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The Cutback: RB Starts/Sits Week 9

Can Monty do it again?
Will Lev ever get off the ground for the Jets?
All this & more in this week’s column by @ekballer

Jordan Howard
credit: Chicago Sun Times

Hola Nerdherd! The DynastyNerds writers are here once again to provide you with your weekly starts and sits. We will be making our recommendations based on weekly consensus PPR rankings from FantasyPros. Here are the cast and the position groups they will be covering to help you win your week. Follow us, friend us, stalk us, whatever floats your boat.

  • QB: Mike Liu (@MikeMeUpP
  • RB: Erik Kortz (@ekballer)
  • WR: Tristan Cook (@tristancook_)
  • TE: Mychal Warno (@dynastydadmike)
  • FLEX: Tyler Grzegorek (@tyler_grez)

A Quick Note:

Don’t take these as law.  Read the data, understand the context and make the best decision for your own roster.  Ask questions, my DMs are open. 
Let’s go!

RB Starts:

Tevin Coleman, San Francisco @ Arizona 
Tevin Coleman
credit: SI

Coleman’s coming off a career game: 118 yards and 4 TDs on just 13 touches in a beat down of the Panthers that left him the overall RB2 and finally earned this Niners team some credibility. 

Obviously, that efficiency isn’t sustainable, but Kyle Shanahan’s running scheme has been looking bulletproof, currently leading the league in rushing TDs and ranking second in yards. 

This week he gets an AZ squad that has allowed at least 100 rushing yards to every opponent.  They’re a bottom-ten rush defense. 

Backfield mates Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert look to be nicked up, so Coleman will likely see the lion’s share of the work.  This is a game that should see San Fran do whatever they want on both sides of the ball, and that’s going to mean serious volume for the running backs.  

Coleman should be back in high-end RB2 territory this week; with Brieda and Mostert potentially out Jeff Wilson should be a nice start as well if you’re looking for a bye-week filler. 

Jordan Howard, Philadelphia v. Chicago

Since Akeem Hicks hit the IR a few weeks back Chicago’s run-stopping fell off a cliff. They’ve become at least a middling matchup, giving up over 150 ground yards in two of the last three games.

Philly has been running the ball with will and effect, spearheaded by Jordan Howard and his 2.6 yac/att and 4.4 ypc overall. Unless the Chicago offense suddenly has a revelation this game should be a grind-it-out slugfest.  This should favor the Eagles and their heavies in the trenches. 

Howard should be an easy RB2; Miles Sanders will also be startable, though you’re just looking for that one big play from him to make the week. 

Marlon Mack, Indianapolis  @ Pittsburgh

Mack’s having himself a more-than-decent season, currently on pace for over 1500 combined yards. In week 8 he found success against a tough Denver defense that had been shutting down opponents on the ground- netting 90 yards and a TD. 

Pittsburgh has defended the run well this year, allowing just 3.7 ypc, though they’ve given up big games to teams like the 49ers and Seahawks. Frank Reich will be able to figure this one out and put Mack in a position to succeed against the Steelers.  Mack should be a mid-tier RB2 this week.

Le’Veon Bell, NYJ @ Miami
Le’Veon Bell
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Lev’s been a disappointment in this anemic Adam Gase offense, topping 100 total yards just once in seven games. Surely Darnold’s absence hurt his ceiling, but even since his QB’s return Bell has underperformed, failing to catch more than three passes in a game.  This isn’t what fantasy players were hoping for.  

As we saw with James Conner’s 150-yard outburst Monday night, a date with the Dolphins will get an RB back on track. You won’t get the top-5 type finish from Bell as we would have in his Steelers heyday but he should still be a low-end RB1. Hopefully, Darnold starts throwing him the ball (Bell >> Crowder, Sam!)

Derrick Henry, Tennessee at Carolina

Ryan Tannehill has been a pleasant surprise to those who had written off his career as dead, stepping in admirably as Tennessee’s QB1 and adding a spark to their stagnant, one-dimensional offense. 

Henry should benefit from his team moving the ball effectively, getting more opportunity to punch in his signature one-yard-goal-line totes and perhaps even seeing fewer 8-man boxes. 

