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Ranking the top fantasy running backs in the NFC East

Ranking the top fantasy running backs in the NFC East

We previously argued that the NFC East is the top division when it comes to fantasy football wide receivers. There will be no such attempt with the running backs.

[2017 NFC East Running Back Rankings]

Ezekiel Elliott* rocks, but the Dallas Cowboys standout is the only obvious RB1 among the four teams. It's quite possible a true lead back will emerge with the Eagles, Giants and Redskins, but all have question marks with that top spot. There are young bucks -- Samaje Perine, Wayne Gallman -- entering the fray. There are second-year options -- Robert Kelley, Paul Perkins -- ready for more. There is a new guy -- LeGarrette Blount -- entering a very different offense from the one he scored an NFL-high 18 touchdowns in one year ago. There are veterans -- Darren Sproles, Chris Thompson, Shane Vereen -- not conceding their opportunities. 

Fantasy running backs are the most coveted options because of scarcity and constant uncertainty. Here's an attempt at trying to clarify the NFC East candidates ahead of the 2017 Fantasy Football campaign.

* Speaking of Elliott, it would be stunning if he suffered from a sophomore slump. There's the talent and that stellar offensive line. The biggest fear might involve quarterback Zak Prescott taking a step back now that opposing defenses had a full offseason to study his game. Otherwise, Elliott is a clear contender as the overall No. 1 running back along with Pittsburgh's Le'Veon Bell and Arizona's David Johnson followed by a group including Buffalo's LeSean McCoy, Chicago's Jordan Howard and Los Angeles Chargers starter Melvin Gordon.

2017 Fantasy Football Links:

Rookie running backs - No. 1, Leonard Fournette, Jaguars

Rookie wide receivers - No. 1, Corey Davis, Titans

Rookie quarterbacks - No. 1, Deshaun Watson, Texans

* NFC East wide receivers -  No. 1, Odell Beckham Jr., Giants

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Fantasy Football -- Week 7 rankings

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Fantasy Football -- Week 7 rankings

Week 7 is here and comes after another injury-heavy set of games that knocked out Aaron Rodgers likely for the season and put the status of Leonard Fournette and Jameis Winston into question. Everyone is left trying to figure out Plan B's and also dealing with the Texans and Lions on byes.

Quarterbacks

1.  Tom Brady, NE
 
2.  Drew Brees, NO
 
3.  Dak Prescott, DAL
 
4.  Matt Ryan, ATL
 
5.  Carson Wentz, PHI
 
6.  Cam Newton, CAR
 
7.  Kirk Cousins, WAS
 
8.  Russell Wilson, SEA
 
9.  Alex Smith, KC
 
10.  Marcus Mariota, TEN
 
11.  Tyrod Taylor, BUF
 
12.  Jameis Winston, TB
 
13.  Carson Palmer, ARI
 
14.  Ben Roethlisberger, PIT
 
15.  Jared Goff, LAR
 
16.  Brett Hundley, GB
 
17.  Derek Carr, OAK
 
18.  Philip Rivers, LAC
 
19.  Blake Bortles, JAC
 
20.  C.J. Beathard, SF
 
21.  Case Keenum, MIN
 
22.  Trevor Siemian, DEN
 
23.  Andy Dalton, CIN
 
24.  Josh McCown, NYJ
 
25.  DeShone Kizer, CLE
 
26.  Jay Cutler, MIA
 
27.  Jacoby Brissett, IND
 
28.  Eli Manning, NYG
 
29.  Mitch Trubisky, CHI
 
30.  Joe Flacco, BAL

Notes:  The usual QB2 worth starting this week is Taylor against a Bucs defense allowing the second-most points to fantasy quarterbacks. That Buffalo doesn't have an impressive receiving corps doesn't help, but the matchup puts Taylor into a better situation than Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers. ... Brett Hundley, good luck replacing a legend. That he has Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams, Randall Cobb and Martellus Bennett means his numbers might be good enough for fantasy owners. Hosting New Orleans screams shootout under normal circumstances. Even if you prefer waiting before using, Hundley is worth a pick-up for those needing a QB2 or another QBBC option.

