There’s a reason why every NFL fantasy draft starts with the first pick being the running back. They get the most points because of usage and they usually have the ball in their hands for a good amount of time. For some reason whenever a team has the majority of the possession, they usually win the game. Funny enough it correlates to us fantasy coaches because we pick those dudes running the ball, so if they get the ball for a good amount of time, their value is increased.
This last weekend we saw many feats of glory in fantasy. Christian McCaffrey keeps dazzling us with his abilities to find the open space to score booku points, while Packers running back Aaron Jones surprised us all with his four rushing TDs against the Cowboys. McCaffrey and Jones combined for 96.9 fantasy points (PPR). Not only that, individually they each scored more than 17 points over the 3rd top-performing RB Josh Jacobs. Now let’s predict this week!
Week 6 Fantasy Football Breakout Running Backs
5. Chris Carson vs Cleveland Browns
Oh, the poor Browns. They entered this season with so much hype that their underperformance was almost inevitable. They were so hyped up, Baker Mayfield is walking his happy behind on ESPN commercials, making bank, and the Browns are only 2 – 3. They have the arsenal but can’t focus in on a target and complete the task. One of their problems could be coming from their run defense. Currently, the Browns are ranked 30th in defense when it comes to rushing yards, giving up an average of 167.6 yards a game and 5.0 yards per attempt. These are some big numbers people.
This is something that I would expect Pete Caroll of the Seattle Seahawks to exploit. Seattle is sitting about middle of the pack when it comes to rushing yards a game but their offense is still producing an average of 122.6 yards a game along with 4.0 yards per attempt. Not only that, with Seattle we have seen their run-and-gun offense turn into a creative beast. Russell Wilson can air it out for 400+ yards with a few TDs or he can hand it off 25-30 times to get the W. We, and Chris Carson, appreciate it. Carson has been a workhorse for the Seattle offense this season. Though he hasn’t rushed for a TD since Week 1, he has been averaging 18.8 rushes a game along with 4.1 yards a carry. This week expect some big numbers from the man carrying the ball.
4. Kerryon Johnson vs Green Bay Packers
The Packers have just displayed their rushing abilities against the Cowboys but this week I think Kerryon Johnson might avenge some Dallas fans. The Packers right now sit 26th against the run: giving up 691 overall rushing yards and averaging 138.2 yards a game with 5.2 yards per carry. Additionally, the Packers have been scored on six times by running backs and gave up a 75-yard dash to Dalvin Cook.
Kerryon Johnson and the Detroit offense, on the other hand, have been fairly quiet in their workings with one another. Overall Detroit hasn’t put up significant rushing numbers but each game they are averaging 120.5 rushing yards putting them at a soft 21st spot in run offense. The Lions, however, have been using this to their advantage because we all know that if you’re running the ball a lot, the play actions are going to work better, which gets the passing offense off the ground.
What gets me going about Kerryon though is how much the Lions actually use him. Johnson is one of the Lions’ first RBs to hit over 100 rushing yards in a game since Barry Sanders. They also have released a few backup RBs to solidify Johnson as their workhorse back in the run and passing game.
3. Alvin Kamara vs Jacksonville Jaguars
The New Orleans Saints might be winning some games but there is no doubt that this offense is not what we anticipated. The same could be said about the Jags and their stout defense. Jacksonville went from having a highly sought after defense, to a spectacle that is getting a lot of play around ESPN. With all the distractions, there is no wonder the Jaguars have been slipping in the defensive game. Currently, Jacksonville is placed right before the Packers in rushing defense with the 25th ranking giving up an average of 136.6 yards a game and 5.5 yards per attempt. If that stat doesn’t make your eyes bleed, I don’t know what else will. 5.5 yards per attempt is the most by any team in the NFL and they’re about to face Alvin Kamara.
For some reason, ever since Drew Brees went down, Alvin Kamara’s value has been plummeting. The usual case would be the other way around, the backup QB has an all-star RB, so 1+1= give Kamara the ball. The opposite has been occurring in the New Orleans offense and somehow Teddy Bridgewater is consuming all the points. The Saints are currently ranked 19th in rushing offense, so we can see that Teddy’s been keeping the ball but stats show that he is still feeding our guy Kamara. It has just been less becoming of what we were used to seeing this time last season.
My thoughts are that Kamara just came out real hot in the beginning of his career and teams have adjusted. By no means is he a one trick pony, and we can see that since he pushed out Mark Ingram from the Saints offense. In the rushing game alone, Kamara is still averaging 4.54 yards a carry with an average of 15 attempts per game. When you add the passing attack that he brings to the table, there is no way Kamara can be stopped. Look out Jacksonville, Alvin Kamara is hungry for points.
2. Christian McCaffrey vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
What a surprise. The man who’s been atop all of our drafts is still proving to us why he should be on the tip of the mountain. Few RBs show the kind of continued value that McCaffrey displays and it should be dually noted. This week McCaffrey has division rival Tampa Bay, who have actually put up some decent stats on the defensive end.
Currently, the Bucs are 3rd in rushing defense giving up an average of 69.8 rushing yards a game and 3.1 yards per attempt. On the contrary, they lead the league in the worst defense in receiving yards per game with 1,697 total yards; that’s an average of 339.4 yards a game and 12.2 yards per reception. The reason I bring this up is because of the duality that McCaffrey plays on the field as a runner and pass catcher. Unlike many RBs in the league, McCaffrey shares this bond with his team where if he’s got the ball in his hands enough, some damage will be done. It might seem like an obvious pitch but Carolina gives it to their best player on the field and it ends up working out for them (and us) fairly well.
McCaffrey is targeted an average of eight times per game and attempts about 21 touches on the ground. This is the highest usage that any team is getting out of their RB. If that’s not enough, Carolina’s rushing offense is ranked 4th with an average of 143.6 rushing yards per game and 5.6 yards per attempt. McCaffrey is clearly going to have his work cut out for him this week but that doesn’t mean his points won’t be there. Expect McCaffrey to keep raining down the points.
1. Mark Ingram vs Cincinnati Bengals
Duhn-duhn-duh-dahh Mister Number 1 RB of the week is Mark Ingram. The Baltimore Ravens have had a very rush heavy offense for many years but this season sticks out more than before because of the addition of Mr. Ingram. Initially, I had felt some sorrow seeing Ingram depart from the Saints but was quickly revived with the internet when I saw that the Ravens had made a new addition on their team.
Skip ahead to today and the Ravens are currently ranked 1st in the rushing game. They destroy opponents in the run game averaging 192.2 yards a game with 5.3 yards per attempt. This is no doubt the combination of Lamar Jackson and Mark Ingram but this isn’t about the QBs and their overly puffed stats of rushing attempts. Ingram alone has been averaging 5.02 yards per attempt over these past five weeks with a little more than 14 rushes per game.
When you take a look at the Baltimore opponent, you might see why the big numbero uno. Cincy is the league’s worst defense when it comes to rushing defense. That might be because Miami had a bye week but regardless the Bengals have given up 838 yards on the ground. The rushing opposition has been capitalizing on this feat with an average of 167.6 rushing yards and 5.0 yards per attempt. To add some gas to the fire, starting RBs that have played against the Bengals haven’t gotten less than 16.9 points, and that was Frank Gore in Week 3. The Cincy D has been giving up an average of 24.04 points to starting RBs. If you have Mark Ingram, this could be your week.