Are Johnson, Dion Lewis and Alex Collins really worth starting in Week 11?
Week 11 of the fantasy football season is here and mercifully we can finally put the Le’Veon Bell situation behind us. Unless of course you are one of the unlucky fantasy owners that drafted him (and didn’t get James Conner).
Once again there are six teams on bye, which means trying to decide which running back to start and who to sit can be rather tricky. Are guys like Jalen Richard, Josh Adams and Alex Collins worth starting this week? Especially if you need a win to stay alive in the race for the fantasy playoffs?
Let's see how the Week 10 start/sit advice turned out before shifting the focus to Week 11.
Good Calls for Week 10...
Sit Adrian Peterson (6.9 fantasy points) – Washington’s offensive line is so banged up that it’s hard to imagine Peterson even being an RB2 for the rest of the season.
Bad Calls for Week 10...
Start Marlon Mack (5.8 FP) – Mack may have had a bad fantasy day, but he still led the Colts in snaps, so don’t lose faith.
Start Tevin Coleman (6.3 FP) – Atlanta abandoned the run after falling behind, and Coleman failed to make much of an impact as a receiver out of the backfield.
Sit Kerryon Johnson (18.9 FP) – Johnson was going up against an elite run-stopping defense in the Bears, and he made the most of his 20 touches, scoring both on the ground and as a receiver.
Teams on bye: Buffalo, Cleveland, Miami, New England, New York Jets, San Francisco
START THESE RBs...
Dion Lewis, TEN (at IND)
There were two sides to Lewis' performance last week against the Patriots His production wasn't good with just eight PPR points, which snapped his two-game streak with at least 21 points. But his touches were still impressive with 20 carries for 57 yards, as well as two catches for 11 yards on two targets. He continues to be the lead back in Tennessee ahead of Derrick Henry, and Lewis has three games in a row with at least 19 total touches. This week, against the Colts, Lewis should have the chance to get back on track with his production. Indianapolis is one of three teams that have already allowed at least 70 receptions to running backs. On top of that, six RBs have scored at least 10 PPR points against the Colts with just their receiving totals alone.
Kerryon Johnson, DET (vs. CAR)
Continuing his excellent form, Johnson gained 89 total yards, caught six balls and scored twice against a Bears defense allowing the fewest fantasy points to running backs. Johnson has eclipsed 80 total yards in four of his last five games. One of the only bright spots on a sinking Lions ship, Johnson is worth starting even in a tough matchup against the Panthers.
Alex Collins, BAL (vs. CIN)
Collins enters this week having scored four touchdowns in his last three games. He'll have a good opportunity to add to that total Sunday against the lowly Bengals. Cincinnati is giving up the sixth-most fantasy points to running backs. The Bengals have allowed six different running backs to gain at least 60 yards against them. Collins' value is largely dependent on scoring touchdowns, but he should find the end zone at least once Sunday in a favorable matchup.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Jalen Richard, OAK (at ARI)
Richard and Doug Martin nearly split the snaps in Week 10, with Richard’s 43 percent barely trailing Martin’s 48 percent, which should make you feel comfortable about his workload prospects against Arizona. The Raiders have no perimeter weapons and will need to get creative with Richard and Jared Cook over the middle if they’re to have any hope. Oakland sits as four-point road underdogs, which should play right into Richard’s game script (though Martin will get his too).
SIT THESE RBs...
Lamar Miller, HOU (at WAS)
The last time we saw Miller back in Week 9, he had fewer touches than Alfred Blue, which is troubling. Miller had 12 carries for 21 yards, along with two catches for 27 yards on two targets, while Blue had 15 carries for 39 yards. This week Miller takes on a Washington defense that has limited guys like Alvin Kamara (39 total yards and no touchdowns) in Week 5, Christian McCaffrey (66 total yards and no touchdowns) in Week 6 and Ezekiel Elliott (42 total yards and no touchdowns) in Week 7. Saquon Barkley had 15 carries for 33 yards against Washington in Week 8, but he added nine catches for 73 yards. It could be a tough day for Miller if Blue continues to cut into his workload.
Josh Adams, PHI (at NO)
The Eagles are eight-point underdogs on the road against a Saints defense that has yielded the fourth-fewest fantasy points to running backs so far this season. No RB has tallied more than 70 rushing yards against them despite facing guys like Todd Gurley, Joe Mixon and Saquon Barkley. Adams could be good and the Eagles would be wise to give him more opportunities, but don’t move him into trustworthy territory here after playing just 19 snaps in Week 10 compared to Wendell Smallwood’s 21 and Corey Clement’s 18. Tying your hopes to a committee in an awful matchup with a game script that shouldn’t favor running seems like a bad move.
Marlon Mack, IND (vs. TEN)
After posting back-to-back 100-yard games, Mack was held to just 29 yards on 12 carries last week by the Jaguars. Things won't get easier for Mack this week when he faces the Titans. Tennessee is allowing the fourth-fewest fantasy points, and coming off two impressive performances against the Cowboys and Patriots. It all points to another disappointing week for Mack owners.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Dalvin Cook, MIN (at CHI)
This won't be a popular fade after Cook returned two weeks ago against the Lions and racked up 109 total yards on 14 total touches. But the Bears aren't the Lions. Chicago is allowing the fewest fantasy points to running backs and gives up just 84 rushing yards per game. Only four running backs have topped 10 fantasy points when playing the Bears and just two have reached 20 points. The bottom line is the Bears' defense doesn't give up much to running backs, making Cook a risky start this week.
— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.