Le’Veon Bell – $7,500 at St. Louis – This may be too much for some players as it’s Bell’s first game of the season, but he does get a nice matchup and he should be heavily used. St. Louis has allowed the fourth-most points to backs already and 368 total yards.
Danny Woodhead – $4,400 at Minnesota – Woodhead will continue to be a value play until he’s at least $6,000. He has 166 total yards, two scores and 10 catches already. He’s scored at least 16 points in each game. He’s second on the Chargers in targets, and he’s averaged almost 10 rushes a game. So workload’s no concern, and Minnesota is just mediocre so far against running backs. The Vikings have given up 4.7 yards a carry and almost 150 total yards a game to running backs. Woodhead should continue to put up similar stats in this game.
Latavius Murray – $5,800 at Cleveland – Cleveland has allowed the fifth-most points to running backs so far, and that includes two scores and 60 carries for 308 yards(!). Murray can exploit a defense like that with his big-play ability, especially now that he’s involved more in the passing game (10 catches and 58 receiving yards). He’s had over 80 total yards in both games, too.
Carlos Hyde – $5,400 at Arizona – Hyde is nursing a leg injury, so you’ll have to monitor his practice participation throughout the week. But in limited time Sunday Hyde had 17 touches (four catches) and 61 yards, so considering the circumstances he’s had two productive games. Arizona has been stingy on the ground but it’s allowed the second-most receiving yards to backs so far with 198. Hyde has six catches already, which was unforeseen coming into the season, but if he stays that involved in the air this week he can be a good middle-tier running back play.
Dion Lewis – $4,200 vs. Jacksonville – Jacksonville’s been really stingy against running backs so far, but Lewis and/or his offense isn’t normal. He’s averaging a ton of yards per rush and he’s had at least 120 total yards and four catches in each game. He even lost fumble yesterday and still managed to finish the game. This is a pretty good play if you go pricier at RB1.
Diamonds in the Rough
Joseph Randle – $5,100 vs. Atlanta – Randle has struggled so far, only accruing 21 fantasy points in two games. He’s actually done fairly decent yardage-wise, so all he needs is to get into the endzone to nudge up the running back rankings. With Tony Romo and Dez Bryant sidelined the Cowboys should lean more on their running game, and that means more work for Randle and that’s a good thing against Atlanta. Atlanta has allowed 336 total yards and three scores to running backs in its first two games. The Falcons have also allowed 24 receptions to running backs, which is the most in the league.
Isaiah Crowell – $4,500 vs. Oakland – After being stuffed by the Jets in Week 1 Crowell had a much-better Week 2 against Tennessee finishing with a touchdown and 72 yards on 15 totes. Nobody behind him has done as much as he has so he should again see the majority of carries this week against the second-worst defense that’s played twice already (the Colts abysmal Week 1 showing ranks them worst among all teams but this was written before their Monday night game). Oakland has allowed almost five yards a carry and over 300 total yards to running backs as well as three scores. The Raiders have also allowed the second-most redzone touches for running backs with 21.