Week 1: DraftKings Running Back Report

Le’Veon Bell

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$9,800PIT@CLE 01:00PM ET26.2933.653.43

Despite playing only 12 games, Bell finished as the third highest scoring running back in PPR leagues in 2016. He averaged 28 touches per game with exceptional value in the passing game (75/616/2 on 94 targets). If he played 16 games, Le’Veon was on pace for 2,512 combined yards with 100 catches and 12 TDs or 411.2 Fantasy points in PPR leagues. His only missing link compared to the great seasons by the top running backs in NFL history is impactful TDs. Bell was a beast over his last seven games of the season (175 combined yards per game with nine TDs and 45 catches). In his only games against the Browns, Le’Veon had 201 combined yards with a TD and eight catches. Cleveland allowed the second most Fantasy points to RBs in 2016 with two teams scoring over 40 Fantasy points in PPR league. The Browns have a chance to be improved on defense this year, but they need to keep the Steelers’ offense off the field to keep Bell at a reasonable total. The only strike for Le’Veon is him holding out until September. This path tends to lead to injuries. Best matchup on the board based on data.

David Johnson

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$9,400ARI@DET 01:00PM ET26.6128.713.05

Johnson had over 100 combined yards in his first 15 games of 2016 before suffering an injury in Week 17. He finished with eight games with two TDs or more and three catches or more in each game. The offense in Arizona flows through him while his game has 100 catch upside. David averaged 25 touches in his 15 full games played while gaining massive yards per catch (11.0). The Lions were league average vs. RBs in 2016 (16th) with RBs catching 85 passes for 669 yards and three TDs. Stud of studs with an elite opportunity. He needs the second TD to post a winning score, which has a 50 percent chance of coming in.

LeSean McCoy

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$8,200NYJ@BUF 01:00PM ET21.2932.822.78

McCoy is at his best when at home. Last year he had five of his seven 100-yard rushing games and 11 of his 14 TDs at home. In his one full game vs. the Jets, he had 91 combined yards and four catches. In his second game, McCoy was knocked out of the game with an injury after 14 plays. The Jets finished 10th in the league against the RB position. Buffalo has weakness at WR so New York will push up their safeties to force Tyrod to beat them with his arm. Typically a great play at home, but he’s priced extremely high out of the gate.

Ezekiel Elliott

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$8,100NYG@DAL 08:30PM ET22.7325.713.17

I’m going with the idea that Elliott plays in Week 1. In his two games vs. the Giants in his rookie season, Ezekiel had 159 combined yards with one catch and no TDs. He finished with seven games with over 100 yards rushing and 16 TDs in his 15 games played while averaging 23.6 touches per game. His next step is increasing his value in the passing game (32/363/1). Elliott is a super back with elite scoring ability. New York has the sixth best defense against RBs with only one team scoring over 30 Fantasy points in a PPR leagues. This isn’t a great matchup so he’ll need to be active in the passing game to be in play.

DeMarco Murray

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$7,400OAK@TEN 01:00PM ET19.3618.462.50

Murray paid off in his first five starts in 2016 thanks to his much lower salary. He finished last year as the fifth highest scoring RB in PPR leagues while holding off the explosive Derrick Henry. There’s no doubt DeMarco can play at a high level in the NFL. A hamstring injury in August did open up the door for Henry to gain more momentum. This season his opportunity has to take a step back and Derrick may steal his TD thunder. The Raiders struggled to defend RBs in 2016 (23rd) plus the Titans have depth in their receiving core. Tennessee will score in this game, but a $7400 salary commands over 30 Fantasy points. Too pricy for me.

Devonta Freeman

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$7,000ATL@CHI 01:00PM ET18.4420.242.89

Freeman battled a concussion issue in August. He’s been clear to play in Week 1. In 2016, Devonta only had two games with over 100 yards rushing due to Tevin Coleman play at a high level as well. He flashed more value as a pass catcher in 2015 (73/578/3) while almost repeating his value in the run game (1079/11). Last year the Falcons’ scored a ton of points creating plenty of chances. The Bears played better than expect vs. the RB position in 2016 (5th in the NFL in Fantasy points allowed in PPR leagues). Nice player, but he can’t match the top RBs in touches.

Jay Ajayi

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$6,500TB@MIA 01:00PM ET14.7418.802.89

There’s no doubt that Ajayi has explosiveness in his game after posted three games with over 200 yards rushing in 2016. If he can add pass catches to his resume, which he showed in college (50/535/4 in 2014), the Dolphins will have their hands on an impact back. His success over the last 11 games projected over 16 games would be 333 rushes for 1680 yards, 10 TDs, 28 catches, and 156 receiving yards. Tampa ended up 22nd in the NFL in Fantasy points allowed to RBs with one team scoring over 40 Fantasy points. Miami has talent on offense so they should push the issue on the scoreboard creating scoring chances for Jay. For him to be in play at this level, he needs more value in the passing game.

