Week 16 Rushing Matchups

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

Jump to Passing Matchups

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


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.


Atlanta Falcons Rushing Offense vs Jacksonville Jaguars Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

Devonta Freeman’s worst season as a pro is mercifully drawing to a close. Working in an inconsistent offense, and behind a truly disappointing line, Freeman has wheezed to just 45 yards a game and 3.6 per rush. In fact, he’s only produced 4.0 or better in 3 of his 12 games. The Jaguars always present a nice matchup for fantasy runners, but there’s no reason to rely on Freeman, who lacks in both floor and ceiling. To make matters worse, he’s officially lost goal-line work to his backups - last Sunday brought his first ground touchdown of the year. Brian Hill and Qadre Ollison rotate in, sometimes for a short touchdown, but neither is a threat to expand his role. This is just one of those rare fantasy situations that provides decent volume, but isn’t worth anyone’s time.

The days of the suffocating Jacksonville run defense appear to be over. Through 14 games, they’re allowing the league’s second-most ground yards per carry and per game, and only the Panthers have given up more touchdowns. This unit has been hit with a lot of transition, replacing multiple linebackers over the course of the season, and the uncertainty shows. Calais Campbell remains a difference-maker up front, though he’s showing his age a bit at 33, and he doesn’t have much run-stuffing muscle alongside him. On the second level, the Jaguars are still scrambling to replace Telvin Smith and Myles Jack, and the results have been awful. Donald Payne, Austin Calitro, and Leon Jacobs make for one of football’s most vulnerable groups, which allows opposing runners to turn short runs into chunk gains. The Falcons don’t boast much of a ground attack, but they project to one of their best games of the year against this porous front seven.

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


Baltimore Ravens Rushing Offense at Cleveland Browns Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

The Ravens rushing attack continues to flow through Lamar Jackson who is 8th in the NFL in rushing with 1,103 yards on the year. Right behind him at 11th in the league is Mark Ingram who has 963 yards. While Ingram has not put up the huge games, he continues to be extremely reliable and consistent as he has run for 50 yards or more in 9 games this season. What is amazing with Jackson is that he continues to produce even in games that are out of hand as evidenced last week where he ran for 86 yards in a game in which the Ravens had in control from the start. With the Ravens only needing a win or a Patriots loss to secure the number one seed, the one thing to watch will be whether we continue to see Jackson run or if they dial it back a little bit. The Ravens did get tremendous news this week as they will get Ronnie Stanley back at left tackle who has been one of the best in the league this year after leaving last week with a concussion.

The Browns run defense looked like it had their problems fixed, but as it turns out were just fortunate that they had played weak competition from week 10 through week 13. In the last two weeks, the Browns have gone back to being a disaster against the run as they allowed 137 yards and 4 touchdowns last week to Kenyan Drake and 146 yards and a touchdown to Joe Mixon two weeks ago. This led Kareem Hunt to come out and say that some players were not giving 100% and it certainly appeared that way on defense as they appeared uninspired and ready for the season to end. The Browns are forced to play Chad Thomas and Bryan Cox Jr. at defensive end as Myles Garrett and Olivier Vernon are both out which has been a major talent drop off on the defensive line. At the linebacker position, Mack Wilson has been one of the worst linebackers in football all season since filling in for Christian Kirksey, but the Browns were incredibly thin at the position and do not have a better option. Expect a big day for Baltimore on the ground against the uninspired and under-talented Browns run defense.

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


Indianapolis Colts Rushing Offense vs Carolina Panthers Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

The Colts rushing offense has had little chance of success over the past two weeks as they have faced two of the best run defense in football as Marlon Mack has combined for just 57 yards and one touchdown from 24 attempts over that span. That storyline will almost certainly change this week for Mack as the script is flipped with a plush matchup against the Panthers. Mack has performed admirably for most of this season, averaging 4.5 yards per carry and 86 rushing yards per game prior to missing two weeks with the hand injury. The past two weeks have made it tough to get a read on Mack’s health given the tough matchups, but he has at least looked healthy and still led this backfield in carries each week despite seeing fewer than 50 percent of the snaps in both games. With the absolute mismatch in the trenches as the elite Colts offensive line squares off against a very beatable Panthers front seven, Mack should be set up for one of the best bounce-back spots of any running back in football this week.

Carolina’s woes against the run continued last week as they were trampled by the Seahawks ground game, allowing a season-high 133 rushing yards and two touchdowns to Chris Carson. The Panthers now rank as the third-worst rushing defense in yards per game (140.2 allowed) and the worst on a per-carry basis, giving up 5.2 yards per rush attempt. They have been handing out rushing touchdowns like candy on Halloween, giving up at least one to an opposing running back in 10 straight games while allowing at least three rushing touchdowns in three games. The past four weeks have been particularly tough on Carolina as they have allowed an average of two rushing touchdowns per game and more fantasy points than any other defense to opposing running backs. While they have some talented pieces on that defensive line, nose tackle Kyle Love simply isn’t getting the job done. Inconsistent play against the run from their secondary and linebackers also confounds the problem. This defensive line should be handily outmatched by an elite Colts offensive line as Colts running backs should have no problem finding room to run this week.

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


Chicago Bears Rushing Offense vs Kansas City Chiefs Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

After two of his better games on the season, David Montgomery came back to what we have come to expect which is a low output as the rookie has struggled with consistency for most of the year. The Packers all but shut Montgomery down holding him to just 39 yards on 14 carries as he just could not get past the defensive line as the offensive line failed to create a consistent running lane. The offensive line for the Bears has been a big issue this season since losing Kyle Long in Week 6 as Rashaad Coward has struggled mightily at the right guard position and they have been without Bobbie Massie at right tackle who may return this week which would be a nice upgrade for the Bears. Tarik Cohen has been a non-factor for most of the season running the ball as he is averaging just 3.5 yards-per-carry and has only seen 58 carries on the year failing to score a touchdown.

The Chiefs suffered a big loss this week as Alex Okafor was lost for the season with a pectoral injury which the Chiefs then went out and claimed Terrell Suggs. Suggs won’t factor in much against the run, which will force Tanoh Kpassagnon to likely see more snaps this week. Kpassagnon has struggled this season and could be a liability moving forward on the left defensive end. The key to beating the Chiefs is getting to the second level past the strong interior of the defensive line in Chris Jones and Derrick Nnadi. Jones has been near perfect since returning from injury and has been a big reason the Chiefs have shut down the Broncos and Patriots the last two weeks on the ground. This remains a flawed unit outside of the defensive line as they have one of the weakest linebacking groups in football as Anthony Hitchens and Damien Wilson have struggled to stop the run which when running backs get going has been a big factor in 7 opponents rushing for 99 yards or more this season.

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


Cincinnati Bengals Rushing Offense at Miami Dolphins Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Joe Mixon has finally been tasked with motoring the Bengals’ anemic offense, and he’s responding beautifully. Coach Zac Taylor now knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that he presides over one of football’s worst passing games, so he’s handed his dynamic young runner the reins. Mixon has averaged 22 rushes for 101 yards since the Week 9 bye, with 3 100-yard performances and 3 touchdowns on the ground. He’s had success despite a bottom-tier front line and a handful of tough matchups, including the Ravens (114), Steelers (79), and the surprisingly-tough Raiders (86). If nothing else, he’s a weekly volume stud as the Bengals hide Andy Dalton’s arm. And he’s clearly gifted enough to maximize that opportunity, especially against the Dolphins’ soft front seven. Trending red-hot for the fantasy playoffs, Mixon seems set up for his best outlook of the season.

