Here are my top ten run defenses to target this week. Dallas is on a bye, FYI.
- LA Chargers (e). It wasn’t a monster day by any means, but Wayne Gallman averaged 5+ yards per carry. That’s third string rookie pressed into a starting role Wayne Gallman. The Bolts visit Oakland this week. Expect the Raider running game to continue getting on track. Don’t sleep on home run threat Jalen Richard, either.
- New Orleans (+1). It’s a coin flip whether teams attack the Saints on the ground or through the air. Both are exploitable. The Lions have the ability to utilize both. Ameer Abdullah is quietly having a break out season. This could be the signature game he needs to get everyone’s attention.
- New England Patriots (-2). Matt Patricia’s ‘defensive genius’ label has taken a hit. Doug Martin came off of suspension and got to work tooling this front. The Pats yield the second most success to opposing rushers per numberFire’s Brandon Gdula. The Jets have some interesting options to roster at RB here depending on who’s active. Elijah McGuire might see the most touches he does all season.
- Pittsburgh Steelers (-3). This defense is more of an aluminum foil curtain. Backs are bursting through with alarming frequency. A sputtering offense doesn’t help. Who do they get this week? Oh, just number one overall fantasy asset Kareem Hunt.
- San Francisco 49ers (+2). When opponents have as many rushing attempts as they do against the Niners, bad things are bound to happen. Marlon Mack proved that point late in the third quarter. Washington has shown they’ll commit to the run if it’s effective. The challenge here is which of their three backs does the damage.
- Jacksonville Jaguars (+4). They managed to limit LeVeon Bell to a respectable 15 for 47. I don’t want to go overboard giving them credit since the Steelers turned the ball over five times. Rising tides raise all boats. The Rams conservative approach and volume-hawk Todd Gurley could give them a fit in a close game.
- New York Jets (+1). The Jets eeked out an ugly win over the Browns last week. The poor product on the field preempted many useful fantasy days. The Patriots are the opposite of the Browns. I LOVE Mike Gillislee to grind out a big day here.
- Detroit Lions (e). Carolina was too busy throwing all over this defense to bother getting the run game going. The run defense remains a weak spot. Loosing Haloti Ngata to IR will weaken it further. The Saints can actually run the ball effectively when they have a mind to. Mark Ingram is always a threat to score multiple TDs and rookie Alvin Kamara just got a big vote of confidence as they traded away AP.
- Baltimore Ravens (-1). Without Brandon Williams Baltimore’s been gashed by the run. Williams is out this week again when they play Chicago. The Bears playbook consists of running plays and play action passes. When allowed they’ll run it/pass to backs almost exclusively (they had 4 WR targets vs PIT in week 3).
- Los Angeles Rams (+6). Aaron Donald’s presence was felt last week. He terrorized the Seahawk interior. Donald is the kind of player who can single-handedly get this unit right. Their clash with the Jaguars will be telling.
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