High Value Running Backs
Carlos Hyde-San Francisco 49ers (7,000): Hyde will be on lots of teams after his eye-popping start to the season against the Vikings. He posted a league-high 31.2 FanDuel points by running for 168 yards and a pair of touchdowns while adding two catches for 14 more yards. He’ll be on a short week this week as the 49ers travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers. Pittsburgh’s defense didn’t allow a touchdown to Dion Lewis and the Patriots RB in week 1, but the little-known back did post over 100 all-purpose yards. I expect another good game for Hyde especially if Reggie Bush continues to struggle with injury. He’s clearly the workhorse back in an offense that wants to run a lot.
Christopher Ivory-New York Jets (6,900): Ivory had a big week one scoring a pair of touchdowns and running for 91 yards on 20 carries. His teammate, Bilal Powell actually had a better average with 62 yards on his 12 carries, but it was clear that Coach Todd Bowles is ready to rely on Ivory as the team’s feature-back at the start o the season. Ivory and the Jets don’t play this week until the Monday Night Football matchup with the Colts, but the matchup for Ivory may be worth the wait. Last week, Indy allowed 147 yards rushing to the Bills and a pair of rushing touchdowns. While I don’t expect the Colts offense to struggle like it did in week 1, the Indianapolis defense has struggled against the run in recent years meaning Ivory could finish the week with the flourish that Hyde provided his owners on Monday night this past week.
T.J. Yeldon-Jacksonville Jaguars (6,500): Yeldon was clearly to top back in Jacksonville week one taking 12 carries for 51 yards and adding 16 yards on three catches. He and the Jags look to bounce back from a week 1 letdown against the Panthers as they host their in-state rivals from Miami this week. Miami allowed 161 yards on the ground to the Redskins in week one, so Yeldon should find some running room. The one limiting factor on Yeldon’s value is whether the Jaguars offense is good enough to get him touches near the goal line. He only managed 8.2 FanDuel points week 1, but I think he’ll fare better week 2.
Ameer Abdullah-Detroit Lions (6,400): The Lions definitely have a weapon in rookie rusher Ameer Abdullah who is expected to continue working his way into a larger share of the running back timeshare in Detroit. In week 1, Abdullah outcarried Joique Bell 7-6 and added four catches for 44 yards. It was a weird flow for the Detroit offense since they jumped out to a big lead and then gave it all back, but it’s clear that they’ll do enough to give Abdullah chances to get involved this week as they visit the Vikings. Minnesota’s rush defense was obliterated by Carlos Hyde less than a week ago, so look for Abdullah to find more room in Minnesota this week. He may not get a ton of touches, but he should produce some points.
Todd Gurley-St. Louis Rams (6,300): It looks like Rams rookie Todd Gurley will make his NFL debut week 2 against the Redskins. Gurley has the potential to be a star for a long time, but it’s hard to know exactly what to expect this week in his first game. Gurley is a high-risk, high-reward play for Fanduel week 2.
Danny Woodhead-San Diego Chargers (6,200): The Chargers stormed all the way back in their opener against the Lions, and beat Detroit by relying heavily on their passing game. Because they were throwing so much, third-down back Danny Woodhead played a huge role catching four passes for 20 yards and running 12 times for 42 yards and a pair of scores. He got goal line carries and saw almost as much work as Melvin Gordon. Depending on how the Chargers game in Cincinnati goes, he may not get quite as much work, but he’s still a great value play since he’ll be very involved.
Dion Lewis-New England Patriots (5,200): Lewis was impressive in his Patriots’ debut finishing with 14 FanDuel points due to his 69 yards rushing on 15 carries and 51 yards on five catches. He will have to share time this week with LeGarrette Blount who is back from his suspension, but I still think Lewis will get enough work particularly in the passing game to be a value at the low end of the Fanduel week 2 pricing.
Lance Dunbar (4,800): If you decide to go with a flier and pick a player even lower than Lewis, check out Dunbar who ended up leading the Cowboys in receiving yards in week 1. He finished with 70 yards on his eight catches even and was productive even though he didn’t get a single carry. With Dez Bryant out for a few weeks, Dunbar should continue to be an active part of the passing game. I expect the Eagles-Cowboys game to be a shootout, so Dunbar is the best play if you decide to go cheap.
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