Fantasy Football Week 6 Start 'Em & Sit 'Em: Running backs

Editor's Note: Welcome to Week 6, where we're staring at our first week with four teams on bye. That means the pool of available options at running back is even more shallow than normal, with Marlon Mack, Josh Jacobs, David Montgomery, and Frank Gore on the sidelines, along with the peripheral backs you might need to fill out your lineup on those teams. Finding starting options is going to be even more difficult than usual in Week 6, and you might have to go deeper than normal. Dive into Jamey's Start 'Em & Sit 'Em running backs here for help, and then check out Heath Cummings' RB preview for projections, numbers to know, and more. Come back later in the day for the rest of the positions for Start 'Em & Sit 'Em.

START 'EM & SIT 'EM
Running Backs
Start 'Em
Projections powered by Sportsline
DET Detroit • #33
Age: 22 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ GB GB -4 O/U 47
OPP VS RB
31st
PROJ PTS
13.2
RB RNK
19th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
251
REC
7
REYDS
99
TD
2
FPTS/G
12
Johnson went into his bye in Week 5 after his best game running the ball with 26 carries for 125 yards (4.8 yards per carry), as well as two catches for 32 yards and a fumble, in Week 4 against Kansas City. He's now scored at least 15 PPR points in two of his past three games, and he has at least 18 total touches in three of four games this year. The Packers have allowed a running back to score in four games in a row, with seven touchdowns allowed to the position over that span, and Johnson had 85 total yards in his lone meeting with Green Bay as a rookie in 2018.
NE New England • #28
Age: 27 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs NYG NE -17 O/U 41
OPP VS RB
18th
PROJ PTS
13.8
RB RNK
16th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
63
REC
22
REYDS
178
TD
1
FPTS/G
12
NE New England • #26
Age: 24 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs NYG NE -17 O/U 41
OPP VS RB
18th
PROJ PTS
9.9
RB RNK
24th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
262
REC
3
REYDS
32
TD
3
FPTS/G
9.4
Let's give both Patriots' running backs a starting nod this week, especially with Rex Burkhead (foot) still banged up. Without Burkhead in Week 5 at Washington, Michel went off for 16 carries for 91 yards (5.7 yards per carry) and a touchdown, as well as a shocking three catches for 32 yards on three targets. Michel has now scored a touchdown in three of his past four games. White did his usual thing against Washington with six carries for 26 yards (4.3 yards per carry), along with six catches for 46 yards on nine targets. He's now scored 25 PPR points in his past two games combined. Five running backs have already scored or gained at least 100 total yards against the Giants this year, and they have allowed 10 receptions to Chris Thompson and Dalvin Cook out of the backfield in the past two games.
WAS Washington • #25
Age: 29 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ MIA WAS -3.5 O/U 41
OPP VS RB
30th
PROJ PTS
13.5
RB RNK
25th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
67
REC
25
REYDS
268
TD
0
FPTS/G
10.6
WAS Washington • #26
Age: 34 • Experience: 12 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ MIA WAS -3.5 O/U 41
OPP VS RB
30th
PROJ PTS
7.1
RB RNK
32nd
YTD Stats
RUYDS
108
REC
3
REYDS
4
TD
1
FPTS/G
4.3
Like the Patriots, I expect both Washington running backs to be useful this week against the Dolphins. Miami allows the most Fantasy points to running backs on average, and the Dolphins have already allowed nine total touchdowns to the position in just four games. Peterson has been a disaster so far this year with one touchdown, which he scored in Week 2 in his first appearance of the season, and he's had fewer than 34 total yards in all four outings. But this is a good week to trust him as at least a flex. And Thompson has scored fewer than 10 PPR points in three of four games, but I expect him to get back on track in this matchup, especially in PPR leagues.
LAC L.A. Chargers • #25
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs PIT LAC -7 O/U 41.5
OPP VS RB
21st
PROJ PTS
14.5
RB RNK
18th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
31
REC
4
REYDS
7
TD
0
FPTS/G
7
Gordon had a quiet season debut in Week 5 against Denver with 12 carries for 31 yards (2.7 yards per carry), as well as four catches for 7 yards on six targets. The encouraging thing was 16 total touches against the Broncos, and hopefully that game knocked the rust off from missing the start of the season with his holdout. Austin Ekeler is still worth starting in all leagues as well, but Gordon should have the chance to help Fantasy managers in this matchup at home. The Steelers have allowed a running back to score in three of their past four games, and I'm expecting Gordon to find the end zone in Week 6.
