Fantasy Football Week 7 Start 'Em & Sit 'Em: Running backs to get you by during byes

Editor's Note: Welcome to Week 7, where four more teams are on bye. This is the toughest time of the season for the toughest position out there thanks to the byes, and this week, we're playing without James Conner, Christian McCaffrey and Nick Chubb, so you might have some holes you need to fill. There were some viable running back options available on waivers, and hopefully you were able to snag some of them to bolster your lineup. No matter who you've got, Jamey Eisenberg is here to help you make the right decisions at the position. 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
DEN Denver • #28
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs KC KC -3 O/U 49
OPP VS RB
24th
PROJ PTS
10.9
RB RNK
20th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
284
REC
21
REYDS
145
TD
0
FPTS/G
9.8
Phillip Lindsay is an obvious starter against the Chiefs, who have been a disaster against running backs all season. But Freeman should be considered at least a flex option, if not more. Only Miami allows more rushing yards per game to opposing running backs than Kansas City at 136.3, and four running backs in a row have gained at least 100 rushing yards against the Chiefs, with five total touchdowns over that span. Freeman and Lindsay continue to split snaps, but Freeman has yet to score a touchdown. He does have at least four catches in four of his past five games, and he has three games with at least 11 PPR points over that span. A breakout game is coming, and it could happen this week. I'm excited for Freeman on Thursday night.
SF San Francisco • #26
Age: 26 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ WAS SF -9.5 O/U 41.5
OPP VS RB
29th
PROJ PTS
10.9
RB RNK
22nd
YTD Stats
RUYDS
165
REC
4
REYDS
49
TD
2
FPTS/G
11.7
Coleman is averaging 14 PPR points in the past two games he's played since missing two games with an ankle injury. He has 34 carries and two catches over that span, and he's scored in both games. While Matt Breida is splitting time with Coleman, it's Coleman who is playing more snaps and working near the goal line. I like Breida as a sleeper this week, but Coleman is a must-start running back in all leagues. And in full disclosure, I considered Coleman as the Start of the Week. Washington has allowed a running back to score in four of the past five games, and Coleman should have the chance for another quality outing on the road.
ATL Atlanta • #24
Age: 28 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs LAR LAR -3 O/U 54
OPP VS RB
21st
PROJ PTS
12.3
RB RNK
12th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
275
REC
25
REYDS
203
TD
3
FPTS/G
14
After a slow start, Freeman has picked up his performance of late, especially in the passing game. He's scored at least 17 PPR points in three games in a row, and he has at least 15 PPR points with his receiving totals alone in each game over that span. He dominated touches in Week 6 at Arizona with 19 carries for 88 yards, along with three catches for 30 yards and two touchdowns on three targets, so hopefully he's separated himself from Ito Smith for the time being. And this week, he's facing a Rams defense that has allowed five running backs to either score or gain at least 100 total yards in the past four games.
LV Las Vegas • #28
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ GB GB -6 O/U 47
OPP VS RB
31st
PROJ PTS
13.3
RB RNK
13th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
430
REC
6
REYDS
77
TD
4
FPTS/G
15.2
I doubted Jacobs in his last game against Chicago in Week 5 in London, and he made me look bad with a dominant performance. I won't doubt him again any time soon. He had 26 carries for 123 yards and two touchdowns, as well as a career-high three catches for 20 yards on three targets. His involvement in the passing game has picked up of late with five catches for 49 yards in his past two games on five targets, and hopefully that continues to improve. And this week, he's facing a Packers defense that has allowed a running back to score in each of the past five games, with eight total touchdowns over that span.
NE New England • #28
Age: 28 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ NYJ NE -9.5 O/U 42.5
OPP VS RB
10th
PROJ PTS
9.8
RB RNK
15th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
62
REC
31
REYDS
224
TD
1
FPTS/G
12.2