The 3-11 Dolphins often trail and face a lot of rushing volume, but they don’t do themselves any favors. They’re giving up the league’s second-most yards per game and sit in the bottom third in touchdowns. For much of the year, they’ve served as a slump-busting matchup for runners stuck in a rut. Week 15 was no exception, with Saquon Barkley racking up 112 yards and 2 touchdowns, sparking a moribund Giants offense to a win. Over the past 6 weeks, opposing lead backs have churned out 4.6 yards per rush and 87 a game. Like the rest of the team, the Miami run defense is in the midst of a full-on rebuild, and much of this unit likely isn’t part of the team’s future core. Linebacker Raekwon McMillan has broken out as an off-ball run-stopper, but he was put on injured reserve this week, and there’s little talent elsewhere. Jerome Baker and Sam Eguavoen will likely dominate snaps, and they’ve been horrendous against the run. And there’s no real run-stuffing presence up front to tie up blockers for them. All around, this is a unit NFL coordinators know to target early and often - and a green-light unit for fantasy purposes.

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


Cleveland Browns Rushing Offense vs Baltimore Ravens Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Freddie Kitchens is hanging his hat and his career on Nick Chubb being the leading rusher in the NFL this season. Seemingly every press conference when trying to talk about things that are going well he brings up Chubb being the leading rusher in the NFL, so expect the volume to continue to be there for Chubb throughout the end of the season as the Browns now have nothing to play for after losing to Arizona in a game that was a major disappointment for the Browns. Chubb has been fantastic for most of the season, but especially in the second half as over his last nine games he has rushed for 90 yards or more in seven of those contests. This is all while running behind a poor offensive line which has led to a change on the right side of the line as Wyatt Teller and Kendall Lamm have replaced Eric Kush and Chris Hubbard. Kareem Hunt continues to play a complementary role, but has nearly as many receptions as he does carries and primarily has been effective as a receiver in this offense.

If there is a way to beat Baltimore, it is on the ground as we have seen the Ravens been exposed the last three weeks by Raheem Mostert (146 yards), Devin Singletary (89 yards), Le’Veon Bell (87 yards). This is a unit that prior to these three games had allowed just two running backs to top 80 yards. The Ravens defense for most of the year had held up and looked like they would not miss the loss of C.J. Moseley in the offseason, but Patrick Onwuasor has been a liability as of late which has caused the coaching staff to significantly reduce his playing time opting instead for a base defense with Chuck Clark who is a tremendous coverage player but has struggled against the run over the last three weeks. As great as the secondary is including Earl Thomas and Brandon Carr, both safeties are not run-stopping specialists, so if you can get past the defensive line in a dime formation with safeties who struggle against the run, there is opportunity to be had. Nick Chubb ran all over the Ravens in their first meeting as he had 165 yards and 3 touchdowns. This is by no means a fantastic matchup, as the Ravens on the season have still been one of the better teams against the run, but it is not a matchup to fear as it was earlier this year.

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


Miami Dolphins Rushing Offense vs Cincinnati Bengals Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

It speaks volumes that Patrick Laird’s production over the past 2 weeks - 94 touchdown-less yards at 3.5 per carry - has actually been a step forward for the Miami ground game. But such is life for perhaps the weakest rushing attack in recent NFL memory. Unsurprisingly, the Dolphins sit dead-last across the league per game (71 yards) and second-worst per attempt (3.4), and they haven’t had a 70-yard rusher all season. Laird is the marginal featured back, having taken 66% of team snaps and 68% of running back carries over the past 2 weeks. But there’s no reason to expect fantasy-relevant production. Laird is a replacement-level rookie, and he operates behind one of the league’s worst run-blocking lines. The team has shaken up the line in recent weeks, but it didn’t look any stronger last Sunday. Even in a favorable matchup with the Bengals, it’s hard to envision a fantasy team that (a) is still alive in its postseason and (b) could use Laird’s rock-bottom production in Week 16.

The Bengals still trot out one of football’s most beatable run defenses - and arguably the most targetable fantasy matchups. Dating back to Week 5, eight of their 10 opponents have produced a runner with 85+ yards, with 5 of those backs topping 100. Even struggling runners like Sony Michel, David Johnson, and Leonard Fournette have reached or neared season-high totals in this matchup. There’s actually a stout line in place here, with nose tackle Andrew Billings an underappreciated force against the run and Carlos Dunlap still dominant on the edge. But this unit is sorely in need of a full makeover on the second level. There probably isn’t a starting-caliber linebacker on roster; top guys Nick Vigil and Gremaine Pratt are among 2019’s worst-rated run-stoppers. They lack athleticism in pursuit, and they’re unreliable tacklers when they do find themselves in position. Safeties Jessie Bates and Shawn Williams provide little help in the box, and it’s altogether easy for runners to turn three-yard lurches into chunk gains.

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


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

The Vikings rushing attack has carried them for most of the year but is a concern heading into the playoff run as Alexander Mattison is questionable with a high ankle sprain and the big concern is Dalvin Cook who is dealing with a shoulder injury. Cook left last week, and with the team appearing to have a playoff spot locked up is doubtful per Jene Bramel’s Monday update this week. If both players were to miss, the Vikings would turn to Mike Boone to be the primary ball carrier which the good news is that they have one of the better third-string running backs in football as Boone looked solid in his appearance last week with 13 carries for 56 yards and 2 touchdowns. This is a team and a game plan that will continue to be a run-heavy offense, so either Boone or Mattison, if he plays, could be in for a big week this week from a volume perspective running behind an offensive line that along with Kyle Rudolph is built to run the ball.

Green Bay’s run defense is one that one the year has been one that is up-and-down as they have allowed the 8th most fantasy points to opposing running backs and 4.8 yards-per-carry on the season. The biggest issue for Green Bay has been that they primarily play a dime defense to stop the pass, but Blake Martinez has found himself out of position at times this year which has led to big gains up the middle. The strength of this defense has been their defensive tackles as the combination of Za’Darius Smith and Kenny Clark is one of the best run-stopping units in football which when they are on we have seen how good this defense can particularly against bad rushing offenses they shut down the Bears last week holding David Montgomery to 39 yards on 14 carries. The Packers did struggle mightily against the Vikings the first time these two teams met as Dalvin Cook ran all over the Packers for 154 yards with Alexander Mattison picking up an additional 25 yards.

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


New York Giants Rushing Offense at Washington Redskins Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

As the Giants are almost always playing from behind this season, their rushing attack is one of the lowest-volume units in the league, ranking 4th-to-last in total rushing attempts this season. Their efficiency totals have also been uninspiring, registering just 4.3 yards per carry, good for 18th in the NFL thus far. Although Saquon Barkley, one of the most talented runners in the NFL, spearheads this rushing attack, poor performance in the trenches has hampered this offense on a weekly basis. Barkley did make some noise last weekend against Miami with a 24-carry, 112-yard, and 2-score day on the ground. However, these totals tallied: his first 20-carry game of the season, his first 100-yard rushing day since Week 2, just his third and fourth rushing touchdowns of the season, his first trip to the end zone since Week 8, and his first game averaging more than 4.50 yards per carry since Week 2. Barkley rarely leaves the field, playing at least 94-percent of the team's offensive snaps in 3 out of the last 4 games, but with a mediocre offensive line, it has been tough for him to build any momentum on the ground this year.

