Week 6 offers a similar player pool as last week, with the Chiefs and Saints replacing the Dolphins and Raiders with bye weeks. While the top RB options have stayed essentially the same, there have been some shake ups towards the middle of the ranks. With new starting opportunities arising for some RBs, there have been some significant price jumps over the past week alone. Some key salary variances are highlighted below, especially in the middle to lower tiers.
Five Highest Priced Running Backs
Matt Forte, CHI @ ATL, $8,800 – After 12 catches, 167 all-purpose yards, and his 1st TD of the year last week, Forte stayed atop the RB salary ranks and his price jumped $1,000 from last week. Amassing a career-high in receptions last week, Forte already has 36 receptions on the year. His yardage has also been split over both facets of the game, with 319 rushing yards and 299 receiving yards. This elite production should continue against a struggling Atlanta defense that has yielded 71 points to the Vikings and Giants over the past 2 weeks.
Marshawn Lynch, DAL @ SEA, $8,600 – Lynch has now scored a receiving TD in each of the last 3 games, which amounts to a single-season high after only 4 games. Factor in his other 3 TDs on the ground, and Lynch has been a model of consistency with a TD every game thus far. Through 4 weeks, he has had 2 multiple TD games, and is on pace for over 40 receptions. He should be a great start again this week at home against a Dallas defense that has greatly over performed en route to a 4-1 start.
Giovani Bernard, CAR @ CIN, $7,700 – After a down game in last week’s blowout at Foxboro, it is somewhat of a surprise to find Bernard at 3rd on the salary list. Returning home should remedy the situation against a Panthers defense that has not been nearly as intimidating as last year. The lone bright spot in his performance last week, is posting his highest YPC average of the year. Look for a rebound performance coming off a bad loss on Sunday Night Football. With A.J. Green doubtful, expect the Bengals to focus heavily on their running game.
DeMarco Murray, DAL @ SEA, $7,600 – Murray’s early season MVP campaign continued last week as he notched his 5th consecutive 100 yard rushing performance. After 5 weeks, his lead in the NFL rushing race is nearly 200 yards. Perhaps the only reason he is not priced above $8,000 is the fact that he is headed to Seattle against a defense that just held Alfred Morris to 27 total yards on 14 touches. The Seahawks defense certainly presents a challenge, but it’s hard to bet against Murray after this incredible start.
Le’Veon Bell, PIT @ CLE, $7,200 – Bell remained the NFL’s 2nd leading rusher after his performance against the Jaguars last week, with 460 rushing yards. He has been a staple of consistency so far, never finishing any contest with less than 107 all-purpose yards. He has the opportunity for an encore performance against the Browns, where he went off for nearly 200 yards, 6 catches and a touchdown in Week 1.
Five Mid-Priced Running Backs
Eddie Lacy, GB @ MIA, $6,300 – The much-hyped bruiser out of Alabama finally gave fantasy owners what they had been waiting for, with his first double-digit scoring effort of the year. After never averaging over 3.3 YPC in a single game, Lacy exploded finishing with 8.1 YPC. He also scored twice, exhibiting impressive acceleration where he changed direction from a standstill to find the endzone. Lacy should benefit from an extended week and the confidence gained from his dominant performance against the Vikings.
Ben Tate, PIT @ CLE, $5,500 – In his first full game with the Browns, Tate quickly re-established himself in his return from a knee injury with 124 yards on the ground. He was not eased into action at all either, as he toted the ball 22 times, compared to a combined 13 carries for backups Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell. Emerging as the bell-cow back, it appears the job is his to lose as long as he stays healthy. He has a nice home matchup against Pittsburgh who yielded 173 yards to Cleveland RBs in Week 1.
Branden Oliver, SD @ OAK, $5,500 – In our DraftKings Millionaire Maker contest last weekend, Oliver was started in 0.07% of entries and outscored all RBs with 37.2 points. A week later, his price is up $2,500 and trends from bottom of the barrel obscurity to the 13th highest RB salary. In a monster effort, Oliver racked up 182 total yards with 4 catches and 2 TDs. He also showcased his breakaway ability twice rumbling for 50 or more yards. With a visit to Oakland up next, he has a great opportunity for this production to continue.
Andre Williams, NYG @ PHI, $5,400 – With Rashard Jennings out with a knee sprain, Williams gets a prime opportunity as the feature back on Sunday Night Football. Last year’s Doak Walker Award winner as the top collegiate RB, Williams is a bruising north-to-south runner with a nose for the endzone. He has scored the last two games while also carrying the ball 35 times, proving he can handle a heavy workload. With the Eagles yielding 4.2 YPC against RBs this season, Williams should be a popular start this week.
Andre Ellington, WAS @ ARI, $5,100 – After a breakout performance, it is surprising to see Ellington priced at a $500 discount from last week. In Week 5, he added an 81-yard receiving TD to his highlight reel, on his way to 144 total yards and 2 scores. Granted he did most of his damage in the passing game, but the key here is that Ellington may be close to putting his health issues behind him. He is a homerun threat whenever he touches the ball.
Five Low-Priced Value Running Backs
Frank Gore, SF @ STL, $4,800 – In response to a Week 3 dud, the ageless vet rushed for over 100 yards in each of his last 2 contests. Despite all the Niners’ attempts to find his successor through the draft, Gore has continued to silence his critics. Often overlooked, you can start Gore at $4,000 less than the top RB option. He will clearly get his opportunities against the Rams and has averaged 22 touches in the past 2 weeks. Pretty solid workload for an RB priced outside of the Top 20.
Knowshon Moreno, GB @ MIA, $4,200 – After a big Week 1 effort off the bench, where he rushed for 134 yards, Moreno dislocated his elbow the following week and has been sidelined ever since. Although he is somewhat of a speculative play to suit up this weekend, he would be a bargain at $1,500 less than his Week 2 price. If he is unable to go, Lamar Miller ($5,800) could be a strong play with a heavy workload at home.
Steven Jackson, CHI @ ATL, $4,100 – Despite the Falcons rotating through 4 different RBs, Jackson is the first one called upon and has been their threat at the goal line as well. He has managed to find the endzone in 2 of the past 3 games, and last week was utilized in the passing game with 5 catches. He certainly provides value at a low price point, and faces a Bears defense that has given up 4.4 YPC this season.
Stevan Ridley, NE @ BUF, $3,700 – Ridley has had an up and down season, seemingly as a result of differing gameplans. Through 5 weeks, he has had 3 games with 19 or more carries, while he was barely involved in the other 2 games. Not surprisingly, these performances directly correlate with the wins and losses in New England’s 3-2 start. If the Patriots can get off to an early lead, Ridley could be heavily involved at the minimal price tag of almost $5,000 less than Matt Forte.
Jerick McKinnon, DET @ MIN, $3,400 – McKinnon is hard to project because talent-wise it seems that the sky is the limit, yet his workload has been surprisingly low for his big play ability. In his last home game, McKinnon exploded to 135 rushing yards on 7.5 YPC against the Falcons. This performance also occurred in Teddy Bridgewater‘s first career start and he will be back in action after sitting out last week with an ankle injury. McKinnon is a high risk-reward play priced just above the $3,000 RB threshold.