NFL DFS Running Back Report - Week 15

Shawn Childs

Running Backs

Christian McCaffrey, CAR (DK – $10,000/FD – $10,400)

With no touchdowns in his stat line over the previous two games, McCaffrey posted only two steady games (17.20 and 24.50 Fantasy points) despite plenty of chances in the passing game (24 targets >>> 7/58 and 11/82). Over the last four games, he gained only 3.8 yards per rush (61/231/1) while becoming more involved in the passing game (38/330/1 on 48 targets). Even with a downtick in Fantasy points compared to early resume, McCaffrey extended his streak with over 100 combined yards to seven games. Seattle is league average defending RBs (23.56 FPPG) with no team scoring over 35.0 Fantasy points. The Seahawks allow 4.6 yards per rush with RBs scoring 11 TDs with RBs catching 71 passes for 635 yards and one TD on 87 targets. I sense a great game for McCaffrey with a pair of TDs with plenty of fight on the scoreboard.

Dalvin Cook, MIN (DK – $8,900/FD – $8,500)

Late in the year, Fantasy owners need their star running back to be a stud to push them over the end zone for league titles. Unfortunately, Cook has been rather boring based on his expected value over four of his previous five games (15.60, 31.30, 16.70, 14.40, and 15.50). Over this span, he gained 3.4 yards per rush while averaging just over 21 touches per game. After leaving Week 13 with a shoulder issue, the Vikings had him on the field for only 47 percent of their RB snaps, which was well below his season average (about 70 percent). Even with fewer snaps, Cook still picked up 20 touches vs. the Lions. The Chargers played well defending RBs over the past two games (15.50 and 10.00 Fantasy points), which came after a disaster runs where LA allowed over 30.0 Fantasy points in five (33.40, 40.80, 34.10, 39.50, and 30.30) of seven games. The Chargers allow 4.1 yards per rush with RBs scoring 13 TDs with some success in the passing game (73/544/4). Priced too high for me, but I expect a TD with over 100 combined yards. Minnesota may temper his snaps again this week, thus limiting his upside.

Derrick Henry, TEN (DK – $8,500/FD – $9,400)

It’s been said I have commitment issues, which may have something to do with me being in the wedding drive-through for 20-plus years. In 2018, I owned Henry in a ton of leagues, but he ended up being a bench player for most of the year before shinning in Week 14 (17/238/4) and Week 15 (33/170/2). Needless to say, on draft day, I failed to add Henry on any team based on his draft value. In the end, he was well worth his fourth-round price point. Over the previous five games, he scored nine TDs with strength in Fantasy points in each contest (24.90, 33.10, 29.50, 24.60, and 23.90). Over this span, Henry gained 740 combined yards with ten catches while averaging almost 22 touches per game. The Texans fell to 27th in RB defense (27.68), with two teams having a high level of success at RB over the past month (BAL – 251 combined yards with three TDs and seven catches and NE – 230 combined yards with two TDs and 14 catches). Houston allows 4.6 yards per rush with RBs scoring 12 TDs. The Texans have a ton of risk defending RBs in the passing game (96/836/7 on 110 targets). A hot player with a rising salary, which keeps him in play in Week 15. 

Nick Chubb, CLE (DK – $7,900/FD – $8,000)

Chubb failed to be a Fantasy asset in the daily games in six of his previous six games (12.80, 13.10, 14.10, 9.20, 8.90, and 12.70 Fantasy points). His best value came in Week 4 (39.90), Week 6 (29.90), and Week 12 (25.40) when he scored six of his seven TDs. Even with some short Fantasy scores, Chubb gained over 100 yards in seven of his last 11 games while averaging 21.9 touches per game. Arizona ranks 21st in RB defense (25.11 FPPG), with three teams scoring over 30.0 Fantasy points. The Cardinals allow 4.3 yards per rush with RBs scoring 11 TDs. RBs can beat Arizona in the passing game (72/632/4 on 86 targets). Even with Kareem Hunt getting in the way, Cleveland had Hunt on the field for 70 percent of their plays while running many two RB sets. An active runner with big-play ability, but his success at this salary level ($7,900) requires multiple TDs. More against the grain than a target even with a favorable matchup.

