With Austin Ekeler out for a while, Joshua Kelley becomes an intriguing option in fantasy. He was already seeing enough work before Ekeler was hurt to have some fantasy value, but now those touches will become solidified. But, we also have to take into account his matchup and the possibility that Justin Jackson sees enough work to hurt Kelley at least a little in fantasy.
The Sit: Joshua Kelley
Kelley will take on a Saints run defense that has allowed just 3.57 yards per rushing attempt and 4.81 yards per running back target while ranking fourth in run defense DVOA. Last week against the No. 2 ranked run defense in DVOA, the Buccaneers, Kelley had nine carries for seven yards. On the season he’s rushed 52 times for 174 yards and a touchdown. That’s a 3.3 yards per carry average.
Justin Jackson hasn’t done any better than Kelley, but he did see six rushing attempts and two targets to Kelley’s nine attempts and three targets against the Buccaneers, as Ekeler missed part of the game. On the day, Kelley played on 57 percent of the snaps to Jackson’s 40 percent. The split between the two could teeter on the “hot hand” approach.
The Starts: David Johnson, Antonio Gibson, Damien Harris
Johnson has been mostly lackluster since a strong game to start the season against the Chiefs, but he has also faced the Ravens and Steelers run defense in that span. This week he’ll face a Jaguars defense that has allowed the sixth-most PPR points in the league.
Gibson has slowly taken over the lead back role in Washington. He’ll face a Rams defense that has allowed 4.84 yards per carry and rank 28th in run defense DVOA. I also like Kyle Allen taking over, as he should check down more than Dwayne Haskins did and he knows the system better. He likely won’t have them in scoring position much more, but he could help his PPR numbers.
Harris is right in the mix with Kelley this week, as Kelley’s receiving potential helps him against Harris, who had no targets in place of Sony Michel last week. But he does have that Michel role and should be in line for 15ish rushing attempts. I prefer Kelley in PPR leagues and Harris in standard leagues this weekend.