Week 8 RB Report
Matchup Risk/Against the Grain
Tough Matchup with Limited Upside
Ezekiel Elliott (DK – $9,100/FD – $9,000): The Cowboys' offensive line finally played up to their potential in Week 7. Elliott doubled his TDs output (3) with a season high 219 combined yards with a catch. His success (21.43 Fantasy points per game in PPR leagues) puts him ahead of his 2016 season (20.40) despite a nothing game in Week 2 (22 combined yards with four catches). HIs yards per carry (4.1) still needs some correction to get in line with last year (5.1). In his two games against the Redskins in 2016, Ezekiel had 207 combined yards with three TDs and four catches. RBs have 689 combined yards with six TDs and 37 catches vs. the Redskins. Todd Gurley had 136 combined yards with a TD and three catches and Kareem Hunt had 121 combined yards and four catches vs. the Redskins. Top shelf salary playing in an offense that is rounding into form. Top rated back on the week that requires a huge game to full his salary bucket.
LeSean McCoy (DK – $8,700/FD – $8,400): McCoy continued his edge at home vs. the Bucs. He had a season high 28 touches leading to 122 combined yards with two TDs and five catches. His yards per carry (3.4) remain in a poor area. LeSean's salary jumped by $1,500 in one week. He's on pace for a career high in catches (85) and targets (104). McCoy only had one game with over 100 yards rushing and only two TDs in 2017. The Raiders struggled in two games vs. RBs (WAS – 270 combined yards with a TD and seven catches and LAC – 159 combined yards with two TDs and ten catches). RBs have 1,111 combined yards with five TDs and 37 catches vs. Oakland. Not the best resume in 2017 with a rising salary, but LeSean does play well at home while the Raiders have shown risk defending pass catching backs.
Melvin Gordon (DK – $8,100/FD – $7,900): After two strong games (34.30 and 36.00 Fantasy points in PPR leagues), Gordon had a tough time finding open space vs. the Broncos (44 combined yards on 19 touches with a catch) in Week 7. Over his last three games, Melvin averaged 26.3 touches per game. After getting drilled by Kareem Hunt (246 combined yards with three TDs and five catches) in Week 1, the Patriots haven't allowed over 75 yards rushing to any other back. They do still have risk vs. RBs (1,133 combined yards with six TDs and 45 catches). New England allows 4.8 yards per rush and 10.6 yard per catch. Gordon is a three down back with high upside in catches and scoring ability. Viable while his salary continues to rise.
Mark Ingram (DK – $7,400/FD – $7,200): The loss of Adrian Peterson in the Saints' offense has been a big win for Ingram over the last two weeks. Over this span, Mark has 260 combined yards with three TDs and nine catches while averaging 28 touches per game. His opportunity and success were helped by game score with New Orleans playing from the lead. Over his first four games, Ingram had fewer than 80 combined yards and no TDs in each game. His salary went from $4,400 to $7,400 in two weeks. The Bears are about league averaging defending RBs (877 combined yards with five TDs and 37 catches). They've done a nice job defending backs out of the backfield (6.3 yards per catch). Tough to believe in more follow through based on his higher salary and split role. This is a game where the Saints should play from the lead so follow through on touches could be attainable. New Orleans will score at home, but they’ve underachieved so far in passing TDs. Fade for me.
Devonte Freeman (DK – $7,200/FD – $8,000): Freeman has fewer than 100 yards rushing in five of his six starts while scoring five TDs (none in his last two games). The Falcons' offense has lost its way over the last three games (41 points) with two of those games coming at home. Devonta averages 17.5 touches per game with a step back in value in the passing game (14/99 on 16 targets). The Jets struggled in three games vs. RBs (BUF – 208 combined yards with a TD and seven catches, OAK – 250 combined yards with three TDs and six catches, and JAC – 207 combined yards with a TD and eight catches). RBs have 1,102 combined yards against New York with seven TDs and 39 catches). Atlanta needs a win in bad way after losing three straight games to the AFC East. Freeman could be a big part of their game plan in Week 8. I don't love his touches or path, but he's in my thoughts as undervalued asset in this matchup.
Jordan Howard (DK – $6,800/FD – $6,900): Howard has beast upside, but he's struggled to find his consistency in 2017. He has two games with over 100 yards rushing (23/140/2 and 36/167) while failing to gain over 80 yards in every other game. It's been three weeks since his last TD. His value in the passing game has been just about empty over the last three games (1/9 on one target). On the year, Jordan averages 21.4 touches per game thanks to his 36 rushes in Week 6. The Saints do have risk vs. the run (4.9 yards per rush), but RBs only have three rushing TDs. Chicago can't win without rushing the ball, but they will need to throw if the Saints open up a big lead. Possible impact game while being over looked by most Fantasy owners while also having disaster downside. Contrarian play.
