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.
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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 two running backs near the top of the individual Sean Koerner, Chris Raybon, Cash Game, and Tournament Player Models.
- Christian McCaffrey
- Zack Moss
We’ll discuss why these two are popping in our models, as well as take a look at some other running backs.
Top Model NFL DFS Running Back Picks
Christian McCaffrey ($9,200 DraftKings, $10,500 FanDuel): San Francisco 49ers (-11) vs. Seattle Seahawks (46.5 total)
Christian McCaffrey continues to light it up for San Francisco. He saw 17 carries last week, running for 93 yards and a touchdown. His usage through the air was a little light, seeing just four targets and catching three balls for 40 yards.
McCaffrey has topped 100 scrimmage yards in five straight games and gets a plus matchup with Seattle. The Seahawks have allowed the fifth-most DraftKings points to opposing running backs and are trending in the wrong direction. Seattle has allowed the fifth-most yards per carry and fourth-most rushing yards over the past six games.
We also just watched McCaffrey douse Seattle on Thanksgiving night, running for 114 yards and two touchdowns while catching five balls for 25 yards.
His combination of floor and ceiling is unmatched, and he’s the top back in our Tournament Model and Chris Raybon’s Pro Model.
Zack Moss ($5,900 DraftKings, $6,800 FanDuel): Indianapolis Colts (+2) at Cincinnati Bengals (44 total)
The Zack Moss show continues, and he’s still underpriced for his role. He had 19 carries for 51 yards and caught two of three targets for six yards.
He gets a very exploitable matchup here, as Cincinnati has allowed the fifth-most yards per carry to opposing running backs. Travis Etienne Jr. just averaged over four yards per carry and found the end zone on the ground while catching four balls for 34 yards.
Volume isn’t a question, and this is a spot where Moss should find efficiency. He leads the position in Points/Salary and Projected Plus/Minus. He also boasts the second-highest ceiling projection despite numerous backs being priced ahead of him.
He’s the top option in our Cash Game Model and Sean Koerner’s Pro Model.
Don’t forget to check out our SImLabs Lineup Generator to create advanced DFS lineup using the power of simulation:
Other Notable NFL DFS Running Back Picks
Joe Mixon ($6,100 DraftKings, $7,200 FanDuel): Cincinnati Bengals (-2) vs. Indianapolis Colts (44 total)
Joe Mixon‘s passing game role had a spike last week, catching six of seven targets for 49 yards. His production in the passing game made up for some inefficiency on the ground, as he averaged just 3.6 yards per carry. He also had two rushing touchdowns, which helped his cause.
Indianapolis has allowed the fourth-most DraftKings points per game to opposing running backs, and Mixon will likely remain a big part of the gameplan. Chase Brown mixed in last week, but Mixon still had 26 opportunities.
Javonte Williams ($5,800 DraftKings, $6,600 FanDuel): Denver Broncos (+2.5) at Los Angeles Chargers (37 total)
Javonte Williams‘ volume has steadied out, sitting around 12-15 carries and a handful of targets per game. When things break in his favor, he could get upward of 20 carries, leaving some wiggle room for upside. He was fairly inefficient last week, averaging 3.5 yards per carry against Houston.
Lo Angeles has been a better run defense compared to years past but has still given up some solid performances. Williams has had some tough matchups as of late and now gets an easier spot against Los Angeles. He’s a solid midrange option.
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My Favorite NFL DFS Runningback Leverage Pick(s)
Kyren Williams ($7,300 DraftKings, $8,800 FanDuel): Los Angeles Rams (+7.5) at Baltimore Ravens (40 total)
I still think Kyren Williams is underpriced for his workload, which leads me back to him this week. In his two games since returning from injury, he’s had 22 and 27 opportunities, totaling 61.6 DraftKings points. Underdog running backs are usually a fruitless endeavor, but I’m confident in the Rams staying in this game, and Williams could rack up catches in a trailing game script.
The Ravens have allowed the 11th-fewest DraftKings points to opposing backs, but as I’ve said, volume is king. Williams is seeing a McCaffrey-esque workload, albeit in a less efficient offense, for a $2,000 discount. He’s my top back this week at low ownership to make your builds unique.