FAVORABLE MATCHUPS (CASH/GPP)
Todd Gurley (DK – $9,800/FD – $11,000): Last week Gurley was on the field for a season-low 59 percent of the Rams snaps, but LA still found a way to get him three TDs with 86 combined yards and four catches. Over the last three games, Todd gained 425 combined yards with eight TDs and ten catches. His success in TDs (14) puts him on pace for 32 TDs on the year. Green Bay is 10th in the NFL defending RBs (780 combined yards with six TDs and 23 catches). The Packers have been very good defending RBs in the passing game (23/177 on 32 targets), but Gurley is the first elite back they’ve faced all year. Stud back with huge scoring ability while offering explosiveness in all areas of the game. More of the same with the TDs being the key to his payoff value.
James Conner (DK – $7,500/FD – $8,000): Conner has back-to-back games with over 100 yards rushing leading to exceptional games in Fantasy points (34.50 and 28.90). James is now the 4th highest scoring RB in PPR leagues while being on pace for 1,893 combined yards with 19 TDs and 69 catches. In Week 1, he had his best game of the season against the Browns (192 combined yards with two TDs and five catches). The Browns are 22nd in the NFL defending RBs (1257 combined yards with nine TDs and 33 catches). Two weeks ago, the Chargers beat Cleveland for 274 combined yards from the RB position with three TDs and three catches. The beacon will be shining brightly for Conner in this matchup, but I sense Pittsburgh find their passing rhythm at home.
Joe Mixon (DK – $7,300/FD – $7,800): This week Mixon has a salary $200 less than James Conner, but he averages about seven fewer Fantasy points (16.54) over his five full games than Conner (23.67). The Bengals give Joe 20 touches per game while underperforming slightly in the passing game (16/100/1 on 24 targets). Tampa struggled in three games vs. RBs in Fantasy points allowed (NO – 43.00, PHI – 32.20, and CHI – 32.90). The Bucs allow 4.0 yards per rush with RBs scoring six TDs. Two teams have beat Tampa in the passing game from the RB position (NO – 9/112/1 and CHI – 7/121/1). A nice matchup in what should be a wide open game. In the mix at this level despite lacking an elite resume in 2018.
Kareem Hunt (DK – $7,100/FD – $8,100): Hunt quickly moved to 6th in RB scoring after two elite games (195 combined yards with one TD and two catches and 141 combined yards with three TDs and five catches). Kareem has a TD in six straight games with more action in the passing game in his last two starts (5/105/1 and 5/55/2). In Week 4, he beat the Broncos for 175 combined yards with one TD and three catches. Denver struggled with RBs in three of their last five games (34.00, 39.00, and 38.90 Fantasy points). On the year, RBs gain 5.0 yards per rush vs., the Broncos with nine TDs. The Jets and the Rams combined for 593 rushing yards in two games with three TDs. Kansas City has one of the top offenses in the game, and Hunt is a rising piece to their pie. His favorable salary and matchup will be tough to ignore on Sunday.
Phillip Lindsay (DK – $5,200/FD – $6,500): With Royce Freeman battling an ankle issue, Lindsay should be in line for a step up in chances in Week 8. Last week he had 15 touches, which led to 96 combined yards with one TD and one catch. Over the first six games, Phillip averaged 12.5 touches per game. I expect between 15 and 18 chances per game over the next couple of weeks while losing targets to Devontae Booker in the passing game. In Week 4, Lindsay had 79 combined yards with one TD and two catches against the Chiefs. Kansas City allows the second-most Fantasy points to RBs with four teams scoring over 33 Fantasy points. Solid floor with upside, but his success relies on better QB in Denver.
MATCHUP RISK / AGAINST THE GRAIN (GPP)
Saquon Barkley (DK – $8.800/FD – $8,900): Barkley continues to be a beast despite playing in an underachieving offense. His floor is extremely high due to his huge value in the passing game (seven catches for 60 yards and 0.29 receiving TDs per game). On the year, Saquon averages 21 touches per game. The Redskins played well defending RBs in the last two games (13.60 and 6.20 Fantasy points). Over the first four games, Washington allowed four rushing TDs to running backs with no back gaining over 65 yards rushing. Even with a great start to the year, Fantasy owners still haven’t seen the best out of Barkley. The Giants finally plays from the lead with Saquon getting a season-high in touches and rushing yards. By stats, this matchup looks unfavorable, but I’ll still give him the go sign this week.
