With most teams already a quarter of the way through the year, there have been significant price fluctuations since the season began. DeMarco Murray and Arian Foster represent the only players in this week’s Top 5 to actually increase in price since Week 1.Jamaal Charles entered the season as the highest priced RB and can be owned in Week 5 for$1,400 less. LeSean McCoy and Matt Forte are similar bargains with both players at least $500 cheaper than initially priced. Let’s take a look atsome starting options in the different price tiers for Week 5. Note that RBs from Thursday’s MIN @ GB matchup are excluded.
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Five Highest Priced Running Backs
Below are breakdowns of the five most expensive Running Backs on DraftKings this week and whether or not they are worth targeting in Week 5 contests
Matt Forte, CHI @ CAR, $7,800 – The Bears were dominated by the Packers last week and perhaps the only person not to blame is Forte. Despite Chicago’s struggles, he ran for his first 100-yard game and finished with 171 all-purpose yards. Through 4 games, he has not found the endzone but has managed to catch at least 5 passes in each game. At this pace he is on track to catch 96 balls, which helps justify this top ranking. Expect an end to his TD drought this weekend as the Bears look to bounce back against the Panthers.
LeSean McCoy, STL @ PHI, $7,800 – Few players have been a greater disappointment to fantasy owners than McCoy. To put it in perspective, he has rushed for 39 yards on 29 carries in the past 2 weeks. To make matters worse he has not recorded a single catch or TD over that period. He is far too talented to not improve upon his 2.7 YPC and a breakout performance seems inevitable for the 26 year old. Perhaps a home matchup against the Rams will do the trick. Tied for highest priced RB though, you may want to look elsewhere until he gets back on track.
Jamaal Charles, KC @ SF, $7,600 – Charles exploded onto the scene Monday night against the Patriots scoring 3 times. He was diagnosed with a high ankle sprain in Week 2, but showed no limitations Monday in route to singlehandedly outscoring New England. The excitement is certainly back for the Kansas City offense featuring a two-headed monster out of the backfield. Knile Davis continued his impressive sophomore campaign by gaining 107 hard earned yards on the ground, and has totaled 318 rushing yards in the last 3 weeks. The success of Davis should only help to keep Charles fresh and the chains moving.
DeMarco Murray, HOU @ DAL, $7,500 – There is only one player that has rushed for more than 3 TDs or over 400 yards this season. Murray is that player in both cases, shattering the production of his peers at 534 rushing yards and 5 TDs. His 134 rushing yards per game is an average of nearly 40 yards higher than the 2nd highest RB, Le’Veon Bell. Simply put, Murray has been the NFL’s most dominant RB in the first quarter of the season, and he enters Week 5 at an $800 discount from his price last week. With the way Dallas has featured him he should continue to thrive and presents a surprising value this week.
Arian Foster, HOU @ DAL, $7,400 – After missing Week 3 with a nagging hamstring, Foster was active against the Bills last week but clearly wasn’t 100 percent. All Foster’s Week 4 productivity came through the air as he hauled in 7 balls for 55 yards. He never got it going on the ground managing only 6 yards on 8 carries. To be fair, the Bills did limit Houston RBs to a miniscule 23 total rushing yards on 18 carries. Check reports on Foster at practice this week since Dallas offers a nice matchup, but it’s a risky start until he can get back to the 30-touch workload he had in the first 2 weeks.
Five Mid-Priced Running Backs
Below are five running backs at reasonable price points on DraftKings who stood out. These players aren’t in the “Top 5 Backs” category but also aren’t necessarily dirt cheap values.
Marshawn Lynch, SEA @ WAS, $7,200 – Fresh off a bye, Lynch enters Week 5 tied with DeMarco Murray at 5 total TDs, all accumulated in 3 games. While Lynch has finished with double-digit rushing TDs in each of the past 3 years, he has not typically been very involved in the passing game. In 2014, he has already matched a single season career high 2 receiving TDs, and his 8 catches put him on pace for over 40 grabs. Beastmode is clearly producing at peak levels right now and there is no reason that shouldn’t continue against the Redskins this week.
