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Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Fantasy Football Week 12: Running Backs - Sleepers, Fades, Matchups, DFS Bargains

Myles Gaskin is becoming one of the most predictable performers in fantasy football.

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: Cardinals, Chiefs


Week 12 Start ‘Em: Running Backs

Start of the Week

Saquon Barkley vs. Eagles (1 p.m. ET, Fox): I usually don't include a player like Barkley in this column, but he's coming off a mediocre stat line in his return to action and hasn't been an "elite" option this season. So, consider this your bit of validation as it pertains to the talented back. Barkley has a great matchup against the Eagles, who have allowed 10 total touchdowns and the eighth-most points per game to runners.


Start ‘Em

Antonio Gibson vs. Seahawks (Mon. 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN): Gibson has been tough to trust in recent weeks, but an upcoming matchup against the Seahawks makes him an attractive No. 2 fantasy runner. Their defense has allowed the second-most fantasy points per game to backs, and seven have scored 17-plus fantasy points against them. Gibson has also seen a near 40 percent touch share over his last two games of 2021.

A.J. Dillon vs. Rams (4:25 p.m. ET, Fox): Dillon rushed for just 53 yards in his first game as the Packers starter, but he also caught six passes and saw a 40.5 percent touch share. This week’s game against the Rams might not look great on the surface, but their defense has allowed big stat lines to the likes of D’Andre Swift, James Conner and David Montgomery. I’d consider Dillon a borderline No. 1 fantasy running back once again.

Miles Sanders at Giants (1 p.m. ET, Fox): Sanders looked good in his first game back from an ankle injury, and I like him as a No. 2 back or flex starter against the Giants. The Eagles will be without Jordan Howard, so Sanders should see a heavy workload in an offense that has run the ball around 67 percent of the time in their last four games. The Giants defense is no great shakes, so Philadelphia will  find success on the ground.

 Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

 Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Melvin Gordon vs. Chargers (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS): Revenge! Gordon should be very motivated to produce against his old team, the Chargers, in an AFC West matchup. Their defense has allowed the ninth-most fantasy points per game to opposing backs, including eight who have scored 14 or more points. Gordon and Javonte Williams, who will also benefit from the matchup, should be in the flex starter conversation this week.

More Starts

  • Kareem Hunt at Ravens (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC)
  • Darrell Henderson at Packers (4:25 p.m. ET, Fox)
  • David Johnson vs. Jets (1 p.m. ET, CBS)

SI Recommends

DFS Bargains

  • Melvin Gordon vs. Chargers ($5,300)
  • Miles Sanders at Giants ($5,100)
  • Rex Burkhead vs. Jets ($4,200)

Week 12 Sit ‘Em: Running Backs

Sit of the Week

Myles Gaskin vs. Panthers (1 p.m. ET, Fox): Gaskin has become one of the easiest backs to predict, as he’s alternated good and bad stat lines for most of the season. In fact, he has failed to score more than 8.6 fantasy points in any even-numbered week. I’d sit him in Week 12, as Gaskin also faces a matchup against a Panthers defense that has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points per game to running backs in 2021.

Sit ‘Em

D'Onta Foreman at Patriots (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Foreman is the new top back for the Titans after the release of Adrian Peterson, but this week's matchup against the Patriots makes him a risk-reward option. While their defense has allowed the 12th-most points per game to backs, most of those points come from pass catchers. In fact, New England has allowed just two rushing touchdowns to the position in 2021.

Alex Collins at Football Team (Mon. 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN): Collins has seen a bigger role in the Seahawks offense this season, as the team has been (and will continue to be) without Chris Carson. Unfortunately, Collins hasn’t been able to do much with his chances. Over the last four games, he’s failed to score even six fantasy points. The matchup against Washington isn’t a bad one, but Collins hasn’t been able to produce.

Rhamondre Stevenson vs. Titans (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Stevenson was a hot name in the fantasy world heading into Week 11, but the return of Damien Harris threw cold water on his value. He split snaps and touches with his veteran teammate against the Falcons, which led to a modest 8.5-point stat line. He’ll continue to share the workload, and the Titans have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to runners.

New England Patriots Rhamondre Stevenson

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Mike Davis at Jaguars (1 p.m. ET, Fox): Davis’ stock has taken a massive nosedive, as he couldn’t even out-touch Qadree Ollison last week in a game where the Falcons were without Cordarelle Patterson. Regardless of Patterson’s status this week, Davis should be on the fantasy sidelines (or even the waiver wire) against a Jaguars defense that’s allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to enemy running backs since Week 8.

More Sits

  • Devonta Freeman vs. Browns (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC)
  • Mike Davis at Jaguars (1 p.m. ET, Fox)
  • Tevin Coleman at Texans (1 p.m. ET, CBS)

DFS Fades

  • Damien Harris vs. Titans ($6,100)
  • Myles Gaskin vs. Panthers ($5,600)
  • Mike Davis at Jaguars ($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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