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Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Fantasy Football Week 9: Running Backs - Sleepers, Fades, Matchups, DFS Bargains

The Giants' Devontae Booker has quietly been productive of late and his matchups in Las Vegas is a good one.

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: Buccaneers, Football Team, Lions, Seahawks


Week 9 Start ‘Em: Running Backs

Start of the Week

Devontae Booker vs. Raiders (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Booker has quietly put up some nice totals for fantasy fans in recent weeks. He’s scored 14-plus points in three of his last four games. Saquon Barkley will be out once again, so I like Booker as a No. 2 runner when the Giants host the Raiders. This season, their defense has been pretty generous to opposing running backs, allowing five players to score 14-plus fantasy points.


Start ‘Em

Elijah Mitchell vs. Cardinals (4:25 p.m. ET, Fox): Mitchell has been a star for fantasy fans lately, scoring 16-plus fantasy points in two straight games while playing nearly 67 percent of the offensive snaps. Barring any setback in what is being called a minor ribs injury, Mitchell should be in starting fantasy lineups against the Cardinals. Their defense has allowed four runners to score 16-plus points in their last seven games.

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Zack Moss, at Jaguars (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Moss hasn't put up monstrous totals for fantasy fans, but he has scored at least 11.8 points in all but one game this season. He also had a season-high seven targets and six catches last week, so Moss is getting more involved in the pass attack. He'll be a nice No. 2 back or FLEX starter against the Jaguars, who have allowed five running backs to score 13-plus points in 2021.

Myles Gaskin vs. Texans (1 p.m. ET, Fox): Gaskin, a sit ‘em last week, posted a mere 8.5 fantasy points in a loss to the Bills. He has now alternated good and bad stat lines in five straight weeks, so he’s due for a nice statistical performance. He’s in a good spot to produce well, too, as the Dolphins face a Texans defense that has given up an average of more than 26 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season.

Boston Scott vs. Chargers (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS): The Eagles ran the ball a ton last week, as both Scott and Jordan Howard found the end zone twice. Scott did lead the backfield in snaps, however, and he averaged five yards per rush. I’d consider him a nice FLEX option, as the Eagles face a Chargers defense that has allowed seven touchdowns and the second-most fantasy points per game to opposing backs since Week 5.

More Starts

  • Josh Jacobs at Giants (1 p.m. ET, CBS)
  • Darrel Williams vs. Packers (4:25 p.m. ET, Fox)
  • Jeremy McNichols at Rams (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC)

SI Recommends

DFS Bargains

  • Myles Gaskin vs. Texans ($5,800)
  • Zack Moss vs. Jaguars ($5,300)
  • Jordan Howard vs. Chargers ($4,600)

Week 9 Sit ‘Em: Running Backs

Sit of the Week

Khalil Herbert at Steelers (Mon. 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN): Herbert proved he could be a bit matchup-proof after rushing for 100 yards against the Buccaneers, but he did crash back to earth last week against the Niners. His volume makes him a flex start in redrafts, so consider this more of a warning than a true sit ‘em. Just one running back has scored more than 11.6 fantasy points against this version of the Steel Curtain.

Sit ‘Em

Chuba Hubbard vs. Patriots (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Hubbard has been a solid option for fantasy fans in the absence of Christian McCaffrey, but it looks like his time as the starter is over. The Panthers will have CMC back in the lineup, making Hubbard tough to trust even if McCaffrey is on a snap count. I wouldn't cut Hubbard, especially if you have CMC, but at this point it's tough to start him and expect any real production.

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Javonte Williams at Cowboys (1 p.m. ET, Fox): It’s difficult to bench Williams with four teams on a bye, but this week’s matchup against the Cowboys isn’t favorable. Their defense has held backs like Dalvin Cook and Leonard Fournette to modest stat lines, and it’s allowed the eighth-fewest points per game to runners. The rookie has also seen just 44 snaps in the last two weeks while sharing work with Melvin Gordon.

Mike Davis at Saints (1 p.m. ET, Fox): Davis put up a respectable 11.6 fantasy points in last week’s game against the Panthers, but he continues to play second fiddle to Cordarrelle Patterson in the Falcons backfield. I’d continue to sit him this week, as a matchup in New Orleans is a difficult one indeed. Over the last four weeks, their defense has surrendered the third-fewest points a game to opposing running backs.

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Carlos Hyde vs. Bills (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Hyde could see more work in the potential absence of James Robinson, who is listed as day-to-day with an injured foot. If he is unable to play, Hyde will be a risk-reward, volume-based FLEX option in a bad matchup against the Bills. Their defense has allowed the fewest fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, and just two have scored more than 8.6 points.

More Sits

  • Melvin Gordon at Cowboys (1 p.m. ET, Fox)
  • David Johnson at Dolphins (1 p.m. ET, Fox)
  • Devonta Freeman vs. Vikings (1 p.m. ET, Fox)

DFS Fades

  • Chuba Hubbard vs. Patriots ($6,100)
  • Damien Harris at Panthers ($6,000)
  • Melvin Gordon at Cowboys ($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. 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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