KC Kansas City • #26
Age: 27 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs HOU KC -5 O/U 55
OPP VS RB
25th
PROJ PTS
10.7
RB RNK
22nd
YTD Stats
RUYDS
57
REC
12
REYDS
102
TD
1
FPTS/G
10
Williams was the lead running back for the Chiefs in Week 5 against the Colts over LeSean McCoy, and we'll see if that continues this week against the Texans. He will definitely play the majority of snaps on passing downs, and that could be huge in this matchup. Houston has allowed the most receptions to running backs this season with 45, and seven running backs have already caught at least four passes against this defense in five games. Five running backs have already scored at least 10 PPR points against the Texans with just their receiving totals alone. Williams should have the chance for a big week in PPR.
Sleepers
Projections powered by Sportsline
HOU Houston • #23
Age: 29 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ KC KC -5 O/U 55
OPP VS RB
20th
PROJ PTS
8.4
RB RNK
33rd
YTD Stats
RUYDS
310
REC
5
REYDS
8
TD
2
FPTS/G
9.2
The Chiefs have allowed a 100-yard rusher three games in a row, and Hyde will again be the lead running back for the Texans. This is also a revenge game of sorts since Kansas City traded Hyde to Houston prior to the season. Hyde has scored in two of his past three games, and he has at least 16 total touches in consecutive outings.
MIA Miami • #32
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs WAS WAS -3.5 O/U 41
OPP VS RB
26th
PROJ PTS
11.7
RB RNK
26th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
113
REC
13
REYDS
107
TD
0
FPTS/G
7
Drake will hopefully get a season-high in touches this week against Washington as Miami comes off its bye. This is a game where the Dolphins can run the ball and likely won't be chasing points in dramatic fashion, and Drake just scored a season-high nine PPR points in Week 4 against the Chargers. Washington has allowed four touchdowns to running backs in the past two games.
NYG N.Y. Giants • #28
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ NE NE -17 O/U 41
OPP VS RB
2nd
PROJ PTS
8.4
RB RNK
30th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
53
REC
1
REYDS
4
TD
0
FPTS/G
2
This is a terrible matchup, and I don't expect the Giants to have much success on offense. But Hilliman can fall into enough production with his total touches to be a potential flex, especially in PPR. In the three games where the Giants had a healthy running back start and finish the game, that guy had at least 16 total touches. And a Giants running back has at least three catches in four of five games this year. The Patriots have allowed five running backs to catch at least four passes this season.
ARI Arizona • #29
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs ATL ATL -2.5 O/U 51.5
OPP VS RB
8th
PROJ PTS
5
RB RNK
39th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
127
REC
6
REYDS
43
TD
1
FPTS/G
5
I'm listing Edmonds here with the chance that David Johnson (back) misses this game or is limited. If Johnson is out then Edmonds would be a must-start running back in all leagues. Johnson has averaged 18 total touches a game this season, and Edmonds will inherit most of that work if he starts. The Falcons have also allowed a running back to score or gain at least 100 total yards in four of five games this year.
ATL Atlanta • #25
Age: 24 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ ARI ATL -2.5 O/U 51.5
OPP VS RB
9th
PROJ PTS
7
RB RNK
38th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
93
REC
11
REYDS
87
TD
1
FPTS/G
6.4
Smith continues to share playing time with Devonta Freeman, and he could be a potential flex option this week. Smith played 47 percent of the snaps in Week 5 at Houston (Freeman was at 54 percent), and Smith had a season-high 11 total touches, including six catches for 45 yards on six targets. Arizona has allowed four running backs to score or gain at least 100 total yards in the past three games.
LAR L.A. Rams • #34
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs SF LAR -3.5 O/U 50.5
OPP VS RB
1st
PROJ PTS
3.3
RB RNK
43rd
YTD Stats
RUYDS
114
REC
1
REYDS
10
TD
2
FPTS/G
4.6
Brown could end up as a quality starter this week in all leagues if Todd Gurley (quad) is out against the 49ers. Gurley missed practice Wednesday, and Brown would step in as the starter, although he could share touches with Darrell Henderson, especially in the passing game. But Brown would likely be the one working near the goal line, and Gurley has scored four times in the past two games. Brown scored twice in Week 1 at Carolina, and Gurley had at least 15 total touches in three of five games this year.
