There are a full slate of games in this week’s $2M Touchdown Championship, as all of the action will take place on Sunday. Odell Beckham Jr. is the highest salary in Week 17, priced $900 above Andrew Luck and Calvin Johnson. Both Le’Veon Bell and DeMarco Murray are also priced higher than Luck and Megatron, with key playoff implications. Below takes a look at players with critical and meaningless matchups in different price ranges as we wrap up the regular season.
Five Highest Priced Running Backs
Le’Veon Bell, CIN @ PIT, $9,500 – Bell enters the week as the only RB above $9,000 this week, priced $700 above DeMarco Murray. He has averaged more PPG than any RB this year, and heads into a division-deciding clash with the Bengals on Sunday night. Bell is also riding a 5-game TD streak at his lowest price in 3 weeks, and should be a major factor again in Pittsburgh.
DeMarco Murray, DAL @ WAS, $8,800 – Following surgery to repair a broken hand, Murray still toted the rock 22 times in a blowout win over the Colts. With Dallas still chasing a 1st round bye, his workload should remain the same with all signs pointing to a big day. The NFL’s leading rusher will likely fall short of his 2,000-yard goal, but still holds 400-yard lead over the rest of the league. He is priced at his lowest since Week 13.
Matt Forte, CHI @ MIN, $8,500 – Despite the struggles of the Bears, Forte has continued to stay productive and enters a friendly matchup in Minnesota. Jay Cutler will return as the starter only by default, as Jimmy Clausen was injured last week. Forte is 6 catches shy of a 100-reception season, and should have a nice opportunity to hit that mark on Sunday.
Arian Foster, JAX@ HOU, $7,900 – Although he rushed for 96 yards and even managed to throw a TD pass, Foster’s price is down $700 from last week. He faces an ideal matchup at home against Jacksonville, in a game that could have playoff implications depending on other outcomes. Despite missing 3 games, his 1,223 rushing yards is 4th in the NFL, just behind Marshawn Lynch.
Jamaal Charles, KC @ PIT, $7,600 – Alex Smith has been ruled out from a lacerated spleen, meaning Chase Daniel will have his 2nd career start in regular season finale. Charles is dinged up but will need to produce Sunday to give the Chiefs a chance at the postseason. He is certainly due for a big day, and is down $400 from last week.
Five Mid-Priced Running Backs
Marshawn Lynch, STL @ SEA, $7,300 – Just outside of the Top 5, Lynch had one of the most electrifying runs on the season, reminiscent of his game clinching TD run against the Saints in last year’s playoffs. After breaking tackles near the line, in true Beastmode fashion he stopped and shoved Patrick Peterson aside, before plunging into the endzone once again. With the Seahawks looking to secure home field advantage in the NFC, they’ll lean on Lynch and the running game against the Rams.
C.J. Anderson, OAK @ DEN, $7,000 – Peyton Manning has struggled of late and does not appear to be healthy with only one 300-yard passing performance in his last 5 games. Since taking over the starting RB duties, Anderson has been arguably the most consistent performer for the Broncos. He has scored over 23 points in 5 of the last 7 games, and will play a key role in Denver’s attempt to lock-up a bye.
Jeremy Hill, CIN @ PIT, $6,000 – Hill showcased his talents on Monday night in an upset over the Broncos where he set the tone early on an 85-yard TD run. He finished with a 2nd consecutive game over 140 rushing yards, and continues to wear down defenses with a unique blend of power and elusiveness. With A.J. Green ailing from an injured arm, the Bengals will depend on Hill even more in their attempt to clinch the AFC North.
Jonathan Stewart, CAR@ ATL, $5,700 – Stewart enters the week at his highest price of the year, but has quietly averaged nearly 110 rushing yards over the past 4 games. With DeAngelo Williams returning, his workload is likely to take a hit, but he should still be heavily involved against an Atlanta defense that has given up a league-leading 20 rushing TDs. The winner can punch their ticket to the playoffs in this showdown of two 6-win teams battling for the NFC South title.
Reggie Bush, DET @ GB, $4,500 – Bush had his 2nd highest scoring game of the year last week, hauling in 6 passes and scoring on the ground. Injuries have plagued his 2014 campaign, but he appears to be getting healthy at the right time as the Lions head to Lambeau Field with the division title on the line. With this game projecting as another shootout, Bush’s role in the passing game should be a focus. His price is also down $1,500 from where he opened the year.
Five Low-Priced Value Running Backs
Devonta Freeman, CAR@ ATL, $3,600 – With Steven Jackson injured, Freeman stepped up with 3 catches for 48 yards through the air and a TD on the ground. Jackson is likely out again and although Jacquizz Rodgers will steal some touches, Freeman is the most explosive option out of the backfield. He is a cheap play at home this week, and the Falcons should get him out in space early and often.
Bishop Sankey, IND @ TEN, $3,600 – Like most of the Titans, Sankey has struggled all year but his workload remains high. With 15 touches last week, there is no reason for his workload not to expand as Tennessee shifts its focus to 2015. Priced like Freeman at just $600 above the position minimum, he looks to be a value despite his poor track record.
Branden Oliver, SD @ KC, $3,500 – With Ryan Mathews already ruled out, Oliver should get the bulk of the action in a must-win for the Chargers. He outcarried Donald Brown 13 to 4 last week and has been active in the passing game with 7 receptions in the past 2 games. With Keenan Allen also out, the Chargers will depend on Oliver to add an offensive spark to win in Arrowhead.
Kerwynn Williams, ARI @ SF, $3,500 – After rumbling for 175 yards in his first 2 games, Williams was only given 2 carries last week in the Cardinals loss to the Seahawks. Coach Bruce Arians admitted the team did not run enough last week and indicated that Williams would get more work. It’s hard to trust him after last week’s mess but he certainly has upside at this price.
James White, BUF @ NE, $3,000 – The Bengals win over the Broncos Monday night rendered this game meaningless for the Patriots. With Jonas Gray already ruled out and Shane Vereen and LeGarrette Blount both questionable, the Patriots will likely give their rookie 4th rounder a long look. He’s worth a flier this week at the RB minimum if he is active alongside Brandon Bolden.