There are a ton of mid-priced running backs with great matchups this week. That’s why I’m thinking my cash game roster construction will most likely have a running back in the flex spot this week. This is the ideal roster construction for cash games because running backs typically have a higher fantasy-point floor and are more predictable. Rostering three solid predictable running backs takes a lot of risk out of your lineup. Getting those players on the cheaper side allows you to roster more top tier wide receivers.
Receivers aren’t as predictable because their value is tied to their quarterback, at least on some level. Typically, the higher priced wide receivers are more predictable because they’re studs and will be the first look for their quarterbacks. This week looks to have players priced in the right ranges with the right matchups to make for the ideal roster construction that you want to have for cash games.
Drew Brees ($6700) should have value this week. A very interesting thing about Drew Brees this year is that he’s averaging 313 passing yards a game to rank third in the league among starting quarterbacks, but averages just 1.33 passing touchdowns per game, ranking sixteenth. For comparison, Andy Dalton averages 294 yards per game and 2.33 touchdowns per game. A full touchdown per game higher. I’m thinking Brees’ touchdowns have to go up because I don’t see his passing yards going down. Brees’ low touchdown mark is probably due to his receivers coming up short of getting into the end zone and the Saints rushing the ball in at the goal line.
Another thing that makes Brees interesting is that his salary has dropped $1300 since the start of the season. When a historically good quarterback has his salary drop that much it means you should probably play him. One good game will push his salary back up and this is probably the cheapest you’re going to get him all year. The Saints have an implied point total of twenty-eight according to the Vegas odds. That’s an estimated four touchdowns. If Brees can stay around his average yards of 313 yards passing and get just half of those touchdowns (two) he’ll have value for his price this week.
Andy Dalton ($6000) is another quarterback I’m looking to get into my cash game lineups this week. With Ben Roethlisberger playing in this game I’m expecting it to be much closer than if the Steelers had to start Jarvis Landry again. Pittsburgh ranks fourth in the league against running backs but ranks in the bottom half against quarterbacks, wide receivers, and tight ends. This should mean the easy path to moving the ball for the Bengals will be through the air. Combine an easy pass defense and the likeliness that Pittsburgh will be able to keep the game close, Dalton should have no problem racking up the points this week.
Colin Kaepernick ($5000) is never a good idea for cash games. He’s too volatile of a player to use in cash game lineups where we want low risk predictable players. This week is really not the week to use Kaepernick. No quarterback facing St. Louis has scored more than twenty DraftKings points. The Rams have the third toughest defense for quarterbacks to go against and the last time Kaepernick faced a top-five defense was back in Week 1 against Minnesota. In that game, he had forty-one rushing yards and 165 passing yards for 10.7 points. If the thought of using Kaepernick in cash games crept into your mind because of his low price let it creep right back out.
Justin Forsett ($6100) is a feature running back. He gets a majority of the carries, he catches passes, and he gets the red zone carries. Those are the three things that make a feature back in my mind. No matter if the Ravens are winning or losing, starting the drive or sitting on the one yard line, he’s not coming off the field. This week Forsett gets an extremely soft matchup with the Chargers who rank as the easiest team for a running back to go against. When a feature back goes against a soft defense and doesn’t even rank in the top ten for most expensive running backs this week, I’m going to be locking him into my cash game roster. Forsett getting the eighteen points needed for him to have value this week seems very likely, and knowing that he’s not going to get pulled for another role player makes me very comfortable rostering him.
Last week I recommended Todd Gurley ($6300), and I plan on riding the hot hand again. Gurley has three straight games of over one hundred rushing yards, and I’m expecting he continues that again this week. Gurley is becoming another feature back in the league as he’s gotten sixty-eight rushes in the past three games compared to sixteen for all other St. Louis running backs. He also caught four passes last week. St. Louis is over a touchdown favorite playing San Francisco, who’s defense is nothing close to what it was a couple of years ago. The Niners rank in the bottom third of the league against every offensive fantasy position. Gurley’s price has gone up a lot lately but he’s not overpriced yet, so I’ll be rostering him again this week.
Danny Woodhead ($4500) hasn’t had his price change more than $100 over the past five weeks. He’s still cheap despite being one of the more consistent running backs in the league. Woodhead gets a lot of his value from catching short dump off passes. His average depth of target is actually negative. Meaning he catches most of his passes behind the line of scrimmage. Woodhead also surprisingly gets most of the redzone carries. I think that has to do with Melvin Gordon’s fumbling issues and the team not trusting him with the ball so close to scoring. I think it’s safe to say that Woodhead is the new Darren Sproles. Thanks to the recency bias of most NFL fans they forget that Woodhead had seventy-six catches in 2013. He seems to be playing that same role again this year, and his price is staying low, perfect for cash game rosters.
Chris Johnson ($4600) is playing a Cleveland team that has given up four rushing touchdowns and four one-hundred-plus yards rushers over their last five games. Johnson has been getting a majority of the carries over the last three week while only playing less than fifty percent of the snaps. Johnson is still priced in the range of a contributing running back while getting the workload of a primary running back. Arizona is has an implied point total of around twenty-eight points. Carson Palmer will most likely throw two of those touchdowns, which means that the other two should be rushing touchdowns. If Johnson can get one of those combined with his normal yardage, he’d hit his value this week.