Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em (2018): Week 6: Running Back Edition: Tarik Cohen, Aaron Jones, LeSean McCoy & 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:


Tevin Coleman – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Tampa Bay
Things appear to be pointing in the wrong direction for Devonta Freeman, but even if he plays would we not consider utilizing Coleman in all formats?  That said don’t necessarily consider Coleman a high-end option, regardless of if Freeman sits out or not.  Just look at his carries in the three weeks Freeman has already missed in 2018:

  • Week 2 – 16 carries for 107 yards (6.7 YPC)
  • Week 3 – 15 carries for 33 yards (2.2 YPC)
  • Week 4 – 14 carries for 51 yards (3.6 YPC)

The Buccaneers have allowed the fourth fewest rushing yards to opposing running backs (276 yards), with a 3.7 YPC.  Where they have struggled is with pass catching running backs, and while Coleman will get his opportunities there are many mouths to feed for Atlanta and Ito Smith will also be an option.

Verdict – Start ‘Em (but closer to a FLEX than a must start RB2)


Tarik Cohen – Chicago Bears – at Miami
Cohen is coming off a huge game against the Buccaneers, dominating the running back touches:

  • Tarik Cohen – 20 touches for 174 yards and 1 TD
  • Jordan Howard – 11 touches for 25 yards

Cohen was particularly dynamic in the passing game, catching 7 passes for 121 yards and 1 TD.  That’s an area that Miami has struggled defensively, allowing the sixth most receptions to opposing running backs (36) and are tied for the most receiving TD (3).  While Cohen’s carries could go down into the 6-9 range, the potential for a blowup game catching the football once again is extremely high.  That’s going to make him a viable option, and maybe even a better play than Howard.

Verdict – Start ‘Em (viable RB2)


Aaron Jones – Green Bay Packers – vs. San Francisco
Week 5 was a frustrating one for Jones owners, as he was basically shelved due to game flow.  Despite producing with the touches that he received (7 carries for 40 yards), with the Packers down 24 points at the half they were forced to go into a pass heavy approach.  That meant more of Jamaal Williams and Ty Montgomery, but against the 49ers on Monday night that should not be the case.

San Francisco has been burned by running backs who can catch the football (285 yards and 2 TD), and that’s something to keep in mind.  With Green Bay expected to play from ahead, though, it should mean a heavier workload for Jones.  He’s averaging 6.1 yards/carry this season (147 yards on 24 carries) and if he gets at least 12 carries the production is going to be there.

Verdict – Start ‘Em (low-end RB2/strong FLEX)


Nyheim Hines – Indianapolis Colts – at New York Jets
Hines is coming off a game where he got 22 touches and it’s clear that he’s the pass catching option for Indianapolis (29 receptions for 164 yards and 2 TD on the season).  Marlon Mack is looking likely to return and Jordan Wilkins is also going to be in the mix, so the number of carries is likely going to be limited.  That said the Jets are tied for the seventh most receptions allowed to opposing running backs this season (34, going for 260 yards and 1 TD) and that means things should point towards Hines’ favor.  He’s not necessarily a recommended play, but he’s a viable FLEX option for those in PPR formats.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em (but a strong FLEX in PPR formats)


LeSean McCoy – Buffalo Bills – at Houston
There have been trade rumors swirling, but for now we have to assume that he’s going to suit up for the Bills this week.  He’s coming off a season high 24 carries and you would think that the Bills will continue to look to run the football, as a way to help their rookie quarterback.  Maybe 20+ carries is a stretch, however, and Houston has actually been pretty good against opposing running backs.  Some key numbers:

  • 3.4 yards/carry
  • 1 rushing TD

If we are going in expecting 12-15 carries, it’s very easy to imagine them to be fairly empty.  If 50-60 yards and 0 TD interest you then he’s a solid play, but you can finally find more upside than that.  He’s a viable FLEX option, but not necessarily a recommended one.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em (viable FLEX only)

Make sure to check out all of our Week 6 rankings:

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em (2018): Week 6: Wide Receiver Edition: Josh Gordon, Doug Baldwin, Corey Davis & More
Thursday Night Start 'Em or Sit 'Em: Week 6 (2018): Wendell Smallwood, Corey Clement & More


  1. NK says:

    What caliber WR would you target as a return for Shady? I have plenty of running backs, I would even consider packaging two for a decent return. I am weak at WR outside of Brown obviously.

    My Current Roster

    A. Brown

    Jones II

  2. d says:

    hey professor who would you start as a flex in a 1/2ppr league…chris thompson, keke, jordan reed

  3. Chris says:

    Need help with ppr flex prof, chris thompson or aaron jones, am I over thinking playing jones over thompson?

  4. Beans says:

    Professor who would you rather have ROS in a PPR? Chester Rogers or Courtland Sutton? Non-Keeper. Thank you

  5. Cheesehead Doug says:

    1/2 point PPR Yahoo small $ league

    Which 5 would you start with 2 RB, 2 WR and Flex

    D Johnson, J Conner, J Howard, C Carson, N Hines

    AC Green, D Baldwin, J Gordon, S Watkins


  6. Tony says:

    Need 1, PPR: McCoy, Ekeler or Aaron Jones? Gut says Ekeler, but I’m torn. Thanks!

  7. Neil says:

    Professor need your advice. Start and flex, PPR, D.Johnson, L.Murray or T.Coleman. Thanks

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