Depending on how you chose to complete your lineup, either two or three running backs are needed each week. The days of just one running back controlling the backfield are waning but not lost. Securing these running backs will generally prove to be more costly but it is necessary. When working with a salary cap, this can be a real problem. It is also why when a low-priced running back appears to have the role in hand, they generally end up being a highly popular selection. But are they worth it?
That is a question to be answered on a case by case basis in the analysis that follows. The goal here is to look at game flow to ensure that touches will be at a maximum, it is a favorable situation against the opposing defense, and most of all that there is talent and expected fantasy success.
For those who have yet to subscribe, what are you waiting for? Until then you will get one free pick to whet your appetite. The New Orleans offense we previously were accustomed to seeing does not match up with the current iteration. Last week’s injury to Drew Brees doesn’t help that cause but it should lead to the Saints leaning even more heavily on Alvin Kamara ($9,200 DK, $9,700 FD). In what was become an ongoing trend for New Orleans we saw Kamara lead the team in all receiving categories last week while also picking up two short yardage rushing touchdowns against a tough San Francisco defense that limited him to 15 yards on eight carries. Kamara has shown a nose for the end zone with seven rushing touchdowns so far this season and no one is complaining with his 67 receptions for 648 yards and four touchdowns. Michael Thomas’ ineffectiveness, injuries, and suspension have played a part in this but even last week we were left wanting more from the Saints’ stud receiver. Kamara has stepped in to fill some of that void and with Brees sidelined this week, the expectation is that New Orleans will lean even more on their explosive running/receiving threat. And did we mention that the Saints are facing the Falcons this week?
Subscribers can now expect to get six more picks as we take a closer look at some more running backs at varying price points who deserve our attention this week along with a few from whom we should keep our distance. And not all will break the back either which will leave plenty of room for help at other positions. So, keep on going and take a look at what we have to offer.
We should have known better but the free square plays generally don’t work out according to plan. Mike Davis ($6,800 DK, $7,400 FD) was no exception last week as he gained a combined 44 yards but it did come against a tough Tampa Bay defense. Things should get easier this week for Davis as he faces a Detroit team that allows the most points to opposing running backs as Christian McCaffrey remains sidelined and Teddy Bridgewater is banged up. Any limitations on Bridgewater will work to benefit Davis who in McCaffrey’s previous absence had success both as a runner and receiver. Another benefit is that we don’t have to try and figure out the hierarchy in Carolina’s backfield as Davis will receive the bulk of the work.
I almost did a double take, especially on Draft Kings, as this is likely the lowest we have seen Ezekiel Elliot’s ($6,500 DK, $8,000 FD) salary. While it is certainly well deserved based on his recent performance we know that Elliot is better than this. Both he and the Dallas offense in general has taken a step back following the season ending injury to Dak Prescott but as the Cowboys return off the bye with a healthy Andy Dalton under center, it’s not like they are truly scrapping the bottom of the barrel at the quarterback position. Last week Elliot gained just 51 yards on 18 carries while catching two passes for another 18 yards. Elliot will likely eclipse the 1,000-yard mark once again as he is at 572 yards and six touchdowns on the season but he has done so without the benefit of a 100-yard game. Even more troubling though is the fact Elliot hasn’t scored a touchdown in the last four weeks. I’m betting on the talent here and on the fact that we will see a little better performance from the Cowboys coming off their bye week with a healthy Dalton.
Last week was the beginning of the D’Andre Swift ($6,400 DK, $6,900 FD) era as he got the first start of his career for Detroit. The Lions were serious in their commitment to Swift as he had 21 touches (16 carries for 81 yards and five receptions for 68 yards a touchdown) compared to six for the remainder of their running backs. Swift looks the part of a dual threat running/receiving threat and he is here to stay for Detroit. With six total touchdowns on the season, Swift has a nose for the end zone and that success should continue in a good match-up against the Panthers this week.
Cam Newton is responsible for holding back Damien Harris ($5,700 DK, $5,800 FD). I know this isn’t something we are used to seeing but Harris is emerging as the clear running back to target in New England’s backfield. In what was an ugly weather evening against Baltimore last week, the Patriots leaned on Harris to move the ball and he did his part with 22 carries for 121 yards. Overall Harris has 471 rushing yards on 85 carries with three games of greater than 100 yards, but the problem is the fact that he has just one touchdown. At some point the touchdowns will come for Harris and Newton’s proficiency as a ball carrier in the red zone is the only thing currently suppressing his value.
In a good match-up against the Jaguars last week Aaron Jones ($7,200 DK, $8,200 FD) managed just 46 rushing yards. Over his last three games Jones has managed just a combined 119 rushing yards which gives him 493 yards for the season. If we subtract his 168 rushing yards against Detroit earlier this season, things get a little more concerning for Jones and this week things likely won’t get easier in a tough match-up against the Colts.
Just because we see a running back at a good price with the starting job, it doesn’t mean he should automatically become a DFS target. We are looking at you Duke Johnson ($5,400 DK, $6,000 FD) as prior to David Johnson’s injury he was essentially a non-factor so far this season. After rushing for 54 yards on 14 carries after getting the start last week Johnson is still at just 149 yards on the season. Perhaps more troubling is that with 14 receptions for 108 yards he isn’t adding any value from a receiving perspective either. This is a situation I am staying away.
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