Ezekiel Elliott, DAL (DK – $7,800/FD – $8,500)

The last 100-yard rushing game for Elliott came in Week 9 (23/139). Over the previous five games, he gained 330 yards rushing with three TDs on 88 carries (3.8 yards per rush). Elliott did average 20.25 Fantasy points over his last four starts thanks to a bump in value in the passing game (15/146/1). For the most part, he has been a much better player on the road (20.99 Fantasy per game). The Rams worked their way to 10th in RB defense (21.95 FPPG) with RBs having success in two games (Week 1 – 49.00 and Week 12 – 33.00 Fantasy points). LA allows 3.8 yards per rush with RBs scoring 11 TDs. The Rams will give TDs (4) in the passing game to RBs, but they’ve minimized the damage in the passing game (59/445). Elliott doesn’t have an impact game in 2019, and this matchup points to steady more than explosive stats.

Saquan Barkley, NYG (DK – $7,700/FD – $8,300)

The dream of Barkley turning on the jets in his production doesn’t look like it is going to happen in 2019. Since returning from his ankle issue, he rushed for fewer than 85 yards in seven straight games with weakness in his production in the run game (117/373/1 – 3.2 yards per rush). After shining in Week 8 (143 combined yards with a TD and eight catches), Barkley lost his upside in the passing game over the past five games (6/67, 5/30, 2/1, 3/32, and 3/1). The Dolphins ranks 25th defending RBs (26.52 FPPG) with failure in five games (31.00, 34.30, 37.70, 43.70, and 38.00). Four of those games came over the first four games of the year. Miami allows 4.5 yards per rush with RBs scoring 14 TDs. Volume player with a chance at a TD with some value in the passing game. Fits the mold, but New York needs to improve offensively to create more scoring chances. 

Leonard Fournette, JAC (DK – $7,600/FD – $7,700)

Fournette scored fewer than 10.0 Fantasy points (9.30) in Week 14 for the first time all year. This season he has eight games with between 12.40 and 18.10 Fantasy points in PPR leagues. His lack of playable value is tied to his three TDs scored. Fournette did shine in Week 12 (36.90 FPPG) with two other games of value (26.50 and 23.70 Fantasy points). He averages 23.0 touches per game with his floor helped by his opportunity in the passing game (68/457). The Raiders are 23rd defending RBs (26.27 FPPG) with four of their previous eight opponents scoring over 30.0 Fantasy points. Oakland will give up TDs (17) to RBs with plenty of risk vs. RBs in the passing game (71/651/6 on 91 targets). An interesting option as the Raiders seem to have lost their way on defense over the last three games (15 TDs allowed and 116 points). 

Chris Carson, SEA (DK – $7,500/FD – $7,400)

Carson gets a bump in value this week with Rashaad Penny out for the season. He’s scored a TD in every other game over the last eight games while delivering over 100 yards rushing in five games (22/104, 27/118, 24/124/1, 16/105, and 23/102/1). Since Week 4, the Seahawks gave him 23.4 touches per game while averaging 17.72 Fantasy points per game in DraftKings scoring. Carson tends to get between two to four catches per game. The Panthers allow the second-most Fantasy points to RBs (30.08) with six of their seven previous opponents scoring over 30.0 Fantasy points (56.40, 34.20, 33.60, 31.60, 47.50, and 32.20 Fantasy points). Carolina gives up 5.3 yards per rush with RBs scoring 26 TDs. Almost a must own with his path and opportunity pointing to 100-pus yards with a pair of TDs and some value in the passing game. Take the free square makes sense here while possibly having some Russell Wilson as a cover.

Aaron Jones, GB (DK – $7,300/FD – $7,800)

Jones climbed off the mat this last week (192 combined yards with a TD and six catches on 22 touches). Green Bay had him on the field for 58 percent of their RB snaps, which was the same number as Week 13. For some reason, the Packers rode the hot hand while Jamaal Williams only gained 24 yards on seven touches. This season Jones scored the fourth-most Fantasy points (254.50) at the RB position in PPR leagues. Unfortunately, 47.9 percent of his Fantasy points scored came in three games (49.20, 41.60, and 31.20) while shooting blanks in four games (4.90, 9.00, 4.00, and 3.80). 15 TDs drive his success with some value in the passing game (45/425/3). Jones picked two runs over 20 yards in Week 14 (one over his previous 12 games) while averaging 16.9 touches per game. In Week 1, the Bears held him to 39 yards with a catch on 14 touches. Chicago ranks 18th in RB defense (24.25 FPPG) with struggles in two contests (47.40 and 37.80). They allow 3.7 yards per rush with RBs scoring 13 TDs. Jones hasn’t had back-to-back big game in 2019, so I would shy away from chasing last week’s points. 

