Even if everyone was healthy every week, knowing which running backs to lock into your Fantasy football lineup would be tough. Injuries just make things even more difficult to make sense of. Jamey Eisenberg's Start 'Em & Sit 'Em column is here to help you make those tough decisions a little easier, but before we see who Jamey suggests you get in your lineup and who he is avoiding, here are the injuries you need to know about at running back heading into Week 15:
Christian McCaffrey (quad) is probably at least another week away, as Matt Rhule told reporters Tuesday he doesn't expect his RB1 to play this week. Raheem Mostert (ankle), Ronald Jones (finger), James Conner (quad), Melvin Gordon (shoulder), Myles Gaskin (Reserve/COVID-19), Antonio Gibson (toe) and Austin Ekeler (quad) are all very much in question as of the middle of the week. With Ekeler playing Thursday and Gordon and McCaffrey on Saturday, we should at least know their statuses ahead of Sunday's lineup locks, but that also means you may have to make tough decisions earlier than usual this week, too. At least David Johnson is expected back from the Reserve/COVID-19 list in time for Sunday's game against the Colts.
We'll have updates on every running back injury all week long -- subscribe to the Fantasy Football Today Newsletter for the latest news in your inbox every morning -- but for now, here are Jamey's Start and Sit calls for Week 15:
Mike Davis RB
CAR Carolina • #28
Age: 28 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Davis is expected to start again with Christian McCaffrey (thigh) out, and Davis should continue to play well. He's scored at least 15 PPR points in two of his past three starts in place of McCaffrey, and this is a favorable matchup against the Packers. Green Bay has allowed a running back to score or gain at least 100 total yards in all but one game this season, and the Packers are among the league leaders with 74 receptions allowed to running backs this year. Eight running backs have at least four catches against Green Bay, which bodes well for Davis in PPR.
Josh Jacobs RB
LV Las Vegas • #28
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
The Chargers run defense looks better on paper of late since it hasn't allowed a touchdown to a running back in three games in a row. But I wouldn't worry about Jacobs this week unless you're concerned about his ankle injury, which should be fine. The past three opponents against the Chargers were Buffalo, New England and Atlanta, and none of those teams have strong ground games. And Devin Singletary and Damien Harris still managed at least 95 total yards in each outing. Prior to this three-game stretch, the Chargers allowed a running back to score in five games in a row, including Jacobs and Devontae Booker in Week 9. Jacobs had 14 carries for 65 yards and the score, as well as one catch for 3 yards in that meeting, and he has at least 13 PPR points in two career games against the Chargers. He has top-10 upside Thursday night.
Cam Akers RB
LAR L.A. Rams • #23
Age: 21 • Experience: Rookie
The slow build for Akers becoming a standout Fantasy running back has been frustrating and exciting at the same time. Frustrating because it took until Week 12 for him to become the lead running back for the Rams. Exciting because he should be a league-winner for many Fantasy managers. He comes into Week 14 with a touchdown or at least 100 total yards in four games in a row, and he just smashed the Patriots with 29 carries for 171 yards, along with two catches for 23 yards on three targets. It's not easy to run on the Jets, and Chris Carson in Week 14 was the first running back to score against New York since Week 9. But I'm not worried about that with Akers, who has top-five upside in all leagues in this matchup at home.
PHI Philadelphia • #26
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Sanders broke out of his three-game slump in Week 14 against New Orleans, and he will hopefully get hot to close the season, including this week at Arizona. Prior to Week 14, Sanders had scored a combined 16 PPR points, but he had 29 PPR points against the Saints in the first start for Jalen Hurts. While the 14 carries for 115 yards and two touchdowns were great, the better part of his stat line might have been the four catches for 21 yards on five targets. That's now seven games for Sanders with at least four targets, and he's scored at least 13 PPR points in five of those outings. The Cardinals come into Week 14 having allowed six touchdowns to running backs in their past four games.
HOU Houston • #31
Age: 29 • Experience: 6 yrs.
I originally had Johnson as a sit candidate earlier in the week, but I upgraded him for two significant reasons. The first was Duke Johnson (ankle) likely missing this game after not practicing Friday. That should give David Johnson an increased workload -- with hopefully an uptick in the passing game. And there's a chance Colts standout defensive lineman DeForest Buckner (ankle) could be out after not practicing Friday. He missed Week 12 against the Titans, and the Colts run defense fell apart, with Derrick Henry rushing for 178 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries. Johnson isn't in the same class of runner as Henry, but he could have the chance for a quality outing this week. And Johnson did have 10 carries for 44 yards and a touchdown when these teams first met in Week 13.
