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. For as much as we have talked about Carson Wentz’s struggles and the quarterback being the victim of boos even without fans in the stands, that hasn’t carried forward to Miles Sanders ($6,400 FD, $7,400 FD). In watching Sanders this past Sunday you wouldn’t have known that the Philadelphia offensive line was struggling or that he missed the first week of the season with injury. The workload showed no indication of his hamstring being a lingering issue and the backfield clearly belongs to Sanders as he carried the ball 20 times for 95 yards and a touchdown while catching three passes for another 36 yards. As they face the Bengals at home this week we can expect things to improve for the Eagles and Sanders is in position to build on his successful season debut.
Behind the paywall, we will continue to take a closer look at some more running backs 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.
The problem with Kenyan Drake ($6,000 DK, $6,500 FD) has nothing to do with his abilities but instead the fact that he has to compete with his quarterback for touchdowns in the red zone. While Kyler Murray will continue to be a factor carrying the ball all season, Drake will still have his share of success and touchdown opportunities as he is the clear number one running back for Arizona. Last week Drake carried the ball 20 times for 86 yards and also added two passes for another nine yards but his fortunes should improve on Sunday. So far this season both David Montgomery and Aaron Jones have had success against the Detroit run defense and the Jones performance specifically left us with a lot of happy fantasy owners last Sunday. This week that very well could be Drake and he is also priced fairly.
Last week we were skeptical about Melvin Gordon ($5,800 DK, $6,500 FD) in a tough matchup against the Steelers but he ended up having a solid afternoon. With Philip Lindsay sidelined the Denver backfield belongs to Gordon and he gained 70 yards on 19 carries while adding two receptions for 14 yards and a touchdown. The Broncos are now also without Drew Lock and Courtland Sutton and we can expect to see Denver lean on the run even more this week. Things should also get better for Gordon as the Broncos have a favorable matchup against Tampa Bay this week.
Another good matchup comes in the form of David Montgomery ($5,700 DK, $6,100 FD) as the Bears travel to Atlanta this week. Not only did Montgomery pick up 82 rushing yards but he was efficient doing so only needing 16 carries. Perhaps more importantly, Montgomery caught three passes for 45 yards and a touchdown and once again he had more targets than Tarik Cohen. Montgomery should continue to take advantage of weak defenses this week against the Falcons and it’s becoming more and more apparent who the Bears’ backfield belongs to.
Based on some of the injuries we saw last week, you might have been expecting to see some specific names listed but Jerrick McKinnon ($4,900 DK, $5,700 FD) is the only injury replacement who really caught my attention this week. After two years McKinnon is finally healthy and with both Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman sidelined this week, he should be in for a busy afternoon against the Giants. Last week McKinnon touched the ball just three times but he did gain 77 yards while scoring a touchdown a week after he picked up 44 yards on six combined touches. With Nick Mullens likely under center for the 49ers this week we should expect a conservative game plan, and that will benefit McKinnon.
While it likely will help to keep his ownership down, I certainly wasn’t expecting to see Mike Davis($5,100 DK, $6,000 FD) come in as expensive as he did. Granted he is entering the week as Carolina’s starter but his price isn’t that far off from other options, such as Montgomery, who have a clear hold on their respective backfields. Last week we saw Curtis Samuel get a few carries and Trenton Cannon will also be a factor, but all signs point to Davis being the “man”. By the time he entered the game last week, the Panthers were already trailing so Davis carried the ball just once although he did catch all eight of his targets for 74 yards. Davis is also facing a tough opposing defense in the Chargers this week so I’m going to keep my distance as it has been a few years since he was productive as a runner.
The other major injury replacement that I’m keeping my distance from is Dion Lewis ($5,300 DK, $5,500 FD). In time, likely next week, the newly signed Devonta Freeman, will be a factor but for now it’s Lewis’ backfield. Historically we haven’t seen Lewis do much of anything as a ball carrier and last week was no different as he gained just 20 yards on 10 carries (although a touchdown did preserve some value). Third down is Lewis’ domain and last week he caught four passes for 36 yards but that makes it hard to trust him as a DFS option moving forward. I’m not sure Lewis’ performance this week looks much different from what we saw last week.
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