The NFL season got off to a great start last Sunday, and hopefully, your fantasy football season began red-hot like the Arizona Cardinals or the New Orleans Saints. Even if your team had a forgettable performance like the Tennessee Titans or the Green Bay Packers, you can bounce back with a strong Week 2. On DraftKings, the main slate Sunday afternoon contains 26 teams for the second straight week. This week, the New York Giants, Washington Football Team, Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens, Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers are all playing in primetime and will not be available as a result.
We have a little bit of data to consider from Week 1, but it’s important to avoid both extremes of overreaction or non-reaction. Let’s react just the right amount and dive into what we can expect in the backfields across the league in Week 2. Here are the RBs that I think will return the best value at their price point, whether as studs or value plays. My top targets for DraftKings are listed below along with their opportunity projections for Week 2.
Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers, $8,800
Kamara was clearly the focus of the Saints’ offense in Week 1, and he had a solid 18.1 DKFP in the rout of the Packers, which made him the No. 11 RB of the week. There are some positive signs that he should improve that result this week, though, since even though the game was lopsided, he had 20 carries, a plateau he reached only twice last season. He also played 73% of the team snaps, up from 61.2% of snaps when active last season. Without Drew Brees, it makes sense that the Saints will lean more heavily on Kamara. He’s in a good matchup this week since the Panthers allowed the fourth-most DKFP to opposing RBs last season, and Kamara had 22 touches, 148 total yards and 22.8 DKFP despite not getting a touchdown in his only contest against Carolina in 2020.
Rushing: 18 attempts
Receiving: 7 Targets; 5 Receptions
Total: 23 Touches
David Montgomery, Chicago Bears vs. Cincinnati Bengals, $6,100
Montgomery was one of the few bright spots for the Bears in Week 1, taking 16 carries for 108 yards and a touchdown despite playing from behind in a tough matchup against the Rams, who didn’t allow a single 100-yard rusher last season. He has found the end zone in seven straight regular season games after that performance and has totaled at least 100 yards in four of those seven contests. Most of his work came early, as the Bears were forced to air it out late, which means he should get even more work in a more competitive situation in Week 2 at home against the Bengals.
Rushing: 20 attempts
Receiving: 3 Targets; 2 Receptions
Total: 22 Touches
Damien Harris, New England Patriots at New York Jets, $5,400
Despite a costly fumble in the fourth quarter, Harris had a strong opening week and seems locked in as the Patriots’ top early-down RB. Harris ran for exactly 100 yards on 23 carries and hauled in 2-of-3 targets for 17 yards. He totaled 15.7 DKFP and played 40 snaps (53%), while James White ($4,600) played 28 (37%) in his expected third-down role. While White is well-established, he isn’t a true threat to be the full-time back, so Harris should get another chance to star in this matchup with the Jets. The Patriots’ backfield is always unpredictable, but Harris showed enough to be worth considering in this favorable matchup, in which the Patriots should be playing from ahead and killing clock.
Rushing: 20 attempts
Receiving: 2 Targets; 1 Receptions
Total: 21 Touches
Eli Mitchell, San Francisco 49ers at Philadelphia Eagles, $5,000
The sixth-round pick from Louisiana was the breakout RB of Week 1 with 19.4 DKFP on 19 carries for 104 yards against the Lions. He thrived after Raheem Mostert (knee) left and could have had an even bigger game if JaMycal Hasty ($4,200) hadn’t vultured a score. Hasty and Trey Sermon ($4,600) will still mix in, but Mitchell seems to be the lead back at this point. Coach Kyle Shanahan has a history of making lowly-drafted RBs fantasy studs. Mitchell could eventually be passed over by Sermon, but in the short-term he looks to be the lead. He’s likely to be very chalky at only $5K, but I think you can differentiate your lineup in other spots since he seems like a free space too good to pass up this week.
Rushing: 15 attempts
Receiving: 2 Targets; 2 Receptions
Total: 17 Touches
Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos at Jacksonville Jaguars, $4,400
The Broncos split their backfield work between Williams and Melvin Gordon III ($5,900) in Week 1, and Gordon had over 100 yards and 23.8 DKFP while Williams had just 5.1 DKFP. However, the timeshare is more even than the production indicates, and Williams actually outcarried the veteran Gordon 14-to-11 while playing exactly the same number of snaps (33). The rookie played in a wide variety of situations and should be able to improve on his results in this very favorable matchup against the Jaguars, who were just trampled by the Texans in Week 1.
Rushing: 15 attempts
Receiving: 1 Targets; 1 Receptions
Total: 16 Touches
Kenneth Gainwell, Philadelphia Eagles vs. San Francisco 49ers, $4,000
Getting Gainwell at this price is a great deal heading into this matchup against the 49ers. The rookie clearly established himself as the No. 2 back behind Miles Sanders ($6,900), playing 35% of snaps and taking nine carries for 37 yards with a touchdown and two catches for six more yards. He had a second score negated by penalty, coming close to breaking the slate. Gainwell got all the work in the team’s two-minute drill, so there’s a chance he could get even more work if the Eagles have to go pass-heavy playing from behind. Last week, the 49ers allowed the two Lions RBs to be the third and fourth-highest scoring RBs of the week, so Gainwell could be set up for a monster game from the minimum salary.
Rushing: 8 attempts
Receiving: 8 Targets; 5 Receptions
Total: 13 Touches
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is z.thompson) 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.
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