Welcome to Week 3 of the Daily Fantasy season. With one week in the books, prices are starting to make corrections, but not quickly enough to prevent us from finding some nice values on FanDuel. This article looks at some of the projected lesser-owned plays at running back who could provide huge boosts to your tournament lineups, as well as some trap plays to avoid.
Melvin Gordon $7,100 (San Diego Chargers at Indianapolis Colts)
Everyone on board the Gordon Train! Gordon is already staking out an early claim for most improved player in the NFL, and now that Danny Woodhead is no longer stealing plays and touches, Gordon might become the most productive back in the league not named David Johnson. Against a Colts defense already waving the white flag, there’s no limit to how many yards and touchdowns Gordon could rack up on Sunday. And at his depressed salary, he might be the highest-owned back of the weekend. Pay no mind. Get on board.
Frank Gore $5,700 (Colts vs. Chargers)
If you want a winning lineup this weekend, you want as many Chargers skill players as you can fit. And if you want to win based on correlation theory, you’ll want Gore on those same rosters. The Chargers defense is just as bad as Indy’s and the Colts are going to want to control as much of the time of possession as possible to keep its depleted defense off the field. Where the Chargers really struggle defensively is against the run, so Gore should be busy and should produce. With Donte Moncrief out and T.Y. Hilton hurting, Gore might be the Colts’ only chance to stay afloat. He should easily pay off his cheap salary.
Theo Riddick $6,400 (Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers)
With Ameer Abdullah placed on injured reserve this week, Riddick becomes the main man in Detroit. Yes, Riddick is not really suited to be an every-down back and yes, Dwayne Washington figures to play a sizable early-down role. But what Riddick does do well is catch passes out of the backfield and in a PPR system (even at a half-point on FanDuel), Riddick’s value goes way up. The Lions will look to get him the ball more, but not necessarily by just handing off. He might be popular, but he should pay off a $6,400 salary, especially if the Lions are playing from behind (likely) and he finds the end zone (also likely).
Shane Vereen $5,200 (New York Giants vs. Washington Redskins)
Check the status of Rashad Jennings on Sunday. He is expected to play, but he might be limited because of his left thumb injury, which apparently requires a cast. This could further limit his viability as a pass catcher, and that would seem to boost Vereen’s already rising value in that role. Vereen caught three passes for 24 yards last week, while also rushing the ball 14 times. It would only take a small increase in those catches/touches numbers to justify a bargain-basement salary.
Darren Sproles $5,200 (Philadelphia Eagles vs. Pittsburgh Steelers)
Don’t look now, but Sproles is starting to see an increase in his role in the Eagles’ offense. Sproles actually had more carries than Ryan Mathews in last Monday’s win over the Bears (12-9). Imagine the disparity in a game in which the Eagles are playing from behind, which is a likely scenario against the Steelers. If this does turn into a shootout and the Eagles fall behind, Sproles will a busy pass catcher in a hurry-up offense and could rack up big points at his minimal salary.
Ryan Mathews $6,600 (Eagles vs. Steelers)
See Sproles (above). Mathews’ nice outing against the Bears was inflated heavily by his two short touchdowns. He carried the ball just nine times for 32 yards in a largely pedestrian effort. The Steelers will pose the toughest test the Eagles have seen this season after opening against the Browns and Bears. This is not setting up as a game in which Mathews’ skill-set matches the game-flow and he should probably be avoided.
Jeremy Langford $6,500 (Chicago Bears at Dallas Cowboys)
The Bears are a mess on offense, will likely be relying on backup quarterback Brian Hoyer and Langford lost carries on Monday night to Jordan Howard. It’s hard to see things improving dramatically for Langford on the road and on a short week. There are better options than this one, to say the least.