Published: Sept. 13, 2017 at 10:14 a.m.
Updated: Sept. 13, 2017 at 06:00 p.m.

Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 2: Running backs


Start 'Em & Sit 'Em is the ultimate weekly look at NFL matchups and how they'll affect your fantasy football team. Fantasy superstars such as David Johnson and Antonio Brown will not be featured. NFL researcher Careen Falcone and former #2 FF World Player Rank and NFFC Platinum and Ultimate Champion Derek Pierson have contributed to the column. For your final lineup decisions, check our lineup rankings.

Start 'Em

Start of the Week - Marshawn Lynch vs. New York Jets

Lynch, a bust beware last week, finished 26th among backs in PPR formats. I'm expecting a much bigger stat line from Beast Mode this week, however, as he'll face a Jets defense (see a theme?) that allowed 27.8 fantasy points to LeSean McCoy and the Bills backs in Week 1. Lynch should eat well in what will be rout in Oakland.

Todd Gurley vs. Washington Redskins

Gurley was a star for fantasy owners a week ago, scoring 20.6 PPR points in what was a blowout win over the Colts. He should remain in fantasy lineups against the Redskins, who surrendered 11 total touchdowns and the sixth-most fantasy points (25.82 PPG) to backs on the road last season. Look for another solid performance.

Ty Montgomery vs. Atlanta Falcons

Montgomery had a nice start to the new season, posting one touchdown and a top-10 performance among PPR runners. I see another solid total from the former wideout in a matchup against the Falcons, who struggle against pass-catching running backs (as we saw last week with Tarik Cohen). Montgomery should be active.

Dalvin Cook vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Cook, listed as a start 'em last week, rolled over the Saints defense for 137 scrimmage yards and 16.7 fantasy points in last Monday night's win. The impressive rookie should be in for another big workload against the Steelers, who surrendered an average of 27.73 fantasy points per contest to running backs at home last season.

Terrance West vs. Cleveland Browns

West will see a nice workload moving forward, as the Ravens will be without Danny Woodhead (hamstring) for several weeks. While he'll share touches with Javorius Allen, who is also a startable asset this week, West will see more than his share of chances against a Browns defense that struggled against the run on the road last season.

Sleepers: Jacquizz Rodgers vs. Bears, James White at Saints
Deep sleepers: Javorius Allen vs. Browns, Alvin Kamara vs. Patriots

Sit 'Em

Sit of the Week - Frank Gore vs. Arizona Cardinals

Gore didn't look terrible in last week's loss to the Rams, but he's in a tough spot with a questionable quarterback under center (Scott Tolzien/Jacoby Brissett) and a defense that made Jared Goff look like a Pro Bowler. The veteran is also losing work to Robert Turbin and Marlon Mack, and a game versus the Cardinals isn't favorable.

Tarik Cohen vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Fantasy owners in standard scoring formats might want to consider sitting Cohen this week. Sounds insane? Well, the Buccaneers allowed the fourth-fewest targets, the fifth fewest receptions and the fifth-fewest receiving yards to runners at home last season. Cohen will no doubt help owners this season, but this week's matchup is tough.

Ameer Abdullah vs. New York Giants

Listed as a sit 'em last week, Abdullah scored 7.10 fantasy points despite leading all Detroit backs in both snaps (36) and touches (18). It's going to be more of the same for Abdullah against the Giants, who surrendered just six total touchdowns and an average of 20.57 fantasy points a game to running backs on their home field last season.

Adrian Peterson vs. New England Patriots

The Patriots allowed more fantasy points to running backs (55.10) than any team in the league last week, so why is Peterson listed on the sit 'em list? Well, it's tough to start a back who saw a mere nine snaps, six touches and looks to be third on the depth chart ... even if he is one of the moste elite fantasy football running backs of all time.

Matt Forte vs. Oakland Raiders

Forte remains atop the Jets depth chart, but he saw an almost even split with Bilal Powell in both snaps and touches against the Bills. Next up is a date with the Raiders, who allowed a mere 8.5 fantasy points to DeMarco Murray, Derrick Henry and the Titans runners one week ago. I'd keep Forte on the sidelines this weekend.

Busts: Paul Perkins vs. Lions, Eddie Lacy vs. 49ers
Bust bewares: Joe Mixon vs. Texans (TNF), Rob Kelley at Rams

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Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on and NFL Network and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Do you want the most up-to-date fantasy football news, updates and analysis? Follow Michael on both Twitter @Michael_Fabiano or Facebook!


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