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The Cutback: Running Back Starts/Sits Week 5

It only takes one decision to turn your season around. @EKBaller sets you straight with your week 5 running back starts and sits.

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. 

Starts:

Credit: NBC Sports
David Montgomery, Chicago Bears

Montgomery was a sit last week due to his matchup with the stiff Minnesota defense. But Matt Nagy showed us what we’ve been wanting to see from Chicago’s rookie back: the volume to tell us he’s taken the clear lead role. With 21 carries and 5 targets, we’re all systems go on the Montgomery rocket moving forward.

This week he gets the Oakland Raiders. Far improved from their running-joke status of yesteryear, the Raiders just put down a tough Colts squad, and they are one of just ten teams to hold opponents under 4 ypc on the year.

It’s not a cake matchup, but the Chase-Daniels-led Bears are going to lean on the run to get it done- not that Daniels is much of a downgrade from Trubisky. It’s a London game, and London games tend to fall to the favorite, which gives even more reason to expect a favorable game script for Montgomery.

In this episode of battle-of-the-rookie backs, look for Monty to come out on top, and to bring home a solid RB2 finish for your team.

Sony Michel, New England Patriots

It’s been a rough go of it so far for Sony owners. Drafted as a back-end RB1 by managers hoping for an increase in passing game work or a repeat of his dominance from the 2018 playoffs, he’s been a near-total bust. Michel has fewer yards on the season than Leonard Fournette had last week, and he’s averaging just 2.8 yards per carry.

On the bright side, we have the 17 carries Michel saw in week 4. He should see similar volume this week against a hapless Redskins defense that has already allowed 597 yards on the ground, the third-worst mark in the league.

James White is also a great start in this one as Washington just allowed 7/55/1 through the air to Wayne Gallman.

Michel will find the end zone this week & start to rebound from his dreary September- but, at this point, a “start” for Michel might look more like 12-14 points than the 20+ he was delivering last winter.

David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals

To be fair, you’ve probably not been sitting DJ- it’s tough to sit your first round RB. But he’s been hit-or-miss so far, with a few great games and a dud against Baltimore. In week 4 he crushed, catching 8 balls for 99 yards in a loss to the Seahawks (the 9th best-receiving yardage for any player on the week).

He’s in a great spot this week against the Bengals. The Bengals D has been an absolute punching bag this year, allowing 4.9 y/a on the ground and 8.2 y/a through the air. The Cardinals aren’t stopping anybody either- allowing 6.2 yards per play to the Bengals 6.4- so this game has shootout written all over it. Start all the pieces you can.

DJ will easily go over the century mark again. Expect him to find the endzone at least once in what should be a top-5 weekly finish.

Credit: Bleacher Report
Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals

On the other side of the same game, we have Joe Mixon trying to get his season back on track.
Unlike DJ, who has rebounded from a rocky 2018 to find some success, Mixon’s been struggling, held back by a sieve-like line and unfavorable game scripts. He’s averaged just 9.3 points per game over the first four weeks of the season.

Look for him to get right this week against the Cards, who have been allowing a score on 44.4% of all drives. This will be the first soft matchup Mixon’s had this year, as games against Buffalo, SF, Seattle, and Pittsburgh have kept him bottled up.

If Zack Taylor remembers that his lead back has elite-level pass-catching ability- not unlike a certain lead back that Taylor coached in LA- Mixon will have his first breakout game of the season & rejoin his peers in the top-10.

Austin Ekeler, LA Chargers

Austin Ekeler is the RB2 on the season.

His backfield mate Melvin Gordon has returned from his holdout. Gordon will likely work his way back into lead-dog duties, but this week should still be a timeshare in favor of Ekeler.

LA is at Denver this week While a meeting a Mile High is never the ideal scenario, this Broncos team just gave up 245 yards to Leonard Fournette. The previous week they were stingier but gave up two ground scores to Aaron Jones.

Gordon should also be startable in this game but look to Ekeler to earn one last top-12 finish before Gordon takes the load.

Sits:

Credit: USA Today
Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers

Jones has been getting it done for you despite the persistence of a timeshare in Green Bay. He’s an RB1 on the season- RB11 right now- though his spot there has been propped up by goalline plunges rather than more sustainable feats like yardage or receptions.

The Packer’s offense has been good enough for him to average a TD a game, and they’ve been running it in often enough, much to the chagrin Aaron Rodgers owners. But with a TD-supported RB, there’s going to be down weeks.

This week seems likely to be just that. The Packers are at home against a Cowboys team that hasn’t allowed a 100-yard rushed since Saquon Barkley in week 1 and has allowed just two scores on the ground all year.

In week four the ‘Boys fought a defensive grinder against the Saints; although they lost, the held Alvin Kamara to 89 scoreless yards on the night, which is a victory in its own right.

Jones will fail to find the end zone in this one and finish outside the top 24 RBs.

Ronald Jones, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Since camp season- when Bucs staff began with the faint praise for Rojo- I’ve maintained a quiet skepticism. Only once has a player had such a historically bad rookie season and then become NFL or fantasy relevant. That was fellow Koeter back Devonta Freeman, and he followed up that disaster with two consecutive top-12 seasons.

While top-12 might still be too lofty a goal, it does seem that the Ronald Jones breakout is real. In week 1 he ran for 75 yards against a 49ers D that’s allowed just 3.2 y/a to backs on the year, shutting down big names like James Conner and Joe Mixon.

This past week he saw his highest snap % of the season, hung 82 and a TD on the Rams D, and looked good doing it. Jones is a buy for me at this point; if there’s an owner in your league sleeping on him, scoop him up, because the blow-up game is coming.

But not this week. This week Jones and the Bucs host a Saints defense that just held Ezekiel Elliot to 65 total yards and kept Dak Prescott from throwing a TD. It’s as if Drew Brees going down turbocharged this team; maybe they’re pulling together to keep the dream alive of one last Superbowl run before Brees retires.

This isn’t Jones’ week. The Bucs will find success through the air- if it all- as this might be the toughest defense they’re run up against yet in 2019. Jones won’t make the top-24 this week, but this could be good for you; it might open one last buy window for prospective owners.

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