Week 2 Rushing Matchups

by Justin Howe, Devin Knotts, and Keith Roberts, Exclusive to Footballguys.com

Jump to Passing Matchups

Great Matchups: [PIT] [WAS]
Good Matchups: [ARI] [BAL] [BUF] [CAR] [CHI] [CLE] [DAL] [DEN] [JAX] [LAC] [LAR] [NO] [NYG] [PHI] [SF]
Neutral Matchups: [DET] [MIN] [NYJ] [TEN]
Tough Matchups: [HOU] [IND] [KC] [MIA] [NE] [SEA]
Bad Matchups: [ATL] [CIN] [GB] [OAK] [TB]


PLEASE NOTE: This does NOT replace the Cheatsheet ranking. The Cheatsheet rankings are the final say on where we see a player for that week. The Matchup Breakdowns are simply one more tool in the box when it comes to helping choose your lineup.

Also note, just because a player has a "bad" matchup, it does NOT mean he's not a starter in your league. If Tom Brady is playing the toughest pass defense in the league, that just means he's got a tough matchup that week. He's also your starter unless you're loaded at QB. In the same way, if the worst QB on your roster has a "great" matchup that week, it doesn't necessarily mean he's your starter. It means we think he'll fare better than normal that week.

Bottom line is that the cheatsheets are the final say.


Pittsburgh Steelers Rushing Offense vs Kansas City Chiefs Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

Of course, the LeVeon Bell situation is fluid and unpredictable, and anything could happen late this week. But under no circumstances would he start meaning James Conner will drive this running game no matter what. And Conner’s Week 1 was nothing but positive, featuring 135 yards and 2 touchdowns on a massive, 31-carry workload. The fact that he did it against a Browns defense that thoroughly suffocated lead backs throughout 2017 made it even more impressive. Conner will continue to run behind a dominant front line, one that utilizes both power and quickness to create massive lanes. The whole group is healthy, which isn’t often, and spent Week 1 blowing the Browns’ talented young line off the ball. Cleveland allowed just 3.4 yards per carry in 2017, second-best in football, but Conner produced 4.4 on Sunday.

In Week 1, the Kansas City defense looked strikingly similar to its poor 2017 version. They didn’t necessarily break – Melvin Gordon managed just 64 yards on 15 rushes – but they consistently allowed chunk gains on all types of runs. The Chiefs are gradually building a front line of powerful disruptors, but the linebacking corps still looks like a disaster and they’d probably welcome back over-the-hill Derrick Johnson at this point. Inside men Anthony Hitchens and Reggie Ragland can tackle, but make for a relatively stiff, lumbering duo, one that can be beaten on the second level. They struggle especially with quick-footed backs – change-of-pace spark plug Austin Ekeler ran 5 times Sunday for 6, 9, 7, 10, and 7 yards.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Washington Redskins Rushing Offense vs Indianapolis Colts Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

The Redskins went with a run-heavy offense last week in a comfortable win against the Cardinals. The Redskins did what we saw the Cardinals do with Adrian Peterson and gave him a heavy dosage of carries as Peterson carried the ball 26 times and while he only averaged 3.7 yards per carry was effective in rushing for 96 yards and keeping the team on the field. Chris Thompson was a nice complimentary back to Peterson as he had 65 yards on just five carries and the best part about that was that his longest carry was 16 yards and his shortest carry was for seven yards which was his only carry that was less than ten yards. This offensive line is a much-improved unit after dealing with the injuries that they saw in 2017 losing both Pro Bowl quality lineman in Trent Williams and Brandon Scherff, this looks like a running game that will continue throughout the season to be one of the improved units of 2018.

The Colts rushing defense got off to an incredibly poor start this past week compared to 2017. Even though in 2017, they were 26th in terms of yards allowed per game at 120 yards per game, this was largely due to the offense struggling and falling behind as the yards per carry number in 2017 was solid at 3.9 yards per carry which was 9th best. Last week against the Bengals the Colts allowed 5.2 yards per carry and 93 yards on just 18 carries. The biggest issue for the Colts is that they have an undrafted rookie Skai Moore as their third linebacker who really struggled in Week 1. This could be a big problem for the Colts this upcoming week going against veteran Adrian Peterson.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Arizona Cardinals Rushing Offense at Los Angeles Rams Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

The Cardinals rushing attack got off to a slow start to start the 2018 season as their running backs ran the ball just 13 times due to falling behind 21-0 in the first half. David Johnson saw just nine carries but was productive off of those carries averaging 4.1 yards per carry against a Redskins team that struggled in 2017 against the run but is looking much improved for 2018. The biggest issue for the Cardinals continues to be their offensive line which Footballguys’ Matt Bitonti has ranked as the 30th offensive line in football and giving them a D+ in terms of run blocking. The passing game for the Cardinals struggled and combining that with the team falling behind early led to a poor rushing game overall last week.

The Rams defensively did not live up to their hype with adding Ndamakong Suh alongside Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers. The Rams allowed the Raiders running backs to run for 4.3 yards per carry which while it was better than their 2017 average of 4.65 yards per carry still leaves a lot to be desired especially since it was to the Raiders who featured Marshawn Lynch who looked slow in this game. The Raiders also struggled to bring Lynch down on the goal line as the Raiders offensive lineman helped push Lynch into the end zone for the Raiders lone touchdown of the game. The issue for the Rams continues to be their linebacking group as they feature first-year player Cory Littleton and undersized linebacker Mark Barron is dealing with an Achilles injury which could once again force him to miss this week. If Barron is out, Ramik Wilson will once again be forced to start for the Rams. Wilson had a good 2016 but really struggled in limited playing time with the Chiefs in 2017. All in all, if the Cardinals offensive line can prevent the Rams defense from getting penetration, David Johnson could have a big game this week.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Baltimore Ravens Rushing Offense at Cincinnati Bengals Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

There was little to glean from the Ravens’ Week 1 performance virtually anywhere on the field. In the midst of a 47-3 blowout win, Baltimore generally coasted along, scoring on short drives and pulling its starters early. As a result, starting back Alex Collins managed just 13 yards on 7 carries. But in a more typical game and matchup, he’ll be afforded a rhythm and more big-play chances. Collins was outstanding last year, ripping off 16 breakaway runs (15 yards or more), and he faces 2018 with road-grading guard Marshal Yanda back from injury. This offensive line isn’t perfect, and it’s not especially deep. But Yanda’s presence is both dominating and stabilizing which will help Collins who loves taking counter and stretch runs off his hip. Collins doesn’t boast some blue-ribbon pedigree, and it wouldn’t be earth-shattering if he were exposed as a ho-hum runner. But it doesn’t seem likely – especially after just one wonky game. He has better days ahead.

