Ezekiel Elliott, DAL (DK – $8,300/FD – $9,000)
Over the first two games, the Cowboys have five rushing touchdowns while attempting 29 rushers per game. Unfortunately for Elliott owners, Dak Prescott sniped three scores against the Falcons. Even so, Dallas gave Elliott 56 touches to start the year, leading to 249 combined yards with three touchdowns and nine catches or 50.90 fantasy points. Over three career games vs. the Seahawks, he gained 535 combined yards and 11 catches on 77 chances while still looking for his first touchdown. Seattle played well defending running backs over the first two games (34/93/1 plus 12 catches for 59 yards and one touchdown). The Seahawks have massive issues defending wide receivers (50/731/2) coming into this game, which has to be the focus of this week in practice. Elliott is rate high this week, even with some concern with his scoring upside. High floor player in a game with the top over/under of the week (55.5).
Derrick Henry, TEN (DK – $7,800/FD – $8,200)
In Week 2 at DraftKings in the Million Dollar Maker, Henry was owned by over 35 percent of the entries while being the top-rated running back on most fantasy sites. He finished 25 rushes for 84 yards, but he failed to catch his two targets. The Titans had him on the field for 71 percent of their plays compared to 75 percent in Week 1. Last year he scored 18 touchdowns with six of those games resulting in two scores or more. The Vikings struggled to get offenses off the field over the first two games (887 combined yards with seven touchdowns) with both Green Bay (32/158/1) and Indianapolis (40/151/1) featuring high volume run games. Henry’s projections are almost identical to Ezekiel Elliott this week. Workhorse runner who is trailing his expected scoring out of the gate. At a minimum, he should score at least one touchdown with over 100 combined yards.
Dalvin Cook, MIN (DK – $7,600/FD – $8,600)
Despite holding the ball for only about one-third of the time over the first two games, Cook gained 119 combined yards with three touchdowns. In Week 2, Minnesota had him on the field for 80 percent of their plays, up from 58 percent in the previous contest. Tennessee struggled with running backs over the first two games (317 combined yards with two touchdowns and 11 catches). The Vikings need to play better in all areas. Cook has the explosiveness a fantasy owner looks for in the daily games. His floor would be helped dramatically with a rebound in catches (53/519 in 2019 on 63 targets). Cook is in the mix at the top-end of the running back pool in Week 3.
Josh Jacobs, LV (DK – $7,300/FD – $8,300)
The Saints held Jacobs to 3.3 yards per rush in Week 3, but he still finished with 105 combined yards with three catches on 30 touches. Jacobs doesn’t have a run over 20 yards on his 52 tries in 2020 while averaging only 3.5 yards per carry. His direction in the passing game (7/63) is positive, and the Raiders will feature him at the goal line (three touchdowns in Week 1). New England held the Dolphins to 3.2 yards per rush on opening day, but their defense had regression defending the Seahawks’ running backs (166 combined yards with one touchdown and five catches). The mighty Patriots’ defense of 2019 needs to earn its ranking this year. Jacobs has a slight hip issue coming into this matchup. I expect New England to play much better at home.
Jonathan Taylor, IND (DK – $7,000/FD – $6,700)
In the Colts’ second game, Taylor stepped into a workhorse role (26/101/1 with two catches) with Indy playing from the lead. They had him on the field for two-third of their plays while the Week 1 star, Nyheim Hines, didn’t have a rush with one catch for four yards. The Jets came into last week’s game with success vs. the run in 2019 and against Buffalo (32/98/1). The 49ers hit on an 80-yard run to open the game plus another 55-yard dash in the second half. In the end, New York gave up 233 combined yards with two touchdowns and six catches to the top rushing team from the previous year. Taylor has the wheels and power to turn a short carry into a long touchdown, but we haven’t seen him in the open field in the secondary other than one catch in Week 1. His rising salary is ahead of his output, which would push me elsewhere for upside at DraftKings. Indy should play from the lead again with a chance to create some short fields for their offense. Taylor is moving in the right direction with the two ingredients (big play and scoring) needed to pay off.
