The final week of the regular season presents a host of challenges for fantasy football managers. Between injuries, COVID-19, players getting shut down, and teams resting starters, it’s a struggle to know what to do. Let’s take a look at our Week 18 RB start ’em and sit ’em plays.
Week 18 Start ‘Em: Running Backs
The fantasy football championship has come and gone, but there’s still one week left in the NFL regular season. For whatever is at stake this week, you still need a lineup. As always, Pro Football Network will do its best to steer you in the right direction. Let’s get into this week’s start ’em and sit ’em plays at the running back position.
Start ‘Em | Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills (vs. NYJ)
When we get into Week 18, it’s difficult to find many teams with something to play for. The Bills need a win to lock up the AFC East. Expect them to lay the smackdown on the Jets.
While the Bills are a pass-first offense, Devin Singletary has been very strong recently. He’s been an 80% snap share back the past month. Over the past three weeks, Singletary has scored 4 touchdowns and is averaging 21.6 opportunities per game. The Jets allow the most fantasy points to running backs. Dare I say Singletary is an RB1 this week.
Start ‘Em | D’Onta Foreman, Tennessee Titans (@ HOU)
What a story D’Onta Foreman has been. He returned from a torn Achilles, couldn’t get a job until midseason, then ran away with the Titans’ feature back role after Derrick Henry’s injury.
Foreman has three 100-yard rushing efforts over his past five games. Last week, he played a season-high 65% of the offensive snaps.
The Texans allow the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs, and the Titans are heavily motivated to win. They need the victory to secure the top seed in the AFC. Expect another run-heavy game plan with a positive game script.
Coming off a 26-carry, 132-yard, 1-touchdown game, Foreman is set up for another heavy workload. Henry is nearing a return, but there’s no way the Titans will bring him back this week when they can buy him two more full weeks of recovery. Fire up Foreman as a borderline RB1.
Week 18 Sit ‘Em: Running Backs
One running back has a decent matchup, but I’d recommend staying away. These running backs should be left on your bench in Week 18.
Sit ‘Em | Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers (@ DET)
There are a couple of reasons to fade Aaron Jones this week. First and foremost, he’s no longer the main back. While this is nothing new (I wrote about how AJ Dillon was about to overtake Jones back in Week 10), it took the fantasy community a little while to accept it.
Since Week 10, Jones is averaging 9.2 carries per game. During that time, Dillon has averaged 14.3 carries per game (excluding Week 11 where Jones didn’t play). In Weeks 14 and 17, Dillon out-snapped Jones. Most importantly, Dillon has completely taken over the goal-line role. Since Week 10, Dillon has 31 red-zone carries while Jones has just 5.
I’m not sure how much of a threat Dillon is this week as the Packers have clinched the No. 1 seed. Aaron Rodgers said he’s playing, but I doubt head coach Matt LaFleur plays the starters for the entirety of this meaningless game.
Jones has been dealing with a knee injury for about two months. This is a perfect opportunity to heavily limit his workload (or not play him at all). I would be stunned if Jones saw more than 8-10 opportunities this week. He’s nothing more than a low-ceiling RB2 under normal circumstances. This week, he’s hard to trust as more than an RB3.
Sit ‘Em | Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (vs. WAS)
Last week, Saquon Barkley had his first 100-yard rushing game since Week 16 of the 2019 season. Unsurprisingly, his 21 carries were also his most since that very same game. It seems like Barkley is finally getting healthy. So, why fade him now?
Barkley is clearly not fully healthy. If he was, he wouldn’t be a part-time player. He played just 54% of the snaps last week — one week after playing just 34% of the snaps. Barkley hasn’t eclipsed a 60% snap share since Week 13. In addition to Barkley’s limited playing time, he’s become a complete nonfactor in the passing game. Barkley has seen just 2 targets the past two weeks.
Finally, the main reason to fade Barkley is the Giants’ offense as a whole. Despite his quality rushing effort last week, it amounted to just 10.2 PPR fantasy points. That’s because there’s no plausible touchdown upside. The Giants have no interest in actually putting forth any effort in football games. They are just going through the motions and are ready for the offseason. They got blown out 29-3 last week in a game they trailed wire to wire.
Amid a permanently negative game script, the Giants attempted just 11 passes. If Barkley isn’t catching passes and can’t score touchdowns, the opponent doesn’t matter — he’s not going to produce fantasy points. With Jake Fromm starting, Barkley is a mid-to-low RB3 at best.