The Bengals run defense, which was tight and prohibitive in Week 1, remains a thoroughly average unit. They were stout in Week 1, allowing just 68 yards on 21 carries to Indianapolis backs. Still, they did so against a Colts attack that still lacks anything close to a featured back – and runs behind a shaky line to boot. And they did allow the league’s third-most ground yards in 2017. There’s some promise in this group, especially with nose tackle Andrew Billings blossoming into a penetrating, run-stuffing star. But they sorely need linebacker Vontaze Burfict back. Without him, there’s shockingly little dynamism in pursuit, and quick-footed backs are able to feast.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Buffalo Bills Rushing Offense vs Los Angeles Chargers Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

LeSean McCoy looks to have shelved his legal problems, and he’s still firmly entrenched atop the Bills’ backfield. But he no longer looks like a dynamic runner very often, one capable of overcoming shaky quarterbacking or a porous offensive line. And in Buffalo at the moment, he has both, to extreme degrees. Defenses won’t respect the Buffalo receivers – or their rookie quarterback – nearly enough to leave consistent holes for the 30-year-old McCoy. He’ll spend much of 2018 pacing the backfield and running into crowded gaps meaning he’s no longer a slam-dunk fantasy starter. In Week 1, the only notable runs the Bills managed were a few scrambles by quarterback Josh Allen. This is the proverbial “situation to avoid,” indefinitely.

The Chargers looked strong in run defense in Week 1 but beware a mirage. Just last year, this was the worst run-stopping unit in football, giving up a league-high 4.9 yards per rush. They closed the season allowing an average of 111 yards to their last 5 opponents’ lead backs. There are problems on both the first and second levels: the line is packed with backup-level journeymen, especially with Joey Bosa out, and the linebackers are average at best. Denzel Perryman is a solid plugger but not explosive in pursuit, while weakside man Jatavis Brown has been roundly exposed as a weak spot. Downfield tackling duties fall too often on the safeties, so opposing backs who can build up steam in the open field can be trouble. LeSean McCoy is no longer an eruptive force like that, but it’s worth noting he notched

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Carolina Panthers Rushing Offense at Atlanta Falcons Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

The Carolina backfield is, by early account, a three-man monster. And like they always do, the team has assembled three runners of differing skills that combine for a fresh, diverse attack. Christian McCaffrey looked far more like the explosive runner he was late last season than the plodder he was to open his career. And C.J. Anderson proved a steady hand behind him as each averaged 5.0 yards per carry. Cam Newton was his typical self, running called and non-called plays with abandon. Unfazed by a half-careers worth of hits, Newton insists upon taking over games with his legs as his 29-yard scamper was a thing of beauty that should’ve set up a short touchdown. The banged-up front line, though, makes this a dicier Week 2 play than some. They overachieved in Week 1, sealing holes left and right, but promptly lost right tackle Daryl Williams to injury.

TThe Falcons run defense took two devastating blows this week, losing their two most valuable run defenders in one fell swoop. Linebacker Deion Jones and Keanu Neal were both lost to season-ending injuries, robbing this ho-hum unit of virtually all its dynamism. There were positives elsewhere, as the team did manage to hold a strong Eagles ground game to very little. Nose tackle Grady Jarrett, for example, built on his strong 2017, jamming the middle well and stifling Jay Ajayi on numerous inside runs. But the unit needed help on the edges, as we saw on Ajayi’s late touchdown, even before Jones and Neal are counted out. Over the Falcons’ last 17 contests, only 2 backs (Ajayi and Todd Gurley) have totaled more than 76 yards. But the floodgates could open now.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Chicago Bears Rushing Offense vs Seattle Seahawks Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

The Bears rushing attack looked strong in their Week 1 debut against the packers, amassing 139 yards and a touchdown. Jordan Howard averaged 5.5 yards per carry as he led the backfield, out-carrying Tarik Cohen 15-to-5. Howard was making plays both between and outside of the tackles, showing his versatility as he made the most of this 15 rushing attempts. With all early-down work and a decent amount of snaps on third down, Howard is the clear go-to option on the ground here. Mitchell Trubisky flashed his wheels last week as well with a few nice runs along with the only rushing touchdown of the game. Trubisky is an athletic quarterback who showed he can make plays with his legs throughout the 2017 season, rushing for over 20 yards in five of his 12 starts with a couple of 50+ rushing yard outings.

The Broncos ran all over Seattle last week to the tune of 146 rushing yards with both running backs averaging 4.7 yards per carry. The Seahawks are definitely feeling the absence of all-pro linebacker K.J. Wright, as the rookie Shaquem Griffin was terrible in Week 1. Even after getting benched, his replacement Austin Calitro did absolutely nothing in terms of playmaking to stop the run. The defensive line is decent, but nothing like what they used to be as the interior had a tough time even against a mediocre Broncos offensive line. The Seahawks still have Bobby Wagner and some solid run-defending safeties, but this defensive line may have a tough time holding up. The Bears offensive line is not elite, but Jordan Howard should pose even more of a threat to this Seahawks rushing defense than either Broncos running back did last week. Unless Wright somehow manages to suit up, the slight advantage goes to the Bears here.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Cleveland Browns Rushing Offense at New Orleans Saints Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Carlos Hyde looked sluggish in Week 1, finding the end zone but managing just 2.8 yards on 22 rushes. He looks destined to lose some opportunity in the coming weeks as there’s just so much more explosiveness elsewhere. In Week 1, quarterback Tyrod Taylor led the pack, racking up 77 yards and scoring himself. Rookie Nick Chubb recorded a nice 17-yard run, while Duke Johnson looked fresher and more dynamic than Hyde in change-of-pace duty. Hyde will likely maintain the lead role, but he hasn’t earned a particularly long leash. There are concerns about the Browns front line, which certainly doesn’t bode well for him. Top blocker Joel Bitonio is back at left guard, though, and if rookie left tackle Desmond Harrison clicks this unit could come out of the quicksand.

