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. In most instances you get what you pay for. This week at the running back position that is the stance we are taking with Dalvin Cook ($9,500 DK, $11,000 FD) as there is no question he is the best there is this season. Cook has only gone without a touchdown once this year while averaging 119 rushing yards per game. Through nine games Cook has rushed for 1,069 yards along with 13 touchdowns and there is no doubt that Minnesota’s offense is focused on their stud running back. This week Cook should build on what we consider a “solid” performance from him as he carried the ball 27 times for 115 yards and a touchdown while catching five passes for another 45 yards. While the focus with is Cook as a ball carrier he has shown some ability as a pass catcher with 30 receptions for another 234 yards and a touchdown. Carolina has struggled to defend the run so far this season and this certainly is a situation to exploit for Cook.
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.
With 3.8 yards per carry Josh Jacobs ($7,200 DK, $8,000 FD) hasn’t exactly be efficient this season but the workload is there. Through 10 games Jacobs is averaging 20 carries per game and that alone is a rarity these days. His 199 carries bring him up to 755 rushing yards so far this season and with nine touchdowns he clearly has a nose for the end zone. I know all of this sounds quite simplistic and obvious but sometimes that is all you need. The match-up works in Jacobs’ favor this week against Atlanta as we can expect another solid effort.
Nick Chubb ($7,100 DK, $8,400 FD) hasn’t missed a beat since returning from his knee injury as he looks for his third consecutive 100-plus yard game. With 39 carries over the past two weeks for 240 yards Cleveland wasted no time in revisiting his previous workload. Chubb has eclipsed the century mark in four of his six games and in one of those games, he exited after six carries due to injury. The fact that Chubb has just three receptions on the season hasn’t come into play based his production on the ground. Chubb’s opponent hasn’t seemed to matter either and with five touchdowns on the season, the touchdown potential is there.
Sometimes there is nothing wrong with riding hot hand. Jonathan Taylor ($5,900 DK, $6,400 FD) started his rookie season off strong and then some bumps in the road appeared. Entering last week Taylor carried the ball 24 times for 61 yards in his three prior games but he was right back in the center of action against Green Bay. Taylor took advantage of a favorable match-up against the Packers and he has another one this week against the Titans. In what was the best game of his young career, Taylor carried the ball 22 times for 90 yards while adding four receptions for 24 yards. The talent is there and the price is right, but most importantly there is no reason why Taylor won’t repeat his workload from a week ago. And if that is the case, the success will follow.
The last thing we do is root for injuries, but from every injury comes opportunity. Previously James White ($4,500 DK, $5,400 FD) was the one constant we could count in the New England backfield but for the most part that hasn’t been the case this season. With just 21 carries for 70 yards we know that his value is not coming on the ground but when we get points for receptions there is nothing wrong with that. Rex Burkhead has also been a factor in New England’s backfield so far this season and that has come at the expense of White. After Burkhead’s exit with a knee injury last week we did see a resurgence in White’s role as he turned his nine targets into six receptions for 64 yards. With Burkhead sidelined again this week we should see more of the same from New England’s dependable receiving option out of the backfield.
As far as running backs go Derrick Henry ($7,900 DK, $8,300 FD) is one of the more secure and consistent options. We know that workload isn’t going to be an issue for Henry as he is averaging 23 carries per game for 1,079 yards so far this season through 10 games. With nine touchdowns so far this season Henry also has a nose for the end zone but things will be tough for him this week against the Colts. A few weeks ago Henry did rush for 103 yards against Indianapolis which was the sixth time he eclipsed the century mark so far this season but I’m not going to bank on it. Henry doesn’t have a role in the passing game so that does limit his upside despite his proficiency on the ground and the Colts should be able to slow him down, or at least keep him out of the end zone like they did two weeks ago.
Melvin Gordon ($5,200 DK, $6,800 FD) caught our attention last week as he rushed for 84 yards and two touchdowns and you have to like his price entering this week. The match-up on the other hand couldn’t be any more difficult this week against the Saints who have allowed the least points to opposing running backs so far this season. Gordon also came close to a third touchdown before fumbling near the goal line but with seven touchdowns so far this year he has shown a nose for the endzone. Aside from having to face the Saints the other issue that scares me with Gordon is the fact that while he carried the ball 15 times on Sunday, Phillip Lindsay did carry the ball 16 times in what is a time share. If you think Gordon’s price is too good to be true based on last week, then it is.
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