White is tough to trust in non-PPR leagues, but he should continue to do well in PPR. He's scored at least 12 PPR points in three games in a row, and he has 23 catches on 28 targets over that span. His role could potentially expand in the passing game with Josh Gordon (knee) and Phillip Dorsett (hamstring) banged up, although Dorsett is expected to play. Still, White is facing a Jets defense that has struggled with pass-catching running backs. Six running backs this season have already scored at least seven PPR points with just their receiving totals alone, including Rex Burkhead in Week 3 when White was out due to a personal reason. Burkhead had six catches for 22 yards against the Jets on seven targets, and that production should go to White, especially with Burkhead (foot) still hurt. I like White as a solid No. 2 running back in PPR and a flex option in non-PPR leagues.
Sleepers
Projections powered by Sportsline
LAR L.A. Rams • #27
Age: 22 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ ATL LAR -3 O/U 54
OPP VS RB
18th
PROJ PTS
4.4
RB RNK
36th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
39
REC
1
REYDS
9
TD
0
FPTS/G
1
You'll want to keep an eye on the injury report for the Rams this week with Todd Gurley (quad) and Malcolm Brown (ankle) both banged up. If both are out and Henderson starts, consider him a must-start Fantasy option in all leagues against the Falcons, who have allowed five running backs to either score or gain 100 total yards in the past four games.
PHI Philadelphia • #26
Age: 22 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ DAL DAL -3 O/U 49
OPP VS RB
26th
PROJ PTS
8.6
RB RNK
33rd
YTD Stats
RUYDS
199
REC
13
REYDS
219
TD
1
FPTS/G
8.8
Sanders has picked up his production in the passing game of late with seven catches for 135 yards and a touchdown on eight targets, and he's benefitting with Darren Spoles (quad) out. The Cowboys are third in receptions allowed to running backs this year with 41 catches to the position, so Sanders is worth starting as a PPR flex this week.
ARI Arizona • #29
Age: 23 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ NYG NYG -3 O/U 49
OPP VS RB
25th
PROJ PTS
6.6
RB RNK
37th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
161
REC
8
REYDS
76
TD
2
FPTS/G
6.5
The Cardinals might have found something they like with Edmonds as a complementary option to David Johnson, and he has 13 carries for 102 yards and a touchdown, along with five catches for 51 yards and a touchdown on six targets in his past two games. His role in the passing game could be vital since the Giants have allowed at least five receptions to running backs in each of the past four games.
NO New Orleans • #28
Age: 30 • Experience: 8 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ CHI CHI -3 O/U 38
OPP VS RB
11th
PROJ PTS
5.4
RB RNK
43rd
YTD Stats
RUYDS
138
REC
9
REYDS
67
TD
1
FPTS/G
5
Alvin Kamara (ankle) is hobbled, which could put Murray in a prominent role. If Kamara is out, Murray would be a must-start running back in all leagues. And while the matchup is tough against the Bears, they just lost a key member of their defensive line with Akiem Hicks (elbow) going to injured reserve. If Kamara plays, Murray is just a low-end flex option, but Murray could be solid in all formats if he gets the chance to start in Week 7.
BUF Buffalo • #26
Age: 22 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs MIA BUF -17 O/U 40
OPP VS RB
30th
PROJ PTS
12.2
RB RNK
NR
YTD Stats
RUYDS
127
REC
5
REYDS
28
TD
1
FPTS/G
12.5
We're hoping that Singletary returns this week after being out for the past three games with a hamstring injury. If that happens, he should return to his role as a complementary option to Frank Gore, with about 10 total touches. Singletary should have the chance to do damage in that role since he scored at least 11 PPR points in the two games he played, and the Dolphins allow the most Fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.
Sit 'Em
Projections powered by Sportsline
CHI Chicago • #32
Age: 22 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs NO CHI -3 O/U 38
OPP VS RB
6th
PROJ PTS
10.1
RB RNK
29th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
225
REC
9
REYDS
72
TD
2
FPTS/G
9.2
Montgomery was a big letdown in Week 5 against Oakland in London when he was the Start of the Week. He had 11 carries for 25 yards and a touchdown, as well as one catch for 11 yards on one target. I don't see him doing much better against the Saints this week, and New Orleans is No. 5 in fewest Fantasy points allowed to running backs. Along with that, the Bears just placed guard Kyle Long (hip) on injured reserve, and Chicago's offensive line has been struggling. Mitchell Trubisky (shoulder) could also be out again, and this is a tough matchup for Chase Daniel as well. I'm trying to avoid most of the Bears players this week, including Montgomery, who is just a flex option at best.
CIN Cincinnati • #28
Age: 23 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs JAC JAC -3.5 O/U 44
OPP VS RB
28th
PROJ PTS
10.4
