Published: Oct. 3, 2018 at 10:45 a.m.
Updated: Oct. 7, 2018 at 09:22 a.m.

Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 5: 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 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.

Byes: Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Start 'Em

Start of the Week - Matt Breida vs. Arizona Cardinals

Breida didn't put up great numbers last week, but he did see 63 percent of the snaps and is averaging 7.8 yards per touch for the season. I like him as a No. 2 fantasy runner against the Cardinals, who have given up eight total touchdowns and an average of more than 37 PPR points per game to running backs in 2018.

James Conner vs. Atlanta Falcons

Conner is no Le'Veon Bell, and that's obvious in his recent numbers as his fantasy points have fallen for four straight weeks. Still, I'd keep him active based on his potential volume in the Steelers offense plus a favorable matchup against the Falcons. Only the Chiefs and Cardinals have allowed more points to opposing running backs.

Joe Mixon vs. Miami Dolphins

Mixon appears to have a shot to return to the field after missing the last two-plus games with an injured knee. If he's active, the talented runner should be back in your starting fantasy lineup against the Dolphins. Their defense has given up six scores and the fourth-most PPR points to runners after the first four weeks of the season.

T.J. Yeldon vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Yeldon is likely to see a nice workload in the absence of Leonard Fournette, and a matchup against the Chiefs makes him a viable RB2/flex starter. Kansas City has been gashed by running backs all season, allowing 201.5 scrimmage yards and 37.9 PPR points per game to the position over their first four contests. Start Yeldon.

Dion Lewis vs. Buffalo Bills

Lewis has seen more snaps (61 percent) and touches (61) than Derrick Henry after four weeks, and his totals in the passing game make him a prime flex starter against the Bills. Their defense has not only allowed 30.5 PPR points per game, but (not surprisingly) it's given up the fourth-most receptions to running backs.

Start 'Em: Chris Thompson at New Orleans Saints (Mon.), Marshawn Lynch at Los Angeles Chargers
Sleepers: Royce Freeman at New York Jets, Aaron Jones at Detroit Lions

Sit 'Em

Sit of the Week - LeSean McCoy vs. Tennessee Titans

McCoy was a fade for me in fantasy football drafts, but even I didn't expect him to be this bad. He's failed to rush for more than 39 yards in any of his three games, and his highest PPR point total on the season is 10.8. He's a player to avoid against the Titans, who have allowed a mere 16.7 PPR points per game to running backs.

Lamar Miller vs. Dallas Cowboys

Miller was a major disappointment a week ago despite a plus matchup against the Colts, and his touch share was almost split down the middle with Alfred Blue. So while the Cowboys defense has not been good without LB Sean Lee, Miller's arrow is point downward. He's also a true gametime decision for a Sunday night contest.

Kerryon Johnson vs. Green Bay Packers

Johnson has looked good in the last two weeks, posting consecutive double-digit fantasy performances in PPR leagues. Still, he's sharing the workload with LeGarrette Blount and is second in snaps in the backfield behind Theo Riddick. The rookie also has a bad matchup against the Packers this week, so beware K.J. this week.

Chris Carson vs. Los Angeles Rams

Carson is slated to return to action after missing last week with an injured hip, but I'd be fading him in a bad matchup against the Rams in what could also be a negative game script. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has also said that Mike Davis will work more into the backfield rotation, so Carson has quickly become a fantasy gamble.

Latavius Murray vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Murray looks like the top back for the Vikings this week with Dalvin Cook hurt, so he's going to be on the radar as a volume-based flex option. Just keep in mind that this week's matchup in Philadelphia is a bad one, as the Eagles have been tough on opposing backs on their home field since the start of last season. Consider Murray a risk.

Sit 'Em: Isaiah Crowell vs. Denver Broncos, Nick Chubb vs. Baltimore Ravens
Busts: Jay Ajayi vs. Minnesota Vikings, Jamaal Williams at Detroit Lions

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. 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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