Week Two DFS Don’ts – Running Back
I’m just going to say it, David Johnson and Le’Veon Bell were the biggest disappointments of week one. No one predicted such a sharp decline in production from these players. Thankfully LeSean McCoy, Todd Gurley and Leonard Fournette picked up the slack. But, were they a product of a good match up, or, can we count on them as dependable DFS backs? Without further adieu, let’s get right into which running backs are on my week two DFS Don’ts list.
Todd Gurley: FanDuel Price $7,700
Todd Gurley and the Rams benefited from playing the worst team in the NFL at home week one. Yes, the Colts with Scott Tolzien are worse than the Jets. Gurley benefited from a big workload and an awful defense. However, let’s dig deeper into Gurley’s production and evaluate it’s sustainability moving forward.
Gurley’s final stat line was 19 carries for 40 yards on the ground, with 56 yards on five catches. So, against a talent-less defensive front, Gurley averaged a frightening 2.1 yards per carry. That’s atrocious for someone who is considered a top 12 running back. Of the 16 week one running backs who had at least 15 carries, 13 of them had a higher yards per carry than Todd Gurley. Running backs on that list in front of Gurley include: Terrence West, Javorious Allen, CJ Anderson and Ty Montgomery. It’s safe to say that Gurley is more talented then all of those players. So, with more talent and potentially the best week one match up, he was one of the least efficient backs.
This weekend, Gurley will face Washington’s 3-4 defense. In 2016 against a 3-4, Gurley averaged 2.74 yards per carry and .33 touch downs per game. I seriously doubt he’ll see enough carries to reach 100 yards rushing with his low yards per carry because the Rams won’t be running out the clock in this game. Shockingly, they are facing quality NFL quarterback in Kirk Cousins, so there will actually be pressure on the Rams’ offense to score points. I don’t trust Gurley at all. If he, with his talent, can’t average more than 2.1 yards per carry against the Colts, it’s likely he wont be DFS relevant for most of the season. Gurley was an easy pick for my week two DFS Don’ts.
C.J. Anderson: FanDuel Price $7,000
I’ve never been a fan of C.J. Anderson, but, I can’t argue with his workload. Any running back with 20 carries will always warrant consideration from me because he will at least have the opportunity to score points. However, I don’t like his match up for a unique reason, pace of play.
Pace of play is an interesting stat by Football Outsiders. It measures how much time, on average, it takes for a team to run a play. After week one, Dallas is 11th in pace with 27.39 seconds and Denver is is 22nd with 29.74 seconds. So, Denver has established themselves as one of the slower teams in the NFL. However, in the second half specifically, these teams take significantly longer to run plays. In the second half, Dallas falls from 11th to 25th in pace and Denver shifts from 22nd to 24th.
So what does this mean? It means that the number of snaps as a whole for the Denver offense will decrease. And, if they are trailing, they’ll pivot away from Anderson because of how slow both teams operate. This presents a problem. Anderson is not known as an explosive back, meaning, he needs volume to produce points. If you take away his volume, you severely limit his ability to produce. Given the pace and potential game flow of this match up, C.J. Anderson is firmly on my week two DFS Don’ts list.
Carlos Hyde: FanDuel Price $6,400
Carlos Hyde is a must avoid this week. Hyde had a rough outing in week one. He only say nine carries, but, he did draw six catches on six targets. I have so many problems with Hyde this Sunday I don’t know where to start. First, Hyde and the 49ers are a 14 point underdog at Seattle. Playing running backs on teams that are huge underdogs is a great way to not guarantee production.
Second, Seattle is angry. Seattle felt like they got robbed last weekend in Green Bay. This defense is more talented on the defensive line than Carolina, and they dominated the 49ers offensive line. Things will only get worse for this 49ers offensive unit this Sunday.
Third, their history in Seattle is not good. Seattle hasn’t lost to the 49ers in Seattle since 2011. In those games they lost, it’s been by an average of 17.6 points. I like Carlos Hyde. I think he’s a versatile, talented running back. But please, please don’t play him this week. I know there isn’t any analytical reasoning here, but it’s not necessary. Stay away from Hyde this week.
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