Hey there. If you weren’t already aware, you’re reading Part-2 of a 4-Part breakdown on this week’s Wildcard Weekend DFS slate. In this article, we’re breaking down all relevant RBs, after already covering QBs (here).
We have an exciting collection of teams featuring the best-of-the-best facing off in the Wildcard Round of the playoffs. Follow along as we examine each positional grouping for each team to identify the DFS value/upside on both DraftKings and FanDuel.
Before digging too deep into the individual players, I did want to mention a few important notes this week:
1) On a typical full-game slate, I want to feel comfortable with every player I’m rostering. Ideally, even my punt-plays are tremendous values with high-upside. On a shorter slate like this (6 games or 3 games depending on which tournament you enter) it’s okay to roster a relatively “gross” name if you feel they give you a stronger lineup overall – allowing you to pay up elsewhere.
2) I can’t stress enough the importance of late-swap on these smaller slates. If you have any tournament lineups that seem unlikely to cash, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by adding exposure to some “riskier” lower-owned players. And, I suppose, there is something of an edge towards players with games later in the weekend.
3) In the TLDR, I’ve listed out the top RB plays in order of value (according to me). This isn’t super strict. And in some cases sort of arbitrary. But it also doesn’t matter anywhere near as much as most of my readers think it does. What really matters, and especially with this short slate, is that you’re building a lineup that’s well correlated. Or, as Johnny would say, “That tells a story.” And making sure you’re paying attention to ownership and then working off of that. Is Ezekiel Elliott a better play than Elijah Mitchell? On paper, and in cash, it’s Mitchell. But in tournaments, it depends. Who will be more highly owned? Elliott might make more sense if fading Jimmy Garoppolo and his pass-catchers and stacked with Dallas’ DST.
In order, with Tier 1 in bold:
DK: Leonard Fournette, Joe Mixon, Darrel Williams, Elijah Mitchell, Devin Singletary, Sony Michel, Josh Jacobs
FD: Leonard Fournette, Joe Mixon, Darrel Williams, Devin Singletary, Josh Jacobs, Sony Michel, Elijah Mitchell
Notes: If Clyde Edwards-Helaire is out, Darrel Williams would become the best value RB of the slate on either site. If James Conner is out, Chase Edmonds would become the best value RB of the slate on either site, ahead of Darrel Williams.
Note: This is in reference to the 6-game slate
Update: CEH has been ruled out. This makes Darrel Williams a top-3 RB play on both sites. And we can obviously disregard the strategy notes below in regards to how to handle this specific backfield. Just play Williams.
We have a pair of questionable RBs whose absence would massively impact the slate in James Conner and Clyde Edwards-Helaire. With both players slated to play in the final 2 games of the slate, this creates a significant problem: how do we project these backfields optimally?
For cash, risk mitigation is the name of the game. If you play Edmonds or Williams in anticipation of either CEH or Conner being inactive, and they suit up, you’re toast (although swapping from Williams to Michel on DraftKings is no problem given Michel is $100 cheaper). So, unless we get any additional info on their statuses prior to the Saturday games kicking off, we are pretty much only looking at Fournette, Mixon, and either Elijah Mitchell (DK) or Devin Singletary (FD) in cash on both sites.
But for tournaments, we can get a bit more creative. My general strategy is to boost both Edmonds’ and Williams’ projections by roughly 20-30% each, while reducing my Conner and CEH projections by roughly the same amount. That accomplishes two things:
1. Makes my lineups overweight Williams and Edmonds, which we obviously want if they control their respective backfields. And at least with Williams, we have an obvious pivot to Sony Michel in the Monday night game should CEH be active. Michel is $100 more expensive than Williams on FanDuel, so FD lineups using Williams should leave $100 on the table just in case. Granted, if Conner were active, we really wouldn’t have a way to swap off Edmonds, so he’s the much riskier play between the two to be overweight.
