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Fantasy Football Week 7 Running Back Rankings: Is D’Andre Swift back to being a must-start?

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We’re expecting to get Lions running back D’Andre Swift back from his shoulder injury in Week 7, and seeing as he was the No. 9 RB in PPR scoring per game, you should definitely get him back in your Fantasy Football lineup this week, right? 

Probably, but it’s less of a sure thing than you think. Swift is a great player, there’s no question about it, but he’s missed multiple games in every NFL season so far, including two of the first five games this week with this shoulder injury – plus, he was limited due to an ankle issue early in the season, too. Given that, it’s fair to wonder if the Lions might not be more cautious with his usage moving forward, especially since he suffered the shoulder injury after just 12 carries and five catches combined between Weeks 2 and 3. 

Swift also has a pretty tough matchup against the Cowboys in Week 7. The Cowboys have been a bit vulnerable to the run, having allowed more than 125 rushing yards in four of six games, however, they’ve allowed the 24th-fewest Fantasy points to running backs overall because they’ve been so good at keeping points off the board overall. I’m not necessarily avoiding Swift because of the matchup, but combined with my concerns about his potential workload, it’s enough to lower my expectations a tad.

I’d probably still start Swift, but he’s RB20 for me this week after being a top-12 option his first three healthy weeks. If he comes out and shows no ill effects from the injury, he’ll go right back in the top 12 next week, too. However, I’m just worried enough that the Lions might ease him back in that I’d sit him the likes of Kenneth Walker or Dameon Pierce, at least.

Here are the rest of my running back rankings for Week 7, along with notes for some of the most interesting players from the rankings and projections process. Remember, the Bills, Eagles, Rams, and Vikings are all on bye this week. 

