Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em Running Backs: Week 16

Fantasy Football Start Em Sit Em Running Backs Week 16

Getty Le'Veon Bell #26 of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Welcome to our Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em Running Back edition for Week 16 of the NFL season.

* 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.

Start-Sit [QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | DEF | Ks]

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RB: Start ‘Em

Antonio Gibson/JD McKissic vs. CAR

Washington is “hopeful” Gibson can return this week. If he does play, don’t overthink it, as he is a major reason many of us have made it this far, averaging the 10th-most ppg among RBs to appear in at least nine games this season. McKissic has been a revelation, and while his workload on the ground (24 carries over past two games) is likely to diminish in Gibson’s return, his usage in the passing game is not. McKissic has received double-digit targets in four of his last seven games. The Panthers are tied for the fifth-most receptions surrendered to RBs. They’ve also allowed the sixth-most points to the position this season.

Ronald Jones at DET 

Yes, Leonard Fournette found the end zone twice in Jones’ absence last week. He also averaged just 3.5 ypc and is just one game removed from being a healthy scratch. Bruce Arians has constantly banged the table for Jones to be featured in the Bucs offense and he has touched the ball 19-plus times in half of his last four games. If active, RoJo should be the guy against a Lions defense that allows the most fantasy points and total TDs to RBs this season.

Miles Sanders at DAL

Sanders left much to be desired last week, scoring a modest 10.0 points. Still, he’s received at least 16 touches in the two games Jalen Hurts has served as the team’s starting quarterback. The Cowboys have allowed 30.83 ppg to the RB position over the last four weeks (third-most in NFL).

Tony Pollard vs. PHI

Ezekiel Elliott is “unsure” he can play this week vs. Philly. Which could once again mean a hefty workload for Tony Pollard. The second-year pro led all RBs in scoring in his first career start last week, scoring two rushing TDs on his way to a 31.2-point outing. The Eagles have allowed at least one rushing TD to an opposing RB in each of their last six games.

Salvon Ahmed at LV  

Ahmed promised his hospitalized Grandma a 100-yard performance this past Sunday and delivered. The UDFA rookie toted the rock 23 times for a career-high 122 yards and a TD. There hasn’t been any update on Myles Gaskin to this point, who has missed the past two games with COVID. If Gaskin is available he and Ahmed are both worthy plays as the Raiders have allowed 17 rushing TDs to RBs this year (t-most in NFL). They’ve also allowed an average of 152.3 ypg rushing to opponents’ top two rushers over their last three games.

Sleeper:  Gus Edwards vs. NYG

J.K. Dobbins has taken on the lead-back duties in Baltimore. However, Gus Edwards isn’t far behind him. Yes, Dobbins has out attempted Edwards 38-23 over the last three weeks. However, he’s actually been outrushed by Edwards 192 yards to 188 yards over that same span. Just as important as his effectiveness is the fact that he is Baltimore’s clear preferred option at the goal line, especially with Mark Ingram falling out of the rotation. The Giants have allowed three total TDs to RBs over the past two weeks and the ninth-most points to the position on the season.

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RB: Sit ‘Em

Sit of the Week: Mike Davis at WAS 

From Week 3 through Week 5, only Alvin Kamara averaged more than Davis’ 25.0 ppg at the RB position. Since that point, he’s topped 15.90 points just once and is averaging 10.1 ppg over eight of his last nine games. Even if Christian McCaffrey remains out, Davis should also remain out of your lineup. Washington’s defense allows the third-fewest points to RBs this year. They’ve allowed just two rushing TDs to the position over their last seven games.

Sony Michel vs. BUF 

Michel’s value relies on Damien Harris’ status. If Harris plays Michel isn’t even worth a roster spot. If Harris doesn’t play, you likely have yourself a player who scores between 6.0 and 10.0 points, barring he somehow falls into the endzone. Considering he’s scored just two rushing TDs over his last 16 games, the likelihood of this occurring seems unlikely. Since Buffalo’s Week 11 bye, only two opposing RBs have scored a rushing TD.

Ty Johnson vs. CLE 

Johnson has now scored 17.5-plus points in two of his last three games. He’s also produced in multiple facets, amassing 104 yards rushing in Week 13 and hauling in six receptions and a TD this past weekend. However, are you really going to place your faith in a backup Jets RB in the championship round? Frank Gore outsnapped Johnson by 18 in Week 15. Johnson has received more than eight carries in only one game this season.

Buyers Beware: Jonathan Taylor at PIT/Le’Veon Bell vs. ATL 

Pittsburgh’s embarrassing loss to the Bengals this past Monday night may skew people’s perception of them as a fantasy opponent. This is still a defense that allows the fewest fantasy points to RBs this year. Taylor is still a viable start, this is more of just a warning to temper expectations.

In terms of Bell, you may have no choice to play him due to injuries at the position. Frankly, you can do a lot worse than him. However, if you’ve been a CEH owner this year, you know how inconsistent Kansas City has been in terms of featuring their RBs. Atlanta also allows the eighth-fewest points to RBs this year. If there is a silver lining, this could serve as a warmup game to see if Bell can carry the load should CEH miss time in the playoffs.

Start-Sit [QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | DEF | Ks]


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