2. Keeps CEH and Conner in some of my lineups. I would imagine most players will remove them from their player pools. So, with either RB, it would likely only take 10-15% exposure to be overweight the field if they’re active. And this carries little risk given we can simply swap to the other backfield option on both sites if either CEH or Conner is inactive.
Or alternatively, we can simply load up on Sony Michel on both sites, while making sure to leave $100 extra in our DraftKings lineups in the event CEH is ruled out and we want to swap to Darrel Williams. The only significant problem with this route is that if both Conner and CEH are active, then we will wind up massively overweight the field on Michel, who carries his own risks as a play (outlined below).
And we also have Leonard Fournette, who appears truly questionable and plays in the 3rd game of the slate. On DraftKings, I view the optimal route as fairly simple. We project Fournette as if he’s starting, while giving a slight boost to Ke’Shawn Vaughn. And If Fournette is inactive, we can easily swap to Elijah Mitchell, Sony Michel, CEH (if active), or sacrifice some salary to get down to Ke’Shawn Vaughn. Granted, if Lenny is active, swapping off Vaughn is tough, and we’d likely be forced into playing Cam Akers or Brandon Bolden. So that’s why I’d give my Vaughn projections only a slight boost on DK, to avoid that situation as much as possible.
On Fanduel, I’d bump Fournette’s projection down slightly, while giving a larger boost to Ke’Shawn Vaughn. This is because we have fewer options to swap off Fournette (Elijah Mitchell is more expensive), and we have superior ways to swap off Vaughn (Cam Akers, or preferably, Rhamondre Stevenson).
Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals (VS. LV)
This is close to a perfect spot for Mixon [RB1/RB1]. Cincinnati offers a 27.5-point implied team total (3rd-most of the slate) and is favored by 5.5-points (also 3rd-most). In his career, when the Bengals are favored by 3.0-points or more (14 instances), Mixon averages 20.9 DraftKings FPG and 18.5 FanDuel FPG. Both marks would lead all slate-eligible RBs. And when the Bengals implied team total is over 25.5-points, Mixon averages an even more impressive 24.5 DraftKings FPG and 21.8 FanDuel FPG (10 instances).
So when we factor that Las Vegas has allowed the 4th-most schedule-adjusted FPG to opposing RBs (+3.6), Mixon is clearly the best RB play of the slate, right? While I lean yes, it’s worth noting that the Bengals last 2 games with Joe Burrow under center resulted in a 68% pass rate on 1st and 2nd downs — the most in the NFL over that stretch by nearly +3%. And Mixon saw just 10.0 XFP and scored only 7.0 fantasy points in Week 15, but saw 26.0 XFP and scored 31.5 fantasy points in Week 16. So I think it’s fair to say the pass-heavy approach for Cincinnati adds significant volatility to Mixon’s weekly expectation, even in games they win. And in the worst-case scenario of the Raiders controlling and winning the game, Mixon also likely busts given he’s averaged just 13.2 FPG in losses over the past 3 seasons.
But regardless of the wide range of outcomes, he needs to be viewed as a top-3 RB value (and a strong pairing with Bengals D/ST) on both sites given the favorable matchup and just how well he’s crushed similar Vegas environments in the past.
Notable Correlations: Bengals D/ST (0.19), Joe Burrow (0.00)
Najee Harris, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers (@ KC)
Harris [RB2/RB3] has earned at least 16.5 XFP in each of his last 5 games, but his scores have been all over the map, with 2 games of 22.4 fantasy points or more, one game of 11.0 points, and 2 more games at 5.5 points or less. Over the full season, he has 4 games of 5.5 fantasy points or less, which is 4 more than both Joe Mixon and Leonard Fournette. So, right off the bat, it’s clear Najee has some serious downside potential, despite the fantastic season-long workload of 17.8 XFP per game (3rd among slate-eligible RBs).
