Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em (2020): Running Back Edition: Week 13: Todd Gurley, David Johnson, David Montgomery & More


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 – David Montgomery (CHI) vs. Detroit

Back in Week 1 against the Lions Montgomery was solid, taking 13 carries for 64 yards. While he’s struggled since, for the most part, he returned in Week 12 (he hadn’t played since November 8) and exploded for 103 yards on 11 carries while catching 5 passes for 40 yards and 1 TD. That was his first 100+ yard game since 12/29/19 and there’s a chance he replicates it against a Detroit defense that’s allowed the most points per week to opposing running backs. The team’s issues have come both on the ground and through the air:

  • Rushing – 1,279 yards and 12 TD
  • Receiving – 543 yards and 7 TD

With Montgomery averaging nearly 5 targets per week, he has the potential to expose them both ways. Don’t shy away from him now.

Sit – Todd Gurley (ATL) vs. New Orleans

It’s become abundantly clear that Gurley is a shell of his former self, as he’s averaged a meager 3.7 YPC this season. The lack of production is only part of the issues, as there are a slew of factors working against him:

  • Gurley is battling a knee injury that sidelined him for Week 12
  • The Saints have allowed the fewest points per week to opposing running backs

Prior to getting hurt Gurley faced off against the Saints, taking 8 carries for 26 yards (3.3 YPC). He’s now averaged 3.3 YPC or less in five straight games. While he has routinely found the end zone (9 TD), that’s not something we can count on in this matchup. As a TD dependent option, he’s a hands off proposition this week.

Start – Frank Gore (NYJ) vs. Las Vegas

No one expected Gore to be a viable option in 2020, and even as the Jets leaned on him the hope was that they’d turn the job over to a younger option. Instead they continue to feature the 37-year old running back, and will continue to do so with La’Mical Perine injured. Gore has responded, producing back-to-back solid days:

  • at Los Angeles Chargers – 15 carries for 61 yards and 1 TD
  • vs. Miami – 18 carries for 74 yards

The workload should be there once again, and this time it comes against a Las Vegas defense that’s allowed the fourth most points per week to opposing running backs. While it’s fair to continue to have doubts, it’s impossible not to utilize him as a RB2 given the likely workload and matchup.

Sit – Zack Moss (BUF) at San Francisco

Moss has emerged as the leader of the Bills’ backfield in recent weeks, but that doesn’t necessarily make him a can’t miss option. He’s actually reached double-digit carries just once all season, and after scoring 3 TD in a two-week span he’s gone back-to-back games without a score.

A non-factor in the passing game, the matchup isn’t ideal either. Overall the 49ers have been solid against opposing running backs, allowing the fifth fewest rushing yards. While they weren’t great in Week 12 against the Rams (107 yards and 1 TD), it’s still not ideal.

Start – David Johnson (HOU) vs. Indianapolis

There’s no guarantee that David Johnson is activated ahead of Sunday’s contest, so monitor the news just in case, but things appear to be headed in that direction. He hasn’t played since Week 9, but Duke Johnson failed to step up and take advantage of his absence. He should continue to play a role in the passing game, but David Johnson should step right back into the lead role.

That’s a good thing, as there are a lot of factors working in his favor:

  • Over the past four weeks the Colts have allowed the third most rushing yards to opposing RB (479 yards and 5 TD)
  • Indianapolis will be without DeForest Buckner
  • Houston’s passing game is in question, given injuries and suspensions

Sit – Benny Snell (PIT) vs. Washington

With James Conner sidelined Snell did dominate the backfield carries against the Ravens, though he wasn’t impressive:

  • Benny Snell – 16 carries for 60 yards (3.8 YPC)
  • Anthony McFarland – 3 carries for 9 yards (3.0 YPC)

Is it a guarantee that Snell dominates the touches, even if Conner isn’t able to return? Even if he does, will he produce against a Washington defense that’s allowed the third fewest points per week to opposing running backs? There’s far too much risk involved.

Sources –, ESPN

Make sure to check out all of our Week 13 rankings:

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends


  1. Prof, need to start two of the following three: Kareem Hunt, Jarvis Landry, and Devontae Booker. Full point PPR. Considering sitting Hunt given his recent play and I also have Nick Chubb so concerned with starting three Browns. Thoughts? Thanks!

  2. 1/2 PPR Need 4
    RB J.K. Dobbins
    RB Miles Sanders (Playing from behind & B Scott taking touches)
    RB D Johnson
    WR J Jefferson
    WR T Lockett (Forgotten Man)
    WR D Parker (Love him if Fitz is the QB)

    Standard RB Damion Harris or WR Allen Robinson?

    DEF: Packers or Seahawks? (both have excellent matchups)


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