Giovani Bernard, CIN @ NE, $6,700 – Bernard has been consistent in each of his first 3 games contributing both on the ground and through the air. Although his YPC has been surprisingly low at 3.4, he has found the endzone 3 times in the past 2 games. While TDs are a bonus, Bernard’s PPR reliability comes from the passing game. In the first 2 weeks, he had 141 receiving yards on 11 catches and only saw a Week 3 drop off because they went run-heavy after dominating the Titans early. With New England struggling against the Chiefs run game, Bernard is an attractive option when he faces them at a $1,100 discount from the top salary.
Reggie Bush, BUF @ DET, $6,200 – With the Lions extending Joique Bell for 3 more years this offseason, Bush’s role on the ground figured to be reduced and has been so far. Bush’s value has always been boosted in PPR formats and this year has been no different with 18 catches to date. When the Lions lost Bell to a concussion against the Jets, Bush stepped in on the ground with a key 16-yard run that helped clinch the game. If Bell does not get cleared for Week 5, Bush could have his first 20-carry effort of 2014 and would be a strong play at home.
Doug Martin, TB @ NO, $6,100 – After being sidelined with a knee injury, Martin had his most productive outing this week scoring his first TD of the year. With 56 combined yards on the day including 2 catches, it was an unspectacular performance but a positive sign for the future. His 16 touches could certainly increase as the Buccaneers head to New Orleans fresh off a last second upset in Pittsburgh. He is a nice bet to find the endzone again against a Saints team that was blown out against the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football.
Andre Ellington, ARI @ DEN, $5,600 – Despite being hobbled by a foot injury, Ellington has toughed it out with 3 gritty performances in Arizona’s undefeated start. While many speculated he would miss at least one contest, all Ellington did was take on a 15-carry per game workload and keep the Cardinals offense rolling. Over this period, he has run for over 200 yards while also chipping in with 9 catches. Coming off a much needed bye week he should be healthier and more explosive than he’s been all year.
Five Low-Priced Value Running Backs
Below are five backs who are either extreme values or look to be underpriced and worth targeting for Week 5 contests
Rashad Jennings, ATL @ NYG, $5,500 – Jennings was not among the most hyped signings this offseason, but has quietly produced 341 rushing yards which is currently good for 3rd in the NFL. In Week 3, he exploded with 176 rushing yards against Houston and has a nice home matchup against Atlanta this weekend. Despite having his least effective game of the year last week, he now faces a Falcons defense that was just completely dominated by a young Vikings team. He will have a nice opportunity to bounce back and is priced reasonably as the 17th RB salary.
Knile Davis, KC @ MIA, $5,500 – As the second back in Kansas City it is hard to believe that Davis boasts the 4th most rushing yards in the NFL. Most impressive is that this was essentially done in 3 games given that he only had 1 carry in Week 1. With Jamaal Charles out in Week 3, he toted it 32 times and finished with 132 yards. When Charles returned last week, he still managed to go over 100 yards on half the carries. He has really carved out a role for himself in the Chiefs offense and is a dangerous compliment to the speed of Charles.
Alfred Morris, SEA @ WAS, $5,300 – Morris continues to fly under the radar as one of the NFL’s most underrated backs. With a proven nose for the endzone, he has already found pay dirt 3 times and has averaged a solid 4.5 YPC thus far. His main deficiency is his lack of PPR effectiveness evidenced by his lack of a reception in the first 3 weeks. Perhaps his 3 catches last week is a positive sign of things to come, but either way he is a solid value as the 21st priced RB.
Ben Tate, CLE @ TEN, $5,000 – The bye week couldn’t have come at a better time for Tate who projects to return to the starting gig in Week 5, assuming there are no setbacks in practice this week. When the Browns signed him this offseason they anointed him the starter right away and have not waivered since. Although rookies Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West have had some success in his absence, Tate should return to lead-back duties and has a solid matchup against a Titans team that has lost 3 straight games. He also comes at nearly a $3,000 discount from the top option.
Bishop Sankey, CLE @ TEN, $4,700 -Sankey has been eased into action as the future of the Tennessee backfield, but has started to gain an increased role with 19 touches over the past 2 weeks. In the midst of a 3 game skid, Coach Ken Whisenhunt has publically indicated that he intends to give Sankey the most reps he has received all year. At nearly 6 YPC in the past 2 games, it’s no surprise fans have been clamoring for Sankey to play. After scoring his first career TD last week, he looks to be finally getting the opportunity to be the feature back for the Titans. At 32nd in RB salary, he offers a great value as a strong buy-low candidate.