The Top DFS Running Back and Defense Stacks: Week 10
Below are the Week 10 running back-defense stacks on FanDuel and DraftKings. I'll examine where we might be able to get a solid defensive performance and volume-driven running production, including at least one RB-defense stack that will have minimal usage.
One should not base their weekly DFS lineup composition on the RB-DEF stack, as the correlation isn’t nearly as strong as the QB-WR1 combo, for example. But considering RB1s—and only RB1s—get a decent bump in production when their team’s defense scores at least 15 fantasy points, it’s worthwhile to see where this stack might offer upside and differentiation for those who play large-field DFS tournaments. Running backs and defenses from the same team often face positive circumstances together.
It's these conditions that lead to fantasy points. Sometimes a lot of fantasy points—the kind that swing DFS tournaments.
One of our Week 9 RB-defense stacks hit, as the kids are saying online. Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas defense put up a combined 33 fantasy points, while the Le'Veon Bell-Jets stack (26 points) fared OK and the Nick Chubb-Browns combo tanked thanks to horrifying game script, ending with 19 points.
Combined percentage of FanDuel salary: 21.8%
Combined percentage of DraftKings salary: 23.2%
With this week's third-highest projected ceiling among RB-defense combinations, Saquon Barkley ($8,600 FD/$8,800 DK) and the Giants defense seem primed to enjoy some rare positive game script against the pulseless New York Jets, who might be without LeVeon Bell this week. But really, who cares? Gang Green is a horror show without or without their high priced running back.
Barkley's touch count since returning from injury three weeks ago: 21, 27, 20. And he's seen at least five targets in every game this season. His floor is clearly fantastic, but what about his ceiling? The Jets, giving up almost 25 schedule-adjusted points to enemy runners, have seen more rush attempts against them than all but 11 teams. Over 40% of touchdowns scored against the Jets this year have come on the ground—one of the league's highest rates through nine weeks. Meanwhile, running backs are gashing the Jets through the air: New York has allowed the fifth-most receptions to backs, while 22.5% of targets against the Jets defense have gone to the running back. The Giants come into this matchup as 2.5 point favorites with a not-hateful implied total of 23. Even if the Giants somehow, someway find a way to struggle against the Jets, Barkley should have plenty of upside baked into his pass game involvement.
What is there to say about Adam Gase's putrid offense? They've committed 17 turnovers in eight games and allowed more sacks than every team but the Titans. They allow the second most schedule-adjusted points to defenses, just behind the woeful Dolphins. Sure, the Giants defense ($4,500/$2,800 DK) is something akin to a parody of an NFL defense, but we're banking on that not mattering a whole lot against Sam Darnold and Gase's dysfunctional offense. Darnold, by the bye, has eight interceptions over his past three games. With a little negative script and a Giants front seven that has sacked the quarterback on a healthy 7.2% of its plays this season, the Big Blue defense could fall into a heap of fantasy points in Week 10. A mere three defenses have higher projected ceilings than the Giants.
This stack is far more workable on FanDuel, though its sky-high price on DraftKings could make it a unique combo for large-field tournaments.
Combined percentage of FanDuel salary: 19.3%
Combined percentage of DraftKings salary: 22.2%
Everyone associated with the Packers will be big, fat fades for many DFS players in Week 10 after Green Bay's hideous meltdown against the Chargers in Week 9. Hence, this stack's appeal on tournaments. They just happen to have a sneaky good matchup. The Packers are 5.5-point home favorites against Carolina, sporting an implied total of 26 points—the sixth-highest of Week 10.
Here's something: Carolina has allowed the same yards per carry (5.1) as the Bengals. Here's another something: teams are averaging 26.5 rushes against the Panthers, gaining 38% of their yards on the ground. That's ... not a little. Volume hasn't been on Aaron Jones' ($7,600 FD/$7,400 DK) side since Jamaal Williams returned to the Green Bay lineup—even his 226-yard game against KC came on just 20 touches -- but his penchant for big gainers and the Packers' implied total mean we can't dismiss him against Carolina. Jones, with the seventh-highest projected ceiling for Week 10, is in line to exploit the Panthers' clear defensive weakness if the Packers can steady themselves and secure positive script. Just last week we saw Derrick Henry post RB4 numbers (24.9 points) against the Panthers in a blowout loss for Tennessee. The 49ers in Week 8 piled up 232 rushing yards against Carolina at a hefty 6.1 yards per tote. Matt LaFleur, lover of run establishment, could really do his thing in Week 10. Only the Chiefs, Bengals, and Dolphins allow more adjusted fantasy points to runners than the Panthers.
Kyle Allen has been fine and functional in Carolina victories. He's done the whole game manager bit and refused to make the Big Mistake in critical junctures. Losses have been an entirely different story for Allen, who's completing a meager 60.7% of his passes this season. Well, I should say things have been different in the one loss Allen has suffered as Carolina's starter—a Week 8 thrashing at the hands of the 49ers. Allen completed just over half of his passes against the Niners and tossed three picks. San Francisco's defense came away with 17 fantasy points. Our hope here with the home team Packers defense is that script turns bad for Allen and the Carolina offense and the Panthers are forced into a one-dimensional offensive attack (if we can call it an attack). Allen has failed to complete 60% of his attempts in three of his past four. That's what we like to see if we're deploying the Green Bay defense ($4,000 FD/$3,200 DK).
Combined percentage of FanDuel salary: 21.6%
Combined percentage of DraftKings salary: 22.2%
There's no avoiding this RB-defense stack in Week 10. The conditions are just too good. The simulation couldn't concoct a better scenario in which to deploy a runner and his team's defense. Baltimore is a 10 point road favorite against a sieve of a Bengals defense allowing the most schedule-adjusted fantasy production to backs. It's OK if you're giddy. I'm giddy too.
Nearly 54% of the plays run this season against Cincinnati have been on the ground—the highest rate in the league. Teams seize the lead against the striped ones and pound their vulnerable defense via the run. Even better for Ingram, the eighth priciest back on DraftKings and the sixth-highest priced runner on FanDuel, the Bengals are giving up rushing yardage in chunks: no team allows more yards per carry. The Bengals, like the Jets, are being targeted relentlessly by running backs in the passing game, as 24.7% of targets against Cincy have gone to enemy backs. Mark Ingram ($8,000 FD/$7,100 DK), while hardly an outsized part of the Ravens' low volume passing attack, could benefit from this season-long trend. Ingram shapes up as a solid touchdown candidate; the Bengals have allowed eight rushing scores in eight games, and Ingram has plunged into the end zone seven times this year.
Baltimore's defense ($5,000 FD/$4,000 DK) gets to introduce rookie QB Ryan Finley to the NFL this week. Finley threw 26 interceptions in three seasons at North Carolina State. In losses during his college career, Finley completed 59% of his passes and had a 21:22 TD/INT ratio. I can guarantee only three things as I sit here and analyze RB-defense stacks: death, taxes unless you own a multinational tech company, and the Bengals facing bad game script. The Ravens have this week's second-highest projected ceiling. Let's double-dip on this game script.