On Friday I wrote about my favorite wide receiver sleepers for Week 15. To get you totally prepped and ready to go for the semifinals of the fantasy football playoffs, let’s take a look at FantasyPros’ half-PPR running back rankings to search out us some value. If your league has distinctive rules or you’re just looking for more help to your specific roster, their Start/Sit Assistant is a good tool as well.
1. Miami Dolphins RB Patrick Laird (FantasyPros Rank, 27)
All year long I’ve preached a handful of things. One of the most important ones was follow the opportunity. Three weeks in the past I wrote about grabbing Patrick Laird, when he was ranked 55th among RBs, because I expected some opportunity to develop.
Over the previous few weeks, that opportunity has come to fruition.
Since Kalen Ballage got hurt, Laird has averaged 12.5 carries and 4 receptions per game. Last week, he played a season-best 82 % of the snaps which was the fourth-most among all running backs in the NFL.
Patrick Laird dominated snaps (82%), attempts (54%), and routes/db (59%). He has topped 10% target share both games since Ballage injury.
Isaiah Ford got a big bump in routes/db and targets (24%) w/ DeVante Parker leaving w/ concussion. pic.twitter.com/c7CYBiyLUE
— Context Matters (@dwainmcfarland) December 11, 2019
On top of dominating the snaps, he was incredibly involved in the passing game.
I touched on this in my WR sleepers, recommending Allen Hurns, however the receiving options have been falling apart in Miami. DeVante Parker is banged up. Preston Williams is out for the season. There’s lots of opportunity and Laird has been taking benefit, running routes on 32 of 46 of Ryan Fitzpatrick’s dropbacks last week.
Laird’s matchup against the Giants, the eighth-worst defense in football according to Football Outsiders, is a solid one. The 46.5-point over/under means we can expect Miami to put up some points, but also maintain the game close enough that Laird should keep involved on the ground as well as the air.
In case you wanted a one-Tweet summary? The Quant Edge’s Derek Brown and I can provide that as well:
I like Laird as a high-floor RB two choice which you can get at a value discount based mostly on his FantasyPros ranking.
2. Houston Texans RB Carlos Hyde (FantasyPros Rank, 35)
10-plus touches in every game except one.
4.7 yards per carry.
He’s going to be much more touchdown dependent than someone like Laird, who’s more heavily-involved in Miami’s passing attack and therefore provides a higher-floor, however Hyde still provides good value right here.
The Texans-Titans matchup has the highest-projected over/under total of the week. It’s a number that has continued to climb since it opened up at 47.5 points, sitting as high as 51.5 points in some books. Tennessee is a top-five rush defense, according to Football Outsiders, but in a game that’s projected to be the highest-scoring matchup of the week, which means the Texans might be in the redzone often. Duke Johnson has performed 50 % or more of the snaps in 4 straight games, however I believe these two complement each other where I’m not worried about Hyde not getting his touches, his 198 carries rank 12th in the league.
Due to the touches, he has a relatively high floor for his ranking. Due to the matchup and projected point total, he has a reasonably good ceiling because he ought to have ample opportunities close to the endzone.
He’s far from good, however I like Hyde to outperform his ranking this week.
RB to Fade: Los Angeles Chargers RB Melvin Gordon (FantasyPros Rank, 12)
Considering how similar Gordon’s stat line is to Carlos Hyde, I’m stunned there’s a 23-spot gap between the 2 players.
Over his last three games, Gordon is averaging roughly 15 carries a game. Hyde is at roughly 13. Gordon is splitting snaps with a better No. 2 running back (much better), in Austin Ekeler. Gordon is more involved in the passing game, with 10 catches to Hyde’s three, however he also has a worse matchup this week (Vikings are Football Outsiders’ seventh-best run defense) and the projected total for the Chargers-Vikings game is six fewer points.
Gordon has been very strong for the Chargers over the previous few weeks.
Nothing more, nothing less.
In a tough matchup with a backup that continues to outplay him, against a defense that’s easier to beat with the pass, Melvin Gordon is somebody I’d look to fade this week.