Week 16 of the NFL season is huge for teams in the league fighting for a playoff spot, but it’s also huge for Fantasy Football managers looking to make some noise in the playoffs. Not everyone is going to be alive for the postseason at this stage of the season, but still it’s important to take a look at our Week 16 start ’em sit ’em running backs list to see who is worth starting this week.
Running back production is tough to come by on a consistent basis, and that will be a trend that continues in Week 16. Picking the right player to start and the right player to sit could be the difference between moving onto the next round and getting sent to the consolation bracket, so let’s take a look at three running backs worth starting, and three who belong on the bench in Week 16.
Week 16 Start ‘Em: Running Backs
Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles
Miles Sanders has been quite a polarizing fantasy football option at running back this season, but he could be in line for a lot of work in Week 16. With Jalen Hurts potentially set to miss the game, that would mean that Sanders would be in line for a much larger workload on the ground. Sanders has been hit or miss when he’s played this season, and even though he’s going up against a tough Dallas Cowboys defensive front that knows they will be running the football a lot if Hurts is out, this feels like a game that Sanders could do well in given the high volume of touches coming his way. For that reason, Sanders is a must start in Week 16.
najee harris, Pittsburgh Steelers
Najee Harris’ sophomore campaign has been a pretty big disappointment, but he’s become a bit more consistent in recent weeks with the Pittsburgh Steelers leaning on him more. Harris has been finding the end zone more consistently as of late, which is obviously great from a fantasy perspective, and his higher volume of carries bodes well against a porous Las Vegas Raiders front seven. If Harris gets 20 carries in this game, he should be able to put together a strong outing, and while many folks have saved a spot for him on the bench in most weeks, this could be a good time to clean the dust off of Harris and insert him back into the starting lineup.
J.K. Dobbins, Baltimore Ravens
This seemed like a lost season for fantasy owners who had used a high draft pick on J.K. Dobbins, but he has returned in a big way in the past two weeks for the Baltimore Ravens. Dobbins has picked up at least 120 yards on the ground in the Ravens two most recent games, and he’s doing it on incredible efficiency, as he hasn’t had more than 15 carries in either of those contests. Dobbins should be Baltimore’s lead running back at this point, and even if Lamar Jackson returns from injury, he should be in for a big day against a weak Atlanta Falcons defense, making Dobbins a sneaky good starter option in Week 16.
Week 16 Sit ‘Em: Running Backs
David Montgomery, Chicago Bears
David Montgomery had become a must-start fantasy football option in most cases with Khalil Herbert on the injured reserve, but with Herbert looking likely to make his return to the field in Week 16, that immediately makes Montgomery a very risky fantasy option. Montgomery was barely producing earlier this season in his timeshare with Herbert, and while he’s been solid in recent weeks with most of the carries to himself, it remains to be seen what the division of labor will look like with Herbert nearing a return to the fold. It’s better to be safe than sorry with Montgomery, which is why sending him to the bench for Week 16 feels like the right move.
Zonovan Knight, New York Jets
Every year, there are players who emerge from out of nowhere to become immediate contributors for fantasy football managers in the playoffs, and early on, it looked like Zonovan Knight was going to be that guy. After three straight weeks of strong performances, Knight was completely shut down in Week 15 against the Detroit Lions, and even more concerning, he keeps splitting carries with Michael Carter. Knight has value in some cases, and the Jacksonville Jaguars defense isn’t totally imposing, but Knight seems like a very risky play, which is why it’s best to err on the side of caution and send him to the bench for Week 16.
Cordarrelle Patterson, Atlanta Falcons
It’s been a strange season for Cordarrelle Patterson, and really the entire Atlanta Falcons backfield. It’s a true running back committee, with Patterson and Tyler Allgeier splitting carries on what seems to be a patternless basis. Some weeks, Patterson explodes; other weeks, it’s Allgeier’s turn. It’s great for the Falcons, but horrible for fantasy owners. Allgeier continues to take work away from Patterson, which isn’t necessarily surprising, but it is damaging for Patterson’s fantasy outlook. Even though Patterson had 52 yards and a touchdown in Week 15, it’s becoming more and more risky to trust him in your starting lineup on a weekly basis, making him an easy bench option in Week 16.