The Saints run defense, atrocious as ever in 2017, remains a work in progress. But there’s reason for measured optimism after a solid Week 1 showing. Peyton Barber ripped off an early 23-yard run but was held firmly in check (46 on 18 rushes) beyond that. To improve on a noticeable level, though, the team needs a further step forward from inconsistent nose tackle Sheldon Rankins. They could also stand to find an upgrade on their thoroughly mediocre linebackers, namely Manti Te’o, who frequently leaves big gaps in the running game. Strong safety Kurt Coleman has clearly lost a step and open runs can easily turn into breakaways when the second and third levels are extremely shaky.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Dallas Cowboys Rushing Offense vs New York Giants Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Ezekiel Elliott disappointed in Week 1 as the team got behind early and Elliott only saw 15 carries as the team was forced to abandon the run as they got down 10-0 and struggled moving the ball. Elliott made the most of his 15 carries against a good defense as he ran for 69 yards in this game. The Panthers have an elite run defense, so it was great to see that the Cowboys were still able to have success even with their injury-riddled offensive line. It is going to take a few weeks for this offensive line to really come together especially when you have a new center in Joe Looney with Travis Frederick being out.

The Giants are a team that has elite defensive tackles and if you can get past those defensive tackles you are going to have tremendous success running the ball. The Giants may get Olivier Vernon back this week which if they do would be a tremendous help especially on lateral runs, but he still has not practiced as of Wednesday. The biggest issue for the Giants is that they are setup to stop the pass and put a tremendous amount of pressure on their middle linebackers B.J. Goodson and Alec Ogletree both struggled in 2017. Ezekiel Elliott has a great history against the Giants rushing for over 100 yards in two of his three games against the team and scoring a touchdown in the other game, so look for the Cowboys to utilize Elliott in a big way and if the offensive line can block Damien Harrison and Dalvin Tomlinson this could be a big week for Elliott.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Denver Broncos Rushing Offense vs Oakland Raiders Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

The Broncos rushing attack was a bit of a surprise as Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman shared time and both had almost identical days as they both had 15 carries for 71 yards a piece. Even from a snap count perspective, they were almost identical as Freeman had 29 snaps while Lindsay had 26. This appears to be a split backfield amongst the two rookies at least for the time being and as long as they are both successful carrying the ball. Lindsay is a nice surprise for the Broncos as the rookie undrafted free agent showed a tremendous burst and showed why he had such success at Colorado University where he is the all-purpose yard leader and leader in yards from scrimmage.

The Raiders held Todd Gurley in check for most of the first half last week as he had just 19 yards on 4 carries in the first half last week as the Raiders went to a stacked box. However, as the team wore down, Gurley had tremendous success in the second-half going for 89 yards on just 16 carries (5.6 yards per carry). This is a defense that now has to go on the road into altitude and try to stop a defense that can feature three different running backs that all could have success against this defense. The biggest problem for the Raiders so far this season is their defensive tackles in P.J. Hall and Justin Ellis. They will look for these players to improve and provide a run-stopping ability that they’re capable of in order to shut down the Broncos run offense this week.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Jacksonville Jaguars Rushing Offense vs New England Patriots Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

There’s probably no way of knowing until Sunday morning whether Leonard Fournette will be available. His hamstring tweak is reportedly minor, but that “reporter” is head coach Doug Marrone, who was wildly unreliable last year when tracking Fournette’s foot injury. The fact that he couldn’t return to a tight Week 1 game isn’t encouraging. One way or another, the Jaguars will rely somewhat on T.J. Yeldon in this game. Yeldon is a quick-footed back miscast in the Fournette role, and he’s not very efficient as a workhorse. Last year, apart from a 58-yard scamper against the Colts, he averaged a serviceable 4.1 yards per rush. At least his front line has improved by leaps and bounds, thanks in large part to two key additions over the past two years. New left guard Andrew Norwell was an All-Pro last year with the Panthers, and he brings a road-grading element to the Jaguars’ inconsistent interior running. At right tackle, ex-Cowboy Jermey Pernell has stabilized a longtime trouble spot with stout, no-nonsense play.

The New England run defense, generally poor in 2017, was definitely prioritized entering this season. Nose tackles Danny Shelton and Lawrence Guy were added and put front and center in the rotation, joining occasional stud Malcom Brown to seal up the inside. However, week 1 brought the same problems as 2017 as Lamar Miller and Alfred Blue (a combined 134 yards on 25 carries) found plenty of holes inside and out, while Deshaun Watson (8 for 40) exploited gaps for key runs all afternoon. The Patriots don’t often allow huge rushing totals as their tendency to lead games throughout forces opponents to abandon the run earlier than they’d like. But on a run-by-run basis, they’re still exceptionally soft, and few units make for a weaker matchup in terms of efficiency. Whenever a team projects close to the Patriots, it’s fair to expect them to post one of their better ground games of the year.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Los Angeles Chargers Rushing Offense at Buffalo Bills Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Melvin Gordon didn’t see too much daylight in Week 1, finishing with 64 yards on 15 attempts. But that actually outdid his career per-carry average of 3.8. It’s early, of course, but perhaps the Chargers’ commitment to upgrading their run game is bearing fruit. Over the past two years they’ve added several key run-blockers: center Mike Pouncey, left tackle Russell Okung, right guard Forrest Lamp, and inline tight end Virgil Green. The team would love to see Gordon’s ground game stabilize quickly, providing a ball-control element in addition to its explosiveness. Austin Ekeler remains a true spark plug behind him as he’s occasionally given whole possessions to sub for Gordon. Through 12 NFL games in which he’s had an offensive role, Ekeler has averaged 5.6 yards per carry, consistently creating big, chain-moving gains.