Running backs

1.  Kareem Hunt, KC
 
2.  Le'Veon Bell, PIT
 
3.  Leonard Fournette, JAC
 
4.  Todd Gurley, LAR
 
5.  Mark Ingram, NO
 
6.  LeSean McCoy, BUF
 
7.  Jay Ajayi, MIA
 
8.  Devonta Freeman, ATL
 
9.  Melvin Gordon, LAC
 
10.  Jordan Howard, CHI
 
11.  Jerick McKinnon, MIN
 
12.  Carlos Hyde, SF
 
13.  C.J. Anderson, DEN
 
14.  Adrian Peterson, ARI
 
15.  DeMarco Murray, TEN
 
16.  Ezekiel Elliott, DAL
 
17.  Doug Martin, TB
 
18.  Chris Thompson, WAS
 
19.  Alvin Kamara, NO
 
20.  Christian McCaffrey, CAR
 
21.  Tevin Coleman, ATL
 
22.  Joe Mixon, CIN
 
23.  LeGarrette Blount, PHI
 
24.  Marshawn Lynch, OAK
 
25.  Javorius Allen, BAL
 
26.  Derrick Henry, TEN
 
27.  Aaron Jones, GB
 
28.  Frank Gore, IND
 
29.  Orleans Darkwa, NYG
 
30.  Ty Montgomery, GB
 
31.  Isaiah Crowell, CLE
 
32.  Duke Johnson, CLE
 
33.  Dion Lewis, NE
 
34.  Jonathan Stewart, CAR
 
35.  Mike Gillislee, NE
 
36.  James White, NE
 
37.  Alex Collins, BAL
 
38.  Matt Forte, NYJ
 
39.  Latavius Murray, MIN
 
40.  Marlon Mack, IND
 
41.  Chris Ivory, JAC
 
42.  Tarik Cohen, CHI
 
43.  Thomas Rawls, SEA
 
44.  Bilal Powell, NYJ
 
45.  Eddie Lacy, SEA
 
46.  Andre Ellington, ARI
 
47.  Wendell Smallwood, PHI
 
48.  Jamaal Charles, DEN
 
49.  Elijah McGuire, NYJ
 
50.  Wayne Gallman, NYG
 
51.  Robert Kelley, WAS
 
52.  Matt Breida, SF
 
53.  Alfred Morris, DAL
 
54.  Samaje Perine, WAS
 
55.  Giovani Bernard, CIN
 
56.  Mike Tolbert, BUF
 
57.  Jalen Richard, OAK
 
58.  Shane Vereen, NYG
 
59.  DeAndre Washington, OAK
 
60.  Charcandrick West, KC

Notes: Talk about a trade working out (so far) for both teams. Shipping Adrian Peterson to Arizona opened the Saints to actually feeding Mark Ingram. Meanwhile, the Cardinals turned the backfield over to their new guy and Peterson delivered (134 rushing yards, two touchdowns). Now he faces a Rams defense ranked 32nd, or last, against fantasy running backs this season. ... Buck Allen has turned into a steady option, especially in PPR formats. Just be leery using him in standard against a Vikings defense surrendering a league-low 15 fantasy points per game to running backs.

