Sunday, October 15, 2017

Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em: Week 6 Fantasy Running Backs

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Alvin Kamara is listed below as a "start" for Week 6. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 6 with him as one of my starting running backs.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned Le'Veon Bell, Todd Gurley and Kamara and only start two running backs, you should start Bell and Gurley -- and in turn, bench Kamara.

So, while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my Week 6 Fantasy Football Rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

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Week 6 Fantasy Football RB Start'em


RB - Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints (vs. DET)

Adrian Peterson wasn't much of a factor in this backfield, but now that he's gone, there will be a few extra touches to go to both Ingram and especially Kamara. Before their bye, the trio had the following usage rates -- 46.72% for Ingram, 28.69% for Kamara and 23.77% for Peterson.

With AP now in Arizona, I could see that split be in the 60-40 neighborhood with Ingram getting the edge. In their two wins immediately preceding the bye, Ingram had 16 and 18 touches, respectively, and he should be a lock for 15-plus again this week.

He's yet to score a touchdown and he's averaged a pedestrian 4.05 YPC this season. That said, Ingram is still heavily involved as a receiver -- 22 targets in four games including eight in Week 4 -- despite Kamara's role in the offense as a change-of-pace option. While Kamara's 28 targets equates to an 18.67-percent target share, Ingram's 22 targets is 14.67 percent of the team total. Only 12 running backs have a higher percentage of team targets than Ingram. (Kamara is third.)

Before the bye, Kamara had double-digit fantasy points and a touchdown in back-to-back games and converted all 10 of his targets in Week 4. With one of the five highest implied totals on the week, there should be plenty of scoring opportunities for the offense in general. I have Ingram ranked inside my top 10 fantasy running backs and Kamara inside my top 24, which makes both of them viable starting options in standard-scoring formats.

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RB - Javorius Allen, Baltimore Ravens (vs. CHI)

Allen's carries have fluctuated this season -- 21, 14, eight, two and 21 -- but he should lead the backfield in carries once again in Week 6 with Terrance West already ruled out. One of the better receiving backs as well, Allen has 20 receptions over the past four games so he could get in the neighborhood of 20 touches against the Bears. The game isn't projected to be a high-scoring affair, but the Ravens are a touchdown favorite at home facing a rookie quarterback making his second start.

RB - Marshawn Lynch, Oakland Raiders (vs. LAC)

It's been a slow start for Lynch as he has failed to average at least four yards per carry every week except Week 1 (4.2 YPC). On the year, Lynch has 57 carries for 194 yards (3.40 YPC) and two touchdowns plus four catches for 38 yards. Fantasy's RB27 through five weeks (RB36 in PPR), Beast Mode has a great opportunity in front of him this week.

First of all, the return of Derek Carr bodes well for the offense's ability to move the ball in general. That should lead to more sustained drives and scoring opportunities. Aside from Carr's return, the matchup is tremendous. The Chargers have allowed a league-high 5.47 YPC to opposing running backs. In addition, they have allowed three running backs to rush for more than 120 yards over the past four weeks.

RB - Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota Vikings (vs. GB)

It was McKinnon, not Latavius Murray, that took advantage of the season-ending ACL injury to rookie Dalvin Cook as he gashed the Bears for 146 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown on 22 touches last week. Meanwhile, Murray remained the inefficient and ineffective runner that he has been all year with 12 carries for just 31 yards.

Facing Aaron Rodgers and the high-powered Packers offense, the game plan should feature a heavy dose of McKinnon this week especially given that Sam Bradford and Stefon Diggs have already been ruled out. It's always possible for the Vikings to trail early given Green Bay's offensive firepower, but they are only 3.5-point underdogs at home this week.

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Week 6 Fantasy Football RB Sit'em


RB - Wayne Gallman, New York Giants (at DEN)

Gallman gained 82 yards last week on 16 touches including five receptions and he now has 29 touches over two games. Considering that New York's top three receivers are all out, the game plan may be to give both Gallman and Orleans Darkwa a sizable workload. That said, the Giants have one of the league's worst offensive lines, Denver's corners should be able to shut down New York's wide receivers with limited help and opposing running backs have 71 carries for only 167 yards (2.35 YPC) this season. In addition, the Giants are double-digit road underdogs with the lowest implied total of the week.

RB - Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns (at HOU)

In Cleveland's five games, they have lost three of them by exactly three points and two of them by double digits. In their close losses, Crowell has averaged 17 touches per game. In their two lopsided losses, Crowell has averaged nine touches per game. This week, the Browns are nearly double-digit 'dogs on the road in Houston.

Even though the Browns boosted their offensive line this offseason, Crowell is averaging only 3.13 yards per carry and the volume is unlikely to be there this week. Meanwhile, teammate Duke Johnson has scored a touchdown and double-digit fantasy points in three consecutive games. If I were to start a Browns running back this week, it'd be Johnson, not Crowell, regardless of format.

RB - Adrian Peterson, Arizona Cardinals (vs. TB)

It may feel weird to say that getting out of New Orleans is the best thing for a player's fantasy outlook, but that is obvioulsy true for Peterson, who looked like a square peg in a round hole in NOLA. And it wouldn't surprise me if Peterson leads the team in carries in his first game in the desert.

That said, the matchup is better for the passing game than the running backs. Opposing running backs have averaged just 3.27 YPC (third-lowest in the NFL) against the Bucs this season. In future weeks, Peterson may move into the RB2 range, but not this week.

- More Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em for Week 6

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