Start Em Sit Em

2021 NFL Fantasy Football Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 4: 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

Jonathan Taylor
Indianapolis Colts · RB
Miami Dolphins
2021 · 1-2-0

This one is a tough one. Because I really went all-in on Nyheim Hines this year, so I’m OK to see Taylor not get some of those end zone looks. But that’s just me being mean. I need to be better. Here’s the good news for those of you who drafted J.T. in the first round. He has six touches inside the opponent's 5-yard line, that’s the most in the NFL. The Dolphins have allowed the second-most fantasy points to running backs this year, and they have allowed three top 15 running backs in the last two games. That’s right, I wrote three. 

Chris Carson
Seattle Seahawks · RB
San Francisco 49ers
2021 · 2-1-0

Carson's one of the most underappreciated running backs in the NFL. He’s had at least 12 fantasy points in all three games this year. The only other back who can make that claim is Chase Edmonds. I think about how much I dog Edmonds, and maybe I should start appreciating him. Carson has three rushing touchdowns in three games this season. The 49ers have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points per game to the position this year, which is kind of a surprise to me. I expect this to be a high-scoring game with Carson scoring again because that’s what he does.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire
Kansas City Chiefs · RB
Philadelphia Eagles
2021 · 1-2-0

I sat CEH last week because I had to. But I did write that Andy Reid loves to give his young running backs the benefit of the doubt. Andy went above and beyond, continually going to CEH when his fumbling troubles continued against the Chargers. Like seriously, you don’t need to be that cool. Clyde finished with 16.9 fantasy points. He’s had 17+ touches in two of three games, and the Cowboys ran right through the Eagles on Monday night. Now, Clyde isn’t the type of runner Ezekiel Elliott is -- that’s for sure. But I’m comfortable making him a start this week, a flex at the very least. 

David Montgomery
Chicago Bears · RB
Detroit Lions
2021 · 0-3-0

The Bears looked miserable against the Rams in the opener, but rallied the following week to beat the Bengals (who are looking kind of good) and Monty was great. The Bears then were awful last week against the Browns. Now it’s time to rebound against the Lions, who were kind of not terrible against the Ravens as our guy Ty’Son Williams disappeared. Monty averaged just under 18 fantasy points per game against the Lions last year, and Detroit has allowed an average of 135 scrimmage yards to running backs over the past 19 games. I’m doing this, and I don’t even care who the quarterback ends up being. I mean, I care who the quarterback is as a Bears fan. But not as a fantasy enthusiast.

Zack Moss
Buffalo Bills · RB
Houston Texans
2021 · 1-2-0

I’m always fearful of going with a running back who breaks out for one week, but Moss has played well since he was a surprise inactive in Week 1. Not only do I back him here against the Texans, I’m going with both Bills running backs in this one. I know people will be quick to dismiss Devin Singletary because he was outpaced by Moss in Week 3 (and Moss scored a pair of touchdowns in Week 2), but this is the kind of game where I have to rank the running backs, I’d have Moss ahead of Singletary (who has scored at least 11 points in two of three). The Texans have allowed the eighth-most rushing yards per game this year. In a game where the Bills are expected to win in a blowout, both of these running backs should be in play. 

Elijah Mitchell
San Francisco 49ers · RB
Seattle Seahawks
2021 · 1-2-0

Surprise! Mitchell was inactive last week, so this will be something we will monitor. There is hope, however, as Mitchell was limited in Friday’s practice before the Green Bay game. While Trey Sermon did score a touchdown last week. Mitchell has looked like the best fit for this backfield. His speed is a difference maker. If he’s healthy and ready to go, I’m going to be starting him.

Sit 'Em

Tony Pollard
Dallas Cowboys · RB
Carolina Panthers
2021 · 3-0-0

Ezekiel Elliott didn’t take kindly to our charges that Pollard was the better running back with a monster performance against the Eagles. The matchup is very different this week. The Panthers have allowed the fewest fantasy points to running backs this season. I might not be willing to sit Zeke this week against the Panthers. But Pollard? I’m not ready to make that commitment just yet, especially with zero bye weeks.

Ty'Son Williams
Baltimore Ravens · RB
Denver Broncos
2021 · 3-0-0

I love Williams, and wish he would get more of a chance to run with this Ravens backfield. But he’s seen his targets, scrimmage yards and fantasy points decrease in every week this season. Last week was a disaster with just 2.2 fantasy points, which was good to keep him outside of the top 60. Now he’s got the Broncos, who have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to running backs this year. 

Mark Ingram
Houston Texans · RB
Buffalo Bills
2021 · 2-1-0

Ingram started the season with a great Week 1, going for 85 rushing yards and a touchdown. He’s had 62 total yards and zero scores in the past two games. So, so much for that. Ingram, David Johnson and even Rex Burkhead himself are going to have trouble against the Bills, who have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to running backs this year. 

Ronald Jones
Tampa Bay Buccaneers · RB
New England Patriots
2021 · 1-2-0

Jones has been usurped by Giovani Bernard in the Buccaneers backfield. Of course, Bernard -- who played 45 percent of the snaps last week --- suffered an MCL sprain and his status for Sunday is in doubt. Even if he doesn’t go, the Buccaneers have used Leonard Fournette as a receiver out of the backfield previously and would likely see the majority of the work if Gio can’t go. Of course, I’m rooting for Gio, and you should pick him up off the wire if you haven’t done so already. Even if he doesn’t go this week, he’s going to end up being the back to roster from this team. 

Follow Adam Rank on Twitter.

Related Content

Gamepass_vert_web_r

See all the Action

Replay every game all season.