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Week 1 Running Back Bargain Buys for Daily Fantasy Contests

These running backs have very low salaries but solid upside for the opening weekend of DFS contests.

DraftKings raised the floor on the salary for running backs to $4,000 a couple of years ago to help box possible high percentage roster by a rusher given a starting job after a late injury on Sunday. By doing this, a bottom-tier running back must score at least 16.00 fantasy points to be a win for his roster slot.

Week 1 Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex

Chase Edmonds, Miami Dolphins (DraftKings – $5,200 / FanDuel – $5,800)

I admit I didn't draft Edmonds in any leagues this summer. I like his skill set and pass-catching upside, but I can't trust that he'll be in Miami's starting lineup all season. In the daily space, the ride is weekly, making him a better investment for me. Chase should be the Dolphins' top pass-catching back with a reasonable early-down opportunity. Over his 57 games with Arizona, he scored only nine rushing touchdowns. In his matchup against New England, Miami may not have to chase on the scoreboard, thus lowering his ceiling. Last year, the Patriots were 20th in the NFL vs. the running back position (23.94 FPPG). However, they did allow 94 catches for 826 yards and three touchdowns to backs. Game flow is critical for Edmonds, but I sense New England will give up plenty of yards between the 20-yard lines.

Dameon Pierce, Houston Texans (DraftKings – $4,800 / FanDuel – $5,400)

The running back structure for the Texans changed a lot since DraftKings released their salaries for Week 1. Pierce played his way into RB1 status on the team while pushing his draft value in late August and early September to the third to fourth round in some high-stakes leagues. His role in the passing game may be limited out of the gate, with Rex Burkhead still having a pulse for Houston. Last season the Colts ranked third in the league vs. running backs (19.25 FPPG) while struggling in only one matchup (53.80 fantasy points). There is no doubt Pierce will be a high-percentage play in Week 1, but he could easily fall short of expectations. Worth a ride, but he may not be the ticket to paradise.

Kenneth Gainwell, Philadelphia Eagles (DraftKings – $4,600 / FanDuel – $5,300)

The last update I saw with Miles Sanders suggested that he would play on Sunday. Even if he does, Gainwell remains a live against-the-grain play due to his potential value in the passing game. The Lions could very well jump out to an early lead creating a better window for Gainwell to get on the field. Last year the Lions held running backs to 57 catches for 488 yards, but they allowed eight touchdowns. In a Lions/Eagles game stack, Gainwell is viable as a cheat RB2, especially for someone looking to play a possible one-off from Dameon Pierce.