Week 16 Fantasy Football: Running Backs Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Danny Woodhead is listed below as a "start" for Week 16. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 16 with him as one of my starting running backs.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Adrian Peterson, DeAngelo Williams and Woodhead and start only two running backs, you should start AP and Williams -- and in turn, bench Woodhead.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

With that said, here are some players to potentially start in Week 16:

RB - Latavius Murray, Oakland Raiders (vs. SD)

Heading into Championship Week for most fantasy leagues, Murray ranks 14th in fantasy points scored among running backs. Scoring more than 15.7 fantasy points only once this season, Murray has been consistent -- 7.5-plus fantasy points in 11 of 14 games.

Few running backs have received a larger and more consistent workload than Murray. Averaging 19.14 touches per game, Murray's 268 touches ranks fourth in the NFL. Not only does he have 22-plus touches in three of his past four games, but he has at least 16 touches in all but one game this season.

The fifth-leading rusher in the NFL (956 yards), Murray has not run the ball as well recently -- 3.02 yards per carry over his past five games compared to 4.71 YPC in his first nine. That said, he had success against the Chargers in his first matchup (15/85/1 rushing) and the Bolts currently allow the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs.

RB - Charcandrick West, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. CLE)

Since leaving the San Diego game (Week 11) early with an injury, West saw his largest workload last week with 18 touches against the Ravens. West finished the game with 76 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries and added two catches for nine yards. Before Week 11, West had three consecutive games with 24-plus touches.

It's highly unlikely that West gets 24 or more touches this week, but if he gets the 18 he had last week, he should produce as a top-eight fantasy running back once again. The Browns have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

RB - David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals (vs. GB)

Not only did Johnson finish as the highest-scoring fantasy running back in Week 15, but it was actually the only 40-point fantasy performance this season. Johnson carried the ball 29 times for 187 yards and three touchdowns and added four catches for 42 yards as well.

Since taking over as the team's lead back (by necessity), Johnson has exceeded 110 yards from scrimmage in three consecutive games. In addition, he has a minimum of 24 touches in each of those games. During that three-game span, Johnson has 378 rushing yards, 11 catches for 94 yards and four total touchdowns.

Even though he has only 135 touches on the season, Johnson has scored a total of 12 touchdowns -- seven rushing, four receiving and one return. Johnson is a top-three option this week whether Andre Ellington returns or not.

RB - Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers (at OAK)

While Johnson scored the most fantasy points last week, Woodhead scored the second-most (30.0). Last week's monster performance catapulted him into the top-12 fantasy running backs (standard scoring) through Week 15. There's no way that he repeats last week's four-TD performance, but he's a viable RB2 type this week against the Raiders. (Then again, he did score two TDs against the Raiders the first time around.)

Perhaps he gets a few more early-down carries with MG3 placed on IR, but his fantasy value is largely derived from his ability in the passing game and the trust he has from Philip Rivers in the red zone. Woodhead has the third-most receptions (64) among running backs and none have more receiving yards (651) than he has. In addition, only Devonta Freeman and Adrian Peterson have more PPR fantasy points than Woodhead this season.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 16:

RB - C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos (vs. CIN)

What a disappointing season it has been for Anderson! Drafted as a mid-to-late first-rounder, Anderson has had a couple of big games this season, but he has struggled to string together multiple productive outings. Over his past five games played, CJA has scored 0.9, 7.2, 27.3, 5.4 and 2.0 fantasy points, respectively.

I am actually in a league where I drafted CJA with the last pick in Round 1 and I'm in the league's Championship Game. That said, I've managed to pick up guys like West, Thomas Rawls (before IR) and others to pick up his slack along the way. Given Anderson's lack of consistency this season, there's no way that I could trust him in a less-than-favorable matchup.

RB - DeMarco Murray, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. WAS)

Speaking of disappointments, what string is Murray currently on Philadelphia's depth chart? While he still officially tops the list (I just checked), he had only two carries for three yards last week against the Cardinals. Murray now has 34 rushing yards or less in four consecutive games. During that four-game span, he has a total of 35 carries for 91 yards (2.60 YPC).

RB - Brandon Bolden, New England Patriots (at NYJ)

With Steven Jackson back in the league, Montee Ball activated from the practice squad and Joey Iosefa (yes, Joey Iosefa) getting 14 carries -- four more than Bolden -- last week, it's anyone's guess how the workload will get allocated. In fact, LeGarrette Blount had just three carries for MINUS three yards in Week 7 against the Jets. This week's game plan should be pass-heavy so I wouldn't trust any Patriots running back not named James White.

RB - C.J. Spiller, New Orleans Saints (vs. JAX)

I get that you wouldn't even consider starting Spiller as bad and fantasy-irrelevant as he's been. A spike in Spiller's offensive involvement at least seemed reasonable following Mark Ingram's injury. Silly me.

With both Ingram and Khiry Robinson landing on IR, Tim Hightower has dominated touches over Spiller -- 45 to 10 in the past two games combined. As another comparison, Hightower had 8.5 fantasy points last week alone; Spiller has a total of 7.7 fantasy points in his past six games combined. Ugh!

- More Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em for Week 16

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