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3 RBs to start and 3 RBs to fade in Week 18 fantasy football

We go over who you should start and who you should sit at running back for Week 18.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Tennessee Titans Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The final week of the regular season has arrived and, with it, numerous matchups with playoff implications and intrigue. The motivation to win for some teams will vastly outweigh that of superior opponents, and those factors merit consideration for managers trying to navigate Week 18.

Running Back Starts

Aaron Jones, Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers

The Packers’ limited use of Aaron Jones during recent games against the Bears and Dolphins suggested that the star running back might have a more serious injury than the practice reports suggested. However, in a must-have tilt with the Vikings, Green Bay unleashed Jones, feeding him 16 touches for 113 yards. With the stakes just as high this Sunday, Jones should expect another healthy workload against a defense that has struggled to contain most running backs this season.

Kenneth Walker III, Los Angeles Rams vs. Seattle Seahawks

The last two weeks have seen Kenneth Walker produce more than at any time since mid-October. With a potential playoff berth on the line and a matchup with a bad Los Angeles defense, Seattle needs the rookie tailback as much as ever. Even if he doesn’t receive 20-plus touches for a third straight game, he shouldn’t lack opportunities to deliver for fantasy managers this week.

Rhamondre Stevenson, New England Patriots vs. Buffalo Bills

The past few weeks have not seen Rhamondre Stevenson play his best football, nor do the Bills at home represent the ideal matchup for anyone. Still, Stevenson’s efficiency remains high and the Patriots have plenty of motivation to lean on their ground game given the expected conditions in Buffalo this Sunday.

Running Back Sits

Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Commanders

Ezekiel Elliott’s touchdown production has covered up his woeful rushing efficiency and totals over the Cowboys’ past five games. While Elliott might just reach paydirt again on Sunday, the Commanders have defended running backs about as well as anyone this season, with only five teams allowing fewer fantasy points to the position entering Week 18.

Devin Singletary, New England Patriots vs. Buffalo Bills

After considerable discussion about how the NFL would handle the Bills following the unprecedented postponement of their matchup with the Bengals last week, they will indeed play as scheduled this Sunday against the Patriots. Even if one ignores the emotional impact of watching a teammate suffer a traumatic injury — an impossibility in reality — the matchup with New England’s run defense doesn’t lend itself to promising results for Devin Singletary.

AJ Dillon, Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers

As Jones has reclaimed his usual workload and Christian Watson opened up the Packers’ passing game, AJ Dillon has seen his role somewhat diminished. He still has utility as a touchdown lottery ticket, but his usage outside of the red zone — mainly short-yardage situations — doesn’t offer the kind of upside fantasy managers want in Week 18.