Free Square DFS Running Backs for Week 2

by Taylor Smith · Value Plays

Free square running backs refer to RBs that come in severely underpriced relative to their projected roles. These players are often priced at the stone-minimum, opening up the DFS slate to jam in the premium plays. DraftKings has raised the salary floor for running backs this season from $3000 to $4000, so spotting these freebies is paramount if we want to afford the high-floor, high-upside smash plays. Using PlayerProfiler’s advanced stats, metrics, and analytics, we can identify RBs that fit the criteria. Here are the free square RBs for the NFL Week 2 DFS main slate.

Malcolm Brown, Los Angeles Rams: $5700

In a bit of a twist, Malcolm Brown emerged as the lead dog in the Los Angeles Rams backfield following Week 1. While rookie RB Cam Akers commanded 15 touches, he turned in a paltry 43 total yards. Brown was the efficient and effective veteran presence, posting 110 total yards and two scores on 21 touches. His prospect profile suggests that he could continue his production.

Malcolm Brown Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Boasting a 31.2 (73rd-percentile among qualified running backs) Body Mass Index, Brown has plenty of size to handle lead back duties. He was never a target magnet at Texas, but he did catch 51 balls in his college career. Given the struggles of his backfield mates Akers and Darrell Henderson, he’ll have a stranglehold on the starting job for the time being.

Brown’s matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles is far from ideal, though. Philly has boasted an elite front seven in each of the last few seasons and that didn’t change in Week 1. Washington RBs were held to just 63 rushing yards at 2.17 yards per clip, but then again, that group includes Peyton Barber and J.D. McKissic. If the Rams offensive line affords him similar run blocking as they did last week (his 94.3 Run Blocking Efficiency ranked No. 10), Brown should be able to produce regardless of matchup. Given his projected workload and moderate price-tag, he is a solid free square RB for Week 2.

Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts: $5700

With Marlon Mack’s season-ending Achilles injury, Jonathan Taylor is in an absolute smash spot this week. Philip Rivers carried over his career love for targeting RBs, hooking up with Taylor and Nyheim Hines for 14 of his 36 completions. Taylor saw six of those, good for No. 2 among RBs in Week 1.

The Colts also boast one of the league’s nastiest offensive lines and have continuity at all five spots from last season. Taylor wasn’t able to get to the second level of the defense in Week 1, but it’s coming. When he does, his 121.7 (99th-percentile) Speed Score will be too much to handle for any defense. The Vikings are a softer matchup than most think, ranking No. 27 in Defense Rushing DVOA against the Packers last week. Should his receiving volume continue, Taylor will flirt with top-5 RB numbers.

Melvin Gordon, Denver Broncos: $5200

While FanDuel remained aggressive on Melvin Gordon‘s pricing ($6700, No. 13 among RBs), DraftKings left him at $5200 (No. 20). With Phillip Lindsay likely out with a foot injury, or at least limited, Gordon can be projected for an elite Opportunity Share. In the second half of Week 1, he saw all but two touches in the Broncos backfield. With Royce Freeman looking like a non-factor, Gordon is a rare three-down RB that is severely underpriced.

Check out Melvin Gordon on PlayerProfiler’s Updated Weekly Rankings and Projections:

The matchup with the Steelers isn’t ideal after they just limited Saquon Barkley to 0.4 yards per carry, but Gordon is behind the best offensive line in his career. He saw the No. 11-ranked Run Blocking Efficiency rating in Week 1 and added five Evaded Tackles of his own. If he can maintain his elusiveness and his blockers keep up their end, he should be efficient once again. With 20-plus touches on the horizon, Gordon is an excellent low-ownership pivot from the other free square backs.

Benny Snell, Pittsburgh Steelers: $4500

It didn’t take long for James Conner to realize his No. 1-ranked Injury Probability. His first quarter ankle injury paved the way for Benny Snell to be featured as the poster boy of Week 2 DFS. The second-year Steelers RB reportedly slimmed down from his 224-pound frame and looked good on Monday night. His two Breakaway Runs were tied for the lead among RBs last week. While he did enjoy the No. 13-ranked Run Blocking Efficiency rating, he also had 41 Yards Created, which ranked No. 6.

Benny Snell Week 1 Advanced Efficiency Metrics

James Conner has yet to practice, meaning the Steelers will likely lean on Snell regardless of his status. While his $4500 price is enticing, the matchup makes him a riskier option for cash lineups. Despite a 116-yard performance, the Broncos bottled up Derrick Henry pretty well. It took him 31 carries to get there and he didn’t have a single Breakaway Run.

Snell isn’t in the same stratosphere as Henry, setting him up to be a disappointment. Still, he’s affordable and is a lock for 20 carries in an explosive offense. Sprinkle him into some tournament lineups and hope for a multi-touchdown game, but pay up for others in cash.