Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em (2019): Running Back Edition: Week 11: Joe Mixon, Devin Singletary, Sony Michel & More

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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

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Make sure to check out all of our Week 11 rankings:

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defenses

16 COMMENTS

  1. Do you like mostert as an flex option this week with breida out? Other options I have are josh reynolds and will fuller. Fullers matchup is not great and not sure of his status coming back from a hamstring injury. Cooks is out. Rams did not look good last week but goff is generally better at home. Injuries and bye week limits my options. .5 ppr. Thanks

    • Of those I guess I’d roll Mostert, but it’s not a ringing endorsement. That said the team is really banged up and Tevin Coleman can only do so much, so I could see Mostert being a significant part of the game plan

      • Hi Professor,

        Follow up.

        With Williams not playing until Monday, we may not know if McCoy is playing or not. So I was leaning Hill over Williams assuming Bell is healthy.

        Your thoughts?

        Thanks.

  2. Hi, Prof. In a 0.5 PPR, 14-team league.

    Need 1 RB from: Jordan Howard (now trending towards being a game-time decision), J. D. McKissic, and Kalen Ballage.

    The thing is that I’m really reluctant to trust player health reports, after seeing what happened to Conner. It was a direct result of poor/false reporting, in general. So, I’m not sure if Jordan Howard will last the game, even if he’s cleared.

    Would appreciate your inputs And assistance. Thanks.

  3. Hi, Prof. With Jordan Howard looking like he’s going to sit this one out, is it advisable to pick up Ajayi, or should I just roll with either J. D. McKissic or Karen Ballage? Need your advise. What do you think? I’m in a 0.5 PPR, 14-team league. Thanks.

    • I don’t like any of them, especially with Ty Johnson back. Who knows how many touches Ajayi and McKissic are going to get, and neither have ideal matchups anyways. I guess I’d go Ballage, who is going to get opportunities and may be the “best of the bad”

  4. Good evening, Professor! 14 Team 1/2 PPR. Somewhat limited this bye week. WR’s Mike Evans and Calvin Ridley, RB’s Nick Chubb Leonard Fournette.

    1. Would you flex Raheem Mostert, Chrid Conley or Ronald Jones II?

    2. In preparation, for Travis Kelce’s bye week would you pick up Jacob Hollister, Tyler Eifert, Jimmy Grahm or wait?

    • 1) Ronald Jones, even though I don’t like the matchup

      2) I’d probably just wait, none of them are going to be viewed as “great” options regardless

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