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NFL Fantasy Week 3: Start ‘em, sit ‘em – running backs

Matt Breida leads all NFL running backs in rushing yards, but he sits in the 12th position on NFL Fantasy points leaders. It’s not just touchdowns, but receiving yards holding him down.

Four running backs led their teams in receiving yards last week. Three players rushed for over 100 yards. Only one of them was among the top ten NFL fantasy scoring rushers. 6 of the top 10 couldn’t muster 50 rushing yards.

It makes picking start ‘em and sit ‘ems difficult, but not too difficult for us. Here you go:

Start this guy: Kenyan Drake, Dolphins vs. Raiders

Oakland already gives up 5.6 yards-per-carry. Now they have to fly cross-country for an early game against a team trying to limit their quarterback’s passing contribution.

Kenyan Drake has been far from terrible so far this season, clinging to the overall RB-24 position after two weeks. Expect him to climb the board a bit against a suspect and tired Raider defense.

Frank Gore’s name should pop up on some sleeper lists, too.

Sit these guys: The Titans- both of them, at Jaguars

Saquon Barkley put some amazing moves on against the Jaguars last week, leading several to comment on the young Giants star’s future. But he only mustered 28 rushing yards for the game. He added just 80 yards on 14 (14!!!) receptions.

Dion Lewis and Derick Henry will have some nice NFL Fantasy days this season. One of them will not come against the Jaguars defense, no matter what kind of fancy game plan coach Mike Vrabel puts together.

Start this guy: Latavius Murray, Vikings vs. Bills

Don’t get me wrong; Dalvin Cook is okay and should grab some yards and NFL Fantasy points Sunday.

But in a magnanimous gesture of compassion, I expect Mike Zimmer to tone down the passing game and have Kirk Cousins hand the ball off most of the second half, at least. With Cook’s injury history, I suspect Murray to grab the bulk of those opportunities, along with the rookie backups.

Sit these guys: The Bills- all of them, at Vikings

LeSean McCoy wants to play Sunday with cracked cartilage in his chest wall. That is a painful prospect that coach Sean McDermott should spare him from.

McCoy is the only weapon Buffalo has. The Chargers and the Ravens took advantage of that and effectively shut him down. They have good defenses, but if the Vikings decide to key on McCoy, it will be brutal.

There is no reason to expect rookie Marcus Murphy or veteran power runner Chris Ivory to fare much better. Don’t get cute looking for a surprise sleeper. It’s not coming from Buffalo.

Start this guy: Corey Clement, Eagles vs. Colts

Philadelphia added a rookie running back to their roster, which makes us wonder if Jay Ajayi’s chronic back problems are a concern heading into Week 3. Corey Clement got the bulk of the work when Ajayi sat out the second quarter last week.

Even if Ajayi starts, we expect Clement to spell him more regularly than usual, with 13-15 touches. Carson Wentz’ return lifts everyone’s NFL Fantasy value, including the running backs. If Ajayi sits, Clements could see as many as 20 carries and catches. It’s worth a gamble.

Sit this guy: Alfred Morris, 49ers at Chiefs

Alfred Morris is always a threat to vulture a couple of touchdowns as the more powerful rusher. This week, we think any San Francisco touchdowns will be of the long-distance variety.

Lost in the incredible start to the Pat Mahomes era is the fact both opposing quarterbacks scored more NFL Fantasy points than he did.

Jimmy Garoppolo might not be the third to pull that off, but he will be passing an awful lot in an effort to keep San Francisco in the game. That makes Matt Breida a better starting option and limits Alfred Morris’ impact.

Overtime: The David Johnson dilemma

Last week, I told you to consider sitting David Johnson because of the dearth of distractions on the Arizona offense. Things didn’t get any better in that regard with the news of Larry Fitzgerald’s tight hamstring issues.

Inexplicable usage of the Cardinal’s star running back makes Johnson an easier sit ‘em for Week 3, except that head coach Steve Wilks says he has seen the light. Johnson is supposed to be more involved in the offense, including lining up in the slot on occasion for the Cardinals.

Despite the overall disaster that is the Cardinals’ offense, I’m rolling David Johnson out there one more time to see if Sam Bradford can take advantage of Arizona’s changed game plan.

On an unrelated note, there is a shootout going down in Detroit this Sunday. Theo Riddick and James White could see more snaps than their starting teammates. Both are good starts in PPR leagues.

Full disclosure: Who said Seattle has no defense?

Jordan Howard certainly had enough opportunities Monday night, but he couldn’t find the yards to salvage an RB-2 finish for me. Dion Lewis’ strange day doomed me to a 50% start ‘em finish with Chris Thompson and Matt Breida coming through.

Marshawn Lynch put up 12.80 standard NFL Fantasy points, good enough to ruin an otherwise clean sweep of my five sit ‘ems.

Overall, that’s 6 of 9 picks making me look good. It’s a little less than Week 1’s 80% mark, but like the old song says, two out of three ain’t bad!