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Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Fantasy Football Week 10: Running Backs - Sleepers, Fades, Matchups, DFS Bargains

James Conner looks to stay hot with another favorable matchup.

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: Bears, Bengals, Giants, Texans


Week 10 Start ‘Em: Running Backs

Start of the Week

James Conner vs. Panthers (4:05 p.m. ET, Fox): Conner has been absolutely on fire, scoring 40.3 fantasy points last week while finding the end zone six times in his last three games. With Chase Edmonds (ankle) out of action, Conner will take over a bigger role against the Panthers. Their defense has allowed four running backs to score 14-plus fantasy points over their last five games, so look for Conner to produce.


Start ‘Em

Melvin Gordon vs. Eagles (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS): Gordon continues to share the work with rookie Javonte Williams, but it hasn’t kept him from putting up good numbers. In fact, he’s scored 17-plus points in each of his last two games, and he’s found the end zone four times since Week 7. He’ll be on the RB2/FLEX radar this week, as the Broncos face an Eagles team that’s allowed the fourth-most points per game to enemy backs.

Josh Jacobs

Josh Jacobs vs. Chiefs (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC): Jacobs might not be putting up huge totals, but he’s had a decent floor in his last four games. He saw a 34 percent touch share last weekend against the Giants, and that total was in the 40s in three of his previous four games. I like him as a No. 2 fantasy back this week, as the Raiders face a Chiefs defense that’s allowed 16-plus fantasy points to seven different runners.

Darrel Williams at Raiders (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC): Williams hasn’t posted enormous fantasy point totals on a weekly basis, but he continues to see a high touch share in the absence of Clyde Edwards-Helaire. He’ll remain a viable No. 2 fantasy runner or FLEX starter this weekend, as the Chiefs face a Raiders defense that’s allowed five different opposing running backs to score at least 15 fantasy points against them this season.

De'Ernest Johnson at Patriots (1 p.m. ET, CBS): The Browns will be without both Nick Chubb and Demetric Felton (reserve/COVID-19 list), which leaves Johnson as the top back in their offense. He was solid in the lead role earlier this season, posting nearly 30 fantasy points against the Broncos. The Patriots have allowed nearly 25 fantasy points per game to running backs, so Johnson should be in the RB2 mix this weekend.

More Starts

  • Mark Ingram at Titans (1 p.m. ET, CBS)
  • Zack Moss vs. Jets (1 p.m. ET, CBS)
  • Brandon Bolden vs. Browns (1 p.m. ET, CBS)

SI Recommends

DFS Bargains

  • D'Ernest Johnson at Patriots ($4,700)
  • Mark Ingram at Titans ($4,500)
  • Brandon Bolden vs. Browns ($4,400)

Week 10 Sit ‘Em: Running Backs

Sit of the Week

Antonio Gibson vs. Buccaneers (1 p.m. ET, Fox): Gibson, who has been dealing with a stress fracture in his shin, has failed to score more than 8.4 fantasy points in each of his last three games. During that time, he’s seen his touch share dip to under 30 percent while losing work to J.D. McKissic and Jaret Patterson. Next on the slate is a game against the Bucs, who have allowed one back to rush for more than 67 yards.

Sit ‘Em

Elijah Mitchell vs. Rams (Mon. 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN): Mitchell continues to get a ton of volume, which makes it tough to sit him in most leagues. With that said, fantasy fans should temper expectations this week against the Rams. Their defense has held the likes of Jonathan Taylor and Leonard Fournette to fewer than 6.5 fantasy points, and enemy runners have averaged just 79.9 rushing yards per game against them in 2021.

Mike Davis at Cowboys (1 p.m. ET, Fox): Davis is tough to trust in fantasy land this season, as he's splitting snaps and touches in the backfield with Cordarrelle Patterson. This week's matchup against the Cowboys looks good after the Broncos ran all over them, but Dallas had been tough on runners for the most part this season. So unless you're desperate for a low-ceiling flex option, Davis should be on the sidelines.

Oct 31, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons running back Mike Davis (28) stiff arms Carolina Panthers cornerback Keith Taylor (28) in the second quarter at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Carter vs. Bills (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Carter is coming off a disappointing stat line, scoring 9.6 fantasy points after scoring 32.2 in his previous game. While he’s not a sit ‘em in most leagues with four teams on a bye, I would beware the rookie in non-PPR formats against the Bills. Their defense has allowed the fewest fantasy points per game to running backs, and just two have scored more than 8.6 points against them.

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Adrian Peterson vs. Saints (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Peterson found the end zone in his first game with the Titans, but he still scored just 9.6 points while sharing the workload with both Jeremy McNichols and D’Onta Foreman. I’d beware the 36-year-old runner this week, as the Titans face a Saints defense that’s allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points per game and the fewest rushing yards to opposing running backs this season.

More Sits

  • Alex Collins at Packers (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS)
  • Boston Scott at Broncos (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS)
  • Carlos Hyde at Colts (1 p.m. ET, CBS)

DFS Fades

  • Michael Carter vs. Bills ($5,600)
  • Antonio Gibson vs. Buccaneers ($5.500)
  • Jeremy McNichols vs. Saints ($5,400)

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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