Austin Ekeler, LAC (DK – $6,700/FD – $7,200)

When the seas parts and your player has daylight for a long scoring play in the NFL, it’s a great feeling. After a nice start to last week’s game, Ekeler hit on an 84-yard TD after catching a short pass. He finished over 100 yards rushing (8/101) and receiving (4/112/1). As great as his success was, it still didn’t beat his output in Week 1 (39.40 Fantasy points). Before last week over eight games, Ekeler rushed for 160 yards on 48 carries (3.3 yards per rush) with most the success coming in Week 9 (12/70). His value in the Chargers’ offense is almost solely driven via the passing game (45/448/4 over this stretch). He’s scored a receiving TD in five of his previous seven games. RBs have 53 catches for 411 yards and four TDs on 76 targets vs. the Vikings. Tough to follow up his success, especially when adding in a higher salary. Only a midteen play in the season-long games.

Melvin Gordon, LAR (DK – $6,500/FD – $7,400)

Out of the gate last week, Gordon looked to be on a path for a big game. He finished with 84 combined yards with a TD and five catches, which came to 19.40 Fantasy points. The success of Austin Ekeler did hurt his opportunity in the second half while missing on the one big play in the game. Over the past five games, he scored 93.6 Fantasy points in DraftKings scoring (18.72 FPPG) while averaging 20.4 touches per game. Last week LA had him on the field for 46 percent of the RB plays. The Vikings sit sixth in RB defense (20.54 FPPG) with two poor games (38.10 and 47.50 Fantasy points). Minnesota allows 4.2 yards per rush with RBs scoring five rushing TDs. Not the best matchup for explosiveness.

Kareem Hunt, CLE (DK – $6,300/FD – $6,700)

As a flex play in the season-long contests, Fantasy owners don’t have any complaints about the play of Hunt over five games (14.40, 11.80, 12.60, 17.50, and 14.80 Fantasy points). He’s scored a TD in three straight games while averaging 12.4 touches per game. RBs have 72 catches for 632 yards and four TDs on 86 targets against the Cardinals. Only 12 to 15 point player in PPR leagues while being priced like a 25-plus point option in the daily games.

Joe Mixon, CIN (DK – $6,100/FD – $6,700)

After a long wait, Mixon shined in Week 14 (186 combined yards with one TD and three catches on 26 touches). He finished with third-most Fantasy points (27.60) in PPR leagues, lifting him to 17th in RB scoring (12.84 FPPG). Over his last six games, he gained 666 combined yards with four TDs and 14 catches or 18.43 Fantasy points per game. Over this span, Mixon averaged 22.7 touches per game. New England still ranks first in the NFL vs. RBs (15.77 FPPG) with no team scoring over 25.0 Fantasy points. The Patriots allow 4.2 yards per rush with RBs scoring four TDs. Trending along with his salary, but this matchup limits his playability in the daily games.

Todd Gurley, LAR (DK – $6,000/FD – $7,600)

Gurley has been relevant in the season-long games in three (21.30, 18.50, and 21.30 FPPG) of his last four games. In between, he did struggle in Week 12 (5.20 Fantasy points) vs. the Ravens at home. The Rams had him on the field for about 80 percent of their plays over the last month. Gurley pushed his way to 14th in RB scoring (13.32 FPPG) in PPR leagues while still lacking an impact game. Dallas is league average defending RBs (23.69 FPPG) with only one bad showing (37.70 Fantasy points). The Cowboys allow 4.2 yards per rush with RBs scoring ten TDs. Even with a positive direction, Gurley still struggles to break free at the second level of defenses, and the Rams don’t feature him in the passing game. His salary reasonable base on his touches (25 per game) in his best three games over the previous month. In the mix for sure at this level with touchdowns being the key to his upside.

Miles Sanders, PHI (DK – $5,900/FD – $6,800)

The Eagles had success with their RBs in Week 14 (202 combined yards with one TDs and ten catches), but Sanders failed to deliver an impact game (69 combined yards with four catches) despite 19 touches. Over the last three weeks, he gained 260 combined yards with one TD and 12 catches on 56 touches. After three games with over 85 percent of the RB snaps, Sanders only saw the field for 56 percent of the RB snaps in Week 14. The Redskins rank 24th in RB defense (26.30 nFPPG), with five teams scoring over 30.0 Fantasy points. Washington allows 4.3 yards per rush with RB scoring 13 TDs. I like his playing time, but his scoring ability and a second wheel at RB does lead to underperforming his salary level.

