Start Em Sit Em

NFL Fantasy Football Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 16: 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

David Montgomery
Chicago Bears · RB
Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville Jaguars
2020 · 1-13-0

Bears fans have endured some of the worst quarterback play for generations, outside of Jim McMahon, Jay Cutler and Walter Payton on the halfback option. But the organization has enjoyed Hall of Fame running back play forever, basically. And I’m not saying David is going to the Hall of Fame. But dude has been amazing over the last number of weeks. And honestly, this beast has always been there. But Bill Lazor has done a great job of dialing up plays. The offensive line has improved greatly (the inside three are great and if they get some help at tackle in free agency and in the draft, look out). I know none of this has to do with this week’s matchup. But you’re starting him against the Jaguars and he is going to win you a title. The bigger question, where are we drafting Montgomery next year and why is it the first round?

David Johnson
Houston Texans · RB
Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals
2020 · 3-10-1

Johnson returned to the Texans lineup this weekend and was pretty good. He had 11 receptions for 106 yards, the second-most by a running back this season (Alvin Kamara). He is one of three running backs with at least 10 receptions and 100 yards in a game since 2019 joining Kamara and Christian McCaffrey (I miss that guy). As a matter of fact, I had to sub in Johnson for CMC in my Second City League in the finals. Funny story, my friends auto-picked that team for me and I end up with the No. 1 seed and nearly the high score in the league. My starting RBs on Sunday were David Johnson, Tony Pollard and Jeff Wilson Part of my thinks I was lucky, the other part believes that was a lesson in roster management.

Giovani Bernard
Cincinnati Bengals · RB
Houston Texans
Houston Texans
2020 · 4-10-0

Funny enough, I sat Gio in that above mentioned league because of the matchup against the Steelers. Which, in hindsight, I’m glad it didn’t cost me. I almost dropped him to pick up Pollard on Sunday morning, but then realized he had this matchup for the finals. And if you have guys like CMC and Antonio Gibson as I do, you have to really wonder if those guys are going to be better options than Gio this week. The Texans have allowed the second-most fantasy points to running backs over the last month.

J.K. Dobbins
Baltimore Ravens · RB
New York Giants
New York Giants
2020 · 5-9-0

Dobbins set a franchise record with a touchdown against the Jaguars, as he became the first Ravens rookie to score a rushing touchdown in four consecutive games. He’s also the first rookie to record at least 50 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown in the NFL since Eddie Lacy in 2013. The Giants haven’t been a pushover on the ground. They did a really nice job against Nick Chubb on Sunday night. But I still have Dobbins as an RB2 headed into championship week.  

Miles Sanders
Philadelphia Eagles · RB
Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys
2020 · 5-9-0

For weeks, the Eagles offense had looked as stiff as the chair shot that Stevie Richards delivered to JBL (which that guy totally deserved) back in the day. But Jalen Hurts has turned the Eagles offense into a high-flyer like Eddie Guerrero. Like seriously, the Eagles offense is legitimately fun right now. And it’s made things much easier for Sanders. How Sanders didn’t have a great game against the Cardinals last week as he finished with just 10 points. But there is opportunity against the Dallas Cowboys who have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs over the last month.

Tony Pollard
Dallas Cowboys · RB
Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles
2020 · 4-9-1

I’m going to acknowledge Pollard right here as an excellent start if he’s a solo back once again. The Washington FT could clinch the NFC East this week with a win and a loss by the Giants. Of course, the league moved the Washington game to the late afternoon window (4:05 p.m. ET), so the Cowboys will still be alive for the playoffs when the games kick off. Pollard becomes a top 15 start if the Cowboys shut down Ezekiel Elliott on Sunday. He’s more of a flex option if Zeke does play. He still holds some value because he’s looked like the better back for the past few weeks. But the volume would downgrade him a bit.

Sit 'em

Mike Davis
Carolina Panthers · RB
Washington Football Team
Washington Football Team
2020 · 6-8-0

Well, this might not matter if Christian McCaffrey returns this week. But the Panthers are eliminated from the playoffs and there is really no need to bring him back. I mean, we’ve come this far already without him. I think having the bragging rights of taking CMC 1.01 and still winning your title is something you want to hold on to. This is a tough matchup for Davis, who didn’t take advantage of the Packers last week. The Panthers won’t likely fall behind so big early on and have Davis game-scripted out in the first half, but still, the FT has been one of the best against the run this season. Just use some caution.

Kareem Hunt
Cleveland Browns · RB
New York Jets
New York Jets
2020 · 1-13-0

I had leaned on Hunt as a flex option for most of the season. But he’s started to fall behind some of the other running backs, in particular the rookies. For instance, I’ve been using Cam Akers over him in my league of record. Hunt was great against the Ravens in Week 14, but he’s failed to get double-digit points in four of his last five games. And believe it or not, the Jets have been really tough on opposing running backs. Having allowed the eighth-fewest points to running backs over the last month. And I know I just got done telling you that Akers should have had a touchdown. But that’s why I’m leaning toward Nick Chubb, but I’m downgrading Hunt this week. 

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