We are just days away from Super Bowl 53, which will involve two of the best offenses in the game going face-to-face. The running back breakdown will feature quick-hitting, actionable data-driven analysis of the NFL’s big finale on Sunday.
Let’s dive in!
Rams RB Todd Gurley
Gurley saw just five touches (four rushes, one reception) against the Saints in the NFC Championship, but head coach Sean McVay has stated that he expects Gurley to “be a big part of this game.” If this comes to fruition, Gurley could be used heavily against the Patriots’ linebacking group in the passing game.
Gurley averaged 5.8 targets per game this season and was third on the team in receiving yards. Overall, he boasts the second-highest floor projection in the FantasyLabs Player Models. Whether you trust Gurley likely comes down to if you believe McVay’s coach speak.
Rams RB C.J. Anderson
While Gurley’s usage has been down, Anderson has seen 40 touches in the Rams’ two playoff games. Their backfield could be difficult to project, but McVay insists that Gurley will be a big part of their game plan.
Given that the Rams are 2.5-point underdogs, it’d make sense for Gurley to see the field the most with his pass-catching ability. Our projections aren’t high on Anderson, giving him a 7.1-point median projection, resulting in a slate-worst -2.57 projected Plus/Minus.
Some sportsbooks presently set his rushing total at 49.5 yards. In the FantasyLabs prop tool, we have him projected for 41.3 yards, giving the under a strong bet quality of eight on a 1-10 scale.
Patriots RB Sony Michel
Michel is on an absurd playoff run, averaging 26.5 rush attempts, 121 rushing yards and 2.5 rushing touchdowns per game. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Patriots attack the Rams on the ground with their third-ranked offensive line in adjusted line yards. The Rams have struggled in run defense this year, ranking 28th in rush DVOA.
Patriots RB James White
White ranked second on the team this year with 7.7 targets per game during the regular season, and the Patriots relied on him heavily against the Chargers, peppering him with 17 targets, which he parlayed into 15 receptions.
Against the Chiefs in the AFC Championship, White saw more modest usage, but he still had six carries and six targets. In this one-game daily fantasy slate, White makes for a safe play with his sixth-highest median projection and third-highest floor projection in the FantasyLabs Player Models.
Patriots RB Rex Burkhead
With 30 snaps in the AFC Championship, Burkhead saw his most snaps since he played 37 in Week 1. However, the Patriots ran an outlandish 97 plays against the Chiefs, 30 more than their seasonal average.
I don’t think it’s likely he sees another 16 touches in this game. A ceiling of 10 touches seems more reasonable given the Patriots’ abundance of backfield weapons.
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Pictured above: Todd Gurley
Photo credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports