Week 6: Game Level Similarity Running Back Projections

GLSP uses historical matchup, team, player, and Vegas lines to generate situation-agnostic running back projections. The low projection is equivalent to the 25th percentile point total from the comparable matchups. The median projection provides a benchmark, with even odds of the player producing more or less. The high projection is equivalent to the 75th percentile point total from the comparable matchups.

Remember, the most valuable way to incorporate GLSP into your lineup-setting process is to identify surprisingly high and low projections, then strategically start or fade the outliers. This week’s projections are based on a blend of the past five, four, and three weeks, meaning they’re entirely based on games from this season.

These are the projections from Dave Caban. They’ll be available each week on Wednesdays as part of the Weekly Stats Explorer.

Week 6 GLSP Running Back Projections

High Ceilings

Beyond the usual suspects, here are some interesting names.

Player Team Opp Low Med High
Chris Carson SEA OAK 11.3 15.3 19.3
Mike Davis SEA OAK 7 13 17.3

Seattle is facing Oakland, who give up an average of 27 points to running backs (PPR). If we add Chris Carson and Mike Davis’ high projections we get just over 28 points. I think it’s possible both RBs have useful fantasy weeks. Carson’s floor is also one of the week’s best.

Player Team Opp Low Med High
Isaiah Crowell NYJ IND 9.7 17 18.7

Isaiah Crowell has had two dud games. But in the other three games, he’s gone over 19 points. Crowell’s production profile skews heavily to rushing yards and TDs, noteworthy because the Jets are favored in this game. Dave Caban’s excellent Stat Explorer also tells us that the Colts have already given up five 18-plus point games to RBs.

Player Team Opp Low Med High
Wendell Smallwood PHI NYG 7 13 18.7

We know that Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles are both out tonight. Corey Clement (7.7) has a better floor projection, but lower median and highs. Smallwood also has a more balanced production profile, making his usage more immune to game script.

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Here’s how Smallwood compares to Clement and a few similar backs, taken from the RotoViz Screener.

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To date, Smallwood and Clement have similarly valuable workloads, but Smallwood has been decidedly more efficient. I’m not sure if that will last, but it bodes well for his initial post-Ajayi usage. It’s also fun to compare Smallwood to these other backs, who are all considered more valuable.1

Player Team Opp Low Med High
Royce Freeman DEN LAR 5.7 9.7 15.7
Phillip Lindsay DEN LAR 6.3 9.3 14.3
Devontae Booker DEN LAR 1.7 4 12

What in the actual what. At first glance, it’s easy to see why they have similar ceilings. Here’s how their pass game usage, a primary component of PPR performance, compares:

  • Phillip Lindsay only has one game with four or more targets, but he’s been targeted in all five games.
  • Ditto Royce Freeman, but he’s only been targeted in three of five games.
  • Devontae Booker has two games with six or more targets and has been targeted in four of five games.
  • All three got at least four targets last week.

Let’s go to the graphics.

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Back-of-napkin takeaways:

  • Booker is clearly not a factor on the ground.
  • Booker has a lot of receiving expected points but has only been average with them.
  • Lindsay has a decent amount of receiving expected points and has been very productive with them.
  • Freeman has actually been better than Lindsay on the ground.
  • Freeman’s been bad as a receiver, although on very limited opportunity.

So Booker can be replaced by either of the others on the ground, and by Lindsay through the air. He’s the hard fade.2 Lindsay seems to be the most irreplaceable, or at least the most game-script proof. Ride or die, in my opinion. But I also wouldn’t hesitate to fire up Freeman if you need to.

Low Ceilings

Player Team Opp Low Med High
Dion Lewis TEN BAL 6 8.3 12.7

Dion Lewis has been a frequent high-ceiling GLSP recommendation, but not this week. Only one RB has gone over 10 PPR points against Baltimore,3 and only Chicago has surrendered fewer total points to the position.

Player Team Opp Low Med High
Alex Collins BAL TEN 6 10.7 14
Javorius Allen BAL TEN 7.7 9.3 13.3

Turnabout is fair play. Neither Alex Collins nor Javorius Allen have great ceilings. As usual, the floor favors the pass catcher, however.