Christian McCaffrey (DK – $7,000/FD – $7,300): McCaffrey continues to get all of the RB snaps for the Panthers, but his lack of TDs (1) doesn’t give him the firepower to match the top scoring RBs in the games. Christian is on pace for 107 catches while averaging 19.7 touches per game. His only game of value came in Week 2 (139 combined yards with 14 catches). The Ravens have the top RB defense in the league with no team scoring over 25 Fantasy points in PPR leagues. No RB has over 40 yards receiving or seven catches against Baltimore. Low percentage own in Week 8 with questionable upside in all areas.
BAD MATCHUP (AVOID)
Alex Collins (DK – $4,600/FD – $6,100): Collins still hasn’t gained over 70 yards rushing in any game in 2018. He scored four TDs on the year while averaging 13.1 touches per game and 3.6 yards per rush. RBs only have one TD rushing against the Panthers with rushers gaining 4.2 yards per rush. Tough to trust in any Fantasy format.
Isaiah Crowell (DK – $3,700/FD – $6,000): After his impact game (231 combined yards with one TD and one catch), Crowell gained only 102 combined yards over his last two starts with three catches. The Jets lost Bilal Powell for the season in last week’s game, but they gave his snaps to Trenton Cannon in Week 7. Isaiah will continue to get the early down and goal-line carries with some value in the passing game. The Bears rank 4th in the NFL vs. the RB position with no RB scoring a rushing TD. Easy avoid in this matchup.
PLAYING TIME / INJURY RISK
Aaron Jones (DK – $4,100/FD – $5,800): Over the last four games, Jones gained 5.9 yards per rush and 10.3 yards per catch with one TD. Despite his ability to make big plays, Aaron remains in the coaches doghouse based his low snap count (27 percent) in the last two games. RBs gain 4.7 yards per rush vs. the Rams with RBs scoring three TDs. Jones has all the tools for success, but he can’t deliver a winning score without more playing time and touches.
David Johnson ($6,700/FD – $7,300): Johnson currently sits 12th in RB scoring in PPR leagues while scoring over 20 Fantasy points in one game, which came against the 49ers (21.10). David will score TDs (six) while being a pace for a huge dropoff in catches (46) compared to his 2016 season (80 catches). He’s gaining only 3.2 yards per rush with only one run over 20 yards. San Fran allows the 7th most Fantasy points to RBs with two teams having elite success (LAC – 215 combined yards with two TDs and nine catches and LAR – 170 combined yards with three TDs and five catches). Projected to post a winning score, which more comes from matchup than the play of the Cardinals’ lineup.
Tarik Cohen (DK – $5,800/FD – $7,100): Over his last three games, Cohen is the fourth highest scoring RBs in PPR leagues (25.60 Fantasy points per game). Over this span, Tarik has 378 combined yards with three TDs and 22 catches while being on the field for 48.6 percent of the plays run by the Bears. RBs have 40 catches for 302 yards and one TD on 50 targets against the Jets. New York hasn’t faced a top passing game that features the RB position, which gives Cohen a chance at follow through. His biggest negative this week could be the Jets’ offense, which will struggle to be competitive in the scoreboard.
Marlon Mack (DK – $5,400/FD – $6,700): Mack played great over his last two games (252 combined yards with two TDs and three catches) while his touches (21) and playing time (56 percent) grew last week. The Colts did still rotate in three RBs in their last game. Marlon is back on the injury report this week with an ankle, which may be minor. The Raiders allow 4.7 yards per rush with RBs scoring seven TDs. Four teams (LAR, DEN, CLE, and SEA) rushed for 140 yards or more against the Raiders plus the Chargers had success from their RBs in the passing games (5/106/1). Solid play in the season-long games, but his lack of full-time snaps does hurt his chance to repeat with another impact game.
