Published: Sept. 18, 2019 at 01:41 p.m.
Updated: Sept. 20, 2019 at 04:51 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 Patrick Mahomes and Saquon Barkley will not be featured in this column. All player matchups are based on a PPR scoring system. For your final starting lineup decisions, check my weekly fantasy football lineup rankings.

Start 'Em

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Start of the Week - Aaron Jones vs. Denver Broncos

Jones received a featured back's workload last week with 27 touches in a win over the Vikings. While that number might drop this week, he's still an attractive option against a Broncos defense that's given up nice stat lines to both Josh Jacobs and David Montgomery over their first two games of 2019. Jones could push for top-10 numbers.

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Chris Carson vs. New Orleans Saints

Carson coughed the football up twice and lost touches to Rashaad Penny in Week 2, but I'm sticking with the Seahawks back regardless in what I think is a good matchup against the Saints. After two weeks, their defense has given up 240 rushing yards and an average of almost six yards per attempt to backs. Keep the faith in Carson.

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Marlon Mack vs. Atlanta Falcons

Volume is king in fantasy football, and Mack is getting workhorse level touches in 2019. In fact, he's tied with Christian McCaffrey for the NFL lead with 47 after two weeks. So even after a down week against the Titans, I'd keep Mack in your starting lineup as an RB2/flex starter in a plus matchup against the Falcons.

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Sony Michel vs. New York Jets

Listed as a start 'em last week, Michel rebounded from a poor Week 1 to put up a nice line against the Dolphins. He should be in the RB2 conversation this week too, as game script could be similar against a Jets team that is down to it's third-string quarterback and is dealing with some injuries on defense. Consider Michel an RB2/flex.

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Mark Ingram vs. Kansas City Chiefs

This game between the Ravens and the Chiefs has barnburner and scoreboard scorcher written all over ... and you want shares of both teams. So while Ingram didn't put up a great stat line a week ago, he's still in the mix as a No. 2 runner against a K.C. squad that's giving up almost six yards a rush. Ingram should be a top-15 runner this week.

Start 'Em: LeSean McCoy vs. Baltimore Ravens, Frank Gore vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Sleepers: Carlos Hyde at Los Angeles Chargers, Raheem Mostert vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Sit 'Em

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Phillip Lindsay vs. Green Bay Packers

Listed as a sit 'em last week, Lindsay rushed for just 36 yards and is now in an even timeshare with Royce Freeman. In fact, the two backs split snaps and touches almost down the middle against the Bears. The Packers have an improved defensive front and are playing at home, so don't consider Lindsay more than a flex option.

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Kenyan Drake vs. Dallas Cowboys

Much like the entire Dolphins roster, Drake's fantasy value as fallen into an abyss. He ranks 41st in fantasy points among backs after two weeks, which isn't a surprise when you consider he's had just 17 touches. In an offense that is going nowhere fast, Drake needs to be benched against the Cowboys (and really, until further notice).

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Tarik Cohen vs. Washington Redskins

Cohen's matchup against the Redskins isn't the reason he's a sit 'em, it's his decreased usage last week. The Bears used David Montgomery in more of a featured role, which left Cohen to see five targets and just 37.5 percent of the offensive snaps. With Mike Davis also seeing burn, Cohen is a serious risk in standard leagues.

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Duke Johnson vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Johnson's value was on the rise after a trade to Houston, but the emergence of Carlos Hyde now makes him a questionable fantasy option. Hyde led D.J. in both snaps and touches a week ago, making it seem as if he's now the back to own in fantasy leagues. For now, Johnson should be stashed on your fantasy football bench.

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Adrian Peterson vs. Chicago Bears

Peterson's value rose when the Redskins lost Derrius Guice, but he isn't what you would call a must-start player. In fact, the veteran is a hard fade for me this week when the Redskins host the Bears. Chicago has allowed just one rushing score to a runner in their last seven games, which makes Peterson very difficult to trust.

Sit 'Em: Royce Freeman at Green Bay Packers, Chris Thompson vs. Chicago Bears (Mon.)
Busts: Devonta Freeman at Indianpolis Colts, Miles Sanders vs. Detroit Lions


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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