The running back position is incredibly weak with just eight teams remaining on the DraftKings slate for the divisional round. Only two running backs remaining in the playoffs finished in the top 10 for rushing yards for the regular season. One is unlikely to play this weekend, DeAngelo Williams, and the other one is returning to action after missing three consecutive games due to a foot injury, Jonathan Stewart. I will try to comb through this brutal position and come up with five running backs I like for the divisional round slate.
David Johnson is just two games removed from roasting the same Packers defense he will be facing this weekend. It was one of Johnson’s least effective games since he started getting the bulk of the workload in the high-powered Arizona offense. He posted 127 yards and a touchdown on 12 touches in a game which was well out of hand before halftime. With a rejuvenated Packers’ offense, I predict this game to be a lot closer than their meeting in December which will keep Johnson on the field throughout the game. He will continue to see the bulk of the workload both running and catching passes out of the backfield. If he lines up as a receiver and Packers’ linebacker Jake Ryan has the man coverage assignment on him, Carson Palmer and DFS owners will be licking their chops.
My Projected Stat Line: 21 carries for 95 yards and a TD. 5 receptions 80 yards. 28.5 DraftKings points.
With Spencer Ware’s availability looking less and less likely as the week going on due to a sprained ankle, Charcandrick West looks to get the bulk of the workload against an average New England run defense. The Chiefs and Alex Smith could also be without their top pass-catcher, Jeremy Maclin who is dealing with what the Chiefs are calling a “mild” high ankle sprain (if it is even possible for a high ankle sprain to be mild), which could force Andy Reid to lean on the run a little more. If he does not play, they will be leaning on young WRs Albert Wilson and Chris Conley to make up for his absence. This also figures well for West since he should be an integral part in the passing attack, as well.
My Projected Stat Line: 15 carries for 110 yards. 5 receptions for 40 yards. 23 DraftKings points.
Fitzgerald Toussaint was played a huge factor in the brawl last week between the Bengals and Steelers. He out touched Jordan Todman 21-11 and posted 118 total yards. Big Ben trusted him in pass protection and also as an outlet when he was in trouble. I am going to assume DeAngelo Williams and Antonio Brown are out and Big Ben plays against the Broncos on Sunday afternoon. With that being said, Toussaint figures to lead the charge in the Steelers’ backfield once again. AC joint sprains are very painful, and even if Ben plays, he will be in a lot of pain and may not be able to launch ball down field like he does so well. I think Toussaint will play a huge role in the offense as a runner and pass catcher. The Broncos have a stout defense, but I think a lot of dump offs will be headed his way which will lead to a big day for the namely Fitzgerald Toussaint.
My Projected Stat Line: 16 carries for 70 yards. 8 receptions for 50 yards. 20 DraftKings points.
Even though J-Stew is coming off a three week absence due to a foot injury, Jonathan Stewart should retain his role as the Panthers’ go-to running back. He should see about 15-20 touches against a very good Seattle run defense, and the threat of Cam Newton’s running ability should open up some running lanes for Stewart especially in the read-option.
My Projected Stat Line: 18 carries for 80 yards and a TD. 2 receptions for 15 yards. 17.5 DraftKings points.
Marshawn Lynch has missed seven games due to an abdomen injury. He ruled himself out right before Seattle’s flight to Minnesota in the Wild Card round due to a supposed setback. The 29 year old’s legs should be fresh if he is ready to go, which I am assuming he will be. Beast mode should be back in full force and get his normal workload. This could be his last year in Seattle due to apparent issues with coaches so the Seahawks will not mind pounding him while they have him.
My Projected Stat Line: 15 carries for 90 yards. 3 receptions for 30 yards. 15 DraftKings points.
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