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NFL Fantasy 2023 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Running backs for Week 15

You have lineup questions, we have lineup answers -- at least we hope so. Start 'Em, Sit 'Em is here to help fantasy managers make difficult roster decisions. And you know what is a good move? Starting Christian McCaffrey. But that's too obvious, so you won't see such simple analysis here. Instead, we're exploring more debatable situations. And if you can't find a player you are looking for, please check out the latest NFL Fantasy lineup rankings.

Start 'Em

Joe Mixon
Cincinnati Bengals CIN

This is a tough matchup on paper, as the Vikings have allowed the third-fewest rushing yards and no touchdowns to backs since Week 10. But it doesn’t matter. It also doesn't matter that rookie Chase Brown is eating into Mixon’s workload a bit. He still sees far too many touches each week and has been far too productive to even consider benching. He has more than 17 fantasy points in five of his last seven games and is a must-start regardless of the matchup. 

James Cook
Buffalo Bills BUF

A change in offensive coordinators was all it took for Cook to produce consistent RB1 numbers. Since Joe Brady took over play-calling duties, Cook has averaged 20 fantasy PPG with at least 16 in each of the three games. He was an RB1 each time out in this span and just finished as the overall RB3 in Week 14. He’s topped 100 total yards in four straight games. The Cowboys have been stingy against the run on the season, but they’ve allowed 4.4 yards per carry since Week 10. Despite the challenging matchup, Cook has been far too productive in this new system. He should be started in a game between two high-scoring offenses. 

D'Andre Swift
Philadelphia Eagles PHI

It was a night to forget for Swift and the Eagles last Sunday. It's been three down weeks in a row for Swift (four of his last five, in fact). Still, I wouldn’t give up on him now, as he’s faced a lot of tough run defenses lately. That changes this week against Seattle. The Seahawks have allowed the most rushing yards and touchdowns since Week 9. They have given up the most receiving yards to backs since Week 10. Simply put, RBs have torched them lately. Swift finishes the fantasy season with three great matchups. Stick with him. 

Zack Moss
Indianapolis Colts IND

In the two games since Jonathan Taylor went down with a thumb injury, Moss has dominated volume, but it hasn’t translated to a ton of fantasy success. After playing nearly every snap with 22 opportunities in Week 13, Moss logged 83 percent of snaps with 21 opportunities last Sunday. He had eight targets in that game. The volume is simply too good; I will keep riding with him. The Steelers are in the top nine in rushing yards allowed to backs. Moss should get a favorable game script in this one. Better days are coming. 

Ezekiel Elliott
New England Patriots NE

Elliott was a recommended play last week and he came through in a huge way. He played 91 percent of the snaps with 22 carries and eight targets. That’s elite volume. He won’t score 27 fantasy points every week, but as long as he is the lead back for the Patriots, he brings a safe floor and clearly a ton of upside. Plus, the Chiefs have allowed 4.8 yards per carry this season to backs. If the Pats are trailing -- which they should be -- he will clearly be involved in the passing game. We’re turning back the clock, but Zeke is a strong fantasy option right now. 


Keaton Mitchell
Baltimore Ravens BAL

The Ravens still use three running backs, but Mitchell is seeing the most volume. He has led the Ravens backfield in carries and targets in two straight games. He has scored 10.9 and 7.2 fantasy points in those two games. Those are floor games for Mitchell, but there is certainly more upside, considering how explosive he is and the offense he plays in. The Jags have been stingy to running backs on the season, but have struggled a little over the last two weeks. Mitchell is a high-upside streamer in this one. 

Sit 'Em

James Conner
Arizona Cardinals ARI

The last time we saw Conner, he was going off for his best fantasy performance of the season and a top five finish on the week. But that came with a favorable game script, as the Cardinals had a two-score lead over the Steelers for much of that one. That will not be the case this week against the 49ers. In fact, it should be the exact opposite. The Niners have allowed the fewest rushing yards and second-fewest fantasy PPG to backs this season. Conner has scored single-digit fantasy points in the last five Cardinals losses he played in, and he has yet to reach 20 receiving yards in a game this season. If you have another option, I’d play it safe and avoid this matchup. 

Gus Edwards
Baltimore Ravens BAL

It’s time to park the "Gus Bus." Edwards has played fewer than 30 percent of the snaps with single-digit touches in each of the last two weeks, as he’s taken a back seat to Keaton Mitchell. He scored fewer than five fantasy points in each of those games. He’s always a threat to score a touchdown, but without one, you’re at risk of a 1.5-point outing (like last week). And even with a TD, the ceiling might be in the low double digits now. Sit Edwards.

Devin Singletary
Houston Texans HOU

Houston's backfield has been perplexing, to say the least. It looked like Singletary had taken over, but then in Week 13, Dameon Pierce had nearly twice as many carries, received the goal line work and scored more fantasy points. Last week, we saw the pendulum swing back in favor of Singletary, but it’s becoming tough to trust and could be a week-to-week situation. Given the inconsistent usage, the low upside (neither back has reached 14 fantasy points the last three weeks) and the reduction in scoring chances if C.J. Stroud (concussion protocol) is out, this is a risky proposition at best. Plus, the Titans generally have been stingy against the run (last week's game against the Dolphins notwithstanding), allowing just 3.2 yards per carry since Week 10. There are certainly reasons to fade this backfield in a must-win week. 

Zach Charbonnet
Seattle Seahawks SEA

It was fun while it lasted. But with Kenneth Walker III back in Week 14, we saw Charbonnet play just 40 percent of the snaps, with nine carries and one target. He was held to just 5.8 fantasy points. Granted, it came in a tough matchup, but he has another difficult one this week against the Eagles. Philly's D ranks in the top five in rushing yards and TDs allowed to running backs. Plus, this could be a negative game script for Seattle, and Walker was clearly the preferred passing-downs option last week. Charbonnet has top-20 upside if anything happens to Walker, but when both are active, it’s too tough to trust him in fantasy.

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