Running back production often correlates with a good lead, as the bigger your lead, the more you’d like to slow the game down while controlling the clock with the ground game. That lead also helps defenses predict with more accuracy what their opponent’s will do, which is usually pass the ball to make up ground. A quarterback dropping back to pass consistently gives defenses their best shot at sacks, fumbles, interceptions and defensive touchdowns. We can take this knowledge and use it to our advantage in our daily fantasy lineups by stacking running backs with their defenses.
Below, we look at the best running back-D/ST stacks going in the main slate for Week 17.
Aaron Jones/Packers D/ST at Lions
Jones and the Packers are favored by -12 points on the road against the David Blough led Lions. The Packers need the win to secure a bye and Jones needs 16 yards and a touchdown to reach 1,000 yards rushing and 20 touchdowns. Add to that, Jamaal Williams is banged up, and we have ourselves a prime spot for another Jones blow up game.
The Lions offense is a shell of its former self under the guidance of David Blough. Bl0ugh hasn’t been a disaster but he hasn’t been good either. He has five interceptions in four games and has taken 13 sacks. The Packers should be able to get up early and force Blough into doing more than his coaches would like.
Sony Michel/Patriots D/ST vs Dolphins
Michel has been a work horse over the last two games and this week shouldn’t be any different as the Patriots host the Dolphins in a game they need to win. Michel has now topped 100 yards and 20 touches in his last two games and with a huge 16-point spread, the Patriots should again look to control the game on the ground and force Ryan Fitzpatrick into mistakes with their defense.
Ezekiel Elliott/Cowboys D/ST vs. Washington
Dak Prescott’s shoulder is hurting and the Cowboys are favored by -10.5 points. Dallas will likely look to control the line of scrimmage, keeping Prescott from getting hit too often and running with Elliott. This game could easily be closer than the spread but we will get Case Keenum starting for an injured Dwayne Haskins and Terry McLaurin is in the concussion protocol, which would hurt their offense in a big way.
Dallas won’t rest Elliott unless they are up big and without Prescott at his best, this should be an “Elliott game.” If Elliott does go off and puts them up big late, Keenum will be forced to throw and that means a good shot at D/ST points.
Kamara broke out last week and appears to have turned a corner on his ankle injury. That comes at a good time, as the Panthers are embarrassing themselves and their ancestors when they try to stop normal running backs. There are a list of stats that show how bad the Panthers are at stopping running backs but the fact that they are last in allowing DK points, yards per carry and total rushing yards to the position gives it away. Latavius Murray may end up going for a good game himself but the Saints need this game for playoff seeding and will at least make sure they put up their best effort up front, which means Kamara will get plenty of work.
The Saints defense also gets a great opportunity to put up points, as they take on Will Grier, who looked awful in his first start against a worse defense in the Colts.
Trying to pick a Chiefs running back for fantasy has not been an easy job of late but Williams appears to be the preferred back now that he’s returned from his injury. Against the Bears last week he had 19 touches for 92 yards and a receiving touchdown in his first game back after a four week absence. The Chargers look like they’ve given up and I expect Kansas City to roll over them, likely matching or besting the 8-point spread. That should give Williams enough work to put up decent fantasy numbers and for the Chiefs to do their usual against Philip Rivers in Kansas City, which is make him look bad.