Two players in last week’s Top 5 offered little return as Jamaal Charles left his game with a high ankle sprain and Adrian Peterson was deactivated due to legal troubles.
Other injuries worth noting, Knowshon Moreno dislocated his elbow coming off an impressive 134-yard performance against New England, Ryan Mathews sprained his MCL, and Mark Ingram and Maurice Jones-Drew both left with hand injuries. Only Jones-Drew has any possibility of playing in Week 3.
Five Highest Priced Running Backs
Marshawn Lynch, DEN @ SEA, $7,900 – Lynch has risen to the top of the RB salary list this season averaging over 22 points per game. He heads back home where he had over 110 rushing yards and 2 TDs on opening night. The Seahawks are looking to bounce back from a loss to the Chargers and should look to establish the run game early. Lynch is one of the most consistent options you can find at the position.
DeMarco Murray, DAL @ STL, $7,900 – Murray leads the NFL with 285 rushing yards through two weeks, with 167 of that coming in Week 2. That production has put him in a tie with Lynch for top RB salary. If Murray can physically hold up, the Cowboys show no signs of limiting him as evidenced through his 25 carry per game average. Last year against the Rams he went for over 200 total yards, and something close to that wouldn’t be a surprise.
Adrian Peterson, MIN @ NO, $7,800 – In what appeared to be a knee-jerk reaction in the aftermath of the Ray Rice domestic dispute, the Vikings decided to shut down Peterson last week without intervention from the league office. The Vikings have now reinstated AP saying they will step aside and defer to the legal system. He has a ton of motivation for a big day, but check back Sunday to make sure he isn’t held out again.
UPDATE: Shortly after political figures in Minnesota called for AP’s suspension, the Vikings banned him from all team activities and his status for Sunday, and beyond, is now very much in doubt.
LeSean McCoy, WAS @ PHI, $7,800 – On Monday night in Indianapolis the duo of McCoy and Darren Sproles went off for 280 combined yards. Although upstaged by Sproles, who had two plays of over 50 yards and a 19-yard TD, it is a good sign for McCoy. Two RBs can be fantasy relevant in this up-tempo offense and McCoy still projects to get the majority of the carries. He has a nice matchup at home against the Redskins this week.
Matt Forte, CHI @ NYJ, $7,600 – Coming off a down game where he only averaged 1.8 YPC, expect Forte to get back on track against the Jets. Week 2 seemed to be somewhat of an outlier for the Bears as they managed only 176 yards in the air and 46 on the ground. The Bears offense almost doubled that output in Week 1. He’ll have a nice chance to bounce back on Monday Night Football.
Five Mid-Priced Running Backs
Le’Veon Bell, PIT @ CAR, $7,300 – Just out of the Top 5 at 7th overall in price, Bell has produced both weeks averaging over 25 PPG. He is off to an impressive start in his sophomore campaign but there are few tougher matchups for an RB than Carolina. Linebacker Luke Kuechly is one of the best in the business, and they just held Reggie Bush and Joique Bell to 62 combined yards on the ground last week.
Knile Davis, KC @ MIA, $6,200 – When Jamaal Charles went down with an ankle injury, Davis burst onto the scene scoring twice and tallying over 100 total yards. With Charles out, Davis’ price has more than doubled since last week. With 28 touches in Week 2, expect the Chiefs to continue giving their 2013 3rd round pick a full workload in Miami.
Eddie Lacy, GB @ DET, $5,900 – Lacy has endured a tough start with high expectations, battling a concussion in Week 1 and averaging just under 8 PPG thus far. Knocked down to 14th in RB salary this week, he was a player that many projected in the Top 5 of the position. Falling this far he becomes an intriguing value. It would not be a surprise to see him make his first trip to the endzone in Detroit this weekend.
Shane Vereen, OAK @ NE, $5,100 – Vereen is hard to project because he was heavily involved Week 1 and seemingly disappeared last week. His targets reduced from 8 to 2 and he carried the ball just 6 times. Teammate Stevan Ridley was fed early and often, finishing with 25 carries which seemed like the blueprint the Patriots were intending. However, Vereen still managed 6.7 YPC last week and should still be a solid PPR option this weekend against Oakland.
Lamar Miller, KC @ MIA, $5,000 – With Knowshon Moreno sidelined for at least a month, Miller gets another shot at the starting gig. Moreno has clearly been the more dominant back thus far, but by default Miller will start Week 3. In desperation the Dolphins re-signed Daniel Thomas off the street this week, likely an indication that Miller will regain a lead role. At this price he could be a bargain.
Five Low-Priced Value Running Backs
Ahmad Bradshaw, IND @ JAX, $4,800 – Despite Trent Richardson being priced higher, Bradshaw clearly asserted himself as the Colts best RB option against the Eagles Monday night. He was effective on the ground and an asset in the passing game, scoring twice. Most importantly, he held onto the football while Richardson did not. He has a great matchup against the Jaguars this week and should be a big focus in the Colts gameplan.
Danny Woodhead, SD @ BUF, $4,500 – Woodhead is as consistent as they come in PPR scoring and had the most touches of any Chargers RB last week. With Ryan Mathews likely sidelined over a month, Woodhead’s role should increase. Although Donald Brown figures to steal some touches, Woodhead will still be heavily relied on and the Chargers trust him in all facets of the game.
Darren McFadden, OAK @ NE, $4,200 – When you are down as far as 38th on the RB salary list it is a matter of finding a player you can plug in at a low price. McFadden and the Raiders have not been good this year, but he did find the endzone last week with Maurice Jones-Drew sidelined. If he is out again, McFadden could emerge as a decent play against a Patriots defense that struggled against the run in Week 1.
Jeremy Hill, TEN @ CIN, $4,000 – The first two games were night and day for Hill, who saw his carries jump from 4 to 15 in Week 2, while also chipping in with two catches. He ran for 74 yards and established himself as a force at the goal line, punching in his first career TD. Hill’s bruising style compliments Giovani Bernard’s finesse well, and the two have potential to be a dynamic pairing for some time to come.
Khiry Robinson, MIN @ NO, $3,900 – Expect Robinson to have an expanded role this week with the Saints losing the 12 carries per game Mark Ingram has contributed this year. Khiry is expected to pick up the slack in Ingram’s absence and has a chance to carve out a role for himself. With Pierre Thomas most utilized in the passing game, he should emerge as the power option to get most of the goal line carries.