Week 7 of the NFL season is in the books, and our attention is drawn towards the top-performing rookie players nationwide. The 2023 rookie running back group has showcased impressive stats in the season’s early stages. As we approach Week 8, we have compiled a list of the best rookie rushers for fantasy football in the upcoming slate.
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Who Are the Best Rookie RBs for Fantasy This Week?
Our NFL Week 8 dynasty running back rankings are courtesy of the PFN Consensus Fantasy Rankings.
1) Bijan Robinson, Atlanta Falcons
Bijan Robinson’s bizarre injury situation is something to be concerned about. He had only one carry before exiting the game, and then the Falcons said he didn’t feel well in pre-game warmups. The NFL will have an issue with the team forgoing disclosing that on the injury list.
We can assume that Robinson’s status will be clearer this week as the Falcons seek compliance. If Robinson is good to play, he’ll have to overcome a tough Titans run defense that ranks fourth in fantasy points allowed. Tennessee may be entering a rebuild situation, but Robinson is reliable for a high volume and quality of touches.
2) Jahmyr Gibbs, Detroit Lions
We called it last week that Jahmyr Gibbs was returning at the right time. He benefited from an injury to David Montgomery and ended up as the RB3 as the Lions tried to claw their way back into a blowout against Baltimore. Gibbs had 20 touches for 126 yards and one touchdown.
He may not see 10 targets again, as the Lions aren’t likely to fall behind by 35 points on Monday night against the Raiders. But his efficiency should skyrocket against the fourth-worst defense against fantasy backs. Gibbs should be a top-five back once again in Week 8.
3) Roschon Johnson, Chicago Bears
We thought Roschon Johnson might return from a concussion last week, but instead, he’s still in protocol before hitting the field. D’Onta Foreman took advantage of his opportunity to be the lead back and play without Justin Fields, finishing as the RB1. Expect his workload to be cut significantly, though, if Johnson returns.
MORE: Fantasy Football Updated RB Rest-of-Season Rankings Week 8
The tough part of projecting Johnson’s stats beyond his health is that Chicago faces the Chargers this week on Sunday Night Football. We don’t expect Fields to play, but Chicago could be blown out early. We’ll continue monitoring Johnson’s latest injury news, but he’s not a strong play.
4) Emari Demercado, Arizona Cardinals
When James Conner went down with an injury, the door seemed to open for Emari Demercado. Yet, the Cardinals weren’t ready to hand the keys over.
Keaontay Ingram and Damien Williams leapfrogged over Demercado for playing time in Week 6, totaling 21 touches. That was a one-week delay, though, as Ingram didn’t play in Week 7, and Demercado out-touched Williams 17 to 1.
Arizona appears to be embracing the tank, moving Demercado into position to produce better. He’d benefit from a Kyler Murray start, but we’ll have to see whether Demercado retains the lead-back duties for more than one game.
5) Jaleel McLaughlin, Denver Broncos
Riding the Jaleel McLaughlin roller coaster is an experience for anyone rostering him. Whether he’s an effective fantasy starter comes down to his red-zone touches or big-play creation. However, it’ll be more difficult for McLaughlin to break off big plays as defenses are more aware of his presence on the field.
McLaughlin’s a great Flex option if you need a wild card starter. He remains explosive but only saw six touches last week. There’s more upside with him than almost any rookie rusher, but McLaughlin’s also more of a gadget piece than a reliable option.
6) Tyjae Spears, Tennessee Titans
Tennessee struck a major trade on Monday, sending former All-Pro safety Kevin Byard to the Eagles for a pair of 2024 Day 3 picks. It’s a possible sign of what’s to come for Tennessee, with the NFL trade deadline arriving in a week.
Although there aren’t many obvious suitors for franchise star Derrick Henry, he may be dealt.
MORE: Rich Eisen Suggests Cowboys Shock the World and Trade for Derrick Henry
A Henry trade would certainly boost Tyjae Spears’ stock. Spears has hit eight or more touches in four games, so there’s some pathway to relevance if he can get more red-zone opportunities. Spears is more of a second-half sleeper if he gets a bigger workload.
7) Zach Charbonnet, Seattle Seahawks
We saw Kenneth Walker III touch the ball 28 times in Week 7, while Zach Charbonnet did not play. Considering he didn’t practice at all last week before missing the game, Charbonnet could again be out for this week. He had only three touches in Week 6.
Starting Charbonnet only becomes an option if Walker suffers an injury and he’s healthy. Until the Seattle Seahawks prove they can lend more balance in their backfield, keep Charbonnet on your bench.
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