Jeremy Hill was the only RB last week to rush for over 100 yards last week, and was priced at only $4,300. All Top 5 priced RBs required more than double that investment. With the $3.1M Main Event Championship kicking off this weekend on DraftKings, you really need over 100 rushing yards out of a top 5 priced RB should you chose to roster any of them. And with a $1 MILLION top prize on the line, you need to be smart about your salary allocation. The analysis below excludes the Thursday and Saturday games, as we focus on the Main Event Championship that includes Sunday and Monday games only.
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Five Highest Priced Running Backs
Le’Veon Bell, KC @ PIT, $9,800 – Bell has thrived all year in terms of yardage, as the RB leader in receiving yards, and 2nd to only DeMarco Murray in rushing yards. If Bell has any drawback its his lack of scoring, with just 3 TDs in the first 10 weeks. His endzone presence has surged since then with 7 scores over the past 4 games. He is priced accordingly at his highest of the year and remains the top RB salary for the 3rd consecutive week.
DeMarco Murray, IND @ DAL, $9,300 – Murray broke a bone in his hand Sunday and underwent surgery, making his status in question for Sunday’s tilt with the Colts. Despite the injury, his price has only dropped $200 given the vulnerability of Indianapolis’ defense. Jerry Jones seems to think he can play and this is a critical game for the Cowboys. If active, he could certainly produce big numbers but comes with risk of re-injury.
Matt Forte, DET @ CHI, $8,700 – Forte is one of the lone bright spots for a dismal 5-9 Bears team that has nothing to play for, and will inevitably see its head coach fired any day now. During their current 3-game skid, he has managed just 110 rushing yards. His presence is still being felt in the passing game, as he is on pace for over 100 catches, but the team’s struggles have been detrimental to his value. The Bears also announced Jay Cutler will be benched for Jimmy Clausen this week.
Arian Foster, BAL@ HOU, $8,600 – Foster was just a yard shy of his 8th 100-yard rushing game in 11 contests, yet still sees his price drop by $500. He is hardly to blame, as his price is likely affected by injuries to QBs Ryan Fitzpatrick and Tom Savage. One positive for Foster, is the return of Andre Johnson, but Houston has lost any playoff motivation after being eliminated last week. The QB situation is also up in the air this week.
Jamaal Charles, KC @ PIT, $8,000 – Against Oakland last week, Charles posted his lowest single-game yardage totals since Week 2, but did not play in the 4th quarter after taking a blow to the head. Although it was not diagnosed as a concussion and his status this week does not appear to be in doubt, it likely contributed to his $700 price drop. With the Chiefs still vying for a playoff berth, Charles should be all systems go in a pivotal matchup against the Steelers.
Five Mid-Priced Running Backs
Eddie Lacy, GB @ TB, $7,300 – The Packers are fresh off an upset in Buffalo where they struggled to pass the ball effectively, but Lacy was one of the few positives. Against a stout defensive front, he managed 108 all-purpose yards and scored Green Bay’s only touchdown. His situation appears much improved this week facing a friendlier Buccaneers defense at a $200 discount from a week ago.
C.J. Anderson, DEN @ CIN, $6,900 – Anderson had his lowest scoring output in the past 6 weeks, yet still finished with almost 100 yards. Perhaps the expectations for Anderson are unreasonably high, given that his price dropped $900 this week. He seems to be an intriguing value now. This matchup also looks better on paper with the Bengals allowing the 2nd most rushing TDs in the NFL.
Jeremy Hill, DEN @ CIN, $5,600 – As the only 100-yard rusher in Week 15, Hill comes at a premium this week with his price up $1,300. Despite Giovani Bernard being active, he managed 25 carries, which is more than his previous 2 games combined. Hill clearly made the most of his opportunities scoring twice and finishing with 152 total yards. He looks to be a great option again at home on Monday night with big playoff implications against the Broncos.
Tre Mason, NYG @ STL, $4,600 – Mason has produced a big day in just 1 of his last 4 games, but to be fair, three were against quality run defenses in the Cardinals, Redskins, and Chargers. The forecast looks better this week at home against the Giants who have surrendered the 3rd most rushing yards in the NFL. Mason looks like a great value in this matchup with his price down $2,100 since Week 14.
Andre Williams, NYG @ STL, $4,500 – With Rashad Jennings reinjuring his ankle last week, Williams could be in-line for the bulk of the carries once again. This would be an obvious boost to his value, but the matchup here is the concern. The Rams defense has held opponents to just 6 points over the past 3 games. Williams’ value is limited if kept out of the endzone, but the Giants have been playing better lately led by the emergence of Odell Beckham Jr., which should translate into redzone opportunities.
Five Low-Priced Value Running Backs
Isaiah Crowell, CLE @ CAR, $4,300 – After all the hype surrounding Johnny Manziel’s first career start, the Browns got behind early and were never able to get anything going offensively. Manziel will have a fresh start Sunday, and any redzone opportunities will likely feature Crowell who has 8 TDs to Terrance West’s 3. He is the most explosive option in the Browns’ backfield and is discounted $600 after the dud last week.
Pierre Thomas, ATL @ NO, $3,800 – All of the Saints RBs were active last week, but Thomas made the most of his touches, and in the passing game finished with 5 catches for 83 yards. Although it’s tough to predict how they will divvy up the carries, the Saints benefit from facing an abysmal Falcons defense. The winner will emerge as the favorite in the NFC South, and if it turns into a shootout, Thomas would benefit the most. He is our 25th priced RB this week in a pivotal matchup.
Doug Martin, GB @ TB, $3,700 – Martin had his biggest game of the season last week, largely due to a 63-yard scamper in the 1st quarter. This is obviously a good sign as he looks to regain his 2012 form, where he produced nearly 2,000 total yards and 12 scores. The biggest drawback this week is getting into an early deficit against the Packers, given that Charles Sims has seemingly emerged as the RB on passing downs.
Jonas Gray, NE @ NYJ, $3,400 – Gray tallied his first double-digit rushing performance last week, since gaining 201 yards a month ago. He quickly fell out of favor after being late to a team meeting and the Patriots signing LeGarrette Blount, but averaged 5.6 YPC on 11 totes last week. It is risky to assume what his workload will be, but he seems to have earned more, especially if New England jumps out to an early lead.
Kerwynn Williams, SEA @ ARI, $3,200 – When Andre Ellington went down for the season, the Cardinals promoted Williams from their practice squad and he has been thrust into a prominent role the past 2 weeks. The elusive 7th rounder out of Utah State, has capitalized on his opportunities rushing for 100-yards in his first game, followed by 75 yards last week against a stingy Rams defense. Although the matchup doesn’t get much easier, he will get another chance Sunday night at just $200 above the RB minimum.