DraftKings Week 4 RB Report
Matchup Risk/Against the Grain
Tough Matchup with Limited Upside
Playing Time Concern
Le’Veon Bell (DK – $8,700/FD – $8,600): 2017 hasn't been the year of the stud back after three games. Last week Le'Veon offered a steady game (98 combined yards with a TD and six catches). He has 52 touches in the last two games, which is within range of his 2016 success. In his game on the road vs. Baltimore last year, Bell had 20 touches for 70 yards and six catches. He played better at home (137 combined yards with two TDs and three catches) to post a playable number. The Ravens contained the RB position over the first two weeks (248 combined yards with eight catches) thanks to them playing from the lead and controlling the clock (34:00 and 33:24). Jacksonville exposed their defense with success in the run game (233 combined yards with a TD and seven catches). A fake punt in the second half led to a 65-yard run that skewed some of the rushing stats. Bell will get plenty of chances, but he needs multiple TDs to be in play. His path and the play of the Steelers' offense will make Le'Veon more of an against the grain play this week due to his top-shelf salary.
LeSean McCoy (DK – $8,400/FD – $8,300): The Bills struggled to run the ball in the last two games leading to McCoy having two losing games (43 combined yards with six catches and 69 combined yards with seven catches) in the daily space while facing Carolina and Denver. After rushing for 110 yards on 22 carries in Week 1, McCoy only has 30 yards on his last 26 carries. His value in the passing game is rising (18/131 on 20 targets). The Falcons do have risk vs. passing catching backs (26/220/2 on 38 targets). The Bears beat Atlanta on the ground in Week 1 (19/125/1) thanks to a big run by Tarik Cohen. The Packers and Lions gained about 3.8 yards per rush over the last two games with short rushing attempts by RBs (13 and 17). With the Bills expected to be chasing on the scoreboard, LeSean will be active in this game. He tends to play better at home where he scores most of his TDs. I expect him to beat his projections this week, but he may fall one TD short of an impact score. In the mix for me at the top end.
Ezekiel Elliott (DK – $8,200/FD – $8,500): After three games, the Cowboys' rushing attack isn't where it needs to be. Elliott delivered two steady games (130 combined yards with five catches and 94 combined yards with a TD and three catches) while coming up with his worst game of his career in Denver (22 combined yards on four catches). In his top two games, Ezekiel touched the ball 54 times. This should be expected going forward based on the snap counts. Elliott has been on the field for 86.4 percent of the Cowboys plays. The Rams dominated the Colts' backs in Week 1 (100 combined yards with three catches), but they have been exposed defensively vs. RBs in the last two games (319 combined yards with five TDs and 11 catches). This is a nice matchup for Elliott, and I expect over 100 yards rushing with multiple TDs. He's the highest projected RB this week at Scout (178 combined yards with 1.5 TDs and four catches). All aboard…
Todd Gurley (DK – $7,800/FD – $8,000): The Rams' mystique offensively has kept many Fantasy owners off the great ride of Gurley. Todd improved in each game this season (20.60, 27.60, and 37.90 Fantasy points in PPR leagues) highlighted by the best game of his career in Week 3 (149 combined yards with three TDs and five catches). Gurley has six TDs over the first three weeks with only steady value in rushing yards (241). His floor is raised by his improved opportunity in the passing game (13/140/2) while averaging just over 25 touches per game. The Cowboys played two teams with poor rushing offenses (NYG – 12/35 and ARI – 21/49). The Broncos manhandled Dallas in Week 2 from the RB position (206 combined yards with a TD and four catches). Both the Giants and the Cardinals RBs had 18 combined catches for 122 yards on 24 targets against the Cowboys. Rising salary in an improving offense with elite touches forces him to score close to 30 Fantasy points to be in play. Is he this year's version of David Johnson? I expect a step back in production leading to him being a lower percentage own and against the grain in Week 4.
