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Editor’s note: Welcome to Week 12! 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.
Projections are provided by CBS Sports and not Jamey Eisenberg. Projected points are for PPR leagues.
Jalen Richard (at BAL): Doug Martin (ankle) is expected to play this week, but Richard will still get plenty of playing time. And he’s a great flex option in PPR. He’s scored at least 10 PPR points in all but three games this season. He could also be more involved in the passing game now that Brandon LaFell (Achilles) is out and Jordy Nelson (knee) is banged up. With the Raiders likely chasing points on the road, Richard should be considered the best running back for Oakland.
Theo Riddick (vs. CHI): Riddick will get additional work this week against the Bears with Kerryon Johnson (knee) out, and he’s a great flex option in PPR. He’s essentially been a receiver for the past three games since Golden Tate was traded to Philadelphia, and he has 18 catches for 126 yards on 22 targets over that span. It’s not an easy matchup against the Bears, but he had six catches for 60 yards on seven targets at Chicago in Week 10. A similar performance could happen on Thanksgiving Day.
Peyton Barber (vs. SF): Barber took advantage of a great matchup against the Giants last week with 18 carries for 106 yards and a touchdown, as well as two catches for 4 yards, and he’s worth using as a flex option against the 49ers. His three best games this year have come with Jameis Winston on the field (Week 6 against Atlanta, Week 8 against Cincinnati and last week), and hopefully that continues against the 49ers.
Elijah McGuire (vs. NE): McGuire has taken over for the injured Bilal Powell (neck), and he could play a prominent role in the passing game this week against the Patriots. In two games, McGuire has six catches for 64 yards on 11 targets, and he’s also averaging 4.6 yards per carry. New England has struggled with pass-catching running backs this year, and I like McGuire as a flex option in PPR.
Duke Johnson (at CIN): In two games since Freddie Kitchens took over as offensive coordinator, Johnson has at least 14 PPR points in each outing. He has four carries for 23 yards, along with 13 catches for 109 yards and three touchdowns over that span. He also has at least four catches in four of his past five games, and he’s worth starting in PPR this week against the Bengals, who allow the most Fantasy points to opposing running backs. Nick Chubb, in case you didn’t know, is a must-start option in all leagues this week.
Peterson scored twice in Week 11 against Houston, which was great, but his rushing stats have been down of late due to the injuries along Washington’s offensive line. In his past three games against Atlanta, Tampa Bay and Houston, Peterson has 44 carries for 136 yards (3.1 yards per carry) and just the two scores against the Texans. He also has only five catches for 17 yards over that span. Dallas is top 10 in fewest Fantasy points allowed to running backs, and only four running backs have scored on the ground against the Cowboys this year, including just one in the past six games. Peterson is still a flex option in most leagues, but I’d use caution if you consider him a must-start running back this week.