Fantasy Football Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 16: Running Backs - Fades, Sleepers, Matchups, DFS Bargains

Start 'em and sit 'em running backs for Week 16 from senior fantasy football expert Michael Fabiano.
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Week 16 Start ‘Em: Running Backs

Start of the Week

David Montgomery at Jaguars (1 p.m. ET, FOX): Montgomery has had a quartet of big games in a row, scoring five touchdowns and a combined 106.1 fantasy points. In that time, he’s seen a 41.4 percent touch share in the Bears backfield. He’ll look to make it four straight this week as the Bears go up against the Jaguars. Their defense has allowed 16 touchdowns and the third-most fantasy points to enemy backs, so Montgomery remains a virtual must-start option. 

Week 16 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em

Be sure to check out my Week 16 rankings before finalizing any lineup decisions or if your league has special scoring rules, sign up for SI Fantasy+ for customized rankings.

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Start ‘Em

Miles Sanders at Cowboys (4:25 p.m. ET, FOX): Sanders has looked much better in the stat sheets since Jalen Hurts took over as the Eagles starting quarterback. In two games with the rookie under center, Sanders has produced 226 total yards on a 34 percent touch share while averaging nearly 20 points. He's a low-end No. 1 runner this week, as the Eagles face a Cowboys defense that's allowed the second-most rushing yards and the eighth-most fantasy points to runners.

J.K. Dobbins vs. Giants (1 p.m. ET, FOX): Dobbins has taken on a bigger role in the Ravens backfield, leading all runners in snaps, touch share, and fantasy points in the last two weeks. He’s been so good that the Ravens even made Mark Ingram a healthy scratch last week. Dobbins should be considered a No. 2 back or flex option in championship week, as he’ll face a Giants defense that’s allowed 13 total touchdowns and the ninth-most fantasy points to enemy runners.

Myles Gaskin at Raiders (Sat. 8:15 p.m., NFLN): Gaskin returned to practice on Wednesday and has been removed from Miami's COVID-19 list, so it looks like he's good to for a Week 16 date in Las Vegas. Their defense has been brutal against opposing running backs, allowing 19 total touchdowns and the fourth-most points to the position this season. Assuming Gaskin and not Salvon Ahmed gets the start, I like the former as a potential No. 2 back or flex starter.

Leonard Fournette at Lions (Sat. 1 p.m. ET, NFLN): Whether it’s Fournette or Ronald Jones (COVID-19, finger) in the backfield, the Buccaneers' top running back will be in the mix as a No. 2 runner or flex during championship week. That’s due in large part to a great matchup against the Lions, who have struggled against enemy running backs this season. In fact, their vulnerable defense has surrendered 25 total touchdowns and the most fantasy points to the position.

More Starts

  • Jeff Wilson Jr. at Cardinals (Sat. 4:30 p.m. ET, FOX)
  • David Johnson vs. Bengals (1 p.m. ET, CBS)
  • Kareem Hunt at Jets (1 p.m. ET, CBS)

DFS Bargains

  • Le’Veon Bell vs. Falcons (DraftKings: $5,800)
  • Melvin Gordon at Chargers (DraftKings: $5,600)
  • Darrell Henderson at Seahawks (DraftKings: $4,500)

Week 16 Sit ‘Em: Running Backs

Sit of the Week

James Conner vs. Colts (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Conner missed last week’s game in Cincinnati with an injured quadriceps, but it’s tough to trust any Steelers back in a tough matchup against the Colts. Their defense has been tough against runners in games with DL DeForest Buckner and LB Darius Leonard, and Pittsburgh has done very little on the ground in the last month. At best, Conner or Benny Snell Jr. would be risk-reward flex options in fantasy championship weekend.

Sit ‘Em

Mike Davis at Football Team (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS): Davis is likely to be active in many leagues this week, assuming Christian McCaffrey (thigh) is out again. Even in that scenario, I’d temper expectations in a difficult matchup in Washington. Their defense has been tough on running backs, allowing 11 touchdowns and the third-fewest fantasy points to the position. In fact, only three opposing runners have scored more than 14.7 fantasy points against them all season long.

Wayne Gallman at Ravens (1 p.m. ET, FOX): The bloom seems to be off the rose for Gallman, who has seen his fantasy totals decline in each of his last four games. He lost snaps and touches to both Dion Lewis and Alfred Morris last week as well, as the G-Men seemed to go to more of a three-headed backfield. That’s bad news for Gallman, who also has a tough matchup against the Ravens next on the slate. At best, Gallman is a touchdown-dependent flex option this week.

Nyheim Hines at Steelers (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Hines has seen his role decrease in recent weeks, averaging just 19 snaps and nine touches over his last two games. With Jonathan Taylor playing at such a high level, I’d expect this trend to continue against the Steelers. While their defense gave up a good game to Giovani Bernard last week, Pittsburgh has still allowed just 101.4 total yards and the fewest fantasy points to running backs. At best, Hines is a risk-reward flex.

Todd Gurley at Chiefs (1 p.m. ET, FOX): Gurley had a decent run earlier this season, but he’s simply not 100 percent at this point. That’s been evident in his usage, as Gurley has averaged just 19 snaps and 6.7 touches over his last three games. In fact, Ito Smith has been named Atlanta’s starting running back ahead of Week 16. So while this week’s matchup against the Chiefs is a favorable one on paper, Gurley is no longer on the radar as a potential fantasy starter.

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More Sits

  • Sony Michel vs. Bills (Mon. 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN)
  • Giovani Bernard at Texans (1 p.m. ET, FOX)
  • Frank Gore vs. Browns (1 p.m. ET, CBS)

DFS Fades

  • Jonathan Taylor at Steelers (DraftKings: $7,300)
  • Mike Davis at Football Team (DraftKings: $6,500)
  • Salvon Ahmed at Raiders (DraftKings: $5,600)

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!

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