Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Fantasy Football Week 2: Running Backs - Fades, Sleepers, Matchups, DFS Bargains

3 days ago 10

We are here to help if you can't decide on a RB2 or flex play in Week 2 of the 2021 NFL season

Start ‘Em, Sit 'Em is the ultimate look at the best and worst matchups based on a PPR scoring system in fantasy football. This column will not cover the elite players in the NFL like Patrick Mahomes, Christian McCaffrey, Davante Adams, or Travis Kelce. Instead, I'll look at the players you have the most questions about to help you set the most effective starting lineup possible. For all of your final fantasy lineup decisions, be sure to check out my weekly player rankings which will be updated daily throughout the 2021 NFL season.

Week 2 Start ‘Em: Running Backs

Start of the Week

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Najee Harris vs. Raiders (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Harris didn’t meet high expectations in his NFL debut, scoring just 5.9 fantasy points in a win over the Bills. Don’t let that total keep you from starting him this week, however. He played every offensive snap in the game, and this week’s matchup against the Raiders is far more favorable. This might be seen as an obvious take, but I consider it reassurance in Harris’ starting appeal.

Week 2 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em


Start ‘Em

Antonio Gibson vs. Giants (Thurs., 8:20 p.m. ET, NFL): Gibson scored 11.8 points in his 2021 debut but saw 23 touches and a 56.1 touch share in the Washington backfield. That's an exciting level of usage for fantasy managers. This week, he should produce a big stat line as the Football Team hosts a Giants defense that has allowed nine total touchdowns and an average of 25 points to backs over their last nine games.

Damien Harris at Jets (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Harris looked great last weekend, rushing for 100 yards while seeing nearly 43 percent of the Patriots' backfield touches. He did lose a fumble late in the loss to Miami, so his role could be reduced a bit this week. I still like him as a flex though, as the Patriots face off against a Jets defense that has allowed 132 scrimmage yards a game to enemy running backs since Week 9 2020.

Javonte Williams at Jaguars (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Fantasy fans with either Williams or Melvin Gordon should consider them both flex starters this week. In the team's first game, Williams (15) had one more touch than Gordon (14) in a near 50/50 split. The Jaguars have allowed 14 total touchdowns and the third-most fantasy points to runners over their last 10 games, so Denver should find success on the ground.

Chase Edmonds vs. Vikings (4:05 p.m. ET, FOX): Edmonds produced 14.6 fantasy points in his season opener, even though he and James Conner both had a 29 percent touch share against the Titans. I like the versatile runner as a FLEX starter this week, as the Cardinals face a Vikings defense that has surrendered 15 total touchdowns and the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs over their last 10 contests.

More Starts

D’Andre Swift at Packers (Mon., 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN) James Robinson vs. Broncos (1 p.m. ET, CBS) Miles Sanders vs. 49ers (1 p.m. ET, FOX)

DFS Bargains

Kareem Hunt vs. Texans (DraftKings: $5,800) Damien Harris at Jets (DraftKings: $5,400) Chase Edmonds vs. Vikings (DraftKings: $4,900)

Week 2 Sit ‘Em: Running Backs

Sit of the Week

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Mike Davis at Buccaneers (4:05 p.m. ET, FOX): Davis led the Falcons backfield with a 38.3 percent touch share last week, but he could only muster 10.2 points in a loss to the Eagles. I'd beware the veteran back in Week 2, as the Falcons travel south to face the Buccaneers. Their defense has been tough on running backs since Week 9 2020, surrendering just three total touchdowns and the seventh-fewest fantasy points.

Sit ‘Em

Saquon Barkley at Football Team (Thurs., 8:15 p.m. ET, NFL): Fantasy managers should consider this more of a warning than a definitive sit ‘em. Barkley got the start last week, but he played just 29 offensive snaps and saw 11 touches in a loss to the Broncos. His usage will increase as the season progresses, but how much and how soon? Washington also fields one of the best run defenses in the league.

Josh Jacobs at Steelers (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Like Barkley managers, those who have Jacobs should consider this a warning. He has a brutal matchup against the Steelers, who have allowed just seven total touchdowns and the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs over their last 10 games. What’s more, just three runners have scored more than 15 points against them at Heinz Field since the start of last season.

Mark Ingram at Browns (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Ingram was a surprise star last week with 26 carries and 14.5 fantasy points against the Jaguars. He also led all Texans' backs with a near 42 percent touch share, making him a popular add off the waiver wire. Still, I’d keep him on the sidelines against a tough Browns defense that has allowed five total touchdowns and the second-fewest fantasy points to backs in its last nine games.

Devin Singletary at Dolphins (1 p.m. ET, FOX): Singletary played a bigger role in the Bills offense last week in the absence of Zack Moss, but he still saw just 14 touches on his 64 snaps. Regardless of Moss’ status, I’d keep Singletary on the sidelines against the Dolphins. While their defense gave up 100 rushing yards to Damien Harris a week ago, it’s allowed four scores and the fourth-fewest points to backs in its last 10 games.

More Sits

Leonard Fournette vs. Falcons (4:05 p.m. ET, FOX) Michael Carter vs. Patriots (1 p.m. ET, CBS) Sony Michel at Colts (1 p.m. ET, FOX)

DFS Fades

Jonathan Taylor at Seahawks (DraftKings: $7,200) Josh Jacobs at Steelers (DraftKings: $6,000) Mike Davis at Buccaneers (DraftKings: $5,500)

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on Sports Illustrated and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Click here to read all his articles here on SI Fantasy. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram for your late-breaking fantasy news and the best analysis in the business!

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