Nick Chubb, CLE (DK – $6,900/FD – $7,800)
Chubb looked the stud RB1 part in Week 2 (133 combined yards with two touchdowns and one catch on 23 touches). The Browns used Kareem Hunt (10/86/1) in the second half as the closer, which will be the case in many games when Cleveland plays from the lead. Over two weeks of action, Chubb leads the running back snap battle (71 to 56). Washington played well vs. the run in Week 1 (17/57). They struggled with Kyler Murray (8/67/1) in the run game, but the Cardinals’ back gained 3.9 yards per rush. The bottom line here is one explosive play by Chubb. He’s projected for 100 combined yards with a touchdown and about two catches, which is about six fantasy points away from being a live option at this salary level.
Austin Ekeler, LAC (DK – $6,800/FD – $7,500)
Over the first two games, the Chargers have 83 rushing attempts, leading to 338 yards and two touchdowns. The change at quarterback in Week 2 led to the running back position becoming relevant again in the passing game (6/104 on seven targets). Ekeler played well vs. the Chiefs (148 combined yards with four catches on 20 touches. His snaps fell to 57 percent against Kansas City compared to 68 percent in Week 1. Carolina remains one of the softest defenses against running backs (381 combined yards with six touchdowns and 19 catches). Great matchup, but his scoring upside isn’t a lock with Joshua Kelley playing well while also possibly being the goal line back. Ekeler’s matchup screams, “play me,” but his success requires the Chargers’ running backs to score 40 fantasy points while receiving 65 percent of the opportunity.
James Conner, PIT (DK – $6,700/FD – $7,100)
The fool in Week 2 was any fantasy owner that bought into the coach-speak out of Pittsburgh. The Steelers gave the impression that their top two runners would split touches with the player having the most success earning the lead role. Benny Snell finished three rushes for five yards, clearing the path for Conner’s productive day (121 combined yards with one touchdown and two catches). Pittsburgh’s running backs rushed for over 100 yards in back-to-back weeks (46/243/1) while gaining 4.8 yards per carry. The Texans had no answer for the Chiefs (34/166/1) and the Ravens (37/230/1) rushers. A very winnable matchup, if Conner doesn’t leave the game early.
Chris Carson, SEA (DK – $6,600/FD – $7,700)
Over the first two weeks, Seattle rotated in three running backs. Carson pushed his snaps to 63 percent in Week 2, leading to 108 combined yards with one catch and three catches on 20 touches. He’s still looking for his first rushing touchdown while picking up three scores in the passing game. Dallas held rushers to 3.6 yards per carry while giving up two touchdowns on the ground. They’ve also minimized the damage by running backs in the passing game (7/47) despite losing their middle linebacker on the opening weekend. Carson runs with power with value on all three downs. Against the grain, but a high scoring game does create some upside in scoring for him.
Miles Sanders, PHI (DK – $6,400/FD – $7,400)
The gloves came off Sanders in Week 2, and he responded with 131 combined yards with a touchdown and three catches on 23 touches. The Eagles had him on the field for 77 percent of their plays. Over his first two seasons in the league, Sanders gained 4.6 yards per rush and 10.3 yards per catch. Cincinnati struggled to defend running backs over the first two weeks (385 combined yards with five touchdowns and five catches on 37 touches)with ball carriers gaining 5.0 yards per carry. Sanders is priced favorably for his expected opportunity and high upside matchup. The Eagles need a win, and their star running back is the key to their success.
Leonard Fournette, JAC (DK – $6,200/FD – $6,400)
Fournette jumped into the starting lineup in Week 2 after a fumble by Roland Jones. Tampa had him on the field for 43 percent of their plays. Fournette finished with 116 combined yards with two touchdowns and four catches highlighted by a game-sealing 46-yard touchdown. The Bucs should move him into the starting lineup from now on, but game score will give LeSean McCoy chances in the passing game. If Fournette struggles early, Jones remains only a hand signal away. Denver held running backs to 239 yards, and one touchdown over 50 carries over the first two games. Their run defense has to take a hit over the long haul after losing LB Von Miller. At this point, Fournette’s opportunity doesn’t match his salary, plus Tampa hasn’t found their rhythm in the passing game.
Kareem Hunt, CLE (DK – $6,100/FD – $6,200)
Hunt is a beast of a player with impact upside if ever given a full time starting gig. He is the 9th highest scoring running back (36.20 fantasy points) in PPR leagues. Last week the Browns had him on the field for 34 percent of their snaps. Hunt made the most of his opportunity (12 touches) against Cincinnati, leading to 101 combined yards with two touchdowns and two catches. He’ll have the most value when Cleveland needs to throw or trailing on the scoreboard—overpriced for now.
