We are now in Week 16 of the fantasy season and we are officially in the home stretch. Week 15 was about as abnormal of a week as can be remembered, but if you survived in your league’s fantasy football playoffs, it is time to do it all over. With that in mind and while looking for the best matchup while trying to avoid the worst, here are three running backs to start and three to sit for your fantasy lineups this week.
Running Back Starts
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
CEH is one of the few healthy players at the time of this writing on the Chiefs. If they are missing any big-name player due to Covid and he is active, look for him to have a huge role. The Steelers have been rolling out the swiss cheese defense against running backs lately and are giving up the seventh-most fantasy points per game to opposing runners. They’ve given up at least 108 rushing yards to a running back in three of their last four games.
Michael Carter, New York Jets vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jets were supposed to lean heavily on Carter in their Week 15 matchup and that just didn’t happen. Look for the Jets to settle into their offensive gameplan here and throw a nice mix of runs and passes at the Jaguars' defense. Quarterback Zach Wilson has been steadily improving throughout his rookie year and that only helps take the pressure off Carter.
Devonta Freeman, Baltimore Ravens vs. Cincinnati Bengals
This game is a rematch of their Week 7 game that saw the Bengals come away with the 41-17 win. Freeman had a handful of carries but still find the endzone. Le’Veon Bell was still on the team and not on Twitter taunting Jake Paul so there will be fewer mouths to feed this time around. Freeman has been utilized more exclusively in the offensive game plan especially with quarterback Lamar Jackson banged up. I like him to put forth a flex-worthy performance at least this week.
Running Back Sits
Myles Gaskin, Miami Dolphins vs. New Orleans Saints
This one hurts because I was so hopeful for Gaskin this year with the chance to prove he could be the guy in the offense and it just hasn’t happened. He hasn’t rushed for 100 yards in a single game all year and Duke Johnson gets called up from the practice squad after being recently signed and did it his first game. I think there is going to be a larger revolving door in this backfield and don’t think you can trust the Gas Man.
Ronald Jones, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina Panthers
Starting running back Leonard Fournette is week-to-week with a hamstring injury and likely headed to IR. Jones presumes to be the lead back if Fournette misses this one, but don’t immediately throw him into your lineup. Jones has been the backup for a reason and while he should get the volume, the Panthers' defense is actually decent at limiting big fantasy performances for running backs.
Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders vs. Denver Broncos
Jacobs looked like he was going to be a championship winner when teammate Kenyan Drake went down with an injury, but he hasn’t taken a leap forward even with the extra volume. Against the Cleveland Browns in Week 15, he lost some touches to Peyton Barber who did well with his involvement. The Broncos defense is giving up the ninth-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing running backs.