This week, buy low, sell high will focus on the task that many dynasty teams are pondering right now - which running back to target for a stretch run focusing on a championship. I’ll down some of my favorite options.
Saquon Barkley, NYG - Out of sight, out of mind applies here as the once untouchable Barkley hasn’t done much for his fantasy teams for three years running now, opening a door to trade for the 24-year-old for less than an arm and a leg. The Giants offense is about as healthy as it has been all year coming out of the bye and there probably isn’t a lot of optimism about his outlook this week against the Bucs even though Washington and Antonio Gibson wore them down last week and scored twice on the ground. The Giants have the vulnerable Dallas, Los Angeles Chargers, and Philadelphia (x2) run defenses left on the schedule.
Antonio Gibson, WAS - After Gibson basically left for dead in fantasy leagues going into his bye, he ended up defying the Tampa matchup for two scores last week and ran with more conviction as the game went on, perhaps a sign that the bye week did him some good as he nurses a stress fracture in his shin. His dynasty value has taken a hit this year, but it’s arguable that he never had a chance to show his true progress since he has been battling this injury for basically the whole season. The run of Carolina, Seattle, Las Vegas, Dallas, Philadelphia, Dallas, Philadelphia could be the butter for this hot knife to run through in the second half of the season.
David Montgomery, CHI - Montgomery is clearly healthy as he actually led running backs in snap share in Week 9, his first week back from injured reserve and the week before a bye, which showed that the Bears had no qualms about overuse coming back from an absence and no inclination to make Montgomery a committee back despite rookie Khalil Herbert’s strong performance while he was out. Justin Fields is just starting to blossom as a passer and the hope is that the team used the bye to tweak the offense to suit his strengths as a runner and downfield passer. If opposing defenses are forced to play 11-on-11 football in the running game and lighten the box to guard against deep passes, Montgomery could feast against a remaining schedule that features the vulnerable run defenses of Detroit, Arizona, Green Bay and Seattle.
James Conner, ARI - Who knows when Chase Edmonds will return? Conner could be the lead back for the rest of the season, and hopefully having to only be a committee back with Edmonds for the first half of the season allows him to hold up better than he did as the lead back for the Steelers. We haven’t even gotten to see what he can do as the lead back with Kyler Murray in at quarterback, and Conner will also have a bye next week to get fully rested as the Cardinals push to get the #1 seed in the NFC. Detroit, Indianapolis, and Dallas in Weeks 15-17 sets up Conner to be a good playoff fantasy back even if Edmonds returns to share the workload.
Miles Sanders, PHI - Sanders dynasty value is at an all-time low, just as his offense’s ability to set up a running back for success is at an all-time high. The Eagles finally committed to the run and they have created a fantasy relevant back out of Jordan Howard, who is a marginal NFL talent at this point judging by the lack of interest in his services this offseason. Sanders could return this week, so the buy low window could slam dunk once he faces defenses other than the #1 against the run Saints this weekend.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, KC - Edwards-Helaire, like Sanders, has been going down in dynasty value since the season began even though his offense changed to suit his strengths during his absence. Darrel Williams has added a lot of value as a pass catcher since the Chiefs aimed for longer drives with higher efficiency plays instead of testing the downfield pass defense, which is right in Edwards-Helaire’s wheelhouse. He has already been a much better runner than Williams this year, so maybe this time around Edwards-Helaire can fulfill his fantasy potential.
Kenyan Drake, LV - The Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olsen just reaffirmed that the team’s winning formula is mixing in both Drake and Jacobs as receivers and runners, and Drake is the healthier and fresher one of the two heading into Week 11 facing a Bengals defense that has been an excellent matchup for fantasy backs this year. Jacobs can’t get off of the injury report and seems destined to miss time again this year, which would give Drake a much higher ceiling than he had earlier in the year when Peyton Barber gummed up the works with Jon Gruden’s help while Jacobs missed Weeks 2 and 3.
D’Onta Foreman, TEN - Foreman could be free on your waiver wire. He’s the back with the most juice in the Titans backfield, the one who can do the best Derrick Henry impression, and the one who has made noise in the passing game after Jeremy McNichols left with a concussion last week. Foreman will face the Texans this week and could easily get the Derrick Henry boa constrictor work in the second half, which often yields a long score.
Jeff Wilson, SF - Wilson could start this week at Jacksonville with Elijah Mitchell coming in off of a broken finger that required surgery. Kyle Shanahan is insisting Mitchell can play, but there are questions about ball security and the ability for Mitchell to protect the compromised finger. Even if Wilson has to share with Mitchell this weekend, that decision could lead to Mitchell worsening his condition and opening a bigger window for Wilson to create fantasy value. He has been an elite RB1 any time he has had the 49ers backfield to himself.
Alex Collins, SEA - Chris Carson’s attempt to return to the lineup was unsuccessful and you have to wonder if he’ll get shut down for the season. Collins is the closest thing the Seahawks have to a lead back with Rashaad Penny fizzling out again, and the team appears to be set to re-re-recommit to the run with Russell Wilson erratic in Week 10 and maybe in the middle of another second half swoon.
Rhamondre Stevenson, NE - Stevenson shouldn’t be available after his promising Week 10 that gave him as much opportunity as a Belichick back ever gets despite coming into the game with no practice during the week. Damien Harris being back will throw folks off the scent, but Stevenson is more accomplished in the passing game and he has more burst as a runner, so he could pass Harris in short order. Harris has also spent a lot of time on the injury report during his career, so there are a lot of paths to more value for Stevenson. Even if none of them open, Stevenson could be a weekly RB2 if he splits the backfield with Harris leading an offense that is gelling and is putting their best offensive line combination out there with Trent Brown back on the field.