Najee’s greatest strength (at least relative to the other RBs on the slate) is his receiving ability. He averages 5.5 targets per game (2nd-most among slate-eligible RBs), and the good news for Harris is that the Chiefs are allowing the 3rd-most receiving FPG (12.3) to opposing RBs this season (and most on the slate). So even in the likely scenario Pittsburgh gets blown out as 12.5-point underdogs, Harris can still get there. Still, he hasn’t posted any stellar performances in comparable scenarios, averaging 15.0 DraftKings FPG and 12.9 FanDuel FPG when the Steelers are 6.5-point underdogs or more (4 instances).
Given he’s similarly priced to Joe Mixon (who is likely to be much higher-owned) on both sites, my favorite way to play Najee is as a contrarian pivot off the Mixon chalk, or in lineups that anticipate the incredibly unlikely scenario of a Chiefs loss, paired with Ben Roethlisberger, or even Steelers D/ST despite their negative correlations. While that’s my favorite way to play Najee, I’ll have limited exposure overall.
Notable Correlations: Steelers D/ST (-0.25), Ben Roethisberger (0.22)
Josh Jacobs, RB, Las Vegas Raiders (@ CIN)
Jacobs [RB3/RB8] has dominated the Raiders backfield as of late, earning 75% of backfield XFP over the last 3 games. He’s been much more involved as a receiver this season, seeing his targets per game jump from 3.0 in 2020 to 4.3. And while we’d like to think that additional receiving involvement has lessened his gamescript dependency, Jacobs is still averaging 2.9 more FPG in wins (16.4) than losses (13.5). And across his full career, +8.0 more FPG in wins. So, as 5.5-point underdogs, we can’t call this a favorable setup for Jacobs, at least from a gamescript perspective.
For cash games, Jacobs can only be considered on FanDuel. And while I don’t hate the play, I do think there are better options at a nearly identical price (Fournette and Mitchell), so most of our Jacobs exposure should be coming in tournaments. And that likely means placing Jacobs in lineups that anticipate a Raiders win, stacked with the Raiders D/ST or as part of Raiders onslaught stacks with Derek Carr and Hunter Renfrow or even Darren Waller (despite the negative correlation). I also don’t mind Jacobs as a bring back to Bengals stacks, but I think he has far greater chances of busting in the event of a Bengals win than, say, Renfrow or Waller, so those two would be my preferred choices in lineups with Burrow and his WRs.
Notable Correlations: Raiders D/ST (0.30), Derek Carr (0.07), Hunter Renfrow (0.15), Darren Waller (-0.30)
New England RBs (@ BUF)
The New England ground game has been nothing short of outstanding for fantasy football this season. The Patriots rank 8th in rush attempts per game (28.8), but 2nd in backfield FPG (30.2, just 0.1 behind Indianapolis). And I suspect, for their 3rd game against Buffalo this season, that the backfield will be relied on even more heavily than normal.
In two games against Buffalo this year, Mac Jones is averaging 8.0 completions, 82.0 yards, 0.0 touchdowns, 1.0 interception, and 1.0 fumble per game. And well, lol.
He’s not at all in play for me. The on-paper matchup is brutal, and I think New England leans as run-heavy as possible, as they did in both games earlier this year, and as have most teams have done against Buffalo this year — their defense leads the league in run rate over expectation (+5.4%).
And it’s not hard to see why. Opposing QBs are averaging a passer rating of just 65.3 against them, which ranks 3rd-best this past decade. Meanwhile, opposing RBs have averaged 5.35 YPC or better against them in 5 of their last 7 games.
In the 10 games both Damien Harris [RB4/RB5] and Rhamondre Stevenson [RB19/RB26] were healthy, Harris posted the higher score 7 times. I like both RBs paired with the New England defense, but there may be some merit to playing the duo of Stevenson and Harris in the same lineup (in large field tournaments), as they’ve combined for 33.0 or more points twice, and offer a solid positive correlation of 0.30.
