Since Week 1, the goal of this weekly article was to provide cost-efficient running backs for weekly Sunday/Monday DFS slates. Hence the title. We’ve sought out what we perceived to be bargain running backs. All while casting potential ownership to the wind.
While we won’t be providing ownership projections in this article, we must be more mindful of players and their ownership. Players such as Bo Scarbrough, Jaylen Samuels and Derrick Henry look too chalky this week given their recent performances, or the public’s propensity to chase these players and their strong matchups.
Keeping in mind our desire to find bargains at the position, and players with (hopefully) low ownership, let’s take a look at the running backs we are firing up in Week 12.
Derrius Guice, RB, Washington
Last week we shied away from Derrius Guice. Mostly due to his injury history and because he was returning from another extended absence. Despite the juicy matchup against the Jets, seeing him get through a week healthy made it an easy call. His playing a full game and walking away from it is a big deal with Week 12 bringing an even better matchup. Since entering the league in 2018, Guice has been considered among the best running back prospects of the class. He brings elite size and athleticism with his 5-11, 211-pound frame, 4.49 (81st-percentile among qualified running backs) 40-yard dash and 110.2 (92nd-percentile) Speed Score. While at LSU, Guice put his playmaking ability on display. He finished his career with a 32.2-percent (73rd-percentile) College Dominator Rating, 6.4 (83rd-percentile) yards per carry and a 7.3-percent (50th-percentile) College Target Share.
Now he rejoins an offense in need of playmakers and youth. The same offense that has allowed 34-year old Adrian Peterson to rush for 516 (No. 19) yards while averaging 13.8 carries per game. Guice put up a solid performance against the Jets in Week 11. He rushed for 24 yards on seven carries and hauled in a 45-yard receiving touchdown. His performance was just enough to allow us to get excited for his next matchup. While the low volume should keep his ownership at a reasonable percentage for at least another week. This week he faces the Detroit Lions, who have allowed a league-high +7.92 fantasy points above the mean to opposing running backs this season. His price is our target range, he has a great matchup and he’s an elite playmaker. Hit the ground running and fire up Guice on all platforms.
Kareem Hunt, RB, Cleveland Browns
Fan Duel: $5600
Since returning from suspension in Week 10, Kareem Hunt has quickly carved out a role in the Cleveland Browns backfield. While he has yet to demand significant touches, he has averaged 13.1 fantasy points over the last two weeks and seen the third-most targets among running backs since Week 10. We know that he’s unlikely to take over the backfield. Nick Chubb has a stranglehold on the lion’s share of the touches, and has produced to the tune of 1,011 (No. 3) rushing yards and six (No. 11) touchdowns.
Despite seeing only 11.5 touches per game since his return, Hunt is seeing opportunity in the passing game, which bodes well for the PPR/half-PPR formats of DraftKings and FanDuel. In his first game back, Hunt posted 14.4 fantasy points on 11 touches for 74 total yards against the Buffalo Bills, finishing the week as the RB12. He saw nine targets in his Week 10 matchup against Buffalo and circled back to see eight more in Week 11, finishing that week with 58 total yards on 12 touches and 11.8 fantasy points (RB27).
This week the Browns get their shot at the Miami Dolphins, who currently allow the sixth-most fantasy points above the mean (+4.12) to opposing running backs. Even with his limited opportunity, it’s encouraging to see him averaging double-digit touches right out of the gate. The goal in starting Hunt this week is to zig where others may zag. Running backs against Miami have been smash matchups all season. While ownership for Chubb should be high, we will start Hunt instead, hoping for another top-12 week (or better) should he find the end zone for the first time in 2019.
Miles Sanders, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
Fan Duel: $5600
We knew in Week 11 that Miles Sanders was set up to see the biggest workload of his young career, thus setting up fantasy owners for an ideal start. This despite Sanders facing the Patriots and their elite run stopping defense. At the end of the day, he saw an 88-5-percent Snap Share. However, he only posted 13 touches, which isn’t far off his 11.1 touches/gm mark throughout this season. He finished Week 11 with 11 carries for 38 yards, while hauling in two passes on four targets for nine yards. In short, the Patriots defense lived up to their reputation. Sanders, along with the rest of the Eagles offense, were held in check. Now he has a chance at a mulligan heading into Week 12 against the Seahawks.
Check out Miles Sanders on PlayerProfiler’s Updated Weekly Rankings and Projections:
Jordan Howard still has yet to practice this week for the Eagles, making Boston Scott and the recently signed Jay Ajayi the only threats to Sanders’ workload. Furthermore, Sanders gets a chance to face a Seattle defense that has allowed 23.8 fantasy points to opposing running backs over the last five weeks. Comparing that to the 15.2 fantasy points allowed by the Patriots over that same span, it’s safe to say there are reasons for optimism about Sanders heading into Week 12.
In terms of athletic profile, Sanders is the total package. His above average workout metrics pair nicely with his 5.8 (62nd-percentile) college yards per carry and 8.4-percent (62nd-percentile) College Target Share. Now is the time for the talent to meet the opportunity, right in time to capitalize on a juicy home matchup.