There have been plenty of surprises in the first two weeks of a highlight-filled start to the NFL season. In Week 3, DraftKings has a third consecutive 13-game main slate on Sunday afternoon. At RB on this slate, there are some significant absences due to superstars in primetime this week, including Christian McCaffrey, Aaron Jones and Ezekiel Elliott.
There are still plenty of good options, though, spread throughout the salary structure. We’re starting to get a good idea of some of the best matchups to attack and how workloads will be distributed. Listed below are the RBs that I think will return the best value at their price point, whether as studs or value plays, and their opportunity projections for Week 3 are also included.
Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings vs. Seattle Seahawks, $8,400
In Week 2, Cook had almost 20 fantasy points in a loss to the Cardinals even though he didn’t find the end zone and was battling an injury for the latter part of the game. Assuming there’s no setback with his ankle, he should be in a great spot against the Seahawks, who just gave up 50.7 DKFP to Derrick Henry ($8,600) last week. While Henry’s also a good top-tier option again, I actually think Cook makes more sense. Playing Cook avoids chasing last week’s points and gets you that tasty matchup against Seattle. Cook is definitely the workhorse of this offense with at least 20 carries in each of the first two weeks and a very active role in the passing game.
Rushing: 23 attempts
Receiving: 5 Targets; 4 Receptions
Total: 27 Touches
Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals, $6,600
Harris scored his first NFL touchdown in Week 2 and finished with 19.1 DKFP in a loss to the Raiders. His involvement in the passing game—catching 5-of-5 targets for 43 yards and the score—is a great sign for his fantasy value even though he has only totaled 26 carries through the first two games. With a more favorable game script, he’s likely to get more work this week against Cincinnati. The Steelers haven’t gone into clock-killing, run-heavy mode yet, but if they do Harris should be set up for a breakthrough performance.
Rushing: 17 attempts
Receiving: 4 Targets; 3 Receptions
Total: 20 Touches
Ty’Son Williams, Baltimore Ravens at Detroit Lions, $5,800
The Ravens worked Latavius Murray ($5,300) into the rotation more in Week 2, but Williams was still the lead back, playing 49% of the team’s offensive snaps. Williams produced 77 rushing yards on his 13 carries but lost the rushing touchdowns to Murray and Lamar Jackson ($7,800). While he will likely continue to have to share time, the matchup this week against the Lions is loaded with upside. Detroit gave up over 100 yards and a touchdown to Elijah Mitchell in the opener and followed that up in Week 2 by surrendering four touchdowns and 41.5 DKFP to Aaron Jones on Monday Night Football. The Ravens should run all over Detroit, so Williams and Murray are both strong considerations.
Rushing: 14 attempts
Receiving: 3 Targets; 2 Receptions
Total: 16 Touches
Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills vs. Washington Football Team, $4,900
The Bills cruised past the Dolphins in Week 2 after Singletary got them off to a fast start with a 46-yard touchdown run on the second offensive play of the game. The offense is built to be pass-heavy, but they aren’t totally abandoning the run either, getting The Motor double-digit carries each week, resulting in 154 rushing yards. Even with Zack Moss ($4,700) active and involved with two touchdowns after being a healthy scratch Week 1, Singletary is still clearly the lead back, playing 66% of snaps to Moss’s 28%. The Washington run defense is solid, but for under $5K, Singletary brings nice upside as the lead back in a good offense.
Rushing: 13 attempts
Receiving: 5 Targets; 3 Receptions
Total: 16 Touches
Cordarrelle Patterson, Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants, $4,600
The Falcons have created a nice hybrid role for Patterson as a WR/RB that is being heavily used in passing situations. Patterson had seven carries in each of his first two games this season and delivered 23.9 DKFP in Week 2 as the No. 5 RB of the week. His PPR production gives him a nice safety net and a high floor. The key to his fantasy value, though, is his red-zone work. He got all four RB rushing attempts or targets in the red zone in Week 2 and is becoming coach Arthur Smith’s go-to option near the goal line.
Rushing: 9 attempts
Receiving: 8 Targets; 5 Receptions
Total: 14 Touches
Peyton Barber, Las Vegas Raiders vs. Miami Dolphins, $4,300
The Raiders are an impressive 2-0 after beating the Ravens and Steelers, and Barber was a big part of their backfield in Week 2’s win while Josh Jacobs ($6,200; toe/ankle) was sidelined. It sounds like Jacobs will be out again this week, leaving Barber and Kenyan Drake ($5,500) to share the load again. In Week 2, Barber played 29% of snaps but put up more carries and yards than Drake. He only managed 32 yards on 13 carries, but the workload appears to be there for more success in a much more favorable matchup against Miami. Last week, the Dolphins allowed three RB touchdowns to the Bills and have given up the fifth-most DKFP to opposing RBs this season.
Rushing: 8 attempts
Receiving: 2 Targets; 2 Receptions
Total: 10 Touches
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