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BOTTOM 5 RUSHING MATCHUPS WEEK 11
To view all of our Week 11 Matchup content, please see the links below:
Top 5 Passing Matchups Week 11
Bottom 5 Passing Matchups Week 11
Top 5 Rushing Matchups Week 11
Bottom 5 Rushing Matchups Week 11
Rushing Matchup Chart Week 11
Passing Matchup Chart Week 11
LA Rams at Tampa Bay
The Rams continue to run the ball at a productive if unspectacular rate. At 134 yards per game, they’re putting up top-10 raw production, and only two teams have run for more touchdowns. Still, this remains a messy, three-headed attack, and it’s all but impossible to project any of its pieces to much of a ceiling. Darrell Henderson at least offers big-play explosiveness but has drawn just 24% of the snaps over the past 2 weeks. Meanwhile, teammates Cam Akers and Malcolm Brown have plodded to just 4.2 yards per rush. Even behind one of the league’s better run-blocking lines, it’s hard to draw much excitement from this up-and-down group.
The Buccaneers continue to suffocate opposing ground games on a historic level. You’d have to go back to Week 9 of last season for their last 80-yard rusher. Through 10 weeks this year, opposing lead backs are putting up just 2.9 per rush and 32 a game. What’s more impressive is that most of that has come with star nose tackle Vita Vea on the shelf with a broken leg. Steve McLendon went under the radar but made for one of the early season’s shrewder personnel moves. Long underrated as a gap-plugging nose, he’s kept the team’s defensive dynamic in place, helping to stifle runners from the inside out. That dominant front makes life easier for the linebackers, particularly Lavonte David, who’s enjoying the best year of his stellar career. And for his part, second-year man Devin White continues to improve week after week. His gap discipline can be inconsistent, but with so much supporting help, he’s free to utilize his athleticism and simply pursue and strike whenever it won’t make him a liability. Simply put, this is never an easy unit to run on, and the Rams likely don’t have the horses to break these stunning trends.
Atlanta at New Orleans
The Falcons may have already extracted the best of whatever Todd Gurley has left. The once-explosive Gurley looks sluggish, stuck at one speed, and lacks his trademark burst and agility. The team has taken notice and acted, working the more dynamic Brian Hill into the offense more and more each week. Hill has flashed with a few chunk runs, but overall they’ve been unsuccessful in cobbling together an effective ground game. On the year, the running backs are producing a weak 3.8 yards per rush, with just a single individual showing of more than 80 (Gurley back in Week 5).
The Saints continue to put forth dominant work on run defense, continuing the trend of 2019’s defensive reinvention. Here in 2020, only Tampa Bay has allowed fewer yards on the ground than this group. Just twice over the past six weeks has an opposing runner found his way to 40+ yards - and only one of those managed to find the end zone. This unit as a whole is sharp and cohesive, but the backbone lies in three key pieces that all boast strong early claims to All-Pro votes. Up front, Cameron Jordan and David Onyemata head up a line that’s deep and virtually impossible to push around. Onyemata, for his part, has enjoyed a true breakout on a career-high 62% snap rate. Behind them, linebacker Demario Davis continues to shine as a relentless playmaker in both phases of the game. Overall, it’s difficult to find any daylight among this front seven, even for a proficient ground game. And the Falcons’ plodding attack, in particular, doesn’t offer much hope in the matchup.
Green Bay at Indianapolis
The Packers still boast an above-average ground game, sitting 14th league-wide on a per-rush basis and 11th per game with their backfield committee. Aaron Jones remains solidly in the lead, taking on 59% of the group’s carries when healthy. But he’s struggled of late, putting up just 3.1 yards per rush over his past 3 games. The Packers boast a deep backfield, and they’ll mix Jamaal Williams in liberally to keep Jones fresh. As a result, with a usage ceiling around 15 rushes, Jones will need to produce a handful of chunk runs to post a strong fantasy line - he’s only topped 70 yards twice in seven games. The Packers do boast an elite front line, with a pair of road-graders in the middle in Corey Linsley and Billy Turner. But it’s hard to envision them blowing the Colts off the ball consistently, so the onus is on Jones (and Williams) to make a lot of strong defenders miss.
