NFL Week 10 Fantasy RB Breakdown: Which Saints, Chargers Back Should You Play?

NFL Week 10 Fantasy RB Breakdown: Which Saints, Chargers Back Should You Play? article feature image

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports. PIctured: New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (22) and running back Alvin Kamara (41) against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium.

  • On a Saints team full of talent, Alvin Kamara has high fantasy potential in Week 10 even when splitting carries with Mark Ingram.
  • Austin Ekeler has been quiet lately, but the dual-threat back has upside against the struggling Oakland Raiders.

See the full version of this piece at FantasyLabs.

We’re in the second half of the 2018 NFL season, and we’re still on pace for a record-breaking campaign with an average of 24.0 points per game per team. The action continues with an 11-game main slate that kicks off on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.

In this positional breakdown, I’m looking at the running backs at the top of the individual Pro Models that Jonathan Bales, Peter Jennings (CSURAM88), Adam Levitan, Sean Koerner, Chris Raybon, Kevin McClelland (SportsGeek) and I have constructed.

If you want more information on the rest of this week’s running backs, subscribe to FantasyLabs, where you can access the large suite of analytical DFS tools I use to research every player.

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Model Running Backs

This week, there are four running backs at the top of our individual Pro Models.

The two I find most intriguing are Alvin Kamara and Austin Ekeler.

Alvin Kamara: New Orleans Saints (-5.5) at Cincinnati Bengals, 54 O/U

  • $8,700 DraftKings; $8,800 FanDuel

UPDATE (11/10): Wide receiver Dez Bryant (Achilles) suffered a season-ending injury in Friday’s practice.

Kamara isn’t the most important player on the Saints: That’s quarterback Drew Brees. He’s also probably not his team’s most dominant player; that’s wide receiver Michael Thomas, but he’s one of the best players in the league.

He’s behind the pace right now, but Kamara has a legitimate shot to be just the third player in NFL history with 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in a season. The first person to accomplish that feat was 49ers fullback and should-be Hall-of-Famer Roger Craig. The second was Rams running back and all-time great Marshall Faulk.

Last week, when the Saints knocked the Rams out of the No. 1 spot in The Action Network NFL Power Ratings, Kamara was an absolute tour de force, finishing top-two at the position with 31.6 FanDuel points on 19-82-2 rushing and 4-34-1 receiving. After knocking off the previously undefeated Rams with their seventh win a row, the Saints have seen their odds to win the Super Bowl jump from +700 to +350.

Nevertheless, there are marginal concerns with Kamara. For one, the game is not at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome (commonly called the Coors Field of fantasy football). On the road, the Saints offense might underperform on the whole.

New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) breaks a tackle from Minnesota Vikings safety Jayron Kearse (27) during the third quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41).

Additionally, Kamara is going to lose snaps and touches to Mark Ingram. The question is how many he’ll lose.

Last year, after Adrian Peterson was traded to the Cardinals in Week 6, Kamara played 14 games with Ingram (including the playoffs). For the first four games of this season, Kamara had the backfield to himself, and then Ingram (suspension) returned in Week 5 to split the backfield once again.

The team had a bye in Week 6 and has played three games since returning in Week 7. Kamara’s various opportunity and production splits are telling:

  • With Ingram (2017, Weeks 6-19, 14 games): 18.8 FanDuel points, nine carries, 5.9 targets, 4.7 receptions, 104.4 yards and 0.93 touchdowns from scrimmage
  • Without Ingram (2018, Weeks 1-4, four games): 29.7 FanDuel points, 14 carries, 11.8 targets, 8.8 receptions, 152.8 yards and 1.5 touchdowns from scrimmage
  • With Ingram (2018, Weeks 5-9, four games): 18.7 FanDuel points, 13.8 carries, 4.75 targets, four receptions, 76.5 yards and 1.5 touchdowns from scrimmage

On the one hand, Kamara’s per-game average has plummeted exactly 11 FanDuel points from the first month of the season to the second, and it might be unreasonable for us to expect a rebound, especially since Kamara’s 2018 fantasy production with Ingram is nearly identical to what he did in 2017.

Austin Ekeler: Los Angeles Chargers (-10) at Oakland Raiders, 50 O/U

  • $4,000 DraftKings; $5,800 FanDuel

Ekeler has disappointed over the past three games, accumulating just 162 scoreless yards on 22 carries, nine targets and six receptions despite starting in place of an injured Gordon in Week 7. Even so, he’s intriguing in this spot.

In Week 5, he had 12.9 DraftKings points against the Raiders, turning his six carries, three targets and one reception into 59 yards and a touchdown, and as a double-digit favorite, he could see some extended run if the Chargers decide to give Gordon some rest.

And even if he doesn’t see extra action because of game script, Ekeler is still always in play. For the season, he’s fifth among all backs with 0.63 PPR points per opportunity. He’s the only player at his position with a top-six PFF grade as both a runner (80.3) and receiver (85.9).

Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler (30) is tackled by San Francisco 49ers linebacker Fred Warner (48) in the first half at StubHub Center.
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler (30).

He’s first among all backs with his 12.5% breakaway run rate, third with 5.5 true yards per carry, and fourth with 7.5 yards per touch and his +44.3 Production Premium (per Player Profiler).

The second-year undrafted back is likely to regress in efficiency at some point, but he’s a viable fantasy contributor in every slate, considering his resume:

  • College production: 7,072 yards and 63 touchdowns from scrimmage in 40 games
  • Physical profile: 5-foot-9, 199 pounds with a 4.43-second 40 time and 6.85-second mark in the three cone
  • NFL role: Latter-day Danny Woodhead

Read the rest of this piece on FantasyLabs.

Positional Breakdowns & News

Be sure to read the other Week 10 positional breakdowns.

• Quarterbacks
• Wide Receivers
• Tight Ends

For more in-depth NFL analysis information, check out The Action Network.

Matthew Freedman is the Editor-in-Chief of FantasyLabs. He has a dog and sometimes a British accent. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he’s known only as The Labyrinthian.

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