Throughout the season, we’ll trek through the trenches and project which tailbacks will get the touches and targets in their matchups necessary for us to succeed. Enough postulating and postering (and enough alliterations), let’s get to it.
Alvin Kamara, NO at LAR, $8,200The Rams’ defense must’ve drawn the short straw now having to face another dynamic back in Kamara. Christian McCaffrey scorched the slate against LA last week, scoring 45.9 DKFP with a bevy of those points coming through the air — 11 targets, 10 catches and 81 yards. He also had a smorgasbord of points come from the ground, notching 19 attempts for 128 yards. Even though Kamara received less than 70% of the snaps in Week 1, he was extremely efficient, gaining 7.5 yards per tote and 10.3 yards per reception. Rams gave up the eighth most rushing yards per game to opposing backfields (102.2) last season, and Latavius Murray ($3,700) is also a cheap option in GPPs.
ProjectionsRushing: 16 attempts
Receiving: 9 Targets; 8 Receptions
Total: 24 Touches
Sony Michel, NE at MIA, $6,200
Let’s hope most people flock towards playing the New England pass catchers so we can get Michel at minimal ownership. The Dolphins are atrocious on defense in both the pass and the run, so stacking this game is not a bad strategy this week. New England held the seventh highest percentage in run-play percentage and ranked third in rushing touchdowns per game in 2018. This game might be lopsided in New England’s favor by the third quarter, so let’s hope Michel’s gets the ball early and often like he did last week, getting three of the first five run plays of the game and more than 50% of the carries in last week’s blowout. Rex Burkhead ($3,800) is a cheap option as well.
ProjectionsRushing: 17 attempts
Receiving: 1 Targets; 1 Receptions
Total: 18 Touches
Derrick Henry, TEN v. IND, $6,000
The Titan train keeps on trucking, baby! Coming off of a record-setting finish last season and picking up right where he left off, Henry will be a solid play this week going up against a defense that allowed Austin Ekeler ($6,100) to have a career day last week, gaining 154 total yards on 18 total touches. This game script should be close with the Titans only giving three points to the Colts, meaning we’ll get more of Henry throughout the entire game. The Colts will load the box against Henry as the Browns did (Henry ranked as the fourth highest running back in eighth-plus defenders in the box) in Week 1, but of the top five backs in rush attempts, Henry ranked first in efficiency.
ProjectionsRushing: 20 attempts
Receiving: 2 Targets; 2 Receptions
Total: 22 Touches
Damien Williams, KC at OAK, $5,800A lot of speculation surrounded Williams before Week 1 against a tough Jacksonville run defense, but he came through for fantasy owners with 18.5 DKFP. Myles Jack getting ejected might’ve opened up some running lanes, but Williams’ success aligns much more with how efficient the Chiefs’ offense is as opposed to the deficiencies of the defense. Both Chiefs running backs experienced less than 8% of eighth-plus defenders in the box per Next Gen Stats because of the speed the Kansas City receivers have. Williams is the lead back, and his 20 snaps in the first half (compared to five for LeSean McCoy) along with his 63% of the total touches amongst the backfield proves Andy Reid is sticking to his word (so far). McCoy ($4,700) will be a factor every week, but this is a game with an over/under set at 52, so it can support multiple fantasy-friendly options.
ProjectionsRushing: 16 Attempts
Receiving: 5 Targets; 5 Receptions
Total: 21 Touches
James White, NE at MIA, $5,100
The game script could, and should, produce fantasy opportunity for the Patriots’ running backs, which is why you can make a case for rostering any combination of the three between White, Sony Michel ($6,200) and/or Rex Burkhead ($3,800). In White’s two games against Miami last season, he totaled 14 targets, 10 catches and 12 attempts while accumulating two total touchdowns and 140 total yards. The Dolphins don’t have a linebacker nor a nickel corner/defensive back to stick with White.
ProjectionsRushing: 6 Attempts
Receiving: 8 Targets; 7 Reception
Total: 13 Touches
Chris Thompson, WAS v. DAL, $3,900
If game script goes as planned for Washington (more so than last week), we should see a ton of Thompson, who played 64% of the snaps last week. Dallas is coming off of an impressive offensive performance last week and should keep it going against a defense that allowed the Eagles to score 25 points in the second half. Adrian Peterson ($3,400) gets the early work, but with Dallas favored by 4.5 points on the road, expect more of the same from Thompson in Week 2.
ProjectionsRushing: 4 Attempts
Receiving: 9 Targets; 8 Receptions
Total: 12 Touches
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