The Washington Redskins defense has defended the 3rd-most rushing attempts of any team in the league this season, allowing the 6th-most rushing yardage and 13th-most yards per carry. Overall, missed tackles have plagued the Redskins defense, and in spite of some impressive run-stopping personnel, they field the 5th worst defense in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs this year. In the trenches, interior lineman DaRon Payne stands out as the team's best run-stopper. Also, on the edge, Ryan Kerrigan has made his way to the Injured Reserve with a calf injury. His replacement, rookie Montez Sweat, has been far much stronger than he was against the run this season, which could provide a much-needed boost to this unit. At linebacker, Cole Holcomb and Jon Bostic make up a mediocre run-stopping unit. While Holcomb's defensive IQ and run-stopping instincts have impressed this season, his inability to finish tackles (13 missed tackles on the year) has been a major issue. Lastly, in the secondary, Landon Collins has earned his massive offseason payday in run support, even if he has disappointed against the pass. Unfortunately, much like Holcomb, his nose for the football and run-stopping prowess have somewhat gone to waste this year, as he has struggled to wrap up and finish tackles himself with a team-high 14 missed tackles through 14 games. Overall, if the Redskins are unable to wrap up and finish plays this weekend, Saquon Barkley, one of the league's most elusive running backs, could run wild once again here in Week 16 in another soft matchup.

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


Seattle Seahawks Rushing Offense vs Arizona Cardinals Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Seattle's offense is one of the league's most run-heavy offenses this season, and their efficiency metrics are impressive as well, as the Seahawks rank in the top-eight of the NFL in total rushing attempts, rushing yards, and yards per carry this year. With Rashaad Penny on the Injured Reserve with a knee injury, Chris Carson has returned to being the team's bell-cow running back. Carson's snap-share in Seattle's offense dipped down close to just 50-percent recently when Penny emerged as a viable running back. However, with Penny out of the picture, Carson consistently plays over 70-percent of the team's offensive snaps. In the 9 games that he has cleared the 70-percent snap-share-threshold, Carson has tallied at least 20 carries in 6 of them. Overall, as the bell-cow in an exceptionally run-heavy offense, Carson is one of the most valuable fantasy running backs to down the home stretch of the 2019 season, especially considering he runs behind a top-10 offensive line, according to Matt Bitonti.

Overall, the Arizona Cardinals' defense has been dreadful this season, and their run defense is no exception. The Cardinals have defended the 8th-most rushing attempts in the NFL while allowing the 12th-most yards per carry, fostering a favorable rushing environment every week for opposing offenses. On the year, the Cardinals have allowed 4 100-yard rushers, and they have allowed the 10th-most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. Late last week, the Cardinals waived their number-one run-stopper in their front-seven, Terrelle Suggs, to appease the veteran's wishes to play out the ending of what may be his final NFL season on a playoff contender. Edge rusher Chandler Jones still grades as an above-average run-stopper himself, but without Suggs, there is little support for Jones in this front-seven, as the Cardinals field one of the weakest linebacking corps in the league. Jordan Hicks, Haason Reddick, and Joe Walker all struggle against the run. While the Cardinals promoted Walker to a starting role in their base-defense package earlier this season in favor of Haason Reddick, he has been just as horrid in run support as Reddick was in that same role. Then, in the secondary, Patrick Peterson and Budda Baker grade as the only two above-average run-stoppers on this defense aside from Chandler Jones. Baker's 2019 season has been quite impressive, as he ranks second in the league in total tackles; however, the rest of Arizona's defense cannot hold up their end of the bargain. Overall, Arizona's run defense is one of the weakest in the NFL, and Chris Carson is primed for another 20-carry and 100-yard rushing day here in Week 16.

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


Buffalo Bills Rushing Offense at New England Patriots Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Devin Singletary has emerged as a workhorse back over the last five weeks and is making the most of it as he has averaged 18 carries for 84 yards compared to Frank Gore’s 10 carries for 25 yards in that same timeframe. Gore has fallen off as of late as his last three games albeit, in tough matchups against the Steelers, Ravens, and Cowboys, he has 32 yards on 23 carries as Gore does not have much explosiveness left and if there are no open holes to run through he is having a difficult time creating his own. Gore did have his best game of the season against the Patriots back in Week 4 rushing for 109 yards, but it would be difficult to see him repeating this success this week. The biggest issue for Gore has been the interior of the offensive line as the guards in Quinton Spain and Jon Feliciano have struggled as of late.

The Patriots are a unit that has allowed several big games to opposing running backs this season and Joe Mixon was able to pull off another one last week rushing for 136 yards on the ground. What is interesting is that the Patriots have allowed four 100-yard rushers on the season and in three of those four games, the Patriots were winning by two or more scores. The explanation for this is rather simple as the Patriots go to a dime/quarter defense when winning and are willing to give up the run to stop the pass. When the Patriots bring in their run-stopping unit it is one of the best in football as they bring in Lawrence Guy and Danny Shelton at the defensive tackle position along with John Simon at defensive end to get a group of bigger bodies in the game.

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


Denver Broncos Rushing Offense vs Detroit Lions Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Broncos seem to have configured their backfield the way they like it - Phillip Lindsay as the clear lead back, with the limited Royce Freeman providing breathers here and there. But the pair hasn’t combined for 100+ yards since Week 9, averaging just 3.7 per rush along the way. Lindsay is a gifted runner, but he can only bounce so many runs out of traffic and into space. The Denver line has struggled throughout the year, currently ranked 26th by Footballguys’ Matt Bitonti, with a C- run-blocking grade. The good news is that Lindsay’s volume looks safe; last week’s seven rushes were a byproduct of the Chiefs’ big halftime lead. That gives him a decent week-to-week rushing floor, having topped 50 yards in 10 of his 14 games, even if his ceiling remains capped by the Broncos’ neophyte offense. For his part, Freeman looks like nothing more than a change-of-pace guy. He hasn’t posted more than 8 carries or 40 yards in a game since Week 8, and he’s even lost short-yardage work to the small but lightning-quick Lindsay.

The Lions have improved noticeably on run defense down the 2019 stretch, at least from an efficiency standpoint. They now sit ninth league-wide on a per-carry basis, giving up just 4.0 yards on average, and haven’t allowed an opposing runner to top 75 yards since Week 9. Linebacker Jarrad Davis was put on injured reserve this week, but that might be addition by subtraction; Davis has been the weak link in this unit for quite some time. They’re still strong up front, where tackle Damon Harrison papers over a lot of issues as a space-eating force. Still, in general, the 3-10-1 Lions tend to trail in games and face a ton of rushing volume. That impressive per-rush mark doesn’t mean nearly as much when opponents are pounding the ball 28 times per game. As a result, several backs have been able to post fantasy-relevant lines despite tough sledding on the ground. Game flow tends to determine a lot in this matchup, so if the Broncos can establish a lead Sunday, they’ll project to decent success.

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


Detroit Lions Rushing Offense at Denver Broncos Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The snakebitten Lions couldn’t be happier to have Kerryon Johnson (likely) back from injured reserve. The team has been devastated by various backfield injuries, forcing the likes of Ty Johnson, J.D. McKissick, and even practice-squadder Wes Hills into far more action than expected. But Johnson is practicing in full and likely to suit up Sunday, and he’ll probably step into the lead role immediately. Johnson hasn’t been efficient this season, averaging 3.3 yards per rush in his 6 games, but he’s certainly an upgrade on last week’s rotation (26 yards on 13 attempts). He’ll form some degree of a tandem with Bo Scarbrough, who’s been serviceable in a big-back role with 301 yards (4.2 per carry) over his 4 games. These two carry little fantasy value in a timeshare, but there’s always the possibility one of them stakes claim to 80% of the opportunity this week. That would provide at least a little utility, albeit with limited upside in this shaky Lions offense.

