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NFL Playoffs League - FFL: Preseason | NFL: Week 1

Running Back Strength of Schedule

Thu May 23 11:07am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer

The NFL has released schedules, so it is time to see how this impacts the fantasy world. Next up, the running back spot.

Using our rules for our money leagues, we came up with a schedule strength ranking for the running back position. We are using our fantasy defenses report to calculate the rankings. This report can be found in all of our leagues under the "reports" heading. We took the schedule of each team and entered the average number of fantasy points allowed to running backs last season from all of their opponents to get our fantasy points allowed number. This is a good indication of the running backs with the most favorable schedules for fantasy scoring for the coming season.

The Ravens had arguably the most potent rushing attack down the stretch last year and will look to carry that over to this year, so having the easiest schedule for running backs bodes well for this entire offense. Baltimore should be run heavy once again with Mark Ingram and quarterback Lamar Jackson leading the way. Both are setup for big years. 

Phillip Lindsay was a huge surprise last year and is looking good again to at least repeat, having the second easiest schedule for running backs. New England, Detroit and Pittsburgh also have favorable schedules, making their running backs good targets for this coming year (i.e. Sony Michel, Kerryon Johnson and James Conner). 

The Chiefs have run the ball well in recent years with whomever is starting, but have a schedule that could make it a little more difficult this year. Kansas City has the toughest schedule for running backs, which might send up a few red flags for likely starter Damien Williams. 

Atlanta struggled to run the ball last year and could be in a similar situation this season, having the second hardest schedule for running backs. Cincinnati, Tampa Bay and Houston are other teams with very challenging schedules for running backs. Keep this in mind come draft day. 

Take a close at these rankings and tweak your overall rankings accordingly. These schedules could impact running backs - good or bad. 

FANTASY POINTS ALLOWED
1. CHIEFS 375.42
2. FALCONS 380.99
3. BENGALS 382.36
4. BUCCANEERS 383.12
5. TEXANS 383.16
6. COLTS 383.82
7. BILLS 384.83
8. BROWNS 387.52
9. REDSKINS 388.44
10. PACKERS 388.75
11. COWBOYS 389.53
12. SAINTS 390.48
13. CHARGERS 391.1
14. TITANS 392.49
15. CARDINALS 392.62
16. DOLPHINS 393.67
17. JETS 393.67
18. GIANTS 394.86
19. RAMS 395.4
20. EAGLES 395.59
21. JAGUARS 396.73
22. PANTHERS 397.05
23. BEARS 398.1
24. VIKINGS 398.18
25. RAIDERS 398.65
26. SEAHAWKS 398.75
27. 49ERS 399.27
28. STEELERS 402.82
29. LIONS 402.91
30. PATRIOTS 403.58
31. BRONCOS 406.57
32. RAVENS 409.25

 

Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at jeff@rtsports.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.

Player Notes
Deebo Samuel Aug 25 12:20am ET

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel caught two of three targets for 27 yards Saturday against the Kansas City Chiefs. After two solid preseason games, Samuel had a relatively quiet evening. The second-round rookie has demonstrated electric upside and could be in-line for a meaningful role immediately in the Niners offense. With a stellar college resume and advanced skillset, Samuel deserves some sleeper love as RotoBallers WR73.

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Dante Pettis Aug 25 12:10am ET

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Dante Pettis grabbed three balls on five targets for 36 yards Saturday against the Kansas City Chiefs. Following two quiet games, Pettis was finally in the mix after he indicated he was playing explosive and consistent earlier this week. Despite being pushed by rookies Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd (back), Pettis appears a lock to start heading into Week 1. After emerging as the second option to tight end George Kittle last season, Pettis is shaping up as a solid backend WR2.

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Phillip Lindsay Aug 25 12:10am ET

Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay did not take action on Saturday night in the Broncos preseason game versus the Los Angeles Rams. Lindsay is coming off of preseason week two where he took reps with the second team and the backs behind him looked lackluster. The 2nd-year back seems to have the starting job locked up in Denver going into the regular season as he looks to follow up a stellar rookie year.