Jordan Howard

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$6,300ATL@CHI 01:00PM ET16.8120.053.18

Over the last 13 games of 2016, Howard averaged over 20 touches per game. He had better than expected value in the passing game (29/298/1) based on his college resume (24 catches for 261 yards and three TDs over 32 games). Jordan had seven games with over 100 yards rushing while needing to improve his TD production (6). Atlanta did get beat up in the run game a few times last year leading to a 26th place finish in Fantasy points allowed in PPR leagues. His high salary will command over 25 Fantasy points.

Darren McFadden

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$6,100NYG@DAL 01:00PM ET3.355.200.85

If Elliott is ruled out for Week 1, McFadden should have the biggest share of the running game. He has pass catching ability, but he may lose goal line carries to Alfred Morris. The Cowboys have the best offensive line in the league so Darren could be in play. DraftKings did inflate his salary so he’s far for a layup. My gut tells me Ezekiel plays so this talk is all for not.

Todd Gurley

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$6,000IND@LAR 04:05PM ET12.4527.194.53

Are you ready to get your Gurley on? The Rams’ offense should be much improved and Todd will be running behind a better offensive line. Even in a down season in 2016, he averaged over 20 touches per game. He showed growth in the passing game (43/327) and scoring ability in his rookie season (10 TDs in 13 games. Gurley is a three-down back playing in favorable matchup. The Colts allowed the fifth most Fantasy points to RBs in PPR leagues in 2016 with two disaster games. Todd is the top value RB play in Week 1.

Ty Montgomery

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$5,800SEA@GB 04:25PM ET10.1815.082.60

Of all the RBs drafts this summer, Montgomery is the player with the widest range of outcomes. I love the upside of his pass catching ability out of the backfield, but he may lose some carries at the goal line and on short yardage plays. Ty needs to prove he can stay healthy, which will be tougher with more pounding in the run game. He has the size (6’0″ and 216 lbs.) to play in the backfield while lacking the resume. Montgomery has the sickle-cell trait that slows down the recovery from some injuries. John Brown had a tough time with this in 2016 and it limited him this summer. This alone would keep me way from Ty in the draft season. Seattle had the second best RB Fantasy defense in 2016 so this isn’t the best matchup. Talented player, but I would fade him in Week 1.

Leonard Fournette

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$5,700JAX@HOU 01:00PM ET0.0013.812.42

Over 25 games at LSU, Fournette rushed for 3830 yards with 40 rushing TDs. He caught 41 passes for 526 yards and a TD. His success was highlighted by his 2,206 combined yards with 23 TDs and 19 catches over 12 games in 2015. Fournette had a great start to the 2016 season (764 combined yards with five TDs and 12 catches) over four games. Alabama shut him down in Week 5 (43 combined yards with 18 touches). An ankle injury in the seventh week ended his year. Leonard is going to threaten the defense on many plays when he breaks into the second level. He runs with a shimmy at the line of scrimmage, which gives him two area quickness where he can finish with power or hit the gas to daylight. Fournette has all the tools to be an impact back in the NFL with underlying pass catching skills (12.8 yards per catch). Last season the Jaguars ran the ball only 333 times from the RB position for 1274 yards (3.8 yards per rush) and five TDs. Their backs caught 77 passes for 555 yards and two TDs. I love his movements on tape and the Jaguars’ offensive line is better than I expected. Leonard is going to hit the ground running and he’ll offer more upside than Shaun Alexander in his prime once this offense develops. Jacksonville will give him the ball early and often. I’m seeing 350+ rushes with 25+ catches for 1800+ yards and 12+ TDs. And yes, I believe….Even with some injury news in August, he should be a full go in Week 1. The Texans have a top defense with J.J. Watts back in the lineup. Tough play for me in the daily games.

Joe Mixon

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$5,500BAL@CIN 01:00PM ET0.0017.943.26

Over his freshman and sophomore seasons at Oklahoma, Joe gained 2921 combined yards on 365 touches with 65 catches and 26 TDs. Joe will be a great receiver in the passing game. He brings a solid stiff arm to help him break tackles in the open field while offering the size to be a factor at the goal line. Pass protection shouldn’t be an issue. In 2016, Cinci ran the ball 400 times from the RB position leading to 1585 yards and 14 TDs. In addition, their backs caught 77 passes for 655 yards and a TD on 99 targets. There is a huge opportunity for a RB here if one man gets the bulk of touches. Mixon comes with some off the field baggage, which has run its course for the Bengals. There’s a lot to like here and the opportunity is much better than most would believe. Joe clearly has 50+ catch upside if Bernard has a slow recovery form his knee issue. I’ll say it this way, Mixon is a better version of Hill and Bernard combined. He will command the ball. Something along the lines of 250 touches for 1300+ yards with 10+ TDs and 50+ catches seems like a fair starting point. Do I dare say he outpoints both Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey? Joe will be a top 10 pick in the 2018 draft season. With Hill nicked up and Bernard’s status still in limbo, Joe should have a high volume opportunity in Week 1. Priced to payoff if the injury report works in his favor.

