Fantasy Football: Week 16 Running Back Touch, Target Projections

Here is where I’ll examine and project touches and targets for four high-priced and four value running backs who can help your Week 16 DraftKings fantasy football lineups.

STUDS

Ezekiel Elliott, DAL vs. TB, $9,000 – Zeke will have another plus matchup back at home where he averages 28 total touches and 24.2 DKFP per game. He gets the Buccaneers, a defense that just gave up 19 DKFP to Gus Edwards ($5,000), another volume-heavy back who lacks the receiving game Elliot has shown this year.

The recipe for beating the Bucs is not a mystery: hand it off to your backs and watch the score rise. Over their last five losses, Tampa Bay has surrendered an average of 32.1 DKFP per game and have given up the fifth-most DKFP (30.4) to opposing running backs. He’s an even better play if we get depressed ownership from the 30 percent that got burned by him last week.

Projections:
Rushing: 21 Attempts
Receiving: 6 Targets; 5 Receptions
Total: 26 Touches



Christian McCaffrey, CAR vs. ATL, $8,000 – With a less than one percent chance to make the playoffs, it’s safe to say the Panthers are playing for the same thing Jacksonville has been playing for over the last few weeks…pride. Since Week 13, we realized Cam Newton has been dealing with a shoulder injury and over those last three games, McCaffrey is averaging 21 total touches and 28.3 DKFP per game. WIth Newton ruled out and most likely done for the season, McCaffrey will need to carry the proverbial load and acquire the majority of Cam’s rush attempts.

The Panthers get an Atlanta rush defense that’s playing better since the return of Deion Jones, but is still giving up the fourth-most DKFP (31) to opposing running backs over the season and is 29th per DVOA to pass-catching running backs. I’m trusting CMC hoping replicates a good portion of his Week 2 performance against the Falcons where he torched them for 14 receptions on 15 targets.

Projections:
Rushing: 17 Attempts
Receiving: 8 Targets; 6 Receptions
Total: 23 Touches



Nick Chubb, CLE vs. CIN, $7,300 – With the regular season coming to a close, Nick Chubb has been one of the better stories and someone I was high on in the draft. It took a Carlos Hyde trade to see this come to fruition and now he gets the No. 1 rush defense for opposing running backs who give up 32.2 DKFP per game: the Cincinnati Bengals.

Since his start in Week 7 against TB, Chubb has averaged 18 DKFP and his targets, which was an early knock on his resume, have steadied around 3.25 per game. The Bengals hold the lowest rank (32nd) in defending the pass to opposing RBs per DVOA. Historically, this would be a great matchup for Duke Johnson Jr. ($3,800), but there is zero trust for a player who’s only averaging 39 percent of the snaps this season and only saw 28 percent of the snaps when these teams met back in Week 12 this season.

Projections:
Rushing: 19 Attempts
Receiving: 4 Targets; 2 Receptions
Total: 21 Touches



David Johnson, ARI vs. LAR, $6,200 – The weekly inner-debate with DJ continues into Week 16 at his lowest price since Week 6. Johnson and the Cardinals are massive underdogs against a Rams team coming off back-to-back losses and is a team that’s beaten the Cardinals by an average of 27 points over their last three meetings.

Johnson doesn’t exactly elicit confidence in this matchup, putting up a paltry 14 total touches last time these teams met, but there is a path to (some) success. The Rams rank 28th in total rush DVOA and 20th in adjusted line yards per DVOA this season. The Rams are also allowing backfields to rush for 103.6 yards/gm, the 10th most rush yards given up to opposing running backs so far this season. He is and always has been a GPP play this season, so stay far away in cash.

Projections:
Rushing: 15 Attempts
Receiving: 7 Targets; 6 Receptions
Total: 21 Touches




VALUES

Leonard Fournette, JAX at MIA, $6,000 – Keeping with the theme of second chances, I’m going back to Fournette, who got one of the biggest salary decreases at $1,500 and sits right above Marlon Mack ($5,500), who just received close to the same salary delta, but with an increase of $1,000.

Fournette saw just 14 total touches in a great matchup last week and the result? Jacksonville recording the ninth lowest time of possession and the lowest number of first downs last week (11). It doesn’t help when the opposing defenses stack the box, Fournette faced the second highest percentage of eight-plus defenders in the box last week (63.64%). Fournette gets another plus matchup against a Miami run defense that ranks 22nd in rush DVOA and gives up the second most rush attempts per game (25.7). The Dolphins are coming off a game where they allowed Dalvin Cook ($6,900) to rush for 7.2 yards per attempt totaling a whopping 32.3 DKFP.

Projections:
Rushing: 19 Attempts
Receiving: 3 Targets; 2 Receptions
Total: 21 Touches



Jamaal Williams, GB vs. NYJ, $5,400 – This tier is a tough one for me, don’t love any of the matchups this week for the $5K-priced backs. Of the backs in this range, Jamaal Williams gets the highest salary increase ($1,900) with Aaron Jones going to the IR and getting this backfield all to himself.

Williams hasn’t eclipsed 19 total touches all season, but the Jets are giving up the ninth most rush attempts per game (22.4) to opposing running backs. Williams is a volume-based RB2 who needs to find the end zone this weekend, it’s a good thing the Jets allow the third most red zone attempts to opponents this season.

Projections:
Rushing: 15 Attempts
Receiving: 4 Targets; 2 Receptions
Total: 17 Touches



Sony Michel, NE vs. BUF, $4,900 – Michel gets a tough matchup against a Buffalo defense that is top-10 in rush DVOA, but does so back in Foxboro where the Patriots run the sixth most rush plays and have the fourth most red zone attempts in the league when playing at home.

Last time these teams meet back in Week 8, James White ($5,200) collected 10 receptions and 79 yards, but with the Patriots being heavily favored, Sony should see the majority of the attempts in a game he missed earlier this season due to injury.

Projections:
Rushing: 15 Attempts
Receiving: 2 Targets; 1 Receptions
Total: 16 Touches



Nyheim Hines, IND vs. NYG, $3,700 – If you want to bargain dive this week, Hines allows us to attack this matchup, box out all those flocking to Marlon Mack at $1,800 more. Mack’s not a bad play, but before he put up 29.9 DKFP against the Cowboys, he was averaging less than 10 DKFP per game over the five games prior, not someone I want to eat the chalk and increased salary on. Hines has now averaged 10 total touches as well as 45 percent of the snaps over the last four games and is still an important cog in Indy’s passing attack, a team who drops back and slings it 62 percent of the time, the ninth most in the league.

Projections:
Rushing: 7 Attempts
Receiving: 5 Targets; 4 Receptions
Total: 11 Touches




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.