If you bet that Austin Ekeler, Christian McCaffrey, Isaiah Crowell, Kenyan Drake, Tevin Coleman, and Cameron Artis-Payne would all be top-10 NFL fantasy running backs this week… well, never mind, because no one could have predicted that. More important for us now is which rushers might make it back to those heights this week? Here are my picks in the Week 11 start ‘em and sit ‘ems.
Start this guy: Melvin Gordon, LAC vs NE
Melvin Gordon struggled mightily against a Jaguars team determined to improve their run defense. He has had a few games like that and is usually good for a bounce-back game the next chance he gets. Even with Austin Ekeler eating into his touches, Gordon is on the field a lot. Look for him to go 60 rushing and 60 receiving with a touchdown this week against the Patriots. Ekeler might score, too, if he doesn’t fumble early.
Sit this guy: Adrian Peterson, AZ at HOU
Adrian Peterson has ten days of rest, so many folks are hopeful he will pull off another 150-yard game. Don’t count on that. Eventually, Bruce Arians has to realize he can’t run Peterson 40 times and expect him to be alright the following week. Hopefully, we’ll see a second runner getting mixed in soon. This week it might not matter as Peterson is running against the Houston Texans and their second-best NFL fantasy defense against rushers.
Start this guy: Your Patriot of choice at OAK
New England made Mike Gillislee inactive last week. For all we know, he will be active and run 20 times this week. But I would start Dion Lewis, Rex Burkhead, or even James White because of their overall involvement in the game. Oakland will try to make it a shootout, but Tom Brady’s patience will keep the running game in play. All three of the main running backs make it into the top 20 against a weak Oakland defense.
Sit this guy: Isaiah Crowell, CLE vs JAC
Jacksonville’s weakness in defense has been the running game. Last week, they came out determined to control Melvin Gordon. They did. The defense didn’t want to talk about the comeback, the overtime or any of it. They stopped Gordon, and they stopped the Chargers from running out the clock late. This week is Isaiah Crowell’s turn. He is listed on many start ‘em or streamer lists based on his last two games and because he goes against the Jaguars. I think the Jaguars fixed something during their bye week. Crowell remains bottled up in Week 11.
Start this guy: Doug Martin, TB at MIA
Doug Martin had his second straight poor NFL fantasy performance against the Jets last Sunday. Going against the Dolphins, I expect the Buccaneers to run him more to exploit the Miami run defense and protect Ryan Fitzpatrick from having to throw too much. Martin gets back into the top-ten in Week 11 with ease.
Sit this guy: Samaje Perine, WAS vs MIN
Perine is a popular waiver wire pickup this week with Rob Kelly being placed on injured reserve. But Perine has had other chances this season to take the starting role, with less-than-convincing performances. The Minnesota Vikings boast the top NFL fantasy defense against the run, so Perine is not a good start this week. Next week, the young runner will break out against the Giants. This week, expect a lot of Kirk Cousin passes and little value in playing Perine.
Week 11 flash in the pan prediction:
Javorius Allen doesn’t want to hear any more about how he is no Danny Woodhead. Allen takes one to the house on the way to a six-catch, 100-yard receiving game. He throws in 32 yards rushing. Next week, Woodhead starts anyway.
About last week: oops!
Last week was my worst week ever for running backs this season. I still nailed three of six. I called for sitting all the Patriots running backs, but they threw me a curve ball by making Gillislee inactive. With the fourth guy out of the rotation, Burkhead grabbed the RB 13 and Lewis the RB17 on the week. But this week is special. I can feel it in my bones!
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