Christian McCaffrey (DK – $6,200/FD – $6,300): McCaffrey has been on a negative progression in rushing yards (4.0, 2.7, 2.3, 2.0, and 1.4) over his last four games with a similar path in yards per catch (11.2, 8.3, 6.2, 5.6, and 5.1). Over the last six games, Christian had 33 carries for only 67 yards (2.0 yards per rush). His only value comes in the passing game (44/329/2 on 59 targets). He's on pace for 101 catches on 135 targets. RBs have 36 catches for 273 yards and a TD on 46 targets against the Bucs. Tampa has risk in the passing game and the Panthers do have a favorable matchup. Seems overpriced while averaging 12.7 touches per game.
Carlos Hyde (DK – $6,000/FD – $6,600): The Cowboys ran over the 49ers in Week 7 leading to a flat game by Hyde (88 combined yards and four catches. After the talk of Carlos losing playing time, he's been on the field for 106 of 138 plays over the last two games compared to 32 by Matt Breida. Hyde averages 18.1 touches per game with one game with over 100 yards rushing and four TDs. The Eagles allowed over 80 yards rushing in just one game (KC – 19/112/2). RBs gain 3.8 yards per rush against Philly with three rushing TDs plus 44 catches for 324 yards and three TDs on 55 targets. Below par matchup with questionable play at the QB position.
Alvin Kamara (DK – $5,900/FD – $6,400): Kamara played second fiddle to Mark Ingram over the last two games (87 combined yards with three catches and 107 combined yards with five catches). He's had 19 rushes over the last two games compared to 15 over his first four games. On the year, Alvin has 28 catches for 209 yards and a TD on 38 targets. Based on his role over the last three games, Kamara should see between 13 to 15 touches per game. The Bears have minimized the damage so far vs. backs in the passing game (37/234/0 on 46 targets), but this matchup will be a challenge. His salary commands close to 25 Fantasy points in GPPs so a long play and a TD will be required. If New Orleans plays from the lead, Alvin shouldn't have impact targets.
Chris Thompson (DK – $5,800/FD – $6,000): After seven weeks, Thompson is the 7th highest scoring RB in PPR leagues despite touching the ball only 9.4 times per game. Chris has five TDs and two games with over 100 yards receiving. With Rob Kelley back on the field, Thompson assumes his short role on early downs (7/38). Last season he had 92 combined yards with eight catches in two games vs. Dallas in 2016. RBs have 35 catches for 301 yards and two TDs on 47 targets against the Cowboys this year. The Rams beat Dallas for eight catches for 108 yards and a TD from the RB position in Week 4. Rising salary with short touches points to more steady than explosive game.
Doug Martin (DK – $5,400/FD – $6,500): Martin averaged 17 touches per game over his first three starts with a pair of TDs and short value in the passing game (4/50). He's been on the field for 106 of 214 plays run by the Bucs compared to 83 by Charles Sims due to game score. The Panthers are 5th in the NFL defending RBs with one poor game (NE – 148 combined yards with a TD and three catches). RBs gain 3.7 yards per rush against Carolina with three TDs. Not a good matchup.
Lamar Miller (DK – $5,200/FD – $6,400): Miller only has one game of value (131 combined yards with two TDs and four catches). Lamar scored both of his TDs in one game while averaging 18.8 touches per game. He's yet to gain over 75 yards rushing in 2017. Seattle allows 4.7 yards per rush with RBs scoring four TDs. Most of their failure came in Week 3 (19/159) and Week 4 (35/195/1). The Seahawks tend to limit the damage in the passing game (25/175/0 on 34 targets). Below par matchup while still having competition for touches from D'Onta Foreman.
LeGarrette Blount (DK – $5,100/FD – $6,100): Blount averaged just over 14 touches per game over his last five games, but he's struggled to find running room in his last two contests (14/67 and 14/29). LeGarrette has two TDs with one game of success running the ball (16/136), which was the result of a long run (68 yards). With Wendell Smallwood back in the lineup, Blount was on the field for 25 of 65 plays in Week 7. The 49ers lost their way vs. the run in Week 7 (43/265/3). San Fran allows 3.9 yards per rush with RBs scoring nine TDs. Most teams beat this defense by volume of carries (34.3 per game) due to game score. Possible TD or two, but LeGarrette will need a season high in touches to payoff. At this point, he may not be the top choice at RB on this roster.
