Published: Nov. 22, 2017 at 10:20 a.m.
Updated: Nov. 24, 2017 at 08:22 p.m.

Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 12: 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 Le'Veon Bell 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 - Carlos Hyde vs. Seattle Seahawks

You might look at this matchup and think it's not favorable, but Hyde has been the elixir for Seattle's tough run defense. In fact, he's rushed for a combined 227 yards and scored two touchdowns in his last two games against the Seahawks. In those contests, the talented Ohio State product has averaged a ridiculous 5.1 yards per attempt.

DeMarco Murray vs. Indianapolis Colts

Murray has been tough to trust in fantasy leagues this season, but I'd roll the dice with a matchup against the Colts ahead. In three career games against them as a member of the Titans, Murray has scored no fewer than 16.9 PPR points. With a 45 percent lead on Derrick Henry in snaps since Week 8, Murray should see lot of work too.

Tevin Coleman vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Coleman has seen more work in the absence of Devonta Freeman, but he's a solid option regardless of his teammate's status this week. That's due to a positive matchup against the Buccaneers, who have surrendered seven scrimmage touchdowns and an average of almost 30 PPR points per contest to opposing runners on the road.

Dion Lewis vs. Miami Dolphins

Lewis appeared to distance himself from the rest of the Patriots running backs last week, seeing a season-best 43 percent of the offensive snaps. While this backfield can be fluid, I still see the veteran as the best bet to produce for fantasy owners in a strong matchup against a Dolphins rush defense that's been dreadful lately.

Duke Johnson vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Much like the situation in Minnesota, Johnson and Isaiah Crowell are both worth starting (Johnson more in PPR formats) against the Bengals. In their last seven games, Cincinnati's defense has surrendered seven top-20 PPR runners including four who ranked in the top 12. In Week 4, Johnson beat them for nine receptions.

Start 'Em: Christian McCaffrey at Jets, Jamaal Williams at Steelers
Sleepers: J.D. McKissic at 49ers, Rex Burkhead vs. Dolphins

Sit 'Em

Sit of the Week - Marshawn Lynch vs. Denver Broncos

Lynch averaged a solid 6.1 yards per attempt last week, but he saw a mere 12 touches as game script cost him a chance at a nice afternoon. Unfortunately, an upcoming matchup against the Broncos doesn't bode well for much success. Their defense has allowed just 77.1 rushing yards and four rushing scores to opposing runners.

Joe Mixon vs. Cleveland Browns

Mixon has seen a decent amount of volume in recent weeks, but a brutal offensive line has cost him in the stat sheets. In fact, he's averaging just 2.9 yards per attempt on the ground. Couple that with a matchup against the Browns, who have allowed just 3.1 yards-per-attempt average among backs, and Mixon is an obvious sit 'em.

Doug Martin vs. Atlanta Falcons

Martin has dominated Tampa Bay's backfield touches over the last two weeks, but his production (11.5 PPR points) hasn't matched his opportunities. Next on the schedule is a date with the Falcons, who have allowed just one rushing touchdown to backs at home. Martin has also averaged 7.6 PPR points in his last three contests in Atlanta.

Alex Collins vs. Houston Texans

Collins has become the featured back for the Ravens in the ground game, scoring 15-plus PPR points in two of his last three games. I'd beware him this week, though, as the Texans have been tough against the run. In fact, their defense has allowed the fewest PPR points (14.1 PPG) and hasn't allowed a score to a runner on the road.

Frank Gore vs. Tennessee Titans

Gore has seen more than his share of the touches in the Colts backfield (58) since Week 8, but his numbers have not been stellar. In fact, he averaged just 62 yards per game in that time. Gore has also failed to score a touchdown in each of his last seven contests. The Titans have allowed just three rushing scores to backs, so sit Gore.

Sit 'Em: LeGarrette Blount vs. Bears, Eddie Lacy at 49ers
Busts: Jordan Howard at Eagles, Adrian Peterson vs. Jaguars

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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