While it’s a given that you are going to start your stud running backs on your fantasy football team on any given Sunday, it’s choosing who to start in your flex spots that can really make the difference between winning and losing.
This week, however, it is more about who you shouldn’t start. If you have questions about running backs like Derrick Henry, Marshawn Lynch and Kenyan Drake, this week’s start/sit advice will really help.
But before we get into this week, let's take a quick look back and see how my Week 2 calls went.
Good Calls for Week 2...
Sit LeSean McCoy (6.8 fantasy points) – The Bills are terrible and now that McCoy is banged up, don’t hope for much fantasy production moving forward.
Sit Jamaal Williams (7.1 FP) – Williams found little room to run against the Vikings, and now Aaron Jones is due back, so Williams isn’t even guaranteed to start for the Packers, let alone your fantasy team.
Bad Calls for Week 2...
Start Adrian Peterson (5 FP) – Peterson and the Washington running game was very mortal against the Colts in a surprise Week 2 outcome.
Start Dion Lewis (4.3 FP) – Lewis was doomed as soon as Blaine Gabbert was set to start instead of Marcus Mariota in what should have been a great matchup.
START THESE RBs...
Lamar Miller, HOU (vs. NYG)
Despite being somewhat forgotten in an offense with big-name talents like Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins, Miller ranks seventh among running backs for snap count percentage. The Texans are leading the league in rushing yards per game after two weeks into the season. While that stat is definitely skewed from Watson picking up yards on the ground, Miller is averaging a solid 4.8 yards per carry. The Giants are near the bottom of the league in rushing defense in the early going while the offense could struggle on the road against a tough Texans defense. Look for Miller to have a strong performance and find the end zone for the first time this year.
Kenyan Drake, MIA (vs. OAK)
The presence of Frank Gore has definitely limited Drake’s potential output through two weeks. Drake is thoroughly out-touching Gore 32-19, but he’s not getting the desired volume to pull him out of the RB2 category. Sunday presents a cozy date with a Raiders team coming off back-to-back losses where they held leads only to get shellacked in the second half. They now must make the cross-country trip for a 1 p.m. ET kickoff against a Dolphins team that's jumped out to a 2-0 start. Oakland is dead last in run-defense DVOA, 31st in rushing yards allowed, and 24th in fantasy points surrendered to running backs. Drake owners haven’t been totally satisfied to this point, but there’s big upside here.
Matt Breida, SF (at KC)
The NFL’s leading rusher is still getting out-touched by Alfred Morris, but game flow says the 49ers will be throwing a lot, which means plenty of action for Breida in the second half.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Peyton Barber, TB (vs. PIT, Mon.)
With running back production hard to come by these days, I’m leaning on games with optimal matchups. The Steelers' defense is giving up 152 rushing yards per game and could get exposed this week if Ryan Fitzpatrick continues to work his magic in the pocket. Barber hasn’t found the end zone yet this season but has been the lead dog for the Bucs' backfield. He's seen 67.7 percent of the snaps, and the more teams worry about the deep ball to DeSean Jackson or Mike Evans or Chris Godwin, the better the opportunities will be for the running game.
SIT THESE RBs...
Marshawn Lynch, OAK (at MIA)
Miami has done a good job against the run so far, allowing just one rushing touchdown over two games. The Dolphins also are holding opponents to fewer than 80 yards per game on the ground. It's likely the Raiders find themselves playing from behind early which means they will have to take to the air. Lynch has been fantasy relevant to this point, but this matchup favors Jalen Richard more.
Derrick Henry, TEN (at JAC)
Henry has been a bust so far this season. He’s managed just 82 rushing yards on 28 carries (2.93 ypc) with a single catch (on his lone target) and nary a touchdown. The Titans have been dealing with injuries to their offensive line, as LT Taylor Lewan (concussion) and RT Jack Conklin (knee) have both missed time. Lewan could be back for this game, but it's still a tough spot for Henry. Not only do the Jaguars suffocate opposing offenses, the expected game flow does not favor Henry. Dion Lewis is the pass-catching back and with Tennessee a sizeable road underdog for this game, Henry may not crack double-digit carries.
LeSean McCoy, BUF (at MIN)
His ribs are hurt, the offense is horrendous, and the matchup is even worse as the Vikings have given up the fifth-fewest fantasy points to running backs this season.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Giovani Bernard, CIN (at CAR)
The Panthers did struggle against the run last week, but they tend to play better at home. Bernard is a big drop-off from Joe Mixon and also may share work with the recently signed Thomas Rawls and/or rookie Mark Walton.
— 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.