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Fantasy Points Against: Running Backs to Start and Sit Week 12

Fantasy stats based around 4 points per passing TD and 0.5 points per reception.

There are two main approaches when look at fantasy player scoring trends. The first is to see how that player is performing from an output perspective. The second is to look at how their upcoming opponent has performed.

This article leans heavily on Fantasy Points Against (FPA). This number measures the total fantasy points given up per game to a position group by a defense. Other stats referenced may come from sources including Pro Football Reference, Pro Football Focus, and Football Outsiders.


Todd Gurley

After a flurry of touchdown runs on the year, Todd Gurley ran into the buzzsaw Saints defense last week. Fortunately, he gets an uptick in the matchup column against Las Vegas this week.

The Raiders allow the 4th most FPA to running backs on the season. On top of ten Top 24 finishes, they also have been particularly generous to teams that heavily use one running back. Gurley has doubled other Atlanta running backs in carries over the last five weeks.

Fantasy managers shouldn’t shy away after Gurley’s disappointing showing in Week 11. This is a spot for Gurley to shine it what could quickly unfold as a high-scoring duel.

David Montgomery (Icon Sportswire/Getty Images)

David Montgomery

Chicago fans have let hope slip away after a scorching start to the season. Two of the components that net early season success are back this week. Mitchell Trubisky has been named the starter (his first start since Week 3) and David Montgomery is back from a concussion.

Green Bay allows the 2nd most FPA to running backs including double-digit performances in nine out of ten games. The Packers have also allowed 100+ rushing yards to the last three running backs who had at least 14 rushing attempts. Montgomery has had 14+ carries in his last four games.

Montgomery’s limits only exist in the Bears capacity to move the ball. Though that is a legitimate concern, Montgomery is a safe RB2 this week.


Melvin Gordon

The Denver Broncos square off against a red hot New Orleans Saints team in Week 12. The Saints are coming off a particularly impressive defensive showing in which they allowed no touchdowns to Atlanta and only 26 rushing yards to Todd Gurley.

The Saints continue to allow the fewest FPA to running backs. They have only given up five Top 24 finishes to opposing backs. Since Week 8, no running back has scored more than eight fantasy points against New Orleans.

Melvin Gordon is coming off a top performance boosted by two rushing touchdowns against Miami. However, expect Gordon to regress to his subpar performances of Weeks 8-10. He should only be started on teams with no RB2 available. Gordon has little flex appeal.

James Robinson (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

James Robinson

DISCLAIMER: This is another temper expectations note. James Robinson has been an elite running back and is a must-start every week.

Robinson goes against a Cleveland Browns defense that has allowed the 8th fewest FPA to running backs and only two performances of 100+ rushing yards. The Jaguars are also likely going to be facing a negative game script which means more passing. Fortunately, Robinson has value in the pass game.

Teams with Robinson in their starting lineup should start him. However, they may want to play steadier options elsewhere if the matchup seems close.

Featured Image courtesy of Andy Cross / Denver Post

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