Koerner’s Week 7 Fantasy Football RB Tiers: One Red Flag With Todd Gurley

Koerner’s Week 7 Fantasy Football RB Tiers: One Red Flag With Todd Gurley article feature image

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Todd Gurley

  • Sean Koerner -- the No. 1 in-season fantasy football ranker in 2015, 2016 and 2017 -- takes a detailed look at his Week 7 running back tiers.
  • Use the strategies outlined below to build the most optimal starting lineup for your fantasy football team.

Below you’ll find my running back tiers for Week 7 fantasy football. These are based on standard scoring.

As a reminder, these tiers are not updated after publication. If you want my most up-to-date rankings for PPR, Standard and Half-Point PPR leagues, check out this post.

And, yes, my tiers will be part of our Action Network subscription this season. Be sure to check out everything that comes with a sub here.

Koerner’s Running Back Tiers

Based on standard scoring; +/- indicates how many Tiers up/down each player would move in a PPR format.

Tier 1
Todd Gurley (@ SF)

Gurley is making life easy for those who took him with their first pick. I don’t think it’s crazy to start thinking of selling high on him right now.

It’s a very bold move, but I think come fantasy playoff time, if the Rams already have the NFC’s No. 1 seed locked up, we might see Gurley limited at the worst possible time.

Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley II (30) runs for a touchdown ahead of Denver Broncos linebacker Todd Davis (51) in the second quarter at Broncos Stadium at Mile High.
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley II (30).

I probably won’t be trading Gurley away based on this theory quite yet but I may start rooting for the Rams to lose a game or two or else this could become a real possibility.

Tier 2
Saquon Barkley (@ ATL) +1

I actually have Barkley ranked as the top running back in PPR this week. We’ve seen the Falcons struggle against pass-catching backs after their defense suffered three or four key injuries. It’s going to be fun to watch what Barkley can do to this defense on Monday Night Football.

Tier 3
Melvin Gordon (vs. TEN)
Ezekiel Elliott (@ WAS)

The two other workhorse backs who are always a lock for a top-five rank, regardless of matchup.

Tier 4
Joe Mixon (@ KC)
Kareem Hunt (vs. CIN)
David Johnson (vs. DEN)
Alvin Kamara (@ BAL) +1
Christian McCaffrey (@ PHI) +1

Joe Mixon appears to be 100% after his minor knee surgery, and he doesn’t have Gio Bernard to compete with for touches. He is an absolute smash spot this week in a potential shootout versus the Chiefs.

Alvin Kamara is not a top-three lock in standard leagues anymore with the return of Mark Ingram. As mentioned earlier, even the increased wildcat plays for Taysom Hill hurts Kamara more than people think.

The Ravens are his toughest test yet. This is about as low as you will see him ranked this year.

Tier 5
Tevin Coleman (vs. NYG)
LeSean McCoy (@ IND)
Sony Michel (@ CHI)
T.J. Yeldon (vs. HOU)

I advocated for Tevin Coleman (and Derrick Henry) in drafts due to the fantasy relevance they have even in a RBBC time share. I felt they both had league-winning potential if their teammate ever missed significant time. So Coleman’s stock gets a boost with Devonta Freeman now on IR.

A word of caution: Coleman hasn’t quite been the RB1 I was expecting without Freeman, and I think going forward we need to worry about Ito Smith stealing quite a few of his touches and possibly even becoming the top back to own.

For now, I think we can give Coleman the benefit of the doubt and start him with confidence as a weekly elite RB2.

I’m assuming Leonard Fournette will end up missing Week 6. If anything changes, Yeldon’s rank will drop significantly. Be sure to check back Sunday morning for my latest rankings with all the up-to-date news factored in.

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Matt Ryan (2) and Tevin Coleman (26)

Tier 6
Carlos Hyde (@ TB)
James White (@ CHI) +1

When doing weekly projections, volume is always going to beat out talent. Nick Chubb is likely the most “talented” back on the Browns, but getting three high-quality touches a week isn’t going to win you fantasy championships. Hyde is a lock for 15-20 touches until further notice, and this game vs. the Bucs could become a shootout, which increases Hyde’s touchdown odds.

