Published: Oct. 30, 2019 at 11:06 a.m.
Updated: Nov. 1, 2019 at 12:56 p.m.

Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 9: 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: Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints

Start 'Em

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Start of the Week - Josh Jacobs vs. Detroit Lions

Jacobs is in a great spot to produce a monster stat line this week, as he'll face a Lions defense that's struggled against running backs. In fact, runners have scored 11 touchdowns, averaged 171 scrimmage yards and put up a league-high 31.1 fantasy points per game. Jacobs, who ranks 11th in touches among backs, is a must start this week.

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Derrick Henry vs. Carolina Panthers

Henry had a stinker last week, scoring just 7.3 fantasy points in a win over the Buccaneers. I'd keep him active this week, though, as a positive matchup against the Panthers awaits. Carolina has allowed 10 touchdowns on the ground and almost five yards per rushing attempt to backs, so Henry should rebound in this Week 9 tilt.

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Austin Ekeler vs. Green Bay Packers

Ekeler saw a drastic decline in touches in last week's win over the Bears, but he's still in the RB2/flex conversation against the Packers. Their defense has allowed 4.9 yards per rushing attempt, nearly six catches and 27.2 fantasy points per game to enemy running backs in 2019, so Ekeler should produce a nice stat line for owners.

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Phillip Lindsay vs. Cleveland Browns

Lindsay and Royce Freeman have split snaps and touches for most of the season, though the former has been the better fantasy option. Both backs are worth a look this week, however, as the Browns have allowed 4.6 yards per rush to backs. What's more, their defense has surrendered three top-six fantasy backs so far this season.

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Jordan Howard vs. Chicago Bears

Revenge! Howard is coming off a huge game in Buffalo, and now he gets a home matchup against his former team, the Bears. In their last three games, Chicago has allowed 29-plus points to Josh Jacobs and Latavius Murray and one touchdown each to Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler. Look for Howard to be more of a treat than a trick.

Start 'Em: Jaylen Samuels vs. Indianapolis Colts, Melvin Gordon vs. Green Bay Packers
Sleepers: Mark Walton vs. New York Jets, Devin Singletary vs. Washington Redskins

Sit 'Em

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Sit of the Week - David Montgomery vs. Philadelphia Eagles

It's tough to sit Montgomery after he posted his best stat line of the season, so consider this a warning. His opponent, the Eagles, have given up an average of 2.9 rushing yards per attempt and 19 fantasy points a game to visiting running backs this season. What's more, no back has been better than 15th against them at home in 2019.

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Sony Michel vs. Baltimore Ravens

Michel had just 7.4 fantasy points in a win over the Browns last week, and he's now averaged just 6.9 points in games where Rex Burkhead is active (he's averaged 19 points without Burkhead). Michel also has a tough road matchup against the Ravens, who have allowed just 71 rushing yards per game to enemy running backs this season.

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Carlos Hyde vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Hyde continues to be the lead back in Houston, but he's failed to put up more than 8.3 fantasy points in two straight games. He's a risk for me this week, as the Texans head to London to face a Jaguars defense that has given up an average of just 22.5 fantasy points a game to backs. Hyde had a mere nine points against them in Week 2.

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LeSean McCoy vs. Minnesota Vikings

The Chiefs backfield is an absolute headache in fantasy land, so it's a good idea to avoid McCoy and Damien Williams in this week's matchup versus the Vikings. Their defense has allowed just four yards per rush and the fifth-fewest fantasy points to enemy runners, so even a featured back in this scenario would be a serious gamble.

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Ty Johnson vs. Oakland Raiders

This one seems like low-hanging fruit, but plenty of folks spent a lot of FAAB to acquire Johnson last week. Unfortunately, he ended up behind Tra Carson on the depth chart and found himself in a four-man committee. So, even with four teams on a bye, starting Johnson is a serious gamble in a road matchup against the Silver & Black.

Sit 'Em: Damien Williams vs. Minnesota Vikings, Tarik Cohen at Philadelphia Eagles
Busts:  Mark Ingram vs. New England Patriots, Adrian Peterson at Buffalo Bills


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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