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NFL Fantasy Football Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 11: 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

Antonio Gibson
Antonio Gibson
Washington Football Team · RB
Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals
2020 · 2-6-1

Gibson has crushed it again for another week. He scored 22.5 fantasy points against the Lions on Sunday and was the RB7 after the weekend. It was his second-highest total of the season and his consistency has been the key. He’s had at least 12 fantasy points in six of his last eight games. Four rushing touchdowns in last three games combined. But he’s also starting to see some targets out of the backfield. He’s had at least four in four of his last six. The matchup is good against the Bengals. They’ve allowed a lot of rushing yards, but not necessarily touchdowns. I’ll take the rushing production at this point of the season. And I think it’s finally starting to hit me that we have a running back we can count in in D.C., as if Shanahanigans has disappeared altogether. And you might counter with J.D. McKissic, but the way this FT lineup is constructed, both running backs are startable.

Damien Harris
Damien Harris
New England Patriots · RB
Houston Texans
Houston Texans
2020 · 2-7-0

Obviously my guy Rex Burkhead scored a pair of touchdowns last week. But let’s not overlook the production Harris had. He had 55% of the snaps and set a career-high with 22 carries. It’s going to be annoying to see Rex take a bunch of production and that’s fine. Because getting the carries is what is going to matter the most. And he’s got a great matchup this week against the Houston Texans, who have allowed the most rushing yards to running backs this season (1,389). Look, starting a Patriots running back is kind of like inviting one of your friends over for a BBQ, knowing full well he’s going to bring along his friend who never brings beer with him but is happy to raid your cooler. Which isn’t great. But we’re willing to live with it for this matchup.

Salvon Ahmed
Miami Dolphins · RB
Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos
2020 · 3-6-0

I know how this looks. Again, seemingly chasing fantasy points after a somewhat surprise performance last week against the Chargers. But why would you ignore it? And why are we going to assume that any of the Dolphins running backs are going to usurp Ahmed this week? The Dolphins were committed to Myles Gaskin when he was healthy, why would they jerk around with Ahmed after he was great against the Chargers going 21-85-1? He took a bigger share of the offense last week than Gaskin did when he was the starter. I believe he’s getting a solid workload again against a defense that has allowed 24.58 fantasy points to running backs over the last month. My only hesitation is Ahmed wasn’t targeted in the passing game, having only one. And the Broncos have given up a lot of production to pass-catching backs. But look at what Josh Jacobs did to them last week, and I think we’re good.

Nyheim Hines
Nyheim Hines
Indianapolis Colts · RB
Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers
2020 · 7-2-0

It’s never going to be easy to figure out which Colts running back is going to get the call. And even basing this on last week’s snaps (of which Hines led all Colts running backs with more than double the share at 56%), there is another reason why I would lean Hines in this one. The Packers have allowed two receiving touchdowns in the past four weeks to running backs on 20 receptions. They have also given up the fourth-most receiving yards to running backs (192) over that stretch. I’m not sure if this game will be high-scoring, given the Colts defense, but figure Hines will be targeted in this one.

D'Andre Swift
D'Andre Swift
Detroit Lions · RB
Carolina Panthers
Carolina Panthers
2020 · 3-7-0

Are the Lions a playoff team? A squad that’s going to do just enough to allow Matt Patricia to keep his gig for another year before they go 3-13 next season? I’m just saying. Swift was the RB4 after Sunday with just a shade under 26 fantasy points. He was running the ball well. But more importantly, he was huge in the passing game, getting five receptions for 68 yards and a touchdown. He ran 22 routes and was clearly ahead of Adrian Peterson (even in a revenge game) and Kerryon Johnson. This is a great matchup against the Panthers who have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs this season. But I swear to goodness, I’m just waiting for the week when Peterson inexplicably gets 30 carries because you know it’s coming.

Duke Johnson
Duke Johnson
Houston Texans · RB
New England Patriots
New England Patriots
2020 · 4-5-0

Well, as far as revenge games go, that was pretty terrible. Duke managed just 5.4 points. Like if this was a Liam Neeson movie and dude got killed in the first five minutes after his daughter was kidnapped. But instead of being able to walk out of the theater, you just had to continue to watch it. It was something like that. But we will get in our lineups because he’s the only Texans running back who had a carry. He played 95% of the snaps. I’ll rationalize in my head that he didn’t get into the passing game because of the weather. The Patriots have given up the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs over the last four weeks.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire
Clyde Edwards-Helaire
Kansas City Chiefs · RB
Las Vegas Raiders
Las Vegas Raiders
2020 · 6-3-0

Speaking of Neeson, I’m worried Andy Reid has spent time in his living room doing nothing but watching the Raiders win over his Chiefs earlier in the season and he’s devising ways to put 60 points up on that club this week. Reid has traditionally been one of the best coaches in the NFL coming off the bye week. He put up 40 on the Raiders in each of the last two seasons. Two years ago, Mahomes threw four touchdowns in a win over the Raiders. Last year, Darwin Thompson and LeSean McCoy scored touchdowns (and Mahomes ran for one and passed for one). Expecting good things from the Chiefs offense, I’d go with Clyde, considering he’s failed to reach double-digits only once this year. 

Sit 'em

Todd Gurley
Todd Gurley
Atlanta Falcons · RB
New Orleans Saints
New Orleans Saints
2020 · 7-2-0

The Saints have allowed the second-fewest points to running backs over the past month. The team that has allowed the fewest? The Atlanta Falcons. But we’re totally starting Alvin Kamara so please don’t send me a message on Twitter about it. Or do, it’s all good. Gurley has been fantastic this season. He’s a touchdown-dependent running back who continues to score touchdowns. But the Saints haven't allowed a running back to get into the end zone over the last month. And they’ve allowed just three rushing touchdowns to backs on the season.

Ronald Jones
Ronald Jones
Tampa Bay Buccaneers · RB
Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Rams
2020 · 6-3-0

I’m sure I’m the only one who does this. But instinctually, every time I see the No. 27 running I think it’s Leonard Fournette. Maybe it’s because RoJo wore No. 25 at USC and I can’t get it out of my mind. But Jones was really good against the Panthers last week. This matchup is going to be way different. The Rams have allowed the fourth-fewest points to running backs this year. If you have some other options on your roster, I would really like to use one of those players. Understand if it’s not possible.

Melvin Gordon
Melvin Gordon
Denver Broncos · RB
Miami Dolphins
Miami Dolphins
2020 · 6-3-0

The Broncos haven’t been able to commit to the running game. They ran the ball just six times in their first 20 plays and just 14 times in the whole first half. Maybe it was because the team trailed 27-6 at halftime. But the running game just isn’t cutting it. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Broncos give Phillip Lindsay more of an opportunity this week, even though he’s also been wildly disappointing. But in general, I’m going to avoid this Broncos backfield if at all possible.  

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