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Top 30 Daily Fantasy NFL Running Backs For the Week

Updated on September 7, 2017

As the 2017 NFL season is set to kick off, thousands of Daily Fantasy Sports players will be looking to leverage their knowledge of personnel, game situations, and just downright luck in an effort to win their various contests. There’s a lot of value at the running back position for any fantasy football format but in DFS a running back's performance could be the difference to being significantly over or under the money line. Here’s the rundown of running backs for the Sunday and Monday games.

Game-By-Game Breakdown

NY Jets @ Buffalo

Odds: Bills -6.5

Jets: New York has a talented running back in Matt Forte but rumors are swirling about a possible trade that would involve him. While both Forte and the team management deny such rumors, it’s at least an interesting story to follow.

The Bills were 29th in the NFL against the rush last season and the Jets were the 12th most efficient rushing offense. Typically that would lead you to look at picking up Forte in this match up but NY was far from efficient in moving the ball in the preseason and is starting the season under first-year head coach Todd Bowles. Proceed with caution here!

Bills: I’m a huge fan of LeSean McCoy here. The Jets were 13th in the NFL against the run in 2016 but McCoy may be the most talented skill position player the Bills have. He’ll play a key role in Buffalo’s offensive game plan, both as a rusher and a pass catcher. I would expect him to be near the top when it comes to touches for running backs this weekend. Try to fit McCoy in on your roster.

Atlanta @ Chicago

Odds: Falcons -6.5

Falcons: The combination of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman may cause some to look away because they take touches from each other. I would challenge that they are both extremely efficient in their touches and that playing against a defense that was 26th in the league makes them even more intriguing. When you factor in that they both catch the ball very well in an offense that spreads the ball around then they are certainly both worth a look. Freeman will be the most costly against your salary cap but Colemen may be a great value pick up.

Bears: Jordan Howard is a legitimate three-down back and could see the bulk of the Chicago’s offensive workload as the Bears attempt to control the clock and keep Atlanta’s high-powered offense off the field. Chicago also isn’t deep at the running back position so I wouldn’t expect Howard to sit out very many snaps either. The only caution here is that if the Bears end up multiple scores behind then Howard won’t be a factor in the passing game. Jordan Howard could easily be a 100-yard back in week one.

Baltimore at Cincinnati

Odds: Bengals -2

Ravens: The combination of Terrance West and Danny Woodhead could be a threat as the season progresses but I would shy away from them early on. Woodhead could be a value pick because of his participation in the passing attack but would shy away from Baltimore backs this weekend.

Bengals: Stopping the run is what Baltimore specializes in and there’s nothing to suggest the story will be any different this season. I wouldn’t recommend using any of the Cincinnati running backs this weekend.

Pittsburgh @ Cleveland

Odds: Steelers -8

Steelers: Here’s your play of the week. Le’Veon Bell will literally be called upon to carry the Steelers past the Browns. He’s an every down back and as close to a lock for 100+ rushing yards as you can get. If you’re looking for that “must have” player on your roster then this is your stop.

Browns: The thing here is that Isaiah Crowell is an extremely underrated back. He’s going to make some fantasy owners happy because being a good player on a bad team makes for a bit of a sneaky pick. That said, I don’t think it’ll happen this weekend. Cleveland is most likely going to be playing from behind which means Crowell may get a lot of touches early but most likely won’t get very many later on in the game. For that reason, he’s a big fade for me.

Arizona @ Detroit

Odds: Even

Cardinals: For everything that Le’Veon Bell is to the Pittsburgh Steelers, David Johnson is equally so for the Cardinals. He’s an every down back who can be dangerous in the passing game as well. The Lions were 20th against the rush last season and their linebackers have a history of struggling to cover backs coming out on passing routes. I expect Johnson to get a lot of touches on Sunday!

Lions: Ameer Abdullah is a solid back between the 20’s but the Lions are likely to move to Theo Riddick inside the Red Zone and on third downs as well. Detroit backs aren’t high on my radar this weekend.

Jacksonville @ Houston

Odds: Texans -4.5

Jaguars: I think there’s a lot of interest in Leonard Fournette but people are backing away because Houston is most likely to “stack the box” and dare Jacksonville to beat them on the arm of Blake Bortles. I think Fournette is a wait and see type situation.

Texans: This will most likely be one of the lowest, if not the lowest, scoring games of the weekend so that makes offensive players a bit tough to go after. The exception here may be Lamar Miller who will get 20+ touches on the day and will have a slightly better passing game on his side than counterpart Leonard Fournette. Lamar Miller could be your cheapest route to 100 rushing yards.

Oakland @ Tennessee

Odds: Even

Raiders: Marshawn Lynch is back in the NFL but I’m not buying in…just yet. Tennessee was fairly strong against the rush in 2016 but they were terrible against the pass and that’s where the Raiders are going to start their offensive attack. Lynch may have limited touches, or he may be all over their field. That’s the issue here, because no one really knows. That’s good enough reason for me to make Lynch, and the Raiders rushing attack, an easy fade for me.

