Week 7 Start 'Em Sit 'Em: Running Back Options to Strongly Consider
The top names of the running back position haven't exactly been the ones you'd expect on a week-to-week basis, though some options have begun to set themselves apart from the pack—even if they aren't names you drafted within the first couple of rounds.
For this week, I would advise sitting running backs that share carries almost equally with a teammate. Yes, that means sit Fred Jackson, C.J. Spiller, BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard. Their matchups this week—the Miami Dolphins and Detroit Lions, respectively—are decent against the run, and there still isn't any clarity as to who the feature back is in either situation. Sitting each of them would be a smart move for your fantasy team.
There are plenty of other running backs that should be sat (and obviously plenty that are deserving of a start), but the most important ones from both angles will be highlighted here. Choosing the right running backs each week can be the difference between winning and losing, so plugging in the right guys is integral to your team's success.
Start: Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers
If you haven't been starting Frank Gore over the past few weeks, then you've been missing out on some big-time production.
Gore was likely a guy you took a few rounds after the top names went off the board, and you were undoubtedly banking on the fact that his quiet production level would put up numbers similar to the top stars. Well, he's been doing just that over the past few weeks.
On the season, Gore has three touchdowns and 477 yards. He's added in 56 yards in the passing game. Kendall Hunter has stolen three rushing touchdowns from Gore, but his yardage numbers are certainly enough to make up for the loss in scores.
His matchup in Week 7 against the Tennessee Titans isn't an easy one, but he's been hot lately. He has topped 80 yards in four straight games, one of which was a 153-yard explosion against the St. Louis Rams.
It's hard to rely on him for goal-line scores because of Hunter's ability to run it in from close, but relying on Gore for yardage and receptions (in PPR leagues) is what you drafted him for. He's on pace for yet another 1,000-yard season and expect the Niners to utilize him heavily against the Titans.
Get him active.
Sit: Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots
Stevan Ridley hasn't been a top running back this season, though he did have a strong Week 6 game against the New Orleans Saints.
Starting him against the New York Jets this week is not a good idea, though. They allow just 75.7 yards per game on the ground, the second-best total in the NFL. Ridley, never a game-changer to begin with, will have a minimal impact in this one.
Tom Brady will be throwing early and often, and Ridley will likely only get around 15 to 20 carries. On those carries, it wouldn't be fair to expect more than 50 yards or so.
Ridley also makes little impact in the passing game, making him almost useless in PPR leagues. He has just four catches on the season. Had he a history of catching passes out of the backfield, starting him this week would be excusable.
Against the right team, Ridley is a guy that could start as a No. 2 running back or flex option. The Jets are great against the run, though, so that won't be the case in Week 7.
Start him only if you have no other options.
Start: Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos
It's understandable if you sat Knowshon Moreno last week. He had yet to really break out, and any offense featuring Peyton Manning likely won't be running the ball all that much.
You're probably kicking yourself a week later for sitting him, though, as he ran for three touchdowns and got most of the work in the second half of the game.
Look for the Broncos to help Moreno build off that performance with more carries in the red zone and more carries on first and second down.
If he gets 25-plus touches in Week 7 against the Indianapolis Colts, then he could easily eclipse the 100-yard mark and possibly even throw in a touchdown.
Moreno isn't a must-start option from here on out, but he's pretty close to establishing that. Another solid week or two would go a long way in making that happen for fantasy owners.
You're lucky if you took a late-round flier on Moreno—not so lucky if you passed on him. Start him now for Week 7 and be prepared to get him active all the time.
Sit: Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans
Chris Johnson hasn't been very good this season, so you probably haven't been starting him anyway. But don't even think about activating him for his Week 7 matchup against the San Francisco 49ers, and definitely make the necessary changes if you've had him active.
He's averaging just 3.1 yards per carry this season, and his only touchdown has come in the passing game. He has over 400 total yards from scrimmage, but the number of looks he's gotten suggests that he'd be even more productive.
Fantasy owners don't necessarily care about yards per carry if the player is still racking up yards, though. Against the Niners, he'll be both inefficient and unproductive. So, even those owners not concerned with his efficiency need to sit him.
The Niners may not be as great against the run this season as they have been in years past, but it's still exceptionally difficult to run up the middle against them. Their defensive line is top notch and contains some big bodies.
Their red-zone defense is also strong, so starting Johnson with the expectation of him putting up a score would be foolish.
In Week 7, Johnson won't reach 100 yards, and he won't score a touchdown. Therefore, sit him.
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