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Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Michael Fabiano

Week 2: Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Running Backs

Start ‘Em, Sit 'Em is the ultimate look at the best and worst matchups based on a PPR scoring system in fantasy football. This column will not cover the elite players in the NFL like Josh Allen, Jonathan Taylor or Cooper Kupp. Instead, I'll look at the players you have questions about who could exceed or fail to meet expectations at each position. For all of your final fantasy lineup decisions, be sure to check out my weekly player rankings which will be updated daily throughout the NFL season.

Fabs Top 10
1. Jonathan Taylor at Jaguars
2. Christian McCaffrey at Giants
3. Saquon Barkley vs. Panthers
4. Austin Ekeler at Chiefs (TNF)
5. D’Andre Swift vs. Commanders
6. Joe Mixon vs. Cowboys
7. Derrick Henry at Bills
8. Dalvin Cook at Eagles (MNF)
9. Leonard Fournette at Saints
10. James Conner at Raiders


Week 2 Start ‘Em: Running Backs

Start of the Week

Antonio Gibson at Lions (1 p.m. ET, Fox): Gibson was a star for fantasy fans last week, scoring 20 fantasy points while seeing 21 touches and a 38.2% touch share in a win over the Jaguars. I'd keep him active this week, as Gibson will face off against a Lions defense that allowed four rushing touchdowns a week ago. Their defense has also allowed the eighth-most points to backs in their last eight games.

Start ‘Em

James Conner at Raiders (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS): Conner didn't look great in the opener, averaging 2.6 yards per rush. He did see a 32.6% touch share, though, including a touchdown that helped him score 16.5 points. He'll be a solid No. 2 option this week, as the Cardinals face a Raiders defense that has allowed an average of more than 28 fantasy points per game to backs since Week 12, 2021.

AJ Dillon vs. Bears (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC): Listed as a start 'em last week, Dillon led the Packers in carries, targets, rushing yards, catches and receiving yards en route to 20.1 fantasy points. He also had a 34.1% touch share, which was almost double that of Aaron Jones (18.2%). I'd keep him active against the Bears, who were being gashed by 49ers RB Elijah Mitchell (6.8 YPC) last week before he was injured.

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Kareem Hunt vs. Jets (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Hunt found the end zone twice and was the RB4 last week while seeing 26.3% of the backfield touches compared to Nick Chubb's 40.4%. He'll continue to have standalone value in a run-heavy offense, making Hunt a viable flex option. I wouldn't expect 23 fantasy points against the Jets, but he'll get enough touches to produce another attractive stat line.

Chase Edmonds at Ravens (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Edmonds didn't have a huge stat line last week, but he saw a 34.8% touch share in his first game with Miami. He saw 16 touches compared to six for Raheem Mostert, making him a viable flex option. This week he faces the Ravens, who surrendered 13 combined catches to Michael Carter and Breece Hall in their season opener against the New York Jets.

More Starts
• Josh Jacobs vs. Cardinals (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS)
• Jeff Wilson Jr. vs. Seahawks (4:05 p.m. ET, Fox)
• Damien Harris at Steelers (1 p.m. ET, CBS)

DFS Bargains
• Darrell Henderson vs. Falcons ($5,700)
• Chase Edmonds at Ravens ($5,200)
• Jeff Wilson Jr. vs. Seahawks ($5,100)

Week 2 Sit ‘Em: Running Backs

Sit of the Week

Cam Akers vs. Falcons (4:05 p.m. ET, Fox): Akers was non-existent last week, as he touched the ball just three times and was a distant No. 2 back in the Rams rotation behind Darrell Henderson. While that gap could close a bit in the coming weeks, there’s just no way you can start Akers with any kind of confidence while he’s in such a secondary role. Henderson is the Rams back to start this weekend.

Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Sit ‘Em

Ezekiel Elliott at Bengals (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS): Zeke actually looked good in a loss to the Buccaneers, averaging 5.2 yards per rush. Unfortunately, he was only allowed 10 carries in the contest. The Cowboys have lost Dak Prescott to a broken thumb, their offensive line is questionable, and the Bengals' defense isn't likely to respect the pass with Cooper Rush under center. As a result, I'd beware Elliott.

Dameon Pierce at Broncos (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS): Pierce might have gotten the start last week, but it was Rex Burkhead who led the Texans backfield in snaps, touches and fantasy points. In fact, Burkhead was on the field for 30 more snaps. That's a huge problem for the rookie, who might be brought along slower than we expected. The Broncos' defense is tough too, so I'd beware Pierce this week.

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Breece Hall at Browns (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Hall, listed as a sit ‘em last week, put up a ho-hum 10.1 fantasy points in a loss to the Ravens. He was the clear No. 2 option in the backfield behind Michael Carter, who led Jets backs in snaps and saw a 31.5% touch share. Hall’s saving grace could be that Joe Flacco likes to check down to his running backs, but he’s still a risky pick against a tough Browns run defense.

Devin Singletary vs. Titans (Mon. 7:15 p.m. ET, ESPN): Singletary played 56.8% of the snaps last week against the Rams, but Zack Moss led the Bills in terms of backfield touches (12 to 10). If Buffalo is returning to a committee, Singletary is a tough player to trust. The Titans did give up more than 30 fantasy points to Saquon Barkley last weekend, but Singletary is certainly no Barkley.

More Sits
• David Montgomery at Packers (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC)
• Travis Etienne vs. Colts (1 p.m. ET, CBS)
• Jamaal Williams vs. Commanders (1 p.m. ET, Fox)

DFS Fades
• Melvin Gordon vs. Texans ($6,100)
• Ezekiel Elliott at Bengals ($5,900)
• Travis Etienne vs. Colts ($5,600)

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on Sports Illustrated and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Click here to read all his articles here on SI Fantasy. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram for your late-breaking fantasy news and the best analysis in the business to help you win a fantasy championship!

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