Saturday, November 24, 2018

Week 12 Fantasy Football: Running Backs Start'em, Sit'em

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, Matt Breida is listed below as a "start" for Week 12. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 12 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 Melvin Gordon, James Conner and Breida and start two running backs, you should start MG3 and Conner -- and in turn, bench Breida.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my Week 12 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 12 Fantasy Football RB Start'em

RB - Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns (at CIN)

Productive on limited touches before the trade, Chubb has been a workhorse following Cleveland's short-lived Carlos Hyde era. In his four starts since Hyde was traded to Jacksonville, Chubb has a minimum of 18 carries each week and he totaled 209 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns in his previous game.

If you own Chubb, you have to be happy about the matchup this week against the Bengals. (And perhaps even happier that you get it again in Week 16 -- Championship Week in most leagues.) No team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing running backs this season and they have surrendered a league-high 5.13 per attempt on running back carries.

RB - Matt Breida, San Francisco 49ers (at TB)

Before the bye, Breida racked up 132 yards from scrimmage and two scores on a season-high 20 touches. Perhaps even better news, Breida had a chance to get healthier with the bye and he gets an exploitable matchup coming out of it.

Tampa has allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs and no team has given up more touchdowns (17) to the position including a trio of scores to rookie Saquon Barkley last week. While the 49ers are underdogs on the road, the spread is only three points and no Sunday game has a higher total.

RB - Marlon Mack, Indianapolis Colts (vs. MIA)

When active, Mack is the clear lead back for the Colts. In his past four games played, Mack is averaging nearly 20 touches (19.8), more than 100 YFS (103.8) and more than a score (1.25) per game. During that four-game stretch, Mack has three top-16 finishes and a pair of top-three outings. To help his cause this week, the Dolphins have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

RB - Gus Edwards, Baltimore Ravens (vs. OAK)

Edwards had a breakout performance in Week 11 as he rushed for 115 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries. While it may be unreasonable to expect another 100-yard game, it wouldn't be a surprise if he once again led the team running backs in carries.

With Lamar Jackson putting stress on run defenses due to his rare speed, running lanes could be (more) wide open (than usual) for the north-south runner. As double-digit home favorites against the Raiders, the Ravens could possibly lead the league in rush attempts this week.


Week 12 Fantasy Football RB Sit'em

RB - LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills (vs. JAX)

Before the bye, McCoy had a monster performance (26/113/2) as Buffalo blew out the Jets by 31 points. In his previous three games combined, however, McCoy gained 24 yards on 24 carries as the team lost by a combined 83 points.

As bad as Jacksonville has played this season, Buffalo is still a home underdog in this week's (expected) lowest-scoring game (37.0 O/U). Meanwhile, the Jags have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. McCoy is more of a flex this week than a must-start option.

RB - Alex Collins, Baltimore Ravens (vs. OAK)

In an important divisional game and three-point win last week, Collins had a season-low seven touches. Scoring a touchdown saved an otherwise low-volume and inefficient performance (2.57 YPC) for his fantasy owners. Game script could lead to multiple running backs having big games this week, but if I could start just one Ravens running back, it wouldn't be Collins.

RB - Doug Martin, Oakland Raiders (at BAL)

Over the past four weeks, Martin has been a productive-yet-not-spectacular fantasy option with weekly finishes of RB31, RB24, RB24 and RB29, respectively. As noted above, the Raiders are double-digit road underdogs against the Ravens, who have one of the league's best defenses. In fact, no team has allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. If I had to start a Raiders running back, it'd be Jalen Richard due to his receiving abilities and the likelihood that the Raiders are playing from behind.

RB - Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans (at HOU)

For the first time in four games, Henry did not score a touchdown. In fact, he had four touchdowns in the previous three games. Even so, Henry has yet to rush for more than 58 yards in any game this season and he has a total of only 10 receptions on the season. In other words, Henry is little more than a TD-dependent flex option this week that could see the offense really struggle if Marcus Mariota isn't ready to play on Monday Night Football.

- More Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em for Week 12

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