Derrick Henry

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$5,500OAK@TEN 01:00PM ET6.6114.922.71

Henry will have to work a lot harder to have success in the NFL as his window to break long runs will be much smaller. He has excellent size (6’3” and 247 lbs.) with more speed and quickness than meets the eye. Derrick runs with patience while following his blockers until he sees daylight. His stiff arm will offer an edge at the second and third level of the defense while his vision is better than expected. In his junior season at Alabama, Henry rushed for 2219 yards on 395 carries, which led to 28 rushing TDs. The Tide barely used him in the passing game (11/91), but he did make a couple of big plays catching the ball in 2013 and 2014 (six catches for 194 yards and three TDs). Even with a ton of touches (406), Derrick had low mileage in his college career (602/3591/42 with 17 catches for 285 yards and three TDs). His opportunity never developed in 2016 due to Murray playing a high level. Derrick finished with 123 touches for 627 yards, five TDs, and 13 catches. He only had one game with more than 20 touches (97 combined yards with a TD and four catches). Derrick gained 4.5 yards per rush and 10.5 yards per catch compared to 4.4 and 7.1 by DeMarco. Greatness waiting to happen while his floor raises to 200+ touches in 2017 for 1000+ yards and sneaky value in TDs. If Murray goes down with an injury, Henry will be a top 10 back at the minimum. He will enter Week 1 in a split role while his opportunity should be higher than 2016 out of the gate.

Tevin Coleman

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$5,400ATL@CHI 01:00PM ET15.0914.382.66

Last year the Falcons had a top five rushing attack with Coleman being the second option off the bench. Over two seasons in the league, Tevin missed seven games. Last year he make multiple big plays in the passing game (31/421/3), which increases his all around value. His Fantasy points per touch (1.28) in PPR leagues was better than David Johnson (1.08) and Le’Veon Bell (0.95). Split role with explosiveness while only getting 10-12 touches per game.

Christian McCaffrey

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$5,400CAR@SF 04:25PM ET0.0023.284.31

The Panthers weren’t the same team offensively in 2016. Was it Cam’s right shoulder, his head, or even lack of play makers at WR? Their RBs had 362 rushes for 1451 yards (4.01 yards per rush) with 11 rushing TDs. The downside here is Carolina’s backs only caught 44 passes for 369 yards and a TD on 69 targets. McCaffrey had a great season in 2015 at Stanford where he touched the ball 382 times for 2,401 yards and 21 TDs plus 45 catches. He missed a couple of games last year leading to a drop-off in production (1,913 combined yards with 16 TDs and 37 catches). This isn’t a third down back. Some have compared him to LeSean McCoy due to his open field ability and speed. McCoy gets the nickname “Shady” so Christian may earn the handle “Daylight”. When he sees a hole, he is going to be explosive. I don’t think the Panthers will write off Jonathan Stewart out of the gate, but I’m sure he’ll limp his way out of the picture. The Panthers will throw the ball much more to the RB position in 2017, but Curtis Samuel will steal some of those targets as well. Christian’s floor should be about 50 passes for 450+ yards in the passing game. Carolina should use him on sprint outs at the goal line with Cam controlling the TDs in the middle of the field. Over the whole season, McCaffrey will get a minimum of 200 rushes with his best success coming late in the year. The overall package of Newton will create more open space for him in the run game. I’ll give him 4.5 yards per rush. Christian is in position for 900+ rushing yards with eight to ten TDs. He runs with patience with a trip step where he gets a defender flat footed leading to Christian breaking free in open space. McCaffrey has a way of running parallel to the line of scrimmage just waiting for the moment to turn on the juice to cut to daylight where he has enough speed to score long TDs. McCaffrey needs to improve in pass protection while falling short in the power department. This game is almost a return home for him after playing his college ball at Stanford. I expect a TD and plenty of action on all downs.

Isaiah Crowell

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$5,300PIT@CLE 01:00PM ET13.6917.623.27

Crowell is a rising player, but it’s tough investing in Browns’ players in the Fantasy games until they show increased scoring. Last year Isiah showed he had value in the passing game (40/319), but he still has the a better pass receiver behind him on the depth chart. The Steelers shut him down at home (23 combined yards with five catches) while paying them back on the road in Week 17 (168 combined yards with three catches). Pittsburgh struggled vs. the RB position in 2016 (27th) with three teams scoring over 40 Fantasy points in PPR leagues. His value and upside is tied to the play of a rookie QB. Cleveland has talent on the offensive line so he may play well.

Marshawn Lynch

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$5,300OAK@TEN 01:00PM ET0.0019.373.65

Last year the Raiders’ RBs rushed for 1857 yards with 17 rushing TDs plus 95 catches for 843 yards and three more TDs. There is a great opportunity for a RB with the Raiders and they have a top offensive line. Lynch is power runner with scoring ability while still being a viable option in the passing game. He’s an upper tier RB2 in the season long games and I bet he beats a lot of the rookie RBs in 2017. Last year Oakland had 143 combined yards with a TD and three catches vs. the Titans on the road. Tennessee played well defending RBs in 2016 (3rd), which means this isn’t a great matchup. In his last couple of seasons in Seattle, Marshawn had the most success scoring TDs at home. Undervalued in price based on his opportunity and scoring ability while being a lower percentage own due to matchup. Let’s shoot for the stars here even with a touch matchup.

