With all of the cheap value at running back and teams with high implied Vegas totals, there are more options in DFS contests than usual this week. Here are five things to know that will help steer you toward making the right decisions.
1. Deshaun Watson leads the NFL in total touchdowns
Watson has 12 passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns through five weeks, with his 14 total touchdowns besting Aaron Rodgers and Dak Prescott by one. That’s made even more impressive by the fact Watson is a rookie who, you know, didn’t even start in Week 1. Watson should be able to keep it going this week against a Browns defense that ranks dead last in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks.
2. The Steelers have allowed 200 or more rushing yards to running backs in two of their last three games
When Pittsburgh gave up consecutive runs of 36 yards to Tarik Cohen and 18 yards to Jordan Howard to seal an overtime loss to the Bears in Week 3, it could be chalked up to being without a few key defenders and playing on the road. But after Leonard Fournette and company rattled off 221 yards on 36 carries last week in Pittsburgh, there should be some cause for concern—especially since they travel to Arrowhead for a meeting with the NFL’s leading rusher, Kareem Hunt, this week. The Steelers will surely key in on Hunt, but what team hasn’t since his explosion in Week 1? After six touchdowns in his first three games, Hunt has been held out of the end zone the last two weeks, but that streak has a good shot at coming to an end against a Pittsburgh defense that has allowed five touchdowns to opposing running backs, second most in the league.
3. The Rams have surrendered the most fantasy points to running backs when adjusted for strength of schedule
Next up: Leonard Fournette. Fournette has scored at least one touchdown in every game, which is tough to sustain. It’s made a lot easier, though, when your team averages the most rushing attempts (35.0) and the fewest pass attempts per game (27.2). Fournette is tied for second in the league in touches per game (24.4), and it shouldn’t be a surprise if we see his salary increase again by the time things are all said and done this week.
4. The Browns have allowed 100 yards and/or a touchdown to every No. 1 wide receiver they’ve faced
Despite Titans castoff Jason McCourty giving Cleveland quality snaps at cornerback, Gregg Williams’s defense has been flamed by top wideouts. In Week 1 it was 11 catches and 182 yards for Antonio Brown; in Week 2, four catches, 31 yards and a touchdown for Jeremy Maclin; in Week 3, seven catches, 153 yards and a touchdown for T.Y. Hilton; in Week 4, five catches, 63 yards and a touchdown for A.J. Green; and in Week 5, four catches, 38 yards and a touchdown for Jermaine Kearse. A rejuvenated DeAndre Hopkins figures to keep it going; he’s second in the league in targets (61), receptions (35), and touchdown catches (five).
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5. Adrian Peterson hasn’t cracked 4.0 yards per carry in his last nine games (including playoffs)
Locking in a cheap Peterson, Arizona’s new starting running back, might seem tempting, but the reality is if he were still a productive NFL player he wouldn’t be on his third team in 10 months. Starting with last week, here are Peterson’s last nine yards per carry figures: 1.0, 3.7, 3.3, 3.0, 3.7, 1.6, 1.6, 2.0, 3.5. The discarded Chris Johnson—another former star runner that tried to hold on a couple of years too long—was averaging 12.6 touches per game, which is not a high enough amount to play Peterson in cash games, nor is it a particularly appealing amount in tournaments since Peterson provides next to nothing as a receiver. Not to mention, he’ll be running behind a bottom-three offensive line in Arizona, per Football Outsiders’ adjusted line yards metric.