Kerryon Johnson (DK – $5,300/FD – $6,900): Johnson played the stud part at RB in Week 7, which led to 179 combined yards with two catches on a season-high 21 touches. Even with his success, Kerryon still lost carries to LeGarrette Blount and some chances in the passing game to Ameer Abdullah. He did have a season-high in snaps (50 percent). Seattle is about league average defending RBs with failure in yards allowed in three games (188, 156, and 176). RBs gains 4.7 yards against the Seahawks with five TDs. Without a full ride in catches and goal-line carries, Johnson will be a tougher start as his salary rises.
Adrian Peterson (DK – $4,900/FD – $7,000): Peterson doesn’t have a TD in his last three games. With Chris Thompson out over the last two games, Adrian averaged 21 touches per game leading to 204 combined yards. Peterson is on pace for 1,552 combined yards with seven TDs and 21 catches. The Giants played better against the run in four of their last five games (19/59, 31/118, 31/108/1, and 20/67/1) with RBs scoring with nine combined TDs. New York wants to crash the run from the outside, which will force Peterson to earn his keep between the tackles. Tough to believe in an impact game this week.
Jordan Howard (DK – $4,800/FD – $6,000): Howard struggle to find running room for the fourth time in five games against the Patriots, but he did score his second TD while having another TD called back due to a penalty. Jordan averages 16.8 touches per game (13.3 over his last three games). The Jets allow 4.2 yards per rush with RBs scoring six rushing TDs. If Chicago regains its defensive form and plays from the lead, Jordan will be rewarded with 20+ touches with a TD or more. Possible play with the Bears’ defense.
Nick Chubb (DK – $4,700/FD – $6,400): In his first game with starting snaps (66 percent), Chubb gained 80 yards with a TD on 18 carries. He gained 4.4 yards per rush, which is well above the low bar set by Carlos Hyde set over his first six games (3.4 yards per rush). Pittsburgh held their last four opponents to fewer than 100 yards rushing with two rushing TDs. Nick needs 100+ yards with one TD to work at this level, but a chaser game points to more Duke Johnson. Only a flier in Week 8.
Doug Martin (DK – $4,400/FD – $6,000): With Marshawn Lynch done for the season, Martin will have one last chance to shine as a starting RB in the NFL. He’ll get most of the early down action for Oakland plus goal-line carries, but it’s tough to get excited about his yards per rush over the last three seasons (2.9, 2.9, and 3.7). The Colts’ defense played better than expected at times in 2018, but they did allow 39 points per game over a three-game stretch vs. HOU, NE, and NYJ. Indy allow 4.0 yards per rush with RBs scoring four rushing TDs. Possible low teen points with a TD, but let’s just say we have trust issues here.
Chris Carson (DK – $4,300/FD – $6,300): Over his last three games, Carson gained 320 combined yards with one TD while averaging 22.7 touches per game. In the Seahawks last game, they rotated in three RBs with Chris seeing 42 percent of the RB snaps. The Lions allow 5.3 yards per rush with three teams rushing for over 170 yards with four rushing TDs. A favorable matchup with a low salary, but a Fantasy owner could get beat by the head coach as far as playing time.
Jalen Richard (DK – $4,200/FD – $5,700): Over the last four games, Richard has 22 catches for 198 yards on 26 targets. The Raiders gave him only six rushes over his last five games leading to eight yards on the ground. Twice this season teams have had success in the passing game from the RB position against the Colts (WAS – 16/122 and NE – 11/89/1). Possible flier, but his role works best in a chaser game while still having question value in TDs.
Raheem Mostert (DK – $3,800/FD – $5,600): With Matt Breida trending toward not playing this week, Mostert looks to be in a position to receive mid-teen touches. Over his last two games, Raheem gained 165 combined yards with four catches. He averages 6.3 yards per rush with a decent floor in catches. The Cardinals allow the most Fantasy points to RBs with four teams scoring over 33.00 Fantasy points. Mostert has big-play ability with a favorable salary, which gives him upside at this price point.
Ronald Jones (DK – $3,700/FD – $5,200): Peyton Barber suffered an ankle injury last week, which may be the window needed for Jones to seize the starting job in Tampa. Over the last three games. Ronald gained 75 combined yards with one TD and five catches on 22 touches. The Bengals struggled to defend RBs in four of the last five games, which led to teams gaining over 5.0 yards per rush with RBs scoring eight TDs over this span. The Bucs RBs haven’t been relevant all year, but this is a favorable matchup. Need more info by Sunday to determine his role and opportunity.