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The Cutback: Running Back Start/Sit Week 16 – Semifinals Edition

Time to cue up the semifinals. @Culture_Coach is here with his Week 16 running back start/sits.

Are you coming off of a bye and strolling into the second round of the playoffs? Did you have a hard-fought win in round 1? Maybe you rolled in Round 1, and now you are hoping that your team didn’t peak a week early. Regardless of how you got here, congratulations on making it to the second round of the playoffs.

Week 15 came back down to earth for the ol’ Culture Coach. The game scripts didn’t go as expected, and I went 2-2 on my start/sit calls. That brings my record on the season is: 18 hits, 13 misses, and 2 pushes.

Be sure to follow our other start/sit articles and authors; they contain great advice to help you each week.

Changing the Call (QB): Mike Hicks
The Cutback (RB): Jake Oliver
Slant Pattern (WR): Tristan Cook
12 Formation (TE): Steven Pintado
Flex on ‘Em (FLEX): Evan Brown
IDP Start/Sit (IDP): Jon Glosser

There is one thing I want to note. For this article and every running back start/sit article I write, I won’t include players like Christian McCaffrey or Austin Ekeler. These are apparent starts so long as they aren’t on bye or injured. If you don’t start them, well, you’re a Taco. I’ll be focusing on players who are a bit harder to decide whether to start or what to expect from them. All scoring in this article series will be PPR. All stats/RB# number finishes come from FantasyPros. So, let’s make this a great season as we watch over 200+ games of NFL football. It’s back! Good luck with this dynasty fantasy football season.

The Recap

Oh, what could have been if only the coaches could read my mind.

Start: Najee Harris, Steelers, RB25 – finished RB70 miss

In a game that appeared to favor the Steelers running game, it was a mess. Trubisky got benched for Mason Rudolph. After two early touchdowns, the offense did not do anything. Harris went 12/33 with no receptions. He did not even garner a target.

Sit: Zack Moss, Colts, RB9 – finished RB18 hit

Based on the performances of Sermon (88 yards) and Goodson (79 yards), Moss would have made this a miss if he had not got banged up. Moss had three receptions good for a touchdown with 13 yards on the ground.

Start: Derrick Henry, Titans, RB11 – finished RB46 miss

Henry had a historic game. Not in a good way. Henry gained 10 yards on 20 touches. It was just a brutal game for the King. Even in the part of the game where he was good (4 catches), he gained just 1 yard. Henry had owned the Texans the last few games, averaging over 200 yards per game. It looks like the window is closing on the King.

Sit: Travis Etienne, Jaguars, RB12 – finished RB25 hit

This is a call I nailed. Baltimore is the team to beat in the AFC right now. The defense is playing great, and the Ravens have won 8 of the last 9 games. This was Etienne’s sixth straight RB13 or worse finish. Four of the six have been outside the top 20 running backs.

Let’s see if we can get back on the good side of the ledger in Week 16.

Sit: Raheem Mostert, Dolphins, RB6

MIAMI GARDENS, FL – JANUARY 08:Miami Dolphins running back Raheem Mostert (31) runs after a catch during the game between the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, January 8, 2023 at Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla. (Photo by Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire)

Let me reiterate: you are probably not sitting Mostert, but you should temper your expectations in Week 16. Mostert’s season has been nothing short of fantastic. But Mostert is a 31-year-old journeyman running back with explosive rookie De’Von Achane nipping at his heels. Last week, we saw James Cook, a back with a very similar skill set, go off versus the Cowboys. I’m not saying Achane puts up 36 points, but he will impact Mostert’s production. I have Mostert as an RB2 in Week 16.

Start: Breece Hall, Jets, RB14

Over the past two seasons, we have seen flashes of what Breece Hall can be for fantasy football. In the Week 15 debacle against the Dolphins, Hall played just 40% of the snaps, which led the team. This week brings the Commanders who give up the sixth most fantasy points to running backs. The Jets offense isn’t going to set the world on fire, but this is a winnable game for the Jets, especially if they ride Breece Hall. Look for Hall to deliver a top 8 week.

Start: Aaron Jones, Packers, RB18

GREEN BAY, WI – JANUARY 02: Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) runs in the open field during a game between the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field on January 2, 2022 in Green Bay, WI. (Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire)

2023 was expected to be a growing year for a young Packers team. Veteran running back Aaron Jones was supposed to be the anchor of this team. Jones has missed seven games this year. AJ Dillon is questionable with a broken thumb. I don’t believe Patrick Taylor is a real threat to Jones’ touches. Look for Jones to be a top-12 running back in Week 16.

Start: Chuba Hubbard, Panthers, RB20

Week 16 brings a Packers team that gives up the fourth-most rush yards and eighth-most fantasy points to running backs. Green Bay has given up an average of 148 yards on the ground in the last six games. Big money free agent Miles Sanders has fizzled. While Hubbard has not really sizzled, he has been playing well—Chuba checks in as the RB9 over the past four games. Hubbard will be a top-14 running back in Week 16.

You can find me here on the X machine and hear me talking fantasy football on the Fantasy Football Roundtable podcast. Click the subscribe button on your favorite podcast platform.

Do you want to become the best dynasty player you can be? Be sure to use my promo code “Roundtable” for 15% OFF your subscription to Dynasty Nerds! It makes it only three dollars or so!

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