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.
Full disclosure, this was fully going to be Josh Jacobs. I put together the names the previous Sunday and Jacobs was picked before he went off in Week 12. Then, I fully wrote him up before we found out that he is dealing with a calf injury and very much so up in the air for Week 13. Fun! The same thing happened with Najee Harris this week. Maybe I am a curse after all! Either way, we will go with Jones against the Bears instead. Jones has been up and down, but he has been much more reliable than not this season. The last time he faced the Bears in Week 2, he went off for 132 rushing yards, another 38 as a receiver, and two touchdowns. He finished with a season high 32 fantasy points. And Jones isn’t the only RB who has had success against Chicago this season. The Bears have allowed 25.9 fantasy PPG to backs this season, the eighth most in the NFL. Jones is a must start option this week.
As mentioned above with Aaron Jones, this was originally going to be Najee Harris, but then he suffered an injury in Week 12. Full disclosure, this was a hard week to find some Start 'Em RBs, as pretty much every backfield is dealing with injuries at this point of the season. That, or the back is too obvious to include, like Nick Chubb. But we will move on with Stevenson, who it is easy to feel good about right now. Stevenson topped 20 fantasy points without a touchdown last week -- it was his third time scoring at least 19.5 fantasy points without finding pay dirt. That is the sign of an elite fantasy asset. He has done so because of how much involvement he has seen in the passing game. Since Week 8. Stevenson leads RBs with a 25% target share. He is no worse than second among RBs in targets, catches and receiving yards in that span. He has topped 12 fantasy points in every game since Week 3, but the ceiling has been much higher with him routinely topping 20 fantasy points. Now with Damien Harris banged up again there is even more opportunities for Stevenson. Plus, this week he gets the Bills who have been ran all over against as of late. In the past month the Bills have allowed 26.1 fantasy PPG to backs, which falls inside the top 10. Expect the Pats to try and grind the clock out against Josh Allen and the Bills, which means a lot of Stevenson. He is a must start option moving forward.
Montgomery played 68% of the snaps with 14 carries and four targets, finishing with 113 total yards in Week 12. He finished with 14.3 fantasy points, which was enough for him the RB21 on the week. That was without Justin Fields, which only led to more running opportunities for Montgomery in a tough matchup against the Jets. He has been dominating the workload out of the Bears backfield since Khalil Herbert landed on the IR and that should continue moving forward. It’s not necessarily a bad thing for him if Fields plays next week, as it forces the defense to pay attention to someone else, but if he sits it likely means more touches for Montgomery. Either way, he is in play this week this week against the Packers who have been ran all over as of late. They have allowed 31.4 fantasy PPG to RBs in the past month, the third most in that span. Look for the Bears to exploit the Packers run defense struggles and feed Montgomery, especially if Fields can’t suit up. Montgomery is in play as an RB2 or flex option in this great matchup.
Pierce has officially hit a slump. He rushed just five times for eight yards, while catching three of six targets for eight yards. It is now two straight games with fewer than five fantasy points for the rookie. Its also been two straight games in tough matchups for Pierce. You can easily make the case that Pierce has had the toughest schedule amongst any RB over the last month. In his last five games he faced three teams in the bottom 10 in fantasy points allowed to RBs. But his schedule luck, or lack thereof, changes this week against Cleveland, making it a week to give Pierce one more chance. Cleveland has allowed the second most fantasy PPG to RBs this season (29.2). The Browns have especially struggled on inside carries allowing the fourth most yards and fifth most touchdowns on those. Pierce has dominated inside carries for the Texans this season, seeing 77% of them on the season. I know Pierce has struggled, but this is sort of matchup that if you are sitting him you have to question why he is on your roster anymore. Its been rough, but this is a chance to give him one more shot in a potential get right spot.
Wilson disappointed in a smash spot last week against the Texans, scoring just 12.2 fantasy points -- half of which came off a touchdown. He turned 13 carries into just 39 yards, averaging 3.0 YPC. He has a much tougher matchup this week against the 49ers. It will be a revenge game for Wilson as the Niners traded him at the deadline to Miami. However, the Niners have allowed just 15.9 fantasy PPG to RBs, the second fewest in the NFL. In the past month they’ve allowed just 12.7 per game, which includes shutting down Alvin Kamara last week. No offense to Wilson, but he is not at those backs level. In fact, the Niners defense has allowed the fewest rush yards per game (79.5), fewest yards per carry (3.3), fewest big plays allowed (46) and the fewest PPG to opposing offenses (15.7). The floor is lower than normal in this matchup and the upside is not much higher given the opponent. If you have other options, it’s a week to get away from Wilson if you can.
Patterson is officially splitting this backfield. In Week 12, Patterson played 58% of the snaps and had 11 carries -- the same number as Tyler Allgeier. Patterson was targeted five times and the pass game usage did help salvage his day to get him just over 10 fantasy points. It is three straight games now with Patterson below 12 fantasy points, and in Week 11 he only reached double figures because of his return touchdown. Patterson’s high on the ground since returning is 52 yards and he has topped double-digit receiving yards just once -- never eclipsing 20 yards -- showing that he is touchdown dependent on a team that doesn’t score many each week. The Steelers are middle of the pack against backs, but this is more about Patterson’s role in this offense. He is sharing work in a slow-paced offense and has not shown to have a high floor or ceiling since returning. With just two teams on bye this week, you likely have other options you can go with this week.
Singletary flopped last week in a great matchup against the Lions, scoring just nine fantasy points. While he has been getting more carries as of late, he has scored single-digit fantasy points in three of his last five games. He also has to worry about James Cook and Nyheim Hines stealing some work, primarily in the passing game. Singletary has just two targets or fewer in three straight games. And now he has a tough matchup this week against the Patriots who have been tough on running backs. They have allowed the fewest fantasy PPG to RBs this season (15.96) and in the last month (9.1). Singletary faced the Patriots twice last season and rushed for under 40 yards each time. In fact, he has topped 50 yards just once in five career games against the Pats. This is a week to keep Singletary on the bench.
Pacheco scored a season-high 15.6 fantasy points against the Rams, finding his first touchdown since Week 1. Some may look at Pacheco and see an ascending player. He is -- I do not want to take that away from him -- but he is also a low floor and ceiling type of player for fantasy. He only has four catches on the season, so he hardly adds any fantasy points through the passing game. Meaning that he gets the bulk of his fantasy points from rushing yards -- a tough life for a back who does not have breakaway speed. This week he faces the Bengals who have been stingy to RBs allowing just 21.5 fantasy PPG, just outside the bottom 10 in the NFL. Plus, this has the potential to be a game where both teams are relying more on the QB than the run game. I would look to go in another direction this week.