FAVORABLE MATCHUPS (CASH/GPP)
Todd Gurley (DK – $9,800/FD – $10,200): After six weeks of action in the NFL, Gurley is on pace to score 472 Fantasy points in PPR leagues (29.50 FPPG). As great as he’s been, he only holds a small edge (3.32 Fantasy points per game) over Alvin Kamara (28.60), Melvin Gordon (27.08), and Saquon Barkley (26.18). Todd has 11 TDs while averaging 145 combined yards and 3.5 catches per game. On the year, Gurley receives 25 touches per game or 1.18 Fantasy points per touch. Last year the Rams gave him 22.9 touches per game. In his only game against the 49ers on the road in 2017, Todd gained 149 combined yards with three TDs and five catches. San Fran struggles to defend the Chargers’ RBs at home (215 combined yards with nine catches and two TDs), which points to another explosive outing for Gurley. Overall, the 49ers are 23rd in the NFL defending RBs (825 combined yards with seven TDs and 40 catches). Look for Gurley to be active in the passing game in Week 7 with another 30+ Fantasy game on the horizon.
Kenyan Drake (DK – $4,900/FD – $6,300): After a couple of short weeks, Drake gained 193 combined yards in his last two games with 11 catches and one TD. On the year, Kenyan averages only 8.7 rushes per game compared to 10.3 by the relentless Frank Gore. Drake has been on the field 62 percent of the time for Miami. The Lions struggled in three games in 2018 vs. the RB position (NYJ – 179 combined yards with two TDs and two catches, SF – 262 combined yards with one TD and eight catches, and DAL – 279 combined yards with one TD and five catches). Kenyan has a favorable matchup while his opportunity remains in question. I’d love to say Drake is must start in the daily games, but I can’t trust his touches or scoring ability. I will go out on a limb and say that Kenyan hits long 50+ run in this game.
Kerryon Johnson (DK – $4,500/FD – $6,500): Over the last three games, Johnson gained 251 combined yards with one TD and five catches while receiving 14 touches per game. Kerryon averages 5.7 yards per carry, which should invite more playing time. Over his last four games, the Lions had Johnson on the field for 44.2 percent of their plays. Detroit continues to rotate in three RBs with Theo Riddick stealing most of the pass-catching chances and LeGarrette Blount being the goal line thief at least in the last game. Riddick came out of the bye with an injury, which may be a good sign for Johnson in this matchup. The Dolphins allow the fourth-most Fantasy points to RBs (1,043 combined yards with seven TDs and 42 catches). Hopefully, the Lions saw the light over the last two weeks pointing a nice gain in value for Kerryon this week. If Riddick can’t go, Johnson is a live value play at this level.
Peyton Barber (DK – $3,800/FD – $6,100): After four poor games, the Falcons’ porous defense helped Barber find his way to daylight. Peyton gained 106 yards with four catches and one TD on 17 touches in Week 6. He averages 11.5 touches per game. Last week Tampa had him on the field 62 percent of the plays, which fell in line with his path over the first four games. The Browns lost their way vs. the run over last three games (90/501/3 – 5.6 yards per rush) while also showing risk against Pittsburgh in Week 1 (35/159/2). I’d like to see more runs by the Bucs, which would help Barber’s value. Overall, Tampa doesn’t run the ball well, but this matchup paired with Peyton’s low salary does make sense at this level.
MATCHUP RISK / AGAINST THE GRAIN (GPP)
Alvin Kamara (DK – $8,500/FD – $8,200): With Mark Ingram back on the field for the Saints, Kamara looks to be overpriced for his opportunity. Over the first four games, Alvin scored 34.0 Fantasy points per game in PPR leagues, which was well above the great Todd Gurley. Over his hot stretch, Kamara earned 1.55 Fantasy points per touch thanks to his high value in the passing game (35/336/1 on 51 targets). With Ingram on the field in Week 5, New Orleans decided to give Alvin an easier night leading to only nine touches for 39 yards and three catches while being on the field for 47 percent of the offensive snaps run by the Saints. Last year they had him on the field for about 45 percent of the time compared to 82 percent of the time over the first four games. The Ravens have the best defense in the league against RBs with no team scoring more than 25.0 Fantasy points from the RB position. Coming out of the bye week, New Orleans should give him between 55 and 60 percent of the RB opportunity going forward. Kamara will need 20+ touches to reach 30+ Fantasy points based on his early success, which seems unlikely in this game. Against the grain play until his salary has a correction or we see better than expected touches in each game.