The Denver run defense is one of football’s most up-and-down units, difficult to project from week to week. And of late, it’s been run over fairly consistently. Opposing backs have averaged a solid 4.4 yards per rush over the past 4 weeks, and 111 a game. That’s allowed Devin Singletary (21 for 106), Melvin Gordon (20 for 99), and Carlos Hyde (14 for 73) to post strong days, with Kansas City’s Darwin Thompson (8 for 38) finding part-time success last Sunday as well. It all makes sense, considering the injury woes that have attacked this unit. Run-stuffing linemen Derek Wolfe, Adam Gotsis, and Dre’mont Jones have gone down in recent weeks, pushing a batch of reserves into the rotation. Behind them, A.J. Johnson has been strong at inside linebacker, but veteran Todd Davis remains merely a playable body next to him. And it doesn’t help that strong safety Kareem Jackson was just lost for the final two weeks to suspension. All in all, this unit is essentially just playing out the string. If the Detroit ground game was more dependable, it would offer sneaky fantasy value in this underrated matchup.

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


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

In the ever-evolving volume split between Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones, it appears Jones is gaining a slight lead over the last three weeks as he has out-touched Williams 40 to 25. The Packers have typically ridden the hot hand and with the game that Jones had against the Redskins two weeks ago where he ran for 134 yards and a touchdown that earned him the majority of the carries in that game and the following. It remains to be seen what the Packers will do down the stretch if they get back to the near 50/50 split that we had seen earlier in the year or if that was to limit Jones’ workload to keep him fresh heading into the playoffs. The good news for the Packers is that their offensive line has come together to be one of the better offensive lines in the league as Matt Bitonti has them as the sixth-best offensive line and their tackles are two of the best in Bryan Bulaga and David Bakhtiari.

The Vikings run defense has been a unit that has been up and down this season as they completely shut down the Chargers last week holding the Chargers to just 62 yards rushing in a game that they blew out the Chargers. On the other hand, three weeks ago the Seahawks ran all over them as they ran for 205 yards and 2 touchdowns. Overall, this has been a team that has allowed the ninth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs and are allowing just 4.1 yards-per-carry to the position. The one weakness on this team is Anthony Barr who has struggled mightily against the run and has largely been covered up by how dominant Eric Kendricks has been as he has been one of the best linebackers in football this season. This still is a defense that it is tough to consistently run against as they have elite talent at all three levels with Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris at the safety position.

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


Los Angeles Chargers Rushing Offense vs Oakland Raiders Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Chargers offense stumbled along to just 62 rushing yards in a game plagued by turnovers last week. Melvin Gordon lost two fumbles while Austin Ekeler put the ball on the ground once (but recovered it). Neither Chargers running back was particularly productive as each carried just seven times, while Justin Jackson mixed in for 5 carries after Gordon’s second fumble. Last week’s dismal performance aside, this Chargers backfield had actually been performing relatively well as Melvin Gordon had averaged at least 4.6 yards per carry with at least 55 rushing yards in four straight games leading into last week. Gordon and Ekeler continue to split snaps, but Gordon has typically been the primary rusher up until last week. While one would normally expect Gordon to continue shouldering the load, this recent fumbling issue certainly reduces the confidence one can have on Gordon’s workload security. The Chargers offensive line was finally back in good shape with both starting tackles back on the field, but Russell Okung re-injured his groin before halftime last week and did not return. This injury sidelined him for a week earlier in the season, so his status will be worth monitoring as Okung is the best lineman on this team. His absence would certainly diminish the outlook for this rushing offense.

The Raiders run defense had a nice showing last week as they held Leonard Fournette to just 42 yards on 15 carries, with 17 of those yards coming on one play. Last week was not the first time this defense has suffocated opposing running backs, as they have held a team’s lead rusher to 50 or fewer rushing yards in three of their last four games and eight times on the season. Allowing an average of 4.1 yards per rush attempt and not a single run of longer than 30 yards, this defense has been a bend-not-break unit that has been surprisingly effective against the run considering their lack of elite talent up front. Both Johnathan Hankins and P.J. Hall are built purely to stop the run while linebacker Tahir Whitehead has played well enough in run defense to prop up the stats for this otherwise reeling Raiders defense. The Chargers offensive line may struggle to move these Oakland interior defensive linemen, but finding the edge on zone runs here and there could be the way to go for Chargers running backs if they are to have success against this Raiders defense.

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


Los Angeles Rams Rushing Offense at San Francisco 49ers Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Los Angeles Rams' ground game is a low-volume unit, ranking close to the bottom third of the league in total rushing attempts this season, and their efficiency numbers are uninspiring as well. On the year, the Rams' offense has averaged 3.8 yards per carry, which is good for the 8th-worst total in the NFL. In their backfield, Todd Gurley's role has grown over the last 5 games following a disappointing loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Following that loss, head coach and play-caller Sean McVay specifically noted that he needed to involve Gurley (and the rushing attack as a whole) in the gameplan more going forward. In the 5 games since those comments, Gurley has tallied his only 2 20-carry games of the year, while playing at least 76-percent of snaps in every non-blowout victory. The Rams' offense heavily utilizes the ground game around the goal line, which provides massive fantasy value, as Gurley has 4 rushing touchdowns in the last 5 games, and the Rams as a whole have 17 rushing touchdowns this year, which ranks 5th in the league. Overall, running behind a weak offensive line, little should be expected out of Todd Gurley and the Rams rushing attack, and it is looking increasingly likely that Gurley will finish the 2019 campaign without a 100-yard rushing day to his name.

While the 49ers defense is one of the best units in the NFL on the whole, they are rarely tested on the ground, defending the 11th-fewest rushing attempts in the NFL. However, when opponents have opted to run the ball against San Francisco, they have found reasonable success, registering 4.6 yards per carry, the 7th-highest total in the league. On the whole, this is a talented unit with a clear weakness at the second-level and a schematic focus on defending the pass. The 49ers dominate at the point of attack thanks to one of the league's best defensive lines featuring above-average run stoppers like Nick Bosa, DeForest Buckner, and Arik Armstead. However, at linebacker, San Francisco's defense is notably weak against the run, with Fred Warner grading as a horrific run-stopper at the position. Warner struggles not only to fill rushing lanes, but also finish tackles, missing 18 total tackles this season. Next, in the secondary, the absence of Jaquiski Tartt has limited the 49ers' defensive play-calling in recent weeks. Tartt's defensive versatility enables defensive coordinator Robert Saleh to call a very complex defense; however, without a viable replacement for Tartt, San Francisco's defense can simply be described as vanilla. Overall, limited rushing volume defended, and a knack for keeping opposing running backs out of the end zone has salvaged respectable metrics against the run this season for San Francisco. However, if the Rams do attempt to establish the run early in the game this weekend, they should see reasonable success in what grades as a neutral matchup.

