The Top DFS Running Back and Defense Stacks: Week 9

Oct 31, 2019
The Top DFS Running Back and Defense Stacks: Week 9

Below are the Week 9 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.

Let's check in on last week's RB-defense combinations: Chris Carson and Seattle's defense, which allowed approximately 690 yards to Matt Schaub, combined for 25 fantasy points; third-string runner Ty Johnson and the Detroit defense teamed up for 16 points; and James Conner and the Steelers defense ended with 38 total points.

Nick Chubb/Browns

Combined percentage of FanDuel salary: 21.5%

Combined percentage of DraftKings salary: 20.6%

Featuring the fifth-highest projected ceiling among RB-defense stacks this week, Nick Chubb and the Browns are in solid position to take advantage of a drool-inducing matchup. Wipe up your slobber and read on.

Nick Chubb, the only positive in a moribund Cleveland offense, has only seen fewer than 17 carries once in 2019, collecting 40 carries over the past couple weeks. He's the quintessential workhorse back. Denver's defense isn't giving up a ton of rushing scores but opponents are attacking the Broncos via the ground: only seven teams have seen more rushes tried against them in 2019. The Broncos are giving up 109.8 rushing yards per game. The Browns are in position to keep it on the ground, entering this contest as three-point road favorites. A mere five running backs have higher projected ceilings than Chubb on FanDuel and DraftKings this week. Chubb being the ninth highest priced RB on DraftKings looks like a miscalculation.

Then there's the Brandon Allen Situation, not only the name of my early-90s disco-opera group, but the name of Denver's new starting quarterback. Allen in four years at the University of Arkansas completed an ugly 57.5% of his passes. Even the Browns secondary can take advantage of this sort of inaccuracy. But the Cleveland defense's upside might lie in the pressure they can apply to Allen on Sunday. The Broncos and their disastrous offensive line allow sacks on 9.4% of their offensive plays, while the Browns sack the QB on 8.9% of their defensive plays—the fifth-highest rate in the NFL. It could get ugly in a hurry for Allen against a sometimes-ferocious Cleveland pass rush.

LeVeon Bell/Jets

Combined percentage of FanDuel salary: 19.3%

Combined percentage of DraftKings salary: 22.4%

You knew this one was coming. It seems unavoidable since we're targeting one of the worst NFL teams in living memory. And no, I'm not talking about Adam Gase's Jets. I'm talking about the Dolphins.

Miami is one of only three teams allowing more than 30 schedule-adjusted fantasy points to opposing runners, with teams rushing the ball on 52.7% of their plays against the Dolphins. LeVeon Bell should stumble into at least some volume here against a nonexistent run defense that has been gashed for nearly 1,000 yards in seven games. Maybe that's not a shock seeing that the Dolphins are almost always playing from (way) behind, allowing opposing offenses to milk the clock via the run. Bell's price (RB13 on FanDuel) is reasonable in a matchup that could lead to volume that we can't usually bake into his weekly prospects.

Miami's offense leads the league in interceptions and has allowed the fifth-most sacks. There's really not that much more to deploying a defense against the Dolphins. The issue here—for tournament purposes—is that New York's defense will certainly be widely used against the Dolphins. Even in last week's game against Pittsburgh, where the Miami offense appeared halfway functional in the first half, the Fins gave up 14 fantasy points to the Steelers defense. The process is crystal clear: start any NFL defense against the Miami Tanks.

This RB-defense stack has the week's third-highest projected ceiling at a price point significantly lower than the stacks surrounding them in 4for4's projections. Hold your nose and go with it.

Ezekiel Elliott/Cowboys (Full Slate)

Combined percentage of FanDuel salary: 21.5%

Combined percentage of DraftKings salary: 25.2%

This stack, as you can see, will require finding cheap plays in at least two spots in your Week 9 lineups. I'd say this Dallas stack costs a pretty penny on DK, but it's more like 420,000 pretty pennies.

Nevertheless, the upside is there. This stack has the second-highest ceiling on DK and the third-highest on FD, which makes sense considering the Giants allow 25.6 schedule-adjusted points to running backs and Ezekiel Elliott is seeing an average of 22 touches in Cowboys wins this season. The volume (and touchdown upside) should be there for Elliott if everything goes accordingly: Dallas is a seven-point favorite with an implied total of 27.5 points. Only Seattle has a higher Week 9 implied total. Only four teams have seen more rushes attempted against them than the G-people. Opposing backs are gashing New York through the air too, as only eight defenses allow more receiving yardage to running backs. There's a reason Elliott is priced through the roof.

The Giants are giving up a sack on 7% of their offensive plays, a rate driven by nearly constant negative game script that forces Daniel Jones to drop back again and again. Only the horrid Jets and Dolphins give up more schedule-adjusted points to enemy defenses, while turning the ball over 19 times through eight weeks. Jones' completion rate has plummeted to less than 60% of New York losses, which is exactly the kind of thing we want when script is expected to turn against a quarterback in a tough matchup.

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