Published: Sept. 25, 2019 at 10:49 a.m.
Updated: Sept. 29, 2019 at 10:28 a.m.

Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 4: 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 Christian McCaffrey 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.

Byes: New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers

Start 'Em

vs.
Start of the Week - James Conner vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Conner has been awful to start the season, which has some owners asking whether or not he's worth starting this week. That answer is an emphatic yes, as he'll face a Bengals defense that's allowed the most fantasy points to enemy backs this season. If Conner can put up a nice line, it would be a perfect time to "sell high" on him.

vs.
Josh Jacobs vs. Indianapolis Colts

Jacobs' stats have crashed back to earth over the last two games, as he's scored just 14.3 combined fantasy points. He should get right this week though, as the Colts have allowed almost 5.5 yards per rush and 26.8 fantasy points per game to runners. That includes a pair of top-nine performances in their first two games of the 2019 season.

vs.
Marlon Mack vs. Las Vegas Raiders

Mack continues to be a workhorse for the Colts, ranking second in the league in touches while averaging almost five yards per carry. He's a firm RB2 option this week against the Raiders, who have given up 5.4 yards per rush to running backs, not to mention an average of almost 27 fantasy points a game to the position after three weeks.

vs.
Kerryon Johnson vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Johnson has not been all that efficient this season, as his 2.6 yards per rush average proves it. He is seeing plenty of volume though, and he's on the field for 65 percent of the offensive snaps. I'd keep him in your starting lineup against the Chiefs, who just allowed three touchdowns and over 35 fantasy points to Mark Ingram.

vs.
Chris Carson vs. Arizona Cardinals

Carson is suffering from a serious case of fumblitis, but coach Pete Carroll has said "we still believe" in him. That would suggest he's not in danger of being benched (at least not yet). I'd stick with him, even if it's just as a flex starter, against a Cardinals defense that just allowed 27.8 points to Christian McCaffrey. Keep your fingers crossed.

Start 'Em: Derrick Henry at Atlanta Falcons, LeSean McCoy at Detroit Lions
Sleepers: Wayne Gallman vs. Washington Redskins, Chris Thompson at New York Giants

Sit 'Em

vs.
Sit of the Week - Sony Michel vs. Buffalo Bills

Michel might have scored a touchdown last week, but he also had a brutal 1.2 yards per carry average. Plus, he's averaging just 2.4 yards per tote on the season, and he lost work to Rex Burkhead last week. With James White also back in the mix and a tough AFC East game against Buffalo next, it's hard to trust Michel this week.

vs.
David Montgomery vs. Minnesota Vikings

Montgomery has taken over the top spot on the depth chart for the Bears, but his production has been modest (24.9 points in his last two games). He's a flex starter (at best) this week when the Bears host the Vikings, who have allowed fewer than 20 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs in their first three contests.

vs.
Devonta Freeman vs. Tennessee Titans

Freeman looked a bit better last week, rushing for 88 yards on 16 carries in a loss to the Colts. However, he's still averaging fewer than four yards per rush and he isn't doing a whole lot as a pass catcher. He remains a flex option with Ito Smith (concussion) active, but Freeman could flop against a tough Titans run defense.

vs.
Duke Johnson vs. Carolina Panthers

Another week, another stinker from Johnson. He's now scored just 7.1 combined fantasy points in his last two games, during which time he's been out-snapped (71/55) and out-touched (30/10) by Carlos Hyde. So while the Panthers defense isn't what you would call great against the run, D.J. just isn't seeing enough volume to start right now.

vs.
Frank Gore vs. New England Patriots

Gore was one of my favorite sleepers a week ago, and he came through with a touchdown and 16.9 points. That was against the Bengals though, and this week's game against the Patriots is a far more difficult one. Not only has New England allowed the fewest points to backs, but game script could limit Gore's touches too.

Sit 'Em: Kenyan Drake vs. Los Angeles Chargers, Royce Freeman vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Busts: Peyton Barber at Los Angeles Rams, Tarik Cohen vs. Minnesota Vikings


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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