Paying up at running back, while a challenge overall, would have brought back some positive results. Of the top-five scoring backs on the main slate, Christian McCaffrey ($10,500) and Ezekiel Elliott ($9,000) were the two most expensive and both ended in the top five at the position. Aside from them, we did have two performances that stuck out to me and we’ll discuss below.
Christian McCaffrey ($10,500) vs. Saints
For the third straight week, McCaffrey’s salary has remained the same at $10,500 ahead of his Week 12 matchup against the Saints. Even on a day where the Panthers were unable to reach the end zone and came away with just three points against the Falcons, McCaffrey scored 33.1 DKFP. He’s been a lock for weeks now but you truly can’t fade him no matter who the opponent is (more on that in a moment). He carried the ball 14 times for 70 yards and was peppered with targets, receiving 14 which he turned into 11 receptions for 121 yards and 33.1 DKFP in total. It truly is amazing what he did in this game considering how poor Kyle Allen ($5,200) was despite throwing for 325 yards.
McCaffrey does have a tough matchup ahead against a Saints run defense that has been amongst the best in the league. Allowing an average of just 17.8 DKFP, which is the fifth-lowest in the league, the Saints will be a tough task for McCaffrey. We’ve seen a similar run defense in the Buccaneers shut down McCaffrey for 7.3 DKFP in Week 2 but also allowed him to score 21.7 DKFP in Week 6. It’s truly hard and outright say you can’t play McCaffrey because you certainly can. This is someone you can trust for 20+ touches, all the red zone carries and the PPR points. While the task ahead is daunting, he’s still very cash viable and can be used in tournaments. It will be interesting to see how his ownership shakes out, however, as Alvin Kamara ($8,200), Nick Chubb ($8,100) and James Conner ($8,000), if healthy, are in much more favorable matchups and are over $2,000 cheaper.
Nick Chubb ($8,100) vs. Dolphins
Chubb posted his worst fantasy output of the season in Week 11 against the Steelers which quite honestly, had to be expected. Sure, the solidified RB1 for the Browns has rumbled his way through tough run defenses before but the Steelers have been consistent all throughout the year. Despite rushing the ball 27 times for 92 yards, that’s all Chubb could really manage for 9.2 DKFP. While he wasn’t seeing many targets, to begin with, all hope for any to him seem to be lost with Kareem Hunt ($5,600) entrenched in that role, seeing 17 over his first two weeks active. Despite the poor performance, Chubb sees an $800 increase in his salary. How is this possible? Oh, the Dolphins are in town.
If you ever needed someone to bounce-back, here is your spot. Allowing an average of 27 DKFP, Chubb and fantasy owners are salivating over this matchup. This is a defense that’s allowed over 100 rushing yards in four of their last five games despite only seeing one rushing touchdown in that span. Still, Chubb should have plenty of work in this game as he’s not giving up any carries to Hunt, who has taken 10 over the last two weeks. Over on the DraftKings Sportsbook, the Browns opened as -11 favorite, meaning Chubb should have plenty of opportunities on the ground. It should be noted that it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Dontrell Hilliard ($3,300) potentially get in the mix with the potential for a blowout but if we reach that point, Chubb should have already done his work in terms of fantasy production.