Fantasy Football: Week 5 Running Back Touch and Target Projections

WATCH: Is Melvin Gordon the top ‘Blazin’ Game Day Pick?


STUDS

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Christian McCaffrey, CAR vs. NYG, $8,000 — With Alvin Kamara ($9,600) and Ezekiel Elliot ($8,400) not on the main slate this week, Christian McCaffrey fits right in as my top play coming off a bye. He energized and ready to face the Giants, a team giving up the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. This is partially due to the Giants’ top-10 pass defense with Janoris Jenkins shutting down opposing No. 1 receivers, but also due to their inability to get to the quarterback, being tied for last in the league in total sacks (5); opposing teams have run the ninth-most plays against them this year (60.2/game).

The Giants’ run defense is sixth best in targets (37) and tied for first in touchdowns (7) for opposing running backs. McCaffrey saw 100% of the snaps last week, it’s safe to say the Panthers are feeding their bellcow.

Projections:
Rushing: 15 Attempts
Receiving: 9 Targets; 7 Receptions
Total: 22 Touches


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James Conner, PIT vs. ATL, $7,500 — James Conner has taken a precipitous nosedive after a hot start with back-to-back games rushing a combined 24 attempts for 80 yards. This coupled with the recent news of Le’Veon Bell looking to report to the Steelers during the Week 7 bye have some people quivering at Conner’s future outlook. Rightfully so, Bell will eat into his production, but not for a little while longer and his matchup against the Falcons this week is too good to pass up.

Atlanta’s defense is giving up the third-most fantasy points per game (35.9) to opposing running backs, and although Conner has had down games over the last two weeks, the backfield still runs through him since he’s averaging 84% of the snaps.

Projections:
Rushing: 17 Attempts
Receiving: 7 Targets; 5 Receptions
Total: 22 Touches


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David Johnson, ARI at SF, $6,300 — David Johnson achieved his highest DraftKings total in Week 4 with 19.2 points on 17 attempts, 71 yards rushing and 41 receiving yards; all season highs. He’s now priced $300 cheaper than he was last week in a plus matchup in San Francisco, a team that is currently is giving up the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs (30.9).

This should also be a slow-paced game with both Arizona (49.5) and San Francisco (60.8) both rank in the bottom five in total plays run this season. With an increasing snap count week-over-week (91% in Week 4), David Johnson has the potential to have back-to-back productive weeks.

Projections:
Rushing: 16 Attempts
Receiving: 6 Targets; 5 Receptions
Total: 21 Touches


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Matt Breida, SF vs. ARI, $5,700 — While I don’t like the price jump of $1,100 from last week, Matt Breida’s matchup is too good to potential pass up. He’s clearly the lead back in San Francisco seeing a 20% increase in snap count from Week 3 to Week 4. He’s only averaging 10 attempts per game so far, but he should see an uptick in all categories going up against the Cardinals, a team that’s giving up the second most fantasy points to opposing running backs (38) and the most rush attempts (124) through the first four weeks.

Projections:
Rushing: 11 Attempts
Receiving: 5 Targets; 4 Receptions
Total: 15 Touches


Values:

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Javorius “Buck” Allen, BAL at CLE, $4,700 — Never thought Buck Allen would be considered the goal-line guy, but Allen is the Baltimore back who gets the goal-line touches making his value and upside a nice play.
Averaging 46% of the snaps, Allen is listed as the second string running back, but has become the lead back in the passing game averaging twice as many targets per game over Alex Collins ($5,000).

The Ravens travel to Cleveland for Baker Mayfield’s first home game and may find themselves in more passing situations and a potential shootout. For $300 cheaper, I’ll take Allen who’s totaled the same amount of rushing attempts (8) as Collins inside the 20, but has more attempts inside the five-yard line (4) and more touchdowns (3) as a result.

Projections:
Rushing: 10 Attempts
Receiving: 5 Targets; 4 Receptions
Total: 14 Touches


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Bilal Powell, NYJ vs. DEN, $4,400 — The backfield for the Jets leaves fantasy owners is a state of mire every week solely dependant on game flow. If the Jets are winning Isaiah Crowell ($4,100) is the guy, and if the Jets are down early and need to play catch up, Bilal Powell is the guy to own.

Since Week 2, the Jets have averaged 13 points per game and have the third worst offense through the first quarter of the season. With Sam Darnold ($4,700) struggling and the Broncos recovering from a tough loss on Monday night, we should see the Jets being down at home and having to turn to Powell once again this week. Powell is averaging 52% of the snaps and three more targets with only one less attempt per game over Crowell.

Projections:
Rushing: 12 Attempts
Receiving: 6 Targets; 5 Receptions
Total: 17 Touches



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Aaron Jones, GB at DET, $4,300 — This could be the game where we see Aaron Jones take the No. 1 spot in the Green Bay backfield. I first referenced Jones in Week 3, mentioning his low snap count, but high expected efficiency and that’s what we’ve gotten over the past two weeks: 6.3 yards per carry on 31% of the snaps.

Aaron Jones will be able to pick apart Detroit’s run defense with ease who is giving up the fourth most DK fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, is conceding 26 rushing attempts per game, and is allowing teams to convert on 75% of their pass targets to running backs.

Projections:
Rushing: 14 Attempts
Receiving: 4 Targets; 4 Receptions
Total: 18 Touches



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Austin Ekeler, LAC vs. OAK $4,200 — This is the second time I’m bringing up Ekeler this season and rightfully so; he’s in a prime spot against a Raiders team that bolsters the second-worst run defense in yards per attempt (5.6) so far in the NFL. I don’t mind if you want to pay up for Melvin Gordon ($8,600), he’s a lock in cash games, but Eckler provides a greater return averaging 47 yards on the ground and 40 yards through the air.

Ekeler has outperformed his projections in all but one game this season and has only missed on one of his 14 targets. In the first four weeks, Oakland is giving up the third most rushing yards (478) and touchdowns (4) to opposing running backs.

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


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