Daily Fantasy Football Running Back Primer: Week 10
When building daily fantasy football lineups, tackling the running back position first is a great way to kick off your research process. Due to the volume of the position, you'll typically find less variance at running back compared to their counterparts at wide receivers and tight end, and unlike quarterbacks, you can roster up to three backs in any given FanDuel lineup. Figuring out your favorite core plays is important for establishing a foundation in both cash games and tournaments.
With that in mind, let's start building that core! In this piece, we'll go through the top overall plays at various price points on FanDuel's main slate every week. Then, we'll follow that up by taking a look at the riskier or lower-owned guys you might want to target in tournaments.
Studs of the Week
Christian McCaffrey ($10,500): The most expensive player on the slate by a mile, Christian McCaffrey is getting harder and harder to squeeze into lineups. But after his second straight week in the FanDuel perfect lineup, do you really need any convincing that he's a top play yet again? McCaffrey's up to an absurd 28.17-point average on FanDuel that easily outclasses all running backs on the slate and bests even all quarterbacks, including Lamar Jackson. Matchups haven't really mattered for McCaffrey, but it can't hurt that the Packers rank 31st in Adjusted Defensive Rushing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play -- numberFire's metric for schedule-adjusted run defense.
Saquon Barkley ($8,600): Exceeding 20 FanDuel points just once in his five healthy games, Saquon Barkley hasn't hit his ceiling as much as we'd like on a poor Giants team, but his usage remains elite. Since returning from his ankle injury in Week 7, he's averaged just under 25 opportunities (17.0 rushes and 7.7 targets) over three games with a snap rate comfortably above 80%. The Jets may rank fourth in Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per play, but Barkley should still be able to take advantage of a defense that sits 19th in Target Success Rate allowed to running backs. numberFire's projections rank McCaffrey and Barkley as the top two at the position in raw fantasy points, but the significant price gap between them makes Barkley the second-best point-per-dollar value on the board.
Alvin Kamara ($8,300): Alvin Kamara is set to return this week after missing the last two games, and our projections like him as the third-best back in both raw points and point-per-dollar value. That being said, Latavius Murray performed admirably in his absence, so there's the possibility that Kamara cedes more work to Murray moving forward. Of course, we saw this play out with Mark Ingram previously, and that didn't stop Kamara from having a massive ceiling the last two seasons. In fact, Kamara averaged a rock-solid 12.9 rushes and 7.0 targets per game last year, which really isn't all that different from what we've seen to far in 2019 (14.3 and 6.5), so Murray's impact may not be all that worrisome. The matchup sets up nicely for Kamara, too, as New Orleans has a slate-high 32.50 implied total and the Falcons rank 26th in Target Success Rate allowed to opposing backfields.
Marlon Mack ($7,400): Marlon Mack averages just under 20 carries a game, but a lack of consistent passing game work (13 targets all season) often limits his DFS appeal. A home date with the Dolphins is an entirely different story, though. The Colts are 12.5-point favorites with a 28.25 implied total, setting up Mack for a positive game script with multi-score upside. Miami ranks 28th against the run by numberFire's schedule-adjusted metrics, allowing the fourth-most FanDuel points per game to running backs.
David Montgomery ($6,400): We've now seen David Montgomery log 73% of the snaps in back-to-back weeks, and while he didn't match the sky-high 32 opportunities he saw in Week 8, he still garnered 18 (14 rushes and 4 targets) in a losing effort against the Eagles in Week 9. After seeing his usage bounce all over the place the first six games, Montgomery's workload is beginning to look far more reliable, giving us more confidence in his floor moving forward. Furthermore, the game script should favor him more this week as the Chicago Bears are a slight home favorite over the Lions, a plus matchup for opposing runners. Detroit ranks just 24th against the run when adjusted for schedule and have allowed the most FanDuel points per game to opposing backs.
Jaylen Samuels ($6,200): Although Jaylen Samuels tallied 8 rushes and a whopping 13 targets with James Conner out last week, Trey Edmunds ended up pilfering 12 carries for himself, preventing Samuels from being the true bell-cow back many were hoping for. Still, it's hard to complain about that workload, and Conner is expected to be out again this week, putting Samuels back on the value radar, this time against the Rams. But what's especially intriguing is that Edmunds missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday, so if he ultimately sits out, we may get that workhorse usage out of Samuels after all. Even without Edmunds being officially ruled out yet, numberFire's projections rank Samuels as the best value at running back as of Friday afternoon. (Update: Trey Edmunds practiced in full on Friday and will play on Sunday.)
Aaron Jones ($7,600): The Packers' offense wasn't able to get anything going pretty much all afternoon against the Chargers in Week 9, leading to a complete dud for Aaron Jones in the box score. But hopefully that lowers his ownership in a home start against Carolina, numberFire's 32nd-ranked run defense. The Packers are 5.5-point favorites, so the game script should be much more favorable, and prior to last week's disappointing 11 opportunities, Jones had averaged 12.0 carries and 6.3 targets per game with Jamaal Williams active the prior three weeks. Last week reminded us of Jones' scary floor with Williams around, but this is a prime bounce-back spot, with only McCaffrey, Barkley, and Kamara projected for more raw fantasy points, per our models.