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The Cutback: Running Back Start/Sit Week 11

Week 11 is here, and @GBridgfordNFL is back to provide you with your weekly starts and sits, and we’re here to talk running backs.

Welcome aboard! Week 11 is here, and the Dynasty Nerds writers are back 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’s the cast and the position groups they’ll be covering to help you win your week. Follow their socials, and be sure to check out their picks for this week as well.

A Quick Note: These are recommendations based on matchups, previous performance, and other contributing factors. These are not laws. Any questions? The DMs are always open.

Week 10 Hit/Miss Recap

Last Week’s Starts

  • D’Ernest Johnson: Hit – RB6
  • J.D. McKissic: Miss – RB38
  • Devin Singletary: Hit – RB22

Last Week’s Sits

  • James Robinson: Miss – RB11
  • Michael Carter: Miss – RB12

Analysis

This was likely our last week of starting Johnson, and I’m glad it ended on a high note. Despite the rest of the team struggling, he still managed to finish as RB6, thanks in large part to his seven catches for 58 yards. Unfortunately for J.D. McKissic, teammate Antonio Gibson saw 20 more touches than McKissic. He also found the end zone twice on the day. Well, the call for Singletary was originally reliant on Zack Moss being inactive. He ended up playing and scoring, and Singletary still managed a top 24 week thanks to a late touchdown.

Both of our sits from last week waited until late in the game to make their final surge. Robinson didn’t find the end zone until the fourth quarter, and he had a solid day for an offense that didn’t have many bright spots. As for Carter, his team got blown out in a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the 28-point margin of defeat would have you believe, but he found a score in the fourth quarter to get him into the RB2 category for the week.

*Hits and misses are defined as whether or not a player finishes inside the top 24.*

Starts

Darrel Williams (RB22)

Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Similar to the Singletary call from a week ago, we’re largely relying on the idea that Clyde Edwards-Helaire is out for another week. Andy Reid reported that he has a good chance of being activated ahead of this week’s matchup with the Dallas Cowboys, but coming off of a sprained MCL with the team rolling, it wouldn’t be the worst move for them to hold him out until Week 12. Additionally, the play of Darrel Williams makes patience all the more feasible. 

Since Week 4, Williams has seen double-digit fantasy points in all but two games, with the two exceptions being the blowout losses to the Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans. He’s averaging 15.8 fantasy points over that stretch, and he’s not been overly touchdown reliant for fantasy production as he has just four during that timespan. Williams’s volume of carries and involvement in the receiving game, three or more catches in six straight games, gives him a high floor to produce every week.

The only thing that could really slow down Williams this week is the Dallas defense. Dallas ranks sixth in PPR fantasy points allowed to running backs this season. They’ve allowed only five touchdowns to opposing running backs this season, and we already know that Williams doesn’t rely on touchdowns for production. If this game turns into a shootout, which is possible, Williams will still be on the field for receiving downs. As long as Clyde isn’t playing this week, Williams is in a sneakily good spot.

Jeff Wilson Jr. (RB41)

Well, Kyle Shanahan is probably going to make me feel like an idiot for backing one of his running backs, but we’re backing him anyway. With the announcement that teammate Elijah Mitchell is likely to miss the game, that leaves the backfield in the capable hands of Jeff Wilson Jr. Wilson struggled as the backup last week in his lone action of the 2021 season thus far, but he has a better shot this week.

Shanahan has made it clear this season that he doesn’t have faith in rookie Trey Sermon, leaving the backfield to Wilson. Last season, Wilson finished the season strong, as he scored four touchdowns in his final three games while having 58 carries for 319 yards when he was the team’s starting running back. Sermon will likely be active and get a couple of carries, but Wilson will get the lion’s share of the work against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Jaguars have done well against running backs this season, as they are ranked 11th in fantasy points per game. However, they are still far from an elite group against the run. As long as the 49ers are leading, they’re going to run the ball, and that’s what we’re banking on by starting Wilson.

Michael Carter (RB16)

Since Week 2, New York Jets running back Michael Carter has been one of the most consistent fantasy running backs across the league. He’s put up double-digit points in PPR in six out of eight games, and he was 0.4 points away from double digits in one of those games. Now, in Week 11, he draws a Miami Dolphins’ defense where he should be able to put up another solid performance.

Carter has seen nine or more carries in every game since Week 2, and he’s had double-digit touches in every one of those games. Carter leads the team with 133 touches, and the next closest is Ty Johnson with 65. As far as RB2s will go, a player averaging around 15 touches per game is all you can ask for.

The Dolphins have been decent against the pass this season, but, on the ground, teams have been able to move the ball against them. They’re giving up the 11th-most points per game to opposing running backs despite being in the middle part of the pack in rushing yards allowed. As long as the Jets can keep the game relatively close, Carter should see a solid workload and finish with a good fantasy performance.

Sits

James Conner (RB15)

Credit: GoErie.com

Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner has been on a tear since Week 3 of the season. He’s scored double-digit fantasy points in all but one game during that stretch. Ultimately, the main reason for that has been his ability to find the end zone. He’s scored at least one touchdown in all but one game over that stretch, and that was also the lone game where he failed to score double-digits. However, we’re fading him this week.

Quarterback Kyler Murray is a game-time decision to play, and if he’s unable to go, the Seattle Seahawks’ defense will be able to key in on Conner a lot easier. Teammate Chase Edmonds being out will go a long way towards keeping Conner’s floor high, thanks to his increased workload in the receiving game. After catching two or fewer balls, including four games with zero catches, in the team’s first eight games, he’s now caught eight passes over the last two. That’s an area of the defense where Conner will have an advantage, as Seattle has allowed the most receiving yards to opposing running backs this season.

However, we’re going to focus on our original point as to why Conner isn’t a player you should be looking to start this week. He’s scored a touchdown in all but one of his last eight games. In the lone game where he failed to score, he didn’t have double-digit fantasy points. While he’ll get all of the goal-line carries, this offense struggled last week without Murray, and they could very easily be without him again this week.

Antonio Gibson – RB19

We have a similar argument with Gibson that we had with Conner. The only difference is that it’s even easier to make the case against Gibson than against Conner. Over his last seven games, Gibson has scored double-digit fantasy points in four games. Coincidentally, those were also the four games where he managed to find the end zone. He never scored more than 8.4 PPR points in the other three games.

The Carolina Panthers defense has regressed a bit over the last few weeks, but they’re still a decent run defense, especially down in the red zone. They’ve allowed opposing running backs to score just six total touchdowns this season. Carolina’s defense is a bit banged up, but when they’re letting opponents score, they make sure it isn’t via the running back position.

Gibson’s fantasy managers were hoping that he was going to be more involved in the receiving game. Unfortunately, he has just 19 receptions this season compared to 37 for teammate J.D. McKissic. The Panthers have also only given up the fifth-fewest receptions to opposing running backs. Gibson should see some work in this game, but he has a tough path towards fantasy relevance this week unless he falls into the end zone.

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