James White (DK – $6,900/FD – $7,300): After six games, White is the 8th highest scoring RB in PPR leagues. He’s scored over 14.0 Fantasy points in each game with his best success coming in Week 4 (112 combined yards with two TDs and eight catches) followed up by a nice game in Week 5 (ten catches for 77 yards and one TD). On the year, James only has 66 touches (11 per game) leading to 1.73 Fantasy points per touch. White is on pace for career highs in all areas. This season RBs have 18 catches for 128 yards and one TD on 28 targets against the Bears. Chicago plays well defending RBs overall (2nd), but they’ve faced no offense with a dynamic pass-catching back in 2018. White is priced too high when considering the emergence of Sony Michel and this game being played on the road. His best value will come in chaser game. Fade for me more on salary than matchup.
Mark Ingram (DK – $5,900/FD – $7,400): In his first game in 2018, Ingram gained 73 combined yards with two TDs and two catches on 18 touches while being on the field for 55 percent of the RB snaps for the Saints. His bump in chances may have been helped with Alvin Kamara battling a slight knee issue and New Orleans heading into a bye week. Last year the Saints gave Mark 55 percent of the RB playing time. Kamara is the better back, which was highlighted by his first four games. Going into this week, I’m projecting Ingram to see about 45 percent of the snaps at RB for New Orleans. The Ravens allow 3.9 yards per rush with RBs scoring two rushing TDs. I’ll fade Ingram on the road until I see a better picture of his playing time and opportunity.
Alex Collins (DK – $4,800/FD – $6,400): After six weeks, Collins is the 23rd ranked RB in PPR leagues. Last week he had a season-high in rushes (19) while scoring a pair of TDs. Alex did only gain 2.8 yards per rush, which lowered his season average to 3.6 yards per carry. The Saints allow only 3.1 yards per rush with RBs scoring four rushing TDs. They’ve held their last four opponents to fewer than 100 yards rushing. Collins doesn’t have a run over 20 yards in 2018. Tough to make a case for him this week even with a TD being a likely outcome.
Isaiah Crowell (DK – $4,400/FD – $6,400): After his explosive game (231 combined yards with one TD and one catch), Crowell battle an ankle issue in Week 6 leading to 52 combined yards on 15 touches with two catches. On the year, Isaiah averages 13 touches per game while delivering two other games of value (10/102/2 and 51 combined yards with two TDs and two catches). The Vikings allow 3.9 yards per rush with RBs only scoring one TD. Not the best matchup for upside, but his salary does give a shot at surprising at home.
Bilal Powell (DK – $4,200/FD – $5,600): Powell had his worst game of the season in Week 6 (59 yards on 16 carries) while seeing his snap count fall to 45 percent, which was his lowest total since Week 1 (40 percent). Bilal out-snapped Isaiah Crowell in five straight games, but his catches tend to be hit or miss on Sunday. In three of his last five games, Powell doesn’t have a target or a catch while catching nine combined balls in Week 2 and Week 4, which led to 100 yards and one TD. RBs have 20 catches for 290 yards and two TDs on 31 targets against the Vikings. Too many questions with his scoring or pass catching ability to be trusted in this matchup.
BAD MATCHUP (AVOID)
Sony Michel (DK – $5,500/FD – $7,300): Over the last three games at home with New England playing from the lead in most games, Michel rushed for 316 yards with four TDs on 67 carries. Over this span, Sony has been on the field for about 44 percent of the plays run by New England. The Bears haven’t allowed a rushing TD in 2018 with runners gaining 3.9 yards per rush. Michel doesn’t have a great matchup, but Chicago does have an aggressive defense which may lead to a seem for a long TD run. Sony will have less value if the New England falls behind on the scoreboard. If given a choice, my bet would land James White having the better game.