  1. Christian McCaffrey vs. TB — All of a sudden, McCaffrey is on pace for 94 catches, as he has seven catches or more in three straight games. This offense remains a disaster, but McCaffrey is good enough to overcome it and then some. If the Panthers ever manage to become just a run-of-the-mill bad NFL offense, McCaffrey is going to be the clear RB1. He probably should be ranked that way anyways.
  2. Saquon Barkley @JAX
  3. Jonathan Taylor @TEN — Taylor is practicing to open up the week and sounds like he’s going to play. Maybe he’ll be a bit more limited than normal coming off the injury, but if he plays, you’re playing him. 
  4. Rhamondre Stevenson vs. CHI — Because it’s the Patriots, it’s impossible to know how close Damien Harris actually came to playing in Week 6. If he’s out again, Stevenson is once again going to be a must-start Fantasy option. If Harris is back, he’s still a viable RB2.
  5. Austin Ekeler vs. SEA
  6. Leonard Fournette @CAR
  7. Alvin Kamara @ARI — It’s such a pleasure to see Kamara being used the right way. He has 15 targets and 42 carries over the past two weeks, putting up 41.8 PPR points combined despite no touchdowns. When he’s being used like this, there aren’t more than a handful of better players in Fantasy.
  8. Derrick Henry vs. IND
  9. Josh Jacobs vs. HOU
  10. Breece Hall @DEN — This is Hall’s backfield now, as he’s played at least 66% of the snaps in three games in a row. And he seems pretty game-script independent — he’s the Jets leading rusher but he’s also got a passing downs role that should make him viable even if they fall behind early and have to chase points. Hall might just be a top-12 RB moving forward.
  11. Joe Mixon vs. ATL — Mixon leads the NFL in touches inside the 10-yard line with 16, four more than No. 2 on the list, and has just two touchdowns to show for it. He hasn’t been great this season, but Mixon’s role on the Bengals offense has arguably never been better for Fantasy, and he’s going to be an elite back if he keeps getting 70% of the snaps.
  12. Nick Chubb @BAL
  13. Aaron Jones @WAS — Despite the Packers lack of weapons, Jones’ usage looks a lot like it did last season: He’s averaging 11.7 carries, compared to 11.4 last season; and he’s at 2.8 receptions per game, his lowest number since 2018. That’s a major disappointment, especially since the offense isn’t creating as many red zone touches as we’re used to seeing from Jones. He’s more like an RB2 at this point, with AJ Dillon even tougher to trust, even in what could be a good matchup.
  14. Eno Benjamin vs. NO — The Cardinals play Thursday, so there might not be enough time for James Conner (ribs) and Darrel Williams (knee) to get healthy. Benjamin was a disappointment in Week 6, but he played 87% of the snaps and had 15 carries and three targets, and I’m going to have a hard time going away from him given that workload.
  15. Dameon Pierce @LV
  16. Kenneth Walker @LAC — You got pretty much exactly what you were hoping for from Walker in his first start without Rashaad Penny. The Seahawks generally don’t throw to their running backs much, so three targets seem like a pretty good outcome, and obviously you’re thrilled with 21 carries in his first game as the lead back. The Seahawks are going to ride Walker as long as he’s healthy and the game script allows it. They are seven-point dogs to the Chargers this week, which isn’t ideal, but there’s no way you’re going away from Walker after that first start. 
  17. Jeff Wilson vs. KC — Wilson did play his lowest snap share in Week 6 since Week 2, but I’m not sure how much that has to do with his costly fumble vs. just the unusually pass-heavy game script the 49ers played with. They could face another early deficit against the Chiefs, but that’s not enough for me to be scared away from him. Remember, Wilson had at least 15 carries in every game since Elijah Mitchell‘s injury before last week.
  18. D’Andre Swift @DAL
  19. David Montgomery @NE — Fantasy players may want to see Khalil Herbert get more opportunities, but Montgomery’s snap share jumped to 78% in Week 6, so I don’t think that’s going to happen. Montgomery won’t get your blood pumping, but he’s good for 15-plus touches pretty much every week, and it’s hard to go away from someone with that kind of role. 
  20. Ezekiel Elliott vs. DET — Cooper Rush threw just 14.6% of his passes to running backs while filling in for Dak Prescott, which is lower than Prescott has historically done. However, Prescott only targeted running backs 18.3% of the time last season, so don’t expect a big change in Elliott’s usage here. The offense as a whole should be better, which will help, but it probably won’t transform Elliott from being a boring RB2.
  21. Raheem Mostert vs. PIT — Even after dealing with a knee issue that limited him in practice, Mostert still played 62% of the snaps in Week 6 and had 14 carries and two targets. The Dolphins offense should be much better with Tua Tagovailoa back, and Mostert is a viable RB2 in his current role.
  22. Travis Etienne vs. NYG — Etienne got his first career start in Week 6, and while he still split snaps with James Robinson pretty evenly, it sure feels like this backfield is starting to tilt in his direction. There will be some weeks when the Jaguars are ahead and James Robinson gets more opportunities, but Etienne is the preferred option in neutral/competitive games at this point. He just looks like the better player.
  23. Najee Harris @MIA — Harris bailed you out with a touchdown in Week 6, and at this point, that’s kind of what you’re hoping for every week — he has just one game with more than 75 yards from scrimmage so far and ranks second to last in rush yards over expected per carry, per NFL Next Gen Stats. With Jaylen Warren taking some of his pass snaps, Harris just doesn’t have much appeal these days.
  24. Clyde Edwards-Helaire @SF — I mean … we told you to sell high on Edwards-Helaire. I’ve been saying he’s more like an RB3 for Fantasy all season. When he gets into the end zone, Edwards-Helaire will be worth using, but his role just isn’t conducive to Fantasy production, and the last two weeks have proved it. 
  25. Jamaal Williams @DAL
  26. James Robinson vs. NYG
  27. Kareem Hunt @BAL — In a game where the Browns threw the ball 45 times, Hunt had zero targets Sunday. That’s supposed to be the blowup spot for him in this offense. He has just a 9% target share this season, and while Week 6 was certainly an outlier in terms of usage, it’s discouraging that he couldn’t break out in what should have been a more favorable game script for his skill set. He’s awfully hard to trust right now.
  28. AJ Dillon @WAS
  29. Tyler Allgeier @CIN — Allgeier is playing more snaps than Caleb Huntley, including in the passing game, but the Falcons throw the ball so rarely that it doesn’t really matter. If you have to start one of them, Allgeier is the way to go, but neither is a must-start back given how much the Falcons spread it around in the running game. 
  30. Brian Robinson Jr. vs. GB — I don’t want to say Week 6 was a best-case scenario for Robinson, because he’s a young player who can certainly grow into a bigger role, but … Week 6 was probably what you’re hoping for if you start him in any given week. The Commanders haven’t been good at running the football this season and he probably isn’t going to have much of a passing game role, so 60 yards and a touchdown feels like a pretty good outcome for him most weeks. And he probably isn’t going to score most weeks, so I’m not particularly excited about his Fantasy prospects.
  31. Tony Pollard vs. DET
  32. Kenyan Drake vs. CLE — J.K. Dobbins didn’t play in the second half of Week 6’s game due to tightness in his knee, and I’m assuming we’ll see Drake lead the backfield this week. However, Gus Edwards could also make his debut this week, so I still think this is going to be a multi-headed attack, leaving none of the relevant parties worth using in most Fantasy leagues.
  33. Justice Hill vs. CLE
  34. Nyheim Hines @TEN
  35. Rex Burkhead @LV
  36. Michael Carter @DEN
  37. Mike Boone vs. NYJ
  38. Dontrell Hilliard vs. IND
  39. Mark Ingram @ARI
  40. Tevin Coleman vs. KC
  41. Antonio Gibson vs. GB
  42. J.D. McKissic vs. GB
  43. Khalil Herbert @NE
  44. Caleb Huntley @CIN
  45. Melvin Gordon vs. NYJ
  46. Samaje Perine vs. ATL
  47. Chase Edmonds vs. PIT
  48. Rachaad White @CAR
  49. Joshua Kelley vs. SEA
  50. Zamir White vs. HOU
  51. DeeJay Dallas @LAC
  52. Jaylen Warren @MIA
  53. Sony Michel vs. SEA
  54. Damien Harris vs. CHI
  55. D’Onta Foreman vs. TB
  56. Myles Gaskin vs. PIT
  57. Matt Breida @JAX
  58. Isaiah Pacheco @SF
  59. Avery Williams @CIN



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