NFL Week 14 Fantasy RB Breakdown: Jeff Wilson, Yet Another Kyle Shanahan Back
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: San Francisco 49ers running back Jeff Wilson (41).
- Backup RBs Jeff Wilson and Jaylen Samuels stand out in the FantasyLabs NFL DFS Models as players with value for Week 14.
- In this piece, I'll highlight a few key situations to target this week, but check out the full piece on FantasyLabs for more.
We are in the final month of the year, and the 2018 NFL season is still on pace for a record-breaking campaign with an average of 23.9 points per game per team. The action continues with a 13-game main slate that kicks off on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.
In this positional breakdown, I’m looking at five 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.
After this piece is published, FantasyLabs is likely to provide news updates on a number of players. Stay ahead of your competition with our industry-leading DFS-focused news feed.
For updates on Vegas spreads and over/unders, check out The Action Network Live Odds page.
>> Sign up for The Action Network’s daily newsletter to get the smartest NFL conversation delivered into your inbox each morning.
Two cheap backs really stand out in the FantasyLabs Pro Models this week.
- Jeffery Wilson: $3,800 DraftKings; $5,600 FanDuel
- Jaylen Samuels: $3,700 DraftKings; $4,600 FanDuel
Jeff Wilson: San Francisco 49ers (+3.5) vs. Denver Broncos, 45 Over/Under
UPDATE (12/8): Wide receiver Pierre Garcon (knee) is out.
Broncos cornerbacks Chris Harris (leg) and Tramaine Brock (ribs) and outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett (hip) are out. Linebacker Brandon Marshall (knee) is out.
An undrafted fifth-string mid-major rookie with a strong record of college production, Wilson is the stereotypical late-season Kyle Shanahan back.
There’s nothing special about his athleticism (4.57-second 40 time), but he has good size (six foot, 210 pounds) and was productive in his two final seasons at North Texas.
- 2017 (11 games): 188 carries, 24 receptions, 1,383 yards, 16 touchdowns
- 2016 (11 games): 169 carries, 29 receptions, 1,183 yards, 15 touchdowns
With Matt Breida (ankle) out and Alfred Morris (age) demoted, Wilson seems likely to play as the lead back this week. He’s been active for only the past two games, but he’s impressed in his limited action, especially as a receiver.
- Week 12 (at Buccaneers): 5.1 DraftKings points, 39.1% offensive snaps, 7-33-0 rushing, 1-8-0 on one target
- Week 13 (at Seahawks): 20.4 DraftKings points, 71.1% offensive snaps, 15-61-0 rushing, 8-73-0 on nine targets
Situationally, this is not a good spot for Wilson. He’s at home, but the 49ers are dogs, and they rank 30th with a 61.6 PFF rushing grade on offense. Third-string quarterback Nick Mullens hasn’t proven himself to be enough of a passing threat to disincentivize the Broncos from stacking the box.
And on defense the Broncos rank third with a 90.7 PFF rush grade. With outside linebackers Von Miller and Nick Chubb supporting the interior play of nose tackle Domata Peko and 3-4 defensive ends Derek Wolfe, Adam Gotsis, and Shelby Harris, the Broncos are not an easy team to run against.
But Wilson has a few factors in his favor. For one, the 49ers have received some significant sharp investment this week. They opened as +5.5 dogs, but the line has moved toward them by two points.
With 38% of the spread bets but 64% of the money as of Friday, the 49ers are on the positive side of reverse line movement.
Jaylen Samuels: Pittsburgh Steelers (-10) at Oakland Raiders, 51 O/U
UPDATE (12/8): Right tackle Marcus Gilbert (knee) is out. Backup Matt Feiler will continue to fill in at right tackle.
I have a lot of irrational excitement for Samuels. Starting running back James Conner (ankle) is out, and it seems that Samuels is likely to lead the backfield committee this week.
It’s possible that reception-averse veteran Stevan Ridley could see significant work as a rusher, especially if the Steelers get a big lead against the 2-10 Raiders, but even if that happens, Samuels could still have a big game as an occasional runner, backfield pass-catcher and goal-line grinder.
A lot of people don’t have an idea of who this versatile rookie is. Samuels has the size (five-foot-11, 225 pounds), speed (4.54-second 40) and agility (6.93-second three-cone) of a running back, but in college he lined up all over the field, usually at tight end.
Here’s an excerpt from Samuels’ 2018 NFL Draft prospect profile:
A hybrid player, Samuels regularly moved across the formation at NC State and served a variety of functions: Tight end, slot receiver, fullback, H-back, goal-line back and sometimes even wideout. He did it all. A versatile prospect, Samuels is in the mold of Kyle Juszczyk, Charles Clay and Aaron Hernandez as a high-level multidimensional contributor, except he’s built like a lead back and was a more prolific college producer (2,719 yards and 45 touchdowns from scrimmage over his three final years).
A capable short-yardage back and accomplished receiver both in the slot and out of the backfield, Samuels seems up to the task of filling in for Conner. While he hasn’t done much as a runner (12-31-0), he’s flashed in his limited action as a receiver (7-54-2 on nine targets).
Positional Breakdowns & News
Be sure to read the other Week 14 positional breakdowns.
For more in-depth NFL analysis information, check out The Action Network.