Carlos Hyde (DK – $4,700/FD – $6,500): It’s time for the Browns’ coaching staff to wake up. Over six games, Hyde gained 3.4 yards per rush with one run over 20 yards on 114 carries. In comparison, Nick Chubb averages 10.8 yards per rush thanks to his long scoring runs in Week 4 (63 and 41 yards). Even if that game was removed from his 2018 resume, Nick averaged 5.2 yards per carry. Hyde has five TDs, which is more a result of volume than his talent. Tampa allows only 3.8 yards per rush, but they did allow four rushing TDs in the first two games. Turtle play with the hare being one phone call away.
Lamar Miller (DK – $4,200/FD – $5,700): After Alfred Blue looked good in Week 5 in the passing game (8/73), Miller regained his starting role last week. Houston had him on the field for two-thirds of their plays, which was down from 76 percent in his first three games of the year. Lamar gained 71 combined yards with two catches in Week 6 on 17 touches. On the year, Miller averages 16.6 touches per game with two TDs. Last year, he had 33 combined yards with two catches in his game in Jacksonville. The Jaguars are 5th in the league vs. RBs, which makes Lamar only a donation in the daily games.
PLAYING TIME / INJURY RISK
Chris Thompson (DK – $5.800/FD – $5,900): Thompson missed last week’s game with rib and ankle issues. He’s listed as day-to-day while not expecting to practice mid-week. Over his first four games, Chris had 300 combined yards with one TD and 26 catches. Need more info, but I can’ t see playing him in the daily games until he turns in a full week of practice.
Dalvin Cook (DK – $5,700/FD – $6,500): Cook may play this week, but the Vikings should limit his snaps. After six games, Dalvin only has 205 combined yards on 45 touches with no TDs and nine catches. Exciting player, but we may not see the best of him until after Minnesota’s bye week (10). Avoid until we see a full game of touches.
Matt Breida (DK – $5,300/FD – $6,200): Breida was able to crawl onto the field last week leading to 14 rushes for 61 yards and one TD. He appeared to get hurt again. Most of the second half playing time went to Raheem Mostert (12/87) with Alfred Morris receiving one token snap. On the year, Breida averages 6.8 yards per rush and 12.3 touches per game. The Rams rank 14th in the NFL vs. the RB position with teams gaining 4.8 yards per rush with three TDs. It’s too early in the week to know his status. Playing well when in the starting lineup while still having a split role for snaps.
Duke Johnson (DK – $4,00/FD – $5,100): Johnson had a season high in yards (109) last week in a chaser game. On the year, Duke only has 33 touches (5.6 per game), which is a dropoff from 9.75 in 2017. RBs have 31 catches for 333 yards and three TDs on 39 targets against the Bucs with the Saints (9/112/1) and the Bears (7/21/1) having the most success. Right kind of matchup, but Baker Mayfield doesn’t remember his zip code.
Raheem Mostert (DK – $3,300/FD – $4,900): Mostert came off the bench last week to rush for 87 yards on 12 carries while Alfred Morris gave his Fantasy supports a nice goose egg. Raheem kicked around the NFL for four seasons with five different franchise just waiting for a chance to showcase his talent. His college resume is short with his best year coming in 2014 at Purdue (645 combined yards with three TDs and 18 catches). He brings speed to the running game with some ball security issues. If Matt Breida can’t go, Mostert should see at least half of the playing time for the 49ers at RB in Week 7. Need more info while a chaser game may not be the best opportunity for him due to pass protection question marks.
Ezekiel Elliott (DK – $8,100/FD – $8,400): After six games, Elliott is the sixth highest scoring RB in PPR leagues (20.20 FPPG). The Cowboys have given him 23.3 touches per game, which led to 752 combined yards, four TDs, and 23 catches. His biggest step down in value from the top tier RBs in 2018 is the scoring ability by the Cowboys. This season Dallas has 11 TDs on 66 possessions compared to 21 TDs in 56 chances for New Orleans and 23 TDs in 62 tries by the Rams. Last season in Washington, Elliott had 154 combined yards with two TDs and one catch. The Redskins are about league average against RBs (672 combined yards with four TDs and 34 catches) with their worst game coming against the Saints (112 combined yards with three TDs and five catches). For the record, Ezekiel averages 86.6 Fantasy points per touch. A neutral matchup with a good recent history vs. Washington.
