Week 15 Fantasy Football Start/Sit Candidates: Running Backs

Dec 14, 2022
Week 15 Start/Sit Candidates: Running Backs

Wondering whom to start and sit at running back this week? Below are three top-notch starts and one sit option at the running back position for Week 15 of the 2022 NFL season.

More Start/Sits: QB | WR | TE

Week 14 Review – half-PPR scoring


  • RB Ezekiel Elliott (Dallas Cowboys) vs. Houston Texans – 19.1 fantasy points (RB5)
  • RB Miles Sanders (Philadelphia Eagles) @ New York Giants –Eagles 14.3 fantasy points (RB13)
  • RB D'Onta Foreman (Carolina Panthers) @ Seattle Seahawks – 14.7 fantasy points (RB12)


  • RB Cam Akers (Los Angeles Rams) vs. Las Vegas Raiders – 8.1 fantasy points (RB31)

Running Back – Starts

Isiah Pacheco (Kansas City Chiefs) @ Houston Texans

The Kansas City Chiefs are -14.0-point road favorites over the Houston Texans. No. 1 running back Isiah Pacheco should cruise to a fruitful, voluminous outing against fantasy football’s fourth-most running back-friendly defense. Houston is allowing 24.9 half-PPR points per game, per 4for4’s Schedule-Adjusted Fantasy Points Allowed.

The table below ranks Pacheco’s rushing production in parentheses among all Kansas City running backs since the Week 8 bye. “Rush Att. I-5 Share” refers to Pacheco’s share of the team’s rush attempts inside the opponent’s five-yard line. The data comes from 4for4’s NFL Player Stats Explorer.

KC RBs Weeks 9-14 Rush Att./Game Rush Yards/Game Yards After Contact/Rush Att. Rush I-5 Share
Isiah Pacheco 14.2 (No. 1) 66.5 (No. 1) 1.7 (No. 1) 45.5% (No. 1)

Houston’s 167.0 rushing yards allowed per game and 7.7% explosive rushing plays allowed rate are, respectively, the two highest rates in the league, per NFL Team Stats Explorer.

J.K. Dobbins (Baltimore Ravens) @ Cleveland Browns

Baltimore Ravens No. 1 running back J.K. Dobbins (knee scope) returned from a seven-week absence last week, soundly asserting himself as the backfield alpha.

The table below ranks Dobbins’ Week 14 rushing production in parentheses against the rest of Baltimore’s backfield.

BAL RBs in Week 14 Rush Att./Game Rush Yards/Game Yards After Contact/Rush Att. Rush I-5 Share
J.K. Dobbins 15.0 (No. 1) 120 (No. 1) 2.0 (No. 1) 100.0% (No. 1)

Dobbins was playing with a notable hitch in his gait, but DPT Jeff Mueller believes it is likely a mechanical issue that Dobbins will be able to improve with rehabilitation.

The Cleveland Browns are donating 128.8 rushing yards per game (11th most) and a 6.1% explosive rushing play rate (fifth highest) to opposing backfields, resulting in 27.2 half-PPR points per game allowed (second most).

Pierre Strong Jr. (New England Patriots) @ Las Vegas Raiders

The New England Patriots at Las Vegas Raiders game opened with a 44.5-point over/under.

New England lost No. 1 running back Rhamondre Stevenson to a high-ankle sprain early in the second quarter on Monday night. Per Adam Hutchison’s Injury Index, running backs average 3.1 games missed with high-ankle sprains. No. 2 running back Damien Harris has missed the last two games with a hamstring injury that has left him entirely unable to practice. He appears highly unlikely to play in Week 15.

Rookie running back Kevin Harris was the first man off the bench last week but he was outplayed by fellow rookie Pierre Strong Jr., who dominated both passing-down and scoring-position work.

The tables below compare Strong Jr. and Harris’ Week 14 data.

NE RBs in Week 14 Rush Att./Game Rush Yards/Game Yards After Contact/Rush Att. Rush I-5 Share
Pierre Strong Jr. 5 70 2.4 66.70%
Kevin Harris 8 26 2 33.30%
NE RBs in Week 14 3rd Down Snap % Team Target % Targets/Route Run Yards/Route Run Yards After Catch/Rec.
Pierre Strong Jr. 41.70% 6.20% 25.00% 2.50% 10.50%
Kevin Harris 16.70% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00 0.00

Las Vegas is fantasy football’s most running back-friendly defense, allowing 27.5 half-PPR points per game to the position.

*Check out our RB rankings here.

Running Back – Sits

Rex Burkhead (Houston Texans) vs. Kansas City Chiefs

The Houston Texans are +14.0-point home underdogs versus the Kansas City Chiefs.

Houston’s No. 1 running back Dameon Pierce suffered a high-ankle sprain, ruling him out for Week 15. No. 2 running back and passing-down specialist Rex Burkhead is in line for an expanded role but Kansas City has held opposing backfields to just 19.5 half-PPR points per game, the 11th fewest in the league.

Among 78 running backs with at least 25 rush attempts, Burkhead’s 3.1 yards per carry is tied for 74th overall and his 1.2 yards after contact per carry are tied for 73rd. The aged veteran is somehow averaging just 15.4 receiving yards per game, despite operating as the team’s primary third-down running back.

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