Start Melvin Gordon, Michael Carter, Chase Edmonds, Rhamondre Stevenson? More Expert Start/Sit Advice For RBs
Getty Images. Pictured: Broncos RB Melvin Gordon, Jets RB Michael Carter, Cardinals RB Chase Edmonds
- Should you start Melvin Gordon, Michael Carter, Chase Edmonds or Rhamondre Stevenson in Week 15?
- Our expert offers her fantasy football start/sit advice for key running backs heading into the playoffs below.
Editor’s note: The following was written on Friday, so be sure to consult our experts’ real-time rankings for fantasy football start/sit advice on any COVID- or injury-impacted players.
Setting your lineups can be difficult, especially with everything on the line in the fantasy football playoffs.
Below you will find some running backs I like as well as some I don’t like for Week 15 based on matchups, injuries, trends and more.
Fantasy RBs To Start/Sit In Week 15
Melvin Gordon III, Broncos vs. Bengals
Much to the dismay of Javonte Williams RB1 truthers, Gordon was once again a factor after missing one week with a hip injury.
Some thought Williams did enough in the previous two weeks to usurp Gordon entirely, but Gordon actually out-touched, out-snapped and outperformed the rookie. Gordon saw 24 carries for 111 yards and two touchdowns while Williams saw 16 touches for 83 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns.
Both were impressive, and while Williams is a must-start rest-of-season, don’t forget about Gordon — the Broncos haven’t. He is a strong RB2 at home against the Bengals.
Verdict: Start as RB2
D’Ernest Johnson, Browns vs. Raiders
It’s extremely unclear which Browns might be playing in this game amid the team’s COVID-19 outbreak. Johnson should play a role regardless, as he was a solid waiver add this week with Kareem Hunt unlikely to play this Saturday while dealing with an ankle injury.
Johnson has been productive when the Browns’ backfield has been shorthanded this season: He finished as a top-four running back in half PPR with a whopping 24 touches for 168 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in Week 7 with both Nick Chubb and Hunt out. The pair also missed Week 10, giving way to another huge game from Johnson: He saw 16 touches for 157 all-purpose yards in a tough matchup against the Patriots.
He offers solid RB2 value this week against the Raiders, who have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs this year.
Verdict: Start as RB2
D’Onta Foreman, Titans at Steelers
Foreman led the Titans’ tripartite running back committee in Week 14. He saw 13 carries for 47 yards and a touchdown and caught two passes for 15 yards, while Jeremy McNichols and Dontrell Hilliard combined for 14 touches and 29 scrimmage yards.
Foreman has back-to-back double-digit fantasy performances in half PPR and has a good chance to keep that streak going against the Steelers. Their run defense has been abysmal, allowing the third-most rushing yards per game and the seventh-most fantasy points to running backs. They’ve been torched by the likes of Dalvin Cook, Devonta Freeman, Joe Mixon, Austin Ekeler and D’Andre Swift over the last five weeks.
Foreman is a strong RB3 with RB2 upside this week.
Verdict: Start as RB3 with RB2 upside
Michael Carter, Jets at Dolphins
The Jets are set to get a major piece of their offense back with Carter returning from injured reserve. He has missed the past three games while dealing with an ankle injury he suffered in these two teams’ first matchup in Week 11. He had been leading Gang Green’s backfield and was the RB20 in half PPR on a per-game basis through the first 10 weeks.
He immediately jumps back into the RB3/flex conversation this week, even with the Dolphins on deck.
Verdict: Start as RB3/Flex
Chase Edmonds, Cardinals at Lions
Fans haven’t seen Edmonds since on the road at San Francisco in Week 9, when he suffered an ankle injury on one of the first snaps of the game. He was apparently close to returning last week against the Rams, but ultimately was not activated in time.
He is trending toward returning this week in a soft matchup against the Lions, who rank third-worst against fantasy running backs. I expect he will take a backseat to James Conner, who has been spectacular this season, but Edmonds will still play a role.
The matchup alone puts him in the RB3/flex tier.
Verdict: Start as RB3/Flex
Ty Johnson, Jets at Dolphins
Johnson was unimpressive in Week 14 against the Saints with both Michael Carter and Tevin Coleman sidelined, seeing six carries for 17 yards and catching four of seven targets for 40 yards as the Jets’ RB1.
His role will likely dwindle with the return of Carter, who was activated off injured reserve, as well as Coleman, who practiced on Wednesday and is trending toward playing.
Johnson and Coleman are firm “sits” this week, especially against the Dolphins, whose defense ranks seventh-best against fantasy running backs.
Mike Davis, Falcons at 49ers
I, for one, refuse to fall for the Mike Davis honey pot.
After months of preseason hype as the Falcons’ projected RB1, he was a dud who was outshined by converted wideout Cordarrelle Patterson. Davis was the RB57 through the first 12 weeks in half PPR on a per-game basis. It’s true he has posted back-to-back double-digit performances in half PPR in difficult matchups against the Buccaneers and Panthers, but I still don’t trust him to deliver in a tough road matchup against the 49ers.
He is a low-floor, low-upside RB3 this week.
Rhamondre Stevenson, Patriots at Colts
Stevenson has cooled off after his midseason breakout. He scored three times over four games and has seen an uptick in work, but has struggled to do much with it. He saw 24 carries for 78 yards against Buffalo in Week 13 while Damien Harris saw 10 carries for 111 yards and a touchdown.
This is probably going to be some kind of time share for the rest of the year, which will be tricky, especially up against the Colts’ run defense. Indianapolis has allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to running backs this year, which slots Stevenson outside of the RB2 tier this week.
Chuba Hubbard, Panthers at Bills
Hubbard was a popular waiver wire pickup once again with Christian McCaffrey done for the year. Hubbard shouldered the lion’s share of the workload in Week 14 against the Falcons and saw 10 carries for 33 yards and a touchdown. Ameer Abdullah saw four carries for 16 yards and caught two passes for 17 yards.
Unfortunately for fantasy managers, it doesn’t look like Hubbard is going to be this year’s Mike Davis.
The matchup is also tough against the Bills’ defense and in a game script that is unlikely to favor the run, as Carolina enters this matchup as a 10.5-point underdog (check real-time NFL odds here). The matchup and Hubbard’s recent performance knocks him out of the RB2 conversation this week.
Jordan Howard, Eagles vs. Washington
The Eagles’ backfield is a nightmare for fantasy football. All four running backs — Miles Sanders, Howard, Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell — are healthy coming off of the Eagles’ Week 14 bye. If I had to hazard a guess, I would anticipate Gainwell to be a healthy scratch in this game and Sanders to lead the backfield once again.
Sanders is the only one I would consider starting this week, even with copious members of Washington’s defense on the COVID-19/reserve list. I just cannot put my trust in Howard (or Scott for that matter) without seeing what their workload split will be.
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