The Duel

James Conner and David Johnson Fantasy Value Linked to Running Backs' Remaining 2019 Schedules

Dan Israeli
Pittsburgh Steelers v Los Angeles Chargers
Pittsburgh Steelers v Los Angeles Chargers /

Now that six weeks of football are in the books, we have some tangible data regarding the best fantasy matchups for different positions. While some players have had to suffer through tough early-season schedules, they will see their fortunes reverse with friendlier matchups in the weeks ahead. On the other hand, other players are set for a rude awakening as the fantasy season rolls on.

Opposing schedule is arguably the most important for the running back position, as it can mean the difference between a dud and monster performance. Team context is also crucial, as well as the back's role in the passing game, which can determine whether a RB becomes useless of useful when a game script tosses out the run.

James Conner has the easiest remaining schedule for RBs, according to FantasyPros, and will come off his Week 7 bye with a dream matchup against the Miami Dolphins, as well as several other exploitable spots down the line. Considering his slow start to the season and upcoming bye, Conner may make sense as a buy candidate. Conner was injured in Week 6, however, leaving his Week 8 status in question.

Dalvin Cook was already having a monster year, and now may be in store for a monster finish with the second best remaining schedule for RBs. Meanwhile, Le'Veon Bell makes a lot of sense as a buy-low candidate due to his struggles to start the year. After facing the New England Patriots in Week 7, Bell's schedule opens up beautifully with several great matchups in the following weeks.

As for RBs with the toughest remaining schedules, David Johnson of the Arizona Cardinals checks in at number one on the list. After a cake matchup against the New York Giants in Week 7, Johnson will face a brutal four-game stretch with games against the New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Francisco 49ers (twice), all of whom are top five in fewest fantasy points allowed to running backs.

In addition, Chris Carson draws the second-worst schedule for running backs going forward, although he should make up for it with plenty of volume and playing alongside an MVP candidate in Russell Wilson. Carlos Hyde, on the other hand, could struggle with the fourth-worst remaining schedule for running backs, playing behind a poor offensive line on the Houston Texans.

Hyde checks in at 26th among RBs in our Week 7 PPR fantasy football rankings, against an Indianapolis Colts defense allowing the ninth-fewest fantasy points to the position.

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