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Editor’s note: Welcome to Week 2! We’re handling Jamey Eisenberg’s Start ‘Em & Sit ‘Em column a bit differently this season. You’re still getting the same in-depth analysis as always, we’re just presenting a bit differently, in an effort to get it out to you earlier in the day. This column takes a long time to write, and in the past, we’ve usually gotten it out to you in the evening. This year, we’re going to publish it position-by-position, to get it into your hands quicker. Here’s Jamey’s take on running backs for this week.
Don’t worry: If you want the classic Start ‘Em & Sit ‘Em, we’ll still be publishing that at the end of the day with every position included. For now, here’s running back.
Note: Projections are provided by SportsLine.com.
- Alfred Morris (vs. DET): The Lions run defense was abysmal in Week 1 against the Jets, who had 188 total yards and two rushing touchdowns in Week 1 from their backfield. Morris had more carries than Matt Breida in Week 1 at Minnesota and, more importantly, more red-zone chances. I like both 49ers running backs given the matchup against Detroit, but give Morris the edge over Breida this week.
- Austin Ekeler (at BUF): Ekeler was great in tandem with Melvin Gordon in Week 1 against the Chiefs, and he finished the game with five carries for 39 yards and five catches for 87 yards and a touchdown. He likely won’t be that productive against the Bills, although the Ravens just got three rushing touchdowns against Buffalo in Week 1. Ekeler is a solid flex play in all leagues this week.
- James White (at JAC): As expected, White played well in Week 1 against Houston with five carries for 18 yards, along with four catches for 38 yards and a touchdown on a team-best nine targets. He should be heavily involved in the passing game again with Julian Edelman (suspension) out, and in last year’s AFC Championship Game against Jacksonville, the Patriots had 10 catches for 54 yards from Lewis and White, with White also scoring a rushing touchdown. White is a must-start PPR running back in Week 2 and a solid flex in non-PPR leagues.
- Bilal Powell (vs. MIA): Isaiah Crowell was the star of the Jets backfield in Week 1 at Detroit with 10 carries for 102 yards and two touchdowns, including a 62-yard scoring run. Powell had more touches with 12 carries for 60 yards and one catch for 5 yards, and he’s still the better play of this running back duo. I like both as flex options this week against Miami, but I would lean toward Powell given his expected role in the passing game. If the Jets fall behind this week, Powell will see plenty of work.
- Tevin Coleman (vs. CAR): We’ll see what happens with Devonta Freeman (knee) this week, but if he can’t go or suffers a setback during the game, Coleman would be a standout Fantasy option. He scored in Week 1 at Philadelphia after Freeman got hurt, and he typically thrives when Freeman misses time. Now, if Freeman is fine, we don’t recommend playing Coleman, so just keep an eye on his status prior to game time.
Freeman is expected to play this week against the Panthers despite dealing with a knee injury, but we don’t know if he’ll be at 100 percent in a tough matchup. The Panthers gave up a touchdown to Ezekiel Elliott in Week 1, but he managed just 15 carries for 69 yards, along with three catches for 17 yards, which is a low stat line compared to how Elliott typically performs. Freeman had nine catches for 85 yards and a touchdown against Carolina in Week 17 last year, but he’s had fewer than 60 rushing yards in four games in a row against the Panthers over the past two seasons. If Freeman were 100 percent healthy then you should start him without hesitation. But playing at less than full strength in a tough matchup makes him just a flex play in Week 2.
So who should you sit and start this week? And where does every player stack up? Visit SportsLine now to get Week 2 Fantasy football rankings for every single position, and see which shocking QB is going to finish in the top 5 this week, all from the model that out-performed experts big time last season.