The Long Gain: Bargain Running Backs to Target in Week 4

by Zach Krueger ·

In fantasy football, volume is king. Knowing this, we bank a majority of our start/sit decisions on this volume and who we project to have the most opportunity in a given week. Expected volume is what made Frank Gore an easy start in Week 3 against Cincinnati (16.9 fantasy points, RB12), and it’s why fantasy gamers are being scared off of Stefon Diggs in Week 4 against Chicago (4.0 targets/gm). It’s easy to over/undervalue a player’s expected volume when searching out bargain buys in a given week. While we hit on Frank Gore, we made the mistake of over valuing Ty Johnson in Week 3 following C.J. Anderson‘s release, incorrectly assuming that he was about to move into a significant time share with Kerryon Johnson. He felt look a strong start with the value we thought would come his way, and looked even sexier at his $3,000 Draft Kings price and $4,500 FanDuel price. The end result was four carries and one reception, totaling five yards and a dismal 21.7-percent Snap Share among his backfield counterparts.

Simply put, this is no way to win. This week’s goal is to use advanced stats and metrics to get back to basics and put the focus on running backs with high Opportunity Shares who have recently dropped in price due to underwhelming performances over the last few weeks. Consider this week’s article your undervalued bell cow back special.

James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Draft Kings: $6,500
FanDuel: $6,900

James Conner is a top candidate for some positive regression in Week 4. As it stands right now, Conner has a 79.7-percent (No. 6 among qualified running backs) Opportunity Share, but has 97 (No. 39) rushing yards on the season and 70 (No. 19) receiving yards. He has yet to reach 100-plus total yards in a game this season and is averaging only 2.9 yards per carry. With that being said, consider Week 4 to be Conner’s get right week.

Check out James Conner on PlayerProfiler’s Updated Weekly Rankings and Projections:

The Bengals come off a Week 3 matchup with the Bills where they allowed Frank Gore to rumble for 89 total yards and a touchdown on 16 touches. If we liked Gore against the Bengals, we have to love Conner with his more than favorable salary for the week. The Bengals have allowed the second most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season, surrendering +12.75 fantasy points more than league average. Conner is a proven bell cow and pass catcher, having finished No. 3 among all running backs in 2018 with an 83.1-percent Opportunity Share. He averaged 111.5 total yards and 20.7 fantasy points against the Bengals last season, which should only provide more cause for optimism heading into his Week 4 matchup. It’s also worth noting that FanDuel has been especially friendly to those looking to plug him into their lineups this week, dropping his price from $7,400 to $6,900. He is an absolute stud this week, and everyone should know it.

Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

Draft Kings: $6,000
FanDuel: $6,400

Leonard Fournette currently leads all running backs with a 96.9-percent Opportunity Share and ranks among the top-10 with 20 (No. 5) targets, 14 (No. 6) receptions and 94 (No. 9) receiving yards. Despite not finding the end zone this season, he is still a mid-range RB2 averaging 13. 1 (No. 20) Fantasy Points Per Game. He next draws a Broncos team that allows +3.75 points above league average to opposing running backs.

Leonard Fournette Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Last week against the Packers, the Broncos allowed 25.9 fantasy points to Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams combined. The duo totaled 112 yards on 25 touches (4.5 yards per touch), with Jones finding the end zone twice. Given his high Opportunity Share, and what Jones and Williams accomplished together in Week 3, there’s no reason to believe that Fournette can’t grind his way to this week’s highest scoring running back output when all is said and done. Like James Conner, Fournette has also received a nice FanDuel Discount dropping from $6,600 last week to $6,400 this week.

Josh Jacobs, RB, Oakland Raiders

Draft Kings: $5,100
FanDuel: $6,000

Josh Jacobs exploded out of the gate in Week 1 against the Broncos when he managed to go for 113 total yards and two touchdowns, finishing as the RB6 with 24.3 fantasy points. He has struggled to get going since then, posting only 9.9 (No. 28) fantasy points in Week 2 and 4.4 (No. 49) fantasy points in Week 3. He has a chance to right his ship this week against the Colts.

Josh Jacobs 2019 Efficiency Metrics

The opportunity is there for Jacobs to return to his Week 1 form. He is currently No. 13 among all running backs with a 66.7-percent Opportunity Share and No. 3 in Red Zone Touches with 12 on the season. Known for his physical running style, he has proven to be as advertised early in the season. With 18 (No. 7) evaded tackles, 5.6 (No. 14) Yards Per Touch and 92 (No. 12) Yards Created, bringing him down has proven to be no easy task, making him a tremendous threat in the red zone. Jacobs prepares to face a Colts defense that is allowing +4.15 (No. 6) fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. Fire him up with confidence and let him lead you to DFS glory.