Danny Woodhead

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$5,200BAL@CIN 01:00PM ET13.5515.042.89

Woodhead drew a wide range of opinions in July and August in the season long drafts. Many thought he would catch a ton of passes with some value on early downs. I fear his age (33) plus his durability after missing major parts of two of the last three seasons. Danny did suffer a hamstring in mid-August leading to a questionable tag headed into Week 1. RBs had 94 catches for 670 yards and three TDs vs. the Bengals in 2016. I expect Cinci to play well offensively leading to Danny being active in the passing game if he’s cleared to play.

Lamar Miller

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$5,100JAX@HOU 01:00PM ET14.3916.713.28

Miller has developed a rotten smell in the month of August in the season long drafts. No one will fight for him leading to him sliding well below his expected draft value while many Fantasy owners shop in the New Kids on the Block aisle. As bad as he was in 2016, Lamar was still the 19th highest scoring RB in PPR leagues after placing 6th and 9th in his last two seasons in Miami. Despite only playing in 14 games last year, Miller had 1261 combined yards with 31 catches and six TDs. In his two games against the Jaguars in 2016, Lamar had 172 combined yards with two catches and a TD. Last year Jacksonville ranked 13th RB Fantasy defense. Part of failure came as a result of poor QB play. This season he may lose the short yardage and goal line carries to D’Onta Foreman. He falls into last year’s bum category, which means the light should be green in Week 1. Three down back with a chance at 20+ touches. I do respect the Jaguars’ defense, which will be improved in 2017. Against the grain play.

Eddie Lacy

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$5,000SEA@GB 04:25PM ET9.167.101.42

If you want an angle play, Lacy will be playing against his former team. I’m sure Seattle will do their best to get him a touchdown. The Seahawks brought him in because they want to reestablish a power running game. The key to his value in Week 1 will be the health of Rawls. Last year the Packers were 8th in the league defending the RB position. I’m one of the few that believes he’ll have a productive 2017 season. More of a gamble with two players pulling at his opportunity.

Jonathan Stewart

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$5,000CAR@SF 04:25PM ET11.6511.512.30

Mr. Stewart will have a lot more competition for snaps in 2017 with Christian McCaffrey added to the roster. Jon projects as the early down back with some value at the goal line. The Panthers will limit the runs of Newton out of the gate due to his offseason shoulder surgery. Stewart fits in the grinder mold while most will be drawn to the 49ers poor play vs. the run in 2016 (2439 rushing yards and 25 rushing TDs). San Fran has plenty of injuries on defense last year while adding some talent in the offseason. This is far from a layup when you add in a new coaching staff. Only mid-teens upside if he scores.

Bilal Powell

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$4,900NYJ@BUF 01:00PM ET12.7514.442.95

Powell has been a key player in the season long games in 2015 and 2016 due to his success in the championship rounds of the playoffs. His best value last year came over the last four games of the season (557 combined yards with three TDs and 21 catches), which had a Le’Veon Bell or David Johnson feel if projected over 16 games. In his one full game vs. the Bills in 2016, he had 137 combined yards with a TD and three catches. Buffalo ranked 24th in the NFL defending RBs in the Fantasy market with two poor games over the last three games of the season (Week 15 – 52.40 Fantasy points in PPR leagues and Week 17 – 46.60 Fantasy points). If Forte gets his walking papers, Bilal will get a nice bump in chances. Not quite a top play, but viable if the news breaks in his favor.

Jacquizz Rodgers

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$4,900TB@MIA 01:00PM ET9.689.141.87

Rodgers will assume the starting RB job in Tampa in Week 1. Jacquizz flashed in two games in 2016 (129 combined yards with five catches and 163 combined yards with a catch). Out of the gate, he’ll see about two-thirds of the carries on early downs while Charles Sims sees the bulk of the action in the passing game. Miami ranked 20th in the league vs. the RB position in 2016 with no disaster games. More risk than reward plus Tampa needs to prove they can run block inside the 10 yard line.

Matt Forte

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$4,800NYJ@BUF 01:00PM ET13.6112.562.62

The end is near for Matt Forte and there’s been talk that Jets may cut him before the start of the season. He’s still listed at the top of the depth chart with Bilal Powell ready to steal his job. Matt battled a hamstring injury in early August while looking healthy now. He had a monster game last season in Buffalo (109 combined yards with three TDs and two catches). Even if he sticks in New York, he’ll be in a split role out of the gate.

Doug Martin

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$4,800TB@MIA 01:00PM ET10.810.000.00

Martin will miss the first three games of the season.

Thomas Rawls

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$4,800SEA@GB 04:25PM ET9.8310.672.22

The anti Eddie Lacy crowd jumped on Rawls late in July in the early draft season, but he suffered an ankle injury to help cloudy the RB situation for Seattle. The Seahawks are going with the tag line that Thomas is a co-starter while both early options should be overlooked on passing downs if Prosise is healthy. I need to see how this plays out on the field before taking a stance in one camp.

