Fantasy Football Start 'Em & Sit 'Em Running Backs: Can you trust Chiefs, Packers backfields?

The bye weeks are done, but the running back position still has plenty of questions heading into Week 13. Because of course it does. That's the nature of the position, as injuries and timeshares play a bigger role here than anywhere else. And that is certainly true this week.

Two high-profile examples are the Chiefs and Packers backfields. These are two backfields Fantasy players want a lot of exposure to, because they share the field with elite quarterbacks and have historically produced plenty of Fantasy points. However, heading into Week 13, it's not entirely clear who you can trust from these two backfields. In Kansas City, Damien Williams' rib injury will keep him out for Sunday's game, leaving LeSean McCoy as the presumed lead back. Of course, McCoy was benched just a few weeks ago for a load management game, so are they really going to give him 15-plus touches?

Over in Green Bay, we actually haven't seen a running back carry the ball more than 13 times since Week 8 — when Davante Adams returned from his toe injury. Aaron Jones has been held to fewer than five PPR points in two of three games in that span, and Jamaal Williams has actually outperformed him in that span. All of a sudden, at the most important time of the season, one of the best backs in Fantasy has been outshined by his supposed backup. What are you supposed to do about that?

That's what we're here to help figure out. We've got Jamey Eisenberg's Start and Sit calls right here to help you make the right decisions, plus Heath Cummings' running back preview has projections, matchups that matter, numbers to know, and more as you prepare to set your lineup. It's going to be a tough week at running back, but we're here to make sure you're setting a winning lineup for Week 13. 

