Published: Dec. 5, 2018 at 10:39 a.m.
Updated: Dec. 7, 2018 at 02:07 p.m.

Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 14: 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.

Start 'Em

Start of the Week - Aaron Jones vs. Atlanta Falcons

Jones (somehow) split touches with Jamaal Williams last week, but he still finished with 15.2 fantasy points in a loss to the Cardinals. I expect him to see more opportunities ahead, as Jones will face a Falcons defense that has allowed almost five yards per rush and the fourth-most fantasy points to enemy running backs this season.

Phillip Lindsay vs. San Francisco 49ers

Lindsay has been one of the hottest running backs in fantasy football, scoring five touchdowns over his last three games. He's also coming off a season and career high 19 carries, so the Broncos are using him as more of a featured back as well. He's a virtual must-start against the Niners in what is a must-win game for the Broncos.

Mark Ingram vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Ingram has posted two straight stinkers, scoring a combined 13.4 fantasy points against Atlanta and Dallas. I think he'll rebound this week though, as a positive matchup against the Buccaneers awaits. Tampa Bay's defense has allowed 18 total touchdowns and an average of more than 28 fantasy points per contest to running backs.

Sony Michel vs. Miami Dolphins

The Patriots went back to the old "Belitricks" last week with James Develin, but I still like Michel as a flex starter when he faces the Dolphins. Their defense has had a tough time against the run, allowing 4.7 yards per rush and the sixth-most fantasy points to running backs. Michel should see enough touches to produce, too.

Jaylen Samuels vs. Oakland Raiders

Samuels will be thrust into duty in the absence of James Conner, who is out for the first week of the fantasy playoffs. While he could lose some snaps to Stevan Ridley, I like the rookie to lead the Steelers backfield in touches against a Raiders defense that's allowed the most rushing yards to opposing running backs this season.

Start 'Em: David Johnson vs. Detroit Lions, Lamar Miller vs. Indianapolis Colts
Sleepers: Jeff Wilson Jr. vs. Denver Broncos, Justin Jackson vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Sit 'Em

Sit of the Week - Tevin Coleman vs. Green Bay Packers

Coleman goes back-to-back as the sit of the week runner, as his numbers have sunk like the Titanic. In fact, he has failed to rush for even 10 yards in each of his last two games. I'd keep him on the sidelines when the Falcons face a Packers defense that's allowed just three touchdowns to enemy running backs at Lambeau Field.

Jordan Howard vs. Los Angeles Rams

Howard's streak of stinky stat lines continued last week, as he failed to score double-digit fantasy points for the fourth straight week. A touchdown-dependant flex starter at this point, Howard is averaging a mere 0.43 fantasy points a touch over the last four weeks. He's a fade for me when Ndamukong Suh and the L.A. Rams come to town.

Marlon Mack vs. Houston Texans

Listed as a sit 'em last week, Mack put up just 4.3 fantasy points in a 6-0 loss to the Jaguars. I wouldn't expect him to rebound at a high level either, as the Texans have been tough on running backs at home. In fact, the position has averaged just 3.7 yards per rush and scored three rushing touchdowns at NRG Stadium this season.

Chris Carson vs. Minnesota Vikings

Carson has been one of the most consistent running backs in fantasy football in recent weeks, scoring 12-plus points in four of his last five games. Still, he's in a tough spot against a formidable Vikings defense that has allowed 3.6 yards per rush and the seventh-fewest total touchdowns (8) to opposing running backs this season.

Peyton Barber vs. New Orleans Saints

Barber has quietly scored a touchdown in each of his last three games, during which time he's averaged 13.9 fantasy points. Regardless, he'll be tough to trust based on a tough matchup against a Saints defense that's allowed a mere 3.21 yards per rush and the third-fewest fantasy points (18.7 PPG) to opposing running backs.

Sit 'Em: Doug Martin vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, Isaiah Crowell vs. Buffalo Bills
Busts: Kenyan Drake vs. New England Patriots

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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