Sit 'Em
Projections powered by Sportsline
PHI Philadelphia • #24
Age: 24 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ MIN MIN -3 O/U 44
OPP VS RB
4th
PROJ PTS
8.2
RB RNK
31st
YTD Stats
RUYDS
248
REC
6
REYDS
47
TD
5
FPTS/G
12.2
It's nice to hear that Howard is the lead running back for the Eagles, and his production over the past three games has been encouraging. He has five touchdowns over that span, and he's scored at least 12 PPR points in two of those outings. But even though he's the lead guy, he's still sharing touches with Miles Sanders. And this is a tough matchup against the Vikings, who are among the league leaders with only one rushing touchdown and three total scores allowed to running backs this year. Howard is only a flex option for Week 6.
KC Kansas City • #25
Age: 31 • Experience: 11 year
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs HOU KC -5 O/U 55
OPP VS RB
25th
PROJ PTS
7.9
RB RNK
29th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
214
REC
11
REYDS
94
TD
3
FPTS/G
11
McCoy is still in play as a flex option this week against the Texans, but it's hard to trust him given his production when Damien Williams has been active. Williams has appeared in three games this year, and McCoy is averaging just 5.6 PPR points in those outings, including a season-low two points in Week 5 against the Colts. Coach Andy Reid said McCoy is having issues with pass protection, which isn't ideal for his playing time, and this is a matchup the Chiefs can exploit with their running backs out of the backfield. McCoy could always fall into the end zone, but I'm concerned about his ceiling this week. And as we've seen when Williams is active, the floor with McCoy so far has been pretty low.
DEN Denver • #28
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs TEN DEN -2.5 O/U 39.5
OPP VS RB
10th
PROJ PTS
8.6
RB RNK
28th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
250
REC
16
REYDS
103
TD
0
FPTS/G
9.4
I don't love the matchup for the Broncos running backs this week, but it's hard to sit Phillip Lindsay with the way he's played of late. He's scored at least 24 PPR points in two of his past three games, and he's worth using as a No. 2 running back in all leagues. Freeman, despite splitting playing time almost evenly with Lindsay, hasn't been as successful. He has yet to score a touchdown this season, and he's been under nine PPR points in three of five games this year, including two in a row. It's easy to sit Freeman in most formats against the Titans, who have allowed just two touchdowns to running backs on the season.
TB Tampa Bay • #27
Age: 22 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs CAR CAR -2 O/U 47.5
OPP VS RB
15th
PROJ PTS
7.9
RB RNK
34th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
269
REC
5
REYDS
92
TD
1
FPTS/G
8.8
Jones took a step back with his production in Week 5 at New Orleans when he scored just seven PPR points. This was after scoring at least 13 PPR points in each of his previous two games. He was held to four carries for 9 yards in Week 2 at Carolina in a game where he dealt with an ankle injury, but I'd be hesitant to start him this week as well. He's still sharing touches with Peyton Barber, and Jones isn't a guarantee to score (he has two career touchdowns) or work in the passing game (he has five catches on six targets this season). He's only a flex option for Week 6.
Bust Alert
Projections powered by Sportsline
SF San Francisco • #22
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ LAR LAR -3.5 O/U 50.5
OPP VS RB
23rd
PROJ PTS
9.8
RB RNK
27th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
340
REC
6
REYDS
46
TD
2
FPTS/G
13.5
I'm a little concerned for the 49ers running backs this week now that standout fullback Kyle Juszczyk (knee) is out. I'd still consider Tevin Coleman a low-end No. 2 running back and Breida as a flex, but I expect Coleman to be the better of the two. While Breida scored 27 PPR points in Week 5 against Cleveland, he ripped off an 83-yard touchdown run to buoy his stats. Without that, he had 10 carries for 31 yards and no scores, and Coleman should get the majority of the work near the goal line. Now, I do like that Breida had three catches for 15 yards and a touchdown on three targets against the Browns, and hopefully he continues to work in the passing game. But I would only trust him as a flex option this week against the Rams.
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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