Mike Davis RB, Seattle (DraftKings $3,800)
Don’t kill me if this one doesn’t work, but hear me out! Seattle has nothing to gain here and likely want to escape this contest with a win and good health. Against Arizona, who is averaging the fourth-most fantasy points per game to enemy running backs on the season, it seems like a good spot to give all of its backs some work. Furthermore, if Seattle doesn’t need him, it makes no sense to put its current bell cow, Chris Carson, in harms way too much given that Rashaad Penny has been injured more often than not it seems. Penny’s status it still up in the air as of this writing so ancillary carries could easily be dominated by Davis with the added chance for three-down work if Seattle chooses to play it safe with Carson, who is critical to its success. Davis had seven carries last week which isn’t overly encouraging but it should be noted that three of those seven came in the red zone … that certainly matters and could be huge if he gets significant work in Week 17.
Adrian Peterson RB, Washington (DraftKings $4,500)
Hate him or love him, I was thrilled to see the old warhorse post 100-plus yards on the ground last week against Tennessee. What’s even better than that is the fact that Peterson toted the rock 26 times in that contest as Washington looked to prop up its “quarterback” with the ground game. Washington has nothing to play for so expect it to play its hearts out as it attempts to derail Philadelphia’s slim playoff chances. With Darrius Guice coming in next season (Injured Reserve), Peterson will be cast aside this offseason so why wouldn’t Washington ride him into the ground this week? High volume makes too much sense when considering all the factors and the $4,500 price tag opens up the budget a great deal!
James Conner RB, Pittsburgh (DraftKings $7,500)
With a fun practice under his belt this week (Wednesday), Conner appears to be safe to fire up for Week 17! Pittsburgh needs this win and some help to slip into the playoffs after last week’s understandable loss at New Orleans so expect it to pull out all the stops. That’s said, Pittsburgh won’t really need to per se with lowly Cincinnati coming to town but if the game gets out of hand, Conner looks like the primary beneficiary. His 2018 successes have been well documented so I’ll spare you the statistical regurgitation but I do want to add this – coach Mike Tomlin is officially on the hottest if he misses the playoffs and a narrow win against an opponent a bad as Cincinnati (who has allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing rushers on average) would look bad for what could easily be his last outing of the season. Pittsburgh should run up the score at home in this one, and multiple scores for Conner seems likely if not probable.
C.J. Anderson RB, Los Angeles Rams (DraftKings $5,400)
First off, I want to say thank you to this old bowling ball of a back for an outstanding outing last week in relief of Todd Gurley! I’m certain he won many people their traditional fantasy leagues and maybe this week he’ll help some of us win some fat cash in a guaranteed prize pool (GPP)! San Francisco is completely outmatched in this contest so I can’t imagine a scenario where the Rams risk Todd Gurley or have Jared Goff dropping back a ton which should lead to another significant workload to Anderson in Week 17. He smashed Arizona for 167 yards and a touchdown last week on 20 attempts and while San Francisco is slightly tougher against the run, it is still Bottom 12 in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs on the year.
Sony Michel RB, New England (DraftKings $5,200)
This is probably my riskiest pick at running back this week only because we have no earthly idea what coach Bill Belichick wants to do with this position any given week, especially Week 17! He toted the rock 21 times against the New York Jets in Week 12 (turning in a 25.2-point effort) so we have a track record for success in this same spot. New England is 13.5-point home favorites in this contest. Despite the less than amazing matchup, I’ll be firing up Michel in several spots just in case Belichick feeds him. That said, knowing New England, James Develin will have three touchdowns this weekend.
Gus Edwards RB, Baltimore (DraftKings $4,400)
He is far-and-away the most effective back for Baltimore and he’s been getting a solid clip of touches with no less than 14 carries in any contest since he took the job in Week 11. The touchdowns haven’t really been there, nor has the passing work, but he’s the bell cow in this offense and seems due for a turn around at least in the touchdown department. Against Cleveland and its 12th-most generous defense for opposing backs to face, there is a reason for optimism. The game has a 41-point over/under and Edwards doesn’t exactly jump off the page at you so ownership should be moderate. If he can get his usual clip of carries and fall into the endzone with one of them, he should turn in five times value for the price.