Tevin Coleman (DK – $5,000/FD – $6,000): Coleman hasn't developed into a viable option at RB in 2017 due to fading value in the Falcons' offense. Tevin averages 9.7 touches per game with two TDs. He did struggle in his last two games (52 combined yards with a TD and a catch). On the year, Tevin averages 5.2 yards per rush and 11.2 yards per catch. This points to exciting upside with an expanded role. This season the Falcons seem to want to give Devonta Freeman the goal line chances, which does lower Coleman's value. Tough to trust until Atlanta regains their offensive form.
James White (DK – $4,900/FD – $4,900): White scored his first TD of the season last week. He leads the Patriots' RBs in snaps (235 of 508 plays). Over his last six games, James has 17 rushes for 80 yards. His value continues to come in the passing game (38/280/1 on 47 targets). RBs have 36 catches for 277 yards and no TDs on 50 targets against the Chargers. LA will rush the QB so Brady will look to get the ball out quickly to his running backs in this matchup. Even with a chance at an uptick in catches, New England is rotating in four RBs.
Wendell Smallwood (DK – $4,900/FD – $5,500): In his first game back on the field, Smallwood finished with 39 combined yards with two catches while being on the field for 24 of 65 plays. The Eagles will score a rushing TD or two in this game so Wendell is a coin flip of getting the right call in the red zone. He should be the top pass catching back in this offense when healthy. Philly should play from the lead so one of their back could come in due to high rushing attempts.
Bilal Powell (DK – $4,900/FD – $6,100): After missing Week 6, Powell had 11 touches last week for 83 combined yards with two catches while losing the snap battle to Matt Forte (21 to 28). Bilal has one game of value (190 combined yards with a TD and four catches) when Forte was hurt. The Falcons allow 940 combined yards to RBs with five TDs and 39 catches. Pass catching back, but he's in a 50/50 split for playing time.
Joe Mixon (DK – $4,700/FD – $5,900): Mixon stated this week that he thought the Bengals needed to run the ball more. Joe, it might help if you gained more than 3.2 yards per rush. Last week he finished with only ten touches, but he did have his best game as far as yards per play (6.8). Game score led to Mixon being on the field for 22 of 51 plays, which was his lowest total since Week 2 (16). RBs have ten TDs against the Colts while gaining 4.3 yards per rush. Indy showed failure risk in three of their last four games (SEA – 29/156/2, TEN – 32/168/2, and 33/177/2). RBs have 35 catches for 371 yards and two TDs on 44 targets vs. the Colts. Vegas has the Bengals favored by ten points pointing to a lot of runs in this game. Possible best game of his year.
Dion Lewis (DK – $4,600/FD – $5,400): Lewis had growth in his carries in his last four games (2, 4, 7, 11, and 13). Last week he had a season high 14 touches for 82 yards and a catch. Dion has a TD in two of his last four games while struggling to gain value in the passing game (8/48). Based on his chances over the last two games (24/128/1), Lewis could be the leading rusher in this offense again in Week 8. Only a flier with the Patriots rotating in four backs in their offense.
Tarik Cohen (DK – $4,600/FD – $5,800): Over the last three games, Cohen only has one catch per game with seven combined targets. The Bears didn't give him a rush last week, but Tarik did gain 70 yards on his only catch. RBs have 41 catches for 364 yards and a TD on 58 targets against the Saints. Fading opportunity in the passing game, but Chicago will need to throw in this game. Last week Cohen was only on the field for seven plays while averaging 26 snaps per game over his first six contests. The change at QB hasn’t helped his chances.
Jalen Richard (DK – $4,300/FD – $5,300): With Marshawn Lynch out this week, Richard could have his best opportunity of the season. Last week he gained 76 yards on 13 touches and four catches. Jalen did shine in Week 2 (109 combined yards with a TD and two catches) in a relief role in a blowout game. He's gaining 4.5 yards per rush and 12.8 yards per catch compared to 2.3 and 5.3 by DeAndre Washington. Richard will enter this week as the change of pace back with the most value in the passing game. RBs have 29 catches for 252 yards and no TDs on 39 targets. Not a great matchup while still offering explosiveness and a favorable salary.
