Week 9 RB Report
Matchup Risk/Against the Grain
Tough Matchup with Limited Upside
Ezekiel Elliott (DK – $9,000/FD – $8,900): Over the last two games, Elliott pushed his way to 2nd in RB scoring in PPR leagues after his second straight strong game (154 combined yards with two TDs and a catch). Ezekiel has over 130 combined yards over his last three starts while averaging over 30 touches per game over this span. The Cowboys play four of their next five games at home, but a Fantasy owner will need to wait another day to see if Elliott will be able to play this week. The Chiefs allow 4.9 yards per rush with RBs scoring seven TDs while showing failure risk in three of their last four games (HOU – 23/144, PIT – 37/194/1, and DEN – 31/177/1) Favorable matchup if he’s able to play this week with multi TD upside.
Kareem Hunt (DK – $8,600/FD – $9,000): After his great start to the year (538 combined yards with six TDs and nine catches over his first three starts), Kareem doesn't have a TD in his last five games with tough sledding in the run game in his last three games (3.1 yards per rush). Over his last five games, Hunt has three catches or more in each game with one game of success (5/89). Dallas struggled in three games vs. RBs (DEN – 39/178/1, LAR – 31/168, and GB – 25/160/1) while allowing 4.5 yards per rush with RBs scoring three rushing TDs. RBs have 43 catches for 377 yards and two TDs on 57 targets vs. the Cowboys. Overpriced for his recent play, but he's averaging 21.8 touches per game. Kareem needs to find the end zone to be playable at this level. This is a winnable matchup and it would be fun to see him battle Elliott in this game if Ezekiel is cleared to play.
Leonard Fournette (DK – $8,400/FD – $8,600): After missing Week 7 with ankle injury, Fournette is expected to return to the field on Sunday after having almost three weeks to heal. The injury looked like a high ankle sprain so Leonard may not have the same explosiveness in this matchup. He's coming off two strong games (28/181/2 and 21/130/1) while scoring at least one TD in each game (seven total). Fournette averages 24.2 touches per game. The Bengals haven't allowed a rushing TDs in their last five games (two on the year) with RBs averaging 3.8 yards per rush. RBs have 46 catches for 301 yards and a TD on 46 targets vs. Cinci. Fantasy owners will need to follow Leonard’s health this week to see if he'll be limited in this matchup. He should be able to beat this defense while the Jaguars manhandle the Bengals' offense. His key will be a full complement of touches.
Todd Gurley (DK – $8,100/FD – $9,100): After eight games, Gurley is the top RB in the land. He's averaging 23.57 Fantasy points per game in PPR leagues with 24.6 touches per game. Todd has over 100 yards rushing in four of his last five games. The Rams played SEA, JAC, and ARI over the last three games, which led to only one TD for Gurley and shorter chances in the passing game (2/7, 1/4, and 4/48). The Giants allow 4.2 yards per rush with RBs scoring four TDs. New York struggled with the Eagles' RBs (33/171/2) and against the Chargers (205 combined yards with two TDs and nine catches). Intriguing matchup with a chance to offer impact upside.
Mark Ingram (DK – $7,600/FD – $7,900): Ingram has been a workhorse back for the Saints over the last three games (26.7 touches per game) leading to four TDs with 359 combined yards and 15 catches. Last week he split snaps with Alvin Kamara (31 each) after holding the edge over the two previous games (47 to 30 and 42 to 37). Last season Mark had 93 combined yards with two TDs and two catches in his home against Tampa after failing on the road (23 combined yards with a catch). The Bucs allow 3.9 yards per rush with RBs scoring seven TDs with five of those TDs coming over the last three games. RBs have 42 catches for 324 yards and a TD on 54 targets against Tampa. Playing well with a rising salary and the Saints could be ready to explode offensively in a favor matchup. I don’t view him a trusted 30-point RB especially with Brees sniping his TDs in the passing game.
Devonta Freeman (DK – $6,600/FD – $7,100): Freeman will start out this week with a low ranking due to a shoulder injury. Over his last three games, Devonta only has 13 touches per game with no TDs and six catches. Over his first four games, Freeman had five TDs with almost touches per game. Last season he had 152 combined yards with a TD and ten catches in two games against the Panthers. Carolina is fourth in the league defending RBs (150/560/3) plus 44 catches for 320 yards on 58 targets. Losing momentum with a shoulder issue points to him playing second fiddle at RB for Atlanta this week. Pass.
