The Buffalo Bills take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday to kick off Week 8, and there are some RB decisions that need to be made right off the bat for fantasy football purposes. Should you start James Cook or Rachaad White?
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James Cook Fantasy Outlook This Week
The Bills are coming off an embarrassing loss to the New England Patriots last week, but Cook was a bright spot. He finished the week as RB8 with 56 yards on the ground, 46 yards through the air, and one TD. It was his best finish of the year, so far.
Cook’s usage has varied throughout the year. Heading into the season, fantasy managers were pretty certain he would be the bell cow in Buffalo, but he hasn’t entirely managed it yet. In Week 1, he had 80% of the RB carries, but in Week 5, he only had 50%. The rest of the weeks fluctuate between those numbers.
MORE: Fantasy Football Updated RB Rest-of-Season Rankings Week 8
Fellow Buffalo back Latavius Murray has become more of a thorn in the side of Cook’s fantasy value than we first believed he would be. Halfway through the season, Murray is seeing 24% of RB carries and 29% of RB targets. He has vultured a TD or two, as well.
Even with Murray not going away, Cook is still the RB to own in Buffalo, but he does have a tough matchup this week against a Bucs defense that allows the 10th-least rushing yards per game.
Cook is RB18 in PFN’s Consensus Rankings this week.
Rachaad White Fantasy Outlook This Week
Since Chase Edmonds headed to IR in Week 3, it started as White’s backfield in Tampa. Still, Ke’Shawn Vaughn got more play in the last two weeks, turning the backfield into a timeshare.
Unfortunately, White has been unable to capitalize on Edmonds’s absence. Currently the RB25, White has alternated good and bad weeks — an RB finish in the high 30s or above, followed by a finish in the top 20. He has been a solid pass catcher this season, averaging almost four targets a game.
The matchup is decent for White, with the Bills allowing the 10th-most yards to opposing RBs, and White is RB19 in PFN’s Consensus Rankings this week.
Which of the RBs Should You Start?
In the Pro Football Network Start/Sit Optimizer, PFN’s Consensus Rankings say White should be started over Cook, but only marginally. White is projected to score 11.9 fantasy points on 31.9 rushing yards and 4.6 receptions, while Cook is projected 11.4 fantasy points on 47.9 rushing yards and 2.5 receptions.
I agree with the optimizer. It’s a close decision on these two players, but White’s pass-catching upside breaks the tie. However, if Edmonds is back and active for Thursday night’s game — which is a distinct possibility — I would start Cook over White. Keep an eye on the injury reports.
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