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There are lots of articles on how to choose running backs, so I am going to take you through my process, game-by-game, so you can see the “hows” and “whys” in action. This demonstration is based on the week 13 NFL DFS slate, 2023. If this article is still somehow up in 2026, it will be interesting to see what the rosters look like. Hello, future readers!
At first glance, the Washington run game looks like a fade. They are expected to get crushed, and I generally stay away from big underdogs when selecting a running back. Having said that, WAS starting RB Brian Robinson has been an effective receiver this season, he’s even exceeded 100-yards receiving in a game. Still, if Miami gets a big lead early, Robinson won’t have enough total volume, and that is a major concern given the spread. I’m cutting him from my pool this week.
On the other side, Raheem Mostert is an interesting play. He’s been a touchdown machine this season and has received 20+ carriers in each of the last two weeks. I’ll evaluate this matchup further, but for now, Mostert remains.
Jonathan Taylor will not play, which means Zack Moss will get the bulk of the work. He thrashed the titans earlier this season, which result in 36.5 Draftkings points. At the time of this writing, Rotogrinders projects Moss ownership to approach FIFTY percent, which means he’s megachalk on steroids. He will stay in my player pool for now.
The Colts have given up 5.2 yards per carry over their last three games. Derrick Henry isn’t a slate-breaker anymore, and has only exceeded 20 carries twice this season. There are options will more upside, so I will cut Henry from my pool.
With Boyle at QB, I want NO part of the Jets offense.
While the Jets are known for their strong defense, their rushing defense ranks 31st in the NFL. While I generally prefer home-favorite RB’s, Robinson has scored a TD in 3 of 4 games and is finally getting the majority of the carries for Atlanta. Given the combination of opportunity, talent, and matchup, Robinson could be a top RB play this week. He is firmly in my player pool.
The Steelers have been vulnerable to the run this season, but have only surrendered rushing 79 yards per game over their last three. While James Conner will want to show his former city that he can still play, I don’t like the idea of playing a road underdog in a hostile environment. I’m cutting Conner from this week’s pool.
Last week, I had Jaylen Warren in almost all of my lineups, and it turned out that Najee Harris was the Steeler RB to play. Harris ran hard, scored, and had fifteen carries to Warren’s scoreless 13. It really is a timeshare, and even with a great matchup, it is hard to know who to play. Their price keeps both of them in my pool for now, and I will review during the second round of cuts.
Speaking of timeshares, Gibbs and Montgomery are in one, and it caps both of their upside. Neither is likely to play a ceiling game if they can’t get the volume, and at almost $7k each, the risk isn’t worth the price.
Alvin Kamara hasn’t shown enough of late to justify paying over 8k for this week. I’m fading RB from this game entirely.
The Patriots are middle-of-the-road vs. running backs this season. I don’t love playing Ekeler on the road against the Pats in December, but the Patriots aren’t very good. Additionally, it isn’t clear if Ekeler has fully recovered from his ankle injury earlier this season, as he’s only averaging 3.8 YPC vs. a 4.5 YPC career average. I’m cutting him from the pool, as I don’t see him justifying the high price tag.
Stevenson and Elliot both receive work, but the Pats offense is a mess. I want no part of it, so they are both cut from my pool.
The Houston Texans have a top-10 rushing defense and stuffed Travis Etienne last week (20 carries, 56 yards, 0 scores). Due to this and Denver playing as a road underdog, I am cutting Williams from my pool.
Denver’s run defense is last in the NFL. The Broncos have turned their season around, but they are still vulnerable on the ground. Pierce didn’t do much last week in his return from an injury, so Devin Singletary should get most of the work. He’s below 6k, a home favorite, has a solid matchup, and projects to be under 5% owned. I like him this week.
Tampa Bay has a top-10 run-D, plus Hubbard and Sanders split work. I don’t see either one helping to win a GPP, so I am cutting them from my pool.
For Tampa, Rachaad White has played well recently, and the Panther run defense is beatable. White is more of a cash game play, as he seems to be good for a steady 15 points. I like more upside for GPPs, so I am cutting him from my pool.
Joe Flacco is coming off the streets to start for the Browns at QB. Ford and Hunt will get volume, but their TD upside will be limited since the passing game likely won’t produce much.
Overall, the Browns rank 12th in run defense, but over their last three games, they’ve been terrible against the run, surrendering 149 yards per game. Kyren Williams runs well and he gets targets, so I will keep him in my pool.
The Eagles pass defense is weak, but they’ve defended the run well this season. Regardless, McCaffery is almost matchup-proof. I’ll keep him in my pool for now.
D’Andre Swift is okay for cash games, but hasn’t shown that GPP upside much this season, scoring more than 20 Draftkings points only once.
Evaluating the remaining players
Now, the tougher part begins. Here are the remaining players:
- I like McCaffrey, but it is going to be hard to play him if I want to spend-up at WR, which I plan on doing. Given that Philly is weaker against the pass than versus the run, I’m cutting McCaffery.
- Even with Achane returning, Mostert is the perfect contrarian pivot from the Tua and Hill chalk. I don’t plan on having him in more than 10-15% of my lineups, but I definitely want to have exposure. Achane has also entered the chat, but $6.9k is too pricey.
- Even against the Browns stout defense, Kyren Williams is projected for double-digit ownership. The Browns run-D isn’t the best, but I don’t love this spot. I’m cutting him, and acknowledge that this could be a big mistake.
- Bijan Robinson is probably my favorite RB play of the week. The Jets are vulnerable on the ground, and they are playing their backup QB. Atlanta should be able to pound the ball en route to victory – I plan on stacking Bijan with the Atl D is many lineups.
- Devin Singletary is a bargain at below $6k! I absolutely plan on playing him in several lineups this weekend.
- The Steelers have a great matchup against the Cardinals, but this timeshare is a guessing game. I’m cutting Warren and Harris from my pool. Again, could be a mistake.
- Lastly, there’s Zack Moss. He has a rematch with the Titans, whom he obliterated earlier this season, but Tennessee has improved versus the run – they haven’t permitted a 100-yard rushing performance since. The price is beyond amazing for the workload, but this is a situation where game theory comes into play. At almost 50% projected ownership, if Moss falters, those who faded him will benefit greatly. Given the price tag and volume, it’s hard to sit him. The best solution is to create some lineups with and some without, but I don’t know that I would lock him into every lineup.
I’m running a tight player pool at RB this weekend, with Mostert, Robinson, Singletary, and Moss. Some expert sites absolutely love options such as Rachaad White and Javonte Williams this weekend, but neither option appeals to me for GPPs.
Stats to consider
If I am having trouble making RB decisions, I consult tools and analysis such as PFF’s OL/DL matchup tool, Rotogrinder’s Youtube content, or Stokastic’s Apple Podcasts. I’ve also created a list on Twitter of preferred analysts.
Being a busy dad, I don’t have time to pour over loads of data, nor do I have time to listen to hours of podcasts, so I’m trying to develop efficient ways to tackle GPP lineup construction. I hope that you have found this useful, and will develop your own methods. Good luck!