When deciding between Harris and Stevenson, things get tricky. Both players offer almost no receiving involvement, with each RB averaging less than 2.0 targets per game. So, in the likely event the Patriots fall behind as 4.0-point underdogs, it’s difficult to see either Stevenson or Harris posting a tournament winning score. In the last 8 games where both RBs were healthy, Harris has seen a better workload (by XFP) in 5 games, and averages 1.1 more XFP per game (10.4) more than Stevenson (9.3). But with Harris 27% more expensive on DraftKings and 31% more expensive on FanDuel, I think Stevenson is clearly the better value given he’s seen just 11% less volume per game (measured by XFP).
And then there’s Brandon Bolden [RB26/RB29]. He’s run 44% of backfield routes across the full season and averages 3.0 targets per game – by far the most among NE RBs. He’s had 5 games of 10.0 or more PPR points, and while only 2 of those games have come in losses, the remaining 3 have come in games New England won by 41 points, 18 points, and 38 points. The 3.8 targets per game Bolden averages in losses is still worth mentioning, as he makes for a viable run back candidate on Bills stacks in massive field tournaments or in Saturday 2-game slate lineups that need to get unique.
Notable Correlations (Damien Harris): Patriots D/ST (-0.27), Mac Jones (-0.01), Brandon Bolden (0.11), Rhamondre Stevenson (0.30)
Notable Correlations (Rhamondre Stevenson): Patriots D/ST (0.19), Mac Jones (0.32), Brandon Bolden (-0.13), Damien Harris (0.30)
Notable Correlations (Brandon Bolden): Patriots D/ST (-0.09), Mac Jones (0.29), Rhamondre Stevenson (-0.13), Damien Harris (0.11)
Arizona RBs (@ LA)
Both James Conner [RB5/RB2] and Chase Edmonds [RB17/RB13] are questionable with rib injuries. Edmonds appears closer to probable, while Conner sets up as a gametime decision. Should neither play, Eno Benjamin becomes far and away the best value RB play of the slate, at just $4,000 on DraftKings and $5,300 on FanDuel. We have a 10 game sample of Kingsbury relying on his RB2 when the RB1 is inactive, amounting to 22.4 XFP per game and 24.2 FPG. So, we would have to assume if both of Kingsbury’s top RBs are out, the RB3 would get full-on bell cow treatment. Granted, Jonathan Ward could also see additional involvement, but he left Week 18 early with a knee injury and is also questionable this week.
And obviously, if only one of Conner or Edmonds is active, then they immediately become either a top-3 RB value on both sites (Conner) or the overall best value at any position on both sites (Edmonds).
Should both Conner and Edmonds suit up, things get messy. In the first 8 games of the season, with both players healthy, Conner averaged 9.0 XFP per game and 11.5 FPG, while Edmonds averaged 12.6 XFP per game and 12.2 FPG. So, all things equal, Edmonds is the preferable play given he’s seen better volume and posted better results with both players active. He’s also $1,300 cheaper on DraftKings and $1,600 cheaper on FanDuel, which really makes deciding between these 2 players quite easy. Plus, with Conner banged up, Edmonds is likely in line for additional work even if Conner is active.
With that said, everyone is going to prefer Edmonds to Conner if both players are active. And while that’s largely correct, Conner is the goalline back, recording 80% of goalline carries when both players were healthy. He had 3 games of 2 rushing TDs (during the 8 game stretch with both RBs active), so one contrarian way to approach this backfield is playing Conner alongside the Cardinals defense, or as a run back to Rams’ stacks with the assumption Arizona gets out to an early lead and Conner can fall into the end zone a couple times. I also don’t mind Edmonds paired with Kyler Murray (and another pass catching option), given their 0.17 positive correlation and the fact Edmonds averages 4.4 targets per game.
Notable Correlations (James Conner): Cardinals D/ST (0.02), Chase Edmonds (-0.31), Kyler Murray (-0.31)
Notable Correlations (Chase Edmonds): Cardinals D/ST (-0.28), James Conner (-0.31), Kyler Murray (0.17)
Dallas RBs (VS. SF)
Tony Pollard [RB14/RB17] is back at practice this week, and appears likely to play. Assuming he suits up, Ezekiel Elliott [RB6/RB4] will be removed from the cash game conversation on both sites.
