Daily Fantasy Football: Running Backs







By Chet Gresham - @ChetGresham
Follow @walterfootball for updates.

With just two weeks until the regular season, it is time to continue preparing my Week 1 FanDuel team. Also, check out my earlier article on Week 1's receivers.

Last season, the worst rush defenses for fantasy football were Atlanta, Oakland, Jacksonville, Cincinnati, New Orleans and Tampa Bay. Each gave up 27+ fantasy points to running backs per game last year. That, of course, won't remain the same this season, but we can use that as a starting point for Week 1.

I like to look for extremes when picking FanDuel players. I want huge mismatches when picking my teams, and to start this year, I'd very much like my running backs to face teams that should continue to play poorly against the run and also be in games that have a high over/under.



Green Bay at Chicago

Running Backs statistics allowed in 2014:
Team RuAtt RuYds YPC RuTD Rec ReYds ReTD Tar FPPG Rank
GB 23.81 97.44 4.092 0.50 4.56 42.50 0.13 6.94 22.31 14
CHI 22.25 95.88 4.309 0.69 5.56 46.50 0.19 7.75 25.05 22
The Bears ranked 22nd last season in fantasy points allowed to running backs and have routinely been abused by Green Bay's running backs. In four-game career against Chicago, Eddie Lacy has totaled 408 yards and four touchdowns.

This game has an over/under of 50, which is the fourth highest of Week 1. With Jordy Nelson out, we should also see a bit more reliance on the run game.

Player Team PPG $
Eddie Lacy GB 15.7 8,500


Philadelphia at Atlanta

Running Backs statistics allowed in 2014:
Team RuAtt YPC RuYds RuTD Rec ReYds ReTD Tar FPPG Rank
ATL 24.3 4.09 99.4 1.19 5.5 49.1 0.19 7.4 28.6 32
PHI 25.8 3.57 92.3 0.81 4.6 39.1 0.44 6.0 25.3 23
The Eagles ran the ball the eighth most in the league last season and the third most inside the red zone, and they will take on the worst run defense in the league from last season as far as fantasy points allowed goes.

Player Team PPG $
DeMarco Murray PHI 20.2 8,500
Ryan Mathews PHI 10.4 5,900
Darren Sproles PHI 9.2 5,800
The Eagles now have two very good starting running backs as their No. 1 and 2 options in DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews, and I could see both having value from week to week, but Murray is, of course, the guy who will be the safer of the two.

Murray is the sixth-highest priced running back at $8,500, which for the matchup and potential is fine with me. This game has the highest over/under of Week 1 at 53.5 total points, which is two points higher than the next highest Vegas total. There will be plenty of scoring in this game, and you'll want to get at least a part of it in your FanDuel lineups.



Cincinnati at Oakland

Running Backs statistics allowed in 2014:
Team RuAtt RuYds YPC RuTD Rec ReYds ReTD Tar FPPG Rank
OAK 26.3 107.0 4.08 0.94 4.9 47.6 0.44 7.31 28.59 31
CIN 23.3 100.4 4.31 0.94 5.8 51.6 0.13 7.25 27.39 29
The over/under for this game is miniscule compared to the Atlanta/Philadelphia game at 41.5 total points, but that's probably because both of these teams will look to establish the run and should be able to, with Cincinnati as the team with a better shot of getting a lead and running time off the clock through the ground game.

Player Team PPG $
Jeremy Hill CIN 12.3 8,600
Giovani Bernard CIN 12.8 7,200
It's clear that Jeremy Hill is the back to own in Cincinnati this season, and that goes for daily fantasy games as well. He will lose some touches to Gio Bernard, but not more than your usual third-down back would take, and since Hill is a capable receiver, he should see more receiving targets this season. Early in the year, I want to pick the early down running back on a team I think we be in the lead, and Hill is a great target for that reason.

Player Team PPG $
Latavius Murray OAK 5.1 7,400
Roy Helu OAK 7.6 5,600
On the other side of the field, we'll have the riskier back in Latavius Murray. One of the biggest questions for him is how will he be used in passing-down situations with Roy Helu there? If the game script plays out that the Raiders get behind, will we see Helu in the second half more than Murray? It's a concern I think we will have answered for us, but not until after a few games. Murray's price is nice enough for his upside, and I will most likely use him in big tournaments rather than 50/50s.

Tennessee at Tampa Bay

Running Backs statistics allowed in 2014:
Team RuAtt RuYds YPC RuTD Rec ReYds ReTD Tar FPPG Rank
TEN 28.4 125.2 4.4 1.06 4.0 27.1 0.25 5.4 27.1 27
TB 25.9 101.6 3.9 0.81 5.7 38.8 0.31 7.3 26.5 26
This game isn't exactly the premiere matchup of the weekend, but we're looking for fantasy points more than excitement, even though those usually coincide for us fake footballers.

In this matchup, I'd like to target the Titans' rush defense. Last season, they gave up the most rushing yards per game, the eighth-most yards per carry, and the second-most rushing touchdowns. And even though Tennessee is facing a Buccaneers team that couldn't run the ball to save their lives last year, but that's where value might creep in.

Player Team PPG $
Doug Martin TB 6.8 6,900
Charles Sims TB 6.4 6,200
We have a rush defense that should remain poor this season and a player in Doug Martin who has slimmed down, is healthy and appears to have won the every-down job once again. And at $6,900, he's the 23rd-highest priced running back. He's risky to say the least, but makes for a decent tournament play. For more recommendations, check out WalterFootball.com's Fantasy Football Rankings.






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