Daily Fantasy Football Running Back Primer: Week 14
When building daily fantasy football lineups, tackling the running back position first is a great way to kick off your research process. Due to the volume of the position, you'll typically find less variance at running back compared to their counterparts at wide receivers and tight end, and unlike quarterbacks, you can roster up to three backs in any given FanDuel lineup. Figuring out your favorite core plays is important for establishing a foundation in both cash games and tournaments.
With that in mind, let's start building that core! In this piece, we'll go through the top overall plays at various price points on FanDuel's main slate every week. Then, we'll follow that up by taking a look at the riskier or lower-owned guys you might want to target in tournaments.
Studs of the Week
Christian McCaffrey ($11,000): Christian McCaffrey finally had a down game in Week 13 but still saw his typical elite volume (14 carries and 12 targets) and snap rate (98.7%). Sadly, it didn't result in any reduction in salary, but no running back comes close to his 26.38 FanDuel points per game. Against Atlanta, he's projected for the most raw FanDuel points among running backs in numberFire's model.
Dalvin Cook ($8,700): Despite last week's shoulder injury, the Vikings are adamant that Dalvin Cook will play against the Lions, setting him up for a potential big week. Detroit ranks 24th against the run in Adjusted Defensive Rushing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play and has coughed up the third-most FanDuel points to running backs. However, while Minnesota's status as a 13.0-point home favorite likely means a positive game script, there's also some blowout risk here, with the possibility that Alexander Mattison ($5,100) gets extra work given Cook's recent injury scare.
Alvin Kamara ($7,600): Alvin Kamara gets a tough matchup against the 49ers, who rank ninth in Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per play and sixth in Target Success Rate allowed to running backs. But at this salary, he actually projects as the second-best point-per-dollar value entering the weekend, so he shouldn't be disregarded in spite of the opponent.
Since the bye, Kamara has averaged 9.8 carries and 9.3 targets (25.2% share) over the last four games, with the heavy passing-game work raising his floor regardless of game script. And while he hasn't popped for many big FanDuel scores this season, that has more to do with poor luck in the touchdown department, being held out of the end zone since Week 3.
Leonard Fournette ($7,500): Leonard Fournette has seen a massive workload pretty much all season, averaging 18.3 carries and 6.8 targets per game with a 88.3% snap rate. He's even hit 30 or more opportunities four times this year, including a whopping 36 in Week 12. He draws a plus matchup against the Chargers, who are 22nd in schedule-adjusted run defense and 25th in Target Success Rate allowed to running backs. Between the volume and matchup, Fournette projects as the top point-per-dollar play this week.
Devonta Freeman ($6,000): Devonta Freeman is typically about as "meh" as you can get, but he's a whole lot more intriguing in a matchup against Carolina. The Panthers not only rank 32nd in Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per play, but they've given up the most FanDuel points to running backs, including a league-high 19 rushing scores -- 6 more than the next highest team. Freeman logged a solid 17 rushes and 5 targets in his return last week, so the volume should be there to capitalize.
Derrick Henry ($9,100): Considering both his rising price tag and limited passing game work, Derrick Henry is more suited for tournaments, but the upside has been readily apparent lately, producing FanDuel scores of 22.1, 28.0, 32.1, and 23.4 the last four games. Over that span, he's scored 7 total touchdowns with 166, 175, 191, and 99 yards from scrimmage. Averaging 22.5 opportunities through this stretch, he has a good chance of keeping the good times rolling against Oakland, which ranks 21st in schedule-adjusted run defense.