Additionally, Baker Mayfield appeared to be pretty hobbled in Cleveland’s Week 6 loss to the Chargers. I think the Browns would like to lean on Hyde and the running game a bit more this week to take some of the burden off Mayfield.

Tier 7
Jordan Howard (vs. NE)
Kerryon Johnson (@ MIA)
Adrian Peterson (vs. DAL)
Phillip Lindsay (@ ARI)

Keeping in line with the talent vs. volume point I made above, if the Lions used Kerryon Johnson how I think they should use him, he would be a borderline RB1 every week in my model.

Unfortunately we have to make projections based on how we think the coaching staff will use him, which is severely limiting Kerryon’s potential so far.

His snaps/usage could rise as the season goes along, and coming out of the BYE, there is a chance the coaching staff feels more comfortable unleashing him. Either way, he is a must-start RB2 whose buy low window could evaporate soon.

Tier 8
Peyton Barber (vs. CLE)
Matt Breida (vs. LAR)
Corey Clement (vs. CAR)
Alex Collins (vs. NO)
Mark Ingram (@ BAL)
Kenyan Drake (vs. DET)
Tarik Cohen (vs. NE) +1
Marlon Mack (vs. BUF)
Isaiah Crowell (vs. MIN)

This entire Tier is on the rise. Peyton Barber finally got going last week. Matt Breida seems to be healthy enough to play through his ankle injury, and Alfred Morris has fallen out of favor with Kyle Shanahan as he went completely M.I.A. with zero rushes on MNF.

Corey Clement’s touches should only increase as he was on a pitch count in his first game after Jay Ajayi was placed on IR. Alex Collins may have re-gained his lead role in the Ravens backfield. In Week 6, someone named Gus Edwards out-touched Javorius Allen, who was becoming a serious threat to Collins’ value.

Mark Ingram rewarded owners who took the risk of stashing him through his four-game ban with a two-touchdown game in his return. If you read/listened to my seasonlong previews, I was banging the table for drafting Ingram cheaply due to the first four weeks being the easiest to make up for at running back.

Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Mark Ingram.

Tarik Cohen has now carved out the role we expected in this Matt Nagy offense. With back-to-back weeks of at least 90 receiving yards and at least one touchdown, he is in play as a RB2 even in standard formats. The Pats’ sluggish defense is unlikely to keep up with him in Week 7.

Marlon Mack took over as the workhorse back for the Colts and appears to be healthy enough to rely on this week as a BYE week fill-in with room to grow. The Colts offense is desperate for balance and will likely force the issue with Mack on the ground this week as 7.5-point favorites against the Bills.

Tier 9
Lamar Miller (@ JAX)
Royce Freeman (@ ARI)
Bilal Powell (vs. MIN)
Dion Lewis (@ LAC)
Wendell Smallwood (vs. CAR)
Chris Thompson (vs. DAL)

Wendell Smallwood is one of the more frustrating running backs in fantasy. He seemingly disappears whenever he’s the starter and expected to get the majority of carries (see Week 6), then chooses to go for 80-plus yards and a touchdown when he seems to be lost in the shuffle (see Week 3).

This is one of those weeks when he is probably being overlooked after his dud last week. The truth is, this Eagles backfield is going to provide value to either Clement or Smallwood most weeks; it will be hard to peg which one until one emerges.

You could do worse than Smallwood as a spot start on a week in which four teams with decent running games have a BYE.

Tier 10
Dalvin Cook (@ NYJ)
Austin Ekeler (vs. TEN)
Frank Gore (vs. DET)
Ito Smith (vs. NYG)
Derrick Henry (@ LAC)
Nyheim Hines (vs. BUF)

Until Dalvin Cook proves that he is close to 100%, we have to lower him to the Tier full of running backs part of RBBC time shares. If the Vikings decide to rest Cook for one more week to ensure he doesn’t aggravate his hamstring injury again, expect Latavius Murray to shoot way up my Tiers. This backfield’s rankings will surely change come Sunday, so be sure to check my updated ranks.

Tier 11
Javorius Allen (vs. NO)
Latavius Murray (@ NYJ)
Duke Johnson (@ TB)