Devonte Freeman, ATL (DK – $5,800/FD – $6,100)

Freeman played well last week (94 combined yards with a TD and four catches on 21 touches), but he’s back on the injury report with a knee issue. Over his previous two games, the Falcons gave him 42 touches with 67 percent of the playing time. In Week 8, Freeman scored a season-high 26.80 Fantasy points. Atlanta gains only 3.7 yards per rush in 2019 with their RBs scoring only six rushing TDs. The 49ers remain second in the league in RB defense (16.72 FPPG) with a slight speed bump in Week 8 (30.10 Fantasy points) and Week 9 (28.60 Fantasy points). San Fran allows 4.6 yards per rush with their last ten opponents rushing for over 100 yards with six TDs. Too much risk and downside for me.

Philip Lindsey, DEN (DK – $5,600/FD – $6,400)

For the fourth straight week, Lindsay led the Broncos in RB touches (18, 16, 20, and 18), leading to 233 combined yards with a TD and eight catches. Even with growth in chances, Denver only had him on the field for 54 percent of the RB snaps over this span. Lindsay is the 15th ranked RB in PPR leagues (13.06 FPPG) with two games of value (29.00 and 24.70 Fantasy points), with the latter coming in Week 5. The Chiefs do have risk defending RBs (32nd – 30.10 FPPG) with six teams scoring over 30.0 Fantasy points. Kansas City allows 5.1 yards per rush with RB scoring 14 TDs. Denver played well in back-to-back games, and they would love to play keep-away with success in their run game. Game score will determine his opportunity. Call me a maybe with a ten percent chance of paying off.

David Montgomery, CHI (DK – $5,500/FD – $6,400)

Over the previous seven games, Montgomery gained 537 combined yards with four TDs and 12 catches on 133 touches (19.0 per game). He sits 21st in RB scoring (10.95 FPPG) with two games of value (24.70 and 22.60 Fantasy points). His last rushing TD came in Week 9. Montgomery averages 3.5 yards per rush with six TDs in 13 games. Green Bay held him to 45 combined yards with one catch on seven touches. The Packers do have risk defending RBs (27.73 FPPG) with struggles in four games (30.80, 40.30, 40.10, and 41.60 Fantasy points). Green Bay allows 4.7 yards per rush with RBs scoring 15 TDs. Solid opportunity with a matchup that points to a TD at the least and success in the run game. 

James White, NE (DK – $5,400/FD – $6,800)

The Patriots fell behind last week, but White failed to have the pass-catching opportunity that was expected. He gained 60 yards with five catches, which was only another steady game in the season-long games. In Week 13, he gained 177 combined yards with two TDs and eight catches. Over his other ten games, White scored between 11.90 and 16.40 Fantasy points in eight different games. RBs have 64 catches for 590 yards and three TDs on 78 targets against the Bengals. New England should play from the lead, which limits the chances for White.

Raheem Mostert, SF (DK – $5,200/FD – $7,500)

Fantasy owners will debate whether Mostert will be a trick or treat in Week 15. Over the previous two games, the 49ers gave him 74 and 60 percent of the RB spans (most of the year), leading to 263 combined yards with three TDs and four catches on 33 touches. Mostert has a TD in three straight games (four total) with one other contest of value (Week 2 – 151 combined yards with a TD and three catches). He averages 6.0 yards per rush and 13.3 yards per catch. Over the past two games, Tevin Coleman only eight rushes for 12 yards. The Falcons are 12th in RB defense (25.10 FPPG) with three teams scoring over 30.0 Fantasy points (31.70, 42.90, and 32.90 Fantasy points). Atlanta allows 4.0 yards per rush with RBs scoring 11 TDs with success in the passing game (72/525/3). I don’t expect over 15 touches with San Fran expected to rotate in two other RBs. If he hits on a long play and a TD, Mostert will be in play at this level.

Sony Michel, NE (DK – $5,100/FD – $6,100)

The Chiefs bottled up Michel on his first five rushes (eight yards), which led to a bench role once New England fell behind early. He struggled as well in Week 13 (10/45). After 14 weeks, Michel is the 38th ranked RB in PPR leagues (9.12 FPPG) with six straight poor showings (7.40, 4.00, 6.40, 8.50, 4.50, and 1.90 Fantasy points). His last TD came in Week 7 when he beat the Jets for three touchdowns with only 34 combined yards with one catch on 20 touches. His only other game of value came in Week 5 (123 combined yards with one TD and three catches). Cinci allows 4.9 yards per rush with RBs scoring ten rushing TDs. Another favorable matchup, but Michel continues to have no pulse with playing time risk.