Still, both players shape up as fine plays individually, with Zeke’s RB6 salary on DraftKings representing a slight discount relative to his 15.3 XFP per game (5th among slate-eligible RBs), and Pollard’s RB14 DraftKings salary mirroring his FPG of 10.6 (14th among slate-eligible RBs).
For tournaments, there’s a wide variety of ways we can approach this duo. Neither Elliott nor Pollard has eclipsed 17.0 fantasy points in a Dallas loss this season, so lineups using either player should be mostly geared towards a Dallas win, which currently sits at a roughly 61% probability, per Vegas.
And given the duo has averaged 29.5 FPG in wins, compared to just 20.1 in losses, I think there’s strong merit to playing both Zeke and Pollard in the same lineup in large field GPPs and small slate (Sunday only) tournaments. The pair has actually exceeded 34.0 combined fantasy points on 4 occasions this season, all of which were wins. At their current DraftKings salaries, Pollard and Zeke combining for 34.0 fantasy points would result in a 2.98X value. And with a massive positive correlation of 0.69, this pair’s fantasy success is clearly intertwined.
With both backs boasting a positive correlation with the Dallas D/ST, another easy way to make a unique lineup would be by stacking Pollard, Zeke, and the Dallas D/ST, while otherwise playing chalk. Given most DFS players are committed to playing only 1 RB per game, this represents a unique way to gain significant positively correlated exposure to Dallas and their 26.75 implied team total (4th-largest on the slate).
If just choosing one of these players, while Pollard is certainly viable, my preference would be Zeke given he offers more XFP per dollar of DraftKings salary (2.50X, 3rd-best among slate-eligible RBs) and he’s averaged 20.5 DraftKings FPG and 17.4 FanDuel FPG in his career when the Cowboys implied team total is over 26.0 (41 instances). Plus he averages 18.1 FPG in Dallas wins with Pollard active this year, and if he just hits that number this week, he’s a 2.97X DK value.
Notable Correlations (Ezekiel Elliott): Cowboys D/ST (0.34), Tony Pollard (0.69), Dak Prescott (0.06)
Notable Correlations (Tony Pollard): Cowboys D/ST (0.13), Ezekiel Elliott (0.69), Dak Prescott (-0.30)
Tampa Bay RBs (VS. PHI)
Bruce Arians says he feels pretty good about the availability of Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul but Lavonte David and Leonard Fournette are more questionable.— Scott Smith (@ScottSBucs) January 14, 2022
Leonard Fournette [RB7/RB7] has been designated to return from IR, but Bruce Arians has suggested he’s truly questionable to play this week. If Fournette suits up, he’s easily a top-3 RB value on both sites, and I think right there with Joe Mixon as the top RB play of the week.
Among slate-eligible RBs, Fournette ranks 1st in XFP per salary (3.06X), 1st in targets per game (6.2), 1st in FPG (18.3), 2nd in XFP/G (18.1), 3rd in goalline opportunities per game (1.0), and tied for 1st in XTD per game (0.8). Given he’s the RB7 (by salary) on both sites, he’s such a glaring value that he’s sure to be one of, if not the, highest-owned RB on both sites in all formats.
But if Fournette can’t go, things get tough. Ronald Jones appears unlikely to be able to play this week, and if neither Jones nor Fournette plays, then we are left with Ke’Shawn Vaughn [RB20/RB19] and Le’Veon Bell [RB19/RB29]. We saw the Bucs trot that duo out in Week 18 (with no Jones or Fournette) and Vaughn handled 45% of snaps and 50% of backfield opportunities, compared to 38% of snaps for Bell and 17% of backfield opportunities. So Vaughn would be the preferably play between the two if Fournette sits, especially on DraftKings where Vaughn and Bell are priced within $100 of each other.
