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

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Editor's note: Welcome to Week 6! We're handling Jamey Eisenberg's Start 'Em & Sit 'Em column a bit differently this season. You're still getting the same in-depth analysis as always, we're just presenting a bit differently, in an effort to get it out to you earlier in the day. This column takes a long time to write, and in the past, we've usually gotten it out to you in the evening. This year, we're going to publish it position-by-position, to get it into your hands quicker. Here's Jamey's take on running backs for this week. 

Don't worry: If you want the classic Start 'Em & Sit 'Em, we'll still be publishing that at the end of the day with every position included. For now, here's running back. 

Running backs

Note: Projections are provided by

Start 'Em
16.7 projected points
T.J. Yeldon Jacksonville Jaguars RB
We get at least another week to use Yeldon as a starting Fantasy option with Leonard Fournette (hamstring) still out, and he should do well against the Cowboys . Yeldon, the Start of the Week in Week 5 at Kansas City, was dominant against the Chiefs with 10 carries for 53 yards, as well as eight catches for 69 yards and a touchdown. He's now scored at least 14 PPR points in four of five games, and he has a favorable matchup in Week 6 at Dallas if linebacker Sean Lee (hamstring) remains out as expected. Lee has missed seven games going back to last season, and the Cowboys have allowed eight running backs to either score or gain 80 total yards over that span, including Kerryon Johnson and Alfred Blue the past two weeks.
11.2 projected points
Chris Carson Seattle Seahawks RB
Carson looked impressive in Week 5 against the Rams with 19 carries for 116 yards, along with one catch for 11 yards. He worked well with Mike Davis , who had 12 carries for 68 yards and a touchdown, as well as two catches for 7 yards, and Davis can be used as a flex in this matchup against Oakland in London. But Carson should continue to get the majority of carries, and he's now scored 33 PPR points in his past two games. Seattle is doing well running the ball, and the Raiders have allowed a running back to score or gain 100 total yards in four of five games, with six running backs accomplishing that feat against Oakland for the season.
12.4 projected points
Marshawn Lynch Oakland Raiders RB
It's revenge game time for Lynch, who spent six seasons with the Seahawks from 2010-15. But aside from that motivation, he gets a favorable matchup against this Seattle defense. The Seahawks have allowed a running back to score or gain 100 total yards in four of five games this season, and Todd Gurley just beat up Seattle for 32 PPR points with 22 carries for 77 yards and three touchdowns, along with four catches for 36 yards. Lynch won't be that productive, but he comes into this game with at least 11 PPR points in 10 of his past 13 games going back to last season. He should reach that total this week in London. And in deeper PPR leagues, you can use Jalen Richard as a sleeper. He has at least 11 PPR points in three of five games this year.
10.2 projected points
Jordan Howard Chicago Bears RB
Sometimes we need to talk about players who are struggling, even though they might seem like obvious starts. And Howard comes into Week 6 at Miami in somewhat of a slump. While he's scored at least 15 PPR points in two of four games, he hasn't run well of late with 49 carries for 121 yards (2.5 yards per carry) and one touchdown in his past three games. In Week 4, when the Bears demolished the Buccaneers 48-10, Howard scored just two PPR points. This week, Howard should get on track against the Dolphins , who have allowed a running back to score in all five games this season, with seven total touchdowns allowed to the position. Howard has the chance for his best game of the year. And you can also feel comfortable starting Tarik Cohen as well, especially in PPR. Miami has allowed 35 receptions to running backs, which is the sixth most in the NFL.
11.7 projected points
Phillip Lindsay Denver Broncos RB
Lindsay has been great to start the season and has scored at least 11 PPR points in all four games he's been able to finish. He was ejected from Week 3 at Baltimore for throwing a punch, but otherwise he has either a touchdown or 80 total yards in his four other outings this year. At home, Lindsay has 41 carries for 247 yards (6.0 yards per carry) and one touchdown, as well as five catches for 45 yards and a touchdown. He should have success again in Denver this week against the Rams, who have allowed four running backs to either score or gain 100 total yards this season, including two last week with Carson and Davis. Royce Freeman is worth a look as a flex option this week, but Lindsay is a starting Fantasy running back in all leagues.


