Over the last 4 weeks, Matt Forte and DeMarco Murray have been our highest price RBs, each earning this distinction twice. The unique part is that both have ascended to the highest RB salaries of 2014, as the first RBs priced above $9,000 since Jamaal Charles in Week 1. The premium on these two backs is so significant that Arian Foster is the 3rd highest salary, priced over $1,000 less than each of them.
Five Highest Priced Running Backs
DeMarco Murray, NYG @ DAL, $9,600 – Entering Week 7, it makes sense that Murray is our highest priced RB of the year with an opportunity to break Hall of Famer Jim Brown’s record of 6 consecutive 100-yard rushing games to start a season. Murray tied this record last week, and with his current workload he is on pace for 424 carries, which would be another record over another Hall of Famer, Eric Dickerson. The fact that he is even in these discussions should secure him a spot in your lineup regardless of price, as he continues to chase history.
Matt Forte, MIA @ CHI, $9,400 – Despite Murray’s record-setting pace, Forte has been equally impressive from a PPR standpoint as reflected in his price. Over the past 2 weeks, Forte has caught 22 balls putting him on a ridiculous pace for 123 receptions, which would be good for 2nd most in NFL history during a single-season. He is essentially producing at the rate of 2 players with almost 400 yards both rushing and receiving. Ride the wave while you can because it’s hard to imagine any production continuing like this.
Arian Foster, HOU @ PIT, $8,300 – Since returning from injury, Foster has been a beast rushing for over 100 yards and 2 TDs in each of the last 2 games. Add in his receiving numbers and he has hovered around 30 PPG over this span. When active, he has been nearly as impressive as Murray, with 100-plus rushing yards in each of the 4 games he has completed. Expect another 20-25 touches as Houston travels to Pittsburgh for Monday Night Football.
Giovani Bernard, CIN @ IND, $7,800 – With A.J. Green missing his first game with a toe injury, the Bengals focused their energy on the run and Bernard went off for 137 yards and a score on the ground. This was the first time he topped 100 rushing yards, which trends well for this weekend as Green is expected out again. Bernard should also see an uptick in receptions in a game that figures to be a high scoring affair in Indy.
Marshawn Lynch, SEA @ STL, $7,100 – In the Seahawks Week 6 loss to the Cowboys, Lynch and Russell Wilson combined for just 200 all-purpose yards. This was hardly Lynch’s fault as he still averaged over 6 YPC, and it was the first game he has been held out of the endzone. Percy Harvin has also been traded to the Jets, which should make Lynch even more of a focus. He had 6 TDs in his first 4 games and looks to get back on track against a porous Rams run defense.
Five Mid-Priced Running Backs
Jamaal Charles, KC @ SD, $6,700 – The bye came at a great time for Charles who has battled an ankle injury early and should finally be getting back to full strength. He showcased his playmaking ability in Week 4 against the Patriots notching 3 TDs while not even at 100 percent. He now faces an overhyped Chargers team that despite their 5-1 record have surrendered 4.7 YPC to RBs. Another big day could be in store for Charles this week in San Diego.
Ben Tate, CLE @ JAX, $5,300 – Since returning from a knee sprain in Week 1, Tate has emerged as the bell-cow back the Browns expecting when signing him this offseason. Over the past 2 games, he has averaged 24 carries, 101 yards, and a TD leading the Browns to back-to-back wins. Now he heads to Jacksonville to face an 0-6 team still searching for its identity. Tate is bound to be a popular pick this week against the Jaguars and is priced affordably at $4,300 less than the top RB option.
Lamar Miller, MIA @ CHI, $5,300 – With Knowshon Moreno out for the year, Miller is the lead back in Miami and has taken advantage of his opportunity scoring 3 TDs in the past 2 games. Miller is also rushing at over 5 YPC and has chipped in with 15 receptions. Fairly good production for a player that figures to get the redzone carries in Miami.
Eddie Lacy, CAR @ GB, $4,700 – Lacy’s price has plummeted $1,600 since last week, making him an affordable option this week at almost half the price of DeMarco Murray. Lacy hasn’t had a great start but certainly has the potential to get it going and has been running with more intensity as of late. Week 5 was his best game scoring 2 TDs and rushing for over 100 yards. He shouldn’t get much cheaper than this.
Jerick McKinnon, MIN @ BUF, $4,700 -McKinnon’s touches have increased significantly over the past 3 games and he is far more explosive than Matt Asiata. The Vikings managed only 3 points last week and need offensive weapons like McKinnon. The 3rd rounder from Georgia Southern produced 6 receptions out of the backfield last week and has a chance for his first NFL TD in Buffalo. He is priced the same as Lacy and certainly has big play potential.
Five Low-Priced Value Running Backs
Andre Williams, NYG @ DAL, $4,400 – Williams managed only 59 yards rushing last week and was held out of the endzone in his first start, but the Giants were behind the entire game and were ultimately shutout in Philadelphia. If their offense can get it going early Williams will certainly get the carries and redzone touches with Rashad Jennings out. He is not a threat in the passing game but has upside in his TD value.
Jeremy Hill, CIN @ IND, $4,300 – Hill Ickey Shuffled himself to the 3rd TD of his rookie campaign and has carved out a nice role for himself in Cincinnati. With A.J. Green likely out again, the emphasis will once again be on the running game with Hill and Giovani Bernard. Another good sign is his involvement in the passing game with 7 catches in the last 2 games.
Bishop Sankey, TEN @ WAS, $3,900 – With Shonn Greene doubtful, Sankey theoretically should see more touches, but coach Ken Whisenhunt has been hard to predict. Despite rushing 18 times last week, Jackie Battle got the ball on the goal line scoring on his only carry. Sankey finished with only 68 yards but his increased touches create a strong value as the 37th priced RB.
Juwan Thompson, SF @ DEN, $3,000 – The undrafted rookie from Duke, who has been a Special Teams contributor from the beginning, has the same north to south running style that made Knowshon Moreno successful with the Broncos last year. With Montee Ball out again, Thompson will share carries with Ronnie Hillman who got the most opportunities last week. Thompson is a flier with TD upside that gives the Broncos a big body in the redzone, and is priced at the RB minimum.
Tre Mason, SEA @ STL, $3,000 – The Heisman finalist out of Auburn finally saw his first action last week, carrying it 5 times for 40 yards and adding a 12-yard catch. Although a very speculative play, Mason demonstrated his explosiveness and had a solid debut. With the Rams seeming to scale back Zac Stacy, spelling him with Benny Cunningham, they could also continue exploring what they have in their 3rd round pick. He is also at the RB minimum.