Christian McCaffrey (DK – $6,500/FD – $6,100): McCaffrey remains losing option on early downs (49/117 – 2.4 yards per rush) for the Panthers while setting a solid floor in catches each week (6.1 per game). Christian averages 8.3 targets per game with about six runs per contest. He has two games of value (NO – 117 combined yards with nine catches and PHI – 64 combined yards with ten catches and a TD). Even with his success, he rarely delivers four times his salary, which is required to win a GPP. RBs have 48 catches for 384 yards and three TDs on 79 targets against the Falcons. Real tough to trust, but the trade of Kelvin Benjamin may lead to more chances.
Alvin Kamara (DK – $6,300/FD – $6,600): After eight weeks, Kamara is the 13th highest scoring RB in PPR leagues (14.14 Fantasy points per game). Over his last three games, Alvin has 38 touches for 270 yards with a TD and 11 catches. Game score led to him being less active in the passing game over this stretch. RBs have 42 catches for 324 yards and a TD on 54 targets against the Bucs. Brees will throw plenty of balls to the RB position especially if New Orleans is forced to chase on the scoreboard. His salary is now in a range where he needs 25+ Fantasy points to payoff. A wide-open game should lead to Kamara being very active in the passing game. His best value comes in a hookup with his QB.
Lamar Miller (DK – $6,200/FD – $7,500): Two weeks ago, I thought Miller was the against the grain play vs. the Browns. He finished with 81 combined yards with three catches on 18 touches. Last week Houston gave Lamar almost the whole show at RB (62 of 71 snaps) leading to 73 combined yards and three catches. Miller scored a pair of TDs vs. Seattle to put him in play at his low salary. He averages 19.6 touches per game, but Lamar gains only 3.6 yards per rush with no runs over 20 yards. Last season he had his best game at home against the Colts (178 combined yards with two TDs and three catches) with success on the road (122 combined yards with a TD and a catch). Indy struggled in four games vs. the run (CLE – 21/111/2, SEA – 33/194/2, TEN – 34/168/2, and JAC – 37/188/2). RBs have 38 catches for 462 yards and ten combined TDs against the Colts. With Houston scoring almost 40 points a game over the last five contests, Lamar will have a chance at being very active in this matchup unless the Texans pull the goalie and give D'Onta Foreman some second half chances. Favorable matchup, but he’ll need over 100-yard rushing with a TD to be in play.
Chris Thompson (DK – $6,100/FD – $6,700): Thompson continues to be the best back in Washington. He's the 8th highest scoring RB in PPR leagues (18.19 Fantasy points) with five games with over 15 Fantasy points. Chris has been extremely consistent in his last three games (17.80, 17.40, and 17.40) while leading the Redskins in RB snaps in each of the last four games. Thompson averages only 11.1 touches per game. He's on pace for 1,538 combined yards with 11 TDs and 71 catches. RBs have 28 catches for 194 yards and a TD on 387 targets vs. the Seahawks with some risk in the run game (180/824/5). Seattle gas strength at CB so Kirk Cousins will need to look for Thompson in this matchup. Not ideal, but his value in the passing game gives him a solid floor.
Doug Martin (DK – $5,800/FD – $6,700): After four games, Martin has 301 combined yards with two TDs and five catches. This works out to about 12.3 Fantasy points per game. The difference from his last two games compared to his first two starts was a TD in each game. The Saints allow 4.9 yards per rush with RBs scoring four rushing TDs. In the last two games, New Orleans struggled to defend the run (55/338/3) while a good part of their failure came vs. QBs (6/97). Possible TDs with game score being the key to his value and opportunity. His lack of value in the passing game does hurt his floor.
Jay Ajayi (DK – $5,700/FD – $6,800): Miami threw Ajayi under the bus after last week's game and then gift wrapped him to the Eagles. This week his playing time will be in question unless Philly provides a clear update of his role in Week 9. I expect him to be the RB2 in this offense this week making him a tough play in all formats. Jay doesn't have a TD in 2017 while gaining only 3.4 yards per rush. Let's put him in the avoid list until Week 11 after the Eagles bye week.
Adrian Peterson (DK – $5,600/FD – $6,800): Peterson turned into fool's gold in Week 7 (11/21 with a catch for 12 yards) after shining in first game with the Cardinals (26/134/2). The loss of Carson Palmer does hurt the overall offense of Arizona, which will allow defenses to cheat against the run. San Fran is last in the league vs. RBs with the last six games scoring over 30 Fantasy points (37.90, 31.20, 31.80, 31.50, 51.90, and 31.2). RBs have six TDs over the last four games. Teams average 33.9 rushes per game against San Francisco with risk vs. the pass to RBs as well (50/550/4 on 70 targets). Adrian should get over 20 touches with a very good chance at a TD. Right kind of matchup, but the drop down at QB is going to be a problem over the long haul.
