It’s all about mixing and matching salaries in DFS. You can’t field a team full of stars and thus you must find the best values around the slate and fade those who come overpriced for the production they will return.
So don’t get fooled by the boldness of the names, and rather look at their games. Sometimes highly coveted running backs can put out a dud, while others can go under-the-radar in Sunday’s main slate.
Here are the best and worst values at the position for Week 7 (values from DraftKings).
Week 7 - DFS RB Best Values
Devonta Freeman, ATL (vs LAR) — $5,400
In a Week 6 game where everyone expected Atlanta and Arizona to air it out, Freeman made the most of his receiving abilities and finished the game with 30 yards on three receptions for two touchdowns. He added 88 yards on the ground—tying his season-best mark—and his 22 touches are the most he has had all year long. The most encouraging thing about this game was the way Atlanta used Freeman, limiting Ito Smith to just three carries and no targets. If this translates to Week 7, Freeman can turn into one of the best values of the main slate. Los Angeles is allowing 8.8 yards per reception to running backs (sixth-most), and 26 DKFP per game to the position (13th-worst; and exactly what Freeman scored in Week 6). The opening total is the highest of the slate at 53.5 points, so everything is going Freeman’s way.
Josh Jacobs, OAK (at GB) — $5,000
The Raiders come back from the bye after running over a supposedly stout Bears defense in London. Jacobs finally exploded against Chicago in Week 5, rushing for 123 yards and two touchdowns on a massive 26 carries. He completed a perfect game going three-for-three in receptions, adding 20 extra yards. Although Green Bay has been good against the pass, their run prevention has been ugly. Of teams with at least five games played, only the Bengals and Dolphins are allowing more fantasy points per game to RBs, as the Packers are third-worst at 32.2 DKFP. They’re surrendering 5.3 yards per carry (second-worst), they’ve been scored on four games in a row on the ground (six total touchdowns), and they gave up 488 rushing yards from Weeks 2 to 4. Even if Jacobs has a bad day he’s cheaper than 22 other RBs this week and is easily in line to score more than 20 DKFP.
Carlos Hyde, HOU (at IND) — $4,700
Do you remember the buzz around the place when Houston traded for Duke Johnson and how little Hyde’s addition was noticed? It looks like the tables have turned in Houston. The Texans are keeping their use of running backs as receivers at a minimum and Johnson has lost half of his value. Rushing is the thing tailbacks are tasked with, and Hyde has all of head coach Bill O’Brien’s favor. In his last two games, Hyde has rushed for 176 combined yards and two touchdowns on 47 carries (Duke has just 14 attempts), and he’s clearly out-snapping Johnson. Although Indianapolis is not the easiest of matchups, the Colts are better at stopping receiving-backs than pure rushers. If Houston can keep up his current trend they should take the lead and run the clock, so expect Hyde to put on another good performance for such a low salary on DraftKings.
Week 7 - DFS RB Worst Values
Alvin Kamara, NO (at CHI) — $7,500
Just went we thought Teddy Bridgewater had got it, he went and put out a dud in Week 6. Yes, he got the win, but his passes went barely pass the LOS and he relied heavily on Kamara with dump-offs that didn’t go for much. Kamara played nursing an injury and he supposedly re-injured himself during the game. Even with his health shaking and his bad production against Jacksonville (he could only rack up 66 yards on 18 touches), he’s the fourth-highest priced running back in Sunday’s main slate with New Orleans visiting Chicago. Yes, Josh Jacobs torched them in Week 5 and Kamara is much better, but the Saints’ scheme without Drew Brees at the helm isn’t too encouraging. Overall, the situation around New Orleans and Kamara’s health makes this play too rich for my blood.
Melvin Gordon / Austin Ekeler, LAC (at TEN) — $5,900/$6,200
Hold your horses on Gordon, folks. Just a little over a week ago Melvin Gordon came back and in his second game back saw a palatable usage with 12 carries and six targets. This week, though, he was limited to eight carries and four targets, and in both games he finished with 7.8 DKFP and obviously no scores. While it is true that he out-played Austin Ekeler in this one, and that the Chargers were murdered from the get-go having to limit his rushing plays, Gordon is still miles away from being “the” Gordon. As for Ekeler, given the Chargers forgot the backfield in Week 6, he couldn’t even contribute receiving. In the game with the second-lowest total (40.5) of Week 7’s main slate, the Chargers visit Tennessee as underdogs. If things go south for Los Angeles we might be in front of another heavy-pass situation to catch up with the Titans. Hunter Henry is back and doing wonders, too, so I’d pass on this committee for now and spend wiser on the position.
Malcolm Brown, LAR (at ATL) — $5,700
I don’t know if Todd Gurley’s injury has affected Brown’s salary, but it makes no sense at all. With Gurley out in Week 6 all Brown could do was rush for 40 yards on 11 attempts. Yes, it was San Francisco. Yes, he was barely used in Week 5 so this could be a tough one coming back to the spotlight. But that performance was mediocre and Brown holds the 14th-highest price of DraftKings’ main slate. Even assuming Gurley remains out in Week 7—which we have no clue about, as it is still too early—Brown doesn’t merit putting in your lineup at all. He’s more expensive than legit RB1 players, and on top of that, a visit to the Falcons in a game where both teams would probably favor the pass doesn’t paint a good game script for Brown.
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