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Fantasy Points Against: Running Backs to Start and Sit Week 11

Fantasy stats based around 4 points per passing TD and 0.5 points per reception.

There are two main approaches when look at fantasy player scoring trends. The first is to see how that player is performing from an output perspective. The second is to look at how their upcoming opponent has performed.

This article leans heavily on Fantasy Points Against (FPA). This number measures the total fantasy points given up per game to a position group by a defense. Other stats referenced may come from sources including Pro Football Reference, Pro Football Focus, and Football Outsiders.


Mike Davis

Hopefully Mike Davis owners didn’t cut bait upon Christian McCaffrey‘s activation from injured reserve. With McCaffrey injured again, Mike Davis started last week and is set to draw lead play again this week against Detroit.

The Lions have allowed the most FPA to running backs including 11 Top 24 performances. Just since their Week 5 bye, the Lions have allowed seven running backs to score double digit fantasy points.

The only threat to a full workload for Mike Davis is Curtis Samuel who only has 25 carries this year. Davis should be an RB2 this week and might be cheap in DFS formats.

Nyheim Hines

Nyheim Hines (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The short-live Jonathan Taylor era has all but come to a close. The Indianapolis Colts rookie running back was a hot draft pick for 2020 but hasn’t gotten the workload to be a premier back. There still is an opportunity for clarity in Indy with Nyheim Hines leading the team’s running backs in snaps played in Weeks 9 and 10.

The Colts face a Green Bay defense that has been tough against receivers but generous to running backs. The Packers have allowed the 2nd most FPA to running backs and eight Top 24 running backs. Last week was the first week the Green Bay defense hasn’t allowed a touchdown to a running back. They did, however, allow 100+ scrimmage yards to a running back for the fourth time this season.

Given his temporary control of the backfield and usage in the pass game, Hines is largely rostered. He should be started as a strong flex everywhere and an RB2 in any PPR format.


Todd Gurley

The Atlanta Falcons have resurrected what seemed like a downward spiral for Todd Gurley. After being diagnosed with arthritis and joining a new team, Gurley is second among all running backs in rushing touchdowns. The bad news for Gurley is he faces a New Orleans defense that has been tough on running backs for years.

The Saints have allowed the fewest FPA to running backs and are the only team to only give up five Top 24 finishes. Some of the things running backs haven’t done against the Saints this season are: run for 90 yards, score more than once, eclipse 16 fantasy points.

It is hard to bench a player who has thrice finished as an RB1, but the odds are against Gurley. He is a low RB2 on acclaim alone, but few stats support him this week.

Ronald Jones

Ronald Jones (Douglas Felice/CBS Sports)

Just when Leonard Fournette seemed to be the controlling back in Tampa Bay, Ronald Jones pops off for his second best performance this season. Jones had 22 carries for 94 yards if you remove his 98-yard touchdown run.

Unfortunately for Jones, he faces a Rams defense that has only allowed seven Top 24 running back performances. They have allowed the 4th fewest FPA to running backs and only two touchdowns to running backs since Week 3.

Fournette likely still has a shot at a big role so Jones may be on thin ice. Riding high on RoJo’s monster game doesn’t make a lot of sense in this spot unless it is as a low RB2 or flex.

Featured Image courtesy of Kevin C Cox / Getty Images

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