Published: Dec. 13, 2017 at 10:34 a.m.
Updated: Dec. 15, 2017 at 10:58 a.m.

Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 15: 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 of the Week - Kenyan Drake vs. Buffalo Bills

Drake has emerged into one of the top running backs in fantasy football, scoring a combined 47.4 PPR points in his last two games. He should continue to put up solid totals in the stat sheets against the Bills, who have surrendered 10 total touchdowns and the most PPR fantasy points to opposing backs on their home field this season.

Rex Burkhead vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Listed as a start 'em last week, Burkhead scored a touchdown and 16.3 PPR points in a loss to the Dolphins. It was the fifth time in six games that the veteran has scored 15-plus points. He's a good bet to find success once again this week, as he faces a Steelers defense that has allowed a top-8 PPR back in consecutive home contests.

Alex Collins vs. Cleveland Browns

Collins has been on a serious hot streak, scoring at least one touchdown in four straight games while averaging 19.8 PPR points in that time. Fantasy owners should roll with him against the Browns, who have allowed a top-19 PPR running back in six straight games. In three of those six contests, the runner finished within the top four.

Latavius Murray vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Listed as a sit 'em last week, Murray put up his worst stat line in his last five games. Regardless, I'd insert him back into your fantasy lineups ahead of a positive matchup against the Bengals. Their patchwork defense has allowed a top-five PPR back in two straight games, including Jordan Howard's two-touchdown line last week.

Mike Davis vs. Los Angeles Rams

Davis has been a bit prone to injuries in recent weeks, but he's also become the new top man on the Seahawks backfield depth chart. With a favorable matchup up next against the Rams, he is on the fantasy radar as a potential No. 2 runner or flex starter. Los Angeles has allowed the most PPR points to running backs on the road.

Start 'Em: Jordan Howard vs. Lions (Sat.), Jamaal Williams at Panthers
Sleepers: Derrick Henry at 49ers, Kerwynn Williams at Redskins

Sit 'Em

Sit of the Week - Doug Martin vs. Atlanta Falcons

Martin started last week's loss to the Lions, but a lost fumble cost him carries down the stretch and might result in a lesser workload against the Falcons on Monday Night Football. Peyton Barber has been the best back in Tampa Bay over the last three weeks regardless, so Martin will be in a backfield committee in a best-case scenario.

Samaje Perine vs. Arizona Cardinals

Perine failed to meet expectations last week, as he produced his second straight 9.2-point performance in PPR formats. Next on the schedule is a date with the Cardinals, who have surrendered just seven rushing touchdowns and an average of 21.9 PPR points per game to runners. At best, Perine is a low-end, volume-base flex.

Matt Forte vs. New Orleans Saints

Forte, much like the rest of the Jets offense, took a huge blow in value when the team lost Josh McCown for the season. That leaves the inexperienced Bryce Petty to take over the reins against a Saints defense that has been tougher than expected. With both matchup and game script against him, Forte now needs to be kept on the sidelines.

Duke Johnson vs. Baltimore Ravens

Johnson was a nice fantasy option earlier in the season, but his touches and production has been down in recent weeks. Next up he faces the Ravens, who have allowed the seventh-fewest catches and the ninth-fewest receiving yards to opposing running backs this season. I wouldn't be surprised if the Duke put up a serious stinker.

Tevin Coleman vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Coleman, who suffered a concussion last week, has seen his snaps and touches decrease (obviously) since the return of Devonta Freeman. He's also playing on Monday night, so it will be difficult to trust him as a starter in the event that he is a last-minute inactive. The Buccaneers have been far tougher on running backs at home, too.

Sit 'Em: Orleans Darkwa vs. Eagles, Aaron Jones at Panthers
Busts: Jonathan Stewart vs. Packers, LeGarrette Blount at Giants

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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