Week 1 NFL DFS Running Back (RB) Targets For FanDuel & DraftKings

Welcome to the FC Insights Running Back Targets Article. In this post, we will be breaking down our top options and plays at the RB position for each DFS week of the 2021-2022 NFL DFS season.

Top Plays

Alvin Kamara ($8,600 FD, $8,600 DK)

Opponent Team Total Opponent Rushing Yards Allowed Per Game Opponent Total Rushing Touchdowns Allowed Opponent Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game to RBs
Packers 23.00 112.8 16 27.91

I am going to be paying up at the running back position in week one as there are a lot of great running backs in great spots. Alvin Kamara is my favorite of those running backs as Michael Thomas is out. With Thomas out last season, Kamara was a beast. In those eight games, Kamara averaged 78 rushing yards on just over 13 rushes a game. Kamar’s numbers in the passing game were even better as he averaged seven catches on 8.63 targets for 70.3 receiving yards per game. Kamar had 12 total touchdowns in those games and averaged 31.58 DraftKings points. Kamara not only put up huge numbers with Thomas out but I also really like this match-up for him as the Packers struggled against pass-catching backs a year ago. Last season they allowed the fourth-most receptions and second-most receiving yards to running backs. They also allowed the seventh-most rushing touchdowns to running backs and the fourth-most fantasy points per game to the position.

Dalvin Cook ($9,400 FD, $9,100 DK)

Opponent Team Total Opponent Rushing Yards Allowed Per Game Opponent Total Rushing Touchdowns Allowed Opponent Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game to RBs
Bengals 25.50 148.0 13 24.56

If Alvin Kamara is my 1A this week then Dalvin Cook is my 1B. Cook stands out to me for two reasons. The first reason is the fact that Cook is really good. Cook was second in the NFL in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns trailing only Derrick Henry who had 66 more carries than Cook did due to Cook missing some time. Cook should put up similar numbers this season on a run-heavy Vikings team. Last season the Vikings ran 29.2 rushing plays per game which was eighth-most in the NFL and ran a rushing play on 45.75% of their plays which was sixth-most in the NFL. The second reason Cook stands out to me is the match-up against the Bengals. The Bengals’ run defense last season was not very good. The Bengals allowed the fourth-most rushing yards per game at 148.0 and allowed the second-most yards per carry at 5.1 yards.

James Robinson ($5,900 FD, $6,400 DK)

Opponent Team Total Opponent Rushing Yards Allowed Per Game Opponent Total Rushing Touchdowns Allowed Opponent Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game to RBs
Texans 23.25 160.3 24 31.27

When you factor in salary there is not a better play at the running back position this week than James Robinson. Robinson burst on the scene as an undrafted rookie last season with 1,070 rushing yards, 49 catches for 344 yards, and ten total touchdowns. Robinson had double-digit fantasy points in each of his games and averaged 18.8 fantasy points per game in his rookie season. Now, Robinson’s numbers were expected to take a hit this season as the Jaguars drafted Travis Etienne in the first round but in case you missed it Etienne is out for the season with an injury. With Etienne out, this should be the Robinson show for the Jaguars once again. The Robinson show should get started in a huge way in week one as you really couldn’t ask for a better match-up than the Texans. The Texans roster is just awful and last season they were dreadful against the run. The Texans ranked dead last in rushing yards allowed per game and rushing yards per attempt. They also allowed the second-most rushing touchdowns and second-most fantasy points per game to running backs. The game script also should be in Robinson’s favor as the Jaguars should win this game easily despite them only being a two-point favorite. We also have to factor in this is Trevor Lawrence’s first career start so the Jaguars might lean on the run a little more than usual but that is a big might as Urban Myer is the kind of coach that will let Lawrence lose even in his first start.

Value Plays

Jamaal Williams ($4,900 FD, $4,500 DK)

Opponent Team Total Opponent Rushing Yards Allowed Per Game Opponent Total Rushing Touchdowns Allowed Opponent Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game to RBs
49ers 19.00 106.4 12 18.54

Normally in week one, there is clear-cut value running backs due to the sites releasing salaries so early and there being injuries to the team’s main running backs. While we did see some major injuries to some stud running backs they happened on the Rams and Ravens who are not on the main slate. With those two teams off the slate, there isn’t a cheap running back that screams out to me as a must roster. With that being said I really like Jamaal Williams as a cheap running back. The Lions seem to love Williams as their coach has been talking him up all offseason. Coach speak is not the only reason I like Williams this week. I also like Williams due to the fact we don’t know how much D’Andre Swift is going to be able to play. Swift has missed a month of practice and games with an injury and there is a lot of chatter that the Lions are going to take it easy on Swift this week especially with how much they really like Williams. I do have a big red flag with Williams this week however and that is the match-up against the 49ers. The 49ers’ run defense is not one I targeted running backs against much last season as they allowed the seventh-fewest rushing yards per game and allowed the second-fewest fantasy points per game a year ago.

Damien Harris ($5,800 FD, $5,200 DK )

Opponent Team Total Opponent Rushing Yards Allowed Per Game Opponent Total Rushing Touchdowns Allowed Opponent Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game to RBs
Dolphins 23.25 116.4 17 18.69

Rostering a Patriots running back in DFS sucks. We really never know which running back is going to go off and get the touches. If we look at just the order on the depth chart and coach speak then Damien Harris should get the bulk of the touches for the Patriots this week. Bill Belichick really liked what he saw from Harris last season and his work effort and publicly stated that he has a chance to be the lead running back. That is a lot of praise from a coach who normally doesn’t give praise to anyone, especially in the media. The Patriots’ actions have also backed up the coach talk as they traded Sony Michel to the Rams just a week or so ago. Now I know what you are asking what does any of this matter on why we should roster Harris this week? Does it really matter who the Patriots’ lead back is? Well, the answer is yes it does matter. The Patriots lead running back figures to be a very valuable fantasy asset from week to week as the Patriots ran a run play on 51.28% of their plays a year ago which was second-most in the NFL. That number should jump at least to start the season as the Patriots try to take pressure off of Mac Jones.

About Zach Qualtieri

Zach is an accomplished fantasy player who has had success in multiple sports across multiple platforms. Zach specializes in cash games where he can often be found playing $25 H2Hs but has also had a lot of success in GPPs as an 11-time winner of a large field GPP. When not talking about fantasy sports, Zach enjoys hanging out with his son. If you have any questions about fantasy or sports in general Zach can be found on Twitter @zachsgotmoxy.

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