Cover Photo: Grant Halverson/Getty Images
The running back position in fantasy football could be the most important, whether you're doing season-long or daily fantasy.
Here are five favorable matchups that should be exploited in Week 2.
1. Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints vs. Cleveland Browns
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This one is all about opportunity. We saw how vital Alvin Kamara was to the New Orleans Saints' offense in the season opener, finishing with 29 yards rushing and two touchdowns, plus nine catches on 12 targets for 112 yards and a third TD.
With Mark Ingram still suspended for three more games, this is the time when Kamara owners are really going to benefit from inflated production. James Conner of the Steelers just posted massive numbers against the Browns last week and I have no doubt Kamara will do the same with his increased touches.
2. James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Kansas City Chiefs
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Le’Veon Bell is still playing hide-and-go-seek with the Steelers, so James Conner will step into another massive workload again this week. The Chiefs defense, as the masses will soon find out, isn’t very talented and that’ll show up against a Steelers team that should outclass them in this matchup.
Conner played every single running back snap (91.6 percent of the overall snaps) for the Steelers in Week 1, while the Chargers Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler combined for 103 rushing yards on 20 carries and 189 receiving yards on 14 catches (18 targets) and a touchdown. All of that production for just one player? Where do I sign up?
3. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons
Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/ Getty Images
The Panthers offense learned how it functions without Greg Olsen for much of 2017. And it’s all good for Christian McCaffrey.
With Olsen in the lineup: 5.7 targets, 3.9 catches, 36.7 yards, .14 TDs per game
Without Olsen in the lineup: 8.1 targets, 5.9 catches, 43.8 yards, .44 TDs per game
Not only does McCaffrey have more balls likely coming his way, but his skillset (catching passes) matches up well with the Falcons biggest weakness on defense. Atlanta allowed the third-most catches to running backs in 2017, and now find themselves undermanned with middle linebacker Deion Jones placed on injured reserve.
4. Royce Freeman/Phillip Lindsay, RB, Denver Broncos vs. Oakland Raiders
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Let’s begin by saying this is the biggest mismatch between offensive line and defensive line play on the Week 2 slate. The Raiders defensive line, desperately missing Khalil Mack, was pushed around by the Rams, and this Broncos team grades out exceptionally in just about every regard.
Royce Freeman owners are starting to groan after Phillip Lindsay cut into the running back's potential production, but they're both playable in Week 2. Lindsay was the hot waiver-wire commodity this week, but the Broncos should definitely try and get Freeman into the end zone at some point during this game. Owners who were recently gifted with Lindsay shouldn’t fret either; after all, these two had the same exact rushing line of 71 yards on 15 carries last week, but it was Lindsay who got into the end zone on a catch out of the backfield.
5. Alfred Morris/Matt Breida, RB, San Francisco 49ers vs. Detroit Lions
Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images
The Detroit Lions abysmal start to the season was on full display for the whole nation to see Monday night, and now they head west to take on a well-coached 49ers team with one less day of preparation. Not to mention, the Lions allowed three Jets running backs to combine for 177 yards on 28 carries with two touchdowns in the season-opener.
The snaps for Alfred Morris (34) and Matt Breida (30) were similar in Week 1 against the Minnesota Vikings, but both backs found a way to be productive in their own regard. The 49ers should not have any problem moving the ball; after all, they just did so against a vigilant Vikings defense between the 20s, but did struggle putting the ball in the end zone.
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Al Walsh is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Al Walsh also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username 14AdotWalsh. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.