Notable Correlations (Leonard Fournette): Buccaneers D/ST (-0.01), Tom Brady (-0.35)
Devin Singletary, RB, Buffalo Bills (VS. NE)
Devin Singletary [RB8/RB9] appears to be a bell cow. He’s hit at least a 68% snap share in each of his last 5 games, something he did only 3 times in his previous 11 games. And over the last 5 games, he’s averaged 19.7 FPG, 3.4 targets per game, and 15.8 XFP per game (Weeks 14 through 17). Among slate-eligible RBs, those numbers rank 1st (by 1.4 FPG), 8th, and 5th. And yet, Singletary is priced as the RB8 on DraftKings and the RB9 on FanDuel.
DFS sites are completely refusing to acknowledge that Singletary is seeing an RB1 workload. And given he’s earned 91% of backfield red zone opportunities and 100% of backfield goalline opportunities in that stretch, he also carries solid TD equity should Buffalo light up the scoreboard.
Plus this is a compelling matchup, with 24.4% of receiving fantasy points scored against New England coming from opposing RBs — the highest mark on the slate by more than 3%.
Singletary can be regarded as a fringe cash game play on both sites, but an excellent tournament play, assuming he isn’t one of the highest-owned RBs of the slate (which he will likely be).
Notable Correlations: Bills D/ST (0.20), Josh Allen (-0.09)
Kansas City RBs (VS. PIT)
The Chiefs are ruling RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire out of the game vs. Pittsburgh, Andy Reid said.
— Lindsay Jones (@bylindsayhjones) January 14, 2022
Darrel Williams (toe) [RB12/RB12] is questionable but expected to play, while Clyde Edwards-Helaire (shoulder) has been ruled out.
Edwards-Helaire has missed 7 games this season, and in those contests, Williams has averaged 17.5 FPG and 17.4 XFP/G. Among slate eligible RBs this season, those numbers rank 4th and 3rd, respectively. So with CEH ruled out, Williams has to be considered a top-3 RB value and a cash game lock on both sites.
Derrick Gore and Jerrick McKinnon should also rotate in, but given Williams earned 70% of backfield XFP in CEH’s absence this season, I can’t say either Gore or McKinnon are in play.
Notable Correlations (Darrel Williams): Chiefs D/ST (0.03), Patrick Mahomes (0.15), CEH (0.27)
Notable Correlations (Clyde Edwards-Helaire): Chiefs D/ST (0.21), Patrick Mahomes (-0.11), Darrel Williams (0.27)
Elijah Mitchell, RB, San Francisco 49ers (@ DAL)
The 2nd-half of Mitchell’s [RB11/RB5] 2021 campaign was largely derailed by injuries, but in his last 5 games, he was very much a bell cow and a highest-end workhorse, earning at least 21 touches in every contest and recording 85% of backfield XFP (excluding Week 18, no data). But, over that same stretch, Mitchell still wasn’t very consistent, scoring 17.4 fantasy points or more 3 times, and falling under 10.0 fantasy points twice.
Perhaps that inconsistency has to do with Deebo Samuel’s emergence as a rusher? In Mitchell’s last 5 games, Deebo has averaged 5.2 carries per game, but more importantly, he’s seeing carries where it matters most. Over that same stretch, Deebo has captured 40% of team red zone carries (and scored 4 rushing TDs), alongside 25% of goalline carries. So, Mitchell is in this strange spot where he sees incredible volume, but is losing high-value touches to a truly generational player in Deebo.
But even with a tough on-paper matchup and Deebo vulturing Mitchell’s high-value carries, his RB11 price tag on DraftKings makes little sense given he’s averaging 15.1 FPG this season (6th among slate-eligible RBs). Mitchell profiles as both a potential cash game play and highly-owned tournament RB on DratKings, but I think I’ll end up with more tournament exposure on FanDuel, where he should be much lower-owned as the RB6 (by salary), but still offers GPP-winning upside.
