The NFL regular season is only days away, and with the NFL season comes the season for daily fantasy football lineups. If you’re a daily fantasy player, you know that a successful lineup has to have a solid combination of big-name star power players that are known commodities with a few high-upside players that provide a little more bang for your buck.
Obviously, you would love to fill your daily lineup with Pro Bowlers from top to bottom, but spending money on a top-tier player in one spot, leaves you potentially scraping the barrel to fill out the rest of your roster.
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So here are three running backs that could provide the best value for Week 1. (Values from Draft Kings.)
[Editors note: this article was revised after initial publishing to reflect the news of Ezekiel Elliott’s new contract with the Dallas Cowboys.]
Kerryon Johnson (DET) - $5,800
The Detroit Lions face off against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1, a team that was 27th in the NFL against opposing fantasy backs in 2018. The Cardinals offense might eventually be formidable when rookie Kyler Murray gets his bearings, but I expect them to struggle out of the gate. A game script that could include a fair amount of time running out the clock and an opposing defense that struggles against the run, and it’s clear why Johnson is a solid value play at $3,400 cheaper than the most expensive Week 1 running back.
Damien Williams (KC) - $6,300
Damien Williams might not end the season as the Kansas City Chiefs starting running back, as they role might fall to rookie Darwin Thompson or the recently-acquired LeSean McCoy. At least for Week 1, Williams is the starter in a high-powered Andy Reid offense. The world saw what Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City offense could do in 2018, so even with a tough matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Williams will be the primary ball-carrier in one of the NFL’s best offenses. Yes, please.
Mark Ingram (BAL) - $5,100
The Miami Dolphins are currently in “tank” mode as evidenced by their flurry of moves to unload players like Kiko Alonso and Kenny Stills and the naming of Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback. A game script that likely involves the Baltimore Ravens with a substantial lead against the Dolphins and Mark Ingram as the go-to back to run out the clock until Justice Hill develops further, and Ingram could have himself a big day.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is cdunnz) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.