Saturday, December 12, 2020

Week 14 Fantasy Football RB Start'em, Sit'em

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, Jonathan Taylor is listed below as a "start" for Week 14. And I'd certainly be comfortable going into Week 14 with him as one of my starting running backs.

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

In other words, if you own Derrick Henry, James Robinson and Taylor and can only start two backs, you should start Henry and Robinson and, in turn, bench Taylor.

For a more direct answer on whether we would start Player X over Player Y, check our Week 14 Fantasy Football Rankings. Instead of making those direct comparisons, the goal here is to highlight players that we like, or dislike, for the week.

Week 14 Fantasy Football RB Start'em

Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts (at LV)

Missing Week 12 after being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, Taylor returned to 13 carries for 91 yards and added three catches for 44 yards and a touchdown against the Houston Texans in Week 13. The second-round rookie now has consecutive games with more than 100 scrimmage yards and a touchdown.

Perhaps most encouraging over his past couple of games has been the workload split. In those two games, Taylor has 42 touches, more than Nyheim Hines (18) and Jordan Wilkins (12) combined.

While Taylor gets another matchup against the Texans in Week 15, he has a favorable matchup this week as well against the Las Vegas Raiders. The Raiders have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

David Montgomery, Chicago Bears (vs. HOU)

Speaking of favorable matchups against the Texans, who have allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season, it's Montgomery's turn. The second-year back goes into that matchup with some positive momentum.

Over the past two weeks, Montgomery has finished as fantasy's RB6 and RB1, respectively. The former Cyclone has 28 carries for 175 yards (6.25 YPC) and two touchdowns to go along with nine receptions for 79 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets in those two games.

While most have drafted Montgomery as their team's RB2 and often felt unenthused about starting him, he is once again a solid RB1 in our Week 14 rankings.

Wayne Gallman, New York Giants (vs. ARI)

Even with Colt McCoy under center, Gallman was able to rush for a career-high 135 yards on 16 carries against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 13. Not targeted in the passing game and failing to extend his scoring streak to six games, Gallman still finished the week as fantasy's RB15.

During that six-game stretch, here are Gallman's half-PPR weekly finishes: RB14, RB16, RB6, RB10, RB11 and RB15, respectively. That's six consecutive games as a low-end RB1 or high-end RB2 and that's where we have him ranked this week as well. Over that six-game stretch, they have relied more on Gallman in the most recent three games (62 touches) versus the first three games (43).

Myles Gaskin, Miami Dolphins (vs. KC)

In his first game back from injury, Gaskin handled 23 touches against the Cincinnati Bengals and turned that into a season-high 141 scrimmage yards. Although he has missed several games, Gaskin has handled 21-plus touches in four consecutive games played and five of his past six.

While the Dolphins should rely on Gaskin and their ground game as much as possible to try to limit possessions for Patrick Mahomes, Gaskin's role as a receiver keeps him game-script independent should they fall behind early.

Week 14 Fantasy Football RB Sit'em

Raheem Mostert, San Francisco 49ers (vs. WAS)

Like always, it's important to check our fantasy rankings as opposed to going based off of this list specifically as Mostert is ranked as a high-end flex and could be an option if you start three backs. That said, he is technically ranked outside of top-24 options and is certainly not a must-start.

Returning from more than a month-long absence, it was encouraging to see Mostert handle 18 touches against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 12. To follow that up with a 10-touch, 43-yard scoreless outing against the Buffalo Bills, it's discouraging for managers that trusted Mostert as a solid RB2 in Week 13.

Teammate Jeff Wilson had nearly as many touches (nine) and there's always the potential that the team's other backs -- Tevin Coleman and Jerick McKinnon -- will be more involved than expected. Combining the volume uncertainty with a difficult matchup, WFT allows the third-fewest fantasy points to the position, there is reason for managers to have trepidation with Mostert as the fantasy playoffs begin in most leagues.

Zack Moss (and Devin Singletary), Buffalo Bills (vs. PIT)

If forced to play a Bills running back this week, the choice would be Singletary over Moss, but both backs are ranked outside of our top 24 in Week 14. While Moss missed three games earlier in the season, the workload was fairly even from Weeks 6 (when he returned) to Week 12. During that stretch, Singletary had 60 touches and Moss had 59.

Last week, Singletary (21) dominated touches over Moss (four) as a punishment for (lack of) ball security. Even so, both backs finished outside the top-24 weekly running backs (although Singletary was RB25).

The duo gets another difficult matchup this week against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Only the New Orleans Saints have allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing running backs than the Steelers this season.

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

With Clyde Edwards-Helaire on the sidelines, Bell handled the majority of running back touches for the Chiefs in Week 13. Bell failed to capitalize on the opportunity as he turned 13 touches into 55 scoreless yards against the Denver Broncos. With CEH active (and presumably playing) this week, Bell's return to single-digit touches and TD dependence is a near certainty.

While CEH ranks as a low-end RB2, he's been inconsistent with Bell in the mix too. Edwards-Helaire has averaged only 10.6 touches per game over his past five and scored less than 5.0 fantasy points in two of those outings. In other words, you could argue that the LSU rookie could be put on bust alert.

BUST ALERT: Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. NO)

Like Edwards-Helaire, Sanders is ranked inside my top-24 fantasy running backs (but just barely as the RB24). Over his past three games, Sanders has finished as the weekly RB34, RB40 and RB52, respectively. In addition, he has only eight and 10 touches in his past two games, respectively.

Perhaps the transition from Carson Wentz to Jalen Hurts provides a spark for Sanders, but the matchup is a difficult one for Sanders and for a rookie quarterback making his first NFL start. As noted above, no team has been stingier to fantasy running backs than the Saints.

Only the New York Jets have a lower implied total this week than the Eagles.

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