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The Cutback: Running Back Start/Sit Week 2

Week 2 is here, and the DynastyNerds writers are back once again to provide you with your weekly starts and sits, and we’re here to talk running backs.

Welcome Back! Week 2 is here, and the DynastyNerds 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 are the cast and the position groups they will 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 law. Any questions? The DMs are always open.

Starts

Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns

Kareem Hunt didn’t do anything sensational in Week 1, but he did lead the team in total touches with 17. In Week 2, his matchup gets much easier than the buzzsaw that is the Baltimore Ravens. Hunt averaged 5.5 yards per carry in Week 1, and he added four catches into the mix. This Bengals team doesn’t have the horses at linebacker to keep up with Hunt, especially in the receiving game.

Hunt has averaged over 12 PPR points per game since joining the Browns in large part due to his work in the receiving game. For the Bengals, their biggest weakness on defense is at the linebacker position. Browns’ head coach Kevin Stefanski will look to exploit that with Hunt out of the backfield. This isn’t to say that Nick Chubb isn’t also valuable this week, but Hunt is more on the fringes.

David Montgomery, Chicago Bears

I was high on Montgomery heading into Week 1, and, despite the letdown, I’m going back to the well. He had 14 touches in Week 1, and, if the team weren’t down so heavily, he likely would have gotten a heavier workload. Against the New York Giants in Week 2, I expect them to keep things closer, which will give him more chances to score.

Just look at his splits from the last season. In the games where he saw at least 15 carries, he averaged over five points more per game. That number jumped further when he got to 20 carries. The New York Giants spent a lot of money on linebackers this offseason, and it’s still a pretty big weakness for them. Throw in the possibility of a holdout by Allen Robinson. The Bears could lean very heavily on Montgomery in Week 2.

Mark Ingram, Baltimore Ravens

Ingram bit us all last week. He had a good matchup, but once the team got up big, he was no longer playing a role in the offense. He finished with ten carries for 29 yards, and it was just an extremely inefficient day for the veteran. However, the bright side of this was that every running back on Baltimore struggled against the Browns. Rookie J.K. Dobbins averaged 3.1 yards per carry while Patrick Ricard had one carry for -5 yards. This was an off day for this team’s rushing attack.

Against the Houston Texans, just get him to 15 carries. That’s all Ingram needs to have a really successful day. The Texans were just cut through by rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire of the Kansas City Chiefs, and Ingram can do the same. Lamar Jackson forces defenses to devote more resources to defending him while leaving running backs unattended. He can give you RB2 production with ease this week.

Sits

Melvin Gordon, Denver Broncos

Unless you’re being forced to play him due to injuries or otherwise, Gordon needs to be firmly on your bench this week. He has a road matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers defense that just held Saquon Barkley to six yards on 15 carries. For reference, he had one carry for seven yards. That means he had 14 carries for -1 yard. The New York Giants have an offensive line that’s a work in progress, but this Steelers’ front is going to manhandle the majority of teams. That includes Denver. Gordon’s final stat line is also rather misleading when you dig a little deeper.

He finished the game with 15 carries for 78 yards and a touchdown. That’s 5.2 yards per carry, but when you take out his long run of 25 yards, he had 14 carries for 53 yards, which is a 3.8 yards per carry average. Gordon was clearly the lead guy with 15 carries to Phillip Lindsay’s seven, but I still don’t have a ton of faith in him if he isn’t able to break one big run. In a tough matchup on the road, I’ll find another running back option for the week.

Malcolm Brown, Los Angeles Rams

Credit: Bleacher Report

Brown finished as a top 10 option at the position in Week 1. Anchored by two touchdowns, Brown looked like he could be a viable fantasy back, but two things are holding him back this week. One, he only had three more touches than rookie Cam Akers. Akers was inefficient, but they were still giving him a fair share of touches. Second, this matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles is awful. They just finished holding the Washington Football team to 80 yards on 36 carries. That’s a 2.2 yards per carry average.

Additionally, Brown is the definition of a touchdown-dependent player. For his career, in the six games, he’s scored at least one rushing touchdown, he’s averaged just under 13 PPR points per game. In the other 38 games, he has an average of just under three points. In a bad matchup with a talented rookie nipping on his heels, I’m not starting a running back and hoping he falls into the end zone to give me value.

Adrian Peterson, Detroit Lions

This one is a little interesting. On the one hand, Peterson looked just like his younger self against the Chicago Bears. He had 14 carries for 93 yards, and he added three catches for 21 yards. That’s great, but I don’t expect it to be repeated. The Lions were up big, and they didn’t have to throw as often. Against a Green Bay Packers’ offense that was cooking against a better Minnesota Vikings’ defense, that likely won’t be the case. 

Detroit was the 29th-ranked defense last season, and they didn’t make a ton of notable improvements. Additionally, star wideout Kenny Golladay will likely return for Week 2, which will give Matthew Stafford a great option in the receiving game. Throw in the two running backs that got a combined 13 touches, and there is a lot of variables working against Peterson repeating his solid Week 1 performance.

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