Terrance West

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$4,700BAL@CIN 01:00PM ET10.8810.072.14

Even with even 1010 combined yards with six TDs and 34 catches in 2016, West had 50 yards or fewer rushing in 11 of his 16 games with about one-third of his production coming over a three game stretch from Week 4 to Week 6 (325 combined yards with three TDs and six catches). In his two games vs. the Bengals, Terrance had 99 combined yards with seven catches. On the positive side, Cinci will be playing without their top linebacker (Vontaze Burfict – suspension). Last year the Bengals allowed 4.38 yards per rush to RBs with eight TDs. At best, he’s in a split role with boring upside.

Theo Riddick

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$4,700ARI@DET 01:00PM ET16.1811.222.39

Riddick had a career high 92 rushes in 2016 due to the injury to Abdullah while seeing a 50 percent drop in his catches (53 – 80 in 2015) due to six games missed with a pair of wrist injuries that required surgery. Theo tends to be a five catch guy with some scoring ability. His chances on early downs will be less in 2017. The Lions held him out of the first two preseason games to give his injuries more time to heel. Great receiver who can deliver a 20+ point game if game score gets out of line. Seems overpriced for me out of the gate.

Duke Johnson

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$4,600PIT@CLE 01:00PM ET9.0812.502.72

Johnson is getting plenty of press this summer as the Browns want to get him more involved in the passing game, which may lead to chances in the slot. In 2016, Duke had regression in both carries (73 – 104 in 2015) and catches (53 – 61 in 2015) with continued struggles scoring TDs (one – three in his career over 32 games). In his one full game vs. the Steelers, Johnson had 56 combined yards with three catches. Last year RBs caught 82 catches for 787 yards and five TDs against Pittsburgh with three teams gaining over 100 yards from the RB position in the passing game (CIN – 12/137/1, PHI – 6/128/1, and DAL – 3/101/1). The Steelers should score so Duke will have above average targets while needing to hit pay dirt to payoff.

Carlos Hyde

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$4,600CAR@SF 04:25PM ET15.4715.873.45

For the daily owners, Hyde has come in the first week of the season in 2015 (182 combined yards and two TDs and two catches) and 2016 (93 combined yards with two TDs and two catches). His big game in 2015 pushed a team I had in the Million Dollar Maker at DraftKings from 2nd ($1,000,000 in winnings) to 21st. Headed into the fourth quarter, I still had a shot at $100,000, but he rushed for over 75 yards and a TD over the last quarter. Carlos has TD ability plus he can catch the ball out of the backfield. In Week 2 vs. the Panthers on the road, Hyde had 52 combined yards with three catches. Carolina ranked 18th in the league vs. the RB position in 2016 with two teams scoring over 40 Fantasy points (Week 1 – 47.70 and Week 17 – 40.90) in PPR leagues. The change in coaching staff should benefit him while the Panthers do have a solid front seven. Let’s try to hit the trifecta as his salary remains favorable.

Giovanni Bernard

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$4,500BAL@CIN 01:00PM ET12.630.000.00

In mid-November, Bernard blew out his left ACL that required surgery. A perfect recovery would put him on track to play in September, but teams tends to limit RB touches early in the season with these types of injuries. The addition of Mixon will help the Bengals take a slow path with Gio. He had over 1000 combined yards in each of his first three seasons in the league. Bernard has 187 catches and 20 TDs over 55 career games. Very good option in the passing game when healthy with value on early downs. I don’t expect much from him in Week 1 if he plays.

James Conner

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$4,500PIT@CLE 01:00PM ET0.003.290.73

When watching the highlights of Conner, he looked to have the movements of a quarterback running the ball (Steve McNair was my though) with a full backs mentality yet he had deceiving long speed. His footwork is choppy but driving while running with a high style. Over about three seasons at Pitt in college, James rushed for 3733 yards on 668 carries with 56 TDs and minimal value in the passing game (30/412/4). He missed most of the 2015 season due to a successful battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer. Tricky player for Fantasy owners in 2017. He’s not good enough to be a DeAngelo Williams type of backup for Bell, but he could get in the way in short yardage and goal line carries. I don’t even want to suggest it, but there is that chance. At the very least, his draft value will be wide enough to secure him at reasonable price point to handcuff Bell.

LeGarrette Blount

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$4,500PHI@WAS 01:00PM ET14.536.741.50

In the rap world, Phat is positive word. On the football field, it points to job loss risk. Blount could be a roster cut casualty next week while Smallwood steals his job. Goal line runner who has the best value when playing from the lead. Too many “if” in his profile to take him to the daily dance in Week 1.

Jeremy Hill

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$4,400BAL@CIN 01:00PM ET12.155.371.22

Hill suffered an ankle injury in the third preseason game so Fantasy owner won’t have an update on his status until the injury report comes out next week. The Bengals tried their best to pump up his name and value over the summer with possibly the thought of moving him. Joe Mixon is the future while Giovani Bernard may not be ready for Week 1. Really need more info. I expect him to see some action if his ankle isn’t major concern, but the best option in Cinci in Week 1 will be the pass catching back. In 2016, Jeremy had 82 combined yards vs. Baltimore with six catches (season high).

Alfred Morris

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$4,400NYG@DAL 08:30PM ET2.890.000.00

If Elliott can’t play in Week 1 due to his suspension, Morris will have a chance see carries on early downs. This situation will remain in flux until next week. I expect Ezekiel to play so Alfred should have no value.

