Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Fantasy Football Week 3: Running Backs - Fades, Sleepers, Matchups, DFS Bargains

Chris Carson is putting up numbers and anchors as this week's running back start of the week

UPDATED: September 24, 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 3 Start ‘Em: Running Backs

Start of the Week

Chris Carson at Vikings (4:25 p.m. ET, FOX): Carson is coming off a two-touchdown performance against the Titans last week, and he's in a great spot to put up another big line when the Seahawks face the Vikings. In its last nine games, their defense has surrendered 15 total touchdowns to running backs, and Joe Mixon beat them for 150 scrimmage yards and 25 points in Week 1. Look for Carson to make some real noise.

Week 3 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em


Start ‘Em

Miles Sanders at Cowboys (Mon., 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN): To say that Sanders has had some success against the Cowboys would be an understatement. In their last two meetings, he's scored a combined four touchdowns with a total of 45 fantasy points. Dallas has a number of injuries on the defensive side of the football, so Sanders will be in a great spot to succeed again. Consider him an attractive No. 2 fantasy running back.

Baltimore Ravens Ty'Son Williams

Ty’Son Williams vs. Lions (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Williams is in a committee with Latavius Murray, but he still led the Ravens running backs with 35 snaps and a 25.4 percent touch share in Week 2. I like him as a FLEX starter this weekend, as the Ravens face a Lions team that can’t stop the run. In fact, their defense has already surrendered six touchdowns and the second-most fantasy points to opposing runners after two weeks.

Myles Gaskin vs. Raiders (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS): Gaskin hasn’t put up great numbers over the first two weeks, but he does lead all Miami backs in touch share. He also has a nice matchup against the Raiders next on the slate. Las Vegas has allowed 14 touchdowns and the fourth-most points to opposing runners in their last nine games dating back to last season. Consider Gaskin an attractive, matchup-based FLEX starter.

Chase Edmonds at Jaguars (1 p.m. ET, FOX): Edmonds continues to share the workload with James Conner, but he’s played 21 more snaps and has averaged nearly a full point per touch compared to Conner’s 0.33. I’d flex Edmonds this week, as the Cardinals face a Jaguars defense that has allowed 13 total touchdowns and the second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs over their last nine contests.

More Starts

  • Saquon Barkley vs. Falcons (1 p.m. ET, FOX)
  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire vs. Chargers (1 p.m. ET, CBS)
  • Damien Harris vs. Saints (1 p.m. ET, FOX)

SI Recommends

DFS Bargains

  • Myles Gaskin at Raiders ($5,400)
  • James White vs. Saints ($4,900)
  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire vs. Chargers ($4,800)
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Week 3 Sit ‘Em: Running Backs

Sit of the Week

James Robinson vs. Cardinals (1 p.m. ET, FOX): Robinson has been a huge bust after two weeks, scoring a combined 17.8 fantasy points. However, the Jaguars' offense hasn't done him any favors, as it’s been in the red zone once in 186 snaps. Things don’t figure to get better this weekend, as the Jaguars face a Cardinals defense that has not allowed a touchdown to a running back over its first two games of the season.

Sit ‘Em

Darrell Henderson vs. Buccaneers (4:25 p.m. ET, FOX): Henderson was injured in last week’s win over the Colts and will be a game time decision this week. Even if he is active, he’ll be at less than 100 percent in what is a brutal matchup against the Buccaneers. Over their last eight games, their stout defense has surrendered a total of just four touchdowns and the ninth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs.


Devin Singletary vs. Football Team (1 p.m. ET, FOX): Singletary looked great last week, scoring 17.1 fantasy points in a win over the Dolphins. I wouldn’t chase those points though, as a bad matchup against the Football Team looms. Over their last nine games, no team in the league has allowed fewer fantasy points to enemy backs (15.1 PPG). Singletary also lost goal-line work to Zack Moss, which is very problematic.

Mike Davis at Giants (1 p.m. ET, FOX): Davis was projected to be the featured back in Atlanta, but he instead found himself in a committee with Cordarrelle Patterson. In fact, Patterson has been the more productive of the two Falcons running backs in the first two games. The Giants defense is no great shakes against runners, but it’s tough to trust Davis as anything more than a low-end FLEX starter based on the situation.

Ronald Jones at Rams (4:25 p.m. ET, FOX): Jones got the start for the Buccaneers last week, but he still finished second behind Leonard Fournette in snaps and touches. That’s not good for RoJo's value this week, as this is a tough matchup against the Rams. Los Angeles has allowed just 78.2 rushing yards and the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs in their last nine games dating back to last season.

More Sits

  • Kenyan Drake vs. Dolphins (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS)
  • J.D. McKissic vs. Bills (1 p.m. ET, FOX)
  • Michael Carter at Broncos (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS)

DFS Fades

  • Antonio Gibson vs. Bills ($5,900)
  • Darrell Henderson vs. Buccaneers ($5,900)
  • James Robinson vs. Cardinals ($5,700)

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!