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2 key RB starts, 2 RB sits to consider for Week 17 fantasy football

Will Kareem Hunt be able to bounce back from his first poor performance in 2019? Is volume enough of a reason to use Devin Singletary in a tough matchup?

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen hands off the ball to Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary as they take on the New England Patriots in the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Generally speaking, it’s hard to find a consistent and quality second running back on a week-to-week basis. However, that task somehow gets even tougher in Week 17 of the Fantasy Football season. Between injuries, committees and players just straight-up resting, the RB position is never more complex than it is in the final few days of December. Most people complain about their ability to find the perfect present this time of year, how about finding a healthy back with 20-touch upside and a concrete role in the passing game? Where’s the gift card for that?

Anyway, I’m here to help as best I can. Here are a few RBs to start and a few to avoid this coming Sunday.

Running Back Starts

Carlos Hyde, Houston Texans

Though the Texans aren’t really playing for much this weekend, Bill O’Brien has made it clear that he’ll be playing his starters against Tennessee. If the head coach is being honest, this could actually be a really nice spot for a high-floor option like Hyde, who comes into Week 17 10th in the league in carries (241) and as one of 11 running backs with at least 1,000 yards gained on the ground. Sure, Hyde’s non-existence in the passing attack make him sort of touchdown-or-bust, yet that’s not the worst archetype to bring to the table versus the Titans as of late. Tennesse’s allowed an opposing RB to exceed 16.0 FPTS in four of its past five contests, a span where the team has also surrendered seven rushing TDs to the position. Heck, Hyde himself ran for 104 yards at Nissan Stadium less than two weeks ago.

Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns

Hunt had his first truly poor showing of the season last weekend against the Ravens, but it’s not as if the running back’s role changed all that much from week-to-week. Hunt continued to play well over 50% of the Browns’ offensive snaps and he ranked third on the team in targets in the 31-15 loss, with only the likes of Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham outpacing him. It was simply a bad game for all of Cleveland’s fantasy assets and something that was not entirely unexpected against a very stout Baltimore defense. The going won’t be nearly as tough against the Bengals, who are conceding the fifth-most yards per drive (36.5) and the second-most yards per target to opposing RBs (7.7). Considering Hunt has the fifth most targets of any running back since Week 10 (39), that last stat seems important.

Running Back Sits

Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills

While it was encouraging to see Singletary play all but two of the Bills’ offensive snaps last Saturday against the Patriots, the rookie’s volume hasn’t really led to all that much fantasy success as of late. In fact, despite garnering double-digit carries in six-straight starts, Singletary’s produced just a single 100-yard rushing performance and zero rushing touchdowns dating back to the beginning of Week 11; a span where Josh Allen, the team’s true No. 1 goal line option, has scored three times. However, maybe a more concerning trend is that Singletary’s touchdown drought has coincided with the back catching two passes or fewer in four of Buffalo’s past six contests. With the Jets surrendering a league-low 2.99 adjusted line yards per rushing attempt, Singletary picked a bad spot to be phased out of the passing game.

Gus Edwards, Baltimore Ravens

Edwards should technically be the starting RB for the Ravens this weekend with Mark Ingram already having been ruled out; however, it’s unclear how much Edwards will have to share the role with rookie Justice Hill. A bigger red flag is the matchup. Pittsburgh has been incredibly successful at limiting opposing running backs so far in 2019, having yet to allow an individual 100-yard rushing performance. On top of that, the Steelers haven’t conceded a rushing touchdown to an RB since all the way back in Week 5 when, you guessed it, Ingram was able to find pay dirt. It doesn’t help matters that Baltimore is currently sporting its lowest implied point total of the year, either.