You would be ill advised to spend big money at RB this week.  There simply isn't a player that projects to have a booming 100+ yard day and multiple touchdowns.

Top Rushing Defenses In NFL (Yardage)

TEAMATTYDSYDS/ALONGTDYDS/G
Seattle36213043.6481081.5
NY Jets37313353.645483.4
Denver40813373.3481083.6
Carolina36414153.9631188.4
Pittsburgh38214593.844691.2
Arizona37414603.952991.3
Cincinnati34414774.369892.3

Top Rushing Defenses In NFL (Touchdowns)

TEAMATTYDSYDS/ALONGTDYDS/G
NY Jets37313353.645483.4
Pittsburgh38214593.844691.2
Kansas City38315714.142798.2
St. Louis45318204477113.8
Minnesota41117484.3727109.3
Cincinnati34414774.369892.3
New England3971580448898.8

Here are the five top RB's simply sorted by price.  The only name I will consider here is DeAngelo Williams, though his health is a major concern.  I will be shopping from a different rack this week.  If you want to see the rack I am shopping from, scroll down a little bit.  There might be a player that pops this week from the more expensive group but I am not willing to pay the price to find out.  You are just as likely to get similar production from a player $2-$3K cheaper.

Players I will not be using....


The Seattle rush defense is the #1 rush defense in the NFL.  They have given up a 100+ yard rusher all season.  In addition, the Seahawks have only give up a total of five rushing touchdowns to RB's on the season.  The only player to have multiple touchdowns was Jonathan Stewart back in Week 6.  I am not willing to pay a premium for a 65 yard 0 TD game.

DeAngelo Williams ($7000)

Probably will not play but may have been worth the price of admission.  Need to monitor his health.


He is the 3rd most expensive RB this week and has not played football since Week 10.  We will assume he is a full go for arguments sake.  The Vikings have only given up seven rushing touchdowns to RB's on the season.  There is a statistical anomaly in the Vikings rushing defense.  His name is Carlos Hyde.  His Week 1 168 yard 2 TD day is by far the best day any one RB has had against this Vikings defense.  Lynch is still too rich for my blood.


The Texans have not allowed a rusher over 53 yard over the last four weeks.  Going back to Week 10, they have given up one rushing TD to a RB.  James White punched one through on his ONLY carry of the day.  The Texans have only allowed two rushers to go over 100 yards through 16 games.  In a combined effort, the Texans have only allowed 62 total rushing yards over the last two weeks to five different RB's.  That is an average of 31 YPG.  This price is still too much for me though we are starting to get closer to the rack I will shop from.

Jeremy Hill ($5000)

The Steelers rank in the top 5 of both yardage and touchdowns given up.  The last time these two teams faced off, Hill had 16 yards on just four carries.  The Bengals were down early in the game forcing the Bengals to rely more on the pass.  Traditionally when the Bengals are down, they turn to Gio Bernard as he is far superior in the passing game...hint hint.

Here is the group I am choosing from this week.

1. Giovani Bernard ($4000)


Pittsburgh -2.5
Cincinnati 46

The usage of Hill/Bernard has been dependent on the game flow.  Predicting game flow is one of the hardest things to do in football.  I won't pretend I have a magic eight ball.  Instead, let's take a look at the strength of the Steelers defense.  Their run defense ranks 5th in yardage and 2nd in touchdowns allowed.  Running the ball up the middle would not seem fruitful.  Getting Bernard the ball in space and allowing him to make plays seems like the wiser decision.  The Steelers secondary has been dreadful making tackles.  If the Bengals can successfully get Bernard the ball on the edge through the air, they will have a much higher success rate capitalizing on the Steelers weakness.  Bernard only needs 40 yards rushing and a 3-4 catches to hit 3x value.  That is a more attainable task than relying on Adrian Peterson ($7300) to have to hit 21.9 against the Seahawks defense to reach 3x value.  Bernard has the open field ability and top end speed to take nearly any play for a touchdown.  He has great HR appeal making his ceiling comparatively high and his floor pretty high as well.  The price of Bernard combined with his pass catching ability makes him a very strong DFS play for the Wild Card weekend of the NFL playoffs.

2. Matt Jones ($3900)/Alfred Morris ($3600)


Green Bay 45
Washington -1

NFL Wild Card Weekend DFS RB Plays
Keith Allison Flickr
I would like to recommend Matt Jones here but the news just came out he is still very limited in practice as I am typing this.  Jay Gruden has said "unless Jones get's healthy quick, he will be the odd man out on Sunday".  Assuming Jones is inactive once again due to his hip pointer, Alfred Morris will be the main beneficiary.  Morris would take a heavy dose of the early down work leaving a combination of Pierre Thomas and Chris Thompson to share the passing down work. Morris does not catch the ball very well meaning he will have to get all of his points on the ground. Morris is very capable of rushing the ball 20+ times in a game.  He has done so 21 times throughout his career.  If Morris can pile up 20+ carries, he can topple 100 yards and a score. Matt Jones is a more attractive DK option due to his pass catching ability.  My recommendation will be one of these two backs, we will have to wait and see how Jones practices as the week progresses. Both have a very nice price and both will have the opportunity to score similar DK points compared to the much more expensive backs this week.

3. Fitzgerald Toussaint ($3900)


Pittsburgh -2.5
Cincinnati 46

The Steelers are grasping at straws here with DeAngelo Williams now very questionable for the playoff game with their divisional rival.  This is purely mining for gold in a mine that has produced tons of it in the past.  Toussaint is an unknown talent right now.  He was only able to muster 2.0 YPC last week in the absence of Williams.  He may absolutely flop but he can catch the ball making his value a little more appealing.  There is a strong possibility Toussaint gets a full workload in making his price of $3900 a very good bargain.  The Bengals rush defense is very strong.  I do not expect a 100+ yard performance but again, it is quite possible the Wild Card weekend doesn't produce one.  The point here is, You are only spending $3900 for a decent performance.  If you go Peterson or Lynch, you may very well get a similar performance. Of course the difference is spending $7300/$6500 making 3x and 4x value a humongous mountain to climb.  I would much rather spend the money on the WR position.

I completely understand being tentative here.  It is an absolute roll of the dice and a gut check. Just remember when you are setting your LU's, seven of the top eight rushing defenses are in the playoffs.  Five of them are playing this weekend in the Wild Card round.  The playoffs are vastly different than the regular season and our LU's will reflect those differences.  You will have to pick your poison this week and mine will not be spending a ton of money on RB's.



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