Start Em Sit Em

2021 NFL Fantasy Football Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 2: Running backs

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Start 'em

Jonathan Taylor
Indianapolis Colts · RB
Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Rams
2021 · 1-0-0

One of the bright spots for the Bears on Sunday (other than Justin Fields) was David Montgomery and the way he ran through the Rams defense. Only Matt Nagy’s instance on taking him out slowed him down. Taylor had 23 touches last week against the Seahawks, and that’s even with Nyheim Hines getting his share of touches (15), too. The Rams always play two deep safeties, which will open it up for the ground game. Taylor should be a really safe play this week. And I’m going to likely have to flex Hines in some spots, too. 

Chris Carson
Seattle Seahawks · RB
Tennessee Titans
Tennessee Titans
2021 · 0-1-0

Carson is always overlooked in fantasy drafts, and even on Sundays I get questions on whether you need to start him or not. It’s the same feeling I get when people ask me if the Mudhoney is any good. The answer is yes, always yes. Carson tied for 10th on Sunday with 19 touches, which is kind of what he goes out and does. He’s a factor in the passing game. (He had three receptions last week.) Both Cardinals running backs did well against the Titans last week on the road (if you combined them), so I’m pretty confident in Carson. Like as confident as Pete Carroll not losing a filling when he chews his gum that way. 

Najee Harris
Pittsburgh Steelers · RB
Las Vegas Raiders
Las Vegas Raiders
2021 · 1-0-0

By now you’ve probably heard Harris played every single snap for the Steelers. Offensively that is. He didn’t play defense or special teams, obviously. But every snap offensively -- you have to love that. He also ended with 17 touches. And while I’d like more than six points to show for it, you need the volume. I’ll let the internet coaches talk about his vision, but it was the dude’s first NFL game. On the road. Against a pretty good defense. None of those apply here. Just kidding, Raiders. I mean, you made the stops you needed to make when it counted. But you also gave up some yards to Ty’Son Williams

Melvin Gordon
Denver Broncos · RB
Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville Jaguars
2021 · 0-1-0

I know I’ve been ready to retire Gordon for years now, always looking to the rookie whenever I get a chance, but Gordon played pretty well against the Giants on Sunday. Though in my defense, he had fewer touches than Javonte Williams. Still, the Jaguars defense gave up a lot of fantasy points to the Texans running backs. While that doesn’t mean week-to-week success, let’s be honest, the Jaguars are not a well-oiled machine like AEW Dynamite just yet. Remember that was a bit of a process, too, to get to this point. All that said, I like Gordon a lot this week. 

Damien Harris
New England Patriots · RB
New York Jets
New York Jets
2021 · 0-1-0

Again, it’s not like the Patriots are this unsolvable riddle at running back that you need to avoid. This is a run-heavy offense that is going to feature Harris a lot. Harris had an incredible 25 touches in Week 1, including two receptions. Obviously James White is taking passing work (and my guy J.J. Taylor was inactive), but you can’t ignore this kind of volume. The Patriots have a great matchup against the Jets this week. 

Sleepers: Elijah Mitchell at Philadelphia Eagles; Javonte Williams at Jacksonville Jaguars; Kareem Hunt vs. Houston Texans.

Revenge game: Jamaal Williams at Green Bay Packers.

Beware: David Montgomery was great against the Rams, but Matt Nagy comes from the Andy Reid coaching tree when it comes to RB usage. And the Bengals did limit Dalvin Cook to 3.1 yards per carry. Justin Jefferson actually scored a touchdown, but the referees ruled him down at the 1.

Sit 'em

Devin Singletary
Buffalo Bills · RB
Miami Dolphins
Miami Dolphins
2021 · 1-0-0

Sean McDermott surprised many of us on Sunday morning when he made Zack Moss inactive and instead went for Matt Breida as his backup for Singletary. The Bills obviously felt like attacking the Steelers through the air was the way to go. Singletary had just 14 touches, which was tied for 26 with Myles Gaskin, who the Bills face this week. Singletary was decent against the Dolphins last year in Week 2. But I don’t have enough confidence in Singletary this week in a pretty strong matchup against the Dolphins, and the way the Bills spread the ball around. 

Mark Ingram
Houston Texans · RB
Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns
2021 · 0-1-0

Oh my gosh, that was impressive by the Texans on Sunday. They field a team comprised most of, “This guy is still in the league?” players and then went out and put up 37 points on the Jaguars. But going with Ingram this week would be a classic case of points chasing, and I would not recommend that at all. Ingram did tie for third on Sunday with 26 touches, which is incredible. We love that kind of volume. I’m just really impressed with the Browns defense and I’m going to take the coward’s way out. 

Mike Davis
Atlanta Falcons · RB
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2021 · 1-0-0

I like Mike Davis, but I don’t like this matchup against the Bucs. Almost all of the Falcons' rushing success against the Bucs last year happened on a 62-yard run by Brian Hill. Otherwise there was nothing there. There is opportunity for Davis to get into the mix as a receiver out of the backfield, but that’s kind of a risky play for me. I mean, I’m already going back to Matt Ryan as my starting quarterback, I don’t want to go with Davis here, though. I would like a bigger investment in him, too, as he had 18 touches last week, which is fine, I’m just expecting a touch more.  

Tevin Coleman
New York Jets · RB
New England Patriots
New England Patriots
2021 · 0-1-0

The good news for Coleman is that he had more combined attempts than both Ty Johnson and Michael Carter. He wasn’t able to do much with any of them, however. I’m not sure how much longer he’s going to be able to hold them off, either. Coleman was brought in because of familiarity, like going to the Olive Garden because there was nothing else open. But it’s only a matter of time before he’s relegated to the bench. 

Josh Jacobs
Las Vegas Raiders · RB
Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers
2021 · 1-0-0

UPDATE: Josh Jacobs has been ruled out. Kenyan Drake would be the next man up. But Jon Gruden talked extensively about Peyton Barber during his press conference. While there could be an uptick for Drake who played 48 percent of the snaps, it’s not significant enough to start him outside of deeper leagues with a flex spot. 


Jacobs scored two touchdowns in the Monday night thriller, and if you needed double-digits from him headed into that game, then you were likely pleased. He did have just 10 carries for 34 yards, however, and he’s not completely healthy, either. So this isn’t in any way a knock on Josh and his ability as a running back. But I don’t like this matchup on the road, after a huge game. I’m not sure he’s going to be 100 percent -- or even active. 

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