Start 'Em & Sit 'Em is the ultimate weekly look at the NFL matchups and how they'll affect your fantasy football team. Fantasy superstars such as Patrick Mahomes and Alvin Kamara will not be featured in this column. All player matchups are based on a PPR scoring system.
Be sure to check out my Week 6 PPR rankings before finalizing any lineup decisions or if your league has special scoring rules, sign up for SI Fantasy+ for customized rankings. Members also get access to myself and our team of high-stakes winners all week long to answer your specific fantasy questions.
Week 6 Start 'Em: Running Backs
Byes: Chargers, Raiders, Saints, Seahawks
Start of the Week
David Montgomery vs. Panthers
Is it a gamble to put Montgomery into the Start of the Week slot? In most weeks, absolutely. But an upcoming matchup against the Panthers is very favorable. Running backs have averaged over 170 scrimmage yards and the most fantasy points (36.0 PPG) against Carolina's brutal run defense. Montgomery has also played a featured role since Tarik Cohen went down due to injury, averaging 50.1 snaps and 15 touches per game over the last two weeks. Get him in your lineup.
James Robinson vs. Lions
Robinson is coming off his worst stat line of the season, as he was held under 100 scrimmage yards and lost a fumble in Houston. I expect him to rebound, however, and Robinson has a great matchup next on the schedule. Detroit has struggled to stop opposing running backs, allowing an average of 190.8 total yards and the fourth-most fantasy points (32.6 PPG) to the position. As long as the Jaguars stay in a neutral game script, Robinson should post nice fantasy stats.
Alexander Mattison vs. Falcons
The Vikings have ruled Dalvin Cook (groin) out for Week 6, so Mattison is going to be the lead ballcarrier for coach Mike Zimmer in what is a sweetheart matchup against Atlanta The Falcons defense is awful against running backs, as the position has scored six touchdowns and averaged the sixth-most fantasy points (29.3 PPG). Mattison, maybe the top handcuff in fantasy football, should be able to take full advantage. He’s solidly in the RB1 conversation, so get him in lineups.
Devonta Freeman vs. Football Team
Freeman seems to have taken over the top spot on the depth chart in New York, leading all Giants backs in both snaps and touches over the last two weeks. He’ll be in the RB2/flex starter conversation this week too, as Freeman will face a Washington defense that has allowed an average of two scores to opposing running backs over the last three weeks. During that time, backs have put up an average of 29.7 points per game. That’s fifth-most in the league. Start Freeman.
Myles Gaskin vs. Jets
Gaskin has emerged into a true featured back for the Dolphins, ranking ninth in offensive snaps and tied for 11thin touches among running backs. While his numbers haven’t always been great, that volume makes him a solid option when the matchup is right. That’s the case this week, as Gaskin will face a Jets team that’s allowed eight total touchdowns and the fifth-most fantasy points (30.9 PPG) to opposing running backs this season. I’d consider Gaskin a nice RB2/flex starter.
- Raheem Mostert vs. Rams (SNF)
- Ronald Jones vs. Packers
- Antonio Gibson at Giants
- David Montgomery at Panthers (DraftKings: $5,800)
- Myles Gaskin vs. Jets (DraftKings: $5,400)
- Phillip Lindsay at Patriots (DraftKings: $4,300)
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Week 6 Sit 'Em: Running Backs
Sit of the Week
Mark Ingram II at Eagles
Confusion, thy name continues to be the Ravens backfield. After the first five weeks, OC Greg Roman has split snaps between J.K. Dobbins (106), Ingram (99), and Gus Edwards (95). The trio is also splitting touches, with Ingram leading the way at a modest 9.6 per game, and none of the three are averaging more than 8.2 fantasy points per game. So while this week’s matchup against the Eagles isn’t awful, starting Ingram (or any Ravens running back) is a low-floor, dart throw.
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Damien Harris vs. Broncos
Harris looked good in his first regular-season game of the season, rushing for 100 yards on 17 carries against the Chiefs. And while he’ll be a flex starter in some leagues during the bye weeks, I would temper expectations when Harris faces the Broncos. Their defense has been tough on runners, allowing 103 rushing yards per game with just one touchdown. Denver has also surrendered the fewest fantasy points to enemy backs, and Harris gives you nothing in the pass attack.
Leonard Fournette vs. Packers
Fournette was active last week, but he didn’t see work as Ronald Jones appears to have seized the top spot on the depth chart. While that could change at a moment’s notice (we saw that in Week 2), there’s just far too much risk in starting Fournette this week. While runners have gashed the Packers after their first four games, it’s hard to trust a player who has had double-digit touches just once while also doing next to nothing in the stat sheets. Keep Fournette benched.
D’Andre Swift at Jaguars
Swift hasn’t been completely awful in fantasy circles, scoring 11-plus fantasy points in three of his first four games. Still, he’s the clear No. 2 back on the depth chart, ranking behind Adrian Peterson in snaps played and touches. A.D. has more than doubled him up in the latter category. So while this week’s contest in Jacksonville is a positive one on paper (their defense has allowed the eighth-most points to runners), Swift’s lack of snaps and touches makes him a risky choice.
Darrell Henderson at 49ers (SNF)
Henderson is tough to bench, especially after he led the Rams three-headed backfield monster in snaps, touches and points in a win over the Football Team. Of course, Malcolm Brown led the Los Angeles backfield in those categories the previous week, and I think coach Sean McVay wants to work Cam Akers into the mix as well. The Niners defense has been tough on runners too, allowing the second-fewest fantasy points (16.3 PPG) to the position in 2020.
- James White vs. Broncos
- Jerick McKinnon vs. Rams (SNF)
- Cam Akers at 49ers (SNF)
- Miles Sanders vs. Ravens (DraftKings: $6,600)
- Joe Mixon at Colts (DraftKings: $6,200)
- David Johnson at Titans (DraftKings: $5,400)
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. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram for the latest news and analysis!
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