Mike Gillislee (DK – $4,200/FD – $5,400): The Patriots have phased out Gillislee over the last month. In his last two games, Mike was on the field for only 13 snaps in each game leading to 18 combined rushes for 75 yards. His last TD came in Week 2 after looking like Fantasy gold in Week 1 (45 yards and three TDs). Losing ground to Dion Lewis with no value in the passing game makes Gillislee a losing investment. Ball carriers gain 4.9 yards per rush against the Chargers with five rushing TDs. New England will score on the ground this week, but Mike may not get the first chance. On the positive side, his salary is getting more attractive if he can regain his role on early downs.
Matt Forte (DK – $4,200/FD – $5,400): Over the last two games, Matt only has 16 combined rushes for 63 yards with improving value on passing down over this stretch (8/59 and 5/41). Forte had the bulk of playing time in Week 6 (44 of 76 plays), but a healthy Bilal Powell led to only 50 percent of the Jets' snaps last week. Showing flashes while Josh McCown is looking his way in the passing game. Fairly priced for his touches (14.5 per game over his last two starts) and his upside in catches. The key to his upside will be the goal line chances. Priced cheap enough to be an option as a backend filler.
DeAndre Washington (DK – $4,100/FD – $5,700): Washington will be the starting back for the Raiders in Week 8. On the year, DeAndre has 23 rushes for 53 yards with a TD plus 14 catches for 74 yards. Oakland has six rushing TDs with only one game of value (Week 2 – 299 combined yards with 11 catches and three TDs). The Bills allow 3.5 yards per rush with RBs scoring three rushing TDs. Only one team has success against Buffalo on the ground (ATL – 29/149/1). Not playing well with limited value in the passing game and a tough matchup. Even with a low salary, Washington may not do enough to deliver a winning score.
Rob Kelley (DK – $4,100/FD – $5,700): The Redskins had Kelley on the field for 27 of 64 plays last week leading to 30 combined yards with two catches. He's never had over ten touches in a game this year. In his only game vs. the Cowboys in 2016, Rob had 42 combined yards with two catches. Dallas allows 4.6 yards per rush with RBs scoring two rushing TDs. The Cowboys struggled vs. Denver (34/164/1), Los Angeles Rams (31/168), and Green Bay (25/160). Looks to be a favorable matchup, but Kelley probably won't get enough chance to payoff.
Frank Gore (DK – $4,100/FD – $5,300): Gore has fewer than 60 yards rushing in each game in 2017 while averaging 14.9 touches per game. Frank hasn't scored a TD in his last four games. Cinci allow 3.8 yards per rush with RBs scoring only one rushing TD. Three teams have over 150 yards rushing against the Bengals (BAL – 42/157/1, HOU – 35/168, and PIT – 43/152). Boring option who plays in a low scoring offense.
Marlon Mack (DK – $4,000/FD – $5,600): There is only thing we know about Mack; he is a back with explosiveness and upside while lacking opportunity. The Colts gave him only 11 touches over the last two games after flashing upside in Week 5 (93 combined yards with a TD and a catch). Last week Marlon had a season high in catches (4/40) while finishing with 66 combined yards on nine touches. Player to watch, but he needs more chances to deliver a viable score.
Jonathan Stewart (DK – $3,600/FD – $5,200): Stewart doesn't have a rushing TD in 2017 while failing to gain over 70 yards rushing in any game. He averages 15 touches per game with only 3.0 yards per rush. Last season Jonathan gained 72 combined yards with a TD and a catch in his only game against Tampa. The Bucs allow 4.0 yards per rush with RBs scoring only five rushing TDs. Tampa struggled vs. the run over the last two games (ARI – 35/160/2 and BUF – 33/173/2) with both games coming on the road. Carolina hasn’t run the ball well plus Cam Newton could steal any goal line TDs.
Thomas Rawls (DK – $3,600/FD – $5,400): Rawls did show a bounce in his step after a slow start in Week 7. He finished with 52 combined yards and a catch on 12 touches vs. the Giants. Thomas led the Seahawks' RBs in snaps (30 of 76 plays) in Week 7 compared to 21 by Eddie Lacy and 23 by J.D. McKissic. Their RBs gain 3.6 yards per rush on the year with only one rushing TD. Houston allows 4.0 yards per rush with RBs scoring one rushing TD. Their defense did show more risk vs. the run last week (6.1 yards per rush) with J.J. Watts no longer in the starting lineup. Moving in the right direction, but Seattle will rotate in three backs. With this price point, Rawls may only need a TD to be playable.