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:
Start – Devin Singletary – Buffalo Bills (at Miami)
While it was a somewhat disappointing performance in Week 10 against the Browns, Singletary continued to prove that he’s the most dynamic running back Buffalo has:
- Devin Singletary – 11 touches for 50 yards
- Frank Gore – 6 touches for 16 yards
At the very least Singletary has emerged as the favorite for touches, and you would think that would continue this week against the Dolphins. Overall Miami has allowed the sixth most points per week to opposing running backs, including 4.7 YPC and 4 receiving TD. With Singletary being the far better receiver of the duo, and the most explosive, look for Buffalo to utilize him to take advantage. He’s a locked in RB2 with RB1 upside.
Sit – Sony Michel – New England Patriots (at Philadelphia)
Does anyone really want to trust New England running backs? Just when you thought he had emerged as the leader of the backfield, getting at least 19 carries for three straight weeks, Sony Michel seemingly fell off the map against the Ravens:
- James White – 9 carries for 38 yards and 1 TD
- Rex Burkhead – 4 carries for 18 yards
- Sony Michel – 4 carries for 18 yards
The fact that the Patriots were trailing likely played a role, but it’s not like he has a favorable matchup in Week 11. The Eagles have allowed the second fewest rushing yards to opposing RB this season (582). In fact they have been far more susceptible to pass catching backs (381 yards), and that plays to the usage of White & Burkhead more. While Michel is a FLEX option, he’s not ideal given the risk.
Start – Joe Mixon – Cincinnati Bengals (at Oakland)
It wasn’t long ago that Mixon seemed like an unusable option, but he was given 30 carries against the Ravens (114 yards) and with Ryan Finley under center he should continue to be the focal point of the offense. That should play up well against the Raiders, who have struggled against opposing running backs over the past four weeks:
- Rushing – 346 yards, 1 TD
- Receiving – 235 yards, 5 TD
Considering Mixon can also catch the football (6 receptions for 48 yards and 1 TD over the past two weeks), and it all comes together. He should get a slew of opportunities and in a favorable matchup should thrive again.
Sit – Kalen Ballage – Miami Dolphins (vs. Buffalo)
Ballage was the last man standing in Miami, but he failed to capitalize on the opportunity. Taking on the Colts he turned 20 carries into just 43 yards (2.2 YPC) and didn’t have a run longer than 7 yards. That should lead the Dolphins to look at some of their younger running backs until Mark Walton is ready to return from suspension (like Myles Gaskin and Patrick Laird), further hurting the outlook for Ballage.
Additional Running Backs To Start:
- Brian Hill (Atlanta Falcons at CAR) – With Devonta Freeman and Ito Smith injured, Hill should step in and carry the load. Long-term he’s not a tremendous option, but the Panthers should be a hospitable matchup. They’ve allowed the fourth most points per week to opposing RB overall and the most over the past four weeks (10 total TD).
- Austin Ekeler (Los Angeles Chargers vs. KC) – He may not be as good of an option as Melvin Gordon, but he’s a must start in all formats regardless. It’s very possible the Chargers are forced to throw the ball early and often to keep pace with the Chiefs, who have allowed the second most receiving yards to opposing RB this season (571 yards, 5 TD).
Additional Running Backs To Sit:
- Derrius Guice (Washington Redskins vs. NYJ) – There’s a good chance that he immediately returns to the lead role, though it’s hard to envision Adrian Peterson completely being written out of the game script. Couple that with the matchup against a Jets’ defense that just silenced Saquan Barkley and Guice becomes tough to trust.
- Royce Freeman (Denver Broncos at MIN) – Over the past four weeks Freeman has failed to top 40 yards or average better than 3.5 YPC in a game. He saw his usage drop dramatically last week (5 carries for 15 yards against the Browns) and it’s a trend that could continue. Taking on the Vikings he’d need touches to be viable, and that uncertainty knocks him down to nothing but a FLEX play.
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com
Make sure to check out all of our Week 11 rankings: