If you spent on a high priced running back in Week 1, odds are you didn’t get a ton of bang for your buck. Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, and Eddie Lacy all finished with pedestrian totals that failed to live up to expectations for their cost of ownership.
With top RBs being so hit or miss in Week 1, perhaps searching for more values is a better course of action for building a robust roster across the board. Either that, or go back to the well again and hope for the best.
DeMarco Murray is a newcomer to the Top 5, likely getting a bump from the concussion sustained by Lacy in the opener along with poor games from other backs.
Let’s highlight some starting options in the different price tiers for Week 2. Note that RBs from Thursday’s PIT @ BAL match-up are excluded.
Five Highest Priced Running Backs
LeSean McCoy, PHI @ IND, $8,200 – McCoy enters Week 2 at a discount after being outperformed in points by newcomer Darren Sproles, in what looked to be a great matchup for him on paper. Despite only averaging 3.5 YPC in Week 1, look for McCoy to bounce back on Monday night in what projects to be a high scoring affair. It is hard to truly criticize McCoy here, as he still posted over 100 total yards last week.
Matt Forte, CHI @ SF, $8,000 – Coming off an 8-catch performance where he went for almost 170 all-purpose yards, Forte actually dropped a bit in price. This could be attributed to an improved defensive opponent, as the Bears travel to San Francisco for their matchup on Sunday Night Football. Forte still projects as a top Week 2 PPR option and is always a dual-threat to produce through the air and on the ground.
DeMarco Murray, DAL @ TEN, $7,500 – Murray is the only player in our Top 5 to actually increase in price from the $6,800 he was listed at last week. He enters Week 2 as our 3rd highest salary at RB, after going for over 100 yards and a score last week. With the struggles of Tony Romo and the passing game, look for Dallas to establish the run early, and stick with it.
Adrian Peterson, NE @ MIN, $7,400 – Although he predicted a TD on his first carry of 2014, AP failed to find paydirt in his matchup against the Rams. He could be in line for a big day against a Patriots defense which just yielded 134 yards to Knowshon Moreno off the bench. At a $500 discount from Week 1, look for AP to get back on track in the home opener at a nice value.
Jamaal Charles, KC @ DEN, $7,400 – Charles is coming off a brutal Week 1, where he was held to 34 total yards and a 2.7 YPC mark. This effort sparked a $1,600 price drop that makes him an intriguing player this week. With Dwayne Bowe returning from suspension this week against the Broncos, success in the passing game should correlate to success for Charles.
Five Mid-Priced Running Backs
Marshawn Lynch, SEA @ SD, $7,200 – Staying true to his nickname, Lynch was a beast on Thursday Night Football scoring two touchdowns in route to another 100 yard game. His punishing downhill running style seemed to intimidate the Packers, leaving defenders falling backwards more often than not. Just out of the Top 5, the only deficiency in his game for PPR owners is a lack of receptions.
Montee Ball, KC @ DEN, $6,800 – Despite Julius Thomas finding the end zone three times last week, there was still enough opportunity to go around for Ball to tally a TD as well. As the true feature back in one of the NFL’s most explosive offenses, Ball should thrive due the attention demanded by Peyton Manning and his receiving corps. Despite an unimpressive 2.9 YPC in Week 1, the fact that he toted the ball 23 times is a good sign that they have fully committed to him.
Knowshon Moreno, MIA @ BUF, $5,700 – Moreno exploded onto the scene in Week 1, grinding out tough yards at 5.6 YPC while also scoring a key touchdown. Most impressive, his 134 yards of production came off the bench. Moreno’s value has skyrocketed $1,700, making him now more expensive to own than Lamar Miller at $4,600.
Pierre Thomas, NO @ CLE, $5,200 – Emerging as the main pass catcher out of the Saints backfield, Thomas caught 6 passes for 58 yards, while also adding another 31 yards on the ground. Although his counterparts Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson combined for three TDS on the day, I would much rather chase production in the form of receptions than touchdowns. He is a nice value start this week at Cleveland.
Alfred Morris, JAX @ WAS, $5,200 – As a lone bright spot for the Redskins in Week 1, Morris nearly finished the day with 100 yards, at a 6.5 YPC. Returning home to face Jacksonville, Morris is a good bet to get his first TD of the year and to continue to churn out yards on the ground. Similar to Lynch, his only limitations are in the passing game.
Five Low-Priced Value Running Backs
Terrance West, NO @ CLE, $4,800 – Once Ben Tate went down last week with a knee injury, all West did was step in and gain 100 yards off the bench. With Tate sidelined for at least the next few weeks, West is in-line to start and will have the opportunity to show why the Browns made him a 3rd round selection this year. Fellow rookie Isaiah Crowell was also impressive in the opener scoring twice, and should also be in the mix at the low-cost of $3,300.
James Starks, NYJ @ GB, $4,500 – Assuming starter Eddie Lacy sits out this week as a precaution due to the concussion he suffered last week, Starks projects to get the majority of the carries. He averaged over 5 YPC against a strong Seahawks run defense and could be a nice plug-in this week against the Jets. Monitor this situation up until kickoff, because if Lacy is active Starks will likely be a nonfactor.
Steven Jackson, ATL @ CIN, $4,100 – Playing in his first game of the year after missing the entire preseason with a hamstring injury, his 52-yard day seems to suggest he was cautiously eased into action. While this might be true to an extent, he did carry the ball twice as much as the next Falcons RB while also accounting for more targets than any of the others. Dropping $900 in salary from last week, he is now a nice value that projects for even more touches moving forward.
Ahmad Bradshaw, PHI @ IND, $4,000 – A big beneficiary of the Colts high-octane offense led by Andrew Luck, Bradshaw may be a better fit than anointed starter Trent Richardson, due to his receiving abilities. When healthy, Bradshaw is a dynamic threat that quietly tallied five catches and 70 yards in Week 1, while averaging 5 YPC. Bradshaw’s role may only grow from here as Richardson has done nothing to distinguish himself as the team’s true feature back since being traded to Indianapolis last season.
Carlos Hyde, CHI @ SF, $3,300 – Hyde impressed in his first NFL game scoring a TD and averaging over 7 YPC on limited touches. With San Francisco’s desire to keep veteran Frank Gore fresh late in the season, look for Hyde to get opportunities early as the clear-cut number two back, especially if he continues this kind of success. He will also get to experience his first home game this weekend, and at a $600 discount, could provide a great value.