DFS Fantasy Preview Week 1 RB Salaries 2018

By Bobby Gomes
Bobby Gomes

Top Tier

The highest priced Running Backs are Le'Veon Bell (9,400), David Johnson (8,800), and Alvin Kamara (8,500). At this point, due to his contract situation, Lev is a total fade. Kamara should be the keystone option for the majority of cash game players week one due to Mark Ingram’s suspension. Johnson is also cash game viable. You have to consider both Johnson and Kamara in tournaments just because of their usage and potential ceilings. If you're paying down at Quarterback you can fit both in tournaments and cash. If I had to choose one in tournaments I would lean Kamara at this point because of the added usage and the Saints implied team total. Ezekiel Elliott at (7,700) and Leonard Fournette (7,000) round out the high end Running Backs. I’m probably not considering either at the moment. Zeke should see heavy usage but the Panthers are stout up front, and they’ll likely be playing from behind. Leonard Fournette has a great matchup but he’s not utilized in the passing game enough. Also run stopper extraordinaire Damon “Snacks” Harrison is back and healthy for the Gmen so this just seems like a stay away spot.

Mid Tier

At the top of the mid tier Melvin Gordon (6,800) is appealing as he will see considerable usage as a home favorite. I personally don’t roster him much, but if you decided to go there in tournaments or cash I wouldn’t try to talk you off of it. Saquon Barkley (6,700) is the guy in the mid tier who really sticks out to me as a tournament leverage play. The problem is even before his forty yard run on his first NFL carry from scrimmage, the hype train was already rolling. The outlier here is that he gets what may seem to some as a difficult matchup week 1 in Jacksonville. So hopefully the public will be scared off. Christian McCaffrey (6,700) is a game-breaker and always a strong tournament roster - don’t go they're in cash, but in tournaments he should be just fine. Dalvin Cook (6,200) although he has a great matchup and may end up being pretty chalky is a Running Back I’m staying away from week 1. I think the Minnesota coaching staff will ease him back into the mix, in his first game back from his ACL injury. Having Latavius Murray as a viable option in the backfield should allow them to do this. Great for the Vikes, not so much for fantasy owners. LeSean McCoy (6,000) is interesting, similar situation to Zeke in terms of receiving heavy usage in a negative game script, but McCoy is 17 hundred cheaper. I’ll consider McCoy in tournaments if a guy like DT Brandon Williams can’t go. The Ravens were last in the league at stopping the run last season when Brandon Williams was sidelined due to injury. Jerick McKinnon (5,800) should be pretty popular due to the revenge narrative. He should also get a bump because of how popular he is in season long. I’m not going they're with McKinnon week one as of right now, but things could change as we get closer. Alex Collins seems like he maybe the chalk cash game play. I’ll probably use him in cash - I would like to see him take more of a role in the passing game this preseason before I lock him in. Lamar Miller (5,200) rounds out the bottom of the mid tier. I like Miller if he is going to get the majority of the carries in the Texans offense with D’onte Foreman still on the mend with a ruptured Achilles.

Low Tier

Kicking off the high end of the low tier we have Dion Lewis (4,900). I really like Lewis here If this turns into a home game for the Titans which it very well could. I like Derrick Henry (5,400) as well but leaning Lewis or whoever garners lower ownership when projections come out. Latavius Murray (4,800) could be a sneaky tournament play if you're looking for savings. He is going up against one of the worst run defenses in the league from last season and will also probably be used pretty significantly to spell Dalvin Cook who is returning from an ACL injury. He will not be very highly owned. Duke Johnson (4,700) could be pretty popular week one - the problem I have is there seems to be a lot of touches to go around in that backfield, so watch how that situation plays out in the preseason to hopefully gain some clarity. But the game script should fit Johnson. Chris Thompson (4,700) is coming off a gruesome knee injury and could miss games early in the season. The Redskins are already known to handle him with care so while he may garner some ownership with Derrius Guice going down, it may not be worth the roster but I would monitor his progress because the game script is positive. Giovani Bernard (4,400) is another pass catching back that should have positive game script with low ownership. Rex Burkhead (4,200) looks like he maybe one of the higher owned running backs week 1 and with Julian Edelman out and Burkhead running 18% of his routes from the slot last year, as well as probably being the goal line back the ownership is probably well deserved. While I’m not high on Sony Michel early in the year, Burkhead will probably be challenged for snaps by James White (4,000) in the passing game and Jeremy Hill (3,300) at the goal line both are potentially good tournament plays. A nice pivot play off of Burkhead also at 4,200 is C.J. Anderson. Anderson is likely to be the goal line back for Carolina and doesn’t have all the competition that Burkhead will have to contend with in terms of playing time.