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NFL Fantasy Football Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 3: Running backs

You have lineup questions. We have answers. At least we hope. Start 'Em & Sit 'Em has helped fantasy managers for years make those pressing lineup decisions. And you know what is a good decision? Starting Patrick Mahomes. But that's too obvious, so you won't see that here. Instead here are some of the most-pressing questions. And, if you can't find a player you are looking for, please check out latest NFL Fantasy lineup rankings right here.

Start 'em

Austin Ekeler
Los Angeles Chargers LAC · RB
Carolina Panthers
2020 · 0-2-0

Ekeler was solid against the Chiefs on Sunday, closing in on 20 fantasy points (18.8 if you want to be exact). It was good. But wasn’t that what you expected? It’s like the first time someone tries In-n-Out burger. Californians have ruined it for everyone by talking it up so much, it’s never going to be as good as we make it out to be. I love it, mind you. But I understand how us people who put the word “the” in front of The 405, have ruined things. But back to Austin, who probably loves a double-double. He did have 16 carries and his targets increased to four this week with Justin Herbert at quarterback. (And should we talk about that?) The important takeaway is he’s getting 20 touches a game. So him being the RB20 is temporary. Especially with a matchup looming against the Panthers, who have allowed the third-most fantasy points to running backs this year (46.6).

Miles Sanders
Philadelphia Eagles PHI · RB
Cincinnati Bengals
2020 · 0-2-0

Things are not going great for the Eagles right now. But thankfully they have the Bengals this week. Like, when you’re bummed out about your team, you fire up Madden, set the setting to rookie and you go hang 70 on your opponent. And yes, just 70 because I want to keep it somewhat realistic. I’m a gentleman. The NFL equivalent of that is playing the Bengals. Just look at how that worked for the Browns last week. Sanders was great against the Rams (20.1 fantasy points). He played 77% of the snaps. Our friends, the Bengals, have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs this season.

Kenyan Drake
Arizona Cardinals ARI · RB
Detroit Lions
2020 · 0-2-0

I love the Drake so much because he’s always referencing fantasy football on his Twitter timeline. It’s fun because it makes him seem like he’s one of us. Like the first time we saw Olivia Munn wear a Star Wars T-shirt on Attack of the Show. You felt cool. And I side with Drake here who was advising his haters to drop him in their fantasy leagues if they are so upset. Drake hasn’t been awful (13 fantasy points per game this year). But like Ekeler, it’s not a great return on the investment. The Lions should help that out this week. Detroit has allowed the third-most fantasy points to running backs this year.

David Montgomery
Chicago Bears CHI · RB
Atlanta Falcons
2020 · 0-2-0

The Bears were really committed to the run on Sunday against the Giants, and had some long, sustained drives highlighted by Montgomery’s running. Coach Matt Nagy has some interesting play-calling at times (but I still count myself as a fan). But Montgomery has had at least 14 touches in both games this season. And he did miss a bit of time against the Giants. The Falcons have allowed four rushing touchdowns already this season, and the 10th-most points to running backs.

Melvin Gordon
Denver Broncos DEN · RB
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2020 · 1-1-0

Gordon had a tough matchup against the Steelers this week and still came out of it with his second-consecutive game with at least 15 points. Which is huge. There are a lot of injuries to the Broncos offense including Drew Lock and Courtland Sutton (who is out of the year). But Gordon’s versatility makes him valuable and the Bucs have given up the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs this season. And normally, I’d be worried because he is all by himself. But since you and your league mates are streaming RBs, we have to do what we have to do.

Sleeper: Joshua Kelley (vs. Cincinnati Bengals); Mike Davis (vs. Los Angeles Chargers)

Sit 'em

David Johnson
Houston Texans HOU · RB
Pittsburgh Steelers
2020 · 2-0-0

I spent a lot of time last week trying to unload my lone share DJ because I knew that first week wasn’t going to be sustainable. And you might ask yourself why I have DJ at all if I didn’t want him. Well, my friends set a draft date, never told me and he was auto-picked. Don’t worry, though. My first pick was Christian McCaffrey, so my life is great. Johnson has another tough matchup this week against the Steelers who have allowed less than 50 rushing yards per game this season. And the fifth-fewest fantasy points. I’m never going to be able to get rid of him, am I?

Mark Ingram
Baltimore Ravens BAL · RB
Kansas City Chiefs
2020 · 2-0-0

Ingram had a solid game last week against the Texans with 15.7 fantasy points. But he got bailed out by a 30-yard fourth-quarter touchdown. Gus Edwards – of all people – led the Ravens in rushing yards on Sunday. Lamar Jackson led the team with 16 carries. J.K. Dobbins was coming off a pretty sick Week 1 and while he didn’t factor into the game on Sunday, he’s looming in the future.

Ronald Jones
Tampa Bay Buccaneers TB · RB
Denver Broncos
2020 · 0-2-0

It’s inevitable. Listen, I’m a RoJo guy, but we have to finally face the facts Bruce Arians just isn’t that into him. We tried to make them a thing, but Leonard Fournette wasn’t brought in to just sit the bench. Fournette played 44% of the snaps (and just 35% for our guy RoJo). The worst part was Leonard Fournette was just so much better, finishing second among RBs last week with 27.6 fantasy points.

Todd Gurley
Atlanta Falcons ATL · RB
Chicago Bears
2020 · 2-0-0

Love that Gurley is getting onto the field with a chance to run the football. But the Falcons haven’t involved him in the passing game this season with Russell Gage becoming the third option in the offense when we kind of hoped Gurley’s versatility would make him a viable receiving threat for Atlanta. Gurley was targeted five times in the season opener (which was great), but didn’t receive a single target against the Cowboys (which was not great).

Follow Adam Rank on Twitter at @adamrank.

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