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Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Fantasy Football Week 2: Running Backs - Fades, Sleepers, Matchups, DFS Bargains

We are here to help if you can't decide on a RB2 or flex play in Week 2 of the 2021 NFL season

UPDATED: September 19, 2021

Start ‘Em, Sit 'Em is the ultimate look at the best and worst matchups based on a PPR scoring system in fantasy football. This column will not cover the elite players in the NFL like Patrick Mahomes, Christian McCaffrey, Davante Adams, or Travis Kelce. Instead, I'll look at the players you have the most questions about to help you set the most effective starting lineup possible. For all of your final fantasy lineup decisions, be sure to check out my weekly player rankings which will be updated daily throughout the 2021 NFL season.

Week 2 Start ‘Em: Running Backs

Start of the Week

Pittsburgh Steelers Najee Harris

Najee Harris vs. Raiders (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Harris didn’t meet high expectations in his NFL debut, scoring just 5.9 fantasy points in a win over the Bills. Don’t let that total keep you from starting him this week, however. He played every offensive snap in the game, and this week’s matchup against the Raiders is far more favorable. This might be seen as an obvious take, but I consider it reassurance in Harris’ starting appeal.

Week 2 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em


Start ‘Em

Darrell Henderson at Colts (1 p.m. ET, FOX): Henderson was the Rams unquestioned top back last week, seeing 94 percent of the offensive snaps and the grand majority of the touches. That should be the case once again this week, as the Rams travel to Indy. The Colts defense allowed Chris Carson to produce 5.7 yards per rush a week ago, not to mention 117 total yards. Consider Henderson a mid-tier No. 2 fantasy running back.

Damien Harris at Jets (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Harris looked great last weekend, rushing for 100 yards while seeing nearly 43 percent of the Patriots' backfield touches. He did lose a fumble late in the loss to Miami, so his role could be reduced a bit this week. I still like him as a flex though, as the Patriots face off against a Jets defense that has allowed 132 scrimmage yards per contest to opposing running backs since Week 9 2020.

Chase Edmonds vs. Vikings (4:05 p.m. ET, FOX): Edmonds produced 14.6 fantasy points in his season opener, even though he and James Conner both had a 29 percent touch share against the Titans. I like the versatile runner as a FLEX starter this week, as the Cardinals face a Vikings defense that has surrendered 15 total touchdowns and the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs over their last 10 contests.

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Melvin Gordon at Jaguars (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Fantasy fans with either Gordon or Javonte Williams should consider them both flex starters this week. In the team's first game, Williams (15) had one more touch than Gordon (14) in a near 50/50 split. The Jaguars have allowed 14 total touchdowns and the third-most fantasy points to runners over their last 10 games, so Denver should find plenty of success on the ground.

More Starts

  • D’Andre Swift at Packers (Mon., 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN)
  • Miles Sanders vs. 49ers (1 p.m. ET, FOX)
  • Jamaal Williams at Packers (Mon., 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN)

SI Recommends

DFS Bargains

  • Damien Harris at Jets (DraftKings: $5,400)
  • Elijah Mitchell at Eagles (DraftKings: $5,000)
  • Chase Edmonds vs. Vikings (DraftKings: $4,900)

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Week 2 Sit ‘Em: Running Backs

Sit of the Week

Atlanta Falcons Mike Davis

Mike Davis at Buccaneers (4:05 p.m. ET, FOX): Davis led the Falcons backfield with a 38.3 percent touch share last week, but he could only muster 10.2 points in a loss to the Eagles. I'd beware the veteran back in Week 2, as the Falcons travel south to face the Buccaneers. Their defense has been tough on running backs since Week 9 2020, surrendering just three total touchdowns and the seventh-fewest fantasy points.

Sit ‘Em

James Robinson vs. Broncos (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Fantasy managers should consider this more of a warning than a definitive sit ‘em. Robinson was a dud last week, due in large part to the fact that Carlos Hyde had more touches for some insane reason. If this is going to be a committee moving forward, Robinson is going to be tough to trust as much more than a flex starter regardless of the matchup. Keep him sidelined if you can.

Kenyan Drake at Steelers (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Drake is in the RB2/FLEX conversation with Josh Jacobs out this week. Just keep in mind he has a brutal matchup against the Steelers, who have allowed just seven total touchdowns and the sixth-fewest fantasy points to running backs over their last 10 games. What’s more, just three runners have scored more than 15 points against them at Heinz Field since the start of 2020.

Mark Ingram at Browns (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Ingram was a surprise star last week with 26 carries and 14.5 fantasy points against the Jaguars. He also led all Texans' backs with a near 42 percent touch share, making him a popular add off the waiver wire. Still, I’d keep him on the sidelines against a tough Browns defense that has allowed five total touchdowns and the second-fewest fantasy points to backs in its last nine games.

Devin Singletary at Dolphins (1 p.m. ET, FOX): Singletary played a bigger role in the Bills offense last week in the absence of Zack Moss, but he still saw just 14 touches on his 64 snaps. Regardless of Moss’ status, I’d keep Singletary on the sidelines against the Dolphins. While their defense gave up 100 rushing yards to Damien Harris a week ago, it’s allowed four scores and the fourth-fewest points to backs in its last 10 games.

More Sits

  • Leonard Fournette vs. Falcons (4:05 p.m. ET, FOX)
  • Michael Carter vs. Patriots (1 p.m. ET, CBS)
  • Sony Michel at Colts (1 p.m. ET, FOX)

DFS Fades

  • Jonathan Taylor vs. Rams (DraftKings: $7,200)
  • James Robinson vs. Broncos (DraftKings: $6,400)
  • Mike Davis at Buccaneers (DraftKings: $5,500)

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. Click here to read all his articles here on SI Fantasy. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram for your late-breaking fantasy news and the best analysis in the business!

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