Surprisingly, the Bills’ only ray of Week 1 light was their much-maligned run defense. Over the final 10 games of last season, 11 different runners managed 74 yards or more against them, including even a handful of teammate pairs. But last Sunday, the Bills’ shaky defensive front held up well against the Ravens’ elite line. Alex Collins managed just 13 yards on 7 carries, while the rest of the Baltimore backfield totaled 61 in garbage time. It’s yet to be seen whether the unit has actually improved much, but new tackle Star Lotulelei looked like a true missing-piece type in Week 1. He’s adept at tying up blockers, and rookie linebacker Tremaine Edmunds has the talent to capitalize.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Los Angeles Rams Rushing Offense vs Arizona Cardinals Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Todd Gurley continued to show that he has emerged as an elite running back in the NFL as evidenced by his 5.4 yards per carry against the Raiders last week. The Rams offensive line continue to prove that it is an elite unit as predicted by Footballguys Matt Bitonti who has the Rams as his fifth-best offensive line this season. This is an elite unit led by Pro Bowler Andrew Whitworth at left tackle and second-team All-Pro Rodger Saffold. This is a line that dominated the Raiders up-front giving plenty of room for the Rams Week 1.

The Cardinals defense was one of the top units in 2017 allowing just 89.6 yards per game which was 6th in the NFL in terms of fewest yards allowed. Last week, the Redskins ran all over the Cardinals as they ran the ball 42 times for 182 yards including allowing Adrian Peterson to run for 96 yards and Chris Thompson to run for 65 yards on just five carries. The biggest issue for the Cardinals is that Deone Bucannon really struggled in run defense this past week which along with the defensive line not dominating like they did last year. Expect this running attack to improve and for Chandler Jones to get back to his normal self, but at the moment this looks like a defense that you should not be afraid of going up against like they were last season.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


New Orleans Saints Rushing Offense vs Cleveland Browns Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Alvin Kamara could well have been on his way to a big Week 1 on the ground, racking up 29 yards on 6 carries in the first half. But when the dam burst and the Saints fell behind big, the run game vanished. Still, it was encouraging to see Kamara run with dizzying burst and instinct, routinely stymying defenders both at the line and in the open field. He’s a truly special player, and his explosiveness is virtually immune to the matchup. Mike Gillislee and Jonathan Williams shared big-back duties, but neither ran with any real purpose, and neither is a suitable replacement for Mark Ingram. This rushing attack will continue to be rooted in Kamara’s open-space prowess, after all, he’s averaged a wild 5.5 yards per carry as a pro. Running behind an elite offensive line doesn’t hurt – and left tackle Terron Armstead’s return only makes the group more cohesive. This isn’t quite the game’s most dominant rushing attack without Ingram, but it’s still the most dynamic.

Cleveland’s run defense rounded nicely into form last year under new coordinator Gregg Williams, whose run-game track record is staggering. But it didn’t show up last Sunday, even with LeVeon Bell sitting. Backup James Conner ripped off 135 yards on 35 carries, breaking a handful of splash runs and scoring twice. Still, this unit should be regarded as upper-tier. Last season, they allowed the league’s seventh-fewest ground yards per game – an astounding feat for an 0-16 team that was virtually never leading. The team could come to miss nose tackle Danny Shelton, but did fine in 2017 with his snaps severely limited. This unit should rebound soon, though the Saints front line may not be the right opponent to expect it against.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


New York Giants Rushing Offense at Dallas Cowboys Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

This is looking like it could be a prototypical Saquon Barkley type game as he broke a 68-yard run, but on his other 17 carries he had just 38 yards and was frequently met behind the line of scrimmage. The real issue for the Giants is that their offensive line continues to be a bottom-tier offensive line even with the addition of Nate Solder this past offseason. Ereck Flowers and Patrick Omaneh continue to be liabilities for this team that in order for Barkley to emerge as what we think he can be, will need to step up and become a cohesive unit. The Giants were facing one of the best defensive lines in football in the Jaguars so there is hope that they will improve based off of their week one performance.

The Cowboys struggled in week one against the Panthers who have one of the worst offensive lines in football as the Panthers ran all over the Cowboys rushing for 147 yards and Christian McCaffrey and C.J. Anderson ran for 85 yards on just 17 carries (5.0 yards per carry). This is a major issue for the Cowboys as while they have elite defensive ends in Taco Charlton and DeMarcus Lawrence, their defensive tackles and linebackers are liabilities. Both Antwaun Woods and Tyrone Crawford will need to improve their play along with all three linebackers. Sean Lee will improve his game as he traditionally does, but the concern is around Jaylon Smith and whoever the third linebacker will be whether it is Damien Wilson or rookie Leighton Vander Esch as both split time and neither were overly effective. This could be a get right game for the Giants as their offensive line is worse than the Panthers, but the Cowboys struggled mightily against a unit that is still below average last week.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Philadelphia Eagles Rushing Offense at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Even with the Eagles passing game on life support all night, the run game found enough openings in Week 1 to produce somewhat. It’s clear that Jay Ajayi runs the show – despite playing just 28 snaps, he took 15 carries, good for 60% of the backfield’s workload. He looked solid in the process, finding holes and creating space on the edges. His numbers (62 yards) weren’t dazzling, but he played well off of his elite blockers and found the end zone 3 times, including his two-point conversion. On passing downs, the team utilizes Corey Clement and Darren Sproles on shotgun draws and counters, and Clement also looked explosive in the opener. His late 21-yard scamper converted a third down and set up Ajayi’s winning scores. All in all, this run game isn’t particularly sexy, but it operates behind a truly dominant front line, one that greatly maximizes its backfield’s talents.

It’s hard to gauge from Week 1 how the Tampa Bay run defense is set up for 2018. The Buccaneers got out to a big lead which kept the Saints from running the ball much, retreating into pass-only mode in the third quarter. As a result, it’s yet to be known whether last year’s subpar unit has improved. The team has thoroughly rebuilt its defensive front, though massive first-round pick Vita Vea has yet to debut. We do know that the linebacking corps, led by Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander, is active and dynamic and that Alvin Kamara managed just 29 yards on 8 carries in the opener. There’s definitely reason for some degree of Week 2 optimism, though this remains a targetable group for fantasy purposes.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


San Francisco 49ers Rushing Offense vs Detroit Lions Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

The 49ers backfield was split between the combination of Alfred Morris and Matt Breida in Week 1. Morris was the starter, receiving all but three of his carries in the first half before ceding to Breida when the game script flipped to a pass-heavy approach. Morris was effective in the beginning, but he fizzled at the end of a drive near the goal line, rushing four consecutive times from within the five-yard line while failing to gain more than a yard and fumbling to cost the 49ers a scoring opportunity. Morris ended the game with 12 carries compared to 11 for Breida, who was actually the more efficient runner with 4.2 yards per rushing attempt. Morris remains the primary early-down and goal-line back while Breida should see more passing down work. The 49ers offensive line had a couple injuries to note this week as they lost two guards with foot injuries. Starting right guard Mike Person went down with a foot strain, followed by his replacement Josh Garnet promptly injuring his toe just a few plays later. Both are considered week to week and appear likely to miss Week 2, forcing some undesirable shifts on this offensive line, including moving rookie tackle Mike McGlinchey inside to guard. Ranked as an average offensive line by Footballguys offensive line specialist Matt Bitonti to start the season, this unit will definitely fall to the bottom tier for Week 2 if both guards are indeed sidelined.