Devonta Freeman (DK – $7,300/FD – $8,500): Just like Gurley, Freeman has improved in each game. He had 100 combined yards with two TDs and two catches in Week 2 and 138 combined yards with a TD and three catches in Week 3. In comparison to the top RBs listed above him in the daily games, Devonta only has 59 touches in 2017 (19.6 per game) with less than expected value in the passing game (7/50). He's caught all seven of his targets while being on the field for 62.2 percent of the Falcons' plays this season. The Bills' defense looks good on paper (3.4 yards per rush and 6.1 yards per pass attempt) while allowing only two TDs. RBs only have 187 rushing yards vs. the Bills with two TDs and 15 catches for 79 yards while facing three weak offenses (NYJ, CAR, and DEN – yes, Denver has a below average offense). Freeman is a great player who is capable of great games, but his opportunity can't match the top RBs in the game. I don't fear his matchup, but I don't see 30 touches with two TDs either. Solid floor with underlying explosiveness while playing in the top offense in the league plus Devonta tends to be at his best at home especially in TDs.
Melvin Gordon (DK – $7,000/FD – $7,500): Gordon is going to have trust issues going forward due to a knee injury that knocked him out of last week's game. Melvin has a TD in each game while being on pace for over 20 touches per game (39 over the first two weeks – 17 in Week 3 with only 45.2 percent of the RB playing time). The Chargers' offensive line continues to be an area of weakness (3.4 yards per rush). The Eagles allowed only 174 yards rushing over the first three games with two TDs with most of the damage coming from the Chiefs and Kareem Hunt (19/112/2). RBs have 12 catches for 117 yards and a TD on 14 targets vs. Philly. The Chargers expect Gordon to play this week while calling his knee injury a knee bruise. He's a top back with value on all three downs, but I can't trust his health heading into Week 4.
Christian McCaffrey (DK – $6,800/FD – $6,400): The Panthers ended up being in a chaser game last week leading to Christian's best opportunity of the year in the passing game (9/101 on 11 targets). Even with his success, he only had 13 touches in the game with minimal carries (4). After three games, McCaffrey has 43 touches (14.3 per game) with struggles in the run game (25/73). I know he has talent, but he looks overpriced for his chances plus his scoring upside isn't going to be as high as expected with Carolina losing a couple of receiving options. New England will give up catches to the RB position (17/253/2 on 23 targets) plus they’ll give Cam Newton the short underneath catches all game long. Another chaser game points to McCaffrey behind active again in the passing game. He can't be in the mix without scoring a TD. Tough start based on price while his matchup does look favorable. The positive taken from last week is that Newton figured out to get him the ball. If Kelvin Benjamin doesn’t play, Christian will be the top option in the passing game.
Leonard Fournette (DK – $6,700/FD – $7,700): Fantasy owners don't have any complaints with Fournette after three games. He has a TD in each game while being part of the passing game (8/66), which helps raise his floor. Leonard has 65 touches in 2017 (21.7 per game), but he's gained only 3.5 yards per rush while playing three teams with success defending the run (HOU, TEN, and BAL). The Jets were one of the worst teams in the league vs. RBs after two games (438 combined yards with four TDs and 13 catches). They somehow manned up last week and dominated the Dolphins on the ground (15/30) while allowing minimal damage in the passing game (4/17 on six targets. This should be a favorable matchup with Fournette getting plenty of chances to make plays. He may score multiple TDs while hitting on a long run. In play for me.
Carlos Hyde (DK – $6,600/FD – $6,800): Hyde has done a nice job after three games. He's averaging over 20 touches per game with 314 combined yards with two TDs and 12 catches. Carlos had his best game of the season in Week 3 (94 combined yards with two TDs and three catches) in a wild high scoring game against the Rams. Last season he struggled in Arizona (13/14) after playing well against them at home (114 combined yards with a TD and six catches). The Cardinals allowed three rushing TDs in 2017 with one going to the QB position. Rushers gained only 3.1 yards per rush with minimal value in the passing game (14/71/1 on 19 targets). I'll take the under on his projections this week, so I'll put Hyde in the avoid column in the daily games plus he has an issue with his hip that forced him out of last week’s game.
