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Welcome to Week 14 of the football season. I’ll be providing you with some DFS content, covering Running Backs and Defenses. We’ll take a look at some potential cash-game plays as well as some pivots that could be used in tournaments. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out in the comments section below.
Christian McCaffrey, CAR ($19,400) at ATL
Since he’s in a category of his own – and I cannot figure out when he’ll be chalk – I’m placing Christian McCaffrey here. The Panthers faced the Falcons in Week 11 and while the team as a whole struggled to just 3 points, McCaffrey had himself a day by hauling in 11 passes and totaling 191 yards of total offense. As per usual, I’ll throw a CMC build after the article to get you started.
Cash Game Options:
Nick Chubb, CLE ($14,600) vs. CIN
Nick Chubb comes in as the fourth-highest priced running back on the slate, but he’s earned that honor, as he’s totaled 85 all-purpose yards in every game since Week 2. This week the Browns face the Bengals, who have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to running backs this year. Despite being a division opponent, this is the first time this year that Chubb will face the Bengals. While Chubb’s work in the passing game has diminished some since Kareem Hunt‘s return from suspension, that should really only be a major hit to his productivity if the Browns are in an extreme-negative game-script. That shouldn’t be the case this week as Vegas has the Browns as a 7-points home-favorites. I expect a big workload for Chubb this week.
Leonard Fournette, JAC ($14,600) vs. LAC
If you look up the word “workload” in the Encyclopedia Britannica, all you’ll find is a picture of Leonard Fournette‘s face. For the year, Fournette has seen an 18% target share in the passing game, but that number has jumped to 22% over the last three weeks as he’s seen 30 targets. In addition, Fournette has handled 220 of the 241 running back carries this year, good for 91%. This week, the Jaguars face the Chargers, who have done a good job against quarterbacks but have been gashed in the run game. For the year, the Chargers have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points per game to opposing backs.
Patrick Laird, MIA ($8,500) at NYJ
To quote my five-year-old son/Lego Batman, “You wanna get nuts? Let’s get nuts!” So, let’s get nuts and roll out Patrick Laird as a salary saver. With the world’s most ineffective running back – Kalen Ballage – hitting the IR, Laird should be in line to see an increase in his workload. Laird saw the field on 60% of the Dolphin’s offensive snaps in Week 13 against the Eagles, his highest snap share of the year. Since his first game in Week 10, Laird has seen a 9% target share and we should see that workload increase as Ballage’s 8% target share gets disbursed. For the year, the Jets have been good against running backs, allowing the eighth-fewest fantasy points per game to running backs, but they have been susceptible to running backs catching the ball out of the backfield. If you’re looking to get CMC into your lineup, Laird is the key to punting a position without completely punting the productivity.
Alvin Kamara, NO ($13,200) vs. SF
Alvin Kamara and the Saints get a really tough matchup against the 49ers, who have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs on the year. You would think limiting running back fantasy points would mean limiting yards, but the 49ers have allowed teams to rush for the 11th-most yards per game this year. The area where the 49ers make their money is in limiting the number of rushing touchdowns. For the year, they’ve allowed just six rushing touchdowns, which ranks fourth in the league. Luckily for us, Alvin Kamara has been good for fantasy purposes despite not finding the end zone since Week 3. In all seriousness, since Kamara returned from injury in Week 10, he’s seen at least eight targets per game in the passing game. This type of workload not only provides a nice floor but also opens up the possibilities of a big play. Kamara should be relatively low owned in this matchup but comes with a massive ceiling.
James White, NE ($11,300) vs. KC
James White flashed the ceiling last week when he put up 177 total yards and two touchdowns on 22 touches. This week the Patriots get a matchup with the Chiefs, who have allowed the second-most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs on the year. Last week, we saw White play on a season-high, 78% of the Patriots’ offensive snaps and he thrived with an increased workload. With the Patriots being shorthanded in terms of pass catchers, I could see White have a repeat performance, especially if this game becomes a shootout.
Duke Johnson, HOU ($9,300) vs. DEN
Here’s something that you might have overlooked from Week 13 – heading into the fourth quarter of the Texans’ game against the Patriots, Duke Johnson had out-carried Carlos Hyde. For the game, Hyde ended up with more carries than Johnson (10-9), but Johnson played on 68% of the teams’ snaps and had 14 touches, including six reception. Only DeAndre Hopkins had more catches on the day. In fact, out-snapped Carlos Hyde in all three games since the team’s Week 10 bye. Earlier in the year, I criticized the Texans for their lack of use of Johnson after trading for him, but maybe they’ve finally figured it out.
Cash Game Option:
Indianapolis Colts ($4,900) at TB
If you’re a regular reader, you know I love to pick on the turnover machine, Jameis Winston. Even in their 28-11 spanking of the Jaguars, Winston took four sacks and lost a fumble and that was in a game where he only threw 33 passes – his fourth-fewest this year. That type of productions provides a nice floor for the Colts and if one of those turnovers gets returned for a defensive touchdown, you’re off to the races.
Miami Dolphins ($5,200) at NYJ
This has more to do with how inept the Jets’ offensive line is and less to do with the not-so-special Dolphins defense. For the year, the Dolphins have sacked the quarterback the fewest number of times and have the fewest turnovers. The Jets, on the other hand, have allowed the third-most sacks this year and turned the ball over 20 times this year. In tournaments, I’m willing to give the Dolphins a dart throw, especially in a matchup with the team that’s allowed the second-most fantasy points to defenses on the year.
As promised, here’s a mock build that allows for CMC. Locking in Fitzpatrick, CMC, Laird, D.J. Moore, Tyler Higbee, and the Colts defense gives you $11,133 left per position for one WR and two Flex. You could certainly do worse. Good luck this week!
Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)