Saturday, September 22, 2018

Week 3 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, Giovani Bernard is listed below as a "start" for Week 3. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 37 with him as my starting quarterback.

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

In other words, if you owned both Todd Gurley, James Conner and Bernard and start two running backs, you should start Gurley and Conner -- and in turn, bench Gio.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my Week 3 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 3 Fantasy Football RB Start'em


RB - Latavius Murray, Minnesota Vikings (at BUF)

With Dalvin Cook already ruled out, Murray steps into what could be a massive opportunity and legitimate RB1 upside. In the previous two seasons, Murray had scored a total of 20 touchdowns and he has the potential for multiple scores in this one.

Through two games, the Bills have allowed six touchdowns to four different running backs. Favored by more than two touchdowns, game script should lead to a run-heavy attack for the Vikings, who are projected to score more points than every team other than the Chiefs based on implied totals from Vegas odds.

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

In a fairly even timeshare with Alfred Morris (28 touches), Breida (26) could see a larger share of the workload in Week 3. Not only did he have a strong performance (159 YFS and a TD) in Week 2, it's likely we see a more pass-heavy game script this week. No team is projected to score more points than the Chiefs so Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers could find themselves needing to play catch up or keep up with the high-scoring Chiefs offense.

RB - Tevin Coleman, Atlanta Falcons (vs. NO)

With Devonta Freeman out in Week 2, Coleman carried it 16 times for 107 yards and added four catches for 18 yards. Playing four times in his career without Freeman, Coleman has 390 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns in those four games. Not only is Freeman going to miss another game, but the matchup against the Saints should be one of the highest-scoring games of the week. Coleman remains a top-12 option at least one more week.

RB - Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals (at CAR)

Teammate Joe Mixon (knee) will be sidelined for two to four weeks and that opens up a great short-term opportunity for Bernard. Gio (12) has been a distant second for touches behind Mixon (44), but he has been productive when given more of an opportunity. Over a five-game stretch last December when Mixon missed two games, Bernard totalled 507 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns as he averaged 4.75 yards per carry and hauled in 24 receptions. I have him ranked as a top-15 fantasy running back this week.


Week 3 Fantasy Football RB Sit'em


RB - Royce Freeman, Denver Broncos (at BAL)

Getting nearly half as many touches in Week 2 (eight) as he had in Week 1 (15), Freeman's fantasy owners were fortunate that he rushed for a touchdown considering he had just 28 YFS against the Raiders. Meanwhile, UDFA Phillip Lindsay once again had 15-plus touches. Through two weeks, the backfield touches have been allocated as follows: Lindsay (32), Freeman (23), Devontae Booker (seven) and Andy Janovich (one). As five-point road underdogs against a tough defense, it wouldn't be surprising if the trend of Lindsay leading the backfield in touches continues through Week 3.

RB - Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks (vs. DAL)

Before last week's game, coach Pete Carroll said that Carson "really took the lead" at running back. So, naturally, Carson saw a larger workload in Week 2, right? Wrong.

After producing 79 yards on 10 touches in Week 1, Carson had just six carries (all in the first half) for 24 yards in Week 2. Once again, first-round rookie Rashaad Penny had more touches than Carson. While the Cowboys offense leaves much to be desired, their front-seven is one of the team's strengths and it won't be easy for the Seahawks to run the ball on them. There's no way anyone should trust that Carroll will give Carson enough work to be a useful fantasy option in Week 3.

RB - Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans (at JAX)

Somewhat surprisingly, Henry (18) had more touches than Dion Lewis (15) last week after Lewis thoroughly outplayed him in Week 1. That said, Henry has just 82 rushing yards on 28 carries (2.93 YPC) and one catch for five yards through Week 2. Things won't get any easier in Week 3; in fact, things get much more difficult against the league's most suffocating defense. Not only are the Titans nearly double-digit underdogs, but only the Bills are projected to score fewer points this week based on Vegas implied totals.

- More Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em for Week 3

Week 3 Fantasy Football Rankings:
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