In Week 11 of the Fantasy football season, the bye weeks shouldn't play much of an impact on your running back start and sit decisions.
The Bills' backs, Devin Singletary and Zack Moss, haven't exactly been strong starting options in recent weeks anyway; the same can be said for the 49ers' injury-riddled running back room, though we're hoping to get Raheem Mostert back next week. You'll miss David Montgomery, though it's not like he was guaranteed to play after missing Week 10, and none of the backups there are worth much. So, Wayne Gallman might be the biggest absence from the running back pool in Week 11. From the bye weeks, at least. Injuries are a different story, with Joe Mixon (foot), Christian McCaffrey (shoulder), Chris Carson (foot), and Matt Breida (hamstring) all up in the air as of Wednesday, but even that isn't as tough to navigate as most weeks have been.
That means your start and sit decisions are going to come down to matchups and opportunity more than normal. Jamey Eisenberg will walk you through all of your toughest decisions with the Week 11 Start 'Em & Sit 'Em calls for running back below:
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PIT Pittsburgh • #29
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
It's fitting that in 2020 we're talking about Ballage as a potential must-start Fantasy running back after he was an absolute disaster with the Dolphins in 2019, averaging just 1.8 yards per carry. But his time with the Chargers has been great, and he comes into Week 11 averaging 14.5 PPR points in his past two games. He should have another productive outing in a revenge game against the Jets and former coach Adam Gase. The Jets could be without defensive lineman Quinnen Williams (hamstring) again, and the Chargers have had a running back score at least 12 PPR points in seven of nine games this year.
Salvon Ahmed RB
MIA Miami • #26
Age: 23 • Experience: 3 yrs.
The Dolphins have had a running back score at least 15 PPR points in four of their past five games coming into Week 11, including Ahmed last week when he had 21 carries for 85 yards and a touchdown, along with one catch for 5 yards on one target against the Chargers. His lack of work in the passing game is a concern, but his rushing production should make up for it. For example, he had three runs longer than 10 yards against the Chargers, and Myles Gaskin (knee) has just eight such runs all season. The Broncos just allowed Josh Jacobs and Devontae Booker to combine for 37 carries, 193 yards and four touchdowns, along with five catches for 26 yards in Week 10. The only thing that could be a problem for Ahmed this week is if Matt Breida (hamstring) plays, but I would still consider Ahmed as at least a flex option.
NE New England • #37
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Harris is a better option in non-PPR leagues than PPR since he doesn't have a catch in his past three games. But that hasn't been a problem for his rushing production over that span. In those three games against Buffalo, the Jets and Baltimore, Harris has 52 carries for 294 yards and one touchdown, and he's averaging 11.6 PPR points per game. This week he's facing a Texans defense that has been destroyed by opposing running backs all season. Houston allows the most rushing yards in the NFL and six running backs have already rushed for at least 100 yards in a game against the Texans, including Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt last week. And James Robinson was 1 yard shy of that mark in Week 9. Houston also has allowed five rushing touchdowns in its past four games. Harris is a quality No. 2 running back in all leagues this week, and you can use Rex Burkhead as a sleeper.
Nyheim Hines RB
IND Indianapolis • #21
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
I wish I could say with certainty that Hines would be the lead back for the Colts against the Packers, but there's a chance he goes back to being a complementary option since Week 10 and Week 1 are the only times he's led the backfield in snaps. But it's hard to envision Frank Reich going away from Hines after what he did in Week 10 against the Titans with 12 carries for 70 yards and a touchdown, along with five catches for 45 yards and a touchdown on six targets. Jonathan Taylor and possibly Jordan Wilkins will still get carries, and the Packers allow the second-most Fantasy points to opposing running backs on the season. If the Colts are chasing points this week, Hines will still be involved in his usual role catching passes, which makes him at least a flex in PPR, but I have higher expectations for him after his performance against Tennessee.
WAS Washington • #24
Age: 23 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Gibson has scored at least 12 PPR points in three games in a row coming into Week 11 against the Bengals, and he should have another productive game this week. Washington has a chance to win this game, which gives Gibson a favorable game script, and he's scored four touchdowns in his past three outings. He also has seven catches for 55 yards on seven targets in his past two games with Alex Smith under center, and Gibson should continue to be involved in the passing game. The same goes for J.D. McKissic, who should be considered a borderline starter in PPR. In his past two games with Smith, McKissic has 16 catches for 108 yards on a whopping 29 targets.
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TB Tampa Bay • #25
Age: 30 • Experience: 10 yrs.
Bernard in this category because we don't know if Joe Mixon (foot) will play this week. If Mixon is out again, consider Bernard a must-start running back in all leagues. Prior to facing the Steelers last week, Bernard averaged 20.5 PPR points in the first two games Mixon missed. Bernard has that kind of upside in Week 11 against Washington if he's again the starter.
