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NFL Fantasy 2021 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 9: Running backs

You have lineup questions. We have answers. At least we hope. Start 'Em & Sit 'Em has helped fantasy managers for years make those pressing lineup decisions. And you know what is a good decision? Starting Patrick Mahomes. But that's too obvious, so you won't see that here. Instead here are some of the most-pressing questions. And, if you can't find a player you are looking for, please check out latest NFL Fantasy lineup rankings right here.

Start 'Em

Najee Harris
Pittsburgh Steelers PIT · RB
Chicago Bears
2021 · 3-5-0

Najee has scored at least 19 fantasy points in six consecutive games. And now he’s going to get a chance to shine in prime time taking on the Bears on Monday night. The Bears were exploited by Elijah Mitchell last week. And it could have been even worse but 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo had to go and steal two touchdowns from Mitchell, which seems kind of rude. Ah, who am I kidding? The 49ers would have likely gone with Kyle Juszczyk to get one of those scores. Given that the Steelers likely watch tape, I expect them to attack the Bears on the ground.

Damien Harris
New England Patriots NE · RB
Carolina Panthers
2021 · 4-4-0

I know this might seem obvious to you. Well, at least those of you who follow the FPA. The Panthers have allowed the second-fewest points to running backs this season. So you might think it’s time to pivot to another running back. But I’m staying in. And it might be as ill-fated as when Rusty Ryan was trying to call out the bluff of Danny Ocean when he was teaching those CW stars to play cards in Ocean’s Eleven. The Panthers have been a bit more vulnerable to running backs in recent weeks. And we saw the Patriots not even try to throw the ball to running backs last week. And the Panthers have allowed the fifth-fewest receptions to running backs. So look for the Patriots to run the ball against this defense.

Elijah Mitchell
San Francisco 49ers SF · RB
Arizona Cardinals
2021 · 7-1-0

The Cardinals have allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to running backs this season. So we clearly don’t like the matchup. But sometimes you have to go all “never tell me the odds” and roll with your guys. Mitchell has become one of those guys this season. Mitchell has posted back-to-back 100-plus rushing yards and a touchdown in back-to-back weeks. A rib injury has him limited in practice this week, and this will be something to monitor as the week moves on. But if he’s healthy and playing, I’m in. 

Myles Gaskin
Miami Dolphins MIA · RB
Houston Texans
2021 · 1-7-0

You see the Houston Texans. And you just figure they have allowed the most fantasy points on the entire season. But they have allowed the 11th-most. That’s not an automatic must-start. That’s not a Danny Ocean "bet big or the house beats you" speech or anything. But it’s still a pretty good opportunity for Gaskin here. I’m looking at around 15 carries and four to five targets. I’m not going to guarantee he’s going to score, but that still won’t stop you from spamming my IG if he doesn’t. But that’s cool. I like Myles this week. 

Boston Scott
Philadelphia Eagles PHI · RB
Los Angeles Chargers
2021 · 4-3-0

I’m pretty sure I’ve already used the Dunder Mifflin joke about Scott in previous iterations, so I will spare you here. Which is unlike me. But here is what you need to know. He led the Eagles in snaps on Sunday. Even when the starters were pulled in the fourth quarter. He’s had 19 touches over the past two weeks, which also leads the team. Not to mention the three touchdowns. This is a favorable matchup against the Chargers who have allowed some significant production on the ground. Los Angeles has allowed the fifth-most points to running backs this season.

Cordarrelle Patterson
Atlanta Falcons ATL · RB
New Orleans Saints
2021 · 5-2-0

This is not a great matchup as the Saints have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to running backs this year. And some might shy away because of that. But Cordarrelle has been the most consistent performer for the Falcons this season. Kyle Pitts didn’t make much of an impact against the Panthers last week and it was up to my guy Cordarrelle. He’s had double-digit fantasy points in every game since Week 2. He’s been incredible. Again, you know this but I felt compelled to share this because of the matchup. 

Sit 'Em

Zack Moss
Buffalo Bills BUF · RB
Jacksonville Jaguars
2021 · 1-6-0

I know you think of the Jaguars being in this smash spot against the Bills, but Jacksonville has been pretty tough on running backs over the last month. And in their two most recent games, the Jaguars have done a nice job of holding back both the Dolphins' and Seahawks' ground games. I mean, neither of those teams are the Titans, but I see the Bills throwing the football a ton. And honestly, Moss has rushed for just 37 yards or fewer in his last three games. You’d be counting on him get a bunch of receptions, which is risky for me. 

Kenneth Gainwell
Philadelphia Eagles PHI · RB
Los Angeles Chargers
2021 · 4-3-0

I’m all for chasing the points here. I can go Ocean's Thirteen on you here and ask you to hit it again. But there was something about last week’s game that stood out to me. More than Boston Scott and Jordan Howard each getting two scores. Kenny G had just six snaps through the first three quarters of the game. He only got on the field in garbage time. I can’t put him in my lineup unless we see some drastic changes on this team. Something is obviously happening at practice, so until we free Gainwell, I’m out.

Carlos Hyde
Jacksonville Jaguars JAX · RB
Buffalo Bills
2021 · 5-2-0

This all depends on James Robinson and his return to the lineup. If Robinson is active for the Jaguars this week, you have to play him. I don’t care what the matchup says. Robinson has had at least 19 touches in each of his last four full games. You can’t ignore that production. But even with Hyde getting those chances (and not all, because I would expect some designed runs to Laviska Shenault, too), I can’t endorse that in this matchup. The Bills have allowed the fewest points to running backs this season. 

Jeremy McNichols
Tennessee Titans TEN · RB
Los Angeles Rams
2021 · 7-1-0

I know many of you added McNichols thinking he was the next man up in Tennessee. Which is cool. But he’s not the same kind of running back as Derrick Henry. Which is why the team signed Adrian Peterson off the street. AD will be the early down back. McNichols could eventually settle into a J.D. McKissic-like role in the future. I want to take a game or two to see how this works out before I’m committing. 

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