There was very little running room for the Colts in their two previous matchups vs. Texans this season which isn’t a surprise. Houston ranks 1st in run defense DVOA and 1st in run defense per PFF. The two main ball carriers for those games were…
There was very little running room for the Colts in their two previous matchups vs. Texans this season which isn’t a surprise. Houston ranks 1st in run defense DVOA and 1st in run defense per PFF. The two main ball carriers for those games were Marlon Mack ($6,000 DK & $7,200 FD) and Jordan Wilkins, combining for 22 carries for 49 yards. Mack is the lead ball carrier these days but he will need to score TD’s to have any value. Nyheim Hines ($3,500 DK & $4,800 FD) caught 12 passes in the two previous meetings this season and would be the guy to target, as I expect the Colts to spread out the Texans on defense.
Lamar Miller ($4,900 DK & $6,400) had some good games this season but the two vs. the Colts he had 28 carries for just 82 yards. The Texans have struggled to get any production from the RB’s over the last three weeks averaging just 9.7 FP’s per game. Houston’s run blocking has struggled all season ranking 32nd per PFF and 27th in run offense DVOA. Miller just like Mack will be TD reliant to pay off his salary. Both players could see around 20 carries if the game flow goes their way but it doesn’t appear favorable.
The running game for the Seahawks has been on a roll lately with Chris Carson ($6,800 DK & $7,500 FD) averaging 119 rushing yards over his last three games. Seattle leads the NFL in fantasy points by RB’s 34.9 over the last three weeks with some added production from Mike Davis and Rashaad Penny. The Cowboys had been solid vs. the run most of the season but struggled the last three weeks, giving 34.3 points per game, which is the most of any team in the league. This should set-up nicely for Carson to have a good game at a very affordable price.
The workhorse for the Cowboys is Ezekiel Elliott ($9,000 DK & $8,800 FD), who has not had less than 19 touches in any game this season. The rushing yards have always been there for Elliott in his career, but the numbers have been even better this season with averaging over five catches per game. The Seahawks have been around league average vs. the run this season, ranking 18th per PFF and 17th in DVOA. They have also not covered RB’s out of the backfield, allowing 39 catches over the last five weeks. Elliott is the safest RB in terms of production this week but is also the most expensive by a considerable margin. The one negative is he has not scored a TD in his last three games, which can make the paying of that salary tough if he gets shut out again this week.
We do need to watch the status of Melvin Gordon ($7,700 DK & $8,400), who left last week with a minor ankle injury but is expected to be fine. Some late season injuries slowed Gordon, but he did average more fantasy points per game than even Elliott this season. Gordon had 15 touches for 54 yards and a TD in Week 16, which was his first game back from a 3-week absence. The Ravens have been a Top-10 unit vs. the run, but a lot of it has been helped by an offense that controls the game. Gordon could see similar numbers to the previous meeting if the Chargers can’t stop the run. He does have big game potential at a significantly cheaper on Draftkings than Elliott. He makes a solid tournament option.
We have seen Gus Edwards ($4,200 DK & $7,200 FD) get the biggest share of carries in the 2nd half of the season with some Kenneth Dixon ($4,000 DK & $6,800 FD) mixed in. Edwards is not a catch passing threat (just two receptions all season) with Dixon and Ty Montgomery getting that work. With Lamar Jackson at QB, there has not been much in the passing game for the RB’s along with Jackson stealing a good deal of the rushing TD’s. The Chargers have struggled vs. the run over the last five weeks and have allowed 39 catches to RB’s in that time span. If I had to pick between Dixon and Edwards, I would go Dixon even with a few fewer touches, because he is just a better all-around back. The biggest issue with both is that Jackson seems to be getting all the TD’s these days.
It is a 4-game slate so anything can happen, but the Eagles running backs have the toughest matchup on the slate along with the biggest timeshare. The Bears have the 2nd best run defense per PFF and in DVOA in the NFL. They also have the speed at LB that can cover RB’s in the passing game. Josh Adams ($3,600 & $5,700), Wendell Smallwood ($3.300 DK & $5,400 FD) and Darren Sproles ($4,100 DK & $5,500 FD) will see snaps, but unless you are trying to be very contrarian or doing a ton of lineups, I would avoid them. Adams is the goal-line back, and Sproles is the most involved in the passing game if you are throwing darts.
There have been plenty of shots taken at Jordan Howard ($4,600 DK & $7,600 FD) this season, but he did manage to score 9 TD’s, including four in his last three games. The price has jumped on FanDuel, which is a bit concerning, but he is the man at the goal-line. Tarik Cohen ($5,400 DK & $7,000 FD) is the player everyone loves, but he sees half the touches Howard does. There have been a few monster games from Cohen, but those were in games they trailed and in warmer weather. The field at Soldier Field in Chicago is awful and only gets worse in the cold. Cohen may have more upside if the Bears fall behind early, but Howard has more TD potential. The Eagles run defense struggled over the last five weeks with so many issues on the backend, and I would expect the Bears to want to control this game with Howard. If you think the Eagles have a good chance at the win, then Cohen would be your guy.
1) Chris Carson – Seahawks
2) Ezekiel Elliott – Cowboys
3) Jordan Howard – Bears
4) Melvin Gordon – Chargers
5) Nyheim Hines – Colts
6) Tarik Cohen – Bears
7) Lamar Miller – Texans
8) Kenneth Dixon – Ravens