Running backs in a funk present potential value in future weeks. Here are a few coming off poor production or declining stats over the past week or two. How stands to be a value in Week 5? Also, which Week 4 breakout do you have the strongest thoughts on (positively or negatively) to change or repeat in Week 5?
Running Backs in a Funk
Week 4 Breakouts
James Brimacombe: I am going back to James Conner this week against the Falcons defense. Conner is a top-five play at the position this week as the Falcons have shown that they can not defend the position, especially in passing situations. Not only all of that but this game also has the highest over/under on the slate and with everyone going to focus more ownership on the passing attack, Conner probably will have lower ownership than what he should have.
If you are looking for a breakout for Week 5, look no further than Aaron Jones. With the Packers playing the soft Detriot run defense and Jones starting to roll in the offense it is going to equal a very chalky cheap running back play in the DFS world in Week 5.
Phil Alexander: James nailed this one. Conner has been targeted as a pass-catcher at least five times in every game this season. We can safely expect him to pad his receiving stats against the Falcons, who scheme to take away the deep ball and funnel passing production towards the middle of the field and close to the line of scrimmage. Atlanta has given up 42 receptions to running backs this season -- seven more than the next closest team. Conner's GPP ownership will be helped by the popularity of the Steelers receivers and back-to-back sub-par performances.
Nick Chubb had three carries last week and plays for a head coach who has proven to be an imbecile on several occasions over the years. Carlos Hyde is also playing well and has done nothing to lose his grip on the starting job. Chubb has a bright future, but it won't unfold this week, especially not against the Ravens rush defense. If anything, Chubb's Week 4 breakout is more of a referendum on the Raiders plodding linebackers. Melvin Gordon III should be one of your high exposure plays this week and the uber-efficient Austin Ekeler deserves to be sprinkled into your lineups as well.
Dan Hindery: It would be nice if James Conner’s price had fallen a bit more after a couple pedestrian performances but he is still a strong play this weekend because his matchup against Atlanta is fantastic. Over the last four weeks, the Falcons have given up (DraftKings scoring) 25.6 points to Giovani Bernard, 37.0 points to Alvin Kamara, 30.9 points to Christian McCaffrey, and 20.2 to Jay Ajayi. It is a great spot for Conner to bounce back and do serious damage both as a runner and receiver.
Leonard Fournette carried 11 times last week before re-aggravating his hamstring injury and will likely be out for quite a while. T.J. Yeldon had a big game in relief with 100 total yards and 2 touchdowns. He is in a great spot to repeat that performance against the Chiefs. Yeldon will start and should see a lot of touches. Kansas City allowed 187 total yards and 3 touchdowns to Denver backs on Monday night and will have another physical matchup on the short week against the Jaguars. Yeldon is also priced at a massive discount ($5,600 on DraftKings and $6,500 on FanDuel) given the number of touches he should see.
Will Grant: Alex Collins has been a bit of a disappointment this season, with only 228 yards from scrimmage through the first four games. But this is the week that I think he bounces back against a Cleveland team that gave up 157 yards from scrimmage to Marshawn Lynch last week in Oakland. James Conner’s breakout week was against Cleveland as well and even in their big win over the Jets, the Browns gave up over 100 yards on the ground. I like his chances of a bounceback this week.
The Texans haven’t allowed a 100 yard rusher all season, and they shut down the Indianapolis rushing attack pretty effectively. But they are vulnerable to running backs who can catch, giving up 63 receiving yards and two touchdowns to Hines last week, 35 receiving yards on five receptions to Saquon Barkley the week before and 38 receiving yards and a touchdown to James White in Week 1. The Cowboys have zero offense without Elliot and his volume alone makes him a no brainer cash game play. Add in the Houston vulnerability and Elliott looks like one of the top choices for DFS at running back this week.
Justin Howe: Frankly speaking, I don’t care for any of those four “in a funk” options. Some, like Conner and Hyde, are in a funk because they’re looking like mediocre runners. Even with a strong line, Conner looks wholly ordinary as a runner, and he somehow failed to cash in against two pristine matchups (Kansas City and Tampa Bay). Only game script can make him a high-usage, high-impact guy, and I’m not interested in paying more than roughly 12-15% of my cap room for him. Hyde ran well against the Jets, but he’s
Collins was a guy I liked a lot in season-long drafts, but I’m obviously souring now. The Ravens line isn’t getting any push, and his fumbles are a problem. He’ll likely keep splitting time with Allen, who’s rarely a strong play above 7-8% of cap room.
I’m all in on Aaron Jones while he’s relatively cheap. He’s the Packers’ only dynamic runner, and the only run they can build a ground game around. When game flow allows, Jones will start uncorking the 20-carry, 100-yard masterpieces he flashed as a rookie. A date with the Lions is a great place to start. Chubb will always be a dicey play, but one of these weeks, he’s going to emerge as a 10-12 touch threat behind the struggling Hyde. I hope his price is nice and depressed when I take that GPP leap.
Michel looked great last week, but I’m wary for Week 5. Not only is he facing an underrated Colts run defense, but I also don’t foresee game script tilting his way Thursday. White is pricey, but he’s worth it in this environment, and he’s the clear play in Thursday contests.
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