Start Em Sit Em

NFL Fantasy 2021 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 8: 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

James Robinson
Jacksonville Jaguars · RB
Seattle Seahawks
2021 · 2-5-0

I know, I know. Who is sitting James at this point, right? He’s scored at least 19 points in each of his last four games. The Jaguars offense has shown signs of life, and even when it was struggling, James was the best part about it. Kind of like Keri Russell in Episode IX. That whole movie was something else, but I love Zorii Bliss. And at some point, Disney is going to make good with that movie or series, right? Tell me I’m right. But here’s my thing: We’re starting James Robinson and we also get to see his name on the NFL Network ticker for the weekend, which I think he’s earned so let’s move on.

Damien Harris
New England Patriots · RB
Los Angeles Chargers
2021 · 4-2-0

This has been a rough couple of weeks for the “I never play Patriots running backs” crowd. Harris has been great. Well, he’s been great the last two weeks against the Cowboys and Jets. We won’t talk about his fumble against the Texans, or else he would have three consecutive games in double-digits. But he’s got a great chance to do that against the Chargers who have allowed the fifth-most points to running backs this year. And here’s a philosophical question: Do you need to hear “fifth-most” or is it suffice to say, “The Chargers are generous to running backs.” I prefer the latter. Let me know on Twitter, though, I probably won’t see it with all of the Kirk Cousins marks yelling at me.

Khalil Herbert
Chicago Bears · RB
San Francisco 49ers
2021 · 2-4-0

The Bears offense was kind of terrible on Sunday against the Buccaneers. But my guy Khalil was dealing. I mean, he’s probably going to cut David Montgomery’s time in Chicago short because he’s playing so well. Seriously, I love Monty, but he did that to Jordan Howard. And now Khalil will do that to him. The Bears have no trouble -- no trouble -- finding running backs. I think that Khalil would already be the third-best running back in Packers history. But man, if we could hit on some of the other guys, that would be amazing. I honestly want the Bears to one day be that team that wins 35-31 track meets, instead of struggling to break 14 points every week. But at least we can start the running backs.

Darrell Henderson
Los Angeles Rams · RB
Houston Texans
2021 · 1-6-0

Our guy had been so good this season, going over 15 points in every game until Sunday’s contest against the Detroit Lions. A game where you would have figured that he was going to clean up. But it didn’t work out and that’s cool. There is no reason to get scared off now. If -- at the end of the season -- we look back and his stats and see that 9.40 against the Lions as the outlier for the season, we will call that a success. Right? I’m right. I know it. I was just making sure you were on board.

Elijah Mitchell
San Francisco 49ers · RB
Chicago Bears
2021 · 3-4-0

Look, I’m always going to fall for the top guy in the 49ers rushing attack. I just do. It’s like anytime Bill Lawrence puts out a TV show, I’m going all-in. And if you’re not familiar with Bill Lawrence, he’s the dude behind Spin City, Scrubs and (wait for it) Ted Lasso. He’s kind of a big deal. Mitchell looks like the guy in San Francisco. He shot out of the gate on that first drive against the Colts, I thought the dude was going to end up with 50 fantasy points on the day (and I was going against him in my League of Record). I expect the 49ers to attack the Bears on the ground so I’ll go with him here.

D'Ernest Johnson
Cleveland Browns · RB
Pittsburgh Steelers
2021 · 3-3-0

D’Ernest feels like he’s going to have a movie made on his life, but the only bummer is The Rock will likely be too old to play him by then. Well, maybe not. Nah, probably too old. Here’s my thing. I want to play the top back in a run-first offense. The Steelers are actually really strong against the run this year. All right, just about every year. Sometimes you have to take the opportunity and go with those guys. Nick Chubb returned to practice on Monday. But I still see D’Ernest as a flex option for sure. The Browns aren’t afraid of using two running backs.

Kenneth Gainwell
Philadelphia Eagles · RB
Detroit Lions
2021 · 0-7-0

I’m going to echo the sentiments of James Jones who pointed out the Eagles problems are in the coaching staff. The Eagles don’t try to run the ball enough, and that’s probably one of their biggest problems. They are trying to develop a quarterback and can’t get it done. I wonder why? Gainwell carried the ball just five times but did have four receptions which is huge. Even Miles Sanders is a go, they still need to use Gainwell for his pass-catching ability which makes him a startable running back. He’s kind of like the guy we wish Nyheim Hines was right now (and how did Nyheim drop that ball? You know the play I’m talking about.).

Devontae Booker
New York Giants · RB
Kansas City Chiefs
2021 · 3-4-0

The feeling is Saquon Barkley is out until Week 9 against the Raiders, which means there is at least one more week for Booker to pay off all of that FAAB you spent on him. And he’s been kind of O.K. this season. Booker had 14.90 points on Sunday and has reached double digits in his past three. I’m not going to bury the Kansas City Chiefs just yet but that defense is playing horribly. And I haven’t seen anything that would make me afraid to play Booker in this one.

Sit 'Em

Mike Davis
Atlanta Falcons · RB
Carolina Panthers
2021 · 3-4-0

There was some dude Twitter earlier this year who was all, “if you thought Mike Davis was going to be good, you should quit fantasy football.” And I’ve had some bad calls that have made me want to quit playing this sport. But putting faith in Davis as an RB3 or RB4 isn’t one of them. I mean, nobody was acting like he was going to be the savior. If anything, I wish I had more conviction in backing Cordarrelle Patterson because I liked him walking into this situation but was afraid to go all-in. That to me was more damning. BTW, Twitter is the worst, right?

Myles Gaskin
Miami Dolphins · RB
Buffalo Bills
2021 · 4-2-0

Look, Gaskin has played pretty well at times. But he’s in this pattern of being great one week, and then garbo the following. And if you follow that trend, well, then maybe you should quit fantasy football. Kidding, don’t. My family likes to eat. I will say I’m avoiding Gaskin if possible because the matchup is pretty tough against the Bills. Gaskin wasn’t a complete disaster in Week 2 against the Bills, but still came in under 10 fantasy points. And why are the Bills and Dolphins already going to be done with their season series by Week 8? I’m telling you; the schedule maker has some explaining to do.

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