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. At the risk of hyperbole I’m not sure you can answer any questions regarding health better than Dalvin Cook ($8,200 DK, $9,300 FD) did this past Sunday. Cook had two weeks (including Minnesota’s bye) to rest his groin and all he did last week was score four touchdowns. The Vikings showed no concern for Cook’s health or endurance as he carried the ball 30 times for 163 yards and three touchdowns while catching two passes for 63 yards and another touchdown. It shouldn’t have been surprising as Cook has rushed for 652 yards through six games so far this season while reaching the end zone 11 times. And if you can believe it things should get even better for Cook this week as he faces a Detroit team that is allowing the most points to opposing running backs so far this season.
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.
The last two weeks have not been kind to Clyde Edwards-Helaire ($6,100 DK, $7,000 FD) as the rookie has managed just 67 yards on 14 carries over the past few weeks. This is especially surprising considering the fact that the Chiefs took on a floundering Jets team this past Sunday, but New York did sell out to stop the run. Obviously that didn’t work out too well for them but that is besides the point as I raise my hand as an extremely bitter Jets fan. Edwards-Helaire has eclipsed the century mark twice this year in yardage and he has had an impressive start to his professional career with 121 carries for 572 yards and two touchdowns. There is no questioning his talent and he is in a prime bounce back situation against a Carolina team who is in the top-five of most points allowed to opposing fantasy running backs so far this season. Additionally his struggles over the last two weeks could very well keep ownership numbers low for the rookie which could be the edge you need in a GPP.
As he appears to have taken a hold of the Chargers’ backfield, at least on a temporary basis, I was surprised that Justin Jackson’s ($4,900 DK, $5,900 FD) salary didn’t increase more than it did. Last week against the Broncos we saw Jackson carry the ball 17 times for 89 yards while adding three receptions for 53 yards. There is no reason not to expect another 20 touches this week from Jackson in a good match-up against the Raiders. Rookie quarterback Justin Herbert has shown the ability to move the offense down the field and opposing defenses have to respect the downfield passing game which also opens things up for Jackson.
While we won’t know until the weekend whether or not Chris Carson will be taking the field this week (my bet is that he won’t) we do know that Carlos Hyde will not be. The absence of Seattle’s top two running backs means there is opportunity to be had in the Seahawks’ backfield and that brings us to DeeJay Dallas ($5,000 DK, $5,100 FD). Last week was the first real action for the rookie and while he wasn’t exactly proficient on the ground with 18 carries for 41 yards there was still a lot to like. Dallas was also involved in the passing game with five receptions for 17 yards so that is a nice boost to his production and I’ll never argue with my running back touching the ball 23 times in a game. Most importantly Dallas found the end zone both through the air and on the ground and that is what we are really after.
There is limited upside when it comes to David Johnson ($5,700 DK, $6,800 FD) but there is a solid floor of production here and you get it at a solid price point as well. It’s a good match-up for Johnson against the Jaguars this week and earlier this season he carried the ball 17 times for 96 yards against Jacksonville along with two catches for another seven yards. The consistent workload is there for Johnson and last week his had 18 touches for 84 yards along with a receiving touchdown. Overall Johnson has 392 rushing yards and three touchdowns so far this season as he is more of a cash game option but his reliable floor could find a way into some GPP lineups as well.
A week after gaining just 17 yards on 10 carries Josh Jacobs ($6,300 DK, $7,700 FD) followed that up with 128 yards this past Sunday. You have to like the workload but Jacobs wasn’t exactly efficient as he needed 31 carries to get there. Jacobs’ body of work for the season is hard to argue with (522 rushing yards and five touchdowns) but he is not a receiving threat and upon a closer look some issues do pop up. In each of his last six games Jacobs hasn’t eclipsed 25 receiving yards and his rushing touchdowns have come in just two games. That is not a recipe for success against a Chargers team that has had success defending against opposing running backs so far this season while allowing just one rushing touchdown.
Another tough match-up this week is against Baltimore and it’s hard to have confidence in Jonathan Taylor ($6,000 DK, $6,400 FD). Taylor will be limited by an ankle injury and he is coming off a rough week in which he gained just 22 yards on 11 carries while Jordan Wilkins rushed for 89 yards while scoring a touchdown. However my caution with Taylor is not strictly due to last week’s struggles and facing the Ravens this week and instead it speaks to his body of work so far this season. Since Week One we haven’t seen Taylor have much of an impact in the passing game and if we take away his 101 rushing yards in Week Two, Taylor has just 288 yards in his other six games.
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