Welcome to our Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em Running Back edition for Week 9 of the NFL season. In this column, we feature a sleeper heading for an increased workload in Green Bay. Plus, are we witnessing a changing of the guards in the Arizona backfield? Let’s take a look.
* 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
Chase Edmonds vs. MIA
Edmonds has a legit chance to at least skew the Cardinals backfield duties moving forward to a 50-50 split over these next few games with Kenyan Drake out of the lineup. He’s already the more productive of the two. Edmonds has scored 15.0-plus points in three of his last four games, while Drake has scored 15.0-plus points just once all year. Edmonds has logged 56-plus receiving yards in two of his last three games and caught five-plus receptions on three occasions this season. The Dolphins allow an average of 6.4 receptions to the position since Week 3.
David Johnson vs. JAC
Johnson has averaged 19 touches per game since Bill O’Brien was shown the door. He’s also totaled three touchdowns over his past two games. In Week 5, Johnson amassed 103 yards from scrimmage against the Jaguars, a defense that allows the sixth-most points to RBs this season. Opposing RBs have received 51 red zone touches against Jacksonville this year, tied for most in the NFL alongside the opponent for our next start ’em selection.
C. Edwards-Helaire vs. CAR
Many were concerned about CEH’s fantasy value upon Le’Veon Bell’s arrival. However, it’s been less Bell’s presence (17 snaps in each of the past two weeks) and more K.C.’s game script that has dimmed his fantasy star of late. That should change against Carolina, as they present a more even matchup than that of the Broncos and the Jets over the past two games. Carolina allows the second-most fantasy points to RBs this year. They’ve allowed an average of 140.25 yards from scrimmage to the position over their last four games.
Damien Harris at NYJ
Harris will likely never cement himself as a surefire starter this season, not in the Patriots current offense, and not in his current role which essentially strips him of any usage in the passing game. Still, his prowess as a runner makes him a viable play based on matchups. The Jets have allowed 91 rushing yards and/or one TD-plus to six opposing RBs this season.
Sleeper: Tyler Ervin at SF
If Aaron Jones is active for Thursday, this selection gets tossed out the window. However, if he misses his third consecutive game in a contest where A.J. Dillon and Jamaal Williams have already been ruled out, Ervin adds intrigue in PPR scoring formats. Dexter Williams would likely man the in-between-the-tackles work in Jones’ absence, but Ervin would undoubtedly be the team’s preferred receiving back, a role that has produced for Packers RBs this year. Williams averaged five receptions over the past two weeks, while Jones has hauled in four-plus receptions in three of his five games this season. The 49ers allowed five receptions to DeeJay Dallas one week ago.
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RB: Sit ‘Em
Sit of the Week: Jordan Wilkins vs. BAL
Wilkins took over for an ineffective Jonathan Taylor a week ago, gashing the Lions for 113 total yards and a TD. However, Wilkins has four things going against him. First, his performance came in a plus-matchup. Second, Wilkins tends to have an outing similar to last week’s nearly every season, with little success beyond that one game. Third, Taylor will almost certainly reprise his role as Indy’s lead-back in Week 9. Lastly, the Ravens rank within the bottom-seven in rushing yards and rushing TDs allowed.
Todd Gurley at DEN
Aside from his ability to find the end zone of late, Gurley has been more miss than hit as rusher this year, topping 63 yards just twice. The Broncos have allowed just two rushing TDs to the position all season long (T-fewest in NFL). Oppositions’ leading rushers have averaged just 47.4 ypg against Denver since Week 3.
Ronald Jones vs. NO
If you were able to move off of Jones at his peak production, paint yourself lucky. Over the past two weeks, Jones has averaged just 8.6 ppg and is fresh off a season-low 17 offensive snaps this past Monday after an early-game fumble against the Giants. Leonard Fournette has now outsnapped Jones in back-to-back games, including a season-high 51 snaps against New York. The Saints defense ranks within the top-seven in the NFL in rushing yards allowed, rushing TDs allowed and fantasy points surrendered to opposing RBs this season.
- Buyers Beware: Ravens RBs at IND
Mark Ingram’s status remains up in the air, which likely means Baltimore will once again fire up the duo of Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins, who together totaled 208 yards from scrimmage a week ago. However, their opponents this week, the Colts, have held all but one RB (Kareem Hunt – 72 yards) below 63 rushing yards this season. Their three rushing TDs surrendered to the position are tied for the third-fewest in football, while their 220 receiving yards to RBs rank amongst the eighth-fewest across the league.
- *Check out our other Week 9 Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Ems to further optimize your lineups
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