2021 Fantasy Football Week 8 Sleeper Running Backs: Fortune Favors the Bolden?

Brandon Bolden New England Patriots

The byepocalypse is in the rearview mirror, and with it, any desperation starts at running back. If you have a Ravens’ running back, welcome (and I’m sorry). If you have Josh Jacobs… welcome (and I am also sorry). This week, we have three selections for deep league running backs. All three sleeper running backs on this list are unrostered in at least 85% of Yahoo! leagues, with one of the sleeper running backs available in 98% of leagues.

Week 8 Sleeper Running Backs
Samaje Perine at New York Jets (15% rostered)

Samaje Perine is the third-down back for the Cincinnati Bengals, and he’s also not a player they are scared to turn the ball over to when the game is out of hand. He came off the COVID IR last week and went straight to work, notching 77 yards on 12 touches, after notching 83 yards on 15 touches the week before going on the COVID IR. He also gashed the Ravens for a long touchdown last week, while playing 48% of snaps.

This week, Samaje Perine and the Bengals get the Jets. The woeful, sorrowful, terrible Jets. These Jets allow 39.7 fantasy points per game to running backs, a full seven points more than the #2 team, the Seahawks. They allowed FIVE touchdowns to running backs last week. Joe Mixon should have a good game, as should Samaje Perine. He’s a one-week plug-and-play option who should get about 15 touches in this game.

Brandon Bolden at Los Angeles Chargers (11% rostered)

Brandon Bolden has extreme boom-bust potential, considering he only plays about 20 snaps per game. But, he has at least 4 targets in four of his last five games, including 7 targets for 6 catches and 79 yards last week. There’s a definite downside here, as Bolden does not rush the football at all. Bolden has notched just 10 rush attempts for 28 yards this season, so he’s a targets-only proposition.

His opponent, the Chargers, are not a particularly stout defense against running backs. They’ve allowed the fourth-highest fantasy points per opportunity (target+rush attempt) to running backs this year. Unfortunately, this hasn’t really been to receiving backs. But, that’s how Bill Belichick chooses to attack you. Also, they haven’t really faced a lot of pass-catching backs, with just 33 targets to the position this year (the fifth-lowest rate this season).

So, if you need someone who can come in and get you 6 targets at running back, and you are exceptionally desperate, then Brandon Bolden fits the mold.

Salvon Ahmed at Buffalo (2% rostered)

Call it a hunch, but with Malcolm Brown going on the IR and the Miami Dolphins having a proclivity for sharing the load, I think Ahmed tops double-digit touches this week. The sophomore hasn’t had an extended chance to ply his wares this season, getting just 28 carries and 15 targets on the year. Last year, however, the Dolphins turned to him for three starts in Myles Gaskin’s absence. In those three games, he averaged 21 touches for 97 yards per game. While I doubt he gets 21 touches, he’s shown he can be productive when asked in the past.


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