Ameer Abdullah

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$4,300ARI@DET 01:00PM ET13.4o13.993.25

In Week 1 in 2016, Abdullah had 120 combined yards with five catches and a TD vs. the Colts. His season ended in Week 2 after 17 plays. He’ll be the early down back plus add value in the passing game. The Cardinals play man coverage so their CBs will have their backs to the RBs on many plays when the ball is in the air. Last year RBs only caught 65 passes for 385 yards and two TDs vs. Arizona as they were one of the top teams in the league defending RBs in the passing game. In addition, they only allowed 3.3 yards per rush, but RBs scored 12 rushing TDs. The loss of Calais Campbell (signed with the Jaguars) is going to create a big void on this defense. The Cardinals’ best two players in coverage are Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu so Stafford will try to exploit his edge in the passing game at RB. Ameer has a chance at 20+ Fantasy point with a TD.

Rob Kelley

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$4,300PHI@WAS 01:00PM ET9.0410.592.46

Kelley held off Perine in the preseason, but his game isn’t strong enough to hold onto the starting job all season. In 2016, Rob had 88 combined yards with a TD and two catches in his full game against the Eagles which came on the road. Looking back, Kelley only had one playable game (24/137/3) in the daily space while starting the last nine games of the season. Philly gave up 1428 yards rushing to RBs in 2016 on 324 carries with nine TDs. Possible TD with 20 rushes if the Redskins plays from the lead, but will it be enough.

Frank Gore

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$4,300IND@LAR 04:05PM ET13.8313.573.16

Gore is what he is…an aging RB who needs volume of touches and TDs to be in play. I don’t believe Andrew Luck will start in Week 1 so the Colts’ offense gets a downgrade for me. I expect Frank to get between 15 and 20 touches so he’ll have his chances. The Rams were league average defending RBs in 2016 with one disaster game (NO – 286 combined yards with three TDs and four catches). Gore is not my kind of play in Week 1.

Paul Perkins

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$9,800NYG@DAL 08:30PM ET5.909.852.29

Over three seasons at UCLA, Perkins rushed for 3,488 yards with 29 rushing TDs while catching 80 balls for another 739 yards and three TDs. His best success came in his sophomore year (1773 combined yards with 11 TDs and 26 catches). His skill set gives him a chance to be a three down back thanks to his vision, quickness, and overall speed. Perkins has some wiggle in the open field while knowing how to make defenders become flat footed leading to more yardage. His cutting ability and small area acceleration will lead to long runs at times and he has enough finishing speed to score long TDs. Perkins just needs to run with more power between the tackles to create more playing time. He has enough strength to give himself a fighter’s chance in pass protection. In his rookie season, Paul had 618 combined yards with no TDs and 15 catches. He finished with 127 touches. Perkins made a big play in the passing game in Week 4 (2/72) plus flashed his upside in Week 17 (21/102). This season he’ll have the first chance at the starting job, but he’ll lose touches on passing downs to Shane Vereen. In addition, I could see Wayne Gallman steal the short yardage touches and goal line carries. His ceiling, without an injury to a back behind him, looks to be about 1,000 combined yards with minimal TDs and around 25 catches. Only an RB3 in the season long games with plenty of questions with his downside and upside. The Cowboys allowed 302 rushes for 1201 yards and eight TDs to RBs in 2016. Paul should get all the early down action for the Giants plus the goal line carries. The Cowboys’ defense does have some risk if New York can get Dallas’ offense off the field. Maybe a ceiling of 16 Fantasy points with a TD in Week 1.

Samaje Perine

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$4,200PHI@WAS 01:00PM ET0.002.250.54

Over three seasons at Oklahoma, Perine rushed for 4,122 yards on 685 carries with 51 TDs. His best year came in his freshman year (1,821 combined yards with 21 TDs and 15 catches) due to splitting touches with Joe Mixon over the last two years. Samaje runs in a similar way as Maurice Jones-Drew where he breaks and sheds tackles at the first and second levels of the defense with an uncanny feel to keep his balance. His best success will come from power while showing sneaky separation speed at the linebacker level when tacklers are trying to get a hand on him. His top gear is well below the top RBs in the league. I don’t think he’ll be dead in the water in the passing game. He caught 40 passes for 321 yards and two TDs in his college career. Most scouts don’t believe in his value on the outside, but I see a player that will win many one-on-one battles in the open field due to his ability to beat up his opponents. His ability to score and short yardage value will help this offense be more productive in the red zone. His game has a much higher bar than Kelley and he will win the starting job from jump street. Samaje wasn’t able to steal the starting job in training camp, but he’s going to shine at some point in 2017.

D’Onta Foreman

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$4,100JAX@HOU 01:00PM ET0.005.191.27

The Longhorns rode Foreman hard in his junior year. He carried the ball 323 times for 2028 yards and 15 TDs. D’Onta had a minimal value in the passing game (7/75). Prior to 2016, he only had 114 touches for 819 yards with five TDs and six catches. Houston would love to add thump to their rushing attack and D’Onta appears to be the answer. I expect him to get 150+ touches for 650+ yards and a chance at double digit TDs. The goal line chances will be interesting with Watson being a factor as well. At the very least, Foreman will be the top handcuff for Miller will plenty of work to do in his pass protecting skills to earn playing time on passing downs. D’Onta did play well in one game in the preseason to draw attention to his name in drafts. With Savage starting in Week 1, Foreman may see the goal line carries.