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Jalen Hurd Aug 25 12:10am ET

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Jalen Hurd (back) did not play Saturday against the Kansas City Chiefs. Hurd also sat out last Monday due to back tightness so two consecutive missed games is not a positive development. The 2019 third-round pick made noise with two touchdowns in the first preseason contest but has dealt with nagging injuries even before he was a Niner. Hurd has the size to be a legitimate red zone threat but his fantasy impact will be muted until he sees the field.

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Brandon McManus Aug 25 12:10am ET

Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus continued what has been an impressive preseason, with a solid performance Saturday night against the Los Angeles Rams. The 6th-year kicker connected on both field-goal attempts on the night, with a long of 38 yards. McManus looks to keep his consistency going in 2019, surrounded by an improved roster from the 2018 season.

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Matt Breida Aug 25 12:00am ET

San Francisco 49ers running back Matt Breida recorded nine touches for 75 yards and a touchdown Saturday against the Kansas City Chiefs. Breida toted the rock seven times for 44 yards and added two catches for 31 yards including a 20-yard touchdown from Jimmy Garoppolo in the first quarter. While Breida will share snaps with Tevin Coleman this season, the third-year player has repeatedly proven he can make plays when he touches the ball. He should make a fine RB3/flex heading into 2019.

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Jimmy Garoppolo Aug 24 11:50pm ET

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo completed 14 of 20 passes for 188 yards and a touchdown in Saturdays victory against the Kansas City Chiefs. Garoppolo bounced back in a big way after an ugly game last Monday, finding running back Matt Breida for a 20-yard score in the first quarter. In his second game back from a torn ACL, the performance should qualm some alarmists in the Niner and fantasy communities about Garoppolos competency as a starter. However, hes still just a factor in two-quarterback leagues or a backup in standard formats.

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Jordan Thomas Aug 24 11:20pm ET

Houston Texans tight end Jordan Thomas was targeted six times in Houston's preseason loss to the Dallas Cowboys, grabbing two of those targets for a team-high 33 yards. It was a rough night for the Texans, who failed to reach 100 passing yards, but Thomas was the tiniest sliver of a bright spot. He still has a chance to beat out Jordan Akins for the starting tight end job, though the word "starting" isn't likely to mean much as Akins, Thomas, and veteran Darren Fells will all rotate in and out, with rookie Kahale Warring expected to play a small role if healthy. Thomas has potential in fantasy leagues, but if Houston plays all of their tight ends, it'll be hard to see a path for Thomas to consistent fantasy relevance.

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Karan Higdon Aug 24 11:10pm ET

Houston Texans running back Karan Higdon carried the ball a team-high 13 times for 28 yards in Saturday's preseason loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Higdon was the first back up after starter Lamar Miller went down with an ACL, which seems to suggest he's next in line in this Houston offense to see early down work. However, Higdon wasn't that impressive in this one and could very well wind up cut by the time the season rolls around. It's a fluid situation, and there's no good reason to pick Higdon in a re-draft league until we actually have some clarity.

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Deshaun Watson Aug 24 11:00pm ET

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson played just one series in Houston's preseason loss to the Dallas Cowboys. He was sacked twice and watched teammate Lamar Miller get carted off the field, which probably contributed to head coach Bill O'Brien sending his star quarterback to the bench. Watson has the chance to be a top-five fantasy quarterback, but Houston's offensive line will have to give him a pocket. Saturday didn't help anyone feel better about that being a reality this year. You still draft Watson as a top quarterback, but do so with an understanding that he could get beat up this season.

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Joe Webb Aug 24 11:00pm ET

Houston Texans quarterback Joe Webb had a rough one in Saturday's preseason loss to the Dallas Cowboys, going 8-for-21 passing the ball for 62 yards and a pair of interceptions. He added 25 yards on four carries as well. Webb's going to be Houston's third quarterback once A.J. McCarron is back, so he doesn't have any fantasy value heading into the season and shouldn't be rostered anywhere, but he will likely see major minutes again when Houston hosts the Rams in the preseason finale. Webb's a risky but potentially rewarding DFS option for the last week of preseason action.

