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Fantasy Points Against: Running Backs to Start and Sit Week 6

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.


Myles Gaskin

The Miami Dolphins present one of the most intriguing offenses this season. They seem to have two viable wide receivers, a viable tight end, and now an up-and-coming every down back.

Myles Gaskin (Michael Reaves, Getty Images)

Myles Gaskin has been featured more prominently in the offense recently especially in overall targets and red zone usage. The other key development was the healthy scratch of Jordan Howard in the last game.

Miami also faces a very porous New York Jets defense that has the 5th worst FPA to running backs. They have also uniquely allowed six top 24 running back performances in only five games.

Gaskin is a comfortable RB2 this week and, based on the Dolphins triumph over San Francisco, worth keeping an eye on rest of season.

Ronald Jones

Expectations were lofty for Ronald Jones in the preseason and he is finally starting to return value. An injury to Leonard Fournette gave Ronald Jones an easier path to back-to-back 100+ yard rushing games.

Three times this season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have had a running back play over 50% of offensive snaps. That was Ronald Jones weeks 3-5. He also has 14 targets in the last two weeks as opposed to only nine in the first three weeks.

Jones faces a Green Bay Packers defense that is tied for worst FPA to running backs. Although the Packers have faced some strong running backs, it is still a problem that they have allowed seven touchdowns to opposing running backs in only four games.

This could be the last opportunity for Ronald Jones to make a push for a secure starting job. Jones should be locked into starting lineups this week.


D’Andre Swift

Running back by committee. The four-word phrase that strikes fear into the heart of any fantasy owner. Only a few teams this season have adopted the timeshare game plan and among them are the Detroit Lions. Three different running backs (Adrian Peterson, D’Andre Swift, Kerryon Johnson) have played at least 25% of offensive snaps.

Swift, specifically, is an appealing option because of his role as a pass-catcher. This season, Swift has 13 catches on 16 targets for 126 yards and a touchdown. All other backs combined have 10 catches on 16 targets for 69 yards and touchdown. This presents Swift has a more efficient receiver in more way than one.

The Lions face the Jacksonville Jaguars who have been 8th worst in FPA allowing 25.7 fantasy points per game to running backs. They also have allowed 31 receptions to running backs this season, the 9th most per game.

Due to snap splits, Swift’s ceiling is a weak RB2 or strong flex play. In a pinch, he should cash in for bold players this week.


Damien Harris (Jamie Squire, Getty Images)

Damien Harris

There hasn’t been much opportunity for Damien Harris to shine since New England drafted him in the third round last season. He made his first career start in primetime against the Kansas City Chiefs last week where he carried the ball 17 times for 100 yards.

As hot of a waiver pickup as Harris has been lately, and rightfully so, this is not the week to plug him into a lineup. He’ll run against the toughest team in FPA to running backs: the Denver Broncos.

The Broncos have only allowed two rushing touchdowns and only two top 24 running back finishes. Additionally, Cam Newton is averaging over ten rushing attempts per game which eats into the three-headed Patriots rushing attack.

Harris should be grabbed if still available on waivers because he presents season-long upside. He probably should be sitting on most benches this week.

Joe Mixon

How could the RB11 on the season and last year’s RB13 be a sit in Week 6? If the 39-point outlier performance against Jacksonville is removed, Mixon hasn’t had more than four yards per carry in a game. He also scored all three of his touchdowns in that game.

This week the Bengals take on the Indianapolis Colts who have only allowed one rushing touchdown and have the 3rd fewest yards per carry allowed. The Colts have also only allowed two Top 24 performances and Kareem Hunt last week was the only Top 12 performance.

These teams matchup poorly in the trenches as well. Indy is the only team with three front-seven players in the Top 20 for run stop percentage. Cincinnati has no offensive linemen who are graded Top 50 in the PFF grade for offense.

Depending on roster composition, Mixon seems no better than a flex play this week. Some teams may have to start Mixon because they have no choice but temper expectations for him in a bad matchup.

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