We have an intriguing slate regarding the running back position since two running backs arguably have a considerably higher ceiling than any others. Then we have several good options in the mid-range and a bit of decent cheap value. Here are some top plays to help you widdle it down.
Ceiling Running Backs
Dalvin Cook – DraftKings – $8,400 | FanDuel – $9,500
Dalvin Cook is a top-three ceiling running back this week in one of the marquee games for fantasy production on the slate in the Minnesota/Arizona game. The game features a 50.5 total, and although Minnesota is a +3.5 dog, the offense should attempt to run through Dalvin should the game stay somewhat close.
Many people will attack the passing game here as the Vikings have three viable receivers. Still, we shouldn’t forget that they do tend to lean on the run when possible. Seattle’s pass rush is also a severe problem and has served to stifle quarterback production, which may lead to more of a run-heavy lean. We saw Derrick Henry gash them last week, and Cook is one of the few backs who can match him in talent and workload.
Cook is currently questionable, and if the Q tag sticks until Sunday, it should lower his ownership. Even if he is good to go, there will be some concerns about his health, for better or worse. Were he to miss, Alexander Mattison would become a workhorse back for way too cheap and would be one of the best plays of the week.
Derrick Henry – DraftKings – $8,600 | FanDuel – $9,700
“The Big Dog” Derrick Henry proved last week that he can indeed produce before #DeHember when he went ballistic on the Seahawks to the tune of 50.70 DraftKings points. When he has a ceiling game, you are likely to need him as there are few backs in the NFL with his kind of ceiling when he gets it going.
It will be interesting to see where ownership falls based on recency bias and FOMO after he crushed last week at low ownership. It could go either way. Irrational gambling biases can sway in the direction of “he did it last week, so he can’t do it again” or “he did it last week, so he has to do it again” just as well.
His involvement in the passing game has grown under offensive coordinator Todd Downing, with nine catches through two games. This week, he gets a plus draw against the Colts, who’ve been gashed by running backs thus far this year. The Titans should be playing from ahead as -5.5 faves, further adding to Henry’s appeal since it should be a run-heavy game script.
Ceiling + Value Running Backs
Chris Carson – DraftKings – $8,400 | FanDuel – $7,700
If you want to save a little money at running back, we have some excellent mid-range options that offer a high ceiling. One of those is Chris Carson, who plays in one of the better game environments of the week between Seattle and Minnesota. This game has a 55.5 point total and a close spread, with Seattle favored by 1.5. Many people will gravitate to the SEA passing game with Metcalf or Lockett when looking to attack this spot. Yet, Carson could eat in this matchup, and although only slight favorites, Seattle may be playing from ahead and lean on the run.
Carson’s workload is a slight concern considering that the Seahawks seem to be limiting him to less than 20 touches a game. He has a history of injury issues, and they are likely trying to keep him healthy. Still, getting a piece of this game environment at a bargain price simply makes sense. Carson is likely to make the most of his touches despite not being a true workhorse back.
Najee Harris – DraftKings – $6,600 | FanDuel – $7,500
Najee Harris continues to be in the same situation he was in weeks one and two. He plays all but, if not every single snap for his team, and this is just not common in the NFL in today’s game. Anytime you can get a true workhorse back at this price, it’s a bargain regardless of talent or lack thereof. No back in the league has earned 97% of his team’s snaps other than Harris.
He’s yet to have a breakout game at the NFL level, but this is just his third game in the league. I see no reason to jump off the train until his price increases or his snaps decrease. Although he didn’t do much outside of a late bailout touchdown last week, his involvement in the passing game was encouraging. I’d stick with Harris this week since some big production is bound to happen eventually with this level of participation in the offense.
Bonus: Cheap Value Running Back (DraftKings)
Clyde Edwards-Helaire – DraftKings – $4,800 | FanDuel – $6,500
Clyde Edwards-Helaire should get a lot of attention as a cheap RB option in the plus game environment between the Chiefs and Chargers. His price is simply too low for a lead back on a Mahomes-led Chiefs offense with a 30.5 implied team total. It really stands out and almost looks like a mistake at $4,800. He’s not a terrible value on FD at $6,500 but doesn’t particularly stand out with someone like Joe Mixon at just $6,700
Yet, how many times have we been through this before, and how many times has he let us down. Even at higher prices, he’s looked like a value countless times and rarely produced. Last week’s tragic game-losing fumble wouldn’t appear to help his outlook going forward. It is hard to trust him in real life or DFS, but the price makes him one of, if not the best point per dollar running back on the slate, so he has to be considered. He also fits into game stacks nicely in what should be one of the best games of the week for DFS production.
Other Running Backs To Consider
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