START 'EM & SIT 'EM
Running Backs
Start 'Em
Projections powered by Sportsline
TB Tampa Bay • #27
Age: 22 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ JAC JAC -1 O/U 48.5
OPP VS RB
25th
PROJ PTS
10.3
RB RNK
19th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
474
REC
21
REYDS
218
TD
5
FPTS/G
10
This could be a monster week for Jones, and I considered him as the Start of the Week. The Jaguars have been miserable against the run in the past three games, and Jones has the chance to go off. Carlos Hyde, Marlon Mack, Jonathan Williams and Derrick Henry have each rushed for more than 100 yards against Jacksonville in the past three games, and the Jaguars have allowed five rushing touchdowns over that span. Jones has scored at least 15 PPR points in three of his past five games, and he should stay hot again this week.
LAC L.A. Chargers • #30
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ DEN LAC -2.5 O/U 38.5
OPP VS RB
11th
PROJ PTS
13.8
RB RNK
13th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
364
REC
65
REYDS
667
TD
9
FPTS/G
18.7
The last time Ekeler faced Denver he went off as a receiver with 15 catches for 86 yards on 16 targets. It would be great to see that again, especially in PPR, and Ekeler has scored at least 11 PPR points in four of his past five games coming into Week 13. He's also scored at least 11 PPR points in three of his past four meetings with Denver. And the Broncos have allowed three running backs to score at least six PPR points with just their receiving totals alone in their past four games, including Nyheim Hines, Nick Chubb and Dalvin Cook. Ekeler is a must-start running back in PPR and a solid flex option at worst in non-PPR leagues.
IND Indianapolis • #33
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs TEN IND -2.5 O/U 43.5
OPP VS RB
21st
PROJ PTS
6.8
RB RNK
23rd
YTD Stats
RUYDS
221
REC
4
REYDS
48
TD
1
FPTS/G
8.8
Marlon Mack (hand) is out again for the Colts, which should give Williams another opportunity to lead this backfield. He was great stepping in for Mack when he got hurt in Week 11 against Jacksonville with 13 carries for 116 yards, as well as one catch for 31 yards. And then he was a star in Week 12 at Houston with 26 carries for 104 yards and a touchdown, along with three catches for 17 yards in the game Mack missed. Williams will split time with Hines, who should be considered a sleeper in PPR, but Williams is once again looking at a heavy workload. The Colts have at least 21 carries from their running backs in seven games in a row, with one running back getting at least 18 carries in six games over that span. The Titans have also allowed a running back to score or gain at least 100 total yards in three games in a row.
PHI Philadelphia • #26
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ MIA PHI -9.5 O/U 45
OPP VS RB
29th
PROJ PTS
11
RB RNK
22nd
YTD Stats
RUYDS
437
REC
27
REYDS
337
TD
2
FPTS/G
9.7
We'll see if Jordan Howard (shoulder) is able to return in Week 13 after being out for the past two games. If Howard is out, then start Sanders with full confidence against the Dolphins. Sanders had a quality outing in Week 12 against Seattle with 12 carries for 53 yards, along with three catches for 23 yards on five targets. He did that with right tackle Lane Johnson (concussion) out, and right guard Brandon Brooks left the game due to a bout with anxiety. Both are expected to return this week, and the matchup is great. The Dolphins have allowed a running back to score or gain at least 100 total yards in eight of 11 games this year, including last week when Chubb and Kareem Hunt both scored against Miami. Jay Ajayi is also worth using as a sleeper in deeper leagues in a potential revenge game against his former team.
BUF Buffalo • #26
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ DAL DAL -6.5 O/U 47
OPP VS RB
18th
PROJ PTS
11.5
RB RNK
20th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
490
REC
17
REYDS
123
TD
3
FPTS/G
11.1
It would be nice to see Singletary find the end zone and catch the ball a little more, but he's been an excellent runner for Buffalo over the past month. He has at least 15 carries in three of his past four games, and he's scored at least 11 PPR points in two games over that span. He's run for at least 75 yards in consecutive games against Miami and Denver, but he hasn't scored in his past three outings, along with just two catches for 12 yards combined against the Dolphins and Broncos. I'm still starting him with confidence against the Cowboys, who have allowed a running back to score or gain at least 85 total yards in four games in a row. Also, three running backs have had at least 139 total yards against the Cowboys this season in Dallas, although those guys were Saquon Barkley, Aaron Jones and Dalvin Cook. Hopefully, Singletary can join that group on Thanksgiving.
CHI Chicago • #32
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ DET CHI -5 O/U 37
OPP VS RB
30th
PROJ PTS
10.5
RB RNK
24th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
519
REC
21
REYDS
161
TD
5
FPTS/G
9.8