Dalvin Cook (DK – $6,700/FD – $7,500): The better than expected QB play in Minnesota helped all offensive options in Week 3. Cook finished with his best game of the season (169 combined yards with a TD and five catches). After three games, Dalvin has 71 touches (23.7 per game) with a TD and ten catches. The Lions played well vs. the run in Week 1 (18/45/1) and Week 2 (18/62), but they did show downside risk vs. the Falcons (28/151/1). RBs have 21 catches for 221 yards on 27 targets against Detroit. Cook played so well at home last week that I would double down on him this week in the daily games. He's a three-down back with big-play and scoring ability. It wouldn't surprise me to see Dalvin hit on a 50-yard run in this game.
DeMarco Murray (DK – $6,000/FD – $6,500): DeMarco looked like road kill headed in Week 3 due to his hamstring injury. He somehow climbed off the mat to steal the starting snaps (48) away from Derrick Henry (30). I went into last week with no fear of the Seahawks' rushing defense, and that came true with the Titans drilling Seattle for 195 yards and a TD on 35 carries. This number was helped greatly by the 70-yard TD run by Murray. Even with his success (14/115/1 plus one catch for five yards), DeMarco would have been worthless without his one play while winning the touch battle over Henry 15 to 14. Last season Murray had an excellent game in Houston (114 combined yards with two TDs and two catches) while coming up short in Week 17 at home (19 combined yards on 12 touches with a catch). Not where he needs to be in touches or playing time even with a decent game last week. DeMarco is going to be a tough start with Derrick active.
Joe Mixon (DK – $5,700/FD – $5,600): After three games, Mixon gained only 3.1 yards per rush. The change in offensive coordinator in Cinci led to Joe having starting snaps (34) while Jeremy Hill (14) and Gio Bernard (13) remain in the mix. Last week Mixon had 21 touches leading to 101 combined yards with three catches. He needs better rush blocking by the offensive line. The Browns played well in Week 1 defending Le'Veon Bell (17/35), but they did show risk vs. the RB position in Week 2 vs. the Ravens (195 combined yards with two TDs and seven catches). Indy scored three rushing TDs last week, but two came from the QB position. In the end against the Colts, Cleveland did play well vs. the RB position (78 yards rushing on 31 carries with a TD plus two catches for two yards). In 2016, the Bengals dominated the Browns on the ground (484 yards with three TDs plus eight catches for 78 yards). Tough mixing one year to the next based on roster changes, but this could be a special matchup for Mixon. Don't fall asleep at the wheel here as Joe looks in line for a breakout game.
C.J. Anderson (DK – $5,600/FD – $6,900): Anderson got Fantasy owners all wet and wild after his big game in Week 2 (154 combined yards with a TD and three catches), but he drifted into the sunset at Niagara Falls last week (43 combined yards on two catches). He lost a goal-line TD to Jamaal Charles who played better (9/56/1 with one catch for a yard). C.J. was on the field for 49 of 70 plays compared to 21 by Charles. Anderson missed both games vs. Oakland in 2016. The Raiders struggled with Chris Thompson in the passing game in Week 1 (6/150/1) after holding the Jets and Titans RBs to six catches for 61 yards over the first two weeks of the season. RBs have 278 rushing yards, and a TD on 72 carries vs. Oakland in 2017. Anderson felt so good in Week 2, but a Fantasy owner should be gun shy with his opportunity over the short-term Jamaal showing a bounce in his step.
Mike Gillislee (DK – $5,400/FD – $6,000): The Patriots ended up chasing on the scoreboard in Week 3 leading Gillislee seeing the field for only 21 of 65 plays. Houston held him to 2.6 yards per rush (12/31), which lowered his season total to 3.2 yards per carry. Mike has four TDs in 2017, so he'll offer scoring ability at the goal-line, but he needs game score to work in his favor to get a bump in touches. Gillislee averages 15 rushes per game in this offense so far. RBs have 219 yards rushing vs. the Panthers with one rushing TDs. Overpriced for his opportunity while his success is dependent on his scoring ability. Carolina will game plan to stop Brady so he may steal a couple of short TD runs.
