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NFL Fantasy 2022 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 7: 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

Kenneth Walker III
Seattle Seahawks SEA · RB
Los Angeles Chargers
2022 · 4-2-0

Typically, when the entire fantasy community agrees on a player, that player disappoints. Last week was pretty much Kenneth Walker III week, but he lived up to expectations. Walker saw 24 opportunities, played 71 percent of the snaps and went for 110 yards and one touchdown. Walker clearly lived up to the hype and, best of all, he showed the explosiveness that many were excited for on a couple of big runs. He has a chance to build on it next week in a fantastic matchup against the Chargers. Los Angeles has struggled against the run all year after doing exactly that for all of last season as well.

Rhamondre Stevenson
New England Patriots NE · RB
Chicago Bears
2022 · 2-4-0

Stevenson was another popular breakout pick heading into Week 6 who lived up to expectations. Stevenson rushed 19 times for 76 yards and two scores and added four catches for 15 yards on five targets. Sure, it was a great matchup against a Browns team that has been torched by the run all year long. But that is exactly what we want our fantasy players to do: Take advantage of the best matchups. Stevenson has the Patriots' backfield on lock as long as Damien Harris is sidelined. Stevenson will not only be the lead runner each week for the Pats, but he already was the passing-downs back for the Patriots, and that has not seemed to change. This week, he faces the Bears, who have allowed 26.6 fantasy PPG to RBs. That ranks middle of the pack against the position, but Stevenson has seen so much work the past couple of weeks. He is a weekly high-end RB2 with even more upside every week.  

Ezekiel Elliott
Dallas Cowboys DAL · RB
Detroit Lions
2022 · 1-4-0

Elliott has been a sit many times this season but has yet to appear as a start. That changes this week! Zeke is a start for two reasons. He is no longer too obvious to include as a start in this column after scoring fewer than 10 fantasy points in four of his first five games. However, he is coming off his best fantasy performance of the season, rushing for a season-high 81 yards and scoring a touchdown on 13 carries in a tough matchup against the Eagles. Zeke has needed a touchdown to score over 14 fantasy points in the two games he did so this season. Elliott has a strong chance of scoring this week against the Lions, who have already allowed 10 rushing touchdowns. That is the second-most in the NFL -- and they have already had their bye! The Lions have also allowed 28.9 fantasy PPG to RBs, which is the third-most in the NFL. If you cannot start Zeke against the Lions, then when can you?  

Kenyan Drake
Baltimore Ravens BAL · RB
Cleveland Browns
2022 · 2-4-0

You might be reading this and thinking ... what? Kenyan Drake? Yes, he came out of nowhere to have a huge Week 6. He rushed 10 times for 119 yards and a touchdown, adding in an 8-yard catch on two targets. In all, he scored 19.7 fantasy points and finished as a top-10 running back for the week. That was because J.K. Dobbins' knee was stiffening up, and the Ravens had to get away from their starter. But this is now a concern moving forward. It could act up at any point. Plus, given the status of Dobbins' knee paired with how well Drake ran, you have to believe Drake carves out a larger role moving forward. Drake is a deeper start and not someone who you should start over the options you play each week. But if you are in need of a bye-week replacement or a streaming option for the week, Drake is in play for you. He faces the Browns, who have allowed the most fantasy PPG to RBs over the past two weeks. They have allowed the fourth-most fantasy PPG to the position this season (28.3) and the most rushing touchdowns. Due to last week and the matchup, Drake is in play as a streaming option.  

Sit 'Em

James Robinson
Jacksonville Jaguars JAX · RB
New York Giants
2022 · 5-1-0

Robinson looked like his old self for the first couple of weeks of the season. But he has come crashing back down to life in the past three weeks. In each of those games, he's played fewer than half the snaps and had somewhere between eight and 12 carries. He has just three targets in the past three games, as well. Travis Etienne continues to see more and more work. He has played more snaps and had more targets while seeing around the same number of carries in three straight weeks. It's looking like Etienne is the RB to trust most in this backfield. He is also more explosive while that has been lacking from Robinson’s game as of late. Robinson has two plays for more than 10 yards in the past three games and none that have reached 15 yards. The lack of explosiveness and pass game usage, along with limited ground work, have Robinson trending in the wrong direction. Until we see otherwise, he is a flex option who you can play in the right matchup. Unfortunately, that is not this week. The Giants have allowed just 19.9 fantasy PPG to RBs, which is just outside the top-10 fewest in the league. This is a week to get Robinson out of your starting lineup.

Kareem Hunt
Cleveland Browns CLE · RB
Baltimore Ravens
2022 · 3-3-0

Hunt has not been the same player in this offense that he was in previous years. Not that it's a Hunt problem, it's just a usage issue. Hunt is not being used in the passing game like he was with Baker Mayfield. Hunt has just three targets or fewer in four of his past five games. In that span, he has reached double-digit fantasy points just once. Every single game in which he has not scored a touchdown this season, he has finished with single-digit fantasy points. That hit rock bottom in Week 6, when Hunt scored a career-low 1.2 fantasy points. This week, he faces the Ravens, who have been middle of the pack overall against running backs, but they have allowed just three scores so far. He was also held in check twice against the Ravens last year. Get away from Hunt this week.

Eno Benjamin
Arizona Cardinals ARI · RB
New Orleans Saints
2022 · 2-4-0

Benjamin had a ton of opportunities in Week 6 and, well, didn’t do much with it. He played 87 percent of the snaps, carried the ball 15 times and added in three targets. In total, he finished with 65 yards and zero touchdowns. Yup, all that volume for fewer than 10 fantasy points in a great matchup against the Seahawks. This week, it’s a much tougher test on a short week. He faces the Saints, who have allowed just 18.4 points to RBs this season, the eighth-fewest in the NFL. The Saints have been notoriously tough against running backs for years now. You may be in a pinch due to injuries or byes and, sure, at least Benjamin will see volume. But if you have options, go in the other direction this week.

Tyler Allgeier
Atlanta Falcons ATL · RB
Cincinnati Bengals
2022 · 3-3-0

Allgeier saw volume in Week 6, but unfortunately he did not do a whole lot with it. He led the Falcons' backfield with 57 percent of the snaps and saw 15 carries but turned them into just 51 yards. He was not targeted at all. Caleb Huntley saw 16 carries in the game, showing that it continues to be a split between the two backs. But this was a game in which the Falcons had a multi-score lead for much of it, so they were in a position to run often and grind out the clock. That should not be the expectation this week against Joe Burrow and the Bengals. It's also a difficult matchup, as the Bengals are in the bottom 10 in fantasy points allowed to running backs (18.6).

Follow Michael Florio on Twitter @MichaelFFlorio.

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