The Colts run defense has risen to become one of football’s most suffocating. Derrick Henry did rack up 103 yards last Thursday night, but he stands as the only runner to top 75 in this matchup all year. On the whole, this group has been all but impenetrable for much of 2020. The Colts have invested deeply in their trenches, bringing together a trio of strong interior linemen in front of a punishing linebacking corps. Up front, DeForest Buckner leads the way as a dynamic playmaker in the gaps, while Grover Stewart has blossomed out of nowhere as a stout nose tackle, and the always-underappreciated Denico Autry remains a fantastic utility guy. They’re all capable of absorbing blockers at the point of attack and of chasing down splash plays on their own. And together, they set the table well for All-Pro Darius Leonard and the second level to fill and attack. With such a cohesive front seven, there’s always little chance of a big run squirting through - only three teams have allowed fewer breakaway runs (15+ yards) thus far. That’s a bad omen for the quick-footed Aaron Jones, who will find the sledding extremely tough when this unit funnels him to the inside.
Tampa Bay vs LA Rams
The Buccaneers, under coach Bruce Arians, don’t tend to prioritize the ground game much. The runners are inconsistent, while the scheme itself is fairly bland and lacks creativity. Still, Arians has to like what he’s seen in spurts from Ronald Jones II. The third-year Jones has posted 4 games above 100 yards - but another 4 below 50. Simply put, Jones seems to produce massively when he’s the undisputed lead back, but plod along weakly when sharing snaps. Leonard Fournette has shown little in Tampa Bay, but he works in enough to ding Jones’ upside for usage. Jones was sensational last Sunday, putting up 192 yards (98 on one fantastic run) in the romp over Carolina. But fantasy players know just how his play waffles from week to week, so it’s difficult to trust either piece of this backfield in a dicey matchup.
The Rams look prepared to turn this matchup into an air-only assault. Like the Buccaneers across the field, they’ve been shutting down runners on a stunning level, if not for nearly as long. Over their past 6 games, they’ve allowed just a single running back (Raheem Mostert) to top 50 yards on the ground, averaging just 3.4 per rush. This unit has been aided by a soft schedule, as well as several opponent injuries, over that span. But with their personnel, it’s easy to see why they’ve been so dominant. The great Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers lead a powerful front line, one that’s capable of controlling any matchup in the trenches. The team has yet to adequately replace free-agent loss Cory Littleton at linebacker, but his subs’ jobs are made so much easier by that dynamic front, which frees them to roam and strike. Overall, this isn’t the most consistent unit, but it’s trending straight upward. There’s more than enough talent here to corral a shaky ground game like Tampa Bay’s.
New Orleans vs Atlanta
The Saints ground game looks exactly as it did three years ago, with the speedy, explosive Alvin Kamara spelled by a powerful veteran hammer. Kamara has been healthy and productive (4.7 yards per rush) after a grueling 2019, while Latavius Murray continues to chime in with strong situational running. And it certainly helps that they operate behind one of football’s best run-blocking lines (currently ranked second by Footballguys’ Matt Bitonti). Loaded with road-grading talent - particularly on the right, where tackle Ryan Ramczyk leads the way - the line has truly been built in the image of Sean Payton’s offense. Still, that doesn’t always lead to massive ground numbers. Payton’s scheme uses the short pass game extensively as an extension of the run; that keeps its backs wildly valuable if not exactly high-volume on the ground. As a result, it’s never a surprise to see both simultaneously fall below 50 yards or so. And that’s of deeper concern in tough matchups, like the one on Week 11’s docket.
The Falcons haven’t seen much go right here in 2020, but can at least hang their hats on much-improved run defense. In winning three of their last five, they’ve given up just 3.6 yards per rush and 57 a game to running backs. They’ve been helped over that span by some key opponent injuries, dodging Dalvin Cook and Christian McCaffrey (twice). But they’ve also put firm clamps on the likes of Ezekiel Elliott, Melvin Gordon, and sensational Lions rookie D’Andre Swift this season, to the tune of a combined 134 yards (3.6 per carry). Much of the credit winds up going to linebacker Deion Jones, whose quick-strike athleticism is indeed key to this group. But the true engine sits up front, where the long-overlooked Grady Jarrett is in the midst of yet another All-Pro caliber season. One of the most disruptive presences in all of football, Jarrett is adept at both absorbing blockers and blowing up runs on his own. His work clears the way for Jones, Foye Oluokun, and box safety Keanu Neal to finish plays on the second level. And as a unit, the Falcons are finally doing so with sound angles and tackling.