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While most Fantasy Football owners are celebrating being in the season-long playoffs, in the world of Daily Fantasy Football, every week matters. Forget about scouring the waiver wire; you have your choice of guys to pick. Sometimes it works (hopefully more often than not, for your wallet’s sake), and sometimes it doesn’t.

The key to Daily Fantasy Football is to know where to find the values. Each week, we look at running backs to try to find some running back values and some guys that you should look to avoid this week as they don’t look like they will exceed their value.

When you are paying a price for a player, the key is to be sure they return what you pay. To shell out top dollar for a running back means you truly think that they will be a top point-getter on your team. Historically this season, running backs who are at the top dollar value of the Daily Fantasy Football lists don’t earn their value.

This has been the season of back-up running backs. When the back-ups come in, they are usually priced low because we don’t know how they are going to perform. It takes a few weeks for the computers to increase their value, and until they do, these are the guys to target.

Whenever possible, avoid running backs by committee. Remember, this is a one-week league. Pick the guys you know are going to play (as much as we can know). With that all said, here are three four guys that are values this week and three to avoid. (Note: Four guys are listed only because one plays on Thursday night and some DFS contests omit the Thursday games, so consider this a bonus pick). All values are based on FanDuel pricing.

3 Running Back Values

David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals vs Minnesota Vikings ($6500)

Note: This game is on Thursday night, so Johnson may not be available depending on the contest you enter. However, if he is available and you are able to set a line-up before Thursday’s games, Johnson is a great value, still at $6500. He had 22 carries in Week 13, which he turned into 99 yards. He wasn’t as involved in the passing game, but he did have two receptions for 21 yards and a receiving touchdown. He is expected to get the same workload again in Week 14. While sometimes running backs struggle on the short week, the match-up shouldn’t scare you, and the value for Johnson is worth it.

Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins vs New York Giants ($6600)

Apparently when there is a coaching change, there is a renewed focus to the run game. Miller had 20 carries in Week 13, the most in any week so far this season. He converted those carries into 113 yards. Clearly the running game is what works for Miami, and the Dolphins should see that and stick with that plan. Miller plays Monday night (so again, won’t be available for Sunday only contests) against a Giants defense that has allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. They just let Bilal Powell run all over them in Week 13; trust that Miller can do even more damage.

Shaun Draughn, San Francisco 49ers at Cleveland Browns ($6500)

While the Cleveland Browns run defense has gotten better since the beginning of the season, they are still allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. Draughn is the locked-in No. 1 running back for San Francisco, and he has even more value in PPR leagues. He’s had five receptions in each of the past two games and a combined 12 receptions in the two games before that. He’s also been given double-digit carries in the past four games. He finally found the end zone in Week 13, and based on volume alone, will exceed his value.

Bonus: Ryan Mathews, Philadelphia Eagles vs Buffalo Bills ($4700)

Mathews has missed the past three games with a concussion, but he’s been back practicing in full and appears to be good to go for Week 14. Obviously monitor his status as the week goes on, but it is clear the Eagles don’t want to use DeMarco Murray as their lead back. Mathews has looked better this season, and if he’s healthy, should be a borderline RB2 option in season-long leagues. He’s barely above the minimum price for running backs on FanDuel, and for someone that has scored a touchdown in the past three games he’s played, is worth adding to your line-up.

3 Running Backs To Avoid

Todd Gurley, St. Louis Rams vs Detroit Lions ($7900)

When Gurley first came onto the Fantasy Football scene in Week 4, it appeared he was going to be the clear-cut No. 1 running back for all of fantasy for the rest of the season. However, over the past four weeks, he’s been barely a flex play. In the past two weeks, he hasn’t scored a touchdown, and it’s hard to recommend entering him into a DFS line-up based on his play and the play of the Rams. He’s the fourth-most expensive running back this week and there is no way he’ll return that value against a very tough Lions defense.

Chris Ivory, New York Jets vs Tennessee Titans ($7100)

Believe it or not, but the Titans actually give up the fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. Lamar Miller and Devonta Freeman were the only two running backs to put up over 100 rushing yards against the Titans this season. Ivory has been losing work to Bilal Powell (and Stevan Ridley). He only had 10 carries in Week 13, although he did have five receptions. If the Titans take the lead, Ivory will be relegated to the bench again, which doesn’t bode well for scoring fantasy points. He seems to be wearing down; there are better options for that price in DFS.

Buck Allen, Baltimore Ravens vs Seattle Seahawks ($7000)

In PPR leagues, Allen had the most fantasy points in Week 13 – and it wasn’t close. He not only had 12 receptions for 107 yards and a touchdown (yes, those numbers are better than most wide receivers), but also added 63 yards on the ground. However, he had a great match-up (vs Miami), and this week, things will be tougher. While Seattle has let up yards to pass-catching running backs, they are still a tough defense to play against. The game is in Baltimore, which helps, but it’s hard to see Allen even coming close to last week’s numbers.
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