Wide receivers

1.  Antonio Brown, PIT
 
2.  A.J. Green, CIN
 
3.  Julio Jones, ATL
 
4.  Michael Thomas, NO
 
5.  Dez Bryant, DAL
 
6.  Mike Evans, TB
 
7.  Larry Fitzgerald, ARI
 
8.  Chris Hogan, NE
 
9.  Brandin Cooks, NE
 
10.  Demaryius Thomas, DEN
 
11.  Michael Crabtree, OAK
 
12.  Jordy Nelson, GB
 
13.  Tyreek Hill, KC
 
14.  Doug Baldwin, SEA
 
15.  Adam Thielen, MIN
 
16.  Alshon Jeffery, PHI
 
17.  Kelvin Benjamin, CAR
 
18.  Jarvis Landry, MIA
 
19.  Pierre Garcon, SF
 
20.  Keenan Allen, LAC
 
21.  Rishard Matthews, TEN
 
22.  Devin Funchess, CAR
 
23.  T.Y. Hilton, IND
 
24.  Davante Adams, GB
 
25.  John Brown, ARI
 
26.  DeSean Jackson, TB
 
27.  Marqise Lee, JAC
 
28.  Nelson Agholor, PHI
 
29.  Danny Amendola, NE
 
30.  Amari Cooper, OAK
 
31.  Terrelle Pryor, WAS
 
32.  Eric Decker, TEN
 
33.  Kenny Stills, MIA
 
34.  Jermaine Kearse, NYJ
 
35.  Robert Woods, LAR
 
36.  Robby Anderson, NYJ
 
37.  Ted Ginn, NO
 
38.  Sammy Watkins, LAR
 
39.  Stefon Diggs, MIN
 
40.  Randall Cobb, GB
 
41.  Cooper Kupp, LAR
 
42.  Jeremy Maclin, BAL
 
43.  Taylor Gabriel, ATL
 
44.  Willie Snead, NO
 
45.  Josh Doctson, WAS
 
46.  Martavis Bryant, PIT
 
47.  Allen Hurns, JAC
 
48.  Ricardo Louis, CLE
 
49.  Kendall Wright, CHI
 
50.  Bennie Fowler, DEN
 
51.  Mohamed Sanu, ATL
 
52.  Roger Lewis, NYG
 
53.  JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT
 
54.  Tyrell Williams, LAC
 
55.  Paul Richardson, SEA
 
56.  Mike Wallace, BAL
 
57.  Tyler Lockett, SEA
 
58.  Jaron Brown, ARI
 
59.  Donte Moncrief, IND
 
60.  Zay Jones, BUF
 
61.  Cole Beasley, DAL
 
62.  Brice Butler, DAL
 
63.  Marquise Goodwin, SF
 
64.  Jamison Crowder, WAS
 
65.  De'Anthony Thomas, KC
 
66.  J.J. Nelson, ARI
 
67.  Jeremy Kerley, NYJ
 
68.  Terrance Williams, DAL
 
69.  Torrey Smith, PHI
 
70.  Adam Humphries, TB

Notes: That massive Dez Bryant is coming. Like this week. Let's call for 7-135-1 against a 49ers suspect and thin secondary. By the way, it's so bizarre Dallas cannot find a steady WR2 after all these years to help take the pressure off Dez, right? ... Seeing as the Redskins could be without both of their top cornerbacks this week, Alshon Jeffery isn't the only Eagles receiver worth starting. Nelson Agholor enters Week 7 with touchdowns in back-to-back games. He also had a season-high six receptions for 86 yards and a touchdown in Philadelphia's Week 1 win at Washington. 

