Which running backs have the most favorable fantasy matchups? Which backs are in unfavorable spots?
Here’s a breakdown of five notable running backs featured in Sean Koerner, Chris Raybon and Matthew Freedman’s Week 16 fantasy football rankings.
The No. 1 RB
Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers
McCaffrey draws a Falcons defense, which he torched in the passing game earlier in the season, putting up 14 catches and 102 receiving yards on 15 targets.
It’s a dream spot for CMC, as the Falcons are allowing a league-high 61.79 receiving yards per game to opposing running backs. He trails only Ezekiel Elliott in median projections in our FantasyLabs Player Models.
The Most Favorable Matchups
Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
Over the past six weeks, Zeke’s 30.0 touches per game leads all running backs by more than 7.0 touches per game. Up next is a Buccaneers defense that ranks 31st in Football Outsiders’ rush DVOA and is allowing 4.8 yards per attempt and 142.4 rushing yards per game to opposing backfields.
Sunday should set up perfectly for Zeke as the Cowboys are 7.5-point home favorites. His 2.0 average rank is just behind CMC’s 1.7.
Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns
Chubb is heavily involved in the Browns’ offense. Overall, his 73.77% market share of carries is the third-highest among all running backs since Week 10.
During that span, he’s averaging 20.6 touches per game, and this week he draws a matchup against a Bengals defense which has struggled against the run all year, ranking 26th in rushing DVOA.
Last season, it would’ve been hard to fathom a world where the Browns are 9-point home favorites with an implied team total of 27 points, but here we are.
Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers
Gordon (knee) should return to the lineup after he got in a full practice on Tuesday, but he’ll be facing off against one of the stingiest defenses in the league. The Ravens are allowing a league-low 4.7 yards per play, including just 3.8 rushing yards per attempt and 87.6 rushing yards per game.
You can’t sit Gordon since he’s averaged 19.7 touches per game this year, and he’s game-script independent, but fantasy owners in the playoffs would love a softer matchup. He’s still a top-eight back among our rankers.
Only three defenses in the league are allowing fewer than 5.0 yards per play this year:
— Justin Bailey (@justinbailey32) December 18, 2018
Matt Breida, San Francisco 49ers
Breida saw 22 touches last week, but he reportedly also banged up his ankle again. So, you could also include running back Jeff Wilson Jr. in this spot.
It’s hard to imagine the 49ers providing many scoring opportunities for their running backs since the Bears have allowed offenses to score on just 28.9% of their drives. And the 49ers could struggle to move the ball on the ground against a defense surrendering just 83.6 rushing yards per game while allowing a league-low five rushing touchdowns.
Breida is a low-end RB2 this week with an average rank of 26.7.
Want another edge? Be sure to keep up with the week’s news on FantasyLabs.