The Lions rushing defense had a tough time with the Jets running backs, giving up a total of 162 rushing yards and two touchdowns to the pair of primary Jets running backs. Isaiah Crowell managed to average over 10 yards per rush attempt on the heels of a 62-yard scamper while Bilal Powell was allowed to average right at five yards per carry. The game script made it tough on the Lions though, as they were constantly on the field with short rest thanks to the five turnovers coughed up by their offensive counterparts. The Lions defensive front did have a bright spot via the nice showing from rookie tackle De’Shawn Hand, who played better than expected up front. Their top lineman Ezekiel Ansah also had a solid season debut against the run, but he was forced to exit early with a shoulder injury with his status for Week 2 now in question. It was really the combination of game script and subpar linebacker play that helped doom the Lions to such a poor statistical showing against the run. With the status of Ezekiel Ansah in question and an undermanned linebacker group, even a subpar and equally ailing 49ers offensive line looks to have the advantage here.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Detroit Lions Rushing Offense at San Francisco 49ers Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Right on cue, the Lions rushing offense went back to their old ways as they finished rock bottom of Week 1 with only 39 rushing yards and just 15 rushing attempts. To be fair, it was a tough game script as the Lions were playing from behind for most of the evening and barely called a single run play during the second half. LeGarrette Blount was given the start, but he lost seven yards on his first carry while injuring his knee on his last carry just after halftime. Theo Riddick was the clear passing-down back who did not get much work at all on the ground, but was on the field for over half the snaps as the Lions played catch-up. Kerryon Johnson was worked in on 23 percent of the snaps and had a few solid runs in limited opportunities. The offensive line had a very rough night as they whiffed on quite a few blocks and couldn’t open many running lanes. They actually looked better in run blocking than pass protection, but the overall performance was still below average. With Blount’s health and effectiveness in question, Johnson may see more playing time this week.

The 49ers rushing defense was better than advertised last week despite missing their top impact defensive player in Reuben Foster (suspension). Deforest Buckner was a stalwart for them on the defensive line while linebacker Fred Warner had a very solid season debut with a forced fumble and multiple big stops against the run. This defensive front consistently penetrated the Vikings offensive line and did a great job containing Dalvin Cook as he was held to just 2.5 rushing yards per attempt on 16 carries. Given the success the 49ers had against a subpar Vikings offensive line last week, they can expect a similar matchup in the trenches here as the Lions offensive line played very poorly in Week 1 and grades out as a below average unit.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Minnesota Vikings Rushing Offense at Green Bay Packers Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Vikings rushing offense did not look sharp in their Week 1 debut behind suspect offensive line play. Dalvin Cook was the clear starter and workhorse here as he played 80 percent of the snaps compared to only 20 percent for Latavius Murray. Cook made much more of an impact through the air than he did on the ground though, averaging just 2.5 yards per rush attempt with no touchdowns, a fumble, and only one rush of over seven yards. Cook actually closed out the game gaining one or fewer yards on five of his final seven carries as the offensive line looked absolutely gassed. Latavius Murray remains a factor here, but the workload allocated to Cook help to dispel any question marks surrounding his health coming off the ACL injury. The Vikings hope to return center Pat Elflein this week after he missed the entire preseason and last week’s game. Elflein’s return will certainly help, but the Vikings offensive line will still grade out as a below average unit with a particularly weak right side.

The Packers run defense had some bright spots in Week 1, but overall they struggled to stop Jordan Howard and the Bears. Howard averaged 5.5 yards per rush attempt while Mitchell Trubisky found room to run for 32 yards and a rushing touchdown on seven scrambles. Interior linemen Kenny Clark and Mike Daniels had solid games, as expected by two of the best defensive players for the Packers. Clark was particularly effective against the run, single-handedly clogging up Jordan Howard on multiple occasions. The Packers seemed to struggle with the outside runs last week, as their outside linebacker and cornerback play in run defense was not up to par. Clay Matthews ended up having quite a rough night, recording only one tackle despite playing 60 snaps. This run defense will need to improve on the edges, but they continue to have the interior locked down with solid tackle and inside linebacker play.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


New York Jets Rushing Offense vs Miami Dolphins Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell punished the Lions run defense in Week 1, to the tune of 162 yards on 22 combined rushes. Crowell was the most explosive, as witnessed by his 62-yard scoring scamper. A forgotten man in many football circles, Crowell is only 2 years removed from a 4.8-yard-per-carry, 7-touchdown season for a bad Browns team. The former five-star Georgia recruit has impressive athleticism and balance, and chunk runs aren’t a new thing for him. Crowell was an under-the-radar signing for a young Jets team in need of affordable dynamism. Powell, underrated as a runner in his own right, looked fresh and eruptive as well. Fantasy players, however, need to keep in mind that their success came against a Lions unit that has reportedly already turned on its head coach. They could be a dumpster fire for much of 2018, and we may well look at Week 1 as the best week the Jets’ backs had all year.

