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 14. 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.
New Orleans has been in a strange rut of either A) not producing offensively or B) when they do produce, it is the undrafted guys and not the stars. I think that changes this week. This is a great week for both Ingram and Kamara to get right against TB. If you think this game blows out, it favors Ingram tremendously. If it stays close, I side with Kamara.
Even with Burkhead back in the mix last week, Michel still saw 17 carries and one target last week against a tough Minnesota run D. This type of volume has him relegated to tourney only, but man this matchup is juicy.
You absolutely can play Aaron Jones this week. I expect his snap share to go up as this is the major reason (not getting Jones enough touches) that people wanted McCarthy fired for. However, I could definitely see Rodgers having a big “F you” game to McCarthy and going out to prove a point showing the team made the best decision to fire him and he throws for four or five TDs. Luckily, this is a good pass catching spot for Jones also.
If Melvin Gordon is out, I will be all aboard the Justin Jackson train. There are reports that the Chargers want to cut Ekeler’s workload back a bit, which leads to more Jackson touches.
CMC gets a great spot here, but he is No. 3 on my big board this week behind Barkley and Zeke.
Zeke is my lock of the week. Dallas is on a roll right now and they get another divisional opponent at home. The Eagles secondary is extremely banged up, which should prevent them from being able to load the box.
Jeff Wilson is going to be my cheap RB to play if Melvin Gordon plays and we don’t get Jackson. I still like Wilson as much as Jackson on DK regardless of the Melvin situation, as Wilson saw nine targets last week.
Gus Edwards gets a good matchup here, but he doesn’t catch passes, which makes me less interested on DK, and he is too expensive on FD. Gonna be a pass for me this week.
This is another week we get to load up on Chubb. The Carolina defense is not as good as advertised and these advanced metrics support that. It is going to be an interesting decision for me this week between Chubb and AJones. I think I side with Chubb because of how high I am on Rodgers.
Last week D.J. was sub-five percent owned and I expect the same thing this week. He gets a good matchup against Detroit and makes for a very interesting tourney play. With Kirk out, he should see a few extra targets.
Barkley is No. 2 on my big board only behind Zeke. I am making every effort I can to play both of them this week. We have recently been loading up on RBs against WAS because they were due to regress. These advanced metrics still think they are very bad against the run.
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.