DFS Running Back Analysis: Week 4
Here is my breakdown on a handful of running backs on the Week 4 slate, including their upside, downside, and where we can find an edge.
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.
It's important to remember we have two running backs coming off two great performances that were both on nationally televised games: Ezekiel Elliot and Todd Gurley, which will drive their ownership up just a tad more than it usually would be. LeVeon Bell will most likely carry a high ownership as well (especially after finding the end zone last week), along with Joe Mixon, Devonta Freeman, and Dalvin Cook.
- Ezekiel Elliot (8200/8500) will be the most expensive chalk this week. He will be at home facing a Rams defense ranked 30th RB aFPA, and Dallas' implied team total is sitting at 27 points. Elliott’s workload is not a question—he averages 22.3 touches per game—and he is one of the strongest bets to score a TD on the week.
- On the other side of the ball, Todd Gurley (7800/8000) is seeing the most touches per game (25.3) of any running back on this slate. It's concerning that the Rams are a road underdog and have an extremely low implied team total of 19.5 points, but Gurley has been involved in the passing game and he still carries a little bit of TD equity since he is seeing 82% of his team's carries inside the 10-yard line and 89% from within the 5-yard line.
- Dalvin Cook (6500/7500) is seeing some #nice usage (69% snap share) and Latavius Murray has essentially been a non-factor in the red zone. There's no line for this game as of this writing—it won't come out until more is known about the status of Sam Bradford), but the Vikings are at home against Detroit, a defense ranked 25th in RB aFPA.
- Devonta Freeman (7300/8500) is in tough spot at home against a Bills defense ranked fourth in RB aFPA. The Bills just held C.J. Anderson to fewer than 10 fantasy points, but much like Gurley, Freeman is getting a ton of red zone work (85% or more of the team's carries from within in 10- and 5-yard line).
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