DFS Football 101: FanDuel RB Tourney Strategy
DFS Football 101: FanDuel RB Tourney Strategy

This article is part of our DFS Football 101 series.

This week, let's look at the running back position on FanDuel, specifically for tournaments.

Let's start with a breakdown of where a running back points come from and which categories contribute the most.

Average Running Back Points by Category Breakdown

RUSH YDSRUSH TDRECREC YDSREC TDTOTAL PTS
44%15%13%22%6%100%

The hierarchy of points contribution by category is rushing yards, receiving yards, rushing TDs, receptions, receiving TDs.

Top-12 RB Points by Category Breakdown

RUSH YDSRUSH TDRECREC YDSREC TDTOTAL PTS
45%21%11%18%6%100%

There is more emphasis on rushing touchdowns with the top-12 RBs (RB1) vs. the average running back points by category.

The hierarchy of points contribution are rushing yards, rushing TDs, receiving yards, receptions, receiving TDs.

+6 percent on rushing TDs, -2 percent on receptions and -4 percent on receiving TDs.

How to Select Running Backs for Tournaments

Target is at least 2.8x (Projection * Salary / 1000) and 18 points.

Through Week 7, 54 running backs hit at least 18 points; 46 of those also hit the 2.8x value we are looking for. When you start to look at players at $8,000 or higher, the raw points become more important vs. the multiplier.

On average, you are looking at eight backs a week who will hit the targets you need to win or place high in tournaments. Considering you don't want to go outside the top 36 and usually the top 24, that will put your odds at about 25-28 percent on hitting.

Here is the weekly breakdown for RBs who have hit at least 18 points:

Week 1 – 6
Week 2 – 7
Week 3 – 10
Week 4 – 10
Week 5 – 4
Week 6 – 10
Week 7 – 7

What does 18 points look like for a running back? It can come in a variety of ways.

RB with no impact in the passing game
120 yards, 1 TD or 60 yards, 2 TD

RB with some impact in the passing game
120 yards rushing, 4 receptions, 40 yards receiving, 0 TD
90 yards rushing, 2 receptions, 20 yards receiving, 1 TD
60 yards rushing, 4 receptions, 40 yards receiving, 1 TD

RB with little impact in the rushing game
0 yards rushing, 10 receptions, 70 yards receiving, 1 TD
20 yards rushing, 8 receptions, 60 yards receiving, 1 TD

We hear all the time about ownership percentages in tournaments. Well, with a limited number of running backs in the pool, it is hard to fade all of the popular plays. One of the better strategies is looking at the top 6 and seeing who might have the best matchup but is being overlooked. Another optimal strategy is fading the super cheap RB of the week for a player with a similar salary range.

Some weeks you just have to play the chalk and take two RBs who are 20-30 percent owned because of weather, byes, matchups, slate, etc. In that case, what I look to do is have some 5-10 percent players owned at other positions to give me an edge. If everyone is on a particular defense, look for a defense with one of the chalk RBs who is underowned. For example, a good play Sunday would have been Ezekiel Elliott with the Dallas DST.

Here is a chart of all the RBs who have it the tournament thresholds through Week 7.

