If you are new to this article, I encourage you to read the stats used in this matchup matrix. I use these advanced stats to identify top running back matchups on paper for the week. These advanced stats are rushing only. This is meant to help supplement the usual pass catching research, such as targets or receptions allowed to running backs.
If you have checked out this article before, you understand the stats used, and can jump right to the good stuff in the matrix.
Adjusted line yards
These are the yards the O-line is responsible for producing. For example, if a running back gets tackled for a loss, most of the time this is because the line did not block the defenders well enough. On the other side, if a running back has a five-yard rush, this is likely due to solid line play and a hole being created. This is the base of a running game.
These are rushes that occur on third or fourth down with two yards or less to reach a first down. It also includes rushes inside the two-yard line at the goal line. This metric isn’t weighted as heavily for me, but still worth noting.
These are rushes that go for no gain or tackles for loss. This metric is more useful in assessing cash plays. As the running back continuously picks up yards, he should end up with a solid yardage total if the volume is there.
However, our ceiling (or tournament) metrics are the next two.
Second level yards
These take into consideration runs that go for five-to-10 yards. This is where the running back gets to the LBs and safeties. We can use this to predict 100-yard games. A running back that is continuously getting to the second level, is going to be more likely to pick up that 100-yard rushing bonus.
Open field yards
These factor in runs that go for 11+ yards. This is where your heaviest weighted factor for predicting a ceiling game as the bigger plays lead to higher yardage totals and the longer TD runs.
To summarize, we want to weigh adjusted line yards, second level yards and open field yards the heaviest.
Below is the matchup matrix for Week 10. I have highlighted in blue the offenses that rank in the top 10 in their metrics, as well as the defenses that rank in the bottom 10 in their metrics. The RBs that are facing the defenses on the right are listed in the middle.
The highlighted RBs are the ones who I think have the best matchup on paper. This is not factoring in salary, snap counts or anything of that nature. This is solely a matchup chart.
I should probably just start copy and pasting my Gurley write up every week. He is matchup proof and his price actually went down on both sites. Play the man.
If we get word that Michel is a full go, he is in a great matchup here. I likely will look elsewhere on FD, but he is pretty cheap on DK.
In a game where the Bengals will be without A.J. Green, we could see the Bengals struggle somewhat on offense. This could lead to more Ingram and Kamara rushing attempts. I side with Kamara because if the game does become a shootout, he will be the guy in the game, so he is a safe option with upside.
Melvin Gordon has one of the best matchups on the board. However, the concern with him is that the Chargers are up three scores at the end of the third quarter and we see more of Ekeler.
Breida is quietly in a really good spot here. Ever since the Giants traded Snacks to the Lions, they haven’t been able to stop anyone on the ground. This is the Monday night game, so make sure Breida gets into some of your showdown lineups.
Fournette is expected back this week. With how bad the Jags offense has been because of relying on the passing game, look for the Jags to make it a point to run the ball. This is a matchup that they can do so effectively, and he is underpriced on both sites.
Carson continues to impress this year. The Rams have been vulnerable on the ground, making Carson and intriguing tourney only option.
Hunt is one of my favorite RBs to play on a weekly basis. He is finally getting passing game looks. Pair that with one of the best rushing matchups on the board this week and you have a guy you need to play. Watkins could miss this game, which would open up even more touches for Hunt.
Atlanta should get Deion Jones back soon, but it shouldn’t be this week. Look for Duke to have another awesome game here. The new offensive coordinator schemed to get him the ball last week. That should be a continuing theme.
David Johnson is the last RB I have interest in. I have played RBs against the Chiefs all season and I won’t stop now. Leftwich has had two full weeks to work a game plan against the Chiefs that should center on Johnson at a price too low on both sites. We could see Johnson return to his top RB form. Play him while he is cheap, and then keep playing him when his price goes up.
Matt Dickason has been playing DFS NFL, MLB and NBA for 3 years now. I have been in season long football leagues since the age of 10, so football has always been a passion of mine. Outside of fantasy sports, I played baseball for 19 years including college and eventually Semi-Pro. MLB and NFL are my two strongest sports when it comes to betting and DFS.