* 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: Jonathan Taylor vs. HOU
Since returning from the Reserve/COVID-19 list in Week 13, Taylor has averaged a position-high 26.5 ppg. The concerns of Jordan Wilkins’ added usage is no more, as he’s played no more than 19% of the team’s offensive snaps over Taylor’s last three games. Three games of which Taylor has rushed for 90 yards at minimum. Over the past month of play, Houston has allowed a league-high 771 total yards to RBs, plus six total TDs.
Cam Akers vs. NYJ
The RB7 since Week 13, Akers has taken complete control over the Rams’ backfield. Darrell Henderson has been outsnapped by Akers 102-25 over the last two weeks. Over that span, the rookie has averaged 144 yards from scrimmage, while receiving no fewer than 22 touches in a contest. The Jets are tied with the Lions for the most red zone touches surrendered to RBs this year with 80. They also allow the seventh-most rushing attempts to the position.
D’Andre Swift at TEN
Swift received a lighter workload in his return to the Lions’ lineup this past week. Still, he outsnapped the next closest Lions RB by 19. Expect the rookie to work his way back to his pre-injury workload where he averaged 18.5 total touches from Week 9-10. Over that span he was fantasy’s RB4, averaging 19.3 ppg. Furthermore, he’s seen at least five targets in three consecutive games. The Titans allow the sixth-most points and second-most receiving TDs to RBs this year.
JK Dobbins vs. JAC
Does Gus Edwards deserve more looks in the Baltimore backfield? Yes, but Dobbins owners aren’t complaining. Dobbins has taken ownership of the RB1 duties for the Ravens. In games that Dobbins has played since Baltimore’s Week 7 bye, he’s logged 218 snaps. Over that same span, Edwards and Mark Ingram have combined to play a total of 147. Over the last four weeks, Jacksonville has allowed the most rushing attempts and rushing yards to RBs.
Mike Davis at GB
Coach Matt Rhule doesn’t expect Christian McCaffrey to play this Sunday, meaning it’s likely the Mike Davis show once again in Carolina. Fresh off a two TD outing, Davis has now averaged 17.7 ppg on an average of 18.3 touches over his last three games. Since Week 6, Green Bay has allowed eight RBs to rush for 100-plus yards and/or score one-plus TD.
Sleeper: Jeff Wilson Jr. at DAL
Raheem Mostert is dealing with an ankle injury entering Week 15. In Week 14 he missed a few snaps as he was being evaluated for a head injury. Injured or not, Jeff Wilson has bullied himself into a 1B role in San Fran’s backfield. Wilson has played just four fewer snaps than Mostert over the last three weeks. He’s also the team’s preferred goal-line option. Over their last four games, Dallas has allowed three 100-plus yard rushing performances while surrendering a total of five rushing TDs.
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RB: Sit ‘Em
Sit of the Week: Todd Gurley vs. TB
While Gurley’s replacement in Los Angeles is shining, it’s seriously worth questioning if Gurley is even worth a roster spot at this time. He’s essentially found himself in a three-way rotation at RB with Brian Hill and Ito Smith, one that the former looks to be heading at the moment. No team has surrendered fewer rushing yards to RBs this year than the Buccaneers.
Melvin Gordon vs. BUF
Like Gurley, Gordon’s another big name that at this time a few years ago was winning fantasy owners championships. Now, they appear to offer more risk than reward. Aside from the fact that Gordon is dealing with a shoulder injury, he’s also been held out of the endzone in seven of his last 10 games. The Bills have surrendered one rushing TD to opposing RBs over their last four games.
Trayveon Williams vs. PIT
Williams will find himself as a notable waiver wire this week after leading Cincinnati in rushing last week. However, that was against the Cowboys, who have allowed the second-most rushing yards to RBs this season. The Steelers, on the other hand, allow the sixth-fewest rushing yards to the position. There are not many Bengals players we would recommend hedging your fantasy season on, let alone one that is a virtually unknown commodity in a poor matchup.
Buyers Beware: C. Edwards-Helaire at NO
Let’s face it, he came in with a boom, but CEH has not lived up to the immense hype surrounding him this offseason. Owning the 21st-most ppg average at the position (13.9), Edwards-Helaire has rushed for more than 46 yards just once since Week 7. The Saints did allow Miles Sanders to get loose for a big run and two scores last week. However, prior to that game, they’d gone seven games without surrendering a rushing score to the position, as well as five games without allowing a 51-plus yard rusher.