Skip to main content

2021 NFL Fantasy Football Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 1: 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

Raheem Mostert
San Francisco 49ers SF · RB

The Lions gave up the most fantasy points to running backs last season. Mostert is the lead running back in a Kyle Shanahan offense and dude looked amazing in his final preseason tune-up. I know I shouldn’t get too smitten with a player based on preseason, but Mostert has been a solid fantasy contributor for some time. But let’s be honest, I want as many shares against the Lions as possible. I mean, there is a chance Dan Campbell is the real deal as a head coach. And there’s a chance I could be a cast member on Saturday Night Live. I’m just not baking on either thing happening.

Myles Gaskin
Miami Dolphins MIA · RB
New England Patriots
2021 · 0-0-0

Dolphins coach Brian Flores has said he likes using the committee approach. And people were concerned during the preseason because Malcolm Brown (34%) and Salvon Ahmed (21%) got a lot of playing time. My conjecture is Gaskin is going to get the important carries. Gaskin received at least 11 touches in all 10 of the games he played last season and had at least three receptions in nine of those games. He was also in on 80% of third-down snaps last year. Don’t read into it too much. Start him this week, even in a tougher matchup against the Patriots. 

Miles Sanders
Philadelphia Eagles PHI · RB

You spent the summer fading Sanders for some reason. But dude was excellent when Jalen was the starting quarterback. He was a Top 100 guy in two of the three games with Jalen as the starter and had more than 18 touches in each. He also averaged close to 20 fantasy points per game in Weeks 14-16, so I think he’s pretty good. He’s pretty undervalued. And I’m telling you this, why? Because I’m sure if you drafted him, there was no way you were going to bench him anyway. But sometimes you have to let people know, right? Like Tony Khan didn’t need me to tweet him to tell him he’s the best owner sports. But I did after Sunday night. Speaking of the Jaguars.

James Robinson
Jacksonville Jaguars JAX · RB

Robinson is that friend you were blowing off all summer but then when one of your friends was unable to take you to a Foo Fighters concert and you found out James had tickets, he suddenly became your best friend again. If that seems super specific, I’m the one who was holding that extra Foo Fighter ticket and you can't fool me, Scotty. The bottom line is that we want to be starting everyone against the Texans this season.

Kareem Hunt
Cleveland Browns CLE · RB

This is more than just a mere Revenge Game, however. Hunt is one of the reasons why you were all (ridiculously) fading Nick Chubb this year. Both of these players are going to have good years for the Browns. And there are going to be weeks where both running backs are full operational. This is one of those weeks. Looking at a possible score-fest, this would be a game that should feature a some targets going Hunt’s way. This is a safe play this week.

Sleepers: Nyheim Hines vs. Seattle Seahawks; Trey Sermon at Detroit Lions; Javonte Williams at New York Giants

Tough matchup, I'm still starting them: Austin Ekeler at Washington Football Team; Aaron Jones at New Orleans Saints (not A.J. Dillon, he's on the bench).

Sit 'em

D'Andre Swift
Detroit Lions DET · RB

Too many people faded Swifty like he was some broken-down curtain jerker during draft season. Which is kind of a loss for you. He was 11th with 4.4 targets last season. He scored 10 total touchdowns in 13 games he played last year. He was Top 20 in eight of 10 games. And Dan Campbell has been dodgy about him this offseason, although he did say he’d be ready to go this week. And with Anthony Lynn as offensive coordinator, Swift is going to be great. That being said, I’m going to be cautious about him in the first few weeks. Or at least the first game. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with that. Although I have to start him in a 14-team league. But for a lot of you, he’s on the bench. Or should be.

Chase Edmonds
Arizona Cardinals ARI · RB

I know this is a great matchup based on last year’s numbers. I’m not sure the Titans are still going to be that bad on defense this year, but the matchup is still sound. That being said, I’m not ready to just anoint Edmonds just yet. He was out-snapped by Kenyan Drake last year. And I’m not convinced he’s going to get more playing time than James Conner this season, too. Edmonds is like one of those fads they keep trying to make happen. Like when everyone was planking years ago. I didn’t fall for it then. I’m not about to now.

Zack Moss
Buffalo Bills BUF · RB

The Steelers had one of the best defenses against the run last season. And you have to imagine they are still going to be pretty good. I was willing to take some fliers on Moss this season. But he’s going to be a matchup-based player this season. And guess what? This clearly isn’t the matchup. He could end up with a pair of scores in this one. That would be great, but that’s going to be on my bench.

Melvin Gordon
Denver Broncos DEN · RB

It’s tough to sit Gordon against the Giants, who are a pretty favorable matchup. But unless you went Zero RB this year, I have to imagine you have better options. Or maybe you don’t, I can’t see your lineup right now. And Vic Fangio came out this week and said Javonte Williams has earned the trust of the coaching staff and they won’t be afraid to use him. Like Vic’s not even being coy about those late night text messages he’s receiving from a friend. I mean that metaphorically, too.

Kenyan Drake
Las Vegas Raiders LV · RB

I’m still sort of stumped as to why the Raiders brought in Drake in the first place. If you were going to add a second back, why not somebody like Gio Bernard, who at least does something different than Jacobs. Providing a pass-catching option. Like Josh Jacobs and Drake can catch. It’s just like getting groceries at Target. I mean, sure. It’s there. But I’d rather go to a specialist for my fruits and veggies. That’s just me, though. BTW, the Ravens were 12th toughest against the run last year. So it’s not super scary. I’ll start Jacobs. But I’m only using Drake when the matchup is great. Or at least better. 

Follow Adam Rank on Twitter.

Related Content