A few blown plays aside, the Miami run defense showed generally well in Week 1. Tennessee’s Dion Lewis broke off a 26-yard run and scored a bit too easily from the goal line, but all told, the Dolphins gave up less than most had expected. Derrick Henry (26 yards on 10 carries) was effectively bottled up, given no chance at the breakaway runs he’s capable of. The defensive tackle rotation lacks star power with Ndamukong Suh gone, but Akeem Spence and company made enough plays in the gaps to keep the bleeding low. And Reshad Jones proved he’s still an elite safety in run support. Last year’s Miami run defense was average across the board, and this iteration looks similar.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Tennessee Titans Rushing Offense vs Houston Texans Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Titans started out their rushing attack in Week 1 just as most expected with Derrick Henry at the helm, feeding him the first seven carries of the game throughout the first two offensive possessions until Dion Lewis finally made it onto the field. Henry did not look sharp with his opportunities, averaging just 2.6 rushing yards per attempt. He did have a long touchdown run negated by a penalty, but overall, Henry’s first outing of the season left much to be desired. The Titans very quickly shifted their backfield to focusing on Lewis, who actually looked great both on the ground and through the air. After the first couple of offensive series, Lewis ended up out-touching Henry 21-to-3 on the day, finishing with a solid rushing stat line of 16 carries for 75 yards and a touchdown. Lewis even took work from Henry near the goal line as he scored on a run from the four-yard line. Based on his Week 1 showing, it looks like Lewis has to be considered the most valuable running back in this Titans backfield. The Titans offensive line will require some monitoring throughout the week, as it may be without both starting tackles this week. Jack Conklin remains out as he recovers from a knee injury, expected back close to Week 4 unless his status rapidly improves. Left tackle Taylor Lewan suffered a concussion in Week 1, so he must move through the protocol in an attempt to make it back this week. If both tackles are out, this offensive line will most certainly be downgraded.

The Texans run defense showed some positive signs in Week 1, but they still finished with coughing up 122 yards on the ground, including 107 rushing yards to the three opposing Patriots running backs. D.J. Reader showed he can be a force on the interior, but it was the linebacker play, most notably that of Dylan Cole and Zach Cunningham, that let the Texans down last week. Safety Kareem Jackson had the best game in run defense amongst defensive backs for the Texans, but he could only do so much with the poor tackling from the Texans linebackers. While the Titans have questions on their offensive line, the interior of that line remains intact and did a decent job later in the game last week. The Texans linebackers will need to improve for this unit to be effective against the run.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Houston Texans Rushing Offense at Tennessee Titans Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Lamar Miller shined as the clear lead back for the Texans rushing offense last week, rushing 20 times for 98 yards. Miller out-touched Alfred Blue 20-to-5 on the ground despite Blue stepping in for a goal-line carry to grab the lone rushing touchdown for the Texans. The knock on Miller has typically been his lack of efficiency, which would have held true last week if not for a 31-yard carry to pad what otherwise would have been around 3.5 rushing yards per attempt. Deshaun Watson chipped in with 40 yards on eight rushes despite his poor showing in the passing game. The Texans offensive line, if not already bad enough, was dealt an opening blow last week with the loss of right tackle Seantrel Henderson. Henderson was carted off last week with a broken ankle that will sideline him for the rest of the season. While Henderson was not a top lineman, his presence will be missed by an offensive line that was already ranked near the bottom in the league. This injury looks to force a rookie, Martinas Rankin, into the left tackle spot with Julien Davenport switching to right tackle as the Texans shuffle things around in an attempt at rolling out somewhat of a cohesive unit this week.

The Titans had a particularly tough time stopping the Dolphins ground game during the first half last week as they let Frank Gore run all over them, but this unit came together as the game progressed as they ended up holding Kenyan Drake to only 3.4 yards per rushing attempt for 48 rushing yards total while allowing no rushing touchdowns. Jurrell Casey made some nice stops, but he did not look quite up to speed as the usual kingpin of this rushing defense. Frank Gore showed that this linebacker group can be gashed as he routinely shed tackles during the first half last week. Wesley Woodyard was decent, but Jayon Brown had a very rough outing against the run. Despite their lackluster outing last week though, this Titans run defense should see a bounce-back opportunity this week this particularly weak Texans offensive line. The only watch-out will be the Titans’ ability to contain Deshaun Watson, who has the upside to run all over them if not contained properly.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Indianapolis Colts Rushing Offense at Washington Redskins Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Colts may get Marlon Mack back this week as he was limited in practice on Wednesday, but in perhaps bigger injury news for the Colts, they will likely get Anthony Castonzo back which will be a significant improvement to get their left tackle back from injury. Jordan Wilkins and the rushing game struggled last week as they ran for just 75 yards on 3.4 yards per carry against a very good Bengals run defense. The Colts run defense has been decimated with injuries so far this season and in the preseason and combining this with just an overall lack of experience, it is no surprise that it has gotten off to a slow start this year.

The Colts are going up against a Redskins defense which should be much improved along the defensive line. The Redskins were a very good defensive line before injuries plagued them in the second half of the year to Matt Ioannidis and Jonathan Allen. The good news for the Redskins is that both of these players are back and makeup what should be a very formidable defensive end group along with Da'Ron Payne the first-round rookie out of Alabama. This will allow linebackers Ryan Kerrigan and Zach Brown to make more plays than they were able to last season and lead to a much more promising run defense than what we saw a season ago. In Week 1, the Redskins largely held David Johnson in check and some of this was due to the game script, but he had just 37 yards on 9 carries and was really not able to get much going.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Kansas City Chiefs Rushing Offense at Pittsburgh Steelers Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Kareem Hunt was inefficient in Week 1. Hunt managed just 49 yards on 16 attempts against a generally beatable Chargers defense. It reminded many of Hunt’s tough rookie-wall stretch when he averaged just 3.3 yards per rush from Weeks 6-13. But it would be lazy and irresponsible to write him off after one game as he averaged an eye-popping 5.6 in his other 10. Hunt wasn’t given the ball with much rhythm Sunday as the Chiefs scorched through the air and didn’t have the need for long, sustained drives. The good news is that Hunt remains the unquestioned workhorse and that Patrick Mahomes’ arm looks plenty dynamic to keep defenses honest. The front line looks a bit shaky, but Hunt is a solid creator, even in crowded backfields. He’s especially strong when worked outside on stretch runs, a strategy Andy Reid will probably look to keep pushing more and more. He’ll also want to keep Mahomes involved as the youngster played a notable Week 1 role on read-option plays that netted 21 yards on 5 attempts.