Derrick Henry (DK – $5,300/FD – $6,500): I pushed Henry on the message boards last week at Scout as it appeared DeMarco Murray wasn't going to be a factor in the game. Unfortunately, Henry owners and I were beat by the head coach. The difference between both options at RB was one carry, and Murray hit on the one long run. After three games, Derrick has 34 touches for 181 yards and a TD. Last year at home vs. the Texans, Henry had 68 combined yards with a TD and a catch. Unplayable as a backup dancer especially with his salary. He needs an injury to Demarco to be viable in the daily games.
Tevin Coleman (DK – $5,000/FD – $5,400): After three games, Tevin has 29 touches for 192 yards with a TD and nine catches. His game looks flashy based on his yards per catch (9.8) and yards per carry (5.2), but Coleman can't be a play in the daily games without a TD or hitting on a big play. His salary warrants more touches, which won't be the case with Freeman as the lead dog at RB. Only a flier with low floor if he struggles.
James White (DK – $5,000/FD – $5,500): Even with New England needing to throw last week, White was held in check by the Texans' defense. The Patriots had James on the field for 32 of 65 plays, which was the top number for RB snaps in NE. After three games, White has been on the field for 47.3 percent of the plays run by the Patriots compared to 38.1 percent in 2016. Last week he had 28 combined yards with a catch on six touches. On the year, James doesn't have a TD with 31 touches. RBs have 22 catches for 124 yards on 29 targets against the Panthers. It may be his week to shine in the Patriots' offense.
Marshawn Lynch (DK – $5,000/FD – $6,500): The confidence level in Lynch is fading, but last week it wasn't his fault. He gained only 26 yards on seven touches with a catch, but the Raiders barely had the ball with Washington controlling the clock (38:06 minutes). After three games, Marshawn has 167 combined yards with a TD and three catches. In 2016, Oakland ran all over the Broncos in Denver (43/218/3) while struggling in Week 17 at home (16/57). The Broncos played great over the first three weeks vs. the run (69/179). Tough to believe in his carries and this looks like a low-upside matchup. I'd still ride Lynch in the season-long games as the Raiders' offensive line will have a gut check this week.
Isaiah Crowell (DK – $4,800/FD – $6,400): Crowell has been a failed draft pick over the first three games (157 combined yards with four catches) while averaging 14.3 touches per game. He’s losing snaps to Duke Johnson while gaining only 2.9 yards per rush. Last year he had 196 combined yards with a TD and four catches in two games against the Bengals. RBs have 299 yards rushing with a TD in three games against Cinci. Not playing well and he's listed as questionable for this week's game. Possible progression game, but Crowell doesn't look ready to be an option in the daily games.
Javorius Allen (DK – $4,700/FD – $5,500): Allen didn't turn into a plug in and play in Week 3 after playing great the previous week (101 combined yards with a TD and five catches). Last week he gained only 28 yards 13 touches with five catches while being on the field for 34 of 57 plays run by the Ravens. Javorius led Baltimore in RB snaps in back-to-back games. He should have the bulk of the action in the passing game while only being a coin flip to score a rushing TD. RBs have 491 combined yards with three TDs and 23 catches over three games vs. the Steelers. His Week 3 stats will keep most away, but he should be the best RB option against Pittsburgh.
Bilal Powell (DK – $4,600/FD – $6,100): With Matt Forte expected to miss this week's game, Powell will regain the lead role at RB in New York. Last week Bilal had 15 rushes for 37 yards and a TD while being on the field for 28 of 63 plays compared to 23 by Forte and 12 by Elijah McGuire. His resume in 2017 (2.6 yards per rush and 3.4 yards per catch) is well below his success in 2016 (5.5 yards per rush and 6.7 yards per catch). RBs have 431 combined yards with three TDs and 12 catches in three games vs. the Jaguars. Squirrelly looking resume in 2017, but he has the talent and possibly the opportunity to pay off at this price point.
