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. Why not just start at the top with Alvin Kamara ($7,900 DK, $9,300 FD) this week? Carolina has allowed the most points to opposing running backs so far this season and who better to capitalize on that than Kamara? He is coming off his worst game of the season and even still Kamara gained a combined 129 yards. The important thing here is that while Kamara is a running back we have to remember that he is more of a receiver than anything else as just 45 of his yards came on the ground last week. Whatever we get on the ground from Kamara is a bonus as he caught eight of his 10 targets for 74 yards. With seven touchdowns on the season we know that he can find the end zone and while it is of some concern that Michael Thomas might be back this week, Kamara should be unaffected.
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.
At this point we can call him old reliable, as James Conner ($6,700 DK, $7,200 FD) is a reasonable option to target this week. I know neither of those descriptions are going to send you rushing to roster him this Sunday in what should be a solid match-up against Tennessee. If you remove Conner’s lack of production in Week One he has 69 carries for 360 yards in his last four games while eclipsing the century mark in three of those games. The consistent Conner has been between 15 and 20 carries in each of the last four weeks while scoring four touchdowns and adding a couple of receptions each week. Sometimes you just can’t argue with steady production and Conner provides that.
Coming off a tough game against Atlanta on Sunday, Todd Gurley ($6,000 DK, $6,600 FD) looks to rebound in a favorable match-up against Detroit. Gurley rushed for just 47 yards while adding another 20 yards through the air but he has been a consistent part of Atlanta’s offense all season. With the Falcons offense appearing to turn the corner last week, Gurley should only continue to benefit as he has between 14 and 21 carries each week. Gurley consistently is involved in the red zone and with his five touchdowns and 422 rushing yards, the production has been there.
It shouldn’t have come as too much of a surprise that D’Andre Swift’s ($5,400 DK, $6,100 FD) had his breakout performance coming off Detroit’s bye week. While Adrian Peterson will continue to be a factor, Swift is clearly the better and more explosive option and that was clear on Sunday. Swift turned his 14 carries into 116 yards and two touchdowns while showing versatility. Not only did the rookie break off a 54-yard run but both of his touchdowns were of the short yardage variety. This week Swift looks to build on that in a strong match-up against the Falcons and his price is still reasonable due to the rookie’s slow start.
Currently the New England offense is a mess. We know that trying to figure out the Patriots’ running game is a nightmare but we also shouldn’t expect typical running back things from James White($4,900 DK, $5,200 FD). Cam Newton is clearly having issues working through the passing game and throwing downfield really doesn’t appear to be an option at this point. That brings us to White who appears to be New England’s best receiving option. Despite rushing for just eight yards last week, White still had a productive day as he caught eight of his nine targets for 65 yards. Things won’t get any easier for the Patriots this week against San Francisco and they will likely lean on White.
We are feeling good this week, so let’s eat a little crow, go back on our word, and remember how fickle this game can be. Instead of talking about a running back we are looking to avoid this week, let’s resurrect someone I had previously written off. The main thing to remember here is that we don’t operate in a vacuum and price has a lot to do with how we view things. I really thought I was out on Kenyan Drake ($4,800 DK, $6,000 FD) but back I am. This is especially true on Draft Kings as I almost did a double take when I saw his price. Drake is still not even remotely close to being involved in the passing game but Monday night he turned the corner, or gave us fools gold, as a runner. He carried the ball 20 times and gained a whopping 164 yards while scoring two touchdowns including a late game 69-yard scoring burst. Drake is still clearly the number one back in Arizona’s backfield and through six games he has 105 carries for 478 yards and four touchdowns.
At this point how can you not look to target anybody and anything against the Jets? New York is shedding defensive lineman by the day and to say they are struggling would be an understatement. On the surface this would lead us right to Devin Singletary ($5,800 DK, $6,200 FD) but I’m looking in a different direction. While Buffalo was trailing from the outset last week, all Singletary managed was 10 carries for 32 yards along with just one catch for another 13 yards. On the season it’s not like Singletary has been doing much better as he has gained just 270 yards on the ground with one touchdown with no more than 56 yards in one game. If you want to say that facing the Jets is different, let me to direct you to the fact that Singletary managed just 53 combined yards against New York earlier this season.
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