Christian McCaffrey (DK – $7,700/FD – $8,000): Over the last three games, the Panthers have had McCaffrey on the field for 196 of 197 plays. His playing time should translate into plenty of Fantasy points over the long NFL season. After five games, Christian has 587 combined yards with one TD and 34 catches putting him on pace for 1,878 yards and 109 catches while lacking in the TD department (one pace for four TDs). He’s scoring 0.93 Fantasy points per touches while averaging 21 touches per game. Philly lost their way defending RBs in Week 6 (NYG – 271 combined yards with one TD and 11 catches) after holding their first five opponents to 21 Fantasy points or fewer at the RB position. Overall, RBs only have three TDs vs. the Eagles while facing five teams (ATL, TB, IND, TEN, and MIN) that struggled to run the ball in 2018. McCaffrey should be more active in the passing game this week, and he is showing more explosiveness in the run game. The key to his playable value is scoring TDs, which looks to be tough in this matchup.
T.J. Yeldon (DK – $6,400/FD – $6,800): Yeldon played well last week (5.1 yards per rush and 9.7 yards per catch), but the Jaguars struggled to move the ball leading to only 11 touches. On the year with Leonard Fournette battling injuries, T.J. gained 522 combined yards with four TDs and 25 catches. He’s averaging 15.3 touches per game. Yelton should get the start this week, but he did miss practice on Wednesday with foot and ankle issues. Houston sits 12th in the NFL vs. RBs with New England (191 combined yards with ten catches and one TD) and Indianapolis (93 combined yards with two TDs and nine catches) having the most success at RB. The Texans allow only 3.5 yards per rush with RBs scoring only one rushing TD. Yeldon will need to earn his keep in the passing game to fill his salary bucket plus Jamaal Charles may get in the way more than expected this week. I expect Jacksonville to play much better this week after getting drilled in back-to-back games.
LeSean McCoy (DK – $5,600/FD – $6,200): Over the last two games, McCoy gained 202 combined yards with five catches while averaging 22.5 touches per game. Last Buffalo had him on the field for a season-high 76 percent of their snaps. LeSean hasn’t scored a TD in 2018, but he does get a veteran upgrade at QB this week with Derek Anderson named the starter. The Colts have held rushers to 3.7 yards per carry with RBs scoring four TDs. They did show risk in two games defending RBs in the passing game (WAS – 16/122 and NE – 11/89/1). Look for Anderson to feature McCoy in the passing game this week. If he scores a TD, McCoy should be in position to score 20+ Fantasy points. Dark horse in this area.
Jordan Howard (DK – $5,500/FD – $6,200): The Bears have flipped the RB script in Chicago over the last two games, which led to Mr. Howard landing on milk cartoons across this land. Over five games, Jordan gained only 3.5 yards per rush with one TD while averaging 17.6 touches per game. After being on the field for about 69 percent of the time over the Bears’ first three games, Howard saw his playing time slide to 52.2 percent of the time over the last two weeks. In one of those games, Chicago played from a big lead which should have favored Jordan. The Patriots allow 4.5 yards per rush, but their run defense does tighten up in the red zone. The only rushing TD vs. New England came in Week 1. Howard should find more running room this week, but he needs to score to be in the mix at this level. Howard is a very good player who runs with power. I expect him to be Fantasy relevant in this matchup.
Tarik Cohen (DK – $5,100/FD – $6,600): Cohen has been a Fantasy beast over the last two games (295 combined yards with two TDs and 14 catches), which commands more touches and playing time. His 55.5 Fantasy points in PPR leagues pushed him to 12th RB scoring. Tarik averages 1.41 Fantasy points per touch while receiving 10.6 touches per game. Over his last two contest, the Bears gave him 16 touches per game. RBs have 38 catches for 344 yards and two TDs on 50 targets against the Patriots. Looking great while raising his pass catching floor. Cohen should be in the mix at this level if the Bears have to chase on the scoreboard.