PLAYERWEEKTEAMOPPHOME/ROADLV TOTALSALARYSCOREVALUE
Aaron Jones 5 GB DAL Road 25 5900 19.9 3.4
Aaron Jones 7 GB NO Home 21.5 6700 21.3 3.2
Adrian Peterson 6 ARI TB Home 22 5000 25.4 5.1
Alvin Kamara 4 NO MIA Road 27.75 5300 20.6 3.9
Ameer Abdullah 4 DET MIN Road 20.5 6300 18.4 2.9
Bilal Powell 4 NYJ JAC Home 17.25 6100 27.0 4.4
C.J. Anderson 2 DEN DAL Home 20.75 7000 28.9 4.1
Carlos Hyde 3 SF LAR Home 18.75 6600 22.9 3.5
Carlos Hyde 6 SF WAS Road 18 6700 22.0 3.3
Chris Ivory 6 JAC LAR Home 21.5 4900 18.2 3.7
Chris Thompson 2 WAS LAR Road 22 5500 24.1 4.4
Chris Thompson 3 WAS OAK Home 25 5600 27.8 5.0
Dalvin Cook 3 MIN TB Home 21 6500 25.4 3.9
DeMarco Murray 3 TEN SEA Home 22 6500 18.5 2.8
Derrick Henry 6 TEN IND Home 26.75 5400 21.0 3.9
Devonta Freeman 2 ATL GB Home 29 8100 23.0 2.8
Devonta Freeman 3 ATL DET Road 26.75 8200 21.3 2.6
Duke Johnson 3 CLE IND Road 21.5 5700 19.4 3.4
Elijah McGuire 4 NYJ JAC Home 17.25 4500 20.1 4.5
Ezekiel Elliott 4 DAL LAR Home 28 8500 27.9 3.3
Ezekiel Elliott 7 DAL SF Road 27 8700 40.4 4.6
J.D. McKissic 4 SEA IND Home 27 4500 19.0 4.2
Javorius Allen 2 BAL CLE Home 23.5 4900 18.6 3.8
Jerick McKinnon 5 MIN CHI Road 22 5800 23.6 4.1
Jerick McKinnon 6 MIN GB Home 21.5 5600 22.4 4.0
Jordan Howard 3 CHI PIT Home 18.25 6800 28.9 4.3
Jordan Howard 6 CHI BAL Road 17.25 6900 18.1 2.6
Kareem Hunt 1 KC NE Road 20 6400 43.1 6.7
Kareem Hunt 2 KC PHI Home 25.5 7800 24.4 3.1
Kareem Hunt 3 KC LAC Road 25.25 8300 24.8 3.0
Lamar Miller 4 HOU TEN Home 23 6000 27.1 4.5
Leonard Fournette 1 JAC HOU Road 16 7100 19.9 2.8
Leonard Fournette 4 JAC NYJ Road 21.25 7700 22.5 2.9
Leonard Fournette 5 JAC PIT Road 17.5 7600 30.9 4.1
Leonard Fournette 6 JAC LAR Home 21.5 8600 20.8 2.4
LeSean McCoy 1 BUF NYJ Home 24.75 8500 18.4 2.2
LeSean McCoy 7 BUF TB Home 24.5 7900 24.7 3.1
Le'Veon Bell 3 PIT CHI Road 25.25 8700 18.8 2.2
Le'Veon Bell 4 PIT BAL Road 22.75 8600 32.6 3.8
Le'Veon Bell 6 PIT KC Road 21.5 9000 26.6 3.0
Le'Veon Bell 7 PIT CIN Home 22 9700 20.7 2.1
Mark Ingram 6 NO DET Home 27.25 5900 27.5 4.7
Mark Ingram 7 NO GB Road 24.5 7100 19.0 2.7
Melvin Gordon 5 LAC NYG Road 21 7100 31.3 4.4
Melvin Gordon 6 LAC OAK Road 22.5 8400 31.5 3.8
Mike Gillislee 1 NE KC Home 28 6400 22.5 3.5
T.J. Yeldon 7 JAC IND Road 22.25 4500 20.7 4.6
Tarik Cohen 1 CHI ATL Home 20.75 4500 21.3 4.7
Todd Gurley 1 LAR IND Home 19 7300 18.1 2.5
Todd Gurley 2 LAR WAS Home 25 8900 25.1 2.8
Todd Gurley 3 LAR SF Road 21.75 7900 35.4 4.5
Todd Gurley 4 LAR DAL Road 22.5 8000 31.0 3.9
Todd Gurley 7 LAR ARI Home 24.5 8400 23.4 2.8
Ty Montgomery 2 GB ATL Road 26 6500 26.0 4.0

Average Salary - $6,870

$4,500-$4,900 – 6
$5,000-$5,900 – 10
$,6000-$6,900 – 13
$7,000-$7,900 – 10
$8,000-$8,900 – 13
$9,000 and higher – 2

As you can see from the salary distribution, the RBs can come from any price range.

Average Score – 24.3

Average Value – 3.6x

Average Vegas Team Total – 22.7

16 – 1
17 – 4
18 – 3
19 – 1
20 – 4
21 – 10
22 – 9
23 – 2
24 – 4
25 – 6
26 – 3
27 – 4
28 or higher – 3

There is an increase once you get to 21 points or higher because most team totals fall between 21-23. But in general, the higher the Vegas total, the better chance the running back has of hitting value.

29 were at home, 25 on the road

Teams that allowed the most opposing RBs
IND, LAR - 5
GB, TB, DAL – 3

Players who have qualified multiple times

Todd Gurley – 5
Leonard Fournette, Le'Veon Bell – 4
Kareem Hunt – 3
Aaron Jones, Carlos Hyde, Chris Thompson, Devonta Freeman, Ezekiel Elliott, Jerick McKinnon, Jordan Howard, LeSean McCoy, Mark Ingram, Melvin Gordon – 2

Gurley – Huge bounceback, new coaching staff, improved line and QB

Fournette – Rookie in a heavy run offense, good defense

Bell – Been a stud for years, heavy usage in the passing game

Hunt – Took advantage of Ware injury, Andy Reid offense

*The rest of the group are players who took over starting roles due to injury or have a significant percentage of their teams offense.

So when you are looking at your running backs for DFS in Week 9, keep these things in mind and narrow your player pool to about 4-6 RBs who fit this criteria.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Michael Rathburn plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: burnnotice, DraftKings: burnnotice, Yahoo: burnnotice, Fantasy Aces: burnnotice, FantasyDraft: burnnotice.
RotoWire Community
Join Our Subscriber-Only NFL Chat
Chat with our writers and other RotoWire NFL fans for all the pre-game info and in-game banter.
Join The Discussion
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Rathburn
Known as “Rath” in the Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) community, he has helped run operations for two prominent daily fantasy sports startups. Michael has taken his insider knowledge and expertise in daily fantasy sports to the content side. Rath won the 2016 FSWA "Baseball Article of the Year, Online" award and was a finalist for the FSWA Best Baseball Series in 2011.
SXM Highlights: Pay Up For Zeke This Week
SXM Highlights: Pay Up For Zeke This Week
Staff Picks: Seahawks, Colts and Cardinals
Staff Picks: Seahawks, Colts and Cardinals
Yahoo DFS Football: Week 11 Picks
Yahoo DFS Football: Week 11 Picks
Survivor: Surviving Week 11
Survivor: Surviving Week 11
Beating the Book: Handicapping Week 11
Beating the Book: Handicapping Week 11
Weekly Rankings: Week 11 Value Meter
Weekly Rankings: Week 11 Value Meter