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


Philadelphia Eagles Rushing Offense vs Dallas Cowboys Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Philadelphia Eagles' rushing attack is generally a high-volume unit, ranking 8th in the league in total rushing attempts, while their efficiency levels grade perfectly as middle-of-the-road numbers this season. In the backfield, while Jordan Howard has been sidelined for a lengthy period of time with what is puzzlingly being reported as a "stinger," Miles Sanders has assumed a near-bell-cow role. Before 2 weeks ago, Sanders was typically playing over 85-percent of Philadelphia's offensive snaps. However, following a brief absence in Week 14 due to in-game cramps, Boston Scott made his way onto the field and provided a much-needed spark for Philadelphia's offense in their comeback victory. Then, last weekend, Sanders' snap-share dropped down to just 71-percent, while Scott played approximately 45-percent of the team's snaps. Overall, expect Sanders to command the majority of the rushing volume, as his overall vision and decision-making have improved leaps and bounds from his early-season levels. However, with Scott present, expect Sanders' rushing volume to drop down closer to the 15-carry range, rather than the 20-carry range in high-volume rushing days for Philadelphia.

Dallas' run defense ranks on the fringe of the bottom third in the NFL in terms of rushing volume defended, yardage allowed, and efficiency allowed on the ground heading into Week 16. When healthy, the strength of this defense is its linebacking corps, but as it stands now, the defensive line jumps off of the page. On the edge, Demarcus Lawrence grades as one of the league's best run-stoppers, while Christian Covington and Michael Bennett flank him as above-average defenders in the trenches. Then, at linebacker, while Leighton Vander Esch is likely out due to a chronic neck injury, Jaylon Smith is shouldering the load as one of the league's premier run defenders. Smith's combination of next-level defensive instincts and surefire tackling ability make for the perfect run-stopping profile at the position. Lastly, the Cowboys' defensive backfield is littered with above-average run-stoppers, with all three starting cornerbacks, Byron Jones, Jourdan Lewis, and Chidobe Awuzie, impressing in run-support this season. On the whole, the depth of Dallas' defense, fielding an above-average run-defending unit at all three levels, is extremely impressive. The Philadelphia Eagles will have an uphill battle ahead of themselves in Week 16 as they attempt to register just the 3rd 100-yard rusher of the season against the Dallas Cowboys.

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


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Rushing Offense vs Houston Texans Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Tampa Bay owns one of the worst rushing offenses in football, averaging just 91.4 rushing yards per game (27th) and 3.5 yards per carry (T-29th). The success of their passing offense has surprisingly done next to nothing to help these Buccaneers running backs, as they have combined to rush for more than 100 yards just twice this season and have rushed for 70 or fewer yards in three straight games. Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones have split carries all season long with a relatively even workload over the past couple of weeks. Jones has looked like the better back this season, but neither has been productive nor can they be trusted considering the shape of this offensive line they are running behind. Receiving a D+ grade in run-blocking from Footballguys offensive line specialist Matt Bitonti, the Buccaneers offensive line is one of the worst in football. Even with right guard Alex Cappa returning from an elbow injury, this group will continue to be challenged at the line of scrimmage as they bring down the upside and floor of this entire rushing offense.

The Texans had another tough game against the run last week, giving up 163 yards on the ground to the Titans. In their defense, however, 57 of those yards came on an off-the-wall run play to tight end Jonnu Smith. Overall, the Texans did a great job limiting Derrick Henry to 4.1 yards per attempt while keeping him out of the end zone. This defense has the pieces to play well against the run, as they did throughout the first 10 games of the season. Zach Cunningham is an outstanding run-defending linebacker, while D.J. Reader remains dominant on the interior of that defensive line. They are allowing plenty of scoring to opposing running backs though, giving up the fourth-most fantasy points per game to the position over the past four weeks. With that said, however, the Buccaneers have one of the worst offensive lines in football. Given the key talented players on this Texans front seven, the Tampa Bay rushing offense can still be expected to struggle in this one.

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


Arizona Cardinals Rushing Offense at Seattle Seahawks Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Arizona's rushing attack, while a low-volume unit as a whole, is one of the league's most efficient ground games entering Week 16. The Cardinals have tallied the 10th-fewest rushing attempts of any team in the league, which is both a product of head coach and play-caller Kliff Kingsbury's propensity to throw the ball and the unfavorable game scripts they frequently find themselves in. However, at 4.9 yards per carry, Arizona ranks 3rd in the league in rushing efficiency. Leading the charge in their backfield is Kenyan Drake, who has played at least 64-percent of offensive snaps in every game since being acquired. The former-Miami Dolphin averages 14.5 carries per game with the Arizona Cardinals this season, and he has taken the starting job right out from underneath David Johnson's feet. Johnson typically plays only 25-percent of snaps with Drake in the fold, while maxing out at only 5 carries in a single game since the trade. Overall, Arizona's rushing attack is very creative schematically, which has allowed Kenyan Drake to thrive in Arizona. Expect Drake to continue to impress in Arizona's backfield down the stretch, although another four-touchdown performance like last weekend is exceedingly unlikely.

Seattle's run defense, although it is a banged-up group, ranks as one of the league's better units this season, defending the 6th fewest rushes of any team in the league and allowing just 1 100-yard rusher on the year. Along the defensive line, with Jadeveon Clowney poised to return to action this weekend after an illness kept him sidelined in Week 15, the Seahawks field a deep unit of capable run stoppers. Specifically, along the interior, Seattle's rotation of players is especially impressive, with Quinton Jefferson, Al Woods, Poona Ford, and Jarran Reed all grading as above-average defenders against the run. At the second-level, the health of linebacker Bobby Wagner will be critical to Seattle's ability to stop the run this weekend. Wagner went down with an ankle injury late last week, and his status for this week's game is now in jeopardy. Wagner grades as one of the league's best run-defenders at the position, while his expected replacement, Cody Barton, has been dreadful against the run in limited action this year. Fortunately, K.J. Wright, Wagner's normal running mate at linebacker, is ready to go this weekend, as he also grades as a top-end run-stopper for Seattle. In the secondary, there is little to get excited about with this unit, but they are not especially weak here either. On the whole, Seattle's run defense in Week 16 could hinge on the availability of Bobby Wagner. If he is good to go, Kenyan Drake could have his work cut out for himself on the ground. However, if Cody Barton is thrown into the mix, the ground game could be an area of strength for the Cardinals this weekend.

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


Carolina Panthers Rushing Offense at Indianapolis Colts Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Christian McCaffrey made up for his two games without touchdowns in Weeks 13 and 14 as he scored twice on the ground last week while rushing for 87 yards--his highest rushing yard total since Week 10. McCaffrey hasn’t been seeing a high volume of rushes in recent weeks with just two games of more than 14 rushing attempts, but he more than makes up for that given his volume through the air. With the quarterback change to Will Grier coming this week, expect for McCaffrey to be leaned on even more than ever as they try to ease in the rookie Grier. The Panthers finally decided to shut down left tackle Greg Little, placing him on injured reserve before last week’s game. This is not big news for an offensive line that has been without him for all but four games, but it would have helped to see him back in there Dennis Daley is not a tackle by trade. Overall, this offensive line is a middling unit that has contributed to McCaffrey’s lack of efficiency on the ground. With that, even a mediocre offensive line will not hold back the league’s top running back in any given week.

The Colts have been tough to run on consistently this season, ranking above-average in most run defense statistics. They had a terrible game script in terms of run defense last week as they were getting blown out by the Saints, but this group still kept the Saints ground game relatively in check with Alvin Kamara amassing just 66 yards while Latavius Murray was held to 3.2 yards per rush attempt. Only one running back has crossed the 90-yard mark against Indianapolis, and they have given up just three rushing touchdowns in their past seven games (one to a running back, two to quarterbacks). Strong play from their linebackers, notably Darius Leonard and rookie Bobby Okereke, has been the main reason for this unit’s success. The Colts defensive line has also played well and should match up with an advantage in the trenches over this Panthers group. However, no defense has had much of an advantage over Christian McCaffrey this season--as he is one of the most matchup-proof running backs in the game.