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On a per-game basis, Allen is getting about two more expected points while matching Collins’ efficiency. If I have to choose a Baltimore back, it’s Allen.

Player Team Opp Low Med High
Christian McCaffrey CAR WAS 7 11.3 15.7

It’s hard to sit Christian McCaffrey at any time, but especially when the bye weeks are here. But the Fantasy Streaming App agrees, giving McCaffrey one of the week’s poorer matchups.

Odds and Ends

Notable good high projections:

  • Joe Mixon (22)
  • TJ Yeldon (21)

Notable poor high projections:

  • LeSean McCoy (13)
  • Alfred Morris (13)

GLSP Projections

PlayerTeamOppLowMedHighAVG
Melvin GordonLACCLE15202721.7
James ConnerPITCIN12.716.32519
Kareem HuntKCNE13.318.724.718.7
Saquon BarkleyNYGPHI13.317.724.719.7
David JohnsonARIMIN10.715.723.316.7
Giovani BernardCINPIT1015.322.316
Joe MixonCINPIT1014.72216
Adrian PetersonWASCAR13.518.52218.5
Ezekiel ElliottDALJAX12.31721.318
TJ YeldonJAXDAL1115.32115.3
Marshawn LynchOAKSEA91419.715.3
Chris CarsonSEAOAK11.315.319.315.7
Wendell SmallwoodPHINYG71318.713.7
Isaiah CrowellNYJIND9.71718.715.7
Carlos HydeCLELAC101618.315
Mike DavisSEAOAK71317.313
James WhiteNEKC8.313.317.313
Matt BreidaSFGB7.311.31713.3
Sony MichelNEKC7.312.716.712.7
Aaron JonesGBSF7111611
Royce FreemanDENLAR5.79.715.711
Christian McCaffreyCARWAS711.315.712.7
Kenyan DrakeMIACHI79.715.711.3
Corey ClementPHINYG7.71115.712.7
Tarik CohenCHIMIA61015.310.7
Austin EkelerLACCLE69.715.311
Jordan HowardCHIMIA6.31014.711.3
Lamar MillerHOUBUF6.39.714.711.3
Nyheim HinesINDNYJ7.71014.712
Jay AjayiPHINYG5.3914.310.3
Phillip LindsayDENLAR6.39.314.311.3
Chris ThompsonWASCAR5101410
Alex CollinsBALTEN610.71412
LeSean McCoyBUFHOU5.78.713.39.7
Alfred MorrisSFGB6.71013.310.3
Javorius AllenBALTEN7.79.313.310.7
Peyton BarberTBATL2.35137
Ty MontgomeryGBSF37.3137.7
Duke JohnsonCLELAC34.7138.3
Dalvin CookMINARI5.59.51310
Dion LewisTENBAL68.312.710
Alfred BlueHOUBUF5912.39.7
Tevin ColemanATLTB5.78.312.310.3
Devontae BookerDENLAR1.74127
Nick ChubbCLELAC26126
Darren SprolesPHINYG24126
Latavius MurrayMINARI2.75.311.77.3
Chris IvoryBUFHOU47.311.79
Bilal PowellNYJIND5.38.711.39.3
Devonta FreemanATLTB2.74.7116.7
Jamaal WilliamsGBSF3.76117.3
Rex BurkheadNEKC23.59.57
Jalen RichardOAKSEA0.3395.3
Frank GoreMIACHI25.396.7
Ito SmithATLTB23.396.3
Marlon MackINDNYJ3596
Jordan WilkinsINDNYJ24.38.76
Leonard FournetteJAXDAL3.358.36.3
Derrick HenryTENBAL3.358.36
Malcolm BrownLARDEN2485
CJ AndersonCARWAS1.747.75.7
Corey GrantJAXDAL1.736.74.7
Jeremy HillNEKC1365
Kyle JuszczykSFGB13.35.75
Marcus MurphyBUFHOU1.345.34
Rashaad PennySEAOAK1354
Ronald Jones IITBATL2454
Chase EdmondsARIMIN0243

  1. When healthy; RIP Matt Breida.  (back)
  2. Barring injury.  (back)
  3. Ironically, Royce Freeman.  (back)