Duke Johnson (DK – $4,500/FD – $5,900): Johnson played well in Week 3 (104 combined yards with a TD and six catches), which was his best game of his career. Over three games, Duke has 17 touches for 204 yards with a TD and 11 catches. He's been on the field for 127 of 214 plays (59.3 percent), which is a bump in opportunity over 2016 (45.5 percent). In his two games vs. the Bengals last year, Johnson had 78 combined yards with five catches. Cinci gave up 17 catches for 90 yards on 25 targets to RBs over the first three games of the season. Improving opportunity with high upside in passing catch if the game breaks in his direction.
Lamar Miller (DK – $4,500/FD – $6,000): Miller has 55 touches over the first three games leading to 246 combined yards with six catches. He's gaining only 3.7 yards per rush. Lamar has been on the field for 163 of 216 plays run by Houston (75.4 percent), which a solid opportunity for success. Last season he had 108 combined yards with three catches against the Titans. Tennessee played well vs. RBs in 2016 (3rd in PPR leagues) while regressing so far in 2017 (386 combined yards with two TDs and 14 catches). Priced low for his playing time, but he may not be the goal line back plus Foreman is stealing some of his chances in the passing game. The Texans' offense is improving so Miller may end up being a value play if he scores.
Theo Riddick (DK – $4,500/FD – $5,400): Riddick didn't have a rush in Week 3 while catching only four of his nine targets for 38 yards. Over the first three games, he only has 23 touches for 101 yards and a TD. In 2016, Theo had 134 combined yards with six catches in two games vs. the Vikings. This season RBs have 14 catches for 87 yards on 17 targets against Minnesota. Can’t trust his chances even with the Lions possibly chasing on the scoreboard.
Jacquizz Rodgers (DK – $4,400/FD – $5,300): Last week Rodgers had no room to run vs. the Vikings (5/15). A couple of mistake by Jameis Winston led to a chaser game and less playing time for Jacquizz in the second half. Tampa gave him 19 rushes for 67 yards and a TD in Week 1. RBs have a high level of success early in the year vs. the Giants (391 rushing yards with two TDs), but they've limited the damage in the passing game (9/62 on ten targets). Much of this is due to opponents leading for most of the first three games. Possible value option, but he'll lose snap on passing downs to Charles Sims.
Giovani Bernard (DK – $4,300/FD – $5,400): Bernard had a season-low 13 snaps last week leading to only five touches for 39 combined yards with two catches. Gio gained 5.1 yards per rush and 13.4 yards per catch in 2017, but he only has 20 touches in three games. Bernard is listed as questionable for this week’s game with a thigh issue. It's clear Cinci wants to give Mixon a ride, so Giovani is a tough start in any format this week.
Jonathan Stewart (DK – $4,300/FD – $5,800): Stewart had his best success running the ball last week (4.8 yards per rush), but game score led to Christian McCaffrey being active in the passing game over the second half of the game. Jonathan has been on the field for 80 of 185 plays (43.2 percent). He had 46 touches over the first three games with 183 combined yards with a TD and three catches. RBs have 63 rushes for 347 yards and two TDs vs. the Patriots with huge failure vs. the Chiefs in Week 1 (27/185/2). Limited snaps with no clear path to TDs with Cam in the starting lineup. A chaser game doesn't favor his skill set.
Ameer Abdullah (DK – $4,200/FD – $6,300): Abdullah had his third straight short game (86 combined yards with three catches). He's averaged 17.3 touches per game with minimal success rushing the ball (3.5 yards per rush) while playing second fiddle in the passing game (6/50 on seven targets). Ameer has been on the field for 93 of 203 plays (45.8). The Vikings played well vs. the run over the first three games (3.0 yards per rush) with no TDs. Poor matchup with minimal upside in TDs and catches. Fading salary, but I'll wait to invest in him until he returns home.
