Saturday, September 15, 2018

Week 2 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, Dion Lewis is listed below as a "start" for Week 2. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 2 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 both Todd Gurley, Dalvin Cook and Lewis, you should start Gurley and Cook -- and in turn, bench Lewis.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my Week 2 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 2 Fantasy Football RB Start'em


RB - Adrian Peterson, Washington Redskins (vs. IND)

Turning back the clock, Peterson rushed 26 times for 96 yards and a touchdown and added two receptions for 70 yards in the team's Week 1 victory over the Cardinals. Handling two-thirds of the team's running back touches (42) in Week 1, favorable game script could set up Peterson for lots of work in Week 2 as well. Favored by nearly a touchdown at home, Washington is projected to be a top-five scoring team in Week 2 based on implied totals from Vegas odds.

RB - James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. KC)

Fantasy owners that handcuffed Le'Veon Bell with Conner didn't miss a beat in Week 1. Handling 100 percent of the team's running back touches (36), Conner nearly racked up 200 yards from scrimmage (192) and a pair of touchdowns. With Bell still unsigned, Conner's in line for another massive workload and big day.

It would be unrealistic to expect 200 yards from Conner again, but the Chiefs allowed the duo of Melvin Gordon (166) and Austin Ekeler (126) to rack up 292 YFS last week. In addition, this game has the week's highest over-under and the Steelers are projected to score the most points based in Week 2 Vegas odds.

RB - Tevin Coleman, Atlanta Falcons (vs. CAR)

With Devonta Freeman (knee) ruled out for Week 2, Coleman will assume the lead-back role against the Panthers. In the three games that he has played with Freeman sidelined, Coleman has a total of 57 carries for 250 yards and three touchdowns plus a 15-yard reception. The matchup isn't great as the Panthers ranked third in rushing defense in 2017, but Coleman should approach 20 touches, which makes him a borderline RB1/RB2.

RB - Dion Lewis, Tennessee Titans (vs. HOU)

The duo of Lewis and Derrick Henry handled 100 percent of the team's running back touches in Week 1 and that will be the case most/all weeks. How the opportunities will be allocated to the two backs is less clear, but there could certainly be a hot-hand approach many weeks.

Last week's game against the Dolphins was a little unusual given multiple lengthy in-game delays, but the Titans tried to establish Henry as he handled the first eight opportunities. After that point, however, it was (almost) all Lewis as he handled 21 of the final 24 touches. Lewis finished the game with 110 YFS and a touchdown. This week, I have Lewis ranked as a back-end RB2 and ...

Week 2 Fantasy Football RB Sit'em


RB - Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans (vs. HOU)

... Henry ranked more as a flex option against the Texans. As noted above, Henry managed just 11 touches -- 10 carries for 26 yards and one reception for five yards. It's certainly possible that the Titans try to establish their running game with Henry again, but the team will be without both starting tackles (Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin). As home underdogs against a tough Texans defense, the Titans are projected to be one of the lowest-scoring teams on this week's slate.

RB - Royce Freeman, Denver Broncos (vs. OAK)

Going into the season, there was some expectation of a committee backfield with Devontae Booker. After Week 1, the committee has grown. Granted, Booker had just four touches, but Phillip Lindsay's workload (a team-high 17 touches) is a concern. Freeman had 15 carries and will likely lead the backfield in touches most weeks, but the team is high on Lindsay and Booker will likely see more than four touches each week. As my RB25 for the week, you can do worse than Freeman, but he's more of a flex option than a must-start this week.

RB - Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks (at CHI)

On a per-touch basis, Carson had a productive Week 1 -- 7.3 YPC and 9.3 Y/R. That said, Carson got only 10 opportunities -- seven carries for 51 yards and three catches for 28 yards. Even though Pete Carroll said that Carson "really took the lead at that position," first-round rookie Rashaad Penny had more touches (11) than Carson (10). If Carson continues to be more effective than Penny, it's very possible that he is rewarded with a (much) larger workload. But for now, I view Carson more as a flex option heading into Week 2 against the Bears.

- More Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em for Week 2

Week 2 Fantasy Football Rankings:
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