The Lions could be a mess Thursday with David Blough starting for the injured Jeff Driskel (hamstring), and if the Bears don't dominate time of possession they should be embarrassed. That should lead to plenty of work for Montgomery in a favorable matchup since the Lions allow the second-most Fantasy points to opposing running backs and are No. 2 in touchdowns allowed to the position with 17. Montgomery had 17 carries for 60 yards in Week 10 against Detroit, but the Lions were actually competitive in that 20-13 Bears victory. This game should be lopsided, and I expect Montgomery to have one of his better performances of the year. Tarik Cohen is also worth using as a sleeper this week, with his value clearly better in PPR.
Sleepers
Projections powered by Sportsline
WAS Washington • #29
Age: 22 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ CAR CAR -10 O/U 40
OPP VS RB
28th
PROJ PTS
8.4
RB RNK
35th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
74
REC
5
REYDS
71
TD
1
FPTS/G
7.7
I'll give Guice another chance as a flex option this week against the Panthers, who have allowed a running back to score in 10 of 11 games this year. For the season, Carolina has allowed the most touchdowns to running backs with 19. Guice continues to split carries with Adrian Peterson, but hopefully Guice is the one falling into the end zone for Washington this week.
ARI Arizona • #41
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs LAR LAR -3 O/U 47.5
OPP VS RB
14th
PROJ PTS
11.8
RB RNK
15th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
386
REC
38
REYDS
245
TD
1
FPTS/G
11
We'll see how the Cardinals split touches with Drake, Chase Edmonds and David Johnson now that Edmonds is back from his three-game absence with a hamstring injury. I still expect Drake to get the majority of work, and he's scored at least 13 PPR points in two of three games with the Cardinals after being traded from the Dolphins prior to Week 9. The Rams have allowed a running back to score in three of their past four games.
GB Green Bay • #30
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ NYG GB -6.5 O/U 45.5
OPP VS RB
16th
PROJ PTS
9.4
RB RNK
25th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
336
REC
32
REYDS
201
TD
6
FPTS/G
11.4
Williams continues to be a solid flex option or low-end PPR starter almost on a weekly basis, and hopefully that continues this week. He's scored at least 12 PPR points in five of his past six games, and he has at least six catches in two of his past three outings. Aaron Jones is still the best Fantasy running back for the Packers, but Williams is no slouch, especially in PPR. Jones and Williams should both do well against the Giants this week since New York allows the eighth-most rushing yards to running backs this season.
CLE Cleveland • #27
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ PIT CLE -2 O/U 39.5
OPP VS RB
6th
PROJ PTS
8.2
RB RNK
28th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
79
REC
15
REYDS
99
TD
1
FPTS/G
12
Since joining the Browns in Week 10 following his eight-game suspension, Hunt has scored at least 11 PPR points in three games in a row. He scored his first touchdown in 2019 last week against Miami, and he has two games with at least six catches. One of those was against Pittsburgh in Week 11 when he had six catches for 46 yards on eight targets, along with six carries for 12 yards. Hunt is a flex option at best in non-PPR leagues but a low-end starter in PPR.
PIT Pittsburgh • #24
Age: 21 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs CLE CLE -2 O/U 39.5
OPP VS RB
12th
PROJ PTS
2.8
RB RNK
33rd
YTD Stats
RUYDS
216
REC
2
REYDS
19
TD
0
FPTS/G
2.8
James Conner (shoulder) is out again for the Steelers, which should put Snell in a committee with Jaylen Samuels and Kerrith Whyte. Snell should be the lead rusher after his performance in Week 12 against Cincinnati with 21 carries for 98 yards, along with one catch for 5 yards on one target. Whyte will also get some work after he had six carries for 43 yards, with Samuels working on passing downs. I'd use Snell as a flex option this week against the Browns, and I expect the Steelers to lean on their ground game a lot in this matchup.
KC Kansas City • #25
Age: 31 • Experience: 11 year
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs OAK KC -10 O/U 51
OPP VS RB
21st
PROJ PTS
7.9
RB RNK
25th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
400
REC
24
REYDS
157
TD
4
FPTS/G
9.3
Damien Williams (ribs) could be out, which would make McCoy and Darrel Williams potential options in all leagues as at least flex plays. Damien Williams missed two games earlier this season and left Week 11, and in those three games we've seen McCoy and Darrel Williams do well. For McCoy, he had 38 combined PPR points in the two games Damien Williams missed in Week 3 against Baltimore and Week 4 at Detroit. And McCoy had 14 PPR points against the Chargers after Williams left. As for Darrel Williams, he had 33 combined PPR points against the Ravens and Lions, and then he had 11 PPR points against the Chargers. Keep an eye on Damien Williams' status heading into Week 13 against Oakland, but McCoy and Darrel Williams could be great if given bigger roles.
Sit 'Em
Projections powered by Sportsline
SF San Francisco • #26
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ BAL BAL -6 O/U 46.5
OPP VS RB
7th
PROJ PTS
7.6
RB RNK
24th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
448
REC
19
REYDS
164
TD
7
FPTS/G
12.9
