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Sunday Scaries: Week 10

Week 9 Update:

Antonio Gibson +6 Vs. Dalvin Cook. This was a tough L. This was looking like a locked in W until Dalvin Cook caught a TD pass late in the game. Fell on the wrong side of variance here.

Chris Olave vs. Romeo Doubs +1.5. Doubs left this game early but Olave still went 6-79 on 9 targets. Took the W.

Evan Engram vs. Tyler Conklin +1.5. The Engram injury and juice got me on this one. Two bad falls on variance. Engram, despite the injury, did outscore Conklin head-to-head. Unlucky L.

Running Season Record: 16-11

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Week 10 Matchups:

Nick Chubb +1.5 vs. Josh Jacobs

If you would have told me in August that both Nick Chubb and Josh Jacobs would be top-7 running backs in fantasy points per game at this point in the season, I wouldn't have believed you. But here we are!

Jacobs' success has been mostly tied to his opportunity and efficiency. Among running backs, he ranks 2nd in opportunity share, 4th in snap share, and 4th in rush yards, but he also ranks 1st in evaded tackles and 2nd in juke rate. While we have seen two games in a row where Jacobs has failed to achieve 11 fantasy points, he faces a reeling Indianapolis Colts defense that just lost Shaq Leonard to IR and have allowed the 6th most receiving yards and 8th most receptions to the RB position. If the Raiders get well ahead in this game, Jacobs could be in a salt-away mode. The one downside for Jacobs is that PFF grades the Raiders' OL at a 36% disadvantage versus the Colts' DL.

Nick Chubb, however, hasn't finished lower than RB23 in any of his 8 games so far, including three top-6 finishes and a 1st overall finish in Week 2 against the Jets. Chubb's season has been phenomenal, even though he's been consistently splitting work with Kareem Hunt. While Chubb may only rank as RB18 in opportunity share, he ranks 1st in total TDs, 1st in breakaway runs, 2nd in rush yards, 2nd in evaded tackles, 3rd in Juke Rate, And the matchup looks to be a good one as the Browns take on the Dolphins who give up the 87th percentile RB matchup allowing 24.1 points per game. In what could be a shootout, Chubb will be in a great position to score.

Final Pick: Nick Chubb +1.5. I would've taken Chubb straight up due to the shoot-out potential. But add the juice and count me in.

Austin Ekeler +1 vs. Derrick Henry

Again this is a tough matchup given that both Austin Ekeler and Derrick Henry are fantasy point-scoring titans-- and yet do it in very different ways.

Derrick Henry leads all RBs in carries, rushing yards, and dominator rating, and 2nd in points per game. He averages 23 carries per game, but only 2.3 targets per game-- as the Titans' offense flows from his rushing production. As Henry goes, so do the Titans. In fact, over the last month, Titans' WRs have only commanded 5.7 targets per game as a unit, the absolute lowest among all NFL teams. For Henry and the Titans to sustain success against the Broncos, they will have to successfully run the ball against a team that only gives up 20 fantasy points to the running back position. The Titans' defense is reeling and may have to count on Henry to keep them off the field and drain the clock to keep the game close.

Austin Ekeler's matchup this week is verifiably worse. The 49ers are the stingiest defense against the running back position. No team allows fewer fantasy points than the 9ers-- 14.8 points per week to the opposing team's RBs. PFF grades the LAC offensive line to be at a 30% disadvantage against the 49ers. And yet, that's not how Ekeler makes his fantasy points. Ekeler ranks first among RBs in targets, receiving yards, receptions, total TDs, and fantasy points per game-- he's virtually a wide receiver out of the backfield. Especially with Keenan Allen and Mike Williams missing over the last few weeks, Ekeler's on pace to set RB receiving records.

Final Pick: Austin Ekeler +1. With the 49ers' heavy home favorites, the Chargers will have to manufacture offense, and Ekeler will be the focal point of moving the ball down the field.

Travis Etienne vs. Kenneth Walker +2.5

I had to highlight at least one player from the Munich game as an excuse to remind all fantasy managers to set their lineups before 9:30 AM EST-- as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the Seattle Seahawks in the first international NFL game played in Munich, Germany.

Kenneth Walker has been nothing short of impressive since taking over the full-time RB role after Rashaad Penny went down with an injury. Over the last 4 games, Walker has averaged over 20 carries, over 100 rush yards, and 2 targets along with an average finish of RB9 during that span. Walker's efficiency metrics have also been stellar, ranking 5th in breakaway runs, 6th in Juke Rate, 6th in evaded tackles, and 7th in breakaway run rate. He also ranks 6th in total TDs, despite being a part-time player for the first half of his games thus far. He does face a Tampa Bay defense that only allows 16.4 fantasy points per game to RBs, a bottom 13th percentile matchup rank. Not that this moves the needle much, but the Bucs also allow the fewest RB receptions on the season.

On the surface, it looks like Travis Etienne has a tough matchup. The Chiefs' DL has a projected 31% advantage over the Jaguars' OL, per PFF. However, the Chiefs as a whole allow 23.2 points per game to running backs, an 80th percentile ranking. It's because, while the Chiefs tend to limit opposing RBs on the ground, they are more vulnerable through the air. The Chiefs allow the 2nd most receiving yards to RBs on the season, and with a game script trending toward a large Chiefs lead, Etienne may be leaned upon more in this matchup. Etienne has found success on the ground, too, ranking 5th among RBs in rush yards and 3rd in breakaway runs, but is also dangerous through the air, ranking 3rd among RBs with 9.2 yards per reception.

Final Pick: Travis Etienne. This game has potential for a shootout, and I want to be bullish on one of the hinge pieces of the Jaguars' offense.

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