Duke Johnson RB
BUF Buffalo • #28
Age: 28 • Experience: 8 yrs.
Johnson was a disappointment in his first start in place of David Johnson (concussion) in Week 10 at Cleveland, but I'm expecting a bounce-back game this week against the Patriots. Duke Johnson played 95 percent of the snaps against the Browns and had 14 carries, but hopefully he'll be more involved in the passing game after no catches. His reception total will likely be the key to his success this week.
NYJ N.Y. Jets • #22
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
The Jets are expected to lean on Perine more coming off their bye in Week 10, and hopefully that happens. Perine has one game this season with double digits in carries, which was Week 7 against Buffalo, and he scored a season-best 13 PPR points. This could be a good week to consider him a flex option against the Chargers, who have allowed a running back to score in four games in a row, with six total touchdowns allowed over that span.
Carlos Hyde RB
JAC Jacksonville • #24
Age: 31 • Experience: 9 yrs.
Hyde (hamstring) seems likely to play against the Cardinals on Thursday night, while Chris Carson (foot) could be a game-time decision. The last time we saw Hyde was in Week 7 at Arizona in the game he and Carson got hurt, but Hyde had 15 carries for 68 yards and a touchdown, as well as three catches for 8 yards on four targets before leaving. The Seahawks have missed Carson and Hyde for the past three games but have still managed to get four running backs touchdowns over that span. Consider Hyde a flex if Carson remains out.
MIA Miami • #2
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Edmonds returned to his complementary role in Week 10 against Buffalo with Kenyan Drake back, and Edmonds finished with eight carries for 56 yards, as well as three catches for 21 yards on three targets. He's still worth trusting as a flex, especially in PPR, and he had 20 PPR points in Week 7 against Seattle in the first meeting with these teams. The Seahawks struggle with pass-catching running backs, so Edmonds could hopefully have another game like he did in Week 7 with seven catches for 87 yards, as well as five carries for 58 yards.
LAR L.A. Rams • #27
Age: 24 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Henderson scored last week to save his Fantasy production, but it was otherwise a rough outing against Seattle. He had seven carries for 28 yards and a touchdown, along with one catch for 5 yards on one target, but Cam Akers led the team in carries with 10. And Malcolm Brown scored two touchdowns on eight carries and led the team with two catches. I like Brown the best of the Rams running back this week given his usual role in the passing game, and Henderson should struggle to run against Tampa Bay, especially if he continues to share touches like he did in Week 10.
TB Tampa Bay • #7
Age: 27 • Experience: 6 yrs.
I don't love Ronald Jones this week, but I'll play him ahead of Fournette after what happened in Week 10 at Carolina when Jones had 23 carries for 192 yards and a touchdown, as well as one catch for 6 yards. The Buccaneers stuck with Jones despite an early lost fumble, and they might continue to ride with him over Fournette, who is averaging just 7.2 PPR points in his past three games. He hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 2, and the Rams are No. 5 in fewest Fantasy points allowed to running backs on the season.
DEN Denver • #25
Age: 29 • Experience: 8 yrs.
Gordon and Phillip Lindsay are tough to trust this week against the Dolphins, especially if defensive lineman Christian Wilkins (illness) is able to play for Miami. Gordon comes into Week 11 averaging just 8.3 PPR points in his past four outings, while Lindsay is at 6.0 PPR points over that span. Drew Lock (ribs) could miss this game, which could further limit Denver's offense if Brett Rypien is under center, and the Dolphins haven't allowed a running back to score a touchdown in four games in a row.
J.K. Dobbins RB
BAL Baltimore • #27
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Mark Ingram's return from a two-game absence with an ankle injury in Week 10 at New England was bad for the Ravens running backs when it comes to their Fantasy value, and Dobbins suffered the most. He had 30 total touches in two games without Ingram and then had just six against the Patriots. Since he only had one game with more than eight PPR points on the season prior to Ingram going down, it's easy to get away from Dobbins this week against the Titans. And I would avoid Ingram and Gus Edwards as well since this backfield is messy when everyone is healthy.
Todd Gurley RB
ATL Atlanta • #21
Age: 27 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Gurley should have fresh legs coming off Atlanta's bye in Week 10, and that will help him against the Saints. But it's likely the same story for him again this week that he'll need a touchdown to save his Fantasy production. He's averaging just 52.3 rushing yards per game in his past four outings, and he has only seven catches for 41 yards on nine targets over that span. But he's scored four touchdowns as well, and he only has two games this season without a rushing score. The Saints have only allowed three rushing touchdowns this season and none since Week 4, and New Orleans is No. 2 in fewest Fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs. It could be tough for Gurley to help your Fantasy team this week if he doesn't find the end zone.
So who should you start and sit this week? And which surprising quarterback could lead you to victory? Visit SportsLine now to get Week 11 rankings for every position, plus see which QB is going to come out of nowhere to crack the top 10, all from the model that out-performed experts big-time last season.