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. For updates, visit the models directly.
Top NFL DFS Running Back Picks in the FantasyLabs Models
On DraftKings, there are three running backs who rank near the top of the individual Sean Koerner, Chris Raybon, Cash Game, and Tournament Player Models.
- Derrick Henry
- Miles Sanders
- Latavius Murray
We’ll discuss why these three are popping in our models, as well as take a look at some other running backs.
Top Model NFL DFS Running Back Picks
Derrick Henry ($8,000 DraftKings, $8,900 FanDuel): Tennessee Titans (+3) at Los Angeles Chargers (46.5 total)
Derrick Henry rebounded from a couple of tough performances for a 25.5 DraftKings-point performance against Jacksonville last week. He carried the ball 17 times for 121 yards and a touchdown while catching three of five targets for 34 yards. His two costly fumbles proved to be too much for Tennessee to overcome in the game, but it didn’t deter Tennessee from feeding him.
The game script got out of Henry’s favor, as he had just three rush attempts for two yards and 18 receiving yards in the second half. As long as the game can stay close, Henry will get his touches. In this specific matchup, the likelihood of the game staying close is based on Henry’s production.
The Chargers are allowing a league-high 5.52 yards per carry and have given up 11 touchdowns on the ground. They’ve also allowed the third most yards prior to contact at 1.82 and the most yards after contact at 3.70. There are very few holes to poke in Henry’s matchup.
It’s also fairly unlikely that the game script gets away from Henry. They’re only three-point underdogs, and the Chargers have just one win by more than one possession.
Henry is the top back in our Cash Game Model and Chris Raybon’s Pro Model.
Miles Sanders ($6,500 DraftKings, $7,800 FanDuel): Philadelphia Eagles (-9) at Chicago Bears (48.5 total)
Miles Sanders erupted last week, carrying the ball 17 times for 144 yards and two scores. It was his third 30+ DraftKings point performance of the season, and he now has 11 rushing touchdowns on the season.
We’ve seen Philadelphia hesitant to give Sanders a big workload at times, but it appears that they’re fully committed to him this year. He’s averaging 15.69 carries per game, with a few games above 20. The difficult part about rostering Sanders is that he’s not very involved in the passing game, with just 23 targets on the year.
We’ve also seen Philadelphia mix in Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott at times, which can be difficult. Jalen Hurts is also always a candidate to take goal-line rushing touchdowns, so sometimes Sanders gets the short end of the stick with the high-value work.
The matchup is great, as Philadelphia is sitting with a massive team total against a Bears’ defense that is surrendering 4.8 yards per carry to opposing running backs. They’ve given up 14 rushing touchdowns to running backs, which is tied for the second most in the league.
Sanders is the top back in our Tournament Model this week.
Latavius Murray ($5,100 DraftKings, $6,500 FanDuel): Denver Broncos (-1.5) vs. Arizona Cardinals (36.5 total)
Latavius Murray being the top running back in a backfield in 2022 feels insane, but here we are. Injuries and poor play have plagued the Denver backfield, which has led to Murray taking on a lead role.
He led the backfield in playing time last week but only saw eight carries and five targets. He saw 17, 13, and 17 carries to go along with nine targets in the three previous games, so his workload seems secure.
Murray is set up as a home favorite against a pretty weak Arizona run defense. Kevin Harris and Pierre Strong ran efficiently on them last week, combining for 96 yards and two touchdowns on 13 attempts. Arizona has given up the 11th-most DraftKings points to opposing backs, and Murray should see enough volume to make them pay.
Murray is the top back in Sean Koerner’s Pro Model.
Other Notable NFL DFS Running Back Picks
Austin Ekeler ($8,500 DraftKings, $8,700 FanDuel): Los Angeles Chargers (-3) vs. Tennessee Titans (46.5 total)
Austin Ekeler continues to have one of the most valuable roles in football despite playing for a team that seems to have no interest in running the ball. Ekeler did carry the ball 15 times last week, which was his third-highest total of the season. The bulk of his value continues to come as a receiver, as he saw eight targets last week. He’s seen eight or more targets in eight games this year, with double-digit targets in five contests.
The Titans are giving up the least amount of rushing fantasy points per game which is tough, but they’re not as stout against opposing backs through the air. They’ve given up the fifth-most receiving fantasy points to RBs, which is likely where Ekeler will do his damage.
Alvin Kamara ($6,800 DraftKings, $7,600 FanDuel): New Orleans Saints (-4) vs. Atlanta Falcons (43.5 total)
Alvin Kamara has struggled as of late, but it has been against a slate of brutal matchups. Head coach Dennis Allen has said that they’d like to get Kamara rolling out of the bye, and they get a good spot to do that. Atlanta ranks in the bottom half of the league in rushing fantasy points, receiving fantasy points to RBs, and total yards allowed to RBs.
Kamara has one of the cheapest price tags that we’ve seen for him, and he has only found the end zone three times this entire season. There’s likely some positive touchdown regression coming for Kamara, and he could find pay dirt a few times in this nice home matchup.
Isiah Pacheco ($5,900 DraftKings, $7,600 FanDuel): Kansas City Chiefs (-14) at Houston Texans (49.5 total)
Isiah Pacheco’s workload has grown as of late, as he turned 16 touches into 93 yards last week. He’s also now caught six passes in the past three games, showing he can be of value through the air on a team that loves to throw the ball. Jerick McKinnon saw a lot of work last week, and it’s unknown whether that was a one-week blip or if that is a sign of what’s to come.
The matchup is amazing for Pacheco this week, as Houston is facing a league-high 28 backfield carries per game while surrendering the most DraftKings points to opposing RBs. Pacheco was in a similar game script a few weeks ago, where he carried the ball 22 times for 69 yards and a touchdown against the Rams. With Kansas City likely to use the running game to salt this game away, Pacheco could be in for a big week.