Published: Nov. 20, 2019 at 09:46 a.m.
Updated: Nov. 22, 2019 at 11:13 a.m.

Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 12: Running backs


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: Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings

Start 'Em

Start of the Week - Jaylen Samuels vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Samuels could see a lot of work this week for the Steelers, as James Conner continues to deal with a bum shoulder. If that's the case, he is a virtual must start when the Steelers face the Bengals. Their defense has allowed 12 total touchdowns and the fifth-most fantasy points to enemy running backs this season, so I'd start Samuels.

Phillip Lindsay vs. Buffalo Bills

Lindsay is in a good spot to find success this week, as the Broncos face a Bills defense that has struggled against the run all season. In fact, Buffalo has allowed at least one top-21 fantasy running back in every single game. Lindsay, who led his backfield in snaps and touches a week ago, is a solid No. 2 runner with a nice ceiling.

Joe Mixon vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Mixon has scored 17-plus fantasy points in three straight games, and a matchup against the Steelers makes him a viable No. 2 runner once again. Home teams have averaged 27 carries (third-most) and 33.8 touches (tied for second-most) per game versus Pittsburgh, and Mixon is fourth among runners in touches over the last two weeks.

Kareem Hunt vs. Miami Dolphins

Hunt is playing second fiddle to Nick Chubb in the Browns' backfield, but he's still getting some nice volume as a pass catcher. In fact, he's had more points than Chubb in two straight games. I like Hunt as a flex option against the Dolphins, who have surrendered the eighth-most fantasy points to enemy running backs this season.

Derrius Guice vs. Detroit Lions

Guice returned to action last week and split the workload with Adrian Peterson, though the former played slightly more snaps and scored more fantasy points. I like him as a flex starter this week, as the Redskins will host a Lions defense that's allowed a top-10 running back in five of their last six games. Guice could bust out this week.

Start 'Em: Derrick Henry vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, Tevin Coleman at Green Bay Packers
Sleepers: Devin Singletary vs. Denver Broncos, Bo Scarbrough at Washington Redskins

Sit 'Em

Sit of the Week - David Montgomery vs. New York Giants

Montgomery is coming off two straight stinkers in the stat sheets, and an upcoming matchup against the Giants isn't as great as you might think. In fact, their defense has allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to enemy running backs since Week 8. That includes holding star running back Ezekiel Elliott to an RB23 finish just two weeks ago.

Sony Michel vs. Dallas Cowboys

As long as Rex Burkhead is involved in the Patriots backfield, it's near impossible to trust Michel. Why? Well, Michel is averaging fewer than seven fantasy points in games Burkhead is active. So, even against a Cowboys defense that has struggled against the run in recent weeks, Michel is hard to sell as more than a flex option.

Ronald Jones vs. Atlanta Falcons

Jones was held to just six touches last week (game script issues), and he lost goal-line work to both Peyton Barber and Dare Ogunbowale. While he still holds value as a flex starter, RoJo is a risk due to inconsistent usage and a matchup against a suddenly improved Atlanta defense. Consider this more of a "buyers beware."

Brian Hill vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Hill put up a stinker last week, though it would have been better had he not had a touchdown reversed due to a penalty. Assuming Devonta Freeman is out again, I'd fade Hill in what is a tough matchup against the Buccaneers. Their defense has allowed just four touchdowns and the third-fewest fantasy points to enemy backs.

Kalen Ballage vs. Cleveland Browns

Ballage scored a respectable 12.7 fantasy points against the Bills last week, but he averaged an awful one yard per rush and 1.4 yards per catch in the game. I would fade him against the Browns, who have allowed just five rushing touchdowns to backs. Also, no back has finished better than 14th against them since Week 6.

Sit 'Em: Jordan Howard vs. Seattle Seahawks, Jamaal Williams at San Francisco 49ers
Busts: Adrian Peterson vs. Detroit Lions, Tarik Cohen vs. New York Giants

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on 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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