Chris Johnson (DK – $4,200/FD – $5,900): Over two games back on the Cardinals, Chris has 23 rushes for 61 yards with one catch for four yards. He's been on the field for 48 of 147 plays. RBs have 337 yards rushing on 88 carries with two TDs vs. the 49ers. Their overall rushing stats look worse due to 35.7 rushes per game. Possible TD with a bump in rushes with better offensive play by Arizona while being a low player of interest in the daily games.
Jamaal Charles (DK – $4,200/FD – $5,800): Over three games, Charles has 30 touches for 149 yards with two catches and a TD. He's gained 5.1 yards per rush while being on the field for 62 of 216 plays run by the Broncos (28.7 percent). Weak opportunity, but he could steal the show in a chaser game if Denver were forced to throw. Jamaal has a very good resume vs. the Raiders in his career (992 yards with 11 TDs and 39 catches in 12 games).
Terrance West (DK – $4,100/FD – $5,900): After playing well in Week 1 (19/80/1), West only has 16 touches over the last two games with 71 yards and a TD. Javorius Allen led the Raven in snaps (79) over the last two games compared to 25 by West and 18 by Alex Collins. Too tough to trust in any Fantasy format.
Wendell Smallwood (DK – $4,100/FD – $5,300): For a week, Fantasy owners had visions of coming home with Smallwood. He led the Eagles in RB snaps (43) after the injury to Darren Sproles in Week 3. Wendell finished 13 touches for 80 yards with a catch. Over three seasons at West Virginia, he caught 68 passes for 618 yards with success as a runner (238/1519/9) in his senior year. This season RBs have seven catches for 47 yards on ten targets vs. the Chargers. The key to his opportunity is his ability to make plays in the passing game. Viable gamble, but he needs to score a TD while leading the Eagles in touches.
D'Onta Foreman (DK – $4,000/FD – $4,900): The Foreman train is warming up on the grill. Last week he made two plays in the passing game (31 and 34 yards) with minimal success on early downs (8/25). D'Onta was on the field for 17 of 71 plays, which is much too short to be an option in the daily games. Gaining value while just waiting for the door to open.
LeGarrette Blount (DK – $3,900/FD – $6,100): Blount was a much better ride with the Patriots in 2017. Over three games, he has a zero plus two steady games (47 combined yards with a catch and a TD plus 67 yards and TD). This makes him weak option from week-to-week in the season-long games while being a donation in the daily space. RBs have 413 rushing yards and two TDs vs. the Chargers. I'll let you have the next dance.
Andre Ellington (DK – $3,800/FD – $4,800): Ellington had his best chance of the season in Week 3 (81 combined yards on ten touches with five catches) while being the passing catching back on the Cardinals. Andre was on the field for 49 of 81 snaps compared to 31 by Chris Johnson. Game score helped his playing time. RBs have 16 catches for 120 yards and two TDs vs. the 49ers. Higher floor than most at this level, but his touches have limited upside with Arizona expected to play from the lead.
Corey Clement (DK – $3,800/FD – $4,500): With Darren Sproles out for the season, Clement will have a chance to earn carries on the Eagles. His profile overlaps LeGarrette Blount as a power back (5'10" and 220 Lbs.) than a passing catching back. In his senior season at Wisconsin, Corey rushed for 1375 yards with 15 TDs, but he gained only 4.4 yards per rush with low chances in the passing game (12/132 on 14 targets). Pure gamble in the daily games until he works his way into a better rotation.
Alex Collins (DK – $3,700/FD – $5,200): Collins looked good in each of the last two games (7/42 and 9/82) while playing in two blowout games in each direction (win and loss). His success should warrant more playing time on early downs, but Alex needs to jump Terrance West on the depth chart to have value in the daily games. Collins has been on the field for 18 of 125 plays over the last week. Player to follow for now.