Titans: There’s potential here for Tennessee to have a big game on the ground. The question is, how much do DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry split the carries? Murray is the safe pick here but Henry could be a great value target.

Philadelphia @ Washington

Odds: Redskins -1

Eagles: Can you name Philadelphia’s feature running back? Neither can I. That’s why there’s no reason to look to Philly’s rushing attack this weekend.

Redskins: Ummm…yeah, the Philly situation applies to Washington as well. It’s going to take some time to figure this backfield out which means it’ll take time to figure out who to take in various DFS formats.

Indianapolis @ LA Rams

Odds: Colts -3

Colts: Indy will most likely rely heavily on Frank Gore in Week 1, which makes him an interesting pick. The Rams were solid against the rush in 2016 though and they’ll most likely play to stop the run first and for the Colts to beat them with Scott Tolzien. It isn’t going to kill your roster to fade Gore.

Rams: Will we finally see the reins come off Todd Gurley under new coach Sean McVay? I’m thinking that they will and not only on the ground, but also in the passing game. The Colts were 25th against the run last season, and LA will most likely be looking to bleed the clock while protecting a lead. Gurley is a bit of a risk play this weekend but could produce an extremely high reward.

Seattle @ Green Bay

Odds: Packers -3

Seahawks: Eddie Lacy is trying to resurrect his career in Seattle but he’s going to have a hard time holding off youngsters Thomas Rawls and Chris Carson. Couple that with Green Bay’s Top 10 rush defense and I’m staying away from Seattle running backs right this week.

Packers: The Seahawks also have a Top 10 defense against the run which tells me Aaron Rogers may be the offensive target for the Packers in this game. I’m not sure that the running game on either side of the ball is worth targeting in this game.

Carolina @ San Francisco

Odds: Panthers -6

Panthers: I think there’s a good chance that Christian McCaffrey has the best day of the crop of rookie running backs. My only hesitation here is that I expect Carolina to be playing from ahead for most of the game which means the Panthers may lean more on workhorse Jonathan Stewart.

49ers: The two things that Carlos Hyde has going against him are a poor offensive line and the fact that San Francisco will most likely be playing from behind. I’ll take a hard pass on the 49ers underrated back.

NY Giants @ Dallas

Odds: Cowboys -3.5

Giants: It’s still uncertain as to whether it’ll be Paul Perkins or Shane Vereen will get the bulk of the touches for New York on Sunday night. Perkins is more suited for rushing downs and Vereen is the guy for passing downs. I think this will be a pretty even game which means that they’ll split the touches pretty evenly. That tells me to look elsewhere for options.

Cowboys: Good news for Dallas is that Ezekiel Elliott will be available for Sunday. The bad news is that the Giants were pretty solid against the run in 2016, and kept Elliott bottled up. Elliott is definitely a back with a super high upside but I certainly feel there are other top-flight backs that will have more return for the buck.

New Orleans @ Minnesota

Odds: Vikings -3.5

Saints: Adrian Peterson returns to Minnesota and that may be the primary storyline of Week 1. The question is, how much of an impact will Peterson have on the game. Keep in mind that New Orleans is a pass-first offense and he’ll be sharing touches with Mark Ingram. There are a lot of intriguing reasons to take Peterson, but is he worth the value compared to the match-ups of other elite backs?

Vikings: Peterson isn’t the only running back looking to prove something in this game. If a rookie back has a better day than Christian McCaffery then it’ll be Dalvin Cook. He’s an impact player both as a runner and as a pass catcher. If you can fit Cook in with your salary cap then he’s certainly worth considering.

San Diego @ Denver

Odds: Broncos -3

Chargers: San Diego absolutely needs Melvin Gordon to have a strong performance if they want to steal this game on the road. That means they’ll probably be looking to give him 20+ touches against the Denver defense. Gordon would be a bulk touch play which could get him to 100 rushing yards.

Broncos: I’m curious to see how Jamaal Charles fits in with the Denver offense and how many touches he shares with CJ Anderson. Denver is up against a Top 15 defense against the run and has a bit of a quagmire with the quarterback situation. The Chargers will focus on stopping the run, which tells me to stay away from Denver backs this weekend.

Top 30 DFS Running Backs For Week 1

  1. Le’Veon Bell*****
  2. David Johnson*****
  3. LeSean McCoy****
  4. Jordan Howard****
  5. Lamar Miller***
  6. Jonathan Stewart***
  7. DeMarco Murray***
  8. Devonta Freeman***
  9. Todd Gurley***
  10. Adrian Peterson***
  11. Christian McCaffery***
  12. Dalvin Cook***
  13. Melvin Gordon***
  14. Tevin Coleman***
  15. Mark Ingram**
  16. Ezekiel Elliott**
  17. Matt Forte**
  18. Danny Woodhead**
  19. Terrance West**
  20. Isaiah Crowell**
  21. Derrick Henry**
  22. Marshawn Lynch*
  23. Jeremy Hill*
  24. Theo Riddick*
  25. Joe Mixon*
  26. Ameer Abdullah*
  27. Leonard Fournette*
  28. Frank Gore*
  29. Eddie Lacy*
  30. Ty Montgomery*

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