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 – Ronald Jones (TB) – vs. Green Bay
With Leonard Fournette likely returning the thought may be that Jones is going to lose touches. However just look at the numbers he’s put up over the past three weeks:
- vs. LAC – 20 carries for 111 yards (5.6 YPC)
- at CHI – 17 carries for 106 yards (6.2 YPC)
- vs. GB – 23 carries for 113 yards (4.9 YPC) & 2 TD
Even if we believed that Fournette was going to cut into the opportunities, a matchup with a Raiders’ defense that’s allowed the second most points per week to opposing running backs certainly helps. There should be more than enough opportunities to go around (though Jones should obviously still be the leader), and Jones is a must start regardless of who is in the lineup and who is sidelined.
Sit – Joshua Kelley (LAC) – vs. Jacksonville
With Austin Ekeler sidelined many thought Kelley would emerge as the leader of the Chargers’ backfield. However that wasn’t the case in Week 5 against the Saints:
- Justin Jackson – 15 carries for 71 yards
- Joshua Kelley – 11 carries for 29 yards
Jackson simply outplayed Kelley, and at best this will likely remain a timeshare moving forward. That said, coming off their bye week could the Chargers fully turn things over to Jackson? While Jacksonville offers a favorable matchup, given the uncertainty Kelley is a desperation FLEX, at best, and better left on your bench.
Start – Todd Gurley (ATL) – vs. Detroit
No one is going to confuse Gurley with the player he once was, but that doesn’t mean that he can’t be productive. While he struggled in Week 6 (20 carries for 47 yards against Minnesota), prior to that he had scored 4 TD over a three game stretch.
This week offers a matchup that should get him back on track, as the Lions have allowed the sixth most points per week to opposing running backs. They’ve been burned both on the ground and in the air:
- Rushing – 619 yards and 5 TD
- Receiving – 212 yards and 2 TD
With Gurley picking up 7 catches over his past two games, he’s an ideal player to utilize.
Sit – Jerick McKinnon (SF) at New England
With Raheem Mostert injured the impulse will be to boost McKinnon up into the range of startable options. However there’s definitely confusion in this backfield, even without the team’s best option, as we saw the usage last week even after Mostert (17 carries) went down:
- JaMycal Hasty – 9 carries for 37 yards
- Jerick McKinnon – 6 carries for 18 yards
Could Hasty assume the early down work? We also can’t ignore Jeff Wilson, while Deebo Samuel is healthy and could get some carries from the WR spot as well. Throw in a matchup against a New England defense that’s allowed the fourth fewest points per week to opposing running backs, and all of the 49ers’ running backs are impossible to trust.
Start – David Johnson (HOU) – vs. Green Bay
We all know that David Johnson is not the running back that he was back in 2016 (when he rushed for 1,239 yards and 16 TD as a member of the Arizona Cardinals). That said he also has shown some signs of life in recent weeks, including 96 yards on 17 carries against the Jaguars (a similarly favorable matchup to the one he has this week) in Week 5 and 57 yards and 1 TD against the Titans in Week 6.
Johnson has gotten consistent carries all year (11+ each week), and over the past three weeks he’s average 17.33 carries per game. Against a Packers’ defense that’s allowed the most points per week to opposing running backs, that locks him in as a viable RB2 in all formats.
Sit – Chase Edmonds (ARI) – vs. Seattle
Kenyan Drake’s frustrating play was supposed to open up opportunities for Edmonds to step up and emerge. Instead Drake erupted in Week 6 (164 yards and 2 TD), and while we may want to point towards the 69-yard late game romp he’s still scored 3 TD in his past two games and has gotten 16+ carries in all but one game this season.
So with Drake still operating as the lead back and Seattle not offering a favorable matchup (378 rushing yards are the third fewest allowed), how can we trust Edmonds?
Sources – NFL.com, ESPN
Make sure to check out all of our Week 7 rankings: