In two earlier articles, we discussed targeting players based on their competitionss, offensive pace and time of possession and their opponent’s pass defense . In this article, we will come full circle and focus on run defenses to target when selecting your players for your DraftKings lineup.
Below I include a chart of defensive team stats against the run during the 2013 season. I have ranked them starting at the most advantageous run defenses to target down to the least appealing. Also, I have included three tiers, marked with the green, yellow and red lights. Teams with the green lights should be considered the best bet to go against on a weekly basis. To see the chart as a standalone piece, click here
Rush Defenses to Target
In 2013, the Bears were just terrible against the run. They were the only team in the NFL to concede an average of more than five yards per carry (5.3 avg), they easily gave up the most rushing yards per game (161 yds/g) and they finished second to last in the NFL in rushing touchdowns given up (22 TD).
Bottom Line: The Bears have a really bad defense against the run that should be torched in 2014. However, the Bears do boost a powerful offense. If they can get out to early leads, they could force other teams to abandon the run and pass the ball. As with all aspects of daily fantasy, review every factor of a matchup before selecting your players. Weaker teams may be able to run at will against the Bears, but if their defense cannot stop them, they may need to air it out earlier than they want.
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My No. 2 team to target is the Jaguars. Their stats against the run were not that terrible. They were 19th in the league based a yards per carry average (4.2 avg), but they did give up a league-high 31.7 rushing attempts per game. Because the Jags were so bad last year, teams got out to early leads and were able to run the ball and the clock out on them. This season should be no different. The Jaguars should once again lead the NFL in rushing attempts against and their slightly below-average run defense should be tested early and often.
Bottom Line: In 2014, The Jaguars should finish near the bottom of the NFL in rushing yards and touchdowns conceded. Playing running backs against them is a very safe bet because the probability of the Jaguars blowing teams out and forcing them to pass is very low.
The Cowboys were gashed last year through the air and on the ground. They were also on my list for top pass defenses to target. In 2013, the Cowboys yielded an average of 4.7 yards per carry, third highest in the NFL. Also, they gave up 17 rushing touchdowns (seventh most in the NFL) and 2,056 rushing yards (sixth worst in the NFL). The Cowboys have made a change at defensive coordinator, promoting former defensive line coach, Rod Marinelli to that position. Monitor his squad’s progress throughout the preseason and in the first few games of the season to see if his team’s defense has improved.
Bottom Line: The Cowboys have a porous defense overall, which should yield plenty of rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. I predict the Cowboys give up over 20 rushing touchdowns in 2014. Like the Bears, the Cowboys also have the ability to produce a powerful offensive performance, so always analyze the weekly matchup before selecting your players.
Other Rush Defenses to Target – Atlanta, Green Bay, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Washington and San Diego.
Rush Defenses NOT to Target – Arizona, Carolina, San Francisco 49, New York Jets, Seattle (just don’t ever target the Seahawks) and St. Louis.