Welcome to Week 7 of the Daily Fantasy season. Pricing has stabilized as trends have emerged but there are still bargains to be found and even some higher-priced options that will go under-owned and can make a difference in your lineups. 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.
Le’Veon Bell $8,600 (Pittsburgh Steelers vs. New England Patriots)
I usually don’t recommend top-priced players in these columns. The reasoning is that we’re looking for value – players like the next three listed below who are dramatically underpriced for their expected level of production. But there’s also a case to be made for rostering normally chalky players who, for whatever reason, set up to be unusually low-owned despite a solid opportunity to meet or exceed their inflated salaries. Bell strikes me as the perfect example this week. The knee-jerk reaction to the Roethlisberger-less Steelers facing the Patriots is to run away from all the Pittsburgh skill players. And in Bell’s case at $8,600, the player $100 more (DeMarco Murray) and $100 less (David Johnson) will be the high-priced chalk. The reality is, the Pittsburgh offense is going to go through Bell even more this week, as both a runner and a receiver. His massive volume should allow him to meet or exceed value at what will likely be his lowest ownership all season. And with all the crazy value at RB2, you’re not killing yourself to fit Bell in. He’s a great contrarian play.
Jacquizz Rodgers $5,600 (Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Francisco 49ers)
I don’t know if Rodgers is going to carry the ball 30 times like he did against Carolina the last time the Bucs played two weeks ago. But he’s probably going to see it at least 25 times. And he’s going to catch passes out of the backfield. And the 49ers are far and away the worst team in the NFL at stopping the run. It is not even close. Rodgers is pretty much going to have to get hurt to not approach 4-or-5X his salary in this one.
Mike Gillislee $5,300 (Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins)
The Bills are teasing us by designating LeSean McCoy a game-time decision with a hamstring injury, so thank goodness this is a 1 p.m. ET game on Sunday. I would think it’s pretty much a no-brainer that if McCoy is finally ruled out that Gillislee is going to have a really nice day for himself. He was pretty impressive in limited work last week, rushing six times for 61 yards and a touchdown. The only problem with Gillislee (and Rodgers) is the expected high ownership. Maybe Rex Ryan’s mind games with McCoy’s availability will scare enough people away to make Gillislee a little more attractive.
Mike Davis $4,500 (49ers vs. Buccaneers)
Of the three injury fill-ins, Davis figures to have the lowest ownership, and probably by a wide margin. Davis is a total wild card in this scenario, figuring to get the first- and second-down carries, as well as goal-line work. The Bucs are susceptible to the run game, so if the 49ers can keep it close, Davis might get enough carries to pay off his pricetag, but he is, admittedly, a boom-or-bust call. A boom could be a large-field tournament game-changer, however.
Tevin Coleman $6,200 (Atlanta Falcons vs. San Diego Chargers)
Coleman has settled into an intriguing pattern. In his past two odd-numbered weeks, he’s exploded for 24 and 28 points. In his past two even-numbered weeks, he has 7.0 points combined. Well, this week is an odd-number week, and not just any week, but a game at home against the Chargers, who are among the most generous fantasy defenses against running backs and are particularly vulnerable to pass-catching running backs like Coleman. At his middling price, his ownership might be microscopic this week, but this game sets up for another other-week explosion.
Matt Forte $6,700 (New York Jets vs. Baltimore Ravens)
With Geno Smith now running the show here, it’s hard to make a case for the Jets playing from out in front, where Forte is most likely to be used. Forte hasn’t reached eight fantasy points since Week 2 and that trend isn’t likely to change this week.
Latavius Murray $5,900 (Oakland Raiders at Jacksonville Jaguars)
Murray is looking like he will be active on Sunday against the Jags, but at this point, what exactly does that mean? This is such a committee backfield right now that guessing who will get the most carries is a fool’s errand. Avoiding the Raiders running game altogether seems like a prudent move for the time being.