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Jimmy Garoppolo Aug 24 10:53pm ET

San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo completed 14 of his 20 passes for 188 yards and a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs in the preseason Saturday, Aug. 24.

Fantasy Spin: After a horrible preseason debut, Garoppolo looked sharp in his second appearance. The 49ers added a bunch of weapons this offseason, but Garoppolo is still an unproven commodity. Consider him a midrange QB2 with upside.

From TheHuddle

Andrew Luck Aug 24 10:53pm ET

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck announced his retirement from the NFL Saturday, Aug. 24.

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Robby Anderson Aug 24 10:50pm ET

New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson caught both of his targets for 60 yards against the Saints on Saturday. The highlight of Anderson's night was a 41-yard reception where he made a nice adjustment on an underthrown ball from Sam Darnold. Anderson finishes the preseason with five catches on five targets for 92 yards and no touchdowns. Anderson is a high ceiling, low floor receiver on a week-to-week basis because he relies so heavily on the big play, but should provide enough big games to be drafted near the top-60 players overall.

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Michael Gallup Aug 24 10:43pm ET

Dallas Cowboys WR Michael Gallup caught a 12-yard touchdown in a 34-0 preseason win over the Houston Texans Saturday, Aug. 24.

Fantasy Spin: Gallup enters the season as the No. 2 option in the Dallas passing game, but he is still likely to be a big-play dependent deep threat. He's worth a look as a WR5.

From TheHuddle

Lamar Miller Aug 24 10:40pm ET

Houston Texans running back Lamar Miller is feared to have suffered a torn ACL in Saturday's preseason loss to the Dallas Cowboys. If confirmed, Miller's season is over before it began, and his Texans career is likely coming to a close as well. Duke Johnson will get more chances to run the ball, but the workload in Houston will also fall to someone else as well. Maybe it's veteran Taiwan Jones. Maybe it's one of the undrafted rookies, Damarea Crockett or Karan Higdon. Maybe Houston signs or trades for a back. Whoever earns the job has value as a flex option, but it's going to be a few days before we have a clear sense of how this backfield will shake out. At the very least, it's time to grab Crockett and Higdon in dynasty leagues just to be safe.

From RotoBaller

Christian Kirk Aug 24 10:30pm ET

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk only caught two of his six targets for five yards, including a dropped pass Saturday against the Minnesota Vikings. The upside though was that Kirk was second in targets for the afternoon. Even though the Cardinals' offense this preseason has been very bland, there is too much talent and too much upside to be ignored. Expect Kirk and this offense to light it up this season and he will come in as a nice WR2/3. With his poor showings this preseason, now might be a good time to buy Kirk at his lowest in dynasty formats.

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Chase Edmonds Aug 24 10:30pm ET

Arizona Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds put in a strong performance Saturday afternoon against the Vikings, rushing three times for 13 yards and hauling in both of his two targets for 24 yards. Edmonds continues to be a top handcuff to own in the fantasy world and would be a solid weekly starter if something were to happen to David Johnson. With starters likely resting for the fourth and final preseason game, look for Edmonds to get his fair share of touches against the Denver Broncos.

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Ty Montgomery Aug 24 10:30pm ET

New York Jets running back Ty Montgomery carried the ball eight times for 21 yards and caught all four of his targets for 24 yards and a touchdown against the Saints on Saturday. Montgomery has been the Jets most productive running back so far with Le'Veon Bell not playing preseason games. The former wide receiver finishes the preseason with 67 yards on 17 carries with a touchdown running to go along with five catches. He should be considered the primary backup to Bell with some PPR value in deep leagues as he should see plenty of work on passing downs.

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Duke Johnson Aug 24 10:23pm ET

Houston Texans RB Duke Johnson will take over as the starting running back in the wake of RB Lamar Miller's (knee) knee injury, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, and McClain believes Johnson will 'get all the playing time he can handle.'

Fantasy Spin: Johnson has been a major weapon in the passing game in the past, and if given an every-down role, RB2 production seems like his floor, especially in PPR formats. Add him now if he is available in your league.

From TheHuddle