FANTASY PLAYS: Stick with expensive RBs in daily this week
This is one week to stick with the top running backs in daily fantasy football.
While there are a few high-end receivers in play, the way to approach this Week 7 slate is to go for the players with the absurdly high floors due to their talent and respective matchups.
These are the top backs to target and the cheap complements who make them work on daily rosters:
TODD GURLEY II, Rams ($9,800 on DraftKings, $10,200 on FanDuel): According to Pro Football Focus, the 49ers defense grades 31st in terms of their tackling ability, and yet they have only yielded 4.0 yards per carry (YPC) as a unit. Since Week 2, backs have either scored twice against the 49ers or eclipsed 100 rushing yards with a touchdown.
Ty Montgomery found the end zone against them on Monday night in a game where Aaron Jones also had a TD overturned. It’s a small sample but the inability to tackle is noteworthy against a back who has played the highest percentage of his respective team’s snaps of any besides Pittsburgh’s James Conner.
The price may be steep, but Gurley has reached 25 DraftKings points in every game this season. Expect more of the same this week from the best player in fantasy.
SAQUON BARKLEY, Giants ($8,900 on DraftKings, $8,200 on FanDuel): Three backs are tied for the league lead in targets (51) and Saquon Barkley is among them. To be fair, Alvin Kamara just had his bye week and is still tied for the lead, so his pace is a notch above every other back.
Either way, receiving backs have had a field day against the Falcons this season, as RBs have twice caught 14-plus passes against them. That’s only happened six times in NFL history by a player at the position. Those two backs_Kamara and Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey_both get about a quarter of their team’s targets. Barkley’s target share sits at 22.2 percent. The Falcons have allowed opposing backs to catch seven more passes against them than any other squad.
Additionally, the Falcons have also been burned for the fourth most rushing TDs by RBs (six) and rank 31st in rushing defense according to Football Outsiders’ defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA) metric.
TEVIN COLEMAN, Falcons ($5,100 on DraftKings, $6,300 on FanDuel): Both DFS sites offer a flex spot, making it possible to roster three RBs on the same team. With Devonta Freeman on injured reserve, Coleman is worth a look despite Ito Smith stealing some of the goal line work. Coleman has carried the ball 71 times this season and has garnered 51.8 percent of the rushing share for the Falcons.
On the other hand, Smith has only carried the ball 32 times but has received 14 carries in the red zone compared to seven for Coleman. Even with the team being committed to giving Smith a majority of the red zone work, Coleman plays on one of the best possible teams for fantasy production because the offense is excellent and the defense is porous. Coleman is more active in the passing game and he has received double-digit carries in three of the last four games (the exception being the game Devonta Freeman returned before exiting with another injury).
The Falcons are always playing in shootouts and host the Giants this week. FanDuel is a little more reliant on TDs than DraftKings, while DraftKings rewards backs for 100-plus yards, so he is probably a safer play on DraftKings. Regardless, he is simply too cheap for being the lead back on this fantasy-friendly squad.
ROBBY ANDERSON, Jets ($4,500 on DraftKings, $5,400 on FanDuel): The injury to Quincy Enunwa is going to open up some additional targets, as the receiver had been Sam Darnold’s favorite target prior to a high-ankle injury. That 24.4 percent target share will be spread around the remaining pass-catchers.
Jermaine Kearse was the main beneficiary against the Colts (10 targets) but the Vikings have been susceptible to long passing plays all year and Anderson is the deep threat. Thus far, the Vikings have allowed the fourth most 20-plus yard passing plays (26) and the most 40-plus yard passing plays (seven). Two weeks ago, Anderson caught two 35-plus yard scores in the same game, giving him 20 20-plus yard receptions since the beginning of 2017 (and five 40-plus yard receptions).
Anderson is typically an all-or-nothing option but now is likely to have more volume headed his way.
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