Start Em Sit Em

2021 NFL Fantasy Football Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 3: Running backs

You have lineup questions. We have answers. At least we hope. Start 'Em & Sit 'Em has helped fantasy managers for years make those pressing lineup decisions. And you know what is a good decision? Starting Patrick Mahomes. But that's too obvious, so you won't see that here. Instead here are some of the most-pressing questions. And, if you can't find a player you are looking for, please check out latest NFL Fantasy lineup rankings right here.

Start 'Em

Saquon Barkley
New York Giants · RB
Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons
2021 · 0-2-0

I hope you spent your week trying to acquire shares of Saquon Barkley. I know you didn’t, because you’ve all come to the conclusion Barkley is washed after two games in which he is returning from a major knee injury. But it’s cool. This is why these social media apps even exist -- to talk bad about things we liked. But if that 41-yard run against the FT wasn’t enough to get you excited, maybe the matchup against the Atlanta Falcons will do the trick. I’ll even promise you, if Barkley doesn’t do well this week, I will join in the chorus and denounce him. I won’t, but I’m just trying to humor you at this point.

Antonio Gibson
Washington Football Team · RB
Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills
2021 · 1-1-0

Here is another guy the internet is ready to bury, like the Rock did when Booker T first showed up during the invasion angle back in the day. Though in fairness, he did the same thing to Chris Jericho. But the "Demo-God" was able to push through that and reinvent himself like 10 times over during the past 20 years. Here’s my thing with Gibby. He’s played really well. Having J.D. McKissic take the touchdown that probably should have gone to Gibson can be a little disappointing. But -- and I hate to ask -- have you even played fantasy football, bro? These things happen periodically. Unless you’re like CMC or Travis Kelce, the scores can be volatile. The Bills have allowed the third-fewest points to RBs, this one is risky for sure. I’m going back in, however.

Jonathan Taylor
Indianapolis Colts · RB
Tennessee Titans
Tennessee Titans
2021 · 1-1-0

People are starting to grow concerned about Taylor, who was a hot name during draft season. One thing I would like to point out (as mentioned by ESPN’s Mike Clay earlier this week), Taylor has the highest expected rush/reception touchdown total in the NFL. He also leads the league in carries inside the 5-yard line. The Titans didn’t allow a lot of rushing yards to Chris Carson last week but did allow two touchdowns. And if you’re really concerned about Taylor this season, just go ahead and trade him. To me. I’ll take that discount. With injuries at the quarterback position for the Colts, they are going to need Taylor now more than ever.

David Montgomery
Chicago Bears · RB
Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns
2021 · 1-1-0

The Browns have been pretty good against the run this season. They absolutely shutdown the Chiefs rushing attack. And you might not be aware, but Matt Nagy is from the Andy Reid coaching tree. No, it’s true and I’m sure you’ve never heard that. And here’s my thing. Montgomery didn’t have a great game against the Bengals. Ran for just 61 yards on 20 attempts. He also had four targets that he turned into three receptions for 18 yards. He was decent. I feel like he’s a solid RB2 this week. I’d say 10 points is his floor, but he has a real high ceiling if Justin Fields is the quarterback. He’s had at least 18 fantasy points in seven of his last eight. Obviously that streak was snapped on Sunday. I might be trying to breathe this to life, and that’s fine.

Ty'Son Williams
Baltimore Ravens · RB
Detroit Lions
Detroit Lions
2021 · 0-2-0

I’m really impressed with Ty’Son this season. He’s currently the RB15 (well, tied at least). He’s had at least 11 fantasy points in both games. He’s also led the Ravens in touches in both games. Even though we saw some pop plays from Devonta Freeman, I still feel like Ty’Son is the best week-to-week option for the Ravens. This is also a plus matchup, as the Lions have allowed the most fantasy points to running backs since 2020.

Sleepers: Nyheim Hines at Tennessee Titans; Elijah Mitchell vs. Green Bay Packers; Javonte Williams vs. New York Jets.

Sit 'Em

Clyde Edwards-Helaire
Kansas City Chiefs · RB
Los Angeles Chargers
Los Angeles Chargers
2021 · 1-1-0

This is huge bummer because there were few more hype on CEH this season than me. And I don’t want to say you can’t trust him moving forward. But he’s currently the RB46. He’s not being targeted as a receiver with just three receptions in his first two games combined. Part of me wants Andy Reid to put the young running back at ease by giving him a full workload this week against the Chargers. I will point out that Brian Westbrook had a fumble against the Cowboys in his second season (he didn’t lose it), and Reid gave him 12 carries the following week. Up from 9.


James Robinson
Jacksonville Jaguars · RB
Arizona Cardinals
Arizona Cardinals
2021 · 2-0-0

What a roller coaster it’s been for James Robinson this year. He was jettisoned because the Jaguars drafted Travis Etienne. Then we all begged Robinson to forgive us when Etienne was lost for the season. But it’s been bad for James. Fewer than 10 fantasy points in both games this season. He’s averaged just 11 touches per game this season. And if that wasn’t bad enough. The Cardinals have not allowed any scrimmage yards to running backs this season. So, here I am abandoning him again. And I feel kind of terrible about it. But guys like Damien Harris, Myles Gaskin and Kareem Hunt have passed him.

Michael Carter
New York Jets · RB
Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos
2021 · 2-0-0

Probably not starting Carter this week, I get that. I’ll likely get a note from our research and revered fantasy analyst Michelle Magdziuk being all, “Thank you so much for telling me not to start a player I was never going to start.” That’s fair. But I also would like to use this space to shine a spotlight on some defenses that are playing pretty well. The Broncos have allowed the fewest points to running backs this season. And that could be because Saquon isn’t quite back. Urban Meyer isn’t using Robinson correctly. But still, worth noting.

Darrell Henderson
Los Angeles Rams · RB
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2021 · 2-0-0

Henderson left Week 2’s game at Indianapolis with a rib injury. We will continue to monitor his progress during the week so be sure to check back for updates. The Buccaneers are not as tough against the run as you would expect. Still, I’m leaning towards benching Henderson in this game as the receivers take flight for the Rams in an expected high scoring game. If Henderson can’t go, I also don’t really like Sony Michel all that much. I’m glad you added him off the wire this week, but don’t play him against the Bucs.

Devin Singletary
Buffalo Bills · RB
Washington Football Team
Washington Football Team
2021 · 1-1-0

What’s going on with Singletary? He’s been great so far this season and had a really nice game against the Dolphins on Sunday. You love to see it. Especially when he gets into the end zone, too. But the Football Team has been tough on opposing running backs. I’m listing Devin here because you likely didn’t draft him as one of your starters and you’re itching to play him this week. This might not be the matchup.

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