Devonta Freeman

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.


STUDS

Ezekiel Elliott, DAL vs. MIA, $8,200

Elliott recorded 76% of the snaps and received 25 touches with his first full complement of practices leading up to Week 2 against Washington. This week, he gets the Dolphins, who look unmotivated and not talented enough to hang with a team like the Cowboys at this time in the season. Sony Michel ($6,000) totaled 21 attempts in a blowout win last week; we should expect the same from the league’s top workhorse backs in the fifth highest offense per scoring average.

Projections

Rushing: 20 attempts
Receiving: 4 Targets; 4 Receptions
Total: 24 Touches


Dalvin Cook, MIN vs. OAK, $7,800

Cook’s got the makings of an elite running back and now faces a defense in Oakland which held Chiefs and Broncos’ running backs in check. But now Oakland will face a far more superior player in Cook, who has averaged 23 touches and 132 yards on the ground over the first two weeks. Last season, Oakland gave up the third most attempts and second most yards to opposing backfields, and although the Raiders have done a lot to improve their defense, they now have to travel to Minnesota for their first real test at defending the run. The Vikings are first in run play percentage and have handed the ball off to their running backs 78% of the time at home this season.

Projections

Rushing: 20 attempts
Receiving: 4 Targets; 4 Receptions
Total: 24 Touches


Le’veon Bell, NYJ at NE, $7,000

Playing anyone on the Jets is a risky proposition with Luke Falk ($4,600) under center, but Bell is clearly the only player on this team who is going to get a ton of production if the Jets want to stay competitive in Foxboro. Bell saw 31 total touches in a non-competitive game Monday night against the Browns and now he will face a Patriots defense which performed well in the first two weeks, but had issues with pass-catching backs last season, giving up the 12th most targets and receptions to opposing backfields. Bell’s last meeting against New England was back in 2017, when he totaled 29 touches, 165 total yards and a touchdown.

Projections

Rushing: 21 attempts
Receiving: 7 Targets; 6 Receptions
Total: 27 Touches


VALUES

Devonta Freeman, ATL at IND $5,800

This is a ‘get right’ game for Freeman against the Colts, who have now allowed the sixth most yards per rush attempt and fourth most first downs per game to opponents over the first two weeks. Freeman has shown RB1 upside over his career, but his 50-50 split with Ito Smith ($3,700) and average of 12.5 touches per game will allow him to go unnoticed on the slate. Along with being one of the easiest teams to run against, the Colts may be without their defensive captain and reinging Defensive Rookie of the Year in LB Darius Leonard, who is in concussion protocol.

Projections

Rushing: 15 Attempts
Receiving: 4 Targets; 3 Receptions
Total: 18 Touches


Matt Breida, SF vs. PIT, $5,400

The touch amount wasn’t elite, but Breida’s production was fine in Week 2. He totaled 10.1 yards per attempt and only saw 29% of the snaps compared to Raheem Mostert ($4,700), who saw the most snaps at 47% followed by Jeff Wilson Jr. ($3,000) at 21. Coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense can support multiple runners and I’m sticking with the lead back even with the price increasing by 30% from last week. In the 13 games Breida started last season, he eclipsed double-digit attempts 62% of the time and averaged just over two targets per game; the Steelers have given up the third most rushing attempts, second most targets and second most receptions to opposing backs through the first two weeks.

Projections

Rushing: 14 Attempts
Receiving: 4 Targets; 2 Reception
Total: 16 Touches


T.J. Yeldon, BUF vs. CIN, $3,800

It doesn’t look like Devin Singletary ($4,300) is going to be ready this week, which leaves Frank Gore ($4,400) and Yeldon going up against the Bengals, who have allowed the most DKFP to opposing running backs this season. Gore should handle the early down work, but Yeldon — who has averaged 5% of the offensive snaps and zero touches in the first two weeks — was brought in for his skill set as a pass-catcher. Yeldon averaged 14.5 total touches in five starts in Jacksonville last season.

Projections

Rushing: 7 Attempts
Receiving: 5 Targets; 5 Receptions
Total: 12 Touches


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is reidtfowler) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.