It’s time for some 2020 Playoff MVP Predictions, continuing with the RB position. There have been plenty of surprises across all the positions, but RB feels like it has been hit the most. Whether it has been injuries, surprise cuts, or expectations not being met. It’s time to take a look at those players that could carry your team to lift the championship!
If you did read my last article (I highly recommend you do so) you’ll already know this. I believe in giving you the stats to make your own decisions. I will give you both sides of the story. Take Jameis Winston for example, I won’t tell you he was great last year with 30 touchdowns without also mentioning his 30 interceptions. You’re running your dynasty team – you’re the decision-maker, not me. If you win a championship, that’s because you made the correct judgment calls. I’m here to provide you with stats for the decisions you may need to make. Now, let’s get into it.
2020 Playoff MVP RB Predictions: David Montgomery (CHI)
This time, we’ll start with the pick you’re probably not expecting. David Montgomery has been producing at a high level over the past two weeks (12 & 13). In fact, Montgomery has had career weeks in both 0.5 PPR and full PPR scoring formats. Although he is only averaging 59 rushing yards per game, he is being used more in the passing game this season. Most likely due to Tarik Cohen being placed on injured reserve in week 4. Montgomery has nearly 1000 total yards from scrimmage (938). However, only 5 touchdowns on the year- 3 on the ground, 2 in the air.
These stats are nothing to ignore. Equally, nothing to get excited about. He is the RB11 in 0.5 PPR and full PPR scoring, whilst sat at RB14 in standard scoring. Nothing to scoff at for a player taken in the 4th round, or possibly even later, of dynasty startups this year.
Over the past two weeks, Montgomery has had 143 (103/40 – rushing/receiving) and 111 (72/39 – rushing/receiving) scrimmage yards and a touchdown in each contest. Yes, these games were against the Packers (3rd most points allowed to running backs) and Lions (most points allowed to running backs) respectively. However, his schedule doesn’t get much tougher during the playoffs.
It’s time for you to get excited about Montgomery.
Week 14 v HOU
The Texans are currently allowing the 2nd most points to running backs this year – allowing a whopping average of 150 yards and 1.3 touchdowns per game. Granted, they do have Henry in their division, but this is still an insane average. Considering the great past two weeks Montgomery has had, I cannot foresee a poor game without an injury here. One thing to watch, teams are averaging 31 rushing attempts per game against the Texans; Montgomery has not surpassed 21 so far this season. Although a big game on the ground may be in order, I very much doubt Montgomery will get 31 carries. I expect Cordarrelle Patterson or Ryan Nall to get some of that workload – but not much. Mitchell Trubisky could also contribute to these numbers with his rushing upside. Montgomery is currently breaking the 3rd most tackles (20) this season. Now think about the running back breaking the 3rd most tackles (1 in every 8 rushing attempts), playing against a defense that has the second-most rushing attempts against them. It’s a match made in fantasy heaven.
Week 15 @MIN
The Vikings are allowing an average of 121 rushing yards per game, but have only allowed 7 touchdowns this whole season. That’s nearly 1 every other game. On the plus side for Montgomery owners, the Vikings are allowing the 8th most points to running backs. One thing I found interesting during my research in this game: the Vikings are missing a lot of tackles this season, currently tied at 7th most with 92 in total. Pair that with Montgomery’s broken tackle stats (see the week 14 breakdown), this could shape up to be another great matchup.
Week 16 @JAX
Looking at the total rushing attempts against each team, the Jaguars are tied for 3rd most in the league; only 3 away from the Texans at 370. Add 88 missed tackles on the year (11th most), and Montgomery’s broken tackle numbers, this is looking like another juicy matchup. For the third straight week, Montgomery will face a defence giving up more than 120 yards per game; to be specific, 137 in this case. The Jaguars are giving up the 5th most points to running backs and still have a matchup against Henry (foreshadowing?) before this game. That average could increase even more following Henry’s game, and that’ll be something I’m keeping my eye on.
2020 Playoff MVP RB Predictions: Derrick Henry (TEN)
I alluded to Derrick Henry’s success this season during the breakdown of the Titans @ Packers. In my previous article, did you guess he’d be included here? Although Henry had his second lowest total yards last week (60), causing his lowest scoring week of the season so far, he has been one of the best running backs this year – especially for fantasy. He’s averaging 109 rushing yards and a touchdown per game but isn’t really involved in the passing game – he only has 102 receiving yards on the season (averaging 8.5 receiving yards each week) and 52 of those were in week 6.
The Titans are a balanced team, only having a 6 play difference between passing (381 attempts) and rushing (375 attempts) for the whole year. However, when you watch their games, they do look to favour the run in key situations, especially around the goal line, and for good reason – they have Henry.