  • Wendell Smallwood (at NYG): Smallwood and Corey Clement are expected to share the workload with Jay Ajayi (ACL) out, and I like Smallwood better in Week 6 since he's healthy. Long-term, Clement could be the best Eagles running back, but he hasn't played for the past two games. Smallwood has scored 17 PPR points in two of his past three games, and the Giants have allowed a running back to score in every game this year.
  • Bilal Powell (vs. IND): Isaiah Crowell (ankle) returned to practice Friday after sitting out all week, but he's expected to be a game-time decision in Week 6 against the Colts. If Crowell is out or limited, we could see more work for Powell in a favorable matchup. The Colts have allowed a running back to score or gain at least 90 total yards in four of five games this season, and Powell has at least seven PPR points in every game this year. If Crowell plays then consider Powell a flex option. But if Crowell is out then Powell would be a must-start Fantasy running back in all leagues.
  • Nyheim Hines (at NYJ): Even if Marlon Mack (hamstring) plays this week, I'm still rolling with Hines in PPR. He has at least five catches in four of five games, including 16 catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns on 20 targets in his past two outings. The Jets are tied for No. 7 with most receptions allowed to running backs at 34.
  • Alfred Morris (at GB): Morris is expected to start for the injured Matt Breida (ankle), and he should be looking at a heavy workload, even with Raheem Mostert and Kyle Juszczyk expected to get some touches. Green Bay has yet to allow a running back to score at home, but the Packers have allowed five running backs to either score or gain 80 total yards for the season.
  • Aaron Jones (vs. SF): I'm going to stick with Jones this week despite Packers coach Mike McCarthy not wanting to use one of his most talented players in a featured role. I get that Jamaal Williams and Ty Montgomery should get touches, but Green Bay should give Jones a bigger role. And this is the perfect spot to do it in a home game against a bad team. The 49ers have allowed five running backs to either score or gain at least 90 total yards this season.
Sit 'Em
10.7 projected points
Adrian Peterson Washington Redskins RB
Peterson is expected to play through the shoulder injury he sustained in Week 5 at New Orleans, but it's hard to trust him at less than 100 percent. And this is the fear with relying on him at 33 because nagging injuries could become a problem. He also has to play on a short week since the Saints game was Monday night on the road. And he's facing a Panthers defense getting reinforcements with Thomas Davis coming off his four-game suspension. Peterson is a flex option at best this week.
9.0 projected points
Kenyan Drake Miami Dolphins RB
Drake had his best Fantasy performance of the season in Week 5 at Cincinnati based on his production in the passing game. He had six carries for 46 yards, along with seven catches for 69 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets. Hopefully that type of usage in the passing game will continue, but Frank Gore doubled him up in carries with 12 for 63 yards. This is now three games in a row where Gore has more carries than Drake, but neither one should have much success in Week 6 against Chicago. Only one running back has scored against the Bears this season, and it was a receiving touchdown for David Johnson in Week 3. And Johnson has the most total yards against Chicago with 61. This defense is nasty, and the Dolphins backfield is one to avoid in Week 6.
8.8 projected points
Lamar Miller Houston Texans RB
We'll see how the Texans handle Miller and Alfred Blue now that Miller is expected to play in Week 6 after being held out in Week 5 with a chest injury. In his absence, Blue did a nice job in the passing game with eight catches for 73 yards on eight targets, although he managed just 46 rushing yards on 20 carries. This will likely be a timeshare, and Buffalo's run defense has been tough of late. Aaron Jones scored against the Bills in Week 4, but he's the lone running back with double digits in Fantasy points against Buffalo in any format in the past three games, including outings against Minnesota and Tennessee. Miller also has just one touchdown on the season.
9.9 projected points
Alex Collins Baltimore Ravens RB
Ravens coach John Harbaugh will continue to limit Collins' workload with the hope to keep him "fresh." While that might be a good thing for Baltimore, it stinks for us as Fantasy owners. And it's been frustrating for Collins, who played just 27 of 87 snaps in Baltimore's loss to Cleveland in Week 5. He continues to lose goal-line chances and passing-game work to Javorius Allen, and Collins has now combined for just 15 PPR points in his past two games against the Steelers and Browns. He's proving to be touchdown dependent, and it's hard to trust him this week against the Titans, who have yet to allow a running back to score this season.
5.9 projected points
Derrick Henry Tennessee Titans RB
Well, I was right about Henry to a certain degree in Week 5 at Buffalo. I said that would be his best game of the season, and he averaged a season-high 5.1 yards per carry. He tied his season high in Fantasy points also – with five. It's been that kind of year for him. He has yet to find the end zone, he's losing work to Dion Lewis and he only has three catches for 12 yards in five games. This week, he's facing a stout Ravens defense that has allowed one touchdown to a running back this season and held James Conner and Carlos Hyde in check the past two games. With another poor game, Henry is on the verge of being cut in most leagues.

Bust Alert

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LeSean McCoy BUF • RB • 25
Week 6 projection12.4 Fantasy points

Unless McCoy is traded to Philadelphia in advance of Thursday's game, I'm not playing him this week as anything more than a flex option. He just had his best game of the season in Week 5 against Tennessee with 24 carries for 85 yards and two catches for 23 yards, but I don't think the problems with Buffalo's offense are solved yet. And now McCoy has to face a Houston defense that has allowed just one rushing touchdown on the season. The Texans have struggled with pass-catching running backs, so maybe McCoy can have some production through the air, but he should not be considered a must-start option based on what happened in Week 5. 

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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