Notable Correlations: 49ers D/ST (-0.23), Jimmy Garoppolo (-0.12), Deebo Samuel (0.09)
Los Angeles RBs (VS. ARI)
Sony Michel [RB13/RB10] has seen at least 20 touches in every game he’s played since Week 13. But similar to Elijah Mitchell, his scores haven’t exactly been consistent, despite the bell cow workload. Over his last 6 contests, Michel has 3 games with 18.9 fantasy points or more, 2 games with less than 8.0 fantasy points, and another game with 13.5. And his 2 worst games in that stretch came against 2 of the top-10 toughest defenses for opposing RBs by schedule-adjusted FPG allowed (SF and ARI).
And this week, Michel faces an even better run defense in Dallas. The Cowboys have allowed the 3rd-fewest schedule-adjusted FPG to opposing RBs (-4.2). So if Michel is especially susceptible to tough opposing defenses, he may be in for something akin to a floor game this weekend.
And then there’s the ultimate unknown in this backfield: just how much will Cam Akers [RB27/RB20] play? Akers logged a 26% snap share and 8 touches last week in a game where he was expected to be limited. Could those numbers double for the playoffs? If so, this all of a sudden becomes a pure RBBC, and that would basically cast both backs into fantasy irrelevancy given the backfield itself only averages 18.7 FPG (5th-lowest among all teams).
So, Michel offers the double whammy of a tough matchup and the potential of a RBBC between him and Akers. I would suspect these factors would combine to lower Michel’s ownership a bit, and at least for tournaments, he’s very much still in play as the RB13 (by salary) on DraftKings and the RB10 on FanDuel. Should he retain his normal role from the past 5 weeks, he’s a clear value, and arguably a cash game play on DraftKings. But if Akers sees additional usage, Michel becomes more of a trap play, and I think I’ll wind up underweight in tournaments in anticipation of that possibility.
Notable Correlations (Sony Michel): Rams D/ST (0.54), Matthew Stafford (-0.32)
Philadelphia RBs (@ TB)
Miles Sanders [RB15/RB15] is questionable after missing Week 18 with a broken hand, but appears to have a decent chance to play this weekend, barring any setbacks.
If Sanders plays, it’s not unreasonable to expect him to return to the workload he saw in week 13 and 15, when he averaged 23.5 touches per game, 15.2 XFP/G, and 16.9 FPG. Among slate-eligible RBs, 15.2 XFP/G would rank 6th-best, while 16.9 FPG would rank 5th-best, setting Sanders up as a clear value priced as the RB15 on both sites.
But I’m not sure we can consider things that clear. For one, Sanders' broken hand could cause Philadelphia to limit his workload. The matchup is fairly brutal too, with Tampa Bay giving up the fewest rushing FPG to opposing RBs (8.0). And teams don’t even try to run on Tampa Bay, as the 250 carries they’ve allowed this season is 38 less than the next-closest team, while their 3.98 YPC allowed ranks as 9th-toughest. So, low volume and rushing inefficiency are some serious risks here. And that could be a death blow for Sanders as he only averages 2.8 targets per game and is typically taken off the field for Boston Scott or Kenneth Gainwell when the Eagles need to throw.
But should Sanders manage to log a full practice this week, he’s still in play for tournaments just based on projected touch volume. Still, the matchup is so tough that tournament exposure to Sanders should remain limited across the board.
Should Sanders sit, Boston Scott [RB20/RB15] is the Eagles RB who would likely see the most usage as a result. Scott has averaged a backfield-best 11.9 XFP/G in the 4 games without Sanders prior to Week 18, including a 21.1 XFP outing in Week 17. He also earned 88% of backfield targets and 41% of goalline carries – the same percentage as ‘short yardage specialist’ Jordan Howard. So in the event Sanders is out, Scott would need to be considered a value (especially at $4,500 on DraftKings), at least on paper. But I don’t think any Eagles RB can be considered a compelling play given Philadelphia’s poor 19.25 implied team total and this tough opposing run defense.
Notable Correlations (Miles Sanders): Eagles D/ST (-0.01), Jalen Hurts (0.39)
Notable Correlations (Boston Scott): Eagles D/ST (0.26), Jalen Hurts (-0.67)