's win over the Saints, and he finished with just nine touches and didn't play very much in the second half.
Joique Bell got the bulk of the carries, rushing 18 times for 48 yards and a touchdown against the Saints. He added 19 yards in the passing game,The Falcons are on deck next week, and their allowing the most fantasy points to opposing RBs.
After Bush missed practice Thursday following a limited session on Wednesday, it's safe to assume Bell is going to be the No. 1 RB this week, and he's in for a nice workload against Atlanta's horrid front seven (allowing most RB points this season). Bell is a high-end RB 2 play this week.
The obvious starts:
Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray
Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell
Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles
Texans RB Arian Foster
Eagles RB Le'Sean McCoy
Bears RB Matt Forte
Dolphins RB Lamar Miller
Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch
Now, time for a look at who to sit this week.
Washington RB Alfred Morris
Jay Gruden is back to his old ways with Washington going more pas-heavy, and Morris is becoming irrelevant in fantasy football. He's scored a grand total of 13.6 points over the past three games combined. Poor offensive line play has also contributed though, as Morris is averaging just 2.8 yards per carry over the past three weeks.
Facing a surging Dallas D that's allowed the 8th-fewest points to RBs this year, keep Morris on the bench this week.
Saints RB Mark Ingram
The Saints lost starting RB Pierre Thomas in the second half of their loss to the Lions, and now looks to be out for 2-3 weeks. With him out much of the contest, Mark Ingram returned from his wrist injury and rushed 10 times for 16 yards vs. arguably the NFL's best run defense. He added 13 yards on two catches.
Despite the struggles, Ingram was getting a lot of early-down work before Thomas even got hurt, and looks set to have a starting role again, just as he held before the injury.
Though he may be the No.1 RB for New Orleans this week, he's facing a Packers D that's allowed the 6th-fewest RB points over the past three weeks. Keep Ingram on the bench this week.
Bills RB Anthony Dixon
The Bills were hit hard on the injury front this week as both of their top backs went down with injury. CJ Spiller suffered a broken collarbone, while Fred Jackson was carted off the field after injuring his groin. Both are out this week.
With those two out, Dixon had 13 carries for 51 yards in Sunday's Week 7 win over the Vikings. He plodded his way to 3.9 yards per carry, but showed good power between the tackles. Dixon will likely be the featured back initially with Bryce Brown getting some backup snaps.
Though Brown is the more talented back, head coach Doug Marrone trusts Dixon more, and Brown has been inactive for every game this season. It will be hard to play him against a tough Jets run defense in Week 8 that's allowing the 9th-fewest RB points this season.
All Rams RBs
If you have any Rams RBs this week, keep them on your bench. They'll be facing a Chiefs defense that's allowing the 5th-fewest points to RBs this year. Benny Cunningham, Tre Mason and Zac Stacy all need to stay on the bench this week, as there's still no clear-cut No. 1 RB anyhow.
All Jags RBs
Like the Rams, this is another muddy backfield facing a tough run defense. Miami has allowed the 14th-fewest RB points over the past three weeks, as the appear to have shored up their front seven.
Meanwhile, the Jags Continue to rotate between Storm Johnson, Toby Gerhart and Denard Robinson. Until they establish a clear No.1, keep these guys on your bench.