The Pittsburgh run defense, which tends to flash both suffocating dominance and laughable lapses, held tightly in Week 1. Carlos Hyde was held to just 2.8 yards per carry, and Duke Johnson was mostly corralled behind him. It’s hard to know what to take from that: they were facing a Browns line that no longer boasts future Hall of Fame left tackle Joe Thomas. (An undrafted rookie won musical chairs in the preseason and now starts in his place.) Last year’s Steelers held 10 of their 17 opponents under 100 total ground yards, but let the other 7 average a stunning 168. In general, though, this is a stout unit that shouldn’t be tested much in fantasy. Down lineman Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt are occasional dominators up front, and inside linebacker, Vince Williams is a dependable plugger and tackler. With spark plug T.J. Watt in pursuit and safety/linebacker hybrid rookie Terrell Edmunds working his way onto the field, the arrow is pointing up for this inconsistent unit.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Miami Dolphins Rushing Offense at New York Jets Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Dolphins find themselves saddled with a great problem as their two-headed backfield is composed of two solid runners. In a bizarre turn of Week 1 events, Kenyan Drake was mostly bottled up (48 yards on 14 attempts), while ageless wonder Frank Gore produced a handful of chunk runs (9 for 61). This looks like a “hot hand” type of backfield, but it’s at least encouraging that the offense boasts two viable runners. What’s even more encouraging is the play of the offensive line. Left guard Josh Sitton remains an elite run-blocker when healthy; two teams have given up the ghost on his injury history, but the Dolphins will revel in any strong line play they can get. And right tackle Ju’Wuan James remains a quality edge blocker while firmly under the radar. This run game looks poised to produce, even if the week-to-week production is hard to pinpoint.

The Jets throttled the Lions’ non-existent run game in Week 1, allowing a combined 34 yards to Kerryon Johnson, LeGarrette Blount, and Theo Riddick. It’s tough to glean much from that as Detroit’s rushing attack remains a black hole, and they had no chance at establishing a rhythm in the 48-17 loss. Not helping matters was LeGarrette Blount leaving the game due to a knee injury. But it wasn’t atypical for the Jets, who spent most of 2017 bottling up elite runners. (The combination of Alvin Kamara, Kareem Hunt, Leonard Fournette, Devonta Freeman, C.J. Anderson, LeSean McCoy, and Jay Ajayi averaged just 2.8 yards per carry against them.) With serviceable line play and active linebackers, the Jets make for a tough run-game matchup.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


New England Patriots Rushing Offense at Jacksonville Jaguars Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Patriots backfield, once brimming with bodies of various skillsets, has been thinned out drastically by the injury bug. Bill Belichick is almost certainly missing Dion Lewis (and even Mike Gillislee) deeply, if through clenched teeth. Jeremy Hill’s injury could mean rookie Sony Michel will be forced into action sooner than expected. It was once a luxury to keep Michel bubble-wrapped while his knee recovered from minor surgery, but now the offense needs the services of at least one more runner. It’s very likely, though, that the Patriots keep Michel out with the long-term in mind. Rex Burkhead is also dealing with an injury as he is in concussion protocol and if he is unable to go the Patriots would only have a healthy James White and Kenjon Barner at running back meaning it’s likely that they would promote Ralph Webb to a big role if Sony Michel is not ready. Belichick and Josh McDaniels will need to get creative to manufacture production against the Jaguars’ suffocating front.

Saquon Barkley posted a great NFL debut, but it still feels like a fool’s errand to expect production. This is an up-and-down unit, but one populated by powerful down linemen and an active second level. Last year’s Jaguars allowed plenty of yards, but they were generally hard-earned, and a handful of elite runners (including LeVeon Bell, Melvin Gordon, and LeSean McCoy) struggled mightily to find room against them. And in Week 1, Barkley was thoroughly bottled up for 3 quarters; apart from his dazzling 68-yard touchdown, he managed just 38 yards on 17 carries. There’s no shame in allowing a generational athlete like Barkley erupt down the sideline, and this still looks like a unit it’s best not to test in fantasy. As long as Calais Campbell and Marcell Dareus are engulfing blockers, inside holes will be few and far between for grinding backs.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Seattle Seahawks Rushing Offense at Chicago Bears Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Seahawks rushing offense was as bad as advertised behind a bottom tier offensive line in Week 1. Only the Saints and Lions finished with fewer rushing yards than the Seahawks as the combination of Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny only managed 59 rushing yards with Russell Wilson scampering for a measly five yards. Carson got the start and was quite productive with his first two carries, but did not manage much on the ground after that. His first two rushes of 10 and 24 yards helped propel Carson to an inflated average of 7.3 yards per carry. Rashaad Penny was mixed in at a virtually even ratio with Carson with an equal seven carries, but he managed only one rush over three yards as Carson clearly looked superior rushing the ball. The offensive line struggled for most of this last game and will remain a bottom-tier unit overall.

The Bears rushing defense suffocated Green Bay in last week’s game, holding Packers’ running backs to only 54 yards on the ground while allowing one long run of 15 yards to Aaron Rodgers. Eddie Goldman played his expected role of clogging the interior with his size while Akiem Hicks routinely shut down anyone near his lane. The interior of this talented Bears defensive front stepped up in a big way to lead this unit to success against an equally talented Packers offensive line. While it may be tough to judge against a Packers team not noted for their effectiveness on the ground, this defensive line is loaded with talent with a secondary that has shown to be more than capable of chipping in against the run. Having Khalil Mack playing out of his mind on the outside certainly helps against the run as well, despite most of his plays being made against the pass in last week’s outing. The paltry Seahawks offensive line should be in for a long day.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Atlanta Falcons Rushing Offense vs Carolina Panthers Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

The Falcons running game was a no-show in Week 1, managing just 55 yards on 15 runs by the backs. But they shouldn’t feel bad – the Philadelphia run defense is a truly menacing unit, and they’re far from the first run game to vanish against them. Going forward, there are better days to come. Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman make for a diverse attack, one capable of both ball-control grinding and big-play dynamism. Coleman, especially, is a spark plug as over the past 3 seasons, he’s produced 23 runs of 15 yards or more – an impressive total for a part-timer. The two run behind an experienced front line that’s been almost entirely together for the better part of four years. When the Falcons take on front sevens not as suffocating as the Eagles – and the Buccaneers certainly are not – they’re often able to dominate the trenches behind center Alex Mack and left guard Andy Levitre. And when Coleman gets room to bounce outside, this becomes a very productive unit. One cause for concern for the Falcons is that as of Wednesday, Devonte Freeman is still not practicing after leaving the game early with a knee injury against the Eagles.

