Last week I wasn’t really on point with my running back picks. CJ Anderson had a sub par week with just 12.2 DK points on only 49 rushing yards from 19 carries. The game script went exactly as I predicted, but Anderson couldn’t bust through the solid Bucs rush defense. He also only had one reception, which was an area I expected him to be used more by this Broncos offense. My mid priced pick, Spencer Ware, had a poor showing as well with just 9.6 points. That said, he did get the vast majority of the action out of the Chiefs backfield with 82 yards on 13 attempts, but failing to get to the endzone and only reeling in 1 reception on 5 targets really did him in. I did have a solid low priced play in Jordan Howard though. He ended up with 19.2 points, which more than paid off his $3700 salary. He was high owned, but he was featured in the majority of top lineups for the week.
Anyways, enough about last week, let’s get into my top running back plays for week 5. I have 4 plays that I’ll be focusing on this week.
Le’Veon Bell ($7500)
Bell was an absolute beast last week against the Chiefs. He ran for 144 yards on 18 carries and caught 5 passes for 34 yards. That was against a Chiefs defense that is ranked #1 in the league against running backs through the air according to FootballOutsiders.com. Bell put up 25.8 points without even finding the endzone. This week Bell is facing a Jets team that is solid against running backs on the ground, but susceptible through the air. I expect Bell to be a focal point of this offense regardless of the fact the Steelers are playing the Jets, and I also expect Bell’s ownership to be much lower than it should be based on his match up. I’m all over Bell this week. He’s just too good to not roster nearly every week.
CJ Anderson ($6900)
I’m going right back to Anderson this week. I expect his ownership to be low after a couple of poor weeks in a row. That said, the Broncos are back at home for this game and the Falcons are ranked 29th in the league against running backs on DK. They are very susceptible to running backs through the air and although Anderson didn’t catch many passes the last couple weeks, he has shown the ability to move the ball through the air if that’s the path of least resistance for the Broncos offense. This week I think it will be, as the Falcons gave up 9 receptions and 86 yards through the air to Fozzy Whittaker last week and 10 catches and 62 yards in the air to Ingram/Cadet the week before. Even Latavius Murray had 6 catches against this defense in week 2.
Anderson is a very talented running back and in the right situations he has the ability to go off. I think this is a great spot for him.
Jordan Howard ($5200)
Howard’s price shot up from $3900 to $5200 this week, but I still like him as a value play in the middle price range. He’s the featured back for the Bears having received 23 carries to Joique Bell’s two last week against the Lions. He also features in the passing game as was shown by his 3 catches last week and 4 in the week before coming in for an injured Langford. I like the match up for Howard this week against the Colts, who are 28th against running backs on DK and 30th against pass catching running backs.
Howard is a game flow independent running back and I expect him to be used a ton this week whether the Bears are ahead or behind.
James White ($3900)
If you want to pay down at running back this week then look no further than James White. With Tom Brady back in action for week 5 I expect the Patriots to want to get him as much meaningful playing time as possible against this weak Browns team and that could mean running up the score. James White hasn’t had a great year through 4 weeks with only 13 catches, but last year the pass catching running backs had some big games for the Pats with Brady under center. I expect Brady to have plenty of opportunities to pass in this game and if he doesn’t feel completely comfortable going to his first read I could see him checking down plenty of balls to James White in this one.
It may not seem like a good play to use White here because the game script will likely have the Pats up big early, but I think Belichick and Brady will use this game to get his rhythm back and that could result in a lot of usage for James White.
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