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


Dallas Cowboys Rushing Offense at Philadelphia Eagles Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Dallas' rushing attack is a high-volume and high-efficiency unit, as expected considering the massive investment owner and GM Jerry Jones has made into this unit in recent years. The Cowboys field one of the league's most dominant offensive lines, and they have shown the ability to win the battle in the trenches against some of the league's toughest defensive fronts this year. Additionally, Ezekiel Elliott signed a record-setting contract this offseason, and his status as a bell-cow running back in this backfield remains unquestioned. Elliott has played at least 77-percent of offensive snaps for the Cowboys in every non-blowout game since Week 1, including 7 20-carry games and 6 100-yard rushing games. Elliott also tallied 1 of the 2 100-yard days against Philadelphia's stout defense earlier this season, proving this unit's ability to dominate against the best. Overall, even with a talented backup in Tony Pollard, Ezekiel Elliott remains one of the highest-volume running backs in the NFL, and he should continue to shoulder a heavy workload in Week 16.

Philadelphia's run defense, although not supremely talented, ranks amongst the league's best across the board this season. They have rarely been tested, facing the 4th fewest rushing attempts of any defense in the league; however, when they are tested, they pass with flying colors almost every time, allowing just 4.0 yards per carry, which is the 7th-best mark in the NFL. The strength of this unit is along the defensive line, where Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham have been exceptional against the run this season, with the former being nominated to the Pro Bowl and the latter likely deserving a spot as well. The return of interior lineman Timmy Jernigan has also bolstered this unit, as he grades as one of the team's best run-stoppers. At linebacker, the Eagles are a definitively weak run-stopping group. Both Nigel Bradham and Nathan Gerry, the team's two primary starters, rank as well-below-average run-defenders. Then, in the secondary, Malcolm Jenkins is the bright spot for the unit, as his top-tier defensive instincts seemingly always have him around the ball. Jenkins leads the team in tackles from the safety position, but otherwise, the secondary is devoid of an impactful run-stopper. Philadelphia's defensive strength against the run is seemingly a product of schematic prioritization by defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, as this team is far outplaying their apparent talent level on this front once again this season. On the whole, Dallas could be primed to take advantage of a serious talent advantage in the trenches this weekend; however, the Eagles run-stopping resume this season is impressive, and it will be no walk in the park for the Cowboys. Overall, this grades as a neutral matchup, pinning strength against strength.

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


Jacksonville Jaguars Rushing Offense at Atlanta Falcons Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

It may be time to adjust expectations of Leonard Fournette as a consistent workhorse. He’s struggled for efficiency for the better part of three NFL seasons, and he’s currently on one of his frequent cold stretches. Over the past 7 weeks, he’s averaged just 3.5 yards per rush and 52 a game. And with the Jacksonville offense stuck in neutral, he sees little touchdown opportunity - he’s scored in just 2 of the Jaguars’ 14 games thus far. Fournette is the Jaguars’ unquestioned bell cow, so fantasy supporters love the volume he gets in this run-first attack. But of late, they’re getting by almost entirely on his pass-game contributions. Without any down-to-down efficiency, Fournette’s upside is generally capped as a runner.

The Atlanta run defense, long one of football’s worst, continues to make strides. Last week, they corraled even the red-hot Raheem Mostert, and have allowed only a single runner (Christian McCaffrey and Chris Carson) to reach 70 yards over their past 10 matchups. This isn’t an immovable unit - they’ve given up a 4.1-yard average to running backs over that span. But the in-season improvement has been remarkable, considering how weak this unit has been for so long. The catalyst is up front, where Grady Jarrett continues to blow up runs at an All-Pro level, and rotational guys like Tyeler Davison fill in well alongside him. This line can be handled at times, but has taken a huge step forward and is no longer a punchline. On the second level, the Falcons boast a stout linebacking duo in Deion Jones and De’Vondre Campbell. Both are athletic and active in pursuit, and while Campbell can play out of control at times, both flash as dynamic playmakers.

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


Kansas City Chiefs Rushing Offense at Chicago Bears Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Chiefs rushing offense has been one this season that is content being a true running back by committee as we saw last week where Darwin Thompson, Spencer Ware, and Lesean McCoy each had 8,7,6 carries. The good news for the Chiefs is that they may get Damien Williams back this week as Williams has not played since November 18th as he is dealing with a rib injury. He was a limited participant at Wednesday’s practice which would help the backfield albeit keep it even less clear than it already is as the Chiefs do not have a running back that has over 465 yards on the season and do not have a running back with over 101 carries.

The Bears welcomed back Akiem Hicks last week and the run defense is completely different when Hicks is in the game. The 324-pound defensive end was dominant in his return and played a big role in holding Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones to a combined 77 yards on 21 carries. Hicks does not light up the box score as he had just four tackles, but what he does is prevents the holes from opening and does a tremendous job keeping the linebackers free allowing them to make the tackles at the line of scrimmage. On the year, the Bears are not as dominant as they were in 2018 against the run, but they have held allowed just two 100 yard rushers on the year and are only allowing 84 yards per game and are amongst the league-best at just 3.7 yards-per-carry to opposing running backs as they have rebounded nicely after the back-to-back 100-yard games to Jordan Howard and Latavius Murray.

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


New England Patriots Rushing Offense vs Buffalo Bills Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Patriots game script for running the ball is relatively simple. When they have a lead, Sony Michel is going to see the field, the second that they fall behind they are bringing in a combination of James White and Sony Michel. After two weeks in which Michel looked like he was falling out of favor against the Texans and Chiefs, he rebounded nicely against the Bengals with a 19 carry 89-yard performance. Michel remains limited as a running back more of a downhill running back without the burst for a big play as he has just two carries longer than 20 yards on the season and no carry longer than 26 yards. The big question this week for the Patriots will be the health of Shaq Mason who is dealing with an ankle injury as he has been their best-run blocking lineman for most of the season. The Patriots should also get Ted Karras back at center who had been limited last week and missed the last few games with a knee injury which will be a significant improvement compared to James Ferentz who is a fine backup, but more of a career backup who can play all positions on the offensive line.

The Bills run defense has been an improving unit over the last five weeks as they have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs during that time and have allowed just 3.9 yards-per-carry. While they did face Miami and shut their rushing attack down, they also held Ezekiel Elliott to just 71 yards, and Mark Ingram to just 50 yards. A big reason for the improved play has been Matt Milano who was a liability earlier this season has been playing much better as of late along with Trent Murphy on the defensive line who has played incredibly well over the last five weeks. This is a unit that is critical for the Bills defense to compliment their already elite pass defense. If this defense continues to play this well they could rely on it to move through the playoffs. It still is a flawed unit especially at the defensive tackle position as Ed Oliver and Jordan Phillips have struggled with consistency.