Tight ends

1.  Rob Gronkowski, NE
 
2.  Zach Ertz, PHI
 
3.  Travis Kelce, KC
 
4.  Jimmy Graham, SEA
 
5.  Evan Engram, NYG
 
6.  Delanie Walker, TEN
 
7.  Austin Seferian-Jenkins, NYJ
 
8.  Cameron Brate, TB
 
9.  Jordan Reed, WAS
 
10.  Hunter Henry, LAC
 
11.  Kyle Rudolph, MIN
 
12.  Austin Hooper, ATL
 
13.  Jason Witten, DAL
 
14.  George Kittle, SF
 
15.  Zach Miller, CHI
 
16.  Jared Cook, OAK
 
17.  Ed Dickson, CAR
 
18.  Nick O'Leary, BUF
 
19.  Jack Doyle, IND
 
20.  Martellus Bennett, GB
 
21.  Benjamin Watson, BAL
 
22.  Tyler Kroft, CIN
 
23.  Vernon Davis, WAS
 
24.  Coby Fleener, NO
 
25.  Tyler Higbee, LAR

Notes: Rob Gronkowksi is the king of all tight ends. In the Week 7 matchup against Atlanta, Austin Hooper has a chance to do so some Gronking against a Patriots defense allowing nearly one touchdown a game to tight ends and the third most points. ...With Charles Clay sidelined, Nick O'Leary becomes the main tight end for the Bills against a Bucs defense struggling against the pass. ...It's understandable if you're a Jordan Reed owner frustrated at watching Vernon Davis proving the more effective of Washington's tight ends. Don't sit Reed. Hang tight. The upside is worth it even if Reed doesn't look quite right physically.

Defenses

1.  Minnesota Vikings, MIN
 
2.  Jacksonville Jaguars, JAC
 
3.  Seattle Seahawks, SEA
 
4.  Denver Broncos, DEN
 
5.  Carolina Panthers, CAR
 
6.  Pittsburgh Steelers, PIT
 
7.  Tennessee Titans, TEN
 
8.  Buffalo Bills, BUF
 
9.  New Orleans Saints, NO
 
10.  Miami Dolphins, MIA
 
11.  Kansas City Chiefs, KC
 
12.  Los Angeles Chargers, LAC
 
13.  Los Angeles Rams, LAR
 
14.  Cincinnati Bengals, CIN
 
15.  New York Giants, NYG
 
16.  New York Jets, NYJ
 
17.  Baltimore Ravens, BAL
 
18.  Philadelphia Eagles, PHI
 
19.  Arizona Cardinals, ARI
 
20.  Dallas Cowboys, DAL

Kickers

1.  Stephen Gostkowski, NE
 
2.  Dan Bailey, DAL
 
3.  Jake Elliott, PHI
 
4.  Harrison Butker, KC
 
5.  Matt Bryant, ATL
 
6.  Will Lutz, NO
 
7.  Ryan Succop, TEN
 
8.  Greg Zuerlein, LAR
 
9.  Graham Gano, CAR
 
10.  Justin Tucker, BAL
 
11.  Josh Lambo, JAC
 
12.  Blair Walsh, SEA
 
13.  Adam Vinatieri, IND
 
14.  Nick Novak, LAC
 
15.  Mason Crosby, GB
 
16.  Robbie Gould, SF
 
17.  Kai Forbath, MIN
 
18.  Aldrick Rosas, NYG
 
19.  Steven Hauschka, BUF
 
20.  Brandon McManus, DEN

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Jonathan Allen injury news much worse than originally feared, per report

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Jonathan Allen injury news much worse than originally feared, per report

Bad news became much worse on Wednesday when ESPN reported that rookie defensive tackle Jonathan Allen will miss the remainder of the Redskins season.

Allen suffered a Lisfranc injury late in Washington's 26-24 win over San Francisco last Sunday and was spotted wearing a walking boot leaving the stadium.

Initial injury reports suggested Allen could miss up to a month. That prognosis seemed lucky for a Lisfranc issue, an injury of the foot that usually carries longer recovery periods.

UPDATED NFL POWER RANKINGS - REDSKINS MAKE TOP 10

Through five games, Allen was a force on the Redskins defensive front. His interior push had been a big part in career starts for fellow lineman Matt Ioannidis and outside linebacker Preston Smith.

With Allen out, the Redskins will need to rely more on veterans Stacy McGee, Terrell McClain and Ziggy Hood in addition to second-year Ioannidis. The injury also likely means Anthony Lanier will join the active roster, beginning as early as Monday night in Philadelphia.

Washington coach Jay Gruden will address the media on Thursday, and Allen will likely be the first topic discussed.

Drafted 17th overall, Allen had been a steal for the Redskins. Many considered the former Alabama star a top-five talent, though he slipped due to arthritic shoulder concerns. The foot injury is unrelated.