DFS Running Back Analysis: Week 11

Nov 16, 2017
DFS Running Back Analysis: Week 11

Here is my breakdown of this week's DFS-relevant running backs, including their upside, downside, and where we can find an edge for Week 11's slate of games.

I will be breaking down the running back position each week based on the following set of criteria:

  • Chalk: The players who should end up being very highly owned for the slate.
  • Studs: Expensive players with high floor and ceilings that should come with a lower ownership percentages than the chalk.
  • Mid-Range: Players who come in cheaper than studs but aren't value or "punt" plays.
  • Value: The cheapest options at the position.

Chalk

On a site like FanDuel where running backs are not getting a full point per catch, we will see owners paying up at the two running back roster positions. This should drive up the ownership of players like Kareem Hunt, Mark Ingram, and perhaps even Melvin Gordon. On DraftKings we have a few value options due to injury or a running back being heavily involved in the passing game—specifically Chris Thompson, who has some extreme splits with out Rob Kelley in the backfield.

  • Mark Ingram (8100/8200) is coming off a monster three-TD performance on the road versus Buffalo and will be running at home this week versus Washington as a 7.5-point favorite. Washington ranks eighth in running back aFPA and is allowing an average of just 80.0 yards per game to opposing running backs, though the Saints running game has been matchup-proof. Ingram played 48% of his team's snaps versus Alvin Kamara’s 37% and is seeing just about 67% of the carries from within the 5-yard line.
  • Kareem Hunt (8000/8600) is our highest projected running back this week and makes our optimal lineup on both DraftKings and FanDuel. His usage took a dip in Week 9, as he saw just 54% of the snaps and only touched the ball 13 times. He still averages a 69% snap share on the season, however, and Andy Reid is 16–2 coming off a bye and will likely get Hunt more involved. The Chiefs have an implied team total of 27, and with the Giants ranking 27th in running back aFPA, Hunt projects for a productive 20+ touch game on the road.
  • Kenyan Drake (4800/5600) is coming off a 11.7-yard per carry game on primetime television game where he found the end zone, which should cause recency bias and a lot of DFS players will flock to his low price when game log surfing. However, he busted off a 66-yard run which really padded his stats. He only played 44% of the snaps, though, and touched the ball just nine times. With the Dolphins continuing to be in negative game scripts and averaging a league-low 1.9 red zone opportunities per game, Drake remains a shaky DFS option.
  • Chris Thompson (5400/6800) is a hard pill to swallow on FanDuel, but makes a lot of sense on DraftKings this week with Rob Kelley hitting the IR. It is a small sample size, but in the two games that Kelley has missed this year, Thompson is averaging 24.3 PPR points. With Washington being 7.5-point road underdogs, game script suggests that Thompson could be in a for a handful of targets.
  • Melvin Gordon (7600/7800) projects to have high ownership this week versus the Bills, who now rank 31st in running back aFPA after last week's disaster against the Saints. And while I think our ownership projection is high, I also understand it, as the world just watched the Bills give up 6 rushing touchdowns to the Saints last week. Gordon definitely lost some work to Austin Ekeler last week, but still played just about 70% of the snaps and touched the ball 21 times.

Studs

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