WAS Washington • #41
Age: 27 • Experience: 4 yrs.
The Seahawks are tied for fourth in receptions allowed to running backs with 77, and eight running backs have at least four catches against them this season. McKissic won't have Alex Smith (calf) this week to help with his reception total, but I'm confident that Dwayne Haskins will still keep McKissic involved, especially with Antonio Gibson (toe) out. McKissic has scored at least 16 PPR points in three of his past six games.
Jeff Wilson RB
SF San Francisco • #30
Age: 25 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Wilson can still be a flex option even with Raheem Mostert (ankle) expected to play. The two have been splitting carries recently, and there's a chance Wilson gets more work than Mostert this week. Wilson has four games this season with double digits in carries, and he's scored a touchdown in three of them. He also has at least 21 PPR points in two of those games. The 49ers lead the NFL with 20 total touchdowns scored by their running backs (15 rushing). And San Francisco has had a running back find the end zone in 11 of 13 games this year. Also, the Cowboys have allowed a running back to gain at least 101 rushing yards in three of their past four games, with five rushing touchdowns over that span.
Benny Snell RB
PIT Pittsburgh • #24
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
We'll see what happens with James Conner (quad) this week, but if he's out Monday then consider Snell a potential starter or flex option against the Bengals. Cincinnati has allowed a running back to score or gain over 100 total yards in four games in a row, and Snell scored 12 PPR points in one of two starts in place of Conner when he was recently on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Zack Moss RB
BUF Buffalo • #20
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
There's always the chance the Bills go back to Devin Singletary as the lead running back, but Moss had more carries than Singletary in Week 14 against Pittsburgh (13 to seven). He didn't do much with them with only 43 rushing yards, and he added no catches on one target. But hopefully the Bills stick with Moss this week against Denver, and he could be a flex option, with his value higher in non-PPR. The Broncos have allowed eight touchdowns to running backs in their past five games.
DEN Denver • #25
Age: 27 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Gordon is dealing with a shoulder injury and a relatively tough matchup this week against the Bills. He should be able to play Saturday after getting hurt in Week 14 at Carolina, but keep an eye on his status. If he's out, Phillip Lindsay would be a flex option against Buffalo, and that's all you should consider Gordon this week if possible. While he has scored at least 11 PPR points in consecutive games against the Panthers and Chiefs, he's only scored in one game since Week 7. Buffalo has allowed just one rushing touchdown since Week 9, and the Bills have kept the Chargers, 49ers and Steelers running backs to 47 rushing yards or less in each of the past three weeks.
CIN Cincinnati • #25
Age: 29 • Experience: 8 yrs.
Even though Joe Mixon (foot) is expected to remain out for the Bengals, you should still plan to avoid Bernard. He's been awful for five games in a row, and things shouldn't improve in Week 15 against the Steelers, who held him to eight PPR points in Week 10. It's now been five games in a row with eight PPR points or less, and Bernard only had six total touches in Week 14 against Dallas after he was benched following a fumble. He should return to the lead role against the Steelers, but he's only a flex option at best in PPR.
Todd Gurley RB
ATL Atlanta • #21
Age: 26 • Experience: 6 yrs.
There's no reason to trust Gurley in Week 15 against Tampa Bay. Aside from the tough matchup, Gurley has combined for nine PPR points in his past three games. He's been at nine total touches or less in each outing over that span. And he's losing work to Ito Smith, who might be better suited to lead Atlanta's backfield based on health and fresh legs. But there isn't any way you can trust a Falcons running back against the Buccaneers, who have allowed just one rushing touchdown since Week 9, and only Dalvin Cook to rush for more than 60 yards this season.
DAL Dallas • #21
Age: 25 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Give Elliott credit for playing through a calf injury in Week 14 at Cincinnati, but he might be better off sitting out if he's not at 100 percent. It's been a tough year for him with injuries at quarterback and offensive line, and Elliott only has two games with at least 12 PPR points since Week 5. He hasn't scored a rushing touchdown since Week 5 as well, and Elliott could struggle against the 49ers this week. San Francisco has held the Buffalo and Washington Football Team running backs out of the end zone the past two weeks, and Elliott should be considered a low-end starting option at best in all leagues.
So who should you start and sit this week? And which surprising quarterback could lead you to victory? Visit SportsLine now to get Week 15 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.