Running backs are currently the backbone of seasonal fantasy, and in my opinion, daily fantasy sports. Since I’m almost exclusively a cash game player, my process always starts with locking in the running back position(s) and then seeing what can be allocated towards three receivers. The list of FanDuel running backs to avoid in week one are some of the clearest decisions I can remember, so let’s get to it.
Christian McCaffrey: $7,500
You probably thought Le’Veon Bell would lead this list, right? Even before his extended holdout, there was an 80 percent chance Bell would be on this list. Nevertheless, a nutless monkey knows not to play Bell this week, so let’s talk about Christian McCaffrey.
The hype surrounding Christian McCaffrey (CMC) absolutely confounds me. He carried the ball 117 times last season and only received double-digit carries a total of three times. Now, if this article was centered around the DraftKings scoring format, CMC would not be included on this list. However, the .50 PPR scoring severely limits his upside. And if you’re using his preseason usage to justify an increased workload, that’s not good enough. Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott took zero preseason snaps. Why? Because both teams know exactly what those players are capable of and know exactly how they are going to be used.
If the Panthers knew the whole time they were going to give CMC the majority of early-down work, why would they risk his injury in the preseason? Why would they bother signing C.J. Anderson, a power back who rushed for 1,000 yards and averaged over four yards per carry last season? Because they don’t know if he’s capable of that workload and want to see how he handles running on early downs in the preseason. If you think what CMC produced in the preseason was enough to ensure 15 carries per game, then knock yourself out and play him on all of your lineups.
LeSean McCoy: $7,300
For those who don’t know, LeSean McCoy is slated to start week one as of now. He was not listed on the Bills’ injury report Wednesday and will likely receive a full workload. However, his matchup and price make him an easy target for running backs to avoid in week one. While the Ravens finished in the middle of the pack against the run, that’s not a true indication of that unit’s ability. In the four games without their starting nose tackle Brandon Williams, they surrendered 678 rushing yards (169.5 yards/game). Thankfully for the Ravens, Williams will be in the starting lineup versus the Bills this Sunday.
Apart from the matchup, McCoy’s supporting cast is appreciably worse compared to last year. He’ll be playing with a new quarterback, left tackle, center, and guard. None of these new players are objective upgrades, so McCoy will have his work cut out for him. Even with the large workload, he’s anticipated to shoulder, it’s tough to see McCoy being efficient with those touches. Then when you factor in his $7,300 price, there are too many negatives to confidently roster him in cash games. There are simply better options if you want to pay for a running back in his price range.
Peyton Barber: $5,600
Peyton Barber’s spot on this list has nothing to do with his ability or role in the Tampa Bay offense. Barber’s categorization as a running back to avoid in week one is the result of his projected gameflow, the fact that James Conner is $600 cheaper, and that Conner’s projected gameflow will be more favorable for consistent production. It’s entirely possible that Barber makes value, but to do so, he will have to do it catching the football. There isn’t enough data or tape to indicate he will be targeted by Ryan Fitzpatrick, or that he will be efficient with those opportunities. Save yourself the extra cash and pay down for Conner.
Featured Image Courtesy of USA Today
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