While it’s important every week, it was especially critical that you nailed at least two of you running back selections last Sunday. With nine of the top 10 scoring running backs accumulating 20 points or more, one wrong move likely left you playing catch up in cash games. With big names like Saquon Barkley, Kareem Hunt and the Saints backfield out of the player pool, let’s identify some lower priced running backs to avoid in week 6.
David Johnson: $7,500
MIN Rush Yards Allowed/Game: 99.4 (13th) PFF Rushing Matchup Rank: 30th
Seasonal owners of David Johnson (DJ), if they hadn’t traded him already, were finally rewarded with a good game from the Cardinals running back. However, don’t look for that to continue this weekend for a myriad of reasons. First, DJ has one of, if not the worst, projected game flows on the main slate. He’s a double-digit road underdog against a team who coughed up a win in a similar situation previously this year. Historically, that wouldn’t matter as much because DJ has been a target monster and could overcome any rushing deficiencies, but that’s not longer the case.
The second reason DJ is almost a must fade is the fact that he’s no longer playing such a pivotal role in the pass game. If you listened to the Suck My DFS Podcast in the preseason, you probably knew this kind of schematic adjustment would happen, as we harped on the importance of coordinators and systems to running back production. In this new system, DJ is only averaging 4.4 targets per game. In 2016 under Bruce Arians’ offense, DJ averaged a staggering 7.5 targets per game. This includes five games of nine targets or more. Simply put, he’s not being used effectively to maximize his fantasy value.
Third and finally, they have the worst projected rushing matchup according to Pro Football Focus, which examines the offensive-defensive line matchup. As stated above, the Cardinals have the worst projected rushing matchup of any team in week six. Not to mention, the Cardinals are dead last in offensive plays run per game with 49.4. There are simply too many factors going against DJ in week six, and we aren’t getting a good enough price reduction to consider him in cash games.
Isaiah Crowell: $6,700
IND Rush Yards Allowed/Game: 106.8 (T-18th) PFF Rushing Matchup Rank: 27th
Here it is people, the number one fade of the week at the running back position. Isaiah Crowell was fantastic in week 5. It seemed like every time the red zone channel changed to the Jets game, they showed Crowell breaking another 10+ yard run. Sadly, he will not have that kind of success against the Colts.
Analysis aside, Crowell has not practiced all week. The most encouraging news I could find about his status was that he was, “spotted with helmet”. Even if Crowell was completely healthy, there are still so many points against him. His production last weekend was the result of one thing, the matchup.
The Broncos are one of the worst defenses against the run given how they widen their defensive ends and outside linebackers to funnel the ball inside. So, the Jets smartly took advantage and were one yard away from having two 100-yard rushers against the Broncos. The Colts are more susceptible to the pass than the run. While they haven’t been stellar at bottling up opposing running backs, their defensive line matches up well against the Jets. As stated above, the Jets offensive line has the fourth-worst matchup on the slate in terms of run blocking.
There’s also the issue of workload. While he was the star of the game, his running mate Bilal Powell had five more carries. And through the first five weeks, Powell has out targeted Crowell 16 to eight. Meaning, Powell is less impacted by gameflow and by all accounts will be healthy for Sunday’s game.
Chris Carson: $6,400
OAK Rush Yards Allowed/Game: 127.2 (28th) PFF Rushing Matchup Rank: 8th
I want to be clear, I think Chris Carson is an excellent GPP play given his price, opponent and projected workload. He’s simply too unstable for cash games. The Seahawks showed last week that they will use two running backs, unless your name is Rashad Penny. Both backs were effective and each player received at least 12 carries. Everything lines up great for this backfield, but I can’t guarantee that Carson will get the goal line carries, as Davis has scored three touchdowns the last two games. At this price point, pay down further for Jordan Howard who I’m all-in on against the Dolphins.
Featured Image courtesy of CBS Sports
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