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Why You Should Start Jeremy Hill and Other RB Start/Sit Fantasy Advice for Week 14

Jeremy Hill

Jeremy Hill

Week 13 saw some pretty big fantasy performances from some expected and unexpected running backs. Some I saw some coming, some I did not. Hopefully, my start/sit advice for Week 14 will pan out for you since it’s playoffs time for most leagues.

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Related: Playoff Schedule Analysis for QB, RB

Speaking of my advice, let’s just see how well I did or didn’t do last week before moving on to the business at hand.

Good Calls...

Start Jordan Howard (29.7 fantasy points) – Howard single-handedly beat the 49ers with his three-TD performance.

Sit Jay Ajayi (8.7 FP) – Even with his starting offensive line mostly back, there is a reason the Ravens are No. 1 against the run this season.

Bad Calls...

Start Theo Riddick (7.7 FP) – Thankfully he scored a touchdown; otherwise he was a dud against the Saints, unless you played him in PPR.

I warned you against starting Thomas Rawls (23.8 FP)... my bad. The thought was that his offensive line had been struggling and the Panthers have an excellent run defense. I was wrong on both points.

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex

Running Backs

START THESE RBs...

Jeremy Hill, CIN (at CLE)

This one is simple: start your running backs against the Browns. Hill enjoyed his best game of the season in the first game against Cleveland, posting season highs in rushing yards (168) and fantasy points (26) back in Week 7. And remember, that was when he was playing 40 percent of the snaps with Giovani Bernard healthy. There’s a legitimate path to RB1 value this week, something Hill has rarely provided this season. Expect a monster game.

Matt Forte, NYJ (at SF)

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Let’s be honest here, this might be one of the most unwatchable games in recent memory, but at least we have fantasy football. Forte has quietly had a very productive fantasy season, with double-digit performances in five of his last six games. That matters for something. The 49ers allow the most fantasy points to opposing running backs, and legitimately can’t tackle. They’ve allowed an absurd 14 rushing touchdowns and nine 100-yard games this season. Forte may be the only player worth watching in this one.

Thomas Rawls, SEA (at GB)

The job is his and his alone. We know that now. Last week he got 16 touches (15 rushes for 106 yards and 2 TDs, one catch for 12 yards), and he’s facing Green Bay, who has been one of the worst running defenses in the league over the last month. Seattle will want to dictate the clock and take the cold Green Bay fans out of the equation so game script could dictate an even bigger workload for Rawls.

MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...

Isaiah Crowell, CLE (vs. CIN)

On the other side of the Bengals-Browns matchup, owners will want to pay close attention to Cleveland's Crowell. Browns players aren't the most attractive choices this time of year, which Crowell helps reinforce a bit thanks to four consecutive games with single-digit fantasy production. In a gritty, run-first rivalry, though, Crowell usually shines. He rushed 12 times for 63 yards and a score (13 FP) against the Bengals in Week 7. The same Bengals who haven’t exactly shut down opposing RBs (12th in fantasy points allowed) this season. Crowell is a sleeper thanks to a great matchup.

SIT THESE RBs...

Devontae Booker, DEN (at TEN)

Booker was anointed fantasy’s next breakout star after C.J. Anderson landed on IR, but – and I have no problem saying it – he’s not all that great. He’s now failed to top 3.5 yards per carry in every game since he took over, and Denver head coach Gary Kubiak has already said recently signed Justin Forsett will share the workload with Booker this week. The Titans are allowing just 82.9 rushing yards per game this season if you take away Melvin Gordon‘s 196-yard explosion in Week 9. Booker is a flex option at best in Week 14.

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Todd Gurley, LA (vs. ATL)

The matchup on the surface looks prime, at home against an Atlanta team that has given up the third-most fantasy points per game to running backs. But the Falcons have limited David Johnson and Spencer Ware to 87 total rushing yards on 27 carries (3.22 ypc) the last two weeks, and if not for the special teams giving up a 55-yard run on a fake punt to Albert Wilson last week, they would rank 13th in yards per carry allowed (instead, they're 25th). So, while it may seem like it, this isn't actually a great spot for Gurley, who has been wildly disappointing for much of the season, to get back on track.

Terrence West, BAL (at NE, Mon.)

West came out of nowhere to score two touchdowns in last week's win over Miami, but I wouldn't chase the fantasy points when he heads to New England. The Patriots have been tough on opposing running backs on their home field, allowing an average of 13.8 points per game with two rushing touchdowns. Don't go with West this week.

YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...

Doug Martin, TB (vs. NO)

This looks like a good matchup on paper for Martin, but there are some concerns here. The Saints are playing much better run defense of late, and haven’t allowed a 100-yard rusher since Week 3. Additionally, Martin is clearly less than 100 percent after getting “bent back” and failing to play in the Buccaneers’ last three series in last Sunday’s win in San Diego. With Jacquizz Rodgers already back in the picture and Charles Sims set to return, Martin could be seeing less work in general. Those concerns leave Martin as more of a low-end RB2 for me.

— 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.