Welcome to our Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em Running Back edition for Week 12 of the NFL season. In this column, we feature a backup primed to carry the load in Baltimore. Plus a top-five scorer at the position has a concerning matchup on his hands.
* 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
Todd Gurley at LV
A buyers beware selection for us a week ago, Gurley mustered up just 26 yards on eight carries a week ago. He’s now averaged 3.2 ypc or fewer in five straight games. However, Gurley’s nose for the end zone makes him a viable play this week. With nine rushing TDs in 10 games this year, Gurley gets a Raiders defense who surrendered three rushing TDs to Chiefs RBs a week ago. Furthermore, they’ve allowed the second-most rushing TDs to the position on the season (12).
Kareem Hunt at JAC
Hunt has now scored below double-digit points in two of his last three games. However, there’s plenty of reason to believe that trend won’t continue into this week. For starters, the Jaguars allow the sixth-most points to RBs this year. Yet, even more important to Hunt’s value, they’ve surrendered 62 receptions to the position in 2020 (5th-most). RBs have also seen 12 red-zone targets against the Jags this season (t-5th-most).
Myles Gaskin at NYJ*
Gaskin’s status is up in the air now. He’s eligible to return from IR, but the Dolphins have been quiet on that front thus far. If he returns, he’ll likely find himself in some sort of timeshare with Salvon Ahmed. Still, this is a player that has received at least 21 touches in four of his last five games, and since Week 3 has been a top-15 play at the position. The woeful Jets give up the eighth-most points to RBs this year, a number that includes a 16.6 point outing by Gaskin himself back in Week 6.
Sleeper: Gus Edwards vs. TEN
With J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram each testing positive for COVID-19, it will be all aboard the Gus Bus on Thanksgiving night. The matchup is tough, but Edwards has readily produced when receiving a high-volume workload. Over his career, Edwards has received at least 10 carries on 16 occasions, in those games he’s averaged 75.8 rushing yards. In his most recent matchup with Pittsburgh (Wk. 8), Edwards notched a season-high 14.70 points, thanks to a 16 carry, 87 yard, one TD performance.
Deep Sleeper: Duke Johnson at DET
Duke Johnson has scored no more than 6.50 points in each of his past two games serving as an injury replacement to David Johnson. With that said, the former Johnson will get a mouth-watering matchup in Week 12. No defense surrenders more points to RBs this season than the Lions, including league-high 19 total TDs.
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RB: Sit ‘Em
Sit of the Week: Darrell Henderson vs. SF
Henderson led all Rams RBs in snaps a week ago, outpacing Malcolm Brown by six. However, he’s becoming less and less integral to the Rams’ offensive success. Scoring in single-digits in five of his last seven games, Henderson has not topped eight carries, nor 47 yards rushing in three consecutive contests. Since Week 1, the 49ers have allowed just three rushing TDs to RBs, while only one RB has topped 58 rushing yards against them since Week 2.
Melvin Gordon vs. NO
After a month of play in which Gordon faded into Fantasy purgatory, the 2x-Pro Bowler broke out to the tune of two TDs and 18.40 points a week ago. Yet, as we’ve slightly touched on, his play prior has been that of a fringe bench player. In fact, his 84 rushing yards in Week 11 were just six fewer than he had compiled in the previous three games combined. The Saints defense has been phenomenal of late, not allowing a single rushing TD to a RB since returning from their Week 6 bye. Since Week 4, only one RB has exceeded 36 rushing yards against them.
Buyers Beware: James Robinson vs. CLE
Obviously, you aren’t going to sit Robinson, as he is literally the fourth-highest scoring back in fantasy. This is more of just a warning to prepare for a potential dip in production. Over the last four weeks, the Browns allow the fourth-fewest points to RBs, while not surrendering a single rushing TD to the position.