Kenyan Drake, ARI (DK – $6,000/FD – $6,500)
The Cardinals struggle to get Drake rolling so far in 2020. He’s been on the field for 67 percent of the plays run by Arizona. Drake averages 20 touches per game, which led to 160 combined yards with one touchdown and four catches. The Lions have been a disaster defending running backs (459 combined yards with three touchdowns and eight catches). The Cardinals’ offense is much better this year, but Kyler Murray is also more active as a runner while stealing three rushing touchdowns. Drake brings explosiveness with a three-down value. Tempting as 100-plus yards with a touchdown and four catches fills his salary bucket.
Joe Mixon, CIN (DK – $5,900/FD – $7,000)
Mixon is off to a better start than 2019, but he’s gaining only 3.3 yards per carry. Over his 40 touches, Mixon picked up 157 combined yards with five catches. His playing time (53.8 percent) isn’t where it needs to be to match the top running backs in the NFL. The Eagles’ run defense looked sharp in Week 1 (36/80), but Philly did give up two rushing touchdowns to Washington. In Week 2, the Rams rushed for 191 yards with two touchdowns with some of the damage from wide receivers (6/37/1). The Bengals’ offense will improve as the season moves on with the most significant area of need being their offensive line. Mixon is a talented player with a fair price.
Todd Gurley, ATL (DK – $5,800/FD – $6,600)
After two games, Gurley has yet to regain the bounce in his step from his Rams' glory days. The Cowboys shut him down (21/61) while failing to receive a target. Atlanta had him on the field for 64 percent of their plays in Week 2. Gurley is gaining only 3.3 yards per rush with only one catch for two yards. Chicago gave up 241 combined yards with two touchdowns and ten catches to running backs over two games. At this point of the year, Gurley is only a midteen player if he scores.
Melvin Gordon, DEN (DK – $5,800/FD – $6,500)
The excitement of the Broncos’ offense and team’s success in 2020 left the building already. Denver lost Drew Lock for a couple of games, and Courtland Sutton for the year. Gordon did gain some chances after Phillip Lindsay went down with a toe injury. Gordon has a touchdown in each game while gaining 170 combined yards with five catches. His playing time rose to 79 percent against Pittsburgh. Tampa held rushers to 2.9 yards per carry, but running backs do have three rushing touchdowns. The Panthers had success throwing to their running backs (13/117) in Week 2. Gordon is playing at home, and the Broncos did show guts offensively against Pittsburgh. Low percentage own.
David Montgomery, CHI (DK – $5,700/FD – $6,100)
The running back rotation in 2020 for the Bears shifted in favor of Montgomery over two games. He gained 201 yards with one touchdown and four catches. Even with success in touches (33), Montgomery was only on the field for 50 percent of Chicago's plays. Atlanta gave up four touchdowns to running backs already this year with risk vs. pass-catching backs (15/85/2). They allow 3.5 yards per rush to running backs. Tarik Cohen will get touches at some point, and this matchup may favor him if the Falcons take an early lead. More steady than explosive.
David Johnson, HOU (DK – $5,400/FD – $6,900)
Despite an empty game (50 combined yards with two catches) against the Ravens, Johnson was wide open for a passing touchdown, but Deshaun Watson needed another half-second to complete the play. Later in the game, Johnson beat his man for a long catch and possibly a touchdown. Unfortunately, Watson missed him by a wide margin. The Texans had him on the field for 95 percent of their snaps. Pittsburgh has yet to allow a rushing touchdown with ball carriers gaining only 2.9 yards per rush. Johnson seems over projected for his matchup, but volume should be his friend if Duke Johnson doesn’t suit up.
Darrell Henderson, LAR (DK – $5,400/FD – $5,800)
The new sexy running back in Week 3 is Henderson. He entered his game vs. the Eagles in a three-way split for touches with Cam Akers and Malcolm Brown. Henderson emerged healthy while posting a productive game (121 combined yards with a touchdown and two catches). He hit on a 20-plus yard catch and a 40-plus yard run. The Bills allowed 207 combined yards with one touchdown and 11 catches to running backs. Akers should be out this week while Brown is expected to play through a finger issue. Not ideal, but his ability to catch the ball does help his floor.
