The fantasy football season continues on with Week 7 marking its arrival, and fantasy managers may be looking for strategic value plays at the running back spot. The bye week, along with injuries, only provides more reason for fantasy managers to play it calculated in lineups. These are the tailbacks to fire up in Week 7, along with rushers that should be avoided in less-than-favorable matchups.
Running Back Starts
Kenneth Walker III, Seattle Seahawks vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Walker has been as good as advertised after scoring 14.8 and 17.0 PPR fantasy points over the past two weeks. The Chargers have allowed the second-most fantasy points to running backs this season (22.9 PPG), and six running backs have scored at least 14 PPR points against the Chargers this season. After totaling 21 carries last week, look for the rookie to get another significant workload in the backfield on Sunday.
Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders vs. Houston Texans
Jacobs has been a top-five fantasy running back this season, scoring an average of 16.0 fantasy points per game. The Raiders tailback has now posted three-straight games with double-digit fantasy points, including back-to-back performances with 30+ points scored. The matchup could not be more favorable as well, with the Texans allowing an average of 164.8 rushing yards per game and 24.8 fantasy points per game to running backs (sixth-most).
Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Miami Dolphins
Harris has not posted the type of production that made him worthy of top-five pick territory, but he’s still been a productive RB2 for fantasy managers. The Steelers tailback has scored 12.0 PPR fantasy points in three of his five games, and now faces a Dolphins defense that has surrendered double-digit fantasy points consistently to running backs. Miami has allowed three tailbacks to score at least 15.0 PPR fantasy points so far this season. Harris may not post a spectacular performance, but he should provide solid value in Week 7.
Running Back Sits
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Francisco 49ers
Should the Chiefs beat the 49ers on Sunday, expect them to do so through the air as opposed to on the ground. San Francisco is allowing the second-fewest rushing yards per game (87.5), and against fantasy running backs they allow the fewest points per game (12.6). He has totaled 6.8 PPR fantasy points over the past two games, and it could be a sign that Kansas City opts for a committee approach in the backfield going forward. Edwards-Helaire may not be a sit every week, but he’s best kept on the bench for Week 7.
Melvin Gordon III, Denver Broncos vs. New York Jets
Gordon was oddly benched in Monday night’s loss to the Chargers, but he will reportedly be the starter on Sunday against the Jets. There is little confidence he can finish with solid fantasy production, however, when the Broncos rank dead last in scoring (15.2 PPG). Additionally, Latavius Murray and Mike Boone are part of a committee that is tough to predict, and last week’s benching should be a sign of how risky it is to roll with Gordon in lineups on a weekly basis.
David Montgomery, Chicago Bears vs. New England Patriots
Montgomery is expected to be the focal point on offense for the Bears come Monday night, and Chicago averages the fourth-most rushing attempts per game (32.8). All that is for naught, however, when lining up against the Patriots' defense, who have been strong against opponents on the ground. New England is allowing the third-fewest fantasy points to tailbacks with an average of 13.0 PPG and they have yet to allow a running back to score this season, leaving little hope that Montgomery can buck the trend in this one.