The past four games have been tough for Coleman, who is averaging just 9.0 PPR points over that span. He's been held to 40 rushing yards or less in each outing, and he's only scored one touchdown. He also has been at 12 carries or less in five games in a row, as the 49ers continue to chop up the touches among Coleman, Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson and Matt Breida, who could return this week from a two-game absence with an ankle injury. This is also a tough matchup against the Ravens on the road, and Baltimore just held Todd Gurley to 18 total yards and no scores in Week 12. Coleman is a flex option at best this week.
DET Detroit • #43
Age: 23 • Experience: 1 year
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs CHI CHI -3.5 O/U 38
OPP VS RB
19th
PROJ PTS
5.9
RB RNK
34th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
153
REC
0
REYDS
0
TD
1
FPTS/G
9
Scarbrough has done a nice job the past two games as the lead running back for the Lions, and I wouldn't be surprised if he ran well against the Bears this week. But he has to score to help your Fantasy team, and you could suffer if he doesn't find the end zone, especially in PPR. He has no catches in the past two games on just one target, and I'm worried about Detroit's offense with Matthew Stafford (back) out and Jeff Driskel (hamstring) banged up. Scarbrough can be considered a flex in non-PPR leagues, but I would avoid him in PPR.
HOU Houston • #23
Age: 29 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs NE NE -3.5 O/U 44.5
OPP VS RB
1st
PROJ PTS
9
RB RNK
40th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
836
REC
6
REYDS
22
TD
4
FPTS/G
9.6
Hyde and Scarbrough are similar running backs in that they likely need a touchdown to have a big game. Hyde comes into Week 13 without a catch in his past five games and just three targets over that span. For the season, He has five catches for 22 yards, and he's scored eight PPR points or less in three of his past five games. The Patriots have allowed one running back to score this season, which was Gus Edwards in Week 9, so Hyde could be in trouble this week. I would only consider him as a flex at best in non-PPR leagues.
SEA Seattle • #20
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs MIN SEA -3 O/U 49
OPP VS RB
4th
PROJ PTS
6
RB RNK
39th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
296
REC
3
REYDS
34
TD
2
FPTS/G
5.3
You made the right move to add Penny off the waiver wire after his performance in Week 12 at Philadelphia with 14 carries for 129 yards and a touchdown, especially with Chris Carson fumbling for the seventh time this season. But Carson should remain the lead back for the Seahawks, and I don't expect Penny to get enough work to make him a trustworthy Fantasy option this week, barring something unforeseen. Keep in mind that prior to Week 12, Penny had six carries for 14 yards and his own fumble in his previous two games. The Vikings also are a tough matchup this week and are No. 7 in fewest Fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs. I'm still starting Carson as a No. 2 running back in all formats, but Penny is just someone to stash on your bench until something permanent changes in this backfield.
NO New Orleans • #28
Age: 29 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ ATL NO -7 O/U 48.5
OPP VS RB
15th
PROJ PTS
11.7
RB RNK
38th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
462
REC
27
REYDS
165
TD
6
FPTS/G
10.5
It was great to see Murray score against the Panthers in Week 12, but he only had seven carries in that game, which is concerning. And he's not expected to see a heavy workload as long as Alvin Kamara's healthy. In nine games with Kamara on the field, Murray is averaging just 7.4 touches per game, and he's scored fewer than five PPR points in six of those outings, including Week 10 against Atlanta when he had three PPR points. The Saints should dominate this game, which could be good for Murray if his touches go up, but that just hasn't been the case when Kamara is playing. I'd only use Murray as a flex option this week.
Bust Alert
Projections powered by Sportsline
CIN Cincinnati • #28
Age: 23 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs NYJ NYJ -3.5 O/U 41
OPP VS RB
13th
PROJ PTS
9.7
RB RNK
26th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
599
REC
22
REYDS
164
TD
4
FPTS/G
10.4
I'm hesitant to call Mixon a sit candidate because he's fired up having Andy Dalton back under center, but he's just a flex play this week for me, which is why he falls into this category. The Jets run defense has been tough of late, and Mixon could struggle in this matchup. The Jets haven't allowed a rushing touchdown since Week 7, and in two of the past three games they limited Saquon Barkley (29 total yards) and Josh Jacobs (36 total yards) to minimal production. Mixon should do better than that, and he's scored at least 16 PPR points in three of his past four games. But I consider him a borderline starter at best in all leagues, and I wouldn't be surprised if he struggled in this matchup.
Senior Fantasy Writer

Jamey Eisenberg has been a Senior Fantasy Writer for CBS Sports since 2006 with a focus on Fantasy Football. A University of Florida grad (class of '98), Jamey got his start in the newspaper business and... Full Bio

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