Darren McFadden (DK – $5,500/FD – $5,600): If Ezekiel Elliott doesn’t play this week, McFadden will be the top choice to play on passing downs. Darren doesn't have a snap in 2017, which is a sign of his low upside this week. On the year, the Cowboys' RBs have 24 catches for 252 yards and two TDs on 33 targets. The Chiefs do play well vs. RBs in the passing game (32/201 on 50 targets). Tough start with a chance to be third RB options off the bench behind Alfred Morris and Rod Smith.
Alfred Morris (DK – $5,500/FD – $5,600): Morris is expected to be the lead runner on the Cowboys this week if Ezekiel Elliott doesn't play. On the year, he has 13 rushes for 105 yards while being on the field for 31 of 480 plays. Over the last two games, Rod Smith has out snapped Alfred (16 to 15). This points to a lower role than expected for Morris. Dallas will run the ball a lot while keeping the RB as a big part of the offense. Too many variables as this point of the week. Possible 20+ Fantasy points or a disaster score.
DeMarco Murray (DK – $5,400/FD – $6,400): DeMarco just won't surrender the starting job in Tennessee despite a season long battle with a hamstring issue and shoulder injury in his last game. In Week 7, he crawled onto the field to lead the Titans in RB touches (21). He gained 76 yards with three catches. His yards per carry have declined in his last four games (8.2, 4.4, 4.1, 3.3, and 3.3). Murray averaged 18.3 touches over his three games with one TD and 11 catches. He's listed as questionable for this week's game while expecting to play. The Ravens have been beat by volume of rushes in four games in 2017 (JAC – 35/166/1, PIT – 42/173/2, CHI – 54/231, and MIN – 33/169/1). DeMarco’s increased value in the passing game does raise his floor. Viable, but he needs to be active in the passing game with a TD to come in.
Carlos Hyde (DK – $5,200/FD – $6,500): For the third time on four games, Hyde struggled to run the ball (8/11, 13/28, and 12/25). Last week he had a season high nine targets, but he caught only four of his chances for 22 yards. Carlos has four catches or more in his last three games to help raise his floor. He averages 17.9 touches per game with two games of value (LAR – 94 combined yards with two TDs and three catches and WAS – 75 combined yards with two TDs and five catches). In Week 4, Hyde had 95 combined yards with five catches on 21 touches vs. Arizona. RBs gain 3.6 yards per rush against the Cardinals with RBs scoring four rushing TDs plus 35 catches for 256 yards and a TD. Strong enough opportunity with three down value to produce a playable score.
Joe Mixon (DK – $5,100/FD – $6,300): Mixon finished with a respectable game in the season long games in Week 8 (109 combined yards and three catches) with most of his yards coming on a 67-yard catch. Joe averaged 16.2 touches over his last five games with a TD and 13 catches. Mixon gains only 3.0 yards per rush. Last week he was on the field for 35 of 56 plays (62.5 percent), which was his best opportunity of the year. The Jaguars allow 5.2 yards per rush with RBs scoring rushing five TDs. Most of their failure came in two games (TEN – 33/179/3 and NYJ – 32/256/2). Jacksonville has talent on defense and Cinci struggles to run the ball while rotating in two other RBs. Matchup to avoid.
Derrick Henry (DK – $5,000/FD – $5,200): After an impact game (145 combined yards with a TD and a catch), Henry fell on his face vs. the Browns (15 touches for 24 yards with two catches). In four of his seven games, Derrick has lost the snap count to DeMarco Murray by a wide margin (Week 1 – 47 to 18, Week 3 – 48 to 30, Week 5 – 49 to 11, and Week 7 – 43 to 30). Overall, Henry averages 11.3 touches per game. Talented player, but he can't offer consistent playable value without the starting job and no competition for touches.
C.J. Anderson (DK – $4,800/FD – $6,500): Anderson doesn't have a TD in his last five games while averaging 17 touches per game. He looked good in Week 1 (88 yards on 21 touches) and Week 2 (154 combined yards with two TDs and three catches) with Denver playing from the lead at home. With Devontae Booker back on the field, C.J. has a third option stealing some of his chances. Last week Anderson was on the field for 35 of 73 plays compared to 25 by Booker and 13 by Jamaal Charles. Philly is 7th in the league defending RBs (129/383/4) with ball carriers gaining 3.8 yards per rush. The last five opponents gained fewer than 60 yards rushing from the RB position. Poor matchup with questionable playing time going forward.
