FAVORABLE MATCHUPS (CASH/GPP)
Todd Gurley (DK – $9,500/FD – $11,200): Gurley has four straight games with over 30 Fantasy points in PPR leagues while leaving a TD on the table last week. Todd has been a rock-solid foundation RB in the season long and daily games every week this year. He’s now on pace for 2,302 combined yards with 30 TDs and 62 catches while averaging 25 touches per game. The Saints rank 6th in the NFL defending RBs with no team scoring over 27 Fantasy points in PPR leagues. New Orleans has been surprisingly good against the run (3.2 yards per rush), but RBs do have six TDs. The best RB that the Saints faced in 2018 is Saquon Barkley who finished with 100 combined yards with a TD and six catches. New Orleans will be tested in all areas on defense, and the Rams will win on many plays leading to a high scoring game. Sometimes it’s more about the TD chances than that matchup. Gurley should score multiple TDs this week with plenty of chances in the passing game.
Christian McCaffrey (DK – $7,800/FD – $7,900): After eight weeks, McCaffrey is the 8th highest scoring RB in PPR leagues, but he never seems to dazzle in all areas in any game. Christian has fewer than 100 combined yards in four straight games despite being on the field for 252 of 254 plays run by the Panthers. Last week he did score two TDs to help him post his third game with over 20 Fantasy points. McCaffrey is on pace for 1,446 combined yards with 88 catches and six TDs. Tampa allowed over 30 Fantasy points to RBs in four of their seven games while showing more failure against the run in three of their last four games (31/139, 23/119/1, and 27/138/2). The Bucs already have two disaster games vs. RBs in the passing game (NO – 9/112/1 and CHI – 7/121/1). The best matchup of the year for him and he should be pair with Cam Newton this week.
Adrian Peterson (DK – $6,000/FD – $7,500): With Chris Thompson hurt over the last three games, Peterson gained 360 combined yards with one TD and two catches. His day last week (26/149/1) was set up a 64-yard TD. Over his last three games, Adrian averaged 26.3 touches. The Falcons allow the second-most Fantasy points to RBs with every team scoring over 25.0 Fantasy points in PPR leagues. Atlanta allowed 4.8 yards per rush with RBs scoring seven rushing TDs. The stats suggest Peterson is a strong play this week with much more upside if the Redskins use him more in the passing game where the Falcons have more downside (62/476/2 on 76 targets). Volume back with scoring upside as well.
Latavius Murray (DK – $5,100/FD – $6,700): Murray has been a very good player over his last three games (336 combined yards with four TDs and eight catches) while averaging 20 touches per game. The Lions ranks 27th against RBs with every team scoring over 20 Fantasy points from the RB position. Detroit allows 5.1 yards per rush with RBs scoring seven TDs. Four teams have over 165 yards rushing against the Lions with some success in the passing game (34/305/2 on 50 targets). Still priced to pay off while having a favorable matchup.
Nick Chubb (DK – $4,500/FD – $6,600): In his first two games with starting snaps, Chubb gained 155 combined yards with one TD and two catches while averaging 19 touches per game. Cleveland had him on the field for 57.6 percent of their plays. KC allows the most Fantasy points to RBs with five teams scoring over 34 Fantasy points. The Chiefs allow 5.4 yards per rush with RBs scoring ten rushing TDs. A very interesting matchup with upside, but the Browns can’t fall behind early in the game.
MATCHUP RISK / AGAINST THE GRAIN (GPP)
James Conner (DK – $7,200/FD – $8,000): Conner has been special in his last three games (526 combined yards with six TDs and 13 catches). He’s on pace 2,107 combined yards with 23 TDs and 71 catches. For those Fantasy owners holding out hope for Le’Veon Bell to come back and be productive, the ship has left the building. James earned the right to keep the job all year, and he will as long as he’s healthy. The Ravens shut him down in Week 4 (44 combined yards with three catches) at home. Baltimore has the number one RB defense in the league with no team scoring over 25.0 Fantasy points from the RB position. Baltimore allows 3.9 yards per rush with RBs scoring five TDs. The Ravens continue to be one of the better teams in the league defending RBs in the passing game (29/144/1 on 48 targets). As great as he’s played, Conner is fade for me in this matchup in the daily games.
Phillip Lindsay (DK – $5,500/FD – $6,700): Lindsay played well again last week, which led to 112 combined yards with one TD and three catches while receiving a season-high 21 touches. Phillip is on pace for 1,374 combined yards with eight TDs and 36 catches. Last week the Broncos had him on the field for 56 percent of their plays while Devontae Booker remains in the mix for touches. Denver won’t play next week, which points to Royce Freeman missing another game. Houston is just above the league average defending RBs with strength defending the run (3.6 yards per rush with RBs scoring only two rushing TDs). The Texans can struggle with RBs in the passing game (46/314/5 on 62 targets), but Lindsay will only split time on third downs. More steady than explosive in this matchup.
