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NFL Fantasy 2023 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Running backs for Week 5

You have lineup questions, we have lineup answers -- at least we hope so. Start 'Em, Sit 'Em is here to help fantasy managers make difficult roster decisions. And you know what is a good move? Starting Patrick Mahomes. But that's too obvious, so you won't see the reigning MVP here. Instead, we're exploring more debatable situations. And if you can't find a player you are looking for, please check out the latest NFL Fantasy lineup rankings.

Start 'Em

De'Von Achane
Miami Dolphins MIA

Achane followed up his monster Week 3 with another big fantasy day in Week 4. He played 66 percent of the snaps and had just eight carries, but did run 26 routes and garner five targets. He finished with 120 total yards, two touchdowns and 27 fantasy points. He was also the Dolphins’ back near the goal line, which is huge for his fantasy value. He’s gone for over 350 yards, six touchdowns and nearly 80 fantasy points in the last two weeks alone. Are you really going to bench this guy? Not against the Giants, that’s for sure. 

James Conner
Arizona Cardinals ARI

Conner was held in check last week by the 49ers, but it was his first down game of the season -- and yeah, it came in the toughest matchup for RBs. Prior to last week, he had been averaging 16 fantasy PPG. He gets a much better matchup this week against a Bengals defense that’s allowed the sixth-most rushing yards to running backs this season. They just yielded a big get-right game to Derrick Henry -- Conner should follow in his footsteps. With the Bengals' offense struggling, this could be a favorable game script for the Cardinals' RB1. 

Breece Hall
New York Jets NYJ

Hall played 46 percent of the snaps with six carries, 17 routes and four targets in Week 4. All of those figures led Jets running backs. He was able to turn that work into 69 total yards and 9.9 fantasy points. It wasn’t a big day, but we did see his explosiveness on display at times. This week, he gets the Broncos, who have allowed the most rushing yards to backs this season -- over 100 more than any other team. They have also allowed the most rushing touchdowns and are top five in receiving yards, receiving touchdowns and catches allowed to running backs. Every lead RB to face Denver has scored at least 22 fantasy points. The floor isn’t the safest, given the Jets' offensive limitations, but the matchup upside is high enough to justify rolling the dice in Week 5. 

Brian Robinson
Washington Commanders WAS

Robinson got back on track in Week 4, scoring more than 13 fantasy points for the third time in four games. He played 54 percent of the snaps and saw 14 carries. He also ran more routes and saw more targets than Antonio Gibson. Robinson could have a big week against the Bears, who have allowed the 11th-most rushing yards to running backs and four rushing touchdowns through four games. They have also allowed the most receiving yards to the position and are tied for the most receiving touchdowns allowed to RBs, as well. Robinson brings a safe floor most weeks, but in this matchup, he has an opportunity for a massive fantasy day. 


Gus Edwards
Baltimore Ravens BAL

Edwards played 71 percent of the snaps with 15 carries, 12 routes and three targets last week -- all of which led the Ravens' backfield. He finished with just 50 yards, but the volume stands out. This week, he gets a strong matchup against the Steelers, who have allowed the second-most rushing yards to running backs. This could also quickly become a favorable game script for Edwards and the Baltimore rushing attack. 

Sit 'Em

Rhamondre Stevenson
New England Patriots NE

This one pains me, but Stevenson just has not lived up to expectations so far. He has yet to run for 60 yards in a game this season and has scored fewer than eight fantasy points in two straight weeks. He doesn’t have more than 10 receiving yards in a game since Week 1. Pass-game usage is what really propelled Stevenson last year, but it hasn’t been there, unfortunately pairing with very inefficient running. This week, he faces the Saints, who have allowed the eighth-fewest rushing yards to backs. New Orleans has yet to allow a rushing touchdown. Some of you won’t be able to get away, but if you have another option you like, take it. 

Najee Harris
Pittsburgh Steelers PIT

Harris is coming off his best game of the season -- but it was just 11.3 fantasy points. He was outscored by his teammate Jaylen Warren (11.5), who continues to hog the pass-game usage. Warren has out-targeted Harris 22 to 8. That means Harris has to rely on ground work ... and the Ravens have allowed just 85 rushing yards per game to running backs. They have not given up a rushing touchdown to the position -- and Harris has yet to score one. The floor is low, and the ceiling does not seem to be much higher right now, especially in this matchup. I don’t have him on any of my fantasy teams, but if I did, I’d be trying to get him out of my lineup. 

Jahmyr Gibbs
Detroit Lions DET

EDITOR'S NOTE: Gibbs is listed as doubtful due to a hamstring injury.

Gibbs has David Montgomery beat in yards per carry, rush yards over expectation, yards before contact per carry, yards after contact per carry and percent of runs that gain 10-plus yards -- but none of it matters. Montgomery is still seeing the bulk of volume and getting the goal-line work. This has left Gibbs to average just 9.7 fantasy PPG. In a game where the Lions are likely playing with a lead, I expect a lot of work to go Montgomery’s way again. Gibbs still brings a lot of upside this season, so hold onto him, but he is not a player you need to start at the moment. 

Miles Sanders
Carolina Panthers CAR

It has been an up-and-down start to Sanders' tenure in Carolina. He is averaging 10.7 fantasy PPG and has failed to reach 12 fantasy points three times. Last week, he ran for just 19 yards and added only 13 as a receiver. He averaged 1.5 yards per carry, possibly hampered by his battle with a groin injury. He has watched Chuba Hubbard eat into his workload, and now he gets the Lions, who have allowed the second-fewest rushing yards to running backs and just 2.9 yards per carry. Given the recent performance and the matchup, I would sit Sanders. 

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