FanDuel Fantasy Football Week 9: Evaluating the Running Backs

By Matt Johnson on Wednesday, November 1st 2017
FanDuel Fantasy Football Week 9: Evaluating the Running Backs

Hello friends. After a brief absence, your favorite FanDuel advice columns are back and even more exciting content is coming soon. In the coming weeks, we'll include video content where we'll further breakdown matchups and help build optimal lineups for your weekly FanDuel plays. But for now, let's jump on into the upcoming slate of next weekend's games.

Here, we focus on some of running back options for this weekend's slate. We'll provide you a glimpse at a value play, running back to avoid, high-dollar option and other options for you to consider in this week's slate. With six teams on a bye and our options more limited, let's get to work.

Top Play

Mark Ingram, NO v. TB, $7,900

While the likes of Kareem Hunt and Todd Gurley will top lists in weekly rankings, they don't make it as the week's top running back play for FanDuel. In part it's due to price, with both coming in at $9,000-plus, a significant portion of your $60K FanDuel cap. In order to spend that amount on a player, you need to be extremely confident in their matchup and see it as something they could easily exploit. But for Hunt and Gurley, neither the of the defenses they face rank in the top-15 for FanDuel fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs, we look elsewhere as a result.

So we'll save $1,100 in the process and land ourselves another top-five running back option who will be in a great matchup. Since New Orleans traded Adrian Peterson, the Saints have fed the ball to Ingram 24-plus touches in each of the three contests. His use in the passing game, between the 20s and inside the 20s makes him someone fantasy owners can rely on no matter the game script and he gets a favorable matchup this week. Tampa Bay's defense allowed the fifth-most FanDuel points per game to opposing running backs. Volume plus opportunities plus talent is the trio we look for in a top play and Ingram comes a lot cheaper than the bigger names.

Value Play

Adrian Peterson, ARZ @ SF, $6,800

Arizona is set to face a San Francisco 49ers defense that allows the most fantasy points per start to opposing running backs. Not only do they allow the most FPPG, but they allow nearly three points per game more than the second-worst team. Over the last four weeks, the 49ers allowed 32.52 FanDuel points per game on average to opposing teams, in even greater perspective that is six points per game worse than the second-worst run defense in the past month.

Carson Palmer is out and as a result, Arizona will rest the offense on Peterson's shoulders. Fresh off a bye week, where the Cardinals could regroup and gain extra time to plan for Week 9's game and allow Peterson to pick up more of the offense, the arrow is pointing even further up for him. In a great matchup, Peterson certainly offers RB1 upside and a strong RB2 floor at an affordable price..

Gamble Pick

Lamar Miller, HOU v. IND, $7,500

Miller comes in as one of the more expensive plays this week. It's understandable given the number of teams on the bye and other key running backs out with injuries or suspended, but it's also hard to trust Miller's consistency. In three of his last five games, Miller failed to score 10 FanDuel points in any of the contests. For a running back you have to pay up for, the inability to crack that mark given his work both as a pass catcher and running back, is hard to accept for many DFS players. So we recognize the inconsistency and risk he carries.

The matchup is difficult to ignore though. Miller faces a Colts' defense that allows the third-most FanDuel points per contest to opposing running backs. While they aren't hit as hard by running backs catching the ball out of the backfield, a bad defensive line and big leads by their opponents allow teams to just kill the clock in the second half and run the ball down their throats nearly every play. While we held some fear for Miller's role when D'Onta Foreman saw expanded touches, Foreman barely existed in Week 8 and it seems this offense is back to shouldering the weight of the running game on Miller. Given the workload and great matchup, this is someone you definitely want shares of. But his inconsistency from week to week keeps him from being a heavy stack play.

Must Avoid

Jay Ajayi, DEN @ PHI, $6,800

Ajayi is a popular name since the trade and it's understandable why. Recency bias gives his value an inflation as his name immediately jumps out as the biggest headline in recent days. But more importantly, he goes from a situation in Miami that strangled any opportunity for fantasy success to Philadelphia, where the surroundings and scheme around him are booms for potential fantasy success. So the long-term feelings are certainly positive and weeks will come where he is a running back we want to target.

Right now, he is the opposite of that this week. He will have a very limited amount of time to pick up Philadelphia's offense and learn the blocking schemes, with only a few days of practice to adjust and take in all the information. As a result, he'll likely serve in an even more limited role than normal. The Eagles already announced this week that as of Week 9, LeGarrette Blount remains the team's starting running back. That alone should push Ajayi out of the picture, but pair it with the Eagles matchup against a  Denver Broncos' defense that is amongst the best in the league at stopping the run, there is zero reason to play Ajayi this week.

Fantasy Alerts

 Nov 5th, 2017
Zach Ertz (TE)
Philadelphia Eagles
 Nov 5th, 2017
Leonard Fournette (RB)
Jacksonville Jaguars
 Nov 3rd, 2017
Ezekiel Elliott (RB)
Dallas Cowboys
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