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.
There was chaos last week with injuries all over the place. There are few replacement guys who could be possibilities, but with all the unknown commodities out there, I am not too interested in unknown situations. This week, we have quality guys at affordable price points in good spots.
Derrick Henry – Tennessee Titans vs. Minnesota Vikings (1.05x SD, $7,800 DK & $8,200 FD)
The volume has been there in the first two weeks with 56 carries, but he is averaging just 3.6 yards per carry. The offensive line is not quite as dominant with the loss of tackle Jack Conklin. The good news is the terrible Vikings come to town. Minnesota’s run defense ranks 23rd in DVOA and 31st in run defense per PFF. Their pass defense is just as bad and is going to open up more room for the running game. The Titans have failed to get Henry involved in the passing game so far, as their screen passes look like complete trash. The high price tag leaves Henry as just a GPP play.
Dalvin Cook – Minnesota Vikings vs. Tennessee Titans (1.25x SD, $7,600 DK & $8,600 FD)
The Vikings have been terrible to start the season, but that has not been because of Cook. He has 3 TD’s in the first two games, but his defense cannot get off the field, so he only has 29 touches in two games. The Titans are giving up 5.1 yards per carry, so if Cook can get the volume he deserves, he will produce. Tennessee ranks 24th in run defense per PFF and 22nd in run defense DVOA. Cook is best left as a GPP option.
Ezekiel Elliott – Dallas Cowboys vs. Seattle Seahawks (1.25x SD, $8,300 DK & $9,000 FD)
It has been a great start to the season for Elliott with 3 TD’s and 53 total touches for 249 total yards. He has been more involved in the passing game this season, which is something the coaches talked about doing in training camp. Elliott is also seeing over 80% of snaps this season. The Seahawks have not faced a good running game, which makes their run defense rank higher than they should. The Cowboys have been much better running the ball than Seattle’s previous opponents. so they should have success on the ground.
Josh Jacobs – Las Vegas Raiders vs. New England Patriots (1.35x SD, $7,300 DK & $8,300 FD)
It has been a tale of two different weeks for Jacobs, who was great in Week 1 and struggled in Week 2 but managed to get 88 rushing yards with a strong second half. Of course, that is the difference of facing the Carolina Panthers and everyone else in the NFL. The goods news this year for Jacobs is that he is very much involved in the passing game with at least three catches in both games. The Patriots will look to shut down Darren Waller, so that may leave running room for Jacobs. The Patriots have not been great vs. the run, as they rank 23rd in run defense per PFF and 20th in run defense DVOA. The price is inflated from Week 1, so Jacobs would be a GPP only option.
Miles Sanders – Philadelphia Eagles vs. Cincinnati Bengals (1.45x SD, $6,400 DK & $7,400 FD)
There were questions about how much Sanders was going to be used in his first game of the season, but those were unfounded. He finished with 23 total touches for 131 total yards. The Eagles are beat-up on the offensive line, but the Bengals defense is terrible. Cincinnati is 25th in run defense per PFF and 20th in run defense DVOA while allowing 5.0 yards per carry this season. Sanders came out healthy, and there is no reason to believe he will not get a full workload going forward. Sanders is a Cash and GPP option.
James Conner – Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Houston Texans (1.7x SD, $6,700 DK & $7,100 FD)
I was not sure what to think of Conner going into Week 2 after missing most of Week 1, but he came through with a strong performance. There were questions about how much usage he would see, but he was the clear lead back with 121 total yards on 18 touches. Benny Snell and Jaylen Samuels totaled just five touches. You can question the play calling by the Steelers with 41 pass attempts while leading the entire game, but that is another story. The Texans are giving up 5.6 yards per carry, so there is no reason why Conner cannot run all over them. Houston is 30th in run defense per PFF and 24th in run defense DVOA. The SuperDraft multiplier is extremely attractive but not sure I completely trust him on DraftKings and FanDuel with a beat-up offensive line. Conner is best left as a GPP on those two sites.
Austin Ekeler – Los Angeles Chargers vs. Carolina Panthers (1.4x SD, $6,800 DK & $7,500 FD)
The Chargers coaching staff is ruining the upside of Ekeler. They are obsessed with using Josh Kelley, who may be a decent RB one day, but Ekeler is far superior at this point. Ekeler is averaging 5.1 yards per carry, while Kelley is at 3.6. The lack of goal line touches is also a problem. The good news is there is no run defense that will be worse this season than Carolina. The Panthers are 32nd in run defense per PFF and 29th in run defense DVOA. As good as Ekeler looks right now, the split in snaps with Kelley leaves him as just a GPP play.
Jonathan Taylor – Indianapolis Colts vs. New York Jets (1.45x SD, $7,000 DK & $6,700 FD)
He was not all that impressive last week despite getting 101 rushing yards on 26 carries. It appears he is not reading the play and the defenders as the play is developing. The goods news is that he is running behind an elite offensive line and the Colts have a good defense. Taylor’s usage is going to be dependent on game flow. If Indianapolis has the lead, you are going to get a heavy dose of Taylor, which should happen against the pathetic Jets. The 49ers ran over New York last week and would have been worse if they did not get a 65-yard TD called back. The DraftKings price jumped quite a bit so lean as a GPP option, but Taylor is Cash and GPP playable on SuperDraft and FanDuel. The FanDuel price seems far too cheap.
Kenyan Drake – Arizona Cardinals vs. Detroit Lions (1.4x SD, $6,000 DK & $6,500 FD)
The Lions have been awful against the run, allowing 6.5 yards per carry. Detroit is 32nd in run defense DVOA and 26th in run defense per PFF. Drake has averaged 20 touches per game and 80 yards per game. The Cardinals are a pass-first team, and Murray’s willingness to run more this season can limit Drake’s TD chances inside the 20. Drake only has four catches this season, and we were hoping for more than that. The price tag is cheap enough on DraftKings and FanDuel to make him Cash & GPP playable. The SuperDraft multiplier is not as appealing, so best left for GPP’s.
Chris Carson – Seattle Seahawks vs. Dallas Cowboys (1.3x SD, $6,600 DK & $7,700 FD)
We got a clear look at how the Seattle backfield will be going forward. Carson dominated most of the snaps in Week 2 with 20 touches for 108 total yards and another receiving TD. This week, he faces a Dallas defense that has lost some key run defense personnel. The first two weeks the Cowboys have not faced a good run offense, but Seattle should have their way with them. Carson is Cash and GPP playable.
David Montgomery – Chicago Bears vs. Atlanta Falcons (1.65x SD, $5,700 DK & $6,100 FD)
You can really tell how much ownership has to do with DFS pricing since Montgomery had a good Week 2 and his price barely changed. Montgomery is finally being used in the passing game with three catches in each game. Last week, he had 19 touches for 127 total yards and that was with missing almost a quarter of the game with a neck concern. The Atlanta defense is awful, so the Bears should be able to move the ball with ease. The price makes Montgomery Cash and GPP playable.
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