RB RNK
27th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
252
REC
14
REYDS
97
TD
1
FPTS/G
8.5
The offensive line woes in Cincinnati are proving too much for Mixon to overcome, and his Fantasy production is suffering. He has yet to rush for a touchdown this season, and he has just one receiving score. He's coming off a dismal game at Baltimore with eight carries for 10 yards, as well as two catches for 29 yards on three targets, and I consider him just a flex option this week against Jacksonville. While the Jaguars have been bad against the run at times this year (see Christian McCaffrey in Week 5), they also have been stout against Derrick Henry, the Denver guys and Kamara. This could be another bad week for Mixon, even at home.
KC Kansas City
Age: 31 • Experience: 12 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ DEN KC -3 O/U 49
OPP VS RB
20th
PROJ PTS
7.7
RB RNK
30th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
258
REC
13
REYDS
94
TD
3
FPTS/G
10.2
The Denver defense was absolutely gashed by Leonard Fournette in Week 4, but things have changed in a big way since then. In the past two games against the Chargers and Titans, the Broncos have shut down Melvin Gordon (12 carries for 31 yards) and Henry (15 carries for 28 yards), and McCoy could struggle again behind a bad offensive line. He's combined for eight PPR points in his past two outings against Indianapolis and Houston, and he's now averaging 5.8 PPR points in the four games where Damien Williams has played. I like Williams better than McCoy in PPR, but both are flex options at best.
ARI Arizona • #41
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ BUF BUF -17 O/U 40
OPP VS RB
9th
PROJ PTS
8.3
RB RNK
34th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
153
REC
19
REYDS
137
TD
0
FPTS/G
8.2
I liked Drake as a flex option in Week 6 against Washington, and he delivered his best performance of the year with 13 PPR points. But it's hard to trust him against the Bills, even as a flex option. He's now sharing time with Mark Walton and Kalen Ballage, and Drake is still searching for his first touchdown of the season. Buffalo has struggled against the run this year, but that shouldn't matter against Miami and Drake. It's time to put him back on your bench after he was helpful in Week 6 in a much more favorable situation.
WAS Washington • #26
Age: 35 • Experience: 13 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs SF SF -9.5 O/U 41.5
OPP VS RB
1st
PROJ PTS
7.9
RB RNK
40th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
226
REC
5
REYDS
22
TD
1
FPTS/G
6.2
Washington interim coach Bill Callahan wanted to focus on the run in his first game at Miami in Week 6, and it paid off for Peterson. He had his best game of the year with 23 carries for 118 yards, as well as two catches for 18 yards on two targets. Maybe his role in the passing game will improve with Chris Thompson (toe) hurt, but it's hard to trust Peterson this week against the 49ers. San Francisco has smashed opposing ground games and has yet to allow a touchdown to a running back this season, including matchups with Mixon, James Conner and Nick Chubb. I doubt Peterson is the one to crack the code, and he's barely a flex option in most formats this week.
Bust Alert
Projections powered by Sportsline
LAC L.A. Chargers • #25
Age: 26 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ TEN TEN -2 O/U 40
OPP VS RB
15th
PROJ PTS
12.3
RB RNK
26th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
49
REC
7
REYDS
37
TD
0
FPTS/G
7
As you can see with most of the sit running backs we're talking about here, the offensive line concerns are hard for many of these standout running backs to overcome, including Gordon. The Chargers are banged up along the offensive line, and Gordon has found little running room in the two games he's played since holding out to start the season. Against Denver and Pittsburgh, Gordon has 20 carries for 49 yards and no touchdowns, as well as seven catches for 37 yards on 10 targets. Now, Gordon could fall into the end zone against the Titans, who have allowed a running back to score in two of the past three games. But I'm concerned about his production, and I'd only use Gordon as a flex option at best. As for Austin Ekeler, he's still worth starting in PPR leagues, but the return of Hunter Henry could be tough for Ekeler to produce at a high level on a consistent basis moving forward.

So who should you sit and start this week? And which surprising quarterback could lead you to victory? Visit SportsLine now to get Week 7 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.

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

Fantasy Football Today Podcast

Our Latest Stories