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


New Orleans Saints Rushing Offense at Tennessee Titans Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Saints rushing offense has been quite underwhelming compared to the rest of this team as Alvin Kamara simply isn’t getting it done on the ground this season. Kamara has yet to exceed 100 rushing yards and has scored in just one of his 12 gamers started. Throwing out his injury game in Week 10, Kamara is averaging a mediocre 13.5 carries per game and has topped 75 rushing yards just once (in Week 1). Kamara is still out-touching and out-snapping his counterpart Latavius Murray, playing more than double the snaps of Murray on a weekly basis. Murray does remain involved in this offense, but not nearly to the extent he was when Kamara was injured as Murray has seen single-digit carries in four straight games. Having the top-ranked offensive line in football according to Matt Bitonti of Footballguys will always give this rushing offense a high ceiling, they just haven’t quite hit it yet this season and would be hard-pressed to do so on the road against a decent Titans defense this week.

The Titans sport an above-average run defense that has faltered somewhat in recent weeks, but remains a unit built for success against the run. They have given up at least one rushing touchdown to running backs in four straight weeks and allowed Carlos Hyde to run for 104 yards last week, but it took Hyde 26 carries to hit that mark and this group has allowed a lead running back to cross the 90-yard mark just three times this season. Their trio of interior defensive linemen--Jurrell Casey, Daquan Jones, and rookie Jeffrey Simmons--have all played very well as a unit since Simmons made his season debut in Week 7. Linebacker Rashaan Evans may need some work in coverage, but he has also played well against the run alongside Jayon Brown, who has made a splash this season as the best linebacker on this team. The Saints will pose a huge challenge for the Titans this week though, as their top-tier offensive line will be one of the better groups this Titans defense has faced. Given the issues with this Titans secondary, however, the Saints will likely take the path of least resistance through the air versus on the ground in this matchup.

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


Oakland Raiders Rushing Offense at Los Angeles Chargers Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Raiders rushing offense bounced back last week with their most rushing yards since Week 9, amassing 128 yards on the ground against the Jaguars defense. This has been an above-average rushing offense all season on the heels of a spectacular rookie year from Josh Jacobs, who they welcomed back with open arms after a one-game absence. Jacobs showed no signs of injury last week as he shouldered a heavy workload with 26 carries--the sixth time this season he has exceeded 20 carries in a game. Jacobs has been a focal point of this Raiders offense throughout the year, and he did have some success with a touchdown and 71 rushing yards (4.4 yards per carry) in his last game against the Chargers. The Raiders offensive line has been without starting right tackle Trent Brown for the past two weeks, so keep an eye on his status leading into this week. Another absence from Brown would be a big blow to what would otherwise be an above-average offensive line.

The Chargers run defense has looked much better through the second half of the season as this group has gotten healthier. Since Week 9, they are allowing third-fewest rushing yards per game (71) and fourth-fewest yards per carry (3.55) to opposing running backs. A healthy interior defensive line and the return of their duo of solid run-defending safeties have made a big impact on this defense. Linebacker Denzel Perryman also made it back on to the field last week after a one-week absence, so this Chargers defense should be at full strength coming into this week. With two of the best defensive ends in football with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, Raiders tackles will have their hands full on the line--especially if right tackle Trent Brown is out again. The Chargers did limit this Raiders offense to just 78 rushing yards in their Week 10 meeting, but that was down one starting defensive linemen and both safeties. This week should be a different story as this Chargers defense is in much better shape for the home matchup.

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


San Francisco 49ers Rushing Offense vs Los Angeles Rams Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The San Francisco 49ers' offense sports one of the NFL's highest-volume and highest-efficiency rushing attacks heading into Week 16. The 49ers rank 2nd or 3rd in the league in total rushing attempts, rushing yards, and rushing touchdowns this season, while they also rank 9th in the league with 4.6 yards per carry. In recent weeks, Raheem Mostert has emerged as Kyle Shannahan's number-one running back, leading the team in carries in each of the last 3 games. Since taking over as the team's apparent starter 3 weeks ago, Mostert has registered at least 10 carries in every game, although he only plays approximately half of the team's offensive snaps overall. Mostert is frequently spelled by both Tevin Coleman, who typically hovers around 20-to-30-percent of offensive snaps and about 5 carries per game in recent weeks, and Matt Brieda, who typically stays under 20-percent of offensive snaps and under 5 carries per game recently. Overall, the schematic genius of head coach and play-caller Kyle Shannahan enables this to be one of the league's most-productive rushing attacks, in spite of the unimpressive talent they field in the trenches.

The Los Angeles Rams field one of the most talented run defenses in the league, and on the season, while they have defended the 6th-most rushing attempts of any team in the NFL, they've only allowed 4.0 yards per carry, the 8th-best mark in the league. Along the defensive line, Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers immediately jump off the page as not only two of the best run defenders at their position, but in the NFL as a whole. With these two flanked by Dante Fowler, Jr. on the outside, the Rams field one of the league's strongest run-stopping defensive fronts. Then, at linebacker, Cory Littleton has emerged as one of the league's budding young stars at the position. On the season, Littleton has still missed just 1 tackle through 14 games while racking up 69 total tackles, which ranks 18th in the league. Lastly, in the secondary, Jalen Ramsey, Eric Weddle, and Taylor Rapp each grade as above-average run stoppers for their respective positions. This defense's true run-stopping capabilities far exceed their surface-level numbers, which resemble that of a middle-of-the-road unit. A tough schedule has put the Rams' run defense to the test this season, and they should hold their own here in Week 16, making for a tough matchup against the San Francisco 49ers' top-flight rushing attack.

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


Tennessee Titans Rushing Offense vs New Orleans Saints Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Titans rushed for 163 yards last week against a very soft Texans run defense, however, that game marked the first time in over a month that Derrick Henry was held below 100 rushing yards and the first time since Week 8 that he did not score a touchdown. Henry still remains a dangerous threat on the ground as he has a high level of volume behind him, rushing at least 18 times in five straight games while having rushed 20 or more times in six games this season. He is tied with the third-most rushing touchdowns (13) in the league and ranks behind only Nick Chubb in total rushing yards. Ryan Tannehill also adds some upside to this rushing offense as he has some speed when needed, rushing for at least 10 yards in five of his last six games with four rushing touchdowns over that span. The Titans offensive line continues to play at a high level and remains healthy, ranking firmly within the top-10 with an A+ run-blocking grade according to Matt Bitonti of Footballguys.

This New Orleans team is playing some of the best football in the league right now, and their run defense is no exception as they stack up as one of the best groups out there. Allowing the fourth-fewest rushing yards per game (90.8) and fourth-fewest fantasy points per game (non-PPR) to running backs, this team is a force to be reckoned with. No running back has exceeded 70 rushing yards against the Saints since Leonard Fournette hit the 72-yard mark in Week 7, and only one running back amassed more rushing yards than Fournette--Carlos Hyde with 83 yards in Week 1. Strong play from both the Saints defense and offense can be thanked for these elite stats against the run, as teams rarely have the luxury of relying on their run game when behind by one or more touchdowns. A strong all-around defensive line anchors this run defense, and they showed few ill effects from the Week 14 loss of starter Sheldon Rankins. Excellent play from linebacker Demario Davis has been the true highlight for this team though, as Davis is a top-10 solo tackler (77) who is having a career year at the center of this Saints defense. The Titans have a strong offensive line that will match up well with the Saints in the trenches, but getting past this second level could prove to be challenging even for the likes of Derrick Henry in what could be a long afternoon for him.

