Pierce out-snapped Burkhead 62% to 37% in Week 2’s matchup against the Broncos, reversing the Texans’ perplexing Week 1 decision to play Burkhead on 72% of snaps. Burkhead still appears to be the coaching staff’s favored option on third downs and in passing situations since he is a stronger pass-protector.
Dameon Pierce at Chicago Bears
Pierce outran Burkhead by a margin of 15-0. But coming forwards, Pierce should receive the majority of the carries, and he will now be engaged in a ground-and-pound battle with the Bears.
Given that the spread for this game is only three points, both offenses should be free to use the running game as much as they choose. Chicago ranks 25th in opponent yards per carrying, dead bottom in rushing yards allowed, and 27th in run-defense DVOA. Last Sunday night, Aaron Jones ran roughshod over this defense for 15/132/1, and AJ Dillon chipped in with 18/61/0.
Deebo Samuel (8/52/1) and Elijah Mitchell (6/41/0) also uncovered significant openings in the Bears’ run defense during Week 1. In Week 3, Pierce might toy with carrying the ball more than 20 times, but his absence from the passing game still makes him a touchdown-dependent RB2.
Thankfully, the Cowboys kept Pollard in the game plan for Week 2’s matchup against the Bengals after his awful Week 1 performance. Pollard converted his 16 carries plus targets into 98 total yards and a goal-line touchdown. With only 49 scoreless yards on 17 opportunities, Ezekiel Elliott continues to appear ready to retire.
Notably, Pollard was the only one of the two to carry the ball across the goal line. Pollard has run 28 routes compared to Elliott’s 37, however, Pollard has converted nine targets into 6/69 receiving while Elliott has only managed two catches for a loss of seven yards on four targets.
Everyone watching can see that Pollard is one of the Cowboys’ top playmakers and their best runner. He has two weeks of the RB21 ranking and will now face a Giants defence that ranks 23rd in fantasy points given to running backs and 22nd in DVOA against the run. The position has been given up more receiving yards by only six teams. Pollard ought to be set up as an RB3/FLEX play with upside.
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