Week 2 RB Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em: Running Back Fantasy Football Strategy

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This article will discuss which running backs I think you should be starting and sitting in Week 2 of your fantasy football leagues. I will make most of my judgments off PPR scoring which values running backs who are active in the receiving game. I will be looking into favorable and unfavorable matchups that will help give you an edge over your opponents this week. I do want to say that top tier running backs should be started every week like Alvin Kamara, Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliott, etc. These are backs that can shift back and forth depending on their matchup.

Start “Em

Sony Michel, New England Patriots

Opponent: Miami Dolphins

If you find yourself lucky enough to have the running back facing the Dolphins, they are pretty much a must start. The Dolphins allowed 265 rushing yards last week to the Baltimore Ravens. Yes, the Ravens are a run-heavy offense, and the Patriots are more reliant on passing, but this should be a blow out quickly. The Patriots will be running a lot and most likely giving Michel a lot of it. The one concern is how bad Michel looked in Week 1, but the Steelers defense is stronger against the run than the Dolphins. I see Michel being a major threat this week.

Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers

Opponent: Detroit Lions

There were questions of how the Chargers would deal with the continued hold out from Melvin Gordon. If Week 1 is anything of what we can expect for the remainder of the holdout, Ekeler is a solid option in most matchups. Not only did he have the most carries, but he was also heavily involved in the passing game. He hauled in 3 total touchdowns against the Colts, and I don’t expect much different against the Lions who allowed David Johnson to have a big game in both running and passing scenarios. Justin Jackson did not take much away from Ekeler and it’s ultimately fine if Ekeler continues to get 10-15 touches with 5-10 targets.

Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans

Opponent: Indianapolis Colts

Derrick Henry finds himself playing the Colts who, as I mentioned above, let Ekeler score 3 times. Henry also finds himself coming off a big week with 2 touchdowns himself as well as 155 yards of total offense. Dion Lewis appears to not be a threat at all to his volume. The combo of a hot streak and a defense that has trouble stopping running backs could lead to crazy results for Henry in Week 2.

Mark Ingram, Baltimore Ravens

Opponent: Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals’ defense is one of the worst-ranked defenses in the league and will be facing off against an offense that just scored 59 points. In that game, Ingram had 107 yards and 2 touchdowns. I could see the same thing happening on repeat this week. Gus Edwards did take a lot of handoffs as well, but 14 carries are plenty for Ingram, plus he got the majority of red-zone work. Ingram could see another multiple touchdown game again.

Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles

Opponent: Atlanta Falcons

There is no doubt that Sanders is the most talented running back on the Eagles and will start to be used as it. This pick is a more on edge kind of pick, but I believe it will pay off. The Falcons just let Dalvin Cook run all over them. This is a great opportunity for Sanders to break out as the number one back for the Eagles in a very good offense. Jordan Howard and Darren Sproles will always be taking away touches, but this matchup could be a great one for Sanders.

Sit “Em

Kenyan Drake, Miami Dolphins

Opponent: New England Patriots

I would not even touch the Dolphins backfield. Drake did not look good in Week 1 and Kalen Ballage looked even worse. The Dolphins are just a bad team. The Patriots have a decent defense. It’s not a good matchup. If you unfortunately drafted Drake this year, I would just stash him or try to get something back for him. There is a small chance that he busts out a big game eventually, but I don’t see him as a startable player anytime soon.

David Montgomery, Chicago Bears

Opponent: Denver Broncos

Montgomery did not receive much action in Week 1 against the Packers. I have Montgomery and I am personally choosing not to start him. His volume is what frightens me most. I need him to prove himself first before I start him. I expect that the Bears will realize why they failed to get any offense going at all and make adjustments but until then, I would rather play other backs if possible.

Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons

Opponent: Philadelphia Eagles

Freeman split touches with Ito Smith last week. That is not a good sign for Freeman owners. Matt Ryan threw the ball like crazy and if that is what the Falcons plan to do this year, Freeman’s value will start to tank. The Eagles are also a very good defense. This week does not seem like a good matchup for Freeman, but I would hold on to him and let him prove himself in the Falcons offense. If he stays injury-free, he could rise up to his value at draft day.

Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers

Opponent: Minnesota Vikings

This pick is based on matchup alone. If you started Aaron Jones last week, you were probably greatly disappointed. Starting him against the Bears was not the greatest idea and this week won’t be any different. The Vikings have a very established defense and totally shut down Devonta Freeman and Ito Smith last week. Aaron Jones will have his big games in the future but this week’s matchup just isn’t it. Stash him on your bench for later weeks if you have better options.

Carlos Hyde, Houston Texans

Opponent: Jacksonville Jaguars

My first reason for this choice is how split this backfield will be with Duke Johnson. I’m sure he will get the majority of carries, but not by much. Johnson will get most of the receiving action. My second reason is the matchup. The Jags did not look great Week 1, but it was the Chiefs. They are just an unreal offense. My final reason is that it is Carlos Hyde we are talking about here. The one who has been the worst running back on every team he plays for. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Texans end up getting rid of him eventually. I would stay away from him.

I am a student at the University of Michigan studying Sport Management. I have been involved in sports as long as I can remember, playing football, baseball, and basketball. I also love learning how to play songs on the piano and ukulele.

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