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


Washington Redskins Rushing Offense vs New York Giants Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Although interim head coach Bill Callahan clearly stated his intent to run the ball in higher volume when he took over, Washington's offense still ranks third-to-last in the NFL in rushing attempts per game, although they rank 10th in the league at 4.5 yards per carry. Playing from behind, it has been tough for the Redskins to establish a successful rushing attack regularly this year, but when they do, it is almost always through Adrian Peterson. Since Derrius Guice made his way to the Injured Reserve with another knee injury two weeks ago, Peterson's playing time has ticked back up closer to 50-percent of Washington's total offensive snaps. Even though he only plays approximately half of Washington's total offensive snaps, Peterson heavily dominates the team's rushing attempts, carrying the ball on over half of the snaps he plays. Running behind a mediocre offensive line, Peterson has mustered just 4.3 yards per carry this season. In Week 16, facing off against a tough New York Giants' run defense, Peterson will be in for a long day at the office trying to bully his way to his 3rd 100-yard day of the season.

The New York Giants' run defense, despite facing a high-volume of rushing attempts this season, as they have played from behind for most of the year, is one of the league's most-impressive units from an efficiency standpoint. The Giants have defended the 4th-most rushing attempts this year, yet they have allowed only 3.9 yards per carry, the 5th lowest total in the league. The strength of this unit is along the defensive line, where the Giants regularly rotate four well-above-average run-stoppers in and out of the game, keeping all four fresh and near peak performance. This quartet, made up of Dexter Lawrence, B.J. Hill, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Leonard Williams, consistently wins at the point of attack, allowing players at the second and third levels to fill the gaps and contain ball-carriers. At linebacker, David Mayo plays almost exclusively in running situations, as he thrives in run support, but suffers against the pass. This weekend, identifying potential running situations is significantly easier, as Adrian Peterson's presence on the field is a strong indicator of a potential run by the Washington Redskins. Lastly, in the secondary, Antoine Bethea continues to impress against the run here in his 13th NFL season. While Bethea may lack the requisite foot speed to keep up with receivers in coverage, his physicality and nose for the ball have helped him remain one of the league's best run-stopping defensive backs, as shown by his team-leading 72 tackles on the season, which is good for 14th in the NFL. Overall, expectations for Washington's rushing attack here in Week 16 should be tempered, as they faced off with one of the league's most underrated run defenses.

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


Houston Texans Rushing Offense at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

The Texans have had a dependable rushing offense this season, ranking eighth with 130.9 rushing yards per game while maintaining an above-average 4.8 rushing yards per attempt. Carlos Hyde has claimed this backfield as his own, leading the team in rushing attempts in every game this season. He saw his heaviest workload yet in last week’s game, rushing 26 times for 104 yards and a touchdown--the third time he has crossed the 100-yard mark this year. Duke Johnson, on the other hand, saw just two carries last week and continues to be very minimally involved in this rushing offense. The Texans offensive line has been in flux recently due to injuries to the right side of this line along with very inconsistent play from left tackle Laremy Tunsil, who has been one of the most heavily penalized tackles in the league. The average-at-best play from this offensive line goes to show just how great of a season Hyde is having to have already crossed 1,000 rushing yards. Hyde did pop up on the injury report this week with an ankle problem, but he is expected to suit up regardless. Quarterback Deshaun Watson put up another 30+ yard rushing performance last week--his eighth of the season and second in as many games. Watson is now averaging 27 rushing yards per game with seven rushing touchdowns, adding just one more thing for defenses to worry about.

The Texans will come face to face with the league’s top run defense this week. Tampa Bay is allowing 15 fewer rushing yards per game than the next best team, ranking first in the category and second with 3.4 yards per attempt allowed. It has been over a month since running backs have combined for more than 40 rushing yards against his group, which includes games against Marlon Mack and Leonard Fournette--both of whom were held to just 38 rushing yards each. Only one running back has exceeded 75 rushing yards against this defense, and only four running backs have cracked 40 total rushing yards in a game. This defensive line is simply built to stop the run, while linebacker Lavonte David has been a machine to help plug any gaps this line might give up. The lowly Texans offensive line will have a very tough time in this one, and even a heavy workload may not help Carlos Hyde have a productive outing against this group.

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


New York Jets Rushing Offense vs Pittsburgh Steelers Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

For Le’Veon Bell, there’s huge Revenge Game potential, of course, against the team that jettisoned him at the back end of his career. But this isn’t 2016 Bell, and he certainly isn’t running for the 2016 Steelers anymore. Bell is coming fresh off his best game of the year, but his 87 yards against the Ravens marked his season-high by a good amount. His 3.3 per-carry average sits 42nd among the 43 runners with 100+ attempts - ahead of only Peyton Barber. In fact, he’s only topped 4.0 in 3 of his 13 games. He looked spry and determined Sunday, but has to grind for every inch behind one of the league’s worst run-blocking lines. It’s been a turbulent year for Bell, to say the least, and it’s hard to project much success against the Steelers’ stout run defense.

The Steelers continue to field a stifling run defense, for the most part. They sit third in the league in yardage allowed per attempt (3.7), and only 6 times all year has an opposing runner topped 70 yards. Still, it has to be noted that all five of those six performances have come over the past seven weeks. Over that span, their per-carry average is a . This unit is generally stout, having shut down a handful of strong runners, including Melvin Gordon (18 yards on 8 rushes), Kenyan Drake (11 for 37), and Mark Ingram (19 for 44). The line is exceptionally strong, with Cameron Heyward and the unsung Javon Hargrave dominating inside. But there are still vulnerabilities against quick cut-back running, which has long been exploited in this matchup. Linebackers Devin Bush and Mark Barron continue to struggle against the run, missing assignments and finding themselves walked out of too many plays. As a result, quick like Devin Singletary, Joe Mixon, and Kareem Hunt have all found wide lanes to pick up chunks of yardage. This isn’t an ideal matchup to target in fantasy, but rather one to attack with a specific type of runner. The Jets, bluntly put, don’t offer that kind of threat.

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


Pittsburgh Steelers Rushing Offense at New York Jets Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

James Conner has returned from his nagging shoulder injury and looks fully healthy, leading the way in snaps (58%) last week. He should continue to lead, if not dominate, the backfield for the Steelers’ playoff push. Conner isn’t a fast or elusive runner, but he’s decisive and barrels through tacklers, making him a perfect leaning post for the Steelers’ life-support offense. It helps that he runs behind an elite front line, headed by center Maurkice Pouncey and right guard David DeCastro. It’s hard to find a better run-blocking tandem in football; they’re technicians capable of clearing room on all levels of the field. Last week’s game script didn’t afford Conner much opportunity, but he rolled over the Dolphins for 145 yards and a score on 23 carries back in Week 8. The Steelers will feature him in an ideal spot, though that’s no guarantee with such shaky quarterbacking in Pittsburgh. Jaylen Samuels, Benny Snell, and Kerrith Whyte all claim a few snaps and touches, but none boast any standalone fantasy value in the team’s one-back approach.

For all of their problems, the Jets remain a dominant force against opposing run games. They’re fresh off their first rough performance of the season, having been run over by the explosive Ravens last Thursday night. Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram, and Gus Edwards combined to turn 26 carries into 212 yards. But the Ravens boast the league’s most dominant ground game, so it didn’t overshadow the Jets’ otherwise stifling season against the run. They sit second league-wide in rush defense - and first on a per-carry basis. Along the way, they’ve shut down a handful of elite runners, including Saquon Barkley (1 yard on 13 carries), Josh Jacobs (10 for 34), and Joe Mixon (19 for 44). The strength lies up front, where nose tackle Steve McLendon remains an underappreciated force on early downs, and rookie Foley Fatukasi continues to impress as a playmaker. They give plenty of support to the linebacking corps, which is shaky but at least capable in pursuit.

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