Week 12 Start ‘Em: Running Backs
Start of the Week
Nyheim Hines vs. Titans (1 p.m. ET, CBS): The NFL is being ravaged by COVID-19, and it's cost the Colts with the loss of Jonathan Taylor. Luckily, their backfield is pretty deep and can handle the rookie's absence. While a committee with Jordan Wilkins is probable, I like Hines as the top Colts back to start in fantasy leagues. He dominated Tennessee in Week 10, scoring 28.5 points while seeing a team-high 17 touches. He's a high-end RB2 with Wilkins in the flex conversation.
Week 12 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em
Be sure to check out my Week 12 rankings (published by Thursday morning) 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.
David Montgomery at Packers (SNF 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC): Montgomery is back from a one-week absence, and an upcoming matchup against the Packers makes him a nice option for fantasy fans. Green Bay has struggled against enemy running backs this season, allowing the second-most fantasy points to the position. So while Montgomery hasn't been the most reliable runner in the world, his volume plus a soft opponent makes him a viable flex starter in most leagues.
Gus Edwards at Steelers (Tues. 8 p.m. ET, NBC): The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the Ravens this week, and it’s knocked both J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram out of this week’s game in Pittsburgh. That leaves Edwards to be the lead back with a likely high touch percentage in this AFC North battle. The last time he faced the Steelers, Gus the Bus rushed for 87 yards and one touchdown. So while the matchup isn’t great on paper, the Steel Curtain isn’t impenetrable in 2020.
Wayne Gallman at Bengals (1 p.m. ET, FOX): Gallman has been quietly solid in the stat sheets, scoring at least one touchdown and 13-plus fantasy points in each of his last four games. He's compiled an average of 15.5 touches and a near 30 percent touch share during that time. Gallman should be considered an attractive flex option this week in a matchup against the Bengals. Their defense has allowed 14-plus points to running backs eight times, so Gallman is a nice option.
Brian Hill vs. Raiders (1 p.m. ET, FOX): The Falcons will be without Todd Gurley (knee) this week, so Hill gets the start in an absolute smash spot. The Raiders defense has struggled to stop the run all year, allowing 14 total touchdowns and the fifth-most points to opposing running backs. What's more, five different backs have scored at least 18 fantasy points, and another three have scored more than 15 points against them in 2020. I like Hill as a No. 2 back or flex starter.
- Kenyan Drake at Patriots (1 p.m. ET, FOX)
- Mike Davis at Vikings (1 p.m. ET, FOX)
- Giovani Bernard vs. Giants (1 p.m. ET, FOX)
- Wayne Gallman at Bengals (DraftKings: $5,000)
- Nyheim Hines vs. Titans (DraftKings: $4,600)
- Brian Hill vs. Raiders (DraftKings: $4,000)
Week 12 Sit ‘Em: Running Backs
Sit of the Week
Melvin Gordon vs. Saints (4:05 p.m. ET, FOX): Gordon went off last week, as he posted 84 rushing yards and two touchdowns in a win over the Dolphins. While he is tough to sit, I'd temper expectations against the Saints. Their defense has been tough on running backs, allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to the position. Also, keep in mind that all three of Denver's top quarterbacks are out (COVID-19), so New Orleans can load up the box to stop the run all day long.
Jerick McKinnon at Rams (4:05 p.m. ET, FOX): McKinnon loses a lot of his fantasy luster this week, as Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. have both been activated from injured reserve. The Rams defense has been tough on running backs too, allowing just five total touchdowns and the third-fewest fantasy points to the position. Mostert is the only startable Niners runner for me this week, and even he's a risk-reward flex option based on the brutal matchup in Los Angeles.
Darrell Henderson vs. 49ers (4:05 p.m. ET, FOX): Henderson’s role in the Rams backfield has shrunk in recent weeks, as he’s averaged just nine touches over the last two games. That’s due to the move to more of a three-headed backfield monster with Malcolm Brown and Cam Akers both getting more opportunities. The Niners have been tough on enemy running backs this season too, allowing just eight total touchdowns and the ninth-fewest fantasy points to the position.
Leonard Fournette vs. Chiefs (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS): Fournette was the better of the two Buccaneers running backs last week, outscoring Ronald Jones in a loss to the Rams. Of course, what happens in one week in this confusing backfield has meant nothing as it pertains to the following week. The Chiefs defense isn't great against the run, but starting either of Tampa's backs can be an exercise in futility. Jones is likely the better option this week, but I'd fade both if possible.
Damien Harris vs. Cardinals (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Harris has seen a decent touch share (29.1 percent) for the Patriots over his last four games, and he’s averaged nearly 12 fantasy points in that time. So while that makes him worth a flex start, keep in mind that he could start to lose a few of those touches to Sony Michel. Harris also does nothing in the passing game, so James White might be a better fantasy option against the high-powered Cardinals offense this weekend.
BETTOR'S DREAM: Up to $1,000 Sign Up Bonus at DraftKings Sportsbook
- Devin Singletary vs. Chargers (1 p.m. ET, CBS)
- Frank Gore vs. Dolphins (1 p.m. ET, CBS)
- Carlos Hyde vs. Eagles (MNF 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN)
- Ronald Jones II vs. Chiefs (DraftKings: $6,100)
- Damien Harris vs. Cardinals (DraftKings: $5,800)
- Melvin Gordon vs. Saints (DraftKings: $5,200)
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 all of the latest breaking fantasy football news and the best analysis in the business!