C.J. Prosise

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$4,100SEA@GB 04:25PM ET10.176.071.48

Prosise is the best passing catching back in Seattle. He flashed in Week 10 in 2016 vs. the Patriots (153 combined yards with seven catches) with an electric start the following week (81 combined yards with a TD and two catches on six touches and 19 plays) before going down with an injury. C.J. has been hurt multiple times in his early career leading to Fantasy owners and Seattle losing trust in his upside. The Packers held RBs to 73 catches for 590 yards and a TD in 2016. Talented player with passing catching ability, but his role will be tough to gauge in Week 1.

Joe Williams

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$4,000CAR@SF 04:25PM ET0.000.000.00

Williams has been placed on Injured Reserve and will miss the entire 2017 season.

Jonathan Williams

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000

Williams was surprisingly cut by the Buffalo Bills and signed to the Denver Broncos’ practice squad. He won’t see the field in Week 1.

Charles Sims

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$3,900TB@MIA 01:00PM ET9.8412.763.27

Headed into Week 1 with Doug Martin on suspension, Sims looks to be the third down back with a chance to see better than expected carries on early downs. His name hasn’t drawn much attention in the season long drafts in August. In 2015, he had over 1000 combined yards with 51 catches and four TDs while gaining 4.9 yards per rush. Miami likes to attack to QB, which will leave some gaps for Charles to make plays in the passing game. Last year RBs had 90 catches for 578 yards and two TDs vs. the Dolphins. Very playable in Week 1 in the season long games so he should hit his projections with more upside if he hits on a TD. He’s a better back than Jacquizz Rodgers so I’ll give him the light green tag for his price point.

Darren Sproles

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$3,900PHI@WAS 01:00PM ET11.039.572.45

Sproles never really got rolling in the Eagles’ passing game in 2016. His best game came in Week 3 when Darren broke a short pass for a 75-yard TD vs. the Steelers leading to 6 catches for 128 yards. Philly gave him a couple of starts mid-season, but his name consistently missed the cashing tickets in the daily games. Washington held him to 64 combined yards in two games with a TD and one catch. Last year RBs caught 70 passes for 529 yards and four TDs against the Redskins. The Eagles could chase on the scoreboard so Darren has a slight chance of being a backend player thanks to his pass catching ability.

Jamaal Williams

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$3,900SEA@GB 04:25PM ET0.006.071.56

Green Bay hopes Williams will emerge as the top option as a power runner in 2017. He had an up and down career over five seasons at BYU. As a part time runner in his freshmen year, Jamaal had 1,090 combined yards with 13 TDs and a career high 27 catches. His role expanded slightly his next season (1,358 combined yards with seven TDs and 18 catches). A knee issue and a suspension led to a short junior year (635 combined yards and four TDs and eight catches) and a missed 2015 season to get his head back on straight. In rotational role last year, Williams had a career high 1,455 combined yards with 12 TDs and seven catches. He runs hard with a spin move and stiff arm, but his speed isn’t strong enough to finish a long run and his quickness only last until the second level of the defense. He’ll do his damage between the tackle with enough wiggle to hit the corner when the play breaks right. Early down back with goal line and short yardage value. Jamaal will enter Week 1 as the number two RB in Green Bay while possibly being the top goal line option. Look for a possible upgrade in his projections after the fourth preseason game.

Wendell Smallwood

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$3,800PHI@WAS 01:00PM ET4.1310.212.69

The rumors out of Philly suggest LeGarrette Blount may not make the opening day roster leading to Smallwood being the lead RB out of the gate. He’s looked good in training camp while being limited with a hamstring issue. If Wendell earns the start, some daily Fantasy owners will be drawn to him. For me, he fails more into the grinder category where he needs volume to earn his Fantasy points. Even with 20+ carries, he could still deliver fewer than 100 yards rushing. His value in the passing game with be limited. Last year the Redskins gave up 391 rushes for 1773 yards (5.3 yards per rush) and 16 TDs to the RB position so a TD seems like a reasonable outcome if he does indeed land the starting gig. The data says this is a favorable matchup and the Eagles will try to run the ball in close.

Shane Vereen

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$3,800NYG@DAL 08:30PM ET8.0410.142.67

The Cowboys have to be game planning to stop the deep passing game while focusing on both Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall with their secondary coverage. This may lead to many easy throw to Vereen in Week 1. His best value tends to come in a chaser game, but Paul Perkins isn’t a lock to get a ton of carries on early downs. In 2016, Shane had 59 combined yards and three catches in Week 1 vs. the Cowboys. Dallas allowed 79 catches to RBs last year for 549 yards and two TDs. Possible low value hookup for Eli if you want to cheat the second RB position. Shane needs something like 70 combined yards with five catches and a TD to payoff at this price point.

