The Long Gain: Bargain Running Backs to Target in Week 9

by Zach Krueger ·

We have now hit the half-way point of the fantasy season as we head into Week 9, and there’s hope that we have finally hammered out the perfect method for selecting buy-low running backs. Granted there’s always somebody or something trying to throw a wrench into the process, but we should be getting these picks right through our use of advanced stats and metrics.

With four teams on byes this week (Atlanta, Cincinnati, Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans), we must look elsewhere to replace guys like Alvin Kamara/Latavius Murray, Joe Mixon and Todd Gurley.

Thankfully, we’ve found a handful of players who look more than capable of filling in for a few Week 9 studs. Here are this week’s bargain bin running backs.

Le’Veon Bell, RB, New York Jets

DraftKings: $7700
Fan Duel: $7000

The New York Jets are 1-6 and their offense is at the bottom of the league. Le’Veon Bell has been under-utilized over the last three weeks, receiving less than 20 touches per game over that span. Thankfully he plays the role of the squeaky wheel this week, as he takes on the Miami Dolphins. A drop in production this season feels like writing on the wall after he missed a year of football and moved to a franchise that is still trying to find its footing with a second-year quarterback in Sam Darnold.

Le’Veon Bell Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Sure enough, Bell hasn’t been the RB1 we’ve grown accustomed to seeing. He averages 13.7 (No. 19 among qualified running backs) Fantasy Points Per Game with 349 (No. 27) rushing yards and 187 (No. 13) receiving yards. Sam Darnold missing three games with a case of mono didn’t do much to help the Jets either, evidenced by Bell’s nine (No. 44) red zone touches through the team’s first seven games this season. Heading into Sunday’s matchup at Miami, the Jets will look to get their offense on track. The Dolphins surrender a league-high +7.81 fantasy points above the mean to opposing running backs this season, and have been the defense to seek out each week when scouting high-upside DFS running backs. The Jets should have a chance to give Bell multiple red zone opportunities this week, as he looks to get on track heading into the back half of the season.

Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans

DraftKings: $5700
Fan Duel: $6800

There’s a drastic drop in price for Derrick Henry this week on DraftKings and FanDuel as Henry and the Titans head to Carolina to take on the Panthers. Through Tennessee’s first eight games, he has been every bit the bell cow back they were looking for when they drafted him in 2016. Averaging 18.9 (No. 4) carries per game, with a total of 589 (No. 9) rush yards and six (No. 7) total touchdowns, Henry has provided fantasy owners with a friendly return on investment after they drafted him in the fourth round.

Check out Derrick Henry on PlayerProfiler’s Updated Weekly Rankings and Projections:

Henry currently averages 14.1 (No. 17) Fantasy Points Per Game and is 16th among running backs with 19 red zone touches.¬†He has proven been explosive as he’s been slippery this season, posting eight (No. 3) Breakaway Runs and 53 (No. 4) evaded tackles with a 33.3-percent (No. 4) Juke Rate. If there’s one thing Henry has been this season, it’s consistent in his weekly touches. Now he has a chance to take his high-volume work load into Carolina. The Panthers allow +4.71 fantasy points above the mean to opposing running backs this season, despite boasting one of the best middle linebackers in Luke Kuechly. Whether he’s playing with Ryan Tannehill or Marcus Mariota, the touches will be there for Henry this week as they are every week. He’ll be ready to smash in Week 9.

Josh Jacobs, RB, Oakland Raiders

DraftKings: $6500
Fan Duel: $7200

There’s a good chance that fantasy gamers missed the chance to capitalize on Josh Jacobs in Week 1 when he took on the Broncos and went for 24.3 points, finishing his rookie debut as the RB6. Fortunately he hasn’t looked back since, and there have been multiple opportunities for these gamers to redeem themselves, as Jacobs has quickly proven himself to be a premiere bell cow back. Like Derrick Henry, Jacobs has been another high-volume running back through the 2019 campaign, boasting a 65.1-percent (No. 18) Opportunity Share while averaging 15.3 (No. 15) Fantasy Points Per Game and 88.6 (No. 6) rush yards per game.

Josh Jacobs Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Among Jacobs’ most notable stats this season has been his red zone work. While he’s only found the end zone four times, his lack of scores isn’t due to lack of opportunity. He has dominated in red zone touches through Oakland’s first seven games, racking up 23 (No. 9) thus far. The Raiders host the Detroit Lions this week, who currently surrender +7.61 (No. 2) fantasy points above the mean to opposing running backs. Unafraid to run the ball this season, Oakland averages¬† 27.4 (No. 11) run plays per game, and Jacobs should have a chance to capitalize on what should be a bevy of touches in this Week 9 matchup.