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Which Backup Running Backs are Primed for Success?

With injuries to Ty Montgomery, Chris Carson, Darren Sproles and Dalvin Cook, there is quite a bit of value to be had at the running back position. The problem is, it is hard to trust understudies Aaron Jones, J.D. McKissic, LeGarrette Blount/Wendell Smallwood and Latavius Murray.  Of these players thrust into a starting role, which one will you have the most exposure to in week 5? Include both cash game and GPP options.

BJ VanderWoude: With injuries to Ty Montgomery, Chris Carson, Darren Sproles and Dalvin Cook, there is quite a bit of value to be had at the running back position. The problem is, it is hard to trust understudies Aaron Jones, J.D. McKissic, LeGarrette Blount/Wendell Smallwood and Latavius Murray. Of these players thrust into a starting role, which one will you have the most exposure to in week 5? Include both cash game and GPP options.

 

Justin Bonnema: I’m going to have low-to-zero exposure to most of the guys listed here. Paying up for guaranteed volume has been more reliable than picking timeshares and praying for big plays. That said, Jones plays for the best offense and is the most likely to pick up where Montgomery left off. The Packers have been bragging about him since the preseason started, and even if he’s not guaranteed goal-line work, I’ll snag a few shares if Montgomery is ruled out.

James Brimacombe: So far, this season I have been treating the running back position like my gold star roster spots. I want volume with my guys at this position, and I am not afraid to pay up for it. Out of that list, I would rank Aaron Jones as the top pick just because he should see plenty of volume with the two guys in front of him banged up. That being said I would rather pay up for the likes of Todd Gurley and LeVeon Bell this week and lock in their 25+ touches with touchdown potential and look for value plays at the other positions.

Dan Hindery: So far, this season I have been treating the running back position like my gold star roster spots. I want volume with my guys at this position, and I am not afraid to pay up for it. Out of that list, I would rank Aaron Jones as the top pick just because he should see plenty of volume with the two guys in front of him banged up. That being said I would rather pay up for the likes of Todd Gurley and LeVeon Bell this week and lock in their 25+ touches with touchdown potential and look for value plays at the other positions.

Phil Alexander: I see the prospects of these running backs playing out as follows...

Latavius Murray - If you're playing slates that include the Monday night game, don't be tempted to use Murray just because he's cheap and starting. He has yet to break a run of greater than five yards, is probably still playing hurt, doesn't have 10% of Dalvin Cook's talent, and has a sneaky terrible matchup against the Bears, who have held Devonta Freeman and LeVeon Bell in check this season. Zero exposure.

J.D. McKissic - McKissic looked spectacular on limited snaps Sunday night, but he can only be used as a salary relief option if C.J. Prosise is unable to return. As of this writing, it seems like Prosise will play.

Aaron Jones - Assuming Ty Montgomery and Jamaal Williams are out, Jones is the guy I'd be looking to as an explosive player in what looks like the highest scoring game of the week. If you play on both major sites, get more exposure to him on FanDuel (RB22) than DraftKings (RB18).

LeGarrette Blount/Wendell Smallwood - If choosing between these two this week, I'm going Blount. Not only was he running with urgency last week, but the implied game script favors a "Blount game". Philadelphia is favored by 6.5 points at home against the Cardinals, who have allowed back-to-back solid performances to Ezekiel Elliott and Carlos Hyde.

John Mamula: If Ty Montgomery and Jamaal Williams are inactive, I expect to be overweight with Aaron Jones in cash games and GPP tournaments. Some will prefer to take a wait and see approach with Jones but if he is projected to be the main ball-carrier, he is close to a must play in my eyes. He will be thrust into the spotlight in Sunday's highest projected total (52 points) and locked into touches. In this situation, his floor is safe against a mediocre Cowboys defense. The other running backs listed project to be in timeshares or much less desirable situations.

Chris Feery: It really depends on the structure of the rest of my lineup. When I select an affordable quarterback option, I’m more inclined to pay up at running back and take the guaranteed volume and running game situations. If I’m spending up at quarterback, I’m more likely to be going bargain shopping at running back. Of the names mentioned, I’m most intrigued by Aaron Jones in a potentially high-scoring tilt against the Cowboys. I’ll also consider LeGarrette Blount, especially considering the fact that he’s generally dismissed for fantasy purposes. I’m a Blount truther, and I rolled with him in a few lineups last week in which I had high-priced quarterbacks at the helm. That worked out quite well for my Tom Brady lineup, but my Matt Ryan lineup was thoroughly disappointing for reasons beyond Blount’s control. Either way, he opened up a ton of salary elsewhere, and I won’t be shy about tapping that well again in the right situation.

 

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