Lamar Miller (DK – $5,200/FD – $6,500): After missing Week 5, Miller looked sharp in his last two starts (22/100/1 and 18/133/1) while being on the field for 70 and 56 percent of the plays over this span. Lamar averages 18.7 touches per game with short TDs (3) and catches (18). Denver allows 4.8 yards per rush with RBs scoring nine TDs. The Broncos will rush the QB (24 sacks), but they can be beaten on the ground (NYJ – 38/323/1 and LAR – 39/270/2). More of a trap on the road even with a respectable matchup.
LeSean McCoy (DK – $4,900/FD – $6,200): Over his last three full games, McCoy gained 297 yards with 16 catches while receiving 21 touches per game. LeSean doesn’t have a TD in 2018. He averages only 3.4 yards per rush with only one run over 20 yards. Buffalo will be starting a weaker QB, which points minimal upside in yards and TDs. The Bears rank 3rd in the NFL vs. RBs with no rushing TDs allowed. The touches are there for McCoy, but the lack of TD production leaves Fantasy owners with an empty feeling.
Jordan Howard (DK – $4,700/FD – $6,200): Howard had the right kind of touches (22) last week, but he struggled to make any big plays. He finished with 81 combined yards while scoring his third TD of the year leaving him 19 yards short of his salary bucket. Jordan averages 18.1 touches per game and only 3.5 yards per carry. Buffalo allows 4.1 yards per rush with RBs scoring seven rushing TDs. Poor resume and his matchup doesn’t look ideal.
BAD MATCHUP (AVOID)
Tevin Coleman (DK – $4,800/FD – $6,600): Coleman is a tough ride in the daily games. Tevin averages only 14.3 touches per game despite the loss of Devonta Freeman. He’s on pace for 1,022 combined yards with nine TDs and 34 TDs. The Falcons continue to give Ito Smith 40 percent of the RB snaps, which is a shame considering that he’s averaging only 3.0 yards per rush. Washington moved to 8th in the NFL defending RBs with no team scoring over 27 Fantasy points. The Redskins allow 3.8 yards per rush with RBs scoring five TDs. A boring player in the daily games until he gets more playing time.
Alex Collins (DK – $4,600/FD – $6,200): Collins continues to fall short of his pre-draft projections. He’s on pace for 918 combined yards with 12 TDs and 28 catches while averaging 14 touches per game. With Ty Montgomery added to the roster, Alex could be at risk for some touches plus he has a slight foot issue. In Week 4, he gained 45 combined yards with a TD and one catch vs. the Steelers. Pittsburgh hasn’t allowed over more than 20 Fantasy points to any team at RB in 2018. Easy fade.
PLAYING TIME / INJURY RISK
Peyton Barber (DK – $3,600/FD – $5,800): Barber had a pulse in two of his last three games (106 combined yards with one TD and four catches and 85 yards and one TD). Even with Ronald Jones injured last week, Tampa only had Barber on the field for 49 percent of the RBs plays. Carolina ranks 9th in the NFL against RBs with no team scoring over 30 Fantasy points from the RB position. The Panthers allow 4.4 yards per rush with RB scoring two rushing TDs. A chaser game will lead to some time on the bench plus Peyton has a slight ankle issue.
Melvin Gordon ($8,200/FD – $8,600): After missing his last game and having a bye week to get healthier, Gordon still turned in a limited practice on Wednesday with a hamstring issue. I expect him to play this week, but a Fantasy owner needs to pay close attention to this situation. Over the last five games, Melvin has nine TDs while gaining over 100 yards in his last three starts (159, 120, and 150). He averages 20.1 touches per game, which is a 20 percent lower opportunity than Todd Gurley. Seattle improved to 12th in RB Fantasy defense, but they did allow 116 combined yards with eight catches to the Lions’ RBs in Week 8. The Rams beat the Seahawks’ defense for 176 combined yards and three TDs and four catches in Seattle’s last home game. The Seahawks allowed only one other rushing TD on the year while showing some fade in their last two games defending RBs in the passing game (11/70 and 8/98). Need more info, but Gordon is playing the best ball of his career, and the Chargers will get him the ball.
Kareem Hunt (DK – $7,700/FD – $8,500): There’s been a lot to like about Hunt over his last five games (691 combined yards with seven TDs and 19 catches). Kareem is on pace for 1,708 combined yards with 20 TDs and 40 catches while averaging 19.25 touches per game. The Browns struggled in two of their last three games against RBs (43.20 and 42.20 Fantasy points) pushing them to 26th in RB scoring. Cleveland allows 4.6 yards per rush with RBs scoring 11 TDs with eight of those TDs coming over of the last three games. Kansas City is the top scoring team in the NFL (36.25 points per game) while scoring 36 TDs on 85 possessions. Live option this week with multi TD upside.
