Start Em Sit Em

NFL Fantasy Football Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 12: 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

Kareem Hunt
Kareem Hunt
Cleveland Browns · RB
Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville Jaguars
2020 · 1-9-0

Man, I’m not sure there is a way to quantify this. But I’m pretty confident I lead the world in having my touchdowns overturned by replay. Like with Hunt last week. Looked like he was in the end zone. I was already typing up a text to talk smack to my friend, and then the unpleasantness happened. Though knowing my luck, I should have at least waited for confirmation before I got excited. Waiting for the replay is like waiting when you see the text thought bubbles going while you’re waiting for somebody to get back to you. I know the ultimate goal is to get it right, but there is something about taking the spontaneous joy out of the moment. All that being said, start Hunt against the Jaguars, who have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to running backs this year.

Josh Jacobs
Josh Jacobs
Las Vegas Raiders · RB
Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons
2020 · 3-7-0

I know this seems like an obvious choice. But the Falcons have allowed the fewest fantasy points to running backs over the last four games. Which is what will happen when Taysom Hill steals all of Alvin Kamara’s touchdowns. I’m not sure we have to worry about Derek Carr doing that to Jacobs. I mean, maybe. We saw Derek get airborne a few weeks ago. Jacobs is a little touchdown dependent in recent weeks. And I keep waiting for those targets to materialize. Undaunted, I’m going to start Jacobs this week because this Raiders offense has been rolling. The real reason I put Jacobs on this list is that he’s averaged 21.5 fantasy points per game since he was besmirched by Michael F. Florio on NFL Fantasy Live.

Zack Moss
Zack Moss
Buffalo Bills · RB
Los Angeles Chargers
Los Angeles Chargers
2020 · 3-7-0

Moss has now fully taken over the gig for the Bills, as he’s out-snapped Devin Singletary in three consecutive games. It’s kind of like one of those CW shows where the guy promises his best friend that he’s not secretly in love with his girlfriend, but then the next thing you know, that guy is dating the girl. I feel like I need to watch better TV shows (and it’s only going to get worse as we move through this piece). But Moss has averaged 11 touches per game since Week 8 to lead the Bills. The Chargers have allowed a top-15 running back in eight consecutive games.

Mike Davis
Mike Davis
Carolina Panthers · RB
Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings
2020 · 4-6-0

There doesn’t seem like a lot of optimism that Christian McCaffrey is going to play this week. And then you have to realize that the Panthers have a bye in Week 13 and we might not get CMC back until the playoffs. If you are fortunate enough to make it. Davis has been a great replacement. He’s scored an average of 16.27 fantasy points when CMC is out. I know it’s not the same as having CMC. Kind of like when you’re craving authentic Mexican food but have to settle for Taco Bell. And that’s not to besmirch Taco Bell. I like it. But sometimes you are hoping for the real thing.

James Robinson
James Robinson
Jacksonville Jaguars · RB
Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns
2020 · 7-3-0

The first time I ever saw The Hold Steady, I had never heard of them or seen them play at all. And I became a huge fan. And that’s what Robinson has been like this season. I know people are still waiting for the other shoe to drop with him. Like they can’t believe he’s still continuing to be great. But here he is. He’s had at least 16 touches in 10 games this year -- Derrick Henry is the only other running back who can make that claim. Ever heard of him? He’s had at least 10 fantasy points in all 10 games this year -- Alvin Kamara is the only other running back who can make that claim. Ever heard of him? Let’s rock with Robinson for the rest of the year. There’s one game against the Ravens that has me concerned (it’s in the fantasy playoffs, too). But we're not there yet.

Giovani Bernard
Giovani Bernard
Cincinnati Bengals · RB
New York Giants
New York Giants
2020 · 3-7-0

What happened to Joey Burrow was awful. I’m old enough to remember when Carson Palmer suffered a knee injury in the Bengals playoff game against the Steelers years ago. And what happened gave me some flashbacks. But people are now talking about dropping Tee Higgins and moving away from this Bengals offense. And I understand that. I golf, so I know what it’s like to make snap judgements like that. But they will feed Gio, so don’t get too worked up here. Like, be bummed for Joey. But realize you can start Gio and Tyler Boyd this week.

Nyheim Hines
Nyheim Hines
Indianapolis Colts · RB
Tennessee Titans
Tennessee Titans
2020 · 7-3-0

Welp, Frank Reich had an opportunity to do the fantasy community a solid by sticking with Hines after we all jump on board the hype train. And then he punished it. This is such a WWE thing to do. Like when we, the fans, start getting somebody over. Be it Dolph, Fandango, or even Bryan Danielson is probably the best example. Vince McMahon will just end up picking the guy he wants to push and fans be damned. Of course, it makes a little more sense for a coach to just stick with the guy who is actually killing it and not worrying about our fantasy team. But let’s roll with this analogy. I do like Hines this week. He crushed it previously against the Titans, which has me worried. He did have five receptions and one of his two touchdowns was receiving. Which means this is probably the Jordan Wilkins game. But I’ll anticipate some targets out of the backfield for Hines, which makes him a nice option. 

Sit 'em

Melvin Gordon
Melvin Gordon
Denver Broncos · RB
New Orleans Saints
New Orleans Saints
2020 · 8-2-0

Phillip Lindsay is better, right? It’s like if you’re arguing what is the better cop show, The Wire or Family Matters. I mean, it’s just two different things. And Gordon had two touchdowns (they tried to give him a third), and you have to wonder if that production had just gone to Lindsay, maybe we’d have a clear-cut back in this offense. Because Lindsay will just be out there running great and then all of a sudden they go back to Gordon and it’s such a bummer. And you don’t want to get bummed out playing Gordon against the Saints this week, who have allowed the fewest points to running backs this season.

Jerick McKinnon
Jerick McKinnon
San Francisco 49ers · RB
Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Rams
2020 · 7-3-0

This will be a moot point if Raheem Mostert returns to the lineup this weekend, as coach Kyle Shanahan is hoping. McKinnon was banged up a little bit the last time we saw him. But that’s pretty much a given for 49ers running backs. It’s kind of like saying Dunkin' has great coffee. Everybody knows. We don’t need to rehash it. Mostert is a decent start if he does get the start. I’d avoid the other 49ers running backs. We also don’t like the Rams running backs this week, either. Now that Cam Akers is stealing touchdowns, it’s become the prophecy Sean McVay envisioned when he said he wanted to ruin our fantasy lives. I mean, he probably didn’t say those exact words, but that’s the way it felt. And if you’ll excuse me, I’ll end this list right here. I don’t need to make my poor editors who have to read my horrible TV takes code up all three Rams running backs. You get it.

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