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Why You Should Start Latavius Murray and Other RB Start/Sit Fantasy Advice for Week 15

Latavius Murray

Latavius Murray

From a running back standpoint, Week 14 was known as the Le’Veon Bell show, but only one fortunate fantasy owner in every league was able to benefit from his monster performance. And besides, I don’t need to tell you that you start Bell, right?

So as we enter Week 15 in what is pretty much a win-or-go-home situation, which RBs should you roll with and which ones should you leave on your bench? Before I share my thoughts, let’s see how I did last week.

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Good Calls...

Start Jeremy Hill (20.2 fantasy points) – While Hill has been bad lately, starting him against the Cleveland Browns was an easy call.

Sit Devontae Booker (1.1 FP) – The Broncos just can’t run the ball.

Bad Calls...

Start Thomas Rawls (7.4 FP) – The whole Seahawks offense just couldn’t get going against the Packers in the snow.

Sit Todd Gurley (14.3 FP) – People brave enough to still start Gurley, were rewarded with a decent game for a change.

I warned you against starting Doug Martin (14.5 FP) and he went out and had a pretty decent game. So much for losing touches to Jacquizz Rodgers.

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

Running Backs

START THESE RBs...

Jonathan Stewart, CAR (vs. WAS)

Stewart had a nice bounce-back effort against San Diego, putting up 66 rushing yards and a touchdown against a below-average run defense. He has a similarly comfortable matchup this week in Washington. The Redskins have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs this season, although that was skewed by monster games courtesy of Ezekiel Elliott and David Johnson. But guys like Darren Sproles, James Starks and Giovani Bernard also have put up pretty good numbers in recent weeks. Stewart makes for a fine flex option this week.

Latavius Murray, OAK (at SD)

Oakland’s clear-cut lead RB couldn’t come at a better time. He rushed the ball 22 times for 103 yards and a touchdown against Kansas City, with the only downside in the frigid Thursday night shellacking being his single target. We’ll chalk it up to a negative game script, then roll Murray out as a top-12 option against San Diego, one of the three most generous teams in fantasy points allowed to opposing RBs.

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Ty Montgomery, GB (at CHI)

Whether you play him at running back or wide receiver, he belongs in your lineup. Mike McCarthy has finally realized that after three weeks of favoring James Starks for some inexplicable reason, and the result has been 15 carries, 81 rushing yards, seven targets, five receptions, 61 receiving yards and a touchdown in the last two games for Montgomery. The Packers’ offense is so much better when he's at running back, and after out-snapping Starks 59-14 over the last two games, it would appear his role is safe moving forward. We've seen the big numbers Montgomery can put up when he's actually on the field, and while there is still some volatility in terms of volume, he's a solid deep-league option in standard-scoring formats with a major boost in PPR.

MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...

T.J. Yeldon, JAC (at HOU)

Chris Ivory will likely be out again for Week 15, so Yeldon will have another game as the lead back. This matchup will likely be a low-scoring affair between two good defenses and two dysfunctional offenses (especially passing games). Yeldon should get his touches, both on the ground and as a receiver. He is usually a RB3, but this week I’m considering him a RB2 against the Texans’ below-average run defense.

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SIT THESE RBs...

Ryan Mathews, PHI (at BAL)

Returning from a two-game absence due to a knee injury, Mathews carried the ball 15 times and played a season-high 50.0 percent of the snaps on Sunday. With Wendell Smallwood out for the year, and Darren Sproles in the concussion protocol, Mathews will have volume on his side. Unfortunately, it's difficult to imagine him doing much with that volume, as the Ravens are first in the NFL in yards per carry allowed (3.4) and have given up the fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. This has the feeling of an 18-carry, 50-yard day for Mathews, so you're basically banking on a touchdown if you play him.

Frank Gore, IND (at MIN)

Gore's averages over the last four games: 49.5 rushing yards (3.14 ypc), 26.75 receiving yards and just one total touchdown. His weekly RB finishes over that stretch: 15th, 48th, 24th, 15th. His low ceiling is already concerning, and a matchup at Minnesota against the Vikings’ stout defense hurts his outlook even more. Even at a thin position, I'd treat Gore more as an RB3 this week.

Devontae Booker, DEN (vs. NE)

Booker is no more than a flex option this week for two reasons. First, Denver recently signed veteran RB Justin Forsett to bolster the backfield, which does not bode well for Booker’s volume. Second, the Broncos’ offensive line play has been subpar and will surely struggle against a good defense like that of the Patriots. New England has allowed an average of 15.23 fantasy points to RBs this season, the seventh-fewest in the league. Unless Booker gets a touchdown, it is pretty unlikely that owners get good production from him this week.

YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...

Mark Ingram, NO (at ARI)

It's come to the point where fantasy owners can't trust Ingram as an every-week starter. The veteran isn't 100 percent health-wise, and an upcoming matchup against the Cardinals makes him even less attractive. In their last six home games, Arizona's defense has surrendered an average of 6.9 fantasy points per game (zero rushing touchdowns) to RBs.

— 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.