Published: Oct. 9, 2019 at 10:37 a.m.
Updated: Oct. 11, 2019 at 09:32 a.m.

Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 6: 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: Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, Oakland Raiders

Start 'Em

vs.
Start of the Week - Derrick Henry vs. Denver Broncos

Henry hasn't put up monster numbers in recent weeks, but he has scored at least one touchdown in all but one of his first five games. He should produce this week, though, as the Titans will go up against a Broncos defense that's given up the seventh-most rushing yards and an average of over 28 fantasy points a game to running backs.

vs.
Kerryon Johnson vs. Green Bay Packers

Johnson has become a workhorse for the Lions, playing on 72 percent of the snaps while averaging 24.5 touches in two games before the bye. He's a must start against the Packers, who have surrendered 5.3 yards per rush, seven total touchdowns and an average of nearly 32 fantasy points per game to opposing backs.

vs.
Austin Ekeler vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Ekeler didn't see much work as a runner last week, but he did see 16 targets (15 catches). So even with Melvin Gordon back in the mix, Ekeler proved that he still has a big role in the Chargers backfield. He'll remain a viable RB2/flex starter versus the Steelers, who have allowed nearly seven catches per game to opposing running backs.

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Carlos Hyde vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Hyde continues to be the lead back in Houston, which was evident last week when he rushed the football 21 times and scored a touchdown in a win over Atlanta. He's on the RB2/flex starter radar this week, as the Texans face a Chiefs defense that's surrendered the second-most rushing yards (133.6 YPG) and 5.3 yards per rush to enemy runners.

vs.
Kenyan Drake vs. Washington Redskins

Remember Drake? Yeah, he was a top-20 fantasy back last season but has been invisible through four games in 2019. Well, this is the time to start him as a flex based on a strong matchup against the Redskins. This unit has given up an average of 160.4 scrimmage yards and the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing runners.

Start 'Em: Devonta Freeman at Arizona Cardinals, Adrian Peterson at Miami Dolphins
Sleepers: Chase Edmonds vs. Atlanta Falcons, Malcolm Brown vs. San Francisco 49ers

Sit 'Em

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Sit of the Week - Jordan Howard vs. Minnesota Vikings

Howard is tough to bench during the bye weeks. However, he still saw fewer snaps and split touches 50/50 with Miles Sanders last week, so this is still a committee. What's more, Howard has to face a Vikings defense that has given up 3.7 yards per rush and one rushing touchdown to enemy running backs. I'd fade him if possible.

vs.
Joe Mixon vs. Baltimore Ravens

I get it ... you probably have to start Mixon this week. Here's the problem ... he's 29th in fantasy points among backs, he's averaging 3.7 yards per rush behind an awful run-blocking line, and the Bengals are throwing the ball 70 percent of the time. The Ravens have also allowed the seventh-fewest scrimmage yards to opposing backs.

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LeSean McCoy vs. Houston Texans

McCoy had just two touches and no carries last week, and he also lost a fumble in a loss to the Colts. With Damien Williams back and seemingly back atop the depth chart, McCoy should be seen as no more than a desperation flex starter against the Texans. This could be a high-scoring affair, but most of the production with be via the air.

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Ronald Jones vs. Carolina Panthers

Predicting what is going to happen in the Buccaneers backfield is impossible week to week. Just when you thought Jones was the man, his snaps and touches dropped to a near 50/50 split with Peyton Barber in last week's loss to the Saints. Next up is a date with the Panthers, who allowed nine rushing yards to Jones back in Week 2.

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Royce Freeman vs. Tennessee Titans

Freeman has played on more snaps than Phillip Lindsay over the last two weeks, and both backs continue to split touches in the Broncos backfield. The problem has been in Freeman's production, as he's scored just 17.7 points in the last two weeks while Lindsay has cruised to 31.7. The Titans have been tough on runners too.

Sit 'Em: Peyton Barber vs. Carolina Panthers (London), Duke Johnson at Kansas City Chiefs
Busts: Matt Breida at Los Angeles Rams, Miles Sanders at 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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