The Carolina run defense simply refuses to allow big rushing days. Dating back to last season, they’ve allowed just 3 opponents to top 110 yards on the ground, and only two individual runners have reached 80. In Week 1, Ezekiel Elliott generally produced (69 yards and 1 touchdown on 15 carries), but worked hard for his modest total. Aside from a 17-yard breakaway, Elliott found little room against a front seven that swarmed even without run-stuffing tackle Star Lotulelei. Linebackers Luke Kuechly and Shaq Thompson were quick in space and did a great job of controlling Elliott’s lanes. Simply put, this is a run defense to shy away from in fantasy football. It’s tough (not advisable) to bench a Devonta Freeman-level runner, especially in Week 2, but it’s not wise to project much success for him, either.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Cincinnati Bengals Rushing Offense vs Baltimore Ravens Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

In a complete turnaround from his inefficient rookie campaign, Joe Mixon shredded the Colts for 95 yards on 17 carries in Week 1, including a goal-line touchdown. Of course, running wild on the Colts is usually nothing to brag much about, but that’s a better unit than fantasy players are used to seeing (and targeting). In any event, after watching Mixon run into the backs of his linemen for most of 2017, it was a welcomed sight. The ultra-explosive runner (an elite 118.40-speed score last year) ran circles in Week 1, registering chunk gains up the middle and off tackle. Mixon shed weight this offseason but remains plenty powerful in the lower body. Most importantly, he’s working behind an offensive line that’s been completely revamped – particularly on the left side. The once-pitiful Bengals front now boasts an established run-blocking left tackle (Cordy Glenn), a steady left guard (Clint Boling), and a first-round center (Billy Price). The new anchor of the Cincinnati offense, Mixon’s arrow is pointing straight up, even in a much tougher Week 2 matchup.

Baltimore’s run defense, dominant as ever in 2017, had no difficulty erasing LeSean McCoy from the Bills’ Week 1 game plan. Some of that was due to the natural flow of a 47-3 game, but most should be credited to the Ravens’ swarming front, which left virtually nothing for McCoy to find. Lineman Brandon Williams, who plays up and down the line, is developing into run-stuffing star and is a big reason the team allowed just 84 ground yards per game after he returned to action in the middle of last year. With solid tacklers on the second and third levels, big plays – let alone big games – are hard to create in this matchup.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Green Bay Packers Rushing Offense vs Minnesota Vikings Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Jamaal Williams will remain the Packers’ lead running back this week as Aaron Jones serves the second and final game of his suspension. Williams started strong last week with a long run of 11-yards on the Packers’ first possession, but he failed to produce much thereafter as the game script shifted to a pass-heavy approach. Williams saw 62% of the snaps compared to 38% for Ty Montgomery, who rushed only two times for seven yards. The Packers offensive line has the talent to block effectively for Williams, but he was not finding many open lanes last week in a tough matchup. With the matchup this week even tougher, Williams does not have a positive outlook.

The Vikings defense looked unstoppable last week against the 49ers. They allowed only 3.6 yards per rush attempt for 90 rushing yards as this defensive line was absolutely dominant. Linval Joseph picked up right where he left off last season as one of the best interior run defenders in the game while Sheldon Richardson was virtually unblockable in his first full game of action with the Vikings. Eric Kendricks could have had a better game at linebacker, but the Vikings safeties, notably Harrison Smith, helped make up for it as he was all over the field. This unit came into the season as one of the most highly touted run defenses, and they lived up to the hype in Week 1. Considering the Packers struggled to find running room against the Bears last week, they will most certainly have a tough time with this Vikings defense.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Oakland Raiders Rushing Offense at Denver Broncos Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

The Raiders last week had a real opportunity to establish the run against a run defense that struggled in 2017 as they were one of the worst run defenses in football. Unfortunately for the Raiders, they tried to establish the run early with very little success and then fell behind in the second half forcing them to throw the ball. Expect a lot of this in 2018 as the Raiders just are not a great team and with 32-year-old Marshawn Lynch not having big play ability, he is going to need volume to have fantasy value as he has just three carries longer than 20 yards in his last 24 contests.

The Broncos run defense continued to show why it was the best in 2017. In 2017, the Broncos led the league in yards per carry at just 3.3 allowed. This is an elite unit led by linebacker Brandon Marshall who is one of the best run stopping linebackers in Football. With the ability to play one-on-one on the outside with their elite corners, this allows the Broncos to put more players in the box and they held the Seahawks to just 64 yards rushing. The one thing that we don't know yet is whether the Seahawks are just a poor rushing offense or if the Broncos are still as good as they were last year. The answer is likely both, as space-eating defensive tackle Domata Peko gives the linebackers plenty of space to clean up the tackles. This should make for a tough day for the Raiders offense as the way to beat the Broncos run defense is with speed which could lead to Jalen Richard, but expect Marshawn Lynch to have a tough day against this defense.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Rushing Offense vs Philadelphia Eagles Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

This is clearly and plainly Peyton Barber’s backfield. Second-round rookie Ronald Jones was a healthy Week 1 scratch after a horrendous preseason, and there’s little indication he’ll dress – let alone contribute – in Week 2. Barber doesn’t boast any one great talent, but his case is helped by an improving offensive line. Steady left tackle Donovan Smith made it through Week 1 without a setback; his presence is crucial for this group. New playcaller Todd Monken likes to give him fullback help, too, which boosts Barber’s power-game outlook. Over 6 games as the team’s clear lead back, Barber averaged 67 yards and hasn’t fallen below 51. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick’s legs made an appearance last week, and his “always look for a play” mentality often works well for his offenses. He’s always quick to create a draw and take off, and he found the end zone in Week 1.

The Philadelphia run defense wasn’t tested much in Week 1, as Atlanta made Julio Jones its unquestioned focal point and Devonta Freeman went out with an injury. For what little we saw the Falcons run, it was encouraging to see the Eagles rushing defense consistently stifle a strong Falcons run game, especially with multiple starters out. Aside from a 20-yard run by Devonta Freeman on the opening drive, there wasn’t a gain of more than Their goal-line stand at the end of that first possession was a thing of beauty. New linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill played a big role in that stand and showed generally well in a spot expected to be trouble for this tattered defense. In Week 2, they’ll remain without nose tackle Timmy Jernigan, but Haloti Ngata and Destiny Vaeao filled in nicely inside last week. This is a defense that allowed the fewest yards per game rushing last season and look to be a very strong unit this season as well.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.