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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

Austin Ekeler
Austin Ekeler
Los Angeles Chargers · RB
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2020 · 2-1-0

Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said he hasn’t closed the door on Tyrod Taylor returning as a starter. But as a fantasy manager who has many shares of Ekeler, I would remove that door stop and lock the dead bolt. We need Justin Herbert in the lineup. It might not be fair to Tyrod. What, with a one-game sample size. But Ekeler has been great since Herbert took over as the team’s quarterback. Ekeler has averaged 7.5 targets with Herbert. And he’s got a great matchup with the Bucs, who have allowed the fourth-most receptions tor running backs this season and the fifth-most receiving yards per game to running backs.

James Robinson
James Robinson
Jacksonville Jaguars · RB
Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals
2020 · 0-2-1

Thankfully for all the heat I’ve received for saying to start Gardner Minshew, I’ve received just as much love for calling Robinson back in August. LOL. Just kidding. The internet doesn’t work that way. You’re an idiot for your mistakes and that’s all people remember. Which is fine. Adventure. Excitement. A Jedi craves not these things. So it’s all good. Fan of Robinson this week against the Bengals. He’s had at least 90 yards in every game this season. He’s had at least 120 in back-to-back. The Bengals have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs. You start him. And I know some of you have asked about him being a sell-high candidate. I don’t know, dude. You find a RB who gets 56% of the snaps and has at least 17 touches in every game this season and that is a dude I want to keep.

Kenyan Drake
Kenyan Drake
Arizona Cardinals · RB
Carolina Panthers
Carolina Panthers
2020 · 1-2-0

Drake is currently the RB29. This is the biggest disappointment from a Drake since Dark Lane Demo Tapes. Stop, stop, stop. You know I’m kidding. Demo Tapes was amazing. Anybody who says likewise is a liar. But we can’t deny that our guy Kenyan hasn’t quite lived up to his billing. I know a lot of people took him at the end of the first round, late-second at worst. We need to see some return on investment. Guy is still playing the majority of the snaps by a large margin. The Panthers have allowed the second-most fantasy points to running backs this season. They have allowed seven touchdowns to running backs this season, which is the most in the NFL. 

Jonathan Taylor
Jonathan Taylor
Indianapolis Colts · RB
Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears
2020 · 3-0-0

The Bears pass defense has played well this season. The run defense hasn’t been as good, which should show you what an underrated stud Eddie Goldman truly is. The Bears have allowed four rushing touchdowns to running backs this year, that’s the fourth-most in the NFL. And as it turns out, Nick Foles doesn’t play on the defensive line. Though I can’t 100% confirm that. Taylor has been pretty good. He’s had at least 13 fantasy points in every game this season. A rushing touchdown in consecutive games. Look, I don’t want to be right about this. But I still have to be objective.

Darrell Henderson
Darrell Henderson
Los Angeles Rams · RB
New York Giants
New York Giants
2020 · 0-3-0

We spent so much time debating Cam Akers and Malcom Brown during the offseason, here comes Darrell Henderson who has been crushing it. That low-key third guy who turned out to be the best of the bunch. Like Kyle O’Reilly of the Undisputed Era who has always kind of been my favorite. (And I do realize the Undisputed Era is a four-man stable … at least until they turn on O’Reilly.) But let’s focus on Henderson with his back-to-back games with at least 19 fantasy points. The Giants have also allowed at least 120 yards in the past two games and this could be another game where Henderson is the (wait for it) undisputed leader of this backfield. I’ll show myself out.

Sit 'em

Joshua Kelley
Joshua Kelley
Los Angeles Chargers · RB
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2020 · 2-1-0

Kelley was one of the hot pickups last week. Like when Mike Meyers crushed it with Wayne’s World and then everyone wanted to make a movie based on a Saturday Night Live character. Which led us to A Night At the Roxbury. Like, you really should have stopped after Jim Carey killed it in a cameo on the show. But alas. And likewise, we should have known this start was too good to be true last week. Kelley struggled against one of the most-generous run defenses in the league, and even lost a fumble. It’s a tougher matchup on the road in Tampa Bay this week, so we’re just going to leave him on the bench. I wouldn’t be hasty and drop him. But I’m not starting him for sure. 

Jordan Howard
Jordan Howard
Miami Dolphins · RB
Seattle Seahawks
Seattle Seahawks
2020 · 3-0-0

Howard is on pace for 16 touchdowns this season. And 192 rushing yards. For like the entire year. That’s like a Frank Summers, That Helps No One type of stat line. So you’re not starting him anyway. And the Seahawks have allowed 42 rushing yards per game on average. Unless you’re hoping for a pair of touchdowns to get you into double digits, this is probably one name you’re going to want to avoid.

Antonio Gibson
Antonio Gibson
Washington Football Team · RB
Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore Ravens
2020 · 2-1-0

He’s a fun player. I know a lot of folks were extremely excited about him coming into the season. But yeah. He’s had fewer than 15 touches in all three games this season. He’s had fewer than 65 scrimmage yards in every game this year. Oh yeah, and he’s playing the Ravens. Who, yes, they looked bad against the Chiefs. But Scott Turner isn’t Andy Reid. And Dwayne Haskins isn’t Patrick Mahomes. Oh, and make sure you say Patrick Mahomes. As was pointed out on Twitter on Monday night by his mother.

Adrian Peterson
Adrian Peterson
Detroit Lions · RB
New Orleans Saints
New Orleans Saints
2020 · 1-2-0

Adrian Peterson looked really good at times against the Bears in Week 1. But yeah, it hasn’t been the same since. And Matt Patricia’s stubbornness to keep going with Peterson when you have a future star in D'Andre Swift. Like my cousin who still listens to his Chumbawamba CD in his car instead of streaming music. But all that said, I can’t start Peterson this week with any confidence. And, wait just a minute, this is an Adrian Peterson REVENGE GAME! START HIM! Just kidding. Peterson has scored 6.8 fantasy points per game in his last two. The Saints are pretty good on run defense. I was impressed with the way they were attacking the line on Sunday night. I’m going to bench AD, yes, even in this revenge game. 

Follow Adam Rank on Twitter at @adamrank.

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