Welcome to the NFL DFS RB Coach, where we identify the best running backs for our lineups on DraftKings, FanDuel and SuperDraft!
This is an early look at the best RB’s available on the main Sunday slate, provided every Wednesday during the season. It’s important to note this NFL DFS article is posted mid-week, so injuries and other news can change the outlook as we get closer to Sunday.
Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers vs. Las Vegas Raiders (1x SuperDraft, $10,000 DK & $10,000 FD)
It is great to see the DFS sites price McCaffery appropriately in Week 1. He finds himself in a new offense with a new coaching staff and QB. The good news is Teddy “Checkdown” Bridgewater loves to dump off the ball. McCaffrey has relied heavily on pass catching, so there is no guarantee the new offense will deliver that. It would not surprise me to see him heavily owned, but I think there are plenty of other options to use on this slate.
Dalvin Cook – Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers (1.25x SuperDraft, $7,900 DK & FD $8,700)
It seems people underestimate Cook in the season-long format where he was falling in some drafts. Cook had 191 total yards in his only outing vs. the Packers last season. The rankings do not love the Vikings offensive line because it is a zone-blocking system, which is under-appreciated. Minnesota was seventh in adjusted line yards last season, so they can run the ball. Cook will be underowned in Week 1 and could pay-off in a big way in GPP’s.
Miles Sanders – Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Football Team (1.45x SuperDraft, $6,300 DK & $6,800 FD)
The Eagles have dealt with some injuries on the offensive line, which is a concern, but they were the #1 ranked run blocking team per PFF. They only ranked 13th in run offense DVOA and 14th in adjusted line yards, so you have to wonder about a Philly bias, but that topic is for another time. Washington was 24th in run defense DVOA and 27th in run defense per PFF. However, a new coaching staff is in town, so we will see if Washington shows improvement. The talent is there on the defensive line. Sanders will be extremely popular on this slate with the end of season results from last year and the price tag.
Todd Gurley – Atlanta Falcons vs. Seattle Seahawks (1.4x SuperDraft, $6,100 DK & $7,100 FD)
There is no competition for touches for Gurley in a prove-it year on a one-year contract. The Falcons have not been as good up front as they should be, but hopefully, that improves. Gurley is going to get at least 15+ touches every game and the goalline work, which he has been effective at his entire career. The talented wide receivers outside should open up some running room. The Seahawks are a middle-of-the-road run defense, so Atlanta should be able to do some damage. Gurley will likely be lower owned but has potential to do some good things in this game.
Chris Carson – Seattle Seahawks vs. Atlanta Falcons (1.3x SuperDraft, $6,200 DK & $7,200 FD)
The Seahawks want to run the ball and work the play-action off of that. Carson did miss some time in the pre-season but should be in-line to get the majority of the carries. We will see Carlos Hyde sprinkled in, but Carson should see 75%+ of the touches. Seattle was middle-of-the-road in run blocking last year, but you know the volume is going to be there. The hope is Carson will be used more in the passing game this season.
Nick Chubb – Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens (1.45x SuperDraft, $6,500 DK & $7,500 FD)
It was two different games for Chubb last season vs. the Ravens. This year, there is a new offense and an improved offensive line. Cleveland’s offense will be a Top 5 offensive line, if healthy. The Ravens are a good defense but can be run on. The Titans man-handled them in the playoffs, so that is the way the Browns should attack them. Chubb is not a cash play but is an exceptionally good GPP play.
Josh Jacobs – Las Vegas Raiders vs. Carolina Panthers (1.5x SuperDraft, $6,800 DK & $8,200 FD)
The Raiders were fifth in adjusted line yards last year, so they can create running room. This is going to be a real problem for the Carolina Panthers, who were 32nd in run defense DOVA and 31st in run defense per PFF. The bad news for the Panthers is their defense could be even worse this season. We would like to see more pass catching for Jacobs, but he will run all over Carolina in Week 1 if given the opportunity. He is a Cash and GPP play.
Austin Ekeler – Los Angeles Chargers vs. Cincinnati Bengals (1.4x SuperDraft, $7,000 DK & $7,700 FD)
It is now Ekeler’s backfield with Melvin Gordon gone to Denver. The running game struggled last year at times, but Ekeler was able to produce with his receiving ability. The offensive line is improved, so there should be more running room. It remains to be seen how much the other RB’s will be involved and how much the offense will change with a new QB. The Bengals struggled on run defense, ranking 23rd per PFF and 25th in run defense DVOA. The price tag is a bit higher than I would like to see, but he is an attractive option on this slate as a GPP play.
Antonio Gibson – Washington Football Team vs. Philadelphia Eagles (2x SuperDraft, $4,000 DK & $4,600 FD)
Washington was a respectable running offense last year, but everything has changed with a new coaching staff. It is a middle-of-the-road offensive line that will have an offensive coordinator who is in “over his head.” The question will be the usage of Gibson. Rumor has it, the coaches want to use him like Christian McCaffery. It is hard to say whether that will happen or not, but this coaching staff was stupid last season by chasing records with McCaffery instead of actual wins, so anything is possible. The Eagles were 15th in run defense per PFF and 26th in run defensive DVOA (notice that difference once again on the bias of those ratings). Philadelphia can be run on. Gibson will likely be more popular than he deserves based on the hype. We have no idea how the coaching staff is going to handle the touches, so you should tread carefully on a Week 1 slate that always has plenty of value.
Reminder: Ted will be hosting RB Coach session on 9/9 at 4pm ET!