Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em (2018): Week 5: Running Back Edition: Mark Ingram, Kerryon Johnson & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Trying to decide who you should start or sit this week? Let’s take a look at a few potential decisions owners have and try to sort through them:


Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints – vs. Washington
Ingram returns from his suspension, and that’s going to get some excited.  Of course in his absence Alvin Kamara has shouldered the load and thrived in the process, averaging 4.9 yards/carry (275 yards) and scoring 5 TD while adding 35 catches, 336 yards and 1 TD.  Could Ingram cut into the rushing attempts slightly and potentially steal a few TD?  Absolutely, but is anyone really expecting him to extract a significant workload immediately?

Obviously the Saints want to make sure Kamara stays healthy, but they are 3-1 and thriving offensively, averaging 34.2 points/game (third most in the league).  Why rock the boat and make significant changes?  Ingram is more a player to monitor, but it’s impossible to expect him to walk in and get enough touches to be an impact option (think 8-12, depending on game flow).

Verdict – Sit ‘Em (borderline RB2 if desperate)


Lamar Miller – Houston Texans – vs. Dallas
Miller hasn’t been very good this season, averaging 3.9 yards/carry and failing to find the end zone (he has caught 1 TD, with only 8 receptions and 10 targets).  Things have been particularly bad over the past two weeks, with 59 yards on 24 carries, and the matchup against the Cowboys isn’t necessarily an ideal one (Dallas is middle of the pack against opposing running backs, having allowed 300 rushing yards and 3 TD).  Those two things help to limit the appeal, but Miller has gotten at least 14 carries in three of four games this season and should continue to get enough touches to make an impact (especially with Will Fuller banged up).  While Miller isn’t a great option, there’s enough here to consider him as a RB2.

Verdict – Start ‘Em (low-end RB2)


Kerryon Johnson – Detroit Lions – vs. Green Bay
We all expected Johnson to take his performance against the Patriots (16 carries for 101 yards) and build on it.  Unfortunately the coaching staff didn’t have the same idea, giving him just 9 carries in Week 4.  Of course he still delivered, turning them into 55 yards (6.1 yards/carry) and 1 TD.  It’s the third straight game he’s averaged at least 5.4 yards/carry, and you would think that he’s heading for a much bigger workload.

Would it be a surprise to see the Lions try to manage the clock, keeping the ball away from Aaron Rodgers and company?  The upside is there, but the workload is a question (he’s had more than 9 carries once in three games) and that’s going to hold him back.  It doesn’t look like we can expect an increase either, given this quote courtesy of Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (click here for the article):

“I think we have a lot of really good running backs and I think we try to use them appropriately,” Patricia said at his Monday news conference. “I think Kerryon played a significant amount of the game. He played 20 snaps of 55, that’s a good amount. Plus, we have two other running backs, plus we have two-minute drives and other two-minute personnel packages and things like that. There was quite a bit of reps in there for Kerryon.”

If he were locked in for 12-15 touches he’d be a surefire RB2.  Under the circumstances, he’s not…

Verdict – Sit ‘Em (viable FLEX option, though)


Kenyan Drake – Miami Dolphins – at Cincinnati
Drake has been a massive disappointment, nearly splitting the carries with Frank Gore (Drake has 33 carries vs. 35 for Gore) and being the less productive runner:

  • Frank Gore – 4.0 yards/carry
  • Kenyan Drake – 3.2 yards/carry

While Drake has gotten 14 targets, he has turned them into 10 receptions and 55 yards.  What about the numbers excites us?  What makes us think that the workload is suddenly going to increase?  In fact his carries have steadily declined, and while game flow has been an issue he’s gotten just 8 carries over the past two games.  It’s far more likely that he loses his role all together as opposed to suddenly becoming a trustworthy option one again.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em


Phillip Lindsay – Denver Broncos – at New York Jets
Lindsay continues to produce, outside of Week 3 when he had an early ejection, though he’s going to continue to share the workload with Royce Freeman.  Here’s the split from Week 4:

  • Phillip Lindsay – 12 carries for 69 yards and 1 TD
  • Royce Freeman – 8 carries for 67 yards and 1 TD

While the Jets have been middle of the pack against opposing running backs, does anyone expect them to be able to shutdown this duo?  We’d like him better if he was guaranteed the lion’s share of the carries, but there’s enough upside that he’s a borderline RB2 and a viable FLEX.