As mentioned at the start, Henry did have a tough game against the Browns last week. He rushed for 60 yards on only 15 attempts; his lowest attempts of the season. This was down to Baker Mayfield having a great game and pulling ahead very quickly, by a lot. Providing the Titans stay in their games, which there is only one game I can foresee being a Browns-like game – more on that later – Henry should see a healthy workload and should put up those fantasy MVP level points.
Week 14 @JAX
As I mentioned in the breakdown for Montgomery, the Jaguars have been awful against the run, and they’ve missed a lot of tackles. While Montgomery is 3rd in broken tackles so far, do you know who has 9 more and is 1st? Yep, you guessed it – Dalvin Cook. I included that just to throw you off a little. Henry is still 2nd with 23 total broken tackles; nothing to scoff at. If you own shares of Henry and weren’t drooling over the matchup during the Montgomery breakdown, are you now?
Week 15 v DET
The Lions defence is currently 1st (not a good first) in points given up to running backs. Now the NFL schedule-makers have very kindly put the RB3 in PPR scoring (RB2 in standard) in prime position to strike a deadly blow to your opponent; right when you’re trying to get into the championship game, or even playing for the championship. The Lions are also 4th in missed tackles with 98. When you pair that nugget with Henry’s 23 broken tackles, you can only speculate how Henry’s yards after contact stats could get a very nice bump from this game, not that it was needed.
Week 16 @GB
I’m sure you know already, but if you don’t, the Packers have been a great matchup for running backs this season – they’re currently allowing the 3rd most. They have 1 more missed tackle than the Jaguars, ranking 10th most in the league. The Packers are allowing 114 yards and just under 1 touchdown, on the ground, each game – I can only imagine Henry increasing this average even further. I expect the game script to be very dependent on the Packers offence. If Rodgers can lead the Packers to run the score up on the Titans, which is very possible against the poor Titans defence (more foreshadowing?), the Titans may need to throw the ball more than running it. Alternatively, the Titans could get in front of the Packers offence stalls early, which will allow the Titans to control the time of possession with Henry against the very weak run defence of the Packers.
2020 Playoff MVP RB Predictions: Aaron Jones (GB)
I think it’s safe to say Aaron Jones has outperformed his expectations. The general consensus was lower on him this year – expecting regression in the touchdown department. While that has happened to an extent, Jones still has 7 touchdowns on the ground and 2 in the air. Bear in mind this is only within 10 games. Jones is still the RB5, whilst missing 2 entire games and only receiving an average of 58% of snaps. He also has a great 5.2 yards per carry, reaching 754 yards so far this season on only 145 carries. Jones is over 1000 scrimmage yards on less than 200 touches. To me, that’s pretty impressive.
Jones is 18th in broken tackles, on 11. If you average that out to 12 games, he would jump to 14th. Although not brilliant, he’s facing two of the top 7 defenses in missed tackles. He’s in a contract year so it’s imperative he finishes the season well to solidify himself as one of the top running backs in this saturated upcoming free-agent market, and he has the remaining schedule to do so.
Week 14 @DET
As I mentioned in the breakdown for Henry, the Lions defense has been poor against the run. One thing specific to Aaron Jones though, he had 236 (168/68 – rushing/receiving respectively) yards from scrimmage and 3 total touchdowns (2/1) on only a total of 22 touches in the last game (week 2) against the Lions. He played a season-low 47% of snaps during this game as well. I’ll just leave you with that.
Week 15 v CAR
The Panthers are tied for the 7th most in missed tackles this season with 92. They’re also 7th in points allowed to running backs this year. Coincidence? I think not! (there is a reference there – if you get it, you’re a person of culture). The Panthers have given up some big games this year, here are a few:
With Jones showing us what he can do against a bad run defence (see Lions breakdown above), he has a great chance at having a huge impact for playoff teams.
Week 16 v TEN
Week 16 against the Titans will be a tough matchup for the Packers as a whole. The Titans have a great offence, and should easily tear up the Packers defence in the run game (see Henry’s week 16 breakdown). I suspect the Packers will take a balanced approach, as they have done all season, against the poor Titans defence. They are allowing the 12th most points, so far this season, to running backs, but combine this with allowing the 7th most points to wide receivers too, the Packers can score a lot of points if needed to using either method. This is especially so with the Packers offence firing on all cylinders in recent weeks.
That’s it for our 2020 Playoff MVP predictions for the RB position! Keep an eye out for the other positions dropping shortly. Remember, you can always reach out to us on social media with any questions we are on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. And don’t forget to check out our weekly rankings!
Image Credit: Daniel Bartel – USA TODAY Sports