DFS Running Back Analysis: Week 17
Here is my breakdown on all the DFS-relevant running backs in Week 17, including their upside, downside, and where we can find an edge in this week'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.
Week 17 is always full of surprises. There are a lot of moving pieces which will ultimately dictate the chalk at running back this weekend. LeVeon Bell should be in for a hevay workload barring a blowout in his game or the New England game, and Dion Lewis should be in for another heavy workload for the Patriots as well. With value opening up across the board at other positions, we could see owners locking in Bell even at his high price tag.
- LeVeon Bell (10000/9500) will be in for his typical heavy workload with the Steelers looking to clinch home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a win on Sunday. Cleveland has given up an average of 1.25 touchdowns to opposing backs over the past four games and ranks 26th in running back aFPA. Update (Dec. 28): Bell is now expected to sit out in Week 17.
- Derrick Henry (5500/5800) should work as the Titans' featured back since DeMarco Murray has a third-degree MCL sprain. The Jaguars rank 25th in running-back aFPA and don't have much incentive to put forth a full effort in this game. The Titans are a 3.5-point home favorite, which hints that Vegas thinks Jacksonville might be resting some starters.
- Dion Lewis (6800/7200) saw the lion's share of the carries in Week 16 with Rex Burkhead and James White sidelined. Lewis out-snapped Mike Gillislee, 51–15. The Patriots are looking to lock up the No. 1 seed, but the matchup is tough, as the Jets rank sixth in running back aFPA. It's worth noting that they have allowed a touchdown per game to opposing backs over the past four weeks.
- Malcolm Brown (3900/4500) has a very attractive price tag and projects for around 18 touches with Todd Gurley resting. The 49ers have been friendly to opposing running backs this season, ranking 24th in running back aFPA, but they have been much improved since getting middle linebacker Rueben Foster back. The 49ers also opened up as a 6.5-point home underdog and have since moved all the way to a 3-point home favorite, which decreases Brown’s projected touchdown equity.
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