Published: Oct. 16, 2019 at 09:34 a.m.
Updated: Oct. 18, 2019 at 04:08 p.m.

Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 7: 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: Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Start 'Em

vs.
Start of the Week - Derrick Henry vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Henry and the entire Titans offense stunk last week, but I expect him to rebound against the Chargers. Their defense has surrendered a combined four top-10 fantasy backs, including James Conner's league-leading stat line in Week 6. Tennessee should look to establish Henry in this contest, so expect him to make some noise at home.

vs.
Josh Jacobs vs. Green Bay Packers

Jacobs should be considered a solid No. 2 runner when the Raiders travel to Green Bay to face the Packers. Their defense has been awful against the run, allowing an average of over five yards per rush attempt and over 26 points a game to backs. As long as game script isn't an issue, Jacobs should find success on the ground.

vs.
James White vs. New York Jets

White has scored 13-plus fantasy points in three straight weeks, and I like him to continue that streak on Monday night against the Jets. Their defense has struggled against pass-catching backs, who have averaged more than six catches and 50.8 yards per game against the Men in Green. I like White as a No. 2 fantasy runner this week.

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Tevin Coleman vs. Washington Redskins

If we have learned anything over the last two weeks, it's that there are a lot of touches to go around in the 49ers backfield. That means you can start both Coleman and Matt Breida in what is a plus-matchup in Washington. The Redskins have allowed an average of 159 scrimmage yards and the fifth-most fantasy points to backs this year.

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Austin Ekeler vs. Tennessee Titans

Ekeler and most of the Chargers' offense was brutal last week, but I would keep the faith and keep him active against the Titans. While this one looks like a bad matchup on paper, keep in mind that Tennessee's defense has allowed nearly seven catches per game to enemy running backs. I'd consider Ekeler a viable No. 2 runner.

Start 'Em: Marlon Mack vs. Indianapolis Colts, Jordan Howard at Dallas Cowboys,
Sleepers: Devin Singletary vs. Miami Dolphins, Latavius Murray at Chicago Bears

Sit 'Em

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Sit of the Week - David Montgomery vs. New Orleans Saints

Montgomery will no doubt be a flex starter on plenty of fantasy teams this week, but I'd temper expectations against the Saints. Running backs have averaged a mere 78 rushing yards a game against them, not to mention an average of fewer than 19 fantasy points per game. In what could be a low-scoring affair, starting the rookie is a risk.

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Duke Johnson vs. Indianapolis Colts

Johnson found the end zone and scored a season-high 13.4 fantasy points in last week's win over the Chiefs, but he still played second fiddle to Carlos Hyde in both snaps played and touches. I wouldn't chase the points this week, as he'll face a Colts team that's allowed just 40.8 receiving yards and the eighth-fewest points to runners.

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Jamaal Williams vs. Oakland Raiders

Williams came out of nowhere last week to lead the Packers backfield in snaps, touches and fantasy points ... ahead of Aaron Jones. Does this mean there's been a changing of the guard? It's unlikely, and I wouldn't expect such high usage against the Raiders. Also, Oakland has allowed just one back to finish better than the RB24 against them.

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Adrian Peterson vs. San Francisco 49ers

Peterson was a popular flex option last week, and he thrived with 136 scrimmage yards and 15.6 fantasy points. Unfortunately, that statistical well is going to run dry when he faces the 49ers. Their defense hasn't given up a touchdown to a runner this season, and the position is averaging a league-low 12.5 fantasy points against them.

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Kenyan Drake vs. Buffalo Bills

Drake was considered a viable flex option last week in what was a plus-matchup against the Redskins, but he finished with a modest 13 fantasy points. He also lost touches to both Mark Walton and Kalen Ballage, so the trend of Drake being in a backfield committee continues. With so much up in the air, we hate the Drake again.

Sit 'Em: Tarik Cohen vs. New Orleans Saints, Miles Sanders at Dallas Cowboys
Busts: Joe Mixon vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, Melvin Gordon at Tennessee Titans


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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