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Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Fantasy Football Week 14: Running Backs - Sleepers, Fades, Matchups, DFS Bargains

Javonte Williams has been on fire and should stay red hot this week against the Lions.

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: Colts, Dolphins, Eagles, Patriots


Week 14 Start ‘Em: Running Backs

Start of the Week

Javonte Williams vs. Lions (4:05 p.m. ET, Fox): Williams has been on absolute fire, scoring 20-plus fantasy points in two straight games including 29.8 points in a loss to the Chiefs. Regardless of the status of Melvin Gordon, Williams should remain in all starting lineups when the Broncos host the Lions. Their lowly defense has surrendered the fourth-most fantasy points per contest to opposing running backs this season.


Start ‘Em

Josh Jacobs at Chiefs (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Jacobs has put up two big stat lines in a row, scoring a combined 43.2 fantasy points while seeing a 45% touch share. He should continue to see a big workload, as the Raiders have lost Kenyan Drake for the season. That meant more targets for Jacobs last week, and we should see more of the same against a Chiefs defense that’s allowed the eighth-most total yards to runners.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Clyde Edwards-Helaire vs. Raiders (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Edwards-Helaire might be in a backfield committee with Darrel Williams when it comes to snaps, but CEH saw a 43.6% touch share last week (Williams - 20.5%). The LSU product should be considered a solid No. 2 fantasy runner this week, as the Chiefs will face a Raiders defense that’s allowed 18 touchdowns and the third-most points per game to opposing running backs.

Chuba Hubbard vs. Falcons (1 p.m. ET, Fox): Hubbard is back atop the Panthers depth chart with Christian McCaffrey out for the season, and I like him as a No. 2 fantasy back against the Falcons. Their defense has allowed the fifth-most points per game to enemy runners, and a total of 11 have scored over 14 fantasy points against them. That includes Hubbard, who had 14.1 points against them back in Week 8.

Sony Michel at Cardinals (Mon. 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN): Darrell Henderson has been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, so Michel is now a very solid fantasy option. Last week, he led the Rams with 66 snaps played and averaged more than five yards per rush  versus the Jaguars. The Cardinals are a far more formidable opponent, but the Rams should still allow Michel a ton of volume in what could be a high-scoring affair.

More Starts

  • James Conner vs. Rams (Mon. 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN)
  • Devonta Freeman at Browns (1 p.m. ET, CBS)
  • D'Onta Foreman vs. Jaguars (1 p.m. ET, CBS)

SI Recommends

DFS Bargains

  • Javonte Williams vs. Lions ($5,900)
  • Devonta Freeman at Browns ($5,700)
  • D’Onta Foreman vs. Jaguars ($5,100)

Week 14 Sit ‘Em: Running Backs

Sit of the Week

James Robinson vs. Titans (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Much like Elliott, Robinson is likely to be in many starting lineups this week. Keep in mind though that he’s clearly not at 100 percent as he continues to deal with heel and knee problems. He also lost touches to Carlos Hyde last weekend after a fumble landed him in Urban Meyers’ doghouse. The Titans have been tough on running backs lately too, so temper expectations this week.

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Sit ‘Em

A.J. Dillon vs. Bears (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC): Dillon will be a flex starter for a lot of fans this week, but can he sustain a 40-plus percent touch share with Aaron Jones back in the mix? I have my doubts. While I do expect the duo to split work, I can also see the touch total teetering back in favor of Jones now that he should be closer to (if not) 100%. At best, Dillon should be seen as a risk-reward starter against the Bears.

Jermar Jefferson at Broncos (4:05 p.m. ET, Fox): Jefferson should play a much bigger role in the Lions offense this week, as both D'Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams are out. So while the rookie will be worth a roll of the dice as a flex starter for those in need, it's tough to start him with confidence. He'll share at least some of the workload with Godwin Igwebuike, and game script could hurt Detroit's rushing attack in the contest.

David Johnson vs. Seahawks (1 p.m. ET, Fox): Johnson is slated to return to action after missing last week's loss to the Colts, but he's still not a worthy starting option in fantasy leagues. He'll continue to split the workload with Rex Burkhead, who has seen nearly the same snap and touch percentage as Johnson in their last three games played together. Seattle is bad against running backs, but D.J. simply can't be trusted.

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Mike Davis at Panthers (1 p.m. ET, Fox): Davis is coming off his best game of the season, scoring 16.9 fantasy points in a loss to the Buccaneers. I wouldn’t chase the points, though, even in a revenge game against the Panthers. Their defense has been tough on opposing running backs, allowing just eight total touchdowns and the second-fewest points a game to the position. At best, he’ll be a desperation flex option

More Sits

  • Kareem Hunt vs. Ravens (1 p.m. ET, CBS)
  • Devin Singletary at Buccaneers (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS)
  • Alex Collins at Texans (1 p.m. ET, Fox)

DFS Fades

  • Ezekiel Elliott at Football Team ($7,300)
  • James Robinson at Titans ($5,800)
  • Kareem Hunt vs. Ravens ($5,600)

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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