* Reminder: Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em is intended to present you with the non-obvious choices for your fantasy lineup. We dig deep into player matchups, scoring trends, and other factors to best help you with your fantasy decisions. Superstars such as Christian McCaffrey will not be found in this column. If you’re looking for players of that caliber check out our weekly fantasy football running back rankings.
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RB: Start ‘Em
Start of the Week: Josh Jacobs at KC
Don’t let Jacobs’ performance this past week discourage you from rolling with the star rookie on Sunday. Jacobs had averaged nearly 18 fantasy points per game over a seven-game span prior to Week 12. No defense in football has allowed more fantasy points to the running back position this season than the Kansas City Chiefs. In Jacobs’ Week 2 matchup with KC, he gashed the defense for 99 rushing yards on just 12 carries. Since then, he’s averaged 20.85 rushing attempts in seven of his last nine games.
Todd Gurley at ARI
The Rams are a mess right now. Gurley’s touches are all over the place. However, a matchup with the woeful Arizona Cardinals defense could be the pick-me-up game that both the Los Angeles offense and Gurley fantasy owners need. The Cardinals allow the 10th-most fantasy points to running backs this year. Opposing RBs have averaged an absurd 10 receptions against Arizona over the team’s previous two games.
Saquon Barkley vs. GB
Yes, it’s gotten to this point. The fact that this column contains both Barkley and Gurley is mindboggling, to say the least. Barkley ranks as RB47 on a points-per-game basis over his past two games. Still, he’s averaged 18.5 touches over that span and is gifted with a promising matchup this week. The Packers have allowed an average of 20.13 fantasy points to starting RBs and five touchdowns overall to the position over their last three games. Don’t outsmart yourself, many fantasy seasons are on the line this week, don’t get caught with your most talented player on your bench.
Miles Sanders at MIA
Sanders has now averaged an impressive 4.75 yards per carry in two of his last three games. He’s also a major threat as a receiver out of the backfield, ranking third behind just Zach Ertz and Alshon Jeffery on the team in receiving yards this year. With Jeffery’s playing status up in the air, along with fellow running back Jordan Howard’s, expect the team to lean heavily on their dual-threat offensive weapon. Miami surrenders the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs, while allowing an average of 55 receiving yards to the position over their last three games.
Sleeper: David Montgomery at DET
Montgomery has been horrendous of late, seemingly running into brick walls on a weekly basis. That hasn’t stopped Chicago from featuring their rookie, as he’s seen an average of 17 rush attempts over the last five weeks. A matchup with the league’s ninth-worst rush defense and second-worst fantasy unit at defending running backs could be just what Montgomery needs to get back into the good graces of fantasy owners.
RB: Sit ‘Em
Sit of the Week: Carlos Hyde vs. NE
Carlos Hyde has averaged just 66 yards over the last two weeks. New England allows just the ninth-fewest rushing yards per game in football this year. They’ve also surrendered the fewest fantasy points on a per-game basis to running backs. RBs have scored one lone touchdown against the Pats all season long.
Rashaad Penny vs. MIN
Many fantasy owners likely saved up their FAAB money for this sole reason, to scoop a potential starting running back late in the season. I’m here to tell you, that running back is not Rashaad Penny (although Benny Snell Jr. could be). The hype is real surrounding Penny in Seattle, even Pete Carroll has shown his excitement. Yet, Penny had carried the ball more than eight times just once all season prior to Week 12. Chris Carson is not going away. Penny has scored just four touchdowns over his two seasons in the league, Carson, on the other hand, has scored 15 over that same span.
Buyers Beware: Chris Carson vs. MIN
Well, this seems a bit counterproductive. Still, if I’m going with a Seattle back in Week 13 it’s undoubtedly Carson. However, his fantasy output is no guarantee. Eight of the last nine starting running backs to face Minnesota have combined for an average fewer than 48 rushing yards and zero rushing touchdowns.
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READ NEXT: Fantasy: Running Back Rankings Week 13