Carolina just got exposed by the Niners run game, giving up four scores to Coleman and another to Mostert. On the year they’re giving up 5 ypc, the second-worst mark in the league. 

Henry doesn’t need Shanahanigans to exploit Carolina’s weakness against the run; so long as the Panthers don’t get ahead by a big number early on Henry should be a lock for 20+ touches and a score (high end RB2 range).

Josh Jacobs, Oakland @ Detroit

Jacobs has been sensational in his rookie campaign, putting up 370 yards after contact and breaking 12 tackles in his first seven starts. He’s the RB16 (eight backs ahead of him have played an extra game) and he’s 5th in yards created per game. 

This week he gets the Lions, who have been an average-to-poor run defense this year.  They’ve recently given up 160+ rush-yard games to the Vikings and Packers and 143 combined yards to Saquon. Look for Gruden to feature his young back again and for Jacobs to have RB1 upside this week.

Aaron Jones, GB @ LAC

I’m hoping that Jones’s usage starts to be consistent enough that it’s too obvious to write about, but this week I still feel compelled:  Jones is a beast. With over 800 combined yards and 11 TDs, he’s currently sitting as the RB3 on the season. 

He’s playing in LA this week against a floundering Chargers team that just gave up a career game to David Montgomery and has allowed two of their last three opponents over 120 rushing yards (the third was 97).

Stay in the flames with Jones.  You’d rather suffer the occasional Jamaal Williams game than watch a 4-TD-blow-up on your bench. Jones has RB1 upside again this week.

Note that as of Wednesday Jones is questionable, so keep an eye on his status.  If Jones sits then Williams is propelled to must-start status and a lock for DFS.

Nick Chubb, Cleveland @ Denver
Nick Chubb
Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Chubb has made the list as a) Denver seems like it might a bad matchup and b) last week’s fantasy score didn’t look great. 

Don’t be deceived; Chubb tore through the vaunted NE defense, but he put the ball on the ground twice, and that hurts your fantasy finish.   And, no, he doesn’t have a fumbling problem- no fumbles at all in his rookie season- just a recent run of bad luck. 

Denver’s going to be starting backup Brandon Allen.  Expect their defense to spend a lot of time on the field, and expect an angry Chubb to vent his frustrations against them. He has RB1 upside if he can get in the endzone.

Other starts I like: 
  • Philip Lindsay v. Cleveland
  • Jalen Samuels v. Indianapolis
  • Leonard Fournette v. Houston
  • Carlos Hyde @ Jacksonville
  • Cook, Mattison v. Chiefs (smash)
  • Mark Ingram v. NE
  • Zeke, Saquon (both smash spots)

RB Sits:

David Montgomery, Chicago @ Philadelphia
David Montgomery
credit: Chicago Sun-Times

I love Monty. Couldn’t be happier for his breakout game last week. He destroyed the Chargers, looking like a true workhorse back in the effort.

It’s not gonna happen again this week. 

He might still be ok as a high-volume, low-end RB2, but he’s not going to have the success he had against LAC’s line against Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox. Zeke went over 100 against them, but he’s the only back this season to do it, and Monty ain’t Zeke, and the Chicago o-line isn’t remotely as good as the Cowboys’.

If Trubisky can get the offense off the ground there might be some TD upside, but I’m dubious about that until I see it. 

Volume should sustain some floor here (unless the Eagles get up early and Nagy calls 54 pass plays for his struggling QB1 again) but Mony’s most likely to finish as an RB3 or low-end RB2. 

The Lions Backs @ Oakland 

Ty Johnson, Tra Carson, J.D. McKissic- who knows what’s going on here. 

The words “four-back-committee” were uttered by Matt Patricia.  This should be a death sentence for any lingering notion you had of riding any of these backs as anything more than a desperation flex.

It’s not a great matchup at Oakland, anyway- they’ve defended the run fairly well, though they’re vulnerable to pass-catching backs- and it seems like none of these players will get enough volume to give them a solid floor or viable ceiling.

Other sits:
  • Melvin Gordon v. GB
  • Mark Walton v. NYJ
  • Frank Gore v. Washington
  • Kenyan Drake v. SF
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