Dion Lewis, NYG (DK – $5,300/FD – $5,500)
The loss of Saquon Barkley crushes the offensive structure of the Giants. Lewis earns the first shot at the starting job, but Wayne Gallman should be a better fit on early downs. New York also signed Davante Freeman, but he’ll need a game or two to work his way into the starting mix. Over the past three seasons, Lewis gained only 3.4 yards per catch and 6.8 yards per catch. The 49ers lost two of their top defensive lineman last week, which knocks down their defense a couple of notches. Too messy for me to put in my lineup at DraftKings.
Mike Davis, CAR (DK – $5,100/FD – $6,000)
The owners of Christian McCaffrey had to go shopping in the free-agent pool, knowing that 50 cents on the dollar could be the ceiling of their new investment. In a relief role in Week 2, Davis picked up eight catches for 74 yards, but he only had one catch for one yard. Over his career in the NFL, Davis gained 3.6 yards per rush and 6.8 yards per catch. The best player to fill the void at running back is Curtis Samuel. Carolina gave him four rushes last week, leading to 26 yards. At Samuel's best at Ohio State in 2016, he worked as a dual running back (97/771/8) and receiver (74/865/7). Davis is an avoid for me in the daily games.
Joshua Kelley, LAC (DK – $5,000/FD – $5,900)
Despite 35 rushes over the first two games, Kelley gained only 3.5 yards per rush with one touchdown. Last week, he hit on a long catch (2/49), leading to 113 combined yards against the Chiefs. Kelley may score in this matchup against the porous Panthers’ run defense, but he remains in a split role.
D’Andre Swift, DET (DK – $5,000/FD – $5,300)
The Lions have had Swift on the field for 39.4 percent of their plays after two games. He gained 95 combined yards with eight catches on 16 touches. Despite his low opportunity, Swift is the 27th highest scoring running back (11.75 FPPG) in PPR leagues. The Cardinals struggled to defend running backs in the passing game in Week 1 (9/162/2) while also allowing 5.0 yards per rush on the year. Swift could be a hidden gem in Week 3, especially if the Lions fall behind early.
Jerick McKinnon, SF (DK – $4,900/FD – $5,700)
Three seasons after signing with San Fran, McKinnon finally gets his shot at starting. He looked explosive in Week 1 (44 combined yards with a touchdown and three catches on six touches). He hit on a 55-yard run vs. the Jets, leading to 77 yards and a touchdown on three carries. The 49ers will rotate Jeff Wilson this week, but McKinnon should be their top running back. The key here is scoring a touchdown. McKinnon should be active in the passing game. San Francisco will feature their running backs, which makes him a possible value in Week 3.
Devin Singletary, BUF (DK – $4,900/FD – $5,900)
After two games, Singletary gained over 129 combined yards with seven catches while seeing 57.4 percent of the Bills' running back snaps. With Zack Moss battling a toe issue, Singletary may see a bump in chances. The Rams allowed 4.8 yards per rush with running backs gaining 343 combined yards with three touchdowns and 12 catches over their first two games. A rushing touchdown may be tough to come by with Josh Allen sniping the running backs at the end zone. Need more info before adding him to your daily lineup.
Antonio Gibson, WAS (DK – $4,700/FD – $5,500)
Washington parked Peyton Barber in Week 2, leading to Gibson being on the field for 65 percent of their plays. He gained 55 yards rushing on 13 carries with his first NFL touchdown. Gibson continues to sit on passing downs, which lowers his playable value in the daily space. Only a flier at this point of the year.
Ezekiel Elliott, DAL (DK – $8,300/FD – $9,000)
Over the first two games, the Cowboys have five rushing touchdowns while attempting 29 rushers per game. Unfortunately for Elliott owners, Dak Prescott sniped three scores against the Falcons. Even so, Dallas gave Elliott 56 touches to start the year, leading to 249 combined yards with three touchdowns and nine catches or 50.90 fantasy points. Over three career games vs. the Seahawks, he gained 535 combined yards and 11 catches on 77 chances while still looking for his first touchdown. Seattle played well defending running backs over the first two games (34/93/1 plus 12 catches for 59 yards and one touchdown). The Seahawks have massive issues defending wide receivers (50/731/2) coming into this game, which has to be the focus of this week in practice. Elliott is rate high this week, even with some concern with his scoring upside. High floor player in a game with the top over/under of the week (55.5). Subscribe for full article
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