Saturday, October 24, 2020

Fantasy Football Start'Em, Sit'Em: Week 7 RBs

The decision on which player to start, or sit, largely comes down to the options on your roster (and/or possibly the players available on your league's waiver wire).

As an example, Giovani Bernard is listed below as a "start" for Week 7. And we'd certainly be comfortable going into Week 7 with him as one of our starting running backs.

Then again, Bernard may be a "sit" for your team.

In other words, if you own both Derrick Henry, James Conner and Bernard, you should start Henry and Conner and, in turn, bench Bernard.

For a more direct answer on whether we would start Player X over Player Y, check it our Week 7 Fantasy Football Rankings. Instead of those direct comparisons, the goal here is to highlight players that we like, or dislike, for the week.

Week 7 Fantasy Football RB Start'em

Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns (at CIN)

Hunt has finished as a top-five fantasy running back once this season (Week 2 against the Bengals). In that game, backfield mate Nick Chubb finished as the week's RB3 with 22/124/2 rushing. Hunt also scored a pair of touchdowns -- one rushing and one receiving -- as he totaled 101 scrimmage yards on 12 touches. With Chubb out this week, Hunt is set up for a monster week and currently sits inside our top four fantasy running backs for the week.

Mike Davis, Carolina Panthers (at NO)

Christian McCaffrey who? Of course, CMC is one of the most talented backs in the NFL, but the Panthers have not missed a beat with Davis filling in for the team's stud running back.

Davis has a minimum of 20 touches and a touchdown in each of the past four weeks as the starter. In addition, Davis has a minimum of eight receptions in three of his past five games with a total of 32 catches during that span. In fact, the other top back (Alvin Kamara, 38) in this game is the only running back to haul in more receptions than Davis this season.

Ronald Jones, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at LV)

Even though Leonard Fournette has practiced in full this week, Tampa's backfield clearly belongs to Jones. The third-year back now has a three-game 100-yard streak and currently ranks fifth in the NFL in rushing (472). While he has been a workhorse with 20-plus touches in three consecutive games as well, RoJo has been efficient with an average of 4.87 yards per carry this season.

To help Jones' cause, he gets a favorable matchup against the Raiders, who have allowed the third-most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season. Counting rush attempts by only running backs, the Raiders have allowed 5.21 YPC (third-most) and a rushing touchdown percentage of 7.29% (most) to the position.

Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. CLE)

Whether or not you owned Joe Mixon, who has been ruled out this week, Bernard is a viable plug-and-play option at RB2 off the waiver wire. The Browns have surrendered only 3.81 YPC to running backs, but they have allowed seven rushing touchdowns on 116 carries (6.03%, third-most) to the position.

Week 7 Fantasy Football RB Sit'em

Le'Veon Bell, Kansas City Chiefs (at DEN)

It's certainly possible that Bell becomes the 1(a) to Clyde Edwards-Helaire's 1(b) at some point this season. That said, it's more likely that the roles to begin Bell's Kansas City tenure see him as the No. 2 -- not even the 1(b) -- to CEH initially. The first-round rookie currently ranks second in the NFL in rushing (505) and is a talented receiver out of the backfield. Taking a wait-and-see approach with Bell figures to be the most prudent approach. In additionn, the Broncos have been the league's stingiest defense to opposing running backs this season.

Darrell Henderson, Los Angeles Rams (vs. CHI)

Henderson is off to a great start. Through six weeks, the second-year back has three RB1 (top-12) weekly performances and another RB2 (top-24) performance. With 14 or more touches in four of the past five weeks, Henderson has averaged 87.6 yards from scrimmage per game with a total of four touchdowns during that span.

While Cam Akers (surprisingly) played only one snap last week, there is (the potential for) a three-headed backfield with Henderson, Malcolm Brown and Akers. Given that the Bears have allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs this season, Henderson is more of a flex option than a must-start RB2 this week.

Adrian Peterson, Detroit Lions (at ATL)

Peterson has scored in back-to-back games, but he rushed for 40 or less yards in each of those games. With a limited role as a receiver (seven targets in five games), Peterson was out-touched and outperformed by rookie D'Andre Swift last week. Swift rushed 14 times for 116 yards and two touchdowns and added three catches for seven yards.

While the matchup against the Falcons is favorable, it's Swift, not Peterson, that ranks insde our top 20 fantasy running backs for the week. Averaging only 4.13 YPC this season, Peterson is likely to continue to cede more rushing work to Swift, who has four-plus targets in four of five games this season.

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