The Long Gain: Bargain Running Backs to Target in Week 8

by Zach Krueger ·

If you don’t love articles about criminally underrated running backs that you can put in your weekly DFS lineups, then you’ve come to the wrong place. Week 8 has some of the best bargains to date.

For those who subscribe to the notion that running backs don’t matter, Week 7 was another feather in their cap. Latavius Murray and Chase Edmonds¬†casually took the bulk of their team’s backfield touches after Alvin Kamara and David Johnson went down, providing fantasy gamers with the top two running back performances of last week.

This week we look for the next running back set to benefit from a fellow teammate’s injury, while also honing in on a few bell cow running backs ready to flourish in positive game scripts. Here are your Week 8 running back bargains.

Marlon Mack, RB, Indianapolis Colts

DraftKings: $6100
Fan Duel: $6800

Marlon Mack has finished at RB14 or better in three of his six games this season, and was the RB9 in Week 1 against the Los Angeles Chargers. The third year back is averaging 19.8 carries per game and has seen a 68.2-percent (No. 12 among qualified running backs) Opportunity Share despite having seen only 12 (No. 44) targets on the season. Mack averages 13.1 (No. 20) fantasy points per game, and has averaged 12.9 fantasy points per game in his team’s four wins this season.

Check out Marlon Mack on PlayerProfiler’s Updated Weekly Rankings and Projections:

Mack has shown a propensity for big plays this season with five (No. 10) Breakaway Runs and a 4.2-percent (No. 22) Breakaway Run Rate. Seeing him reel off big runs should come as no surprise after he finished with 10 (No. 14) Breakaway Runs and 315 (No. 15) Yards Created in 2018. He should drastically eclipse last year’s Yards Created mark, as he currently sits at fifth among all running backs with 215 Yards Created this season. He draws a friendly home matchup against the 2-5 Denver Broncos and their 17th ranked defense against opposing running backs. With the Colts offense humming this season, and the Broncos trying to keep their head above water, Mack could see a promising game script in what is a winnable Week 8 matchup.

Ty Johnson, RB, Detroit Lions

DraftKings: $4900
Fan Duel: $5200

After Kerryon Johnson went down in Week 7 against the Vikings, it was rookie running back Ty Johnson who took over the workload. He saw a career high 10 carries, while also converting all four of his targets for four receptions for 28 yards. He failed to find the end zone but did manage to post 9.7 fantasy points, and is now being talked about as Detroit’s lead back heading into Week 8. With a 5-foot-11, 213-pound frame, and 4.45 (92nd-percentile) speed, he’s built to dominate touches. During his time at the University of Maryland, the sixth round rookie managed to put together a 7.0 (93rd-percentile) College YPC while also seeing a 6.4-percent (37th-percentile) College Target Share.

Ty Johnson Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Ty has a big pair of shoes to fill now that Kerryon is out for not only this week, but until at least Week 16. He’ll see a friendly first test as Detroit’s full-time starter this week as well. He takes on a New York Giants team that has allowed +4.16 (No. 4) fantasy points above the mean to opposing running backs this season. Like Marlon Mack and the Colts this week, he also has the chance to enjoy a home matchup against a team that’s struggled to get anything going on defense. The Giants are allowing 388.4 (No.28) yards per game on the season. We wanted Johnson to get going a few weeks ago, but came out a little premature on the take. This week looks more promising, as the explosive rookie should get a chance to show what he’s capable of against the Giants.

James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

DraftKings: $7700
Fan Duel: $7000

This is more of a Fan Duel special. The $7000 price for James Conner makes him only the 10th most expensive running back on the DFS platform, while the $7700 price tag on DraftKings makes him the fourth most expensive running back. The good news, no matter what platform we play on, is that he’ll be facing the Miami Dolphins. Conner looks to continue where he left off¬† as he returns fresh off a Week 7 bye. Over the past three games, he’s looked like the running back we saw last year. After getting off to a sluggish start this season, with 10.6 fantasy points per game from Weeks 1-3, Conner has averaged a solid 30.0 fantasy points per game over his last three. He now has a chance to build on those numbers in a Monday Night home game against the Dolphins.

James Conner Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Conner has managed to find the end zone four times over his last four games, while averaging 99.7 total yards on 18.3 touches per game in that span. If you feel like you can’t avoid DFS articles that mention starting stud players against the Dolphins, it’s for good reason. The Dolphins are on the way to being one of the worst teams in NFL history, and currently allow a league-high +8.66 fantasy points above the mean to opposing running backs this season. Every offensive player is a juicy matchup when playing the Dolphins until they show otherwise, and it doesn’t matter if they’re home or on the road. Plugging Conner in this week is the easiest decision we’ll make all week.