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Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Fantasy Football Week 7: Running Backs - Fades, Sleepers, Matchups, DFS Bargains

Darrell Henderson is coming on strong and faces a porous Lions defense this week.

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.

Byes: Bills, Chargers, Cowboys, Jaguars, Steelers, Vikings


Week 7 Start ‘Em: Running Backs

Start of the Week

Darrell Henderson vs. Lions (4:05 p.m. ET, Fox): Henderson has avoided injuries and emerged into a fantasy star, which was evident in his 24.7-point performance in New York last week. He should remain in your starting lineup this week too, as the veteran faces a great matchup against the Lions. Their defense has allowed a total of 12 touchdowns and the second-most fantasy points per game to enemy running backs.

Week 7 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em


Start ‘Em

Leonard Fournette vs. Bears (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS): Fournette has become the top option in the Buccaneers backfield, as he’s seen a 39 percent touch share and scored nearly 70 combined points over the last three weeks. The Bears have been tough on running backs overall, but four have scored 15-plus fantasy points against them over their last three games. At this point, Fournette is back to being a virtual must-start.

Cordarrelle Patterson at Dolphins (1 p.m. ET, Fox): Patterson has been one of the top fantasy running backs in the NFL, averaging over 20 points in his first five games. He should continue to shine this week as the Falcons travel to South Beach to face the Dolphins. Their defense has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points per game to running backs, including the ninth-most receiving yards, so Patterson is a solid pick.

Carolina Panthers Chuba Hubbard

Chuba Hubbard at Giants (1 p.m. ET, Fox): Hubbard has been a nice flex option in the last two weeks, scoring over 31 combined fantasy points. He should remain in most lineups this week as the Panthers travel north to face the Giants. Their defense has surrendered the seventh-most fantasy points per game to running backs, and six different players at the position have scored at last 14.3 fantasy points against them.

Damien Harris vs. Jets (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Harris is coming off his best stat line of the season, scoring 17.8 fantasy points in a loss to the Cowboys. Next on the schedule is a matchup against the Jets, who have surrendered the most fantasy points to running backs on a per-game basis this season. That includes a 13.4-point performance from Harris in Week 2. As long as he’s healthy, Harris should be in your starting lineups.

More Starts

  • Josh Jacobs vs. Eagles (4:05 p.m. ET, Fox)
  • Darrel Williams at Titans (1 p.m. ET, CBS)
  • Chase Edmonds vs. Texans (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS)

DFS Bargains

  • Darrel Williams at Titans ($5,800)
  • Damien Harris vs. Jets ($5,700)
  • J.D. McKissic at Packers ($5,000)

Week 7 Sit ‘Em: Running Backs

Sit of the Week

Elijah Mitchell vs. Colts (8:20 p.m. ET, NFL): Mitchell dominated both the snaps and touches in the Niners backfield before their bye week, so he's going to be on the flex radar for countless fantasy managers. However, the matchup isn't great as the Colts have allowed the fifth-fewest points per game to runners. In fact, Derrick Henry and Darrell Henderson are the lone runners to score more than 13 points against them.

Sit ‘Em

Alex Collins vs. Saints (Mon. 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN): Collins looked great against the Steelers, rushing for 101 yards and a touchdown. He’ll be on the flex radar as a result, but I’d temper expectations. Their defense hasn’t given up more than 5.2 points to a running back not named Saquon Barkley, Christian McCaffrey or Antonio Gibson this season. Collins, who is also dealing with multiple injuries, is a major fantasy risk.

New York Giants Devontae Booker

Devontae Booker vs. Panthers (1 p.m. ET, Fox): Booker has taken over as the new lead back in New York in the absence of Saquon Barkley, so he’ll be tough to sit with six teams on a bye. Just keep in mind that he was held to a modest 10.9 fantasy points last week, and a matchup against the Panthers isn’t favorable. Their defense has given up just two touchdowns and the fewest points per game to enemy runners in 2021.

Devonta Freeman vs. Bengals (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Freeman looks like he'll see a bigger role in the Ravens backfield with Latavius Murray injured, but I still see a committee scenario. Baltimore will have both Le'Veon Bell and Ty'Son Williams active too, so none of the trio will be worth starting unless you're desperate for a FLEX option. During this bye-mageddon week, that might be the case. Freeman is the best choice, however.

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Jamaal Williams at Rams (4:05 p.m. ET, Fox): Williams had standalone value as a flex option earlier this season, but his stock has taken a massive hit in recent weeks. He’s failed to score more than 8.9 fantasy points in his last three games, during which time he’s seen four combined targets. He’s also played significantly fewer snaps than D’Andre Swift, and a road matchup against the Rams defense isn’t favorable.

More Sits

  • Miles Sanders at Raiders (4:05 p.m. ET, Fox)
  • Damien Williams at Buccaneers (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS)
  • Myles Gaskin vs. Falcons (1 p.m. ET, Fox)

DFS Fades

  • Devontae Booker vs. Panthers ($5,500)
  • Khalil Herbert at Buccaneers ($5,200)
  • Kenyan Drake vs. Eagles ($4,900)

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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