Alvin Kamara (DK – $7,300/FD – $8,000): After a short game in Week 5 (39 combined yards with three catches) with Mark Ingram back on the field, Kamara has 39 touches over the last two games leading to 151 combined yards with nine catches and nine catches. On the year, Alvin averages 4.4 yards per rush and 8.4 yards per catch, which is well below 2017 (6.1 and 10.2). He’s on pace for 1,602 combined yards with 18 TDs and 94 catches. The Rams sit 13th in the NFL defending RBs with only one team scoring over 30 Fantasy points from the RB position. LA allows 4.8 yards per rush with RBs scoring five rushing TDs plus 49 catches. Kamara has a fading salary while being a split role, but he can catch a ton of balls with scoring ability. Don’t dismiss due to an expected high scoring game.
Tarik Cohen (DK – $6,200/FD – $7,200): Fantasy owners did catch a break last week when Cohen hit on a 70-yard TD. The Bears had him on the field for a season-high 58 percent of the Bears’ snaps, but Tarik finished with only five other touches for 40 yards. Over the last four games, Cohen has 488 combined yards with four TDs and 23 catches while averaging 13 touches per game. RBs have 51 catches for 408 yards and three TDs on 67 targets against the Bills. Like his direction, but his higher salary makes him a tough start in the daily games.
Kerry Johnson (DK – $5,600/FD – $6,400): The upside drive of Johnson continued last week, but he did most of his damage in the passing game (6/69). Over the last two games, Kerryon has 270 combined yards with eight catches while averaging 17.5 touches. Johnson averages 6.1 yards per rush. The Vikings are 10th in the league against RBs with their biggest failure coming to the Saints’ RBs (38.80 Fantasy points) last week. The Vikings allow 3.7 yards per rush with RBs scoring five TDs. Minnesota does have risk vs. RBs in the passing game (36/445/3 on 51 targets). On the rise while still having questions with his value at the goal line.
Kenyan Drake (DK – $5,300/FD – $6,900): After two short games in Week 3 (ten yards and two catches) and Week 4 (16 yards and one catch), Drake rebounded for a nice run over his last two games (182 combined yards with three TDs and six catches). Kenyan is now the 15th ranked RB in PPR leagues while being on pace for 1,074 combined yards with ten TDs and 54 catches. In Week 2, he had 70 yards with one TD and four catches vs. the Jets. New York is 18th in the NFL vs. the RB position with three teams scoring over 30 Fantasy points. RBs gains 4.4 yards per rush against the Jets with RBs scoring nine TDs with some risk defending RBs in the passing game (41/372/2 on 54 targets). Intriguing player, but he averages only 13.9 touches per game.
Mark Ingram (DK – $5,000/FD – $7,400): Over three games, Ingram gained 207 yards with two TDs and seven catches while being receiving 16 touches per game. Mark’s gaining only 3.6 yards per rush while being on the field for 50 percent of the plays run by the Saints. Ingram has value on all three downs, but the key to his upside is scoring TDs. More of a piece to NO/LA game stack than a targeted option in the daily games.
Chris Carson (DK – $4,700/FD – $6,500): Carson played well in his last four games (434 combined yards with two TDs and five catches) while receiving almost 24 touches per game. Even with productive playing time, Chris was only on the field for 60 percent of the RB snaps for Seattle. The Chargers are league average defending RBs. They allow 4.3 yards per rush with RBs scoring three rushing TDs. Power runner who needs volume of touches to reach a winnable number. Not my kind of dance in Week 9.
Austin Ekeler (DK – $4,300/FD – $6,300): In his first chance to start in the NFL, Ekeler fell well short of expectations in Week 7 (68 combined yards with five catches on 17 touches) leading to a ton of lost money in the daily games. Over seven games, Austin has 538 combined yards with three TDs and 19 catches. Change of pace back who averages about ten touches per game. Only a gamble, but his pass-catching helps his floor at this level.
Isaiah Crowell (DK – $4,200/FD – $5,700): After rushing for 219 yards and a TD in Week 5, Crowell struggled in his last three games (52 combined yards with two catches, 40 combined yards and one catch, and 38 combined yards and one catch) while averaging about 14 touches over this span. Isaiah hasn’t had over 50 percent of the RB snaps for the Jets in any game in 2018. In Week 2, Crowell had 39 combined yards with two catches vs. Miami. The Dolphins fell to 29th defending RBs with four teams scoring over 30 Fantasy points. They allow 4.6 yards per rush with RB scoring six rushing TDs. Possible TD with a bump in yards, but he has minimal value on passing downs.