The following are running backs that are owned in less than 50% of ESPN leagues. The Free Agency Acquisition Budget (FAAB) numbers are based on a $100 season-long FAAB. The FAAB to win is the amount I believe it will take to win the bid in a 12 team standard league; but sometimes people overbid. The Suggested FAAB is what I would recommend to you. You may not win with this figure, but at least you won’t regret overpaying. In the event the suggested bid is higher, it is because I have determined it is worth paying a little extra just to ensure a winning bid. It should also be noted that these figures represent a position of need for the buyer. They should be adjusted according to your own personal circumstances.
FFChamps.com finished in the top three in weekly player rankings accuracy on FantasyPros in 2016. Get your free FFChamps ALL ACCESS membership with your first deposit on DraftKings.
Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota Vikings (FAAB to win: $12, Suggested FAAB: $15) – As Chris Berman used to say, “So you were ALL on the Latavius Murray bandwagon” last week. That proved to be the incorrect decision, and we warned owners that Murray wasn’t much more than “three yards and a cloud of dust.” McKinnon is the back to own, and he proved it Monday night in Chicago, as he rushed for 95 yards and a touchdown while also hauling in six catches for 51 additional yards. McKinnon was the back of choice all night in passing situations, and he began receiving first-down carrier snaps when he started having success. The Vikings quarterbacks throw a lot of short passes, too, so McKinnon has a particularly high ceiling in PPR leagues.
Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers (FAAB to win: $12, Suggested FAAB: $15) – The 22-year-old put to rest any doubt over who the backup running back is in Green Bay. Jones played 53 of 60 offensive snaps, and fellow backup rookie Jamaal Williams saw the field for just two plays. Jones played extremely well, rushing for 125 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. His ceiling is tempered a bit with the return of Ty Montgomery imminent within the next few weeks, but if Jones keeps this up Green Bay is going to have a hard time keeping him off the field.
Jalen Richard, Oakland Raiders (FAAB to win: $8, Suggested FAAB: $10) – Marshawn Lynch played about 48 percent of Oakland’s snaps last week against Baltimore to lead all Raiders running backs, but Richard wasn’t far behind at approximately 44 percent. Lynch had a superior day fantasy wise because he scored a touchdown, but Richard averaged 0.5 yards more per carry. As long as quarterback Derek Carr is out, look for Oakland to use both Lynch and Richard to help E.J. Manuel, and while Lynch is still the better fantasy play, the gap isn’t as wide as owners think
Elijah McGuire, New York Jets (FAAB to win: $7, Suggested FAAB: $9) – Ok, it’s time we all admit that we were wrong about the 3-2 Jets, and that it actually would be better to have Jets on our fantasy teams than Giants at this point. McGuire excited owners in Week 4 with a 69-yard touchdown run against the Jaguars. But now with Bilal Powell injured, McGuire’s fantasy value gets a real boost because he should be the starter this week against a leaky Patriots defense. McGuire is a strong FLEX play as long as he remains the starter in New York.
Marlon Mack, Indianapolis Colts (FAAB to win: $7, Suggested FAAB: $9) – After a couple of frustrating days with zero touches, Mack finally worked back into the running back rotation for the Colts and posted 91 rushing yards and a touchdown on just nine carries against the 49ers. Head coach Chuck Pagano said Monday afternoon that the performance has earned Mack additional playing time. Owners shouldn’t overreact to one week, but in deeper leagues, Mack is worthy adding in the hopes that Pagano keeps his word.
Chris Ivory, Jacksonville Jaguars (FAAB to win: $6, Suggested FAAB: $8) – Will the Jaguars make the postseason for the first time in a decade? It’s still too early to say, but without a doubt, Jacksonville has found its identity: run, run, run. The Jaguars ran the ball 37 times, offset by just 14 passes Sunday against the Steelers. Yes, the game ended up being a blowout, but Jacksonville was actually trailing in the third quarter, and the game remained a two-score affair until the final minutes. Leonard Fournette is the man and will receive most of the carries for the Jaguars, but if the team is going to run the ball 30-plus times each week, Ivory is going to get work too. He averaged more than 5.0 yards per carry on eight attempts versus Pittsburgh. At the very least, Fournette owners should add him as a handcuff.
Andre Ellington, Arizona Cardinals (FAAB to win: $6, Suggested FAAB: $8) – The Cardinals rushing attack continues to struggle, as it relies upon Chris Johnson (that’s not a coincidence). It was frustrating to see Ellington only receive one carry, but then again, he was heavily involved in the passing game, and for that reason, he is the best back to own in Arizona. Ellington led the team with nine receptions and posted 65 receiving yards. He is a must-own back in PPR formats.
Matt Breida, San Francisco 49ers (FAAB to win: $4, Suggested FAAB: $6) – A lot of waiver wire lists this week will have Breida ahead of Ivory and Ellington, but remember, owners should want players from good offenses. San Francisco has one of the worst offenses in the league, so that’s going to hurt Breida’s value. But the fact he led San Francisco in rushing attempts last week should not be ignored, either. Carlos Hyde gained just 11 yards on eight carries while Breida posted 49 on 10 attempts. Snap-wise, Brieda also owned a 35 versus 33 advantage. Coach Kyle Shanahan also said after the game that the split wasn’t because of Hyde’s injured hip but, “trying to go with the hot hand.” With all this in mind, Brieda is worth adding in deeper formats.
Alex Collins, Baltimore Ravens (FAAB to win: $4, Suggested FAAB: $6) – We warned fantasy owners last week about adding Collins, and most of our warning proved to be true. Against Oakland, Terrence West started and Buck Allen reasserted himself as the team’s top back. But Collins did receive some good news too. West left the game with a calf injury, which allowed Collins to post 12 carries for 55 yards. Should West stay on the sidelines this week, Collins could receive an opportunity for more work should the Ravens get a lead, but he remains strongly behind Allen for the No. 1 duties.
D’Onta Foreman, Houston Texans (FAAB to win: $3, Suggested FAAB: $5) – The 21-year-old fumbled on the second play from scrimmage Sunday night, but he did bounce back with a 25-yard run on his next touch. Foreman only received four carries, but that was mostly a product of Houston playing from behind all night. There are a lot of other running backs that would be better adds this week, but don’t forget about Foreman, especially if Lamar Miller is on your roster.
Wayne Gallman, New York Giants (FAAB to win: $3, Suggested FAAB: $5) – It’s hard to trust anybody other than Eli Manning on the Giants offense right now. Odell Beckham Jr. is obviously a start, but with him out for the season and a poor offensive line, New York is going to struggle moving the ball the rest of the year. That being said, Gallman is worth a look in deeper leagues this week because of Orleans Darkwa’s injury. Gallman could be in for a huge workload; temper the expectations against the Broncos, but this is a tremendous opportunity for the rookie.
FFChamps.com finished in the Top 3 in weekly player rankings accuracy on FantasyPros in 2016. Get your free FFChamps ALL ACCESS membership with your first deposit on DraftKings.