DFS Roundtable: Going Stubborn at Running Back

How are you sorting through the top-salaried running backs for Week 7? Are you avoiding them and chasing value? Or is there one (or more) you'll stubbornly shoehorn into your lineups?

Running back pricing is getting out of hand. This week, we see several top-tier options - Leonard Fournette, C.J. Anderson, and Mark Ingram II - erupting up the salary board all over the DFS world. Le'Veon Bell soars to $9,700 on FanDuel, while Todd Gurley boosts to $8,200 on DraftKings despite back-to-back disappointments. How are you sorting through the top-salaried runners for Week 7? Are you avoiding them and chasing value? Or is there one (or more) you'll stubbornly shoehorn into your lineups?

Chris Feery: I’m a big fan of value plays in good spots as a general rule, but there just aren’t many to be found at running back in Week 7. I’ll be paying up at the position for the majority of my lineups, and it’s made all the more easy by the fact that there seems to be a lot of value at quarterback this week. We’ve covered this in previous roundtables, but the point is worth making again: each week is its own puzzle, and it should be treated as such.

That pearl of wisdom leads me to the conclusion that pricey running backs may be the way to go while I balance out my lineups with affordable quarterback choices. The two names that stand out the most for me are Le'Veon Bell and LeSean McCoy. The former is hitting his groove, while the latter is coming in off a bye to face off against a team that made Adrian Peterson look a lot younger than he is. Bell and McCoy will be anchoring many lineups for me, and I’ll take my calculated risks at other positions for this week.

Danny Tuccitto: To me, this question is particularly important in tournaments this week, as not a single running back in the DraftKings main slate has a value probability of 25% or higher (i.e., none are projected as likely to achieve 4x). In situations like this, I tend to go with higher-priced players at the position because, if there isn't value to be found, you might as well just bank the points you're likely to get from the best players. As such, LeSean McCoy and Le'Veon Bell are the 2 running backs above $7,000 that I'll be rostering heavily.

Dan Hindery: Looking at salaries this week, I think I will most likely end up with one expensive running back and one mid-priced running back. In the middle range, Carlos Hyde stands out and will probably end up in my cash lineups. He is $5,900 on DraftKings and $6,700 on FanDuel with a good matchup at home against a Cowboys defense that has allowed an opposing running back to run for at least 118 yards in 3 of 5 games. In the two games in which Dallas didn’t get gashed on the ground, they still gave up 18 receptions (9.0 per game) to the opposing backs.

As far as the expensive running backs, I am most interested in Ezekiel Elliott. Of the top backs, Elliott is in the best spot. San Francisco has given up at least 30 points (DraftKings scoring) to opposing running backs in 4 straight games. Depending upon how some of the injury news plays out at other positions, I may not be able to comfortably fit Elliott into my lineups (especially on DraftKings), and going down to LeSean McCoy looks like a solid fallback plan. McCoy is especially attractive on DraftKings where he is priced down to $7,400 and benefits from the full-PPR scoring. Tyrod Taylor’s passing-game weapons have been dropping like flies, which helped McCoy lead the team with nine targets last week.

Justin Howe: I loved this crop of guys earlier in the week – even with the elevated price tags. But my research has uncovered so many value plays that I doubt I’ll be cramming 2 that use up 15-18% of my salary. (There are times it’s appropriate and even wise to do that, though.) I feel better pairing an Ingram, Gurley, Bell, or Melvin Gordon III with a cheap-ish option like Adrian Peterson or Alvin Kamara.

Still, there’s something to be said for shoving two of them in. As Chris pointed out, that’s made possible this week by some great value available elsewhere. A DraftKings lineup that uses, say, Russell Wilson at quarterback, Robert Woods at wideout, and Jack Doyle at tight end can conceivably fit both Gurley and Ingram. The finished product looks a lot sexier here than it does most weeks.

Alessandro Miglio: The only top-salaried running back I like this week is Bell. The Steelers are pounding him with great success against good defenses, and he is a pass-catching machine. Whereas Ingram was a fantastic value last week, those goal-line opportunities aren't going to be there every game. I don't like the idea of paying up for Gurley when the Rams have gone away from passing him the ball, and Anderson's usage was shockingly low last week.

Devin Knotts: A lot of this is going to depend on the vast amount of injuries at the wide receiver position. If value unlocks due to key injuries, I will spend all the way up to Le'Veon Bell and LeSean McCoy. Otherwise, I will be spending up to Bell and a player such as Carlos Hyde in a terrific matchup. Hyde is up against a Cowboys defense that has allowed 3 running backs to go over 100 yards and have really struggled at the linebacker position this season.

If DeMarco Murray misses this game, Derrick Henry becomes almost an automatic play in cash games. The matchup is not a great one, as Cleveland is only allowing 3.0 yards per carry this season, but the volume that Henry will get will enable him to reach cash value fairly easily.