Tevin Coleman (DK – $4,700/FD – $5,700): With Devonta Freeman banged up in the second half with a shoulder injury, Coleman had a season high 15 touches vs. the Jets leading to 104 combined yards with a TD. Tevin only has two TDs in 2017 while gaining 5.4 yards per rush and 11.9 yards per catch. If Freeman is limited in this week, Coleman will be a value at RB. Last season he played extremely well in Carolina (135 combined yards with a TD and three catches). Player to watch headed into Week 9 as Tevin could have three down value plus explosiveness (five runs over 20 yards) and scoring ability.
Alex Collins (DK – $4,600/FD – $5,900): The RB baton has been passed to Collins in Baltimore. Alex had 143 combined yards with two catches vs. the Dolphins with a season high 20 touches. He's gaining 6.0 yards per rush on the year after 80 rushes while still looking for his first rushing TD. The Titans are sixth in the league vs. RBs (3.5 yards per rush with two rushing TDs). Improving player, but this isn't a great matchup in the run game. His rising opportunity still gives him a chance if he scores based on his low salary.
Javorius Allen (DK – $4,200/FD – $5,700): Even with Collins playing well, the Ravens are still committed to get Allen the ball. Last week he had 17 rushes for 55 yards with a catch for two yards. He had two runs inside the five-yard line with one resulting in a fumble. On the year, Javorius gains only 3.6 yards per rush and 4.5 yards per carry so his window should close when Danny Woodhead returns to the field. This should happen over the next couple of weeks. RBs have 38 catches for 393 yards and two TDs vs. Tennessee on 55 targets. Pass catching back who may see more targets in this game if the Ravens have to chase on the scoreboard.
LeGarrette Blount (DK – $4,200/FD – $5,900): Blount will have a week to prove he's still worthy of being the starting back for the Eagles. He has 14 or more carries in his last five games with one TD. Over his last four games, LeGarrette has fewer than 75 yards rushing in each game. Denver hasn't allowed a rushing TD in 2017 with RBs gaining only 3.0 yards per carry. Tough matchup and Blount has risk in touches and playing time.
Matt Breida (DK – $4,200/FD – $5,300): Breida played well in the second half of last week's game leading to his first NFL TD with 56 combined yards with four catches. Matt was on the field for 21 of 66 plays last week. He heads into next week's game with a questionable tag due to knee injury. Not ready to be a Fantasy starter in the daily games.
Marlon Mack (DK – $4,100/FD – $5,700): The Colts gave Mack a season high 14 touches last week leading to 63 combined yards with a TD and three catches. Marlon out snapped Frank Gore for the second straight game (71 to 58). He has 15+ Fantasy points in two of his last four games giving him playable value for his salary. Over the last two games, Mack has 11 targets. This raises his floor in this format. Like his direction and game score should lead to more playing again this week. Viable backend filler.
Frank Gore (DK – $3,900/FD – $5,300): Gore had a season high 101 combined yards with four catches in Week 8. It was the first time he rushed for more than 60 yards in a game in 2017. Frank extended his scoreless streak to five games. Over his last three games with Marlon Mack gaining playing time, Gore averaged under 14 touches per game (15.5 touches on the year). Houston allows 3.8 yards per rush with RBs scoring only one rushing TD. Boring player with low scoring ability.
Orleans Darkwa (DK – $3,800/FD – $5,400): Darkwa played at a high level in Week 6 in Denver (130 combined yards with a catch on 22 touches), but he lacked follow through in his next game (48 combined yards with three catches on 12 touches). In Week 7, he lost the snaps battle to Wayne Gallman 22 to 21. The Rams allow the second most Fantasy points to RBs (1,135 combined yards with ten TDs and 38 catches). One of Giants' RBs should post a score over 15 Fantasy points so Orleans is worth a flier at this level.
Rob Kelley (DK – $3,700/FD – $5,800): Kelley scored his first TD of the year last week, but he only has 49 combined yards with two catches on 17 touches over the last two games. Rob was on the field for only 12 plays in Week 7 due to Washington losing in the second half. Seattle allows 4.6 yards per rush with five rushing TDs allowed. Not playing well and he's listed as questionable for this week's game. More risk than reward.