Published: Sept. 19, 2018 at 02:41 p.m.
Updated: Sept. 21, 2018 at 02:55 p.m.

Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 3: Running backs

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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 Todd Gurley and Antonio Brown will not be featured. All player matchups are based on PPR scoring system. NFL researchers Matt Frederick and Michael Florio have contributed to the column. For your final starting lineup decisions, check our weekly fantasy football lineup rankings.

Start 'Em

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Start of the Week - James Conner vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Conner has started the season on fire in the absence of Le'Veon Bell, scoring 53.7 PPR points while seeing 90 percent of the Steelers offensive snaps. He should continue to find success on Monday night against the Bucs, who have allowed five total touchdowns and an average of 36.6 to opposing running backs after two weeks.

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Jordan Howard vs. Arizona Cardinals

Howard could push for No. 1 running back totals this week, as he faces a Cardinals team that has been whipped by the position. After two weeks, this defense has allowed five total touchdowns and the most fantasy points (43.5 PPG) to opposing runners. Game script is also very likely to be in Howard's fantasy favor this weekend.

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Tevin Coleman vs. New Orleans Saints

The Falcons will once again be without Devonta Freeman, which makes Coleman a solid volume-based starter in what could be a barn-burner against the Saints. He saw 65 percent of the snaps last week, not to mention 20 touches (tied for sixth-most among running backs). Fire Coleman up in what could be a high-scoring NFC South game.

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Giovani Bernard vs. Carolina Panthers

Bernard should see a ton of touches this week in the absence of Joe Mixon, who will miss the next two to four weeks with a bum knee. That's good news for fantasy fans who landed him off the waiver wire ahead of a matchup in Carolina. In PPR leagues, Bernard could even push for top-12 running back production in this battle of cats.

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Matt Breida vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Listed as a sleeper last week, Breida exceeded expectations with 138 yards on the ground and one touchdown in a win over the Lions. While Alfred Morris saw a greater snap share (48 to 41) and more touches (16 to 14), it was Breida who lit up the stat sheet. In a favorable matchup versus the Chiefs, I'd ride Breida once again.

Start 'Em: Latavius Murray vs. Buffalo Bills, Lamar Miller vs. New York Giants
Sleepers: James White at Detroit Lions, Corey Clement vs. Indianapolis Colts

Sit 'Em

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Sit of the Week - LeSean McCoy vs. Minnesota Vikings

McCoy suffered cracked rib cartilage in last week's loss to the Chargers, but reports suggest he could still be active in Week 3. Even if that's the case, he needs to ride the pine against the Vikings. At less than 100 percent in a bad offense and facing a brutal matchup, McCoy is a massive risk for fantasy fans. I'd fade the Shade.

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Derrick Henry vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Through two weeks, Dion Lewis has dominated snaps (82 to 46) and has seen seven more touches (36 to 29) than Henry. While the latter saw more work in Week 2, gauging the lead back in this committee is close to impossible. Couple that with a tough matchup against the Jaguars, and Henry becomes a serious gamble this weekend.

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Alex Collins vs. Denver Broncos

Collins was expected to be the Ravens featured back, but he's seen fewer snaps (72 to 69) and the same number of touches (20) as Javorius Allen after two weeks. Allen is also seeing the goal-line work, which further hurts Collins' appeal. Furthermore, a matchup against the Broncos makes him even less attractive this week.

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Jamaal Williams vs. Washington Redskins

A sit 'em in each of the first two weeks of the season, Williams now has the sit 'em hat trick. He's failed to secure the top spot on the Packers backfield depth chart, and the return of Aaron Jones from suspension makes him an even bigger risk. I'd keep him on the sidelines in a matchup against the Redskins defense.

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Royce Freeman vs. Baltimore Ravens

Fantasy fans, my heart is breaking as I advise you to sit Freeman. A preseason darling, he's been usurped as a breakout runner by undrafted rookie Phillip Lindsay. Freeman has seen fewer snaps (54 to 45) and touches (32 to 23) than Lindsay, and a tough road matchup against the Ravens makes him a risky choice in fantasy land.

Sit 'Em: Peyton Barber vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (Mon.), Chris Carson vs. Dallas Cowboys
Busts: David Johnson vs. Chicago Bears, Adrian Peterson vs. Green Bay Packers


Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com and NFL Network and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram for all of the latest fantasy football news, notes and in-depth analysis!

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