Daily Fantasy Football Running Back Primer: Week 17
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 ($11,000): Questions of playing time and motivation always make Week 17 tricky, but it looks like we won't have that issue with Christian McCaffrey, who needs just 67 receiving yards to be the third player to compile 1,000 yards both rushing and receiving in a season. Offensive coordinator Scott Turner has already indicated he'll get the ball to McCaffrey "any way he can" against the Saints, and there's little reason to doubt him after he gave CMC 13 carries and 15 targets in a blowout loss to Indianapolis. The salary remains high, and the matchup isn't great, but based on volume alone, it wouldn't be surprising to see McCaffrey finish his 2019 campaign in style.
Ezekiel Elliott ($8,700): Dallas needs a victory over Washington (and a Philadelphia loss) to make the postseason, so we should see a heavy dosage of Ezekiel Elliott on Sunday. Dak Prescott is expected to gut out a shoulder injury, but he struggled last week against the Eagles, and it would make perfect sense for the Cowboys to rely more on Elliott as 11.0-point home favorites over a lesser opponent. The matchup sets up perfectly for Elliott, too, as Washington ranks 26th in Adjusted Defensive Rushing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play and 29th in FanDuel points allowed to running backs.
Alvin Kamara ($7,900): Alvin Kamara rates as the best point-per-dollar running back play in this week's projections, drawing a dream matchup against Carolina and their wretched run defense. The Panthers have allowed far and away the most FanDuel points to opposing backs, including a whopping 25 rushing scores -- no other team has allowed more than 16. Coming off a two-touchdown performance in Week 16, Kamara figures to see a boost in ownership this week.
Leonard Fournette ($7,400): Leonard Fournette also projects as a solid value as usual, though a lack of touchdowns in a middling offense continues to limit his ceiling. That could be an issue again this week, with the Jaguars looking at a 19.75 implied total as 3.5-point home underdogs against the Colts. That said, the volume continues to be there, with Fournette logging 21 or more opportunities in five straight games, so he could hit value with a little more touchdown luck in the season finale. Fournette is dealing with a neck issue this week but sounded confident that he will be able to play this weekend.
DeAndre Washington ($6,300): As of Friday afternoon, it's unclear whether Josh Jacobs will play on Sunday, but if he remains sidelined, DeAndre Washington will be a shoo-in value. Washington racked up 23 carries and 3 targets in Week 16 and has now exceeded 20 opportunities in both his starts this season. The Broncos are a neutral matchup at best, but the Raiders still have something to play for as long shots for the playoffs.
Aaron Jones ($8,000): Aaron Jones has demonstrated a tournament-winning ceiling multiple times this season, and he could become even more appealing if Jamaal Williams (shoulder) is unable to play. Game script should be overwhelmingly in Green Bay's favor as 12.5-point road favorites over the lowly Lions, and Detroit ranks just 19th in Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per play and 30th in FanDuel points allowed to opposing backs.
Joe Mixon ($7,300): Joe Mixon flopped in a matchup against Miami last week, but that almost certainly had more to do with Mixon dealing with a stomach bug than anything else. Although he still logged 23 opportunities, that was fewer than what he had in each of the last two weeks, and his 43.3% snap rate was his lowest since an injury-shortened Week 1. At what is hopefully lower ownership, expect Mixon to bounce back against Cleveland, which ranks 29th in schedule-adjusted run defense.