Verdict – Start ‘Em (must start FLEX, viable RB2)

Make sure to check out all of our Week 5 rankings:

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em (2018): Week 5: Wide Receiver Edition: Calvin Ridley, Demaryius Thomas & More
Thursday Night Start 'Em or Sit 'Em: Week 5 (2018): Sony Michel, Andrew Luck, James White & More


  1. Patriots says:

    Good Morning Professor

    12 team 1/2 point ppr. Who would you use Kenny Golladay or Cory Davis this week.
    Thank You

  2. Greg says:

    I’m looking to replace tevin coleman in a 10 team .5 ppr league. Ajayi, lamar miller, alex collins lesean mccoy and ekeler are available ( I have melvin gordon). I was kind of leaning towards ekeler just in case gordon doesnt stay healthy all season. unless you think swapping coleman for ekeler is basically the same thing

  3. J says:

    Brieda, Lynch, Deon Lewis, Lindsay. I need two.

  4. trevor says:

    std. flex-from first to last-peterson, breida, michel or Ridley
    std. Rivers or Newton

  5. NK says:

    Coming off an Injury with Gio out, is Mixon an obvious start? My other options are Ingram and Shady. I have Kamara as well but he’s obviously a lock, and I already played Michel last night (man does he look awesome).


  6. Sheldon says:

    Hi, Prof. 0.5 PPR. I’ve picked up RB Alfred Blue off of waivers. If Lamar Miller is a no go Sunday night, then do you think Alfred Blue is a decent play at flex, against Dallas? If so, then I’m going to have to sit one of Calvin Ridley, Emmanuel Sanders, or John Brown. Right now, I have them playing as my 2 WRs and 1 Flex. I know, it’s a tough one. But I’d appreciate your views on this. Thanks.

    • Sheldon says:

      And BTW, Ekeler and Kamara are my RBs for now. I could start Blue in place of Ekeler, if Lamar Miller is out, and keep Calvin Ridley, Emmanuel Sanders, and John Brown in the lineup The only problem is that the Houston-Dallas game is on Sunday night. I hope they make a decision on Lamar Miller’s availability early. Thanks for your help, Prof.

    • I wouldn’t trust Blue, especially over those WT

  7. bway says:

    Need of the these WR’s
    Sanu Atl, Cole Jac, Watkins KC, or Enunwa NYJ?

    Wilson Sea or one of these available QB’s Josh Allen, Prescott, Beathard, or Mariota?

    Wilson Sea or Carr Oak?

    TE? Graham GB or Kittle SF

  8. Nonie says:

    Hi Prof

    Would you go with Sanders or Allison (if he plays) in standard this week? Thanks as always

  9. Sheldon says:

    Hi, Prof. Do you think Mixon and Walton will split carries? Also, I expect Cincy to lead going into the fourth quarter by two scores. Then, do you think Cincy shut down Mixon to protect him, and give Walton an extended run, to ice the game? Your thoughts? Thanks.

  10. Krysta says:

    14 team, PPR

    1. Are you at all nervous about starting Devonta Freeman right away? Currently starting him and Carlos Hyde but have Adrian Peterson and Javirous Allen as options on the bench.

    2. Would you advise stashing D’onta Foreman?

    3. Nick Chubb available as free agent should I stash/handcuff him and get rid of Javious Allen or D’onta Foreman?

    • 1) Peterson is the “safer” play, but I’d be comfortable enough with Freeman

      2) Couldn’t hurt if you have the spot

      3) I think long-term Chubb > Foreman for sure, so if you are thinking a few weeks down the line I’d make that move

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