Jeremy McNichols

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000

The rookie RB was cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and added to the 49ers practice squad. He will not have any relevance in Week 1.

Chris Thompson

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$3,700PHI@WAS 01:00PM ET9.288.212.22

In his two games vs. the Eagles in 2016, Chris had 104 combined yards with three catches and a TD. Philly allowed 81 catches for 556 yards and two TDs to the RB position in 2016. Thompson has the most value in games when the Redskins are chasing on the scoreboard. Third down back with limited carries on early downs.

Chris Ivory

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$3,600JAX@HOU 01:00PM ET9.148.212.28

With Leonard Fournette and T.J. Yeldon listed as questionable, Ivory could be the top healthy RB headed into the regular season. I expect Fournette to be ready for Week 1 leading to Ivory seeing some backup carries plus most of the third down action if Yeldon can’t play. Too much of a gamble in the daily games unless someone is ruled out for the game.

Donnel Pumphrey

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$3,500PHI@WAS 01:00PM ET0.000.000.00

With their second pick in the fourth round, Philly invested in RB Donnel Pumphrey who could be another out in the return game. Donnel is an undersized back (5’8” and 176 Lbs.) with winning vision and plus value in the open field. His route running should be above average while his hands may not. His lack of size kills him on passing downs when teams will bury him if asked to block. Gimmick type play maker while offering the quickness to test the outside in the run game. Pumphrey doesn’t have impact deep speed.

Wayne Gallman

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$9,800NYG@DAL 08:30PM ET0.000.000.00

Clemson gave Gallman plenty of touches (556) over the last two seasons leading to 3,025 combined yards with 31 TDs and 42 catches. His career was highlighted by his junior year (1,740 combined yards with 14 TDs and 22 catches). Over three years in college, Wayne caught 66 combined catches with 486 yards and two TDs. He runs hard with some open field ability thanks to a spin move and some wiggle. His game is high enough to steal the starting job and more value than expected in the passing game. Excellent handcuff option with a free price point in the early draft season. At the very least, Gallman will be the scoring option on the ground at the goal line as some point in 2017. For now, he’s buried on the Giant’s depth chart at RB.

Marlon Mack

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$3,400IND@LAR 04:05PM ET0.001.550.46

He has what the Colts’ offense lacks from the running back position – explosiveness. He scored six TDs over 40 yards in 2016. Over three years at South Florida, Mack rushed for 3609 yards on 586 carries with 32 rushing TDs. He had the most production in TDs (15) in 2016 while his best chances for success came in 2015 (1492 combined yards on 226 touches). His yards per carry (6.2) improved in season (5.2, 6.6, and 6.8) while offering some value in the passing game (65/498/1). Marlon is built to provide speed from the outside while having risk when with faced small holes on the inside. He runs with the ball away from his body in the open field, which will lead to fumbles in the NFL. I don’t believe he can handle his responsibilities on pass downs at this point of his career. Based on the current choices on the roster, Mack brings the most sexiness. Change of pace back who will carveout another piece of Gore’s opportunity.

Tarik Cohen

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$3,000ATL@CHI 01:00PM ET0.000.000.00

With the second pick in the 4th round, the Bears took scat back Tarik Cohen who has elite speed (4.42 in the 40-yard dash at the 2017 NFL Combine) while lacking size (5’6’ and 179 lbs.). His running style has a Barry Sanders type feel while projecting to be a very good player in the passing game, which may have limited upside due to his ability to handle his responsibilities in pass blocking. Home run type player who need needs space to be a factor at the next level. He’ll start the year 4th on the Bears’ depth chart at RB.

Javorius Allen

SalaryGame InfoAVPGScoutPT/1000
$3,000BAL@CIN 01:00PM ET0.990.000.00

Allen doesn’t have a rating for Week 1 as he’s expected to be the third back on the roster. The reports have been positive on his improvement over the summer pointing to a late round flier in the season long drafts. With Danny Woodhead having a questionable tag next to his name, Javorius may have a better than expected opportunity vs. the Bengals. Need more info before even considering him.

Shawn Childs
About Shawn Childs 558 Articles
Shawn Childs has been a high stakes Fantasy baseball and football player since 2004 where he had success in his first season (three titles and $25,000 in winnings). In early years of the high stakes market in Fantasy baseball, he was ahead of the curve in player evaluation, draft value, and free agent bidding setting up four top-five finishes in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. He has four AL-only Auction titles, one NL-only title, and five Main Event titles plus an overall title in 2012 at RTFBC (netted $10,000). This success led to an induction into the NFBC Baseball Hall of Fame. His success in the high stakes market led to a career in providing Fantasy Baseball and Fantasy Football content. On the football side, he’s competed and won in all different formats – auctions, draft championship, main events, and high-dollar leagues. He won 2nd place overall in the 2014 Most Accurate Salary Cap Expert contest at FantasyPros.As a dual-sport player, it was natural to transition to the daily games where he is a “swing for the fences type of guy.” Childs has appeared in one FanDuel NFL Live Final and one DraftKings NFL Live Final, a season-ending tournament which led to a couple of chances to win over $1,000,000.