Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em (2020): Running Back Edition: Week 11: D’Andre Swift, Todd Gurley, Salvon Ahmed & 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 – D’Andre Swift (DET) at Carolina

Over the past two weeks Swift has taken 29 carries for 145 yards, and he was particularly impressive against Washington in Week 10:

  • Rushing – 16 carries for 81 yards
  • Receiving – 5 catches for 68 yards and 1 TD

You can argue that there’s a chance that Adrian Peterson or Kerryon Johnson take away some touches, but that’s hard to buy into with the way Swift has been rolling. Taking on a Carolina defense that’s allowed the fourth most points per week to opposing running backs, he’s an easy start.

Sit – Todd Gurley (ATL) vs. New Orleans

You could argue Gurley as a viable RB2, but the downside is low enough that you likely want to avoid him if possible. Overall New Orleans has allowed the second fewest points per week to opposing running backs, and they haven’t allowed a rushing TD since Week 4.

Gurley himself has been struggling over the past four weeks. He’s averaged 2.8 YPC or fewer each week, with his production being saved by finding the end zone (4 TD over the past three weeks). With the potential for a TD low, he becomes a tougher player to trust.

Start – Salvon Ahmed (MIA) at Denver

While Denver’s defense hasn’t been bad overall, over the past three weeks opposing running backs have torched them:

  • Week 8 (vs. LAC) – 188 yards (they added 76 receiving yards and 1 TD)
  • Week 9 (at ATL) – 78 yards and 1 TD
  • Week 10 (at LV) – 193 yards and 4 TD

That’s a lengthy struggle, and opens the door for Miami’s new top man to thrive. Ahmed is coming off a week where he took 21 carries for 85 yards and 1 TD against the Chargers, and he should see a similar workload this week. In a favorable matchup, 15+ carries should lead to a lot of success.

Sit – J.K. Dobbins (BAL) vs. Tennessee

In the two games with Mark Ingram sidelined Dobbins averaged 15 touches per game. With Ingram back in Week 10, the opportunities plummeted to 6 (5 rushing attempts and 1 reception).

While the matchup is a favorable one, the uncertainty in terms of opportunities makes this a completely hands off situation.

Start – Damien Harris (NE) at Houston

The Houston Texans have allowed the third most points per week to opposing running backs, including a league high 1,389 rushing yards and 11 TD. While Rex Burkhead did find the end zone twice in Week 10, both of those came through the air. The ground game was again dominated by Harris, who has been extremely good for four straight weeks:

  • vs. San Francisco – 10 carries for 58 yards
  • at Buffalo – 16 carries for 102 yards and 1 TD
  • at New York Jets – 14 carries for 71 yards
  • vs. Baltimore – 22 carries for 121 yards

That’s four straight games averaging over 5.0 YPC, and in this matchup there’s every reason to believe that he’ll keep the good times rolling.

Sit – Darrell Henderson (LAR) at Tampa Bay

This applies to the entire Rams’ backfield, as a convoluted situation is mixed with a tough matchup. Tampa Bay has allowed the fewest rushing yards to opposing running backs (515) and you simply don’t know if any of the Rams’ three running backs will get enough touches to make an impact. Just look at the breakdown from Week 10:

  • Cam Akers – 10 carries for 38 yards
  • Malcolm Brown – 6 carries for 33 yards and 2 TD
  • Darrell Henderson – 7 carries for 28 yards and 1 TD

We obviously can’t depend on the TD once again, and with 10 carries or fewer that makes them all unusable.

Sources – NFL.com, ESPN

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

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defenses

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