In this piece, I highlight running backs who stand out in our large suite of analytical fantasy tools, most specifically, our FantasyLabs Player Models. While the models are built for DFS contests, this is an all-purpose fantasy article with actionable information for all formats.
As news breaks throughout the week and we adjust our projections (powered by Sean Koerner), player ratings in our Player Models will change as the projections change. For updates, visit the models directly.
Finally, make sure to check out all the projections available for purchase within the FantasyLabs Models. Subscribers now have the option to purchase Derek Carty’s THE BLITZ from our Marketplace. Projections from One Week Season and Establish the Run are available if you’re a subscriber to those specific sites (our optimizer is a separate add-on feature).
You can also combine them to create your own aggregate projections:
Top NFL DFS Running Back Picks in the FantasyLabs Models
On DraftKings, there are three running backs near the top of the individual Sean Koerner, Chris Raybon, Cash Game, and Tournament Player Models.
- Javonte Williams
- Jaylen Warren
- Zack Moss
We’ll discuss why these three are popping in our models, as well as take a look at some other running backs.
Try Our New SimLabs Tool!
Top Model NFL DFS Running Back Picks
Javonte Williams ($5,700 DraftKings, $6,600 FanDuel): Denver Broncos (+3) at Houston Texans (47.5 total)
Javonte Williams benefitted from a positive game script last week, carrying the ball 18 times and catching three of six targets for 71 scrimmage yards.
He’s not totally game-script-dependent, but it is noticeable how much work he sees in close games or big wins. When trailing, the team utilizes Samaje Perine and Jaleel McLaughlin more.
Denver is just a three-point underdog, so it’s unlikely that this game gets away from them. Williams will likely need the volume this week, as Houston has allowed the fewest yards per carry to opposing running backs.
With this game likely to stay close, Williams is likely to see 15-20 touches. He’s slightly underpriced for his role, as he’s second in Projected Plus/Minus and Points/Salary at the position.
He’s the top back in Sean Koerner’s Pro Model.
Jaylen Warren ($5,400 DraftKings, $6,500 FanDuel): Pittsburgh Steelers (-6.5) vs. Arizona Cardinals (41 total)
The Pittsburgh backfield has slowly turned into a 50/50 split, with Jaylen Warren seeing double-digit carries in three of the past four games and three-plus targets in five straight. Najee Harris still handles the goal-line carries, but Warren has the explosiveness to find the end zone from far out.
The real reason we’re here is because of the matchup. We just saw Arizona get shredded by Kyren Williams, as they’ve allowed the second-most DraftKings points to opposing running backs on the year.
Warren has over 100 rushing yards and a touchdown in two of his last three games and gets another shot to be efficient here against the lowly Cardinals.
He’s the top back in our Tournament Model.
Zack Moss ($4,600 DraftKings, $5,600 FanDuel): Indianapolis Colts (-1) at Tennessee Titans (42.5 total)
Pricing came out before Jonathan Taylor’s injury was reported, leading to Zack Moss being exponentially too cheap. This Titans run defense started the year as an imposing unit but has been gashed on the ground lately, allowing over 100 yards on the ground in four of their last five.
Moss was efficient with his touches against a stout Tampa Bay defense last week, carrying the ball eight times for 55 yards and catching two of three targets for 15 yards. When Moss played against Tennessee in Week 5, he took 23 carries for 165 yards and two touchdowns while catching both of his targets for 30 yards.
This is simply a mispricing, as Moss laps the field in Points/Salary and Projected Plus/Minus. He has the third-highest median projection despite being one of the cheapest viable backs on the slate.
He’s the top option in our Cash Game Model and Chris Raybon’s Pro Model.
Other Notable NFL DFS Running Back Picks
Bijan Robinson ($6,700 DraftKings, $8,100 FanDuel): Atlanta Falcons (-2) at New York Jets (33.5 total)
Bijan Robinson’s volume has been strong as of late, with 24 and 22 opportunities over his last two games. He married his explosiveness with efficiency last game, finding the end zone twice en route to 27.3 DraftKings points. He’s still underpriced if he’s to see this much volume, as he was in the high $7,000s early in the year.
The Jets have allowed the fifth-most DraftKings points to opposing running backs and have been roughed up by them through the air as well. Robinson should see enough work through the air to take advantage, with at least five targets in seven games this year.
Rachaad White ($6,300 DraftKings, $7,500 FanDuel): Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-5.5) vs. Carolina Panthers (37 total)
Rachaad White looks like he’ll be one of the more popular options this week but for a good reason. He had 15 carries for 100 yards on the ground last week and caught both of his targets for 10 yards. White falls into an absolute smash spot as a home favorite against a Carolina defense, allowing the third-most DraftKings points to opposing running backs. White consistently sees enough volume to give him a high floor, but this is a spot where he could easily find efficiency, leading to a monster day.
Be sure to check out all the pick’ems Sleeper has to offer with Sleeper Fantasy promo code LABS1 for a $100 deposit match.
My Favorite NFL DFS Runningback Leverage Pick(s)
Christian McCaffrey ($9,000 DraftKings, $9,800 FanDuel): San Francisco 49ers (-3) at Philadelphia Eagles (48 total)
Christian McCaffrey isn’t projecting to be low-owned, but due to how intriguing Tyreek Hill is this week, I can see a lot of people opting to play the speedster over McCaffrey. I’m going to try to play both in my lineups, but regardless, McCaffrey’s price may make people uncomfortable with how appealing the cheaper options are, like Moss and White.
McCaffrey’s role is unrivaled, as he’s a near shoo-in for 20 carries and five targets every week in the most efficient offense. Philadelphia’s linebackers are banged up, priming McCaffrey for the opportunity to feast in the passing game. James Cook just saw success as a dual-threat back, and there’s no reason McCaffrey won’t do the same.
McCaffrey is a great way to get exposure to one of the top game environments of the week. Brock Purdy is also projected to be one of the highest-owned quarterbacks of the week, and playing McCaffrey in hopes of soaking up some rushing touchdowns is good leverage.