Kenyan Drake, ARI (DK – $5,000/FD – $6,200)

Over the last four games, Drake gained 239 combined yards with 17 catches while gaining only 3.4 yards per rush and 4.1 yards per catch. He played great in his first game in Arizona in Week 9 (162 combined yards with a TD and four catches) vs. a top defense (49ers). The Cardinals had him on the field for 88 and 80 percent of their plays in Week 11 and Week 12, but his playing time fell to 65 percent last week with David Johnson gaining some momentum. The Browns are 17th in RB defense (23.84 FPPG) with four teams scoring over 30.0 Fantasy points (33.20, 51.00, 31.20, and 34.20). Cleveland allows 4.8 yards per rush with RBs scoring ten TDs. Winnbale matchup, but I sense David Johnson steals the RB show for the Cardinals in Week 15.

DeAndre Washington, OAK (DK – $4,700/FD – $6,300)

With Josh Jacobs out last week, Washington earn starting snaps. He finished with 96 combined yards with one TD and six catches with 20 touches. Oakland had him on the field for 63 percent of the RB snaps, which was higher than Josh Jacobs in nine of his previous 11 games. Washington gains only 3.4 yards per carry with no runs over 20 yards since 2016 (149 rushes in 2017, 2018, and 2019). The Jaguars rank 29th vs. RBs (28.98 FPPG) with huge failure in two games (63.10 and 59.60 Fantasy points) and weakness against RBs in four of their last five contests (34.10, 45.10, 35.00, and 59.60 Fantasy points). Jacksonville gives up 5.2 yards per rush with RBs scoring 16 TDs. Tempting for sure based on his salary and matchup plus Oakland has been a much better team for the RB position at home.

Ronald Jones, TB (DK – $4,600/FD – $5,800)

Over the last month, Jones has three poor showings (3.40, 0.80, and 9.90) while gaining 81 combined yards with six catches on 27 touches. His only game of value in 2019 came in Week 10 (106 combined yards with one TD and eight catches). In his down games, the Bucs had him on the field for only one-third of their RB plays. Detroit sits 30th in RB defense (29.48 FPPG), with seven teams scoring over 30.0 Fantasy points. The Lions allow 4.2 yards per rush with RBs scoring 18 TDs. Jones doesn’t see enough playing time on passing downs to take advantage of Detroit’s issues defending RBs in the passing game (69/734/8 on 91 targets). His playing time invites more downside than playable value.

Patrick Laird, MIA (DK – $4,500/FD – $5,500)

Laird played well off the bench vs. the Eagles (48 combined yards with a TD and four catches) with a decent floor in Week 14 vs. the Jets (86 combined yards with four catches on 19 touches). Over his previous four games, he struggled on early downs (29/80/1) with success in the passing game (14/132). Last week the Dolphins had him on the field for 82 percent of their plays. The Giants are 19th vs. the RB position (24.28 FPPG), with four teams scoring over 30.0 Fantasy points. A low-low value three-down back who won’t be far off from filling his daily bucket if he scores a TD with repeated changes.

Carlos Hyde, HOU (DK – $4,500/FD – $6,000)

Over the last seven games, Hyde only has one TD with no Fantasy value in five contests (3.50, 8.30, 6.70, 3.20, and 9.80 Fantasy points). His best game (130 combined yards with one TD and one catch) came in Week 6, and Hyde rushed for over 100 yards once in 2019 (Week 9 – 19/160). He needs 74 yards to reach 1,000 on the year while averaging 15.9 touches per game. The Titans allow 4.1 yards per rush with RBs scoring seven rushing TDs. A boring player with a low floor and minimal ceiling. 

David Johnson, ARI (DK – $4,500/FD – $5,400)

Johnson has been just about DOA in the Fantasy market since Week 6, but he did show a spark vs. the Steelers (53 combined yards with a TD and two catches on five touches). The Cardinals had him on the field for 37 percent of the RB snaps. Before Week 14, he gained only 36 yards with three catches on 13 touches in four games. A viable flier with a matchup that may lead to 20-plus Fantasy points if he gets the hot hand early. 

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