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NFL Fantasy Football Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 7: 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

Ronald Jones
Tampa Bay Buccaneers TB · RB
Las Vegas Raiders
2020 · 3-2-0

RoJo has been putting us through the paces over the last couple of weeks. We loved him in August when it looked like he was going to be the go-to back. We freaked out when the team signed Leonard Fournette. But it’s been great in recent weeks. Jones has gotten at least 20 touches in three consecutive games. He’s scored at least 15 points in those games. I guess it feels like a hot streak on a blackjack table where you know that your luck can run out eventually, but the book is telling you to just keep hitting. The Raiders have allowed the second-most fantasy points to running backs this season (33.62).

Todd Gurley
Atlanta Falcons ATL · RB
Detroit Lions
2020 · 2-3-0

Watching Gurley now is a lot like showing my kids cartoons I liked as a kid and then coming to the realization that it’s not as good as I remember it. Like Doug. I mean, I still like it, but it doesn’t capture my children’s imagination. And Gurley is kind of a lot like that, too. My kids don’t understand that Gurley was one of the best just a few years ago. He’s currently the RB21, but has scored more than 19 points in two of his last three games. He’s at the very worst a flex option every week. The Lions have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to running backs this season (30.02) and the fourth-most rushing yards (123.8).

James Conner
Pittsburgh Steelers PIT · RB
Tennessee Titans
2020 · 5-0-0

Well, Conner would be doing a lot better if Chase Claypool wasn’t there stealing touchdowns. I mean Claypool is a great receiver and now he’s out there with two rushing touchdowns on the season. That’s not cool. Unless you’re starting Claypool, then it is excellent. Even with Claypool stealing a pair of touchdowns, Conner is currently the RB14. And I’m starting to think of some of those running backs I drafted in front of Conner and I’m a little bummed out by it. Well until Kenyan Drake had that monster run Monday night. But whatever. Conner has at least 15 points in four consecutive games, thanks in part to the opportunity. He has 18 touches in those contests. This is a good matchup, too. The Titans have allowed the seventh-most rushing yards to running backs this season. 

Phillip Lindsay
Denver Broncos DEN · RB
Kansas City Chiefs
2020 · 5-1-0

Lindsay came back to our lineups this weekend. Like a returning wrestling superstar who had been out for a few weeks and then returns to a monstrous pop when you need him most. And we needed him badly on Sunday and he returned for … 10.10 points. Not great. But not a detriment, either. I mean. I had to choose between him and A.J. Dillon in one league, so it was fine. Looking back on the tape, Lindsay was looking like Lindsay, running hard. And look, it was a tough matchup against the Patriots, who are generally pretty good against running backs. But we love the matchup this week against the Chiefs playing on a short week. The Chiefs have allowed the second-most rushing yards per game to running backs.

Kareem Hunt
Cleveland Browns CLE · RB
Cincinnati Bengals
2020 · 1-4-1

We pushed forward with Hunt last week despite a tough matchup and we were rewarded with 6.70 points. Guy can’t always crush it week-in and week-out. But let’s keep some perspective. Hunt has scored at least 12 fantasy points in five of six games this year. He’s had at least 15 touches in two consecutive games. He’s going to be the lead back, so that’s awesome. The Bengals have allowed the fifth-most yards per game to running backs this season. He’s going to get production on the ground. If he can get into the end zone then we’re on to something.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire
Kansas City Chiefs KC · RB
Denver Broncos
2020 · 2-3-0

The Chiefs added Le'Veon Bell in the last couple of weeks and it’s important to note a few things here. I’m adding CEH to this ledger with a little hesitation because the Broncos have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to running backs this season. Denver has allowed only one touchdown to running backs this season (none receiving). But it’s the Chiefs and you kind of need to ignore those things anyway. But I did want to take the opportunity to discuss this situation because I know a lot of you have questions about this. Our Mike Garafolo said there is a chance Clyde and Bell could share backfield snaps, which would be amazing from a football perspective. Maybe not as much for fantasy. But I see Bell eating into the time for Darrell Williams and Darwin Thompson. Bell could see more work in pass protection. More goal-line work because CEH can’t score a touchdown without a holding penalty. Ask anybody, it’s annoying. My basic advice is this. Clyde is not going to be an RB1 workhorse, but we’ve kind of lived that life recently anyway until he crushed the Bills. But he’s still going to be a valuable piece. Some people will want to sell high, but I don’t believe we will get the return on investment. So I say ride it out. I mean, maybe not this week. (Check the rankings.) But moving forward. I would surmise CEH becomes more valuable than you believe at the moment.

Sit 'em

Joe Mixon
Cincinnati Bengals CIN · RB
Cleveland Browns
2020 · 4-2-0

(Editor's note: Mixon (foot) was ruled out on Friday.) Mixon already played the Browns earlier this year and it didn’t go well. So this game could be the sequel to a terrible movie nobody asked for. Like the Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, because the first Fantastic Four was miserable (even though that cast seemed like a can’t miss). This guy rushed for a season-low 46 yards in his last game against the Browns, and Cleveland has allowed the fourth-fewest rushing yards per game. And what we’ve seen from the Browns is they are the best team in the league when they are not playing the Ravens or Steelers. BTW, the Bengals and Browns will be done with their season series by Week 7? I don’t get the NFL schedule sometimes.

Damien Harris
New England Patriots NE · RB
San Francisco 49ers
2020 · 3-3-0

The running back you’re going to want to play is James White, who had a lot of work as a receiver against the Broncos. Harris is always somebody you think can have some upside, but he’s averaged 7.15 fantasy points in his two games. He played just 20% of the snaps, which was third among Patriots running backs on Sunday. He’s also had only one target in two games. And even without all of that, the 49ers have allowed the fewest fantasy points per game to running backs this season (16.52). And they have allowed only one top-15 running back this season.

Jerick McKinnon
San Francisco 49ers SF · RB
New England Patriots
2020 · 2-3-0

Let’s just say this is a note to avoid the 49ers running backs as well this week, too. Raheem Mostert is out for some time and likely headed for IR, if he’s not already there by the time you read this. JaMycal Hasty could see some additional work in this backfield and let’s not forget about Jeff Wilson, either. The Patriots have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to running backs this season. And have allowed only one rushing touchdown to a running back this year, as well. The Patriots have also allowed the fewest targets to running backs this year (24), too. Hasty would be a guy add off the wire. But I’d leave him on the bench.

Chase Edmonds
Arizona Cardinals ARI · RB
Seattle Seahawks
2020 · 5-0-0

Can we talk about this for a moment? First, the Seahawks aren’t terrible against the run. They have allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to running backs this season. It’s the passing game that has been taken advantage of. So the matchup is bad. But damn. I was so excited to get Edmonds into my lineup this week. I thought it was going to be his breaking-out party, but it was all Kenyan Drake, who was featured heavily even in a blowout. I mean, that 69-yard touchdown run by Drake should have gone to Edmonds. I wouldn’t just rage drop Edmonds, because believe me, it’s tempting. But we’re keeping him on the bench after 23 rushing yards and a reception for six yards. But now that we’re all pot-committed to Drake once again, watch Edmonds have the game of his life.

Joshua Kelley
Los Angeles Chargers LAC · RB
Jacksonville Jaguars
2020 · 1-5-0

You might love this matchup, but Kelley has disappointed us in recent weeks. I would expect to see more opportunities for Justin Jackson this week. Jackson played close to 60% of the snaps the last time we saw the Chargers. Kelley was there for just 35% of it. 

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