Latavius Murray (DK – $5,000/FD – $6,500): Murray finally has a high-volume opportunity (25 touches) in Week 6, which led to 158 combined yards with one TD and one catch. Over his first five games, Latavius only has 166 combined yards with no TDs and nine catches. Last week Minnesota had him on the field for a season-high 82 percent of their plays. This week Dalvin Cook has a chance to play, but his snaps are expected to be limited. The Jets allowed over 5.0 yards per rush in their last two home games to Denver and Indy. Overall, RBs have 851 combined yards with four TDs and 38 catches against New York with three of their last four opponents scoring over 29 Fantasy points in PPR leagues. Moving in the right direction and the Vikings’ offense should create some in close scoring chances. The key is having the full ride with Dalvin Cook sitting out another game.
Corey Clement (DK – $4,700/FD – $6,000): After missing two games, Clement emerged as the better RB in Philly in Week 6. He gained 69 combined yards with one TD and three catches on 14 touches while being on the field for 37 percent of the plays run by the Eagles. His best opportunity for snaps came in Week 3 (55 percent) leading to 75 combined yards with three catches on a season-high 19 touches. In his best three games, Corey has 229 combined yards with two TDs and 11 catches which works out to 15.3 Fantasy points per game. Coin flip play in this offense, but Clement does have value on all three downs if he can get over 15 touches per game.
Adrian Peterson (DK – $4,600/FD – $6,900): Peterson ran the ball well last week (17/97), but he didn’t have a catch or score a TD. On the year, Adrian only has one run over 20 yards while delivering two playable games (166 combined yards with one TD and two catches and 120/2). Washington had him on the field last week for 53 percent of their plays, which fell in line with his best two starts. Dallas has only allowed 416 yards rushing in five games with RBs scoring three rushing TDs. Peterson will be limited in practice again this week as the Redskins will try their best to keep him upright on Sunday. Washington’s backs do have success at home, which gives Adrian a reasonable shot at producing a playable game. With no Chris Thompson and a couple of catches, his puzzle piece tends to have a better fit in the daily games.
Marlon Mack (DK – $4,400/FD – $5,900): After missing most of the first five games of the season, Mack played well in Week 6 vs. the Jets. He gained 89 yards on 12 carries while catching one of his two targets for four yards. Indy had him on the field for 24 of their 69 plays. Robert Turbin shouldn’t be a factor in this game, which should lead to a two-way split for snaps with Nyheim Hines. The Bills allowed four rushing TDs over the first two games and one rushing TD in the last four games. Buffalo allows 3.8 yards per rush with some risk vs. good QBs in the passing game to RBs. Not quite at full strength in playing time, but a TD and a couple of more catches may be enough to full his salary bucket.
Nyheim Hines (DK – $4,300/FD – $5,800): With Marlon Mack back on the field, Hines had a season-low three rushes for 14 yards with a dropoff to two catches for 21 yards. Indy had him on the field for only 43 percent of their snaps compared to 73, 69, and 67 over the previous three games. Nyheim’s best success came from Week 3 to Week 5 when he caught 21 passes for 133 yards with two TDs while chipping in for 73 yards on early downs. RBs have 36 catches for 286 yards and two TDs on 46 targets vs. the Bills. Game score should favor Mack in the RB split in Indy in Week 7.
Wendell Smallwood (DK – $4,100/FD – $5,800): It’s tough in the Fantasy market when your Fantasy dream is crushed by Smallwood. With Jay Ajayi out for the season and Wendell playing well over the last three games (216 combined yards with two TDs and nine catches), Fantasy owners expected a nice outing vs. the Giants. The Eagles gave him 19 touches, but no TD and one catch for no yards led to a broken Fantasy heart. Philly had him on the field for 62 percent of their plays. Touch and go player with his playing time and success tied to the rise and fall of Corey Clement. Possible every other week player who needs one more injury to clear the path to a nice opportunity.
Frank Gore (DK – $3,800/FD – $5,600): Over the last two games, Gore gained 182 combined yards with one catch on 28 touches. His yards per rush (4.9) so far in 2018 ranks the best of his career. Frank doesn’t have a rushing TD this year, but he did score one via a pass. He averages 11 touches per game while being on the field for about 39 percent of the Dolphins’ plays. Three RBs (Isaiah Crowell – 10/102/2, Matt Breida – 11/138/1, and Ezekiel Elliott – 25/152) have over 100 yards rushing against Detroit in five games, which is enough of a reason to take a flier on Gore in this matchup.