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Running Back Buy-Low Assets for the Second Half


Fantasy football at its heart is about creating equity and finding value in selections that you make, with the aim of getting to the end of the playoffs and winning that last game to laud it over your league-mates.

One way of doing that is trying to identify who is a player that is running hot but will return to form and selling them for someone who has a genuine talent but has just hit a rough patch of production. Sounds simple, doesn't it? The difficulty comes when you are looking at who is available out there and then making those offers.

The aim of this article is to help you with those discussions and hopefully help you improve your roster for the playoffs. The best place to start is at the running back position, where valuable commodities seem to be rarer by the week. So without further ado, let's find some RB buy-low candidates for the second half of the season.

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Running Backs to Target

Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings

The case for acquiring him
So far this season Cook has only played two full games and while there are reports this week that he is returning to practice, those exact reports were made previously without him suiting up. Cook has some great matchups going forward, with games against the Detroit Lions (who he plays twice, including championship week) and the Miami Dolphins both of which have really struggled to stop running backs scoring against them. Kirk Cousins has been playing out of his skin leading this team in the passing attack, but that is likely not going to be the case once Cook returns to the fold. Latavius Murray may split some of the carries in this team to save Cook's health, but Cook is the pass-catcher in this backfield and an elite talent when healthy. Cook is a great buy-low candidate right now before he plays another game.

What to offer
Cook is likely going to be on a team who is either struggling with their record or is mid-table. That's what you need to hope for - if the owner has a good record, then I would say they are likely to hold rather than trade away unless they are in a real bye-week crunch. I would try and start with an offer of a running back who is playing and has a solid stack of games behind them, as that's what you are preying upon, that Cook hasn't. An offer including a player such as Tevin Coleman, Carlos Hyde or Adrian Peterson as well as a wide receiver might be enough to get this done.

Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars

The case for acquiring him
Fournette has missed time before, so these injuries aren't surprising. He missed time through college and in his rookie season in the NFL- and he had already missed time as the season began. But Fournette is still supremely talented. He only played 13 games last year and still had over 1,000 yards last season. The workload for the Jaguars running game is immense, and he is more talented than the current incumbent in T.J. Yeldon. Fournette will be the lead back once he returns to the team - that much is clear. On a team that wants to run the ball and grinds out games with its supremely talented defense that is a great thing to own.

What to offer
As with Cook, the owner who drafted Fournette could well be struggling with their record this year after losing a player that would have been drafted at the latest in the second round and could, therefore, have been chosen to be their RB1. The return timetable for Fournette isn't as clear as Cook's so you may be able to trade him for slightly less than Cook. An offer with a player such as Alex Collins or Kenyan Drake might start the conversation flowing.

LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills

The case for acquiring him
McCoy is playing on a team that is struggling to score, and generally, it's not great to own a player on an offense like that. But rules are made to be broken! McCoy has been in this position before and was able to deliver value when he was in the lineup. McCoy has a great end of season stretch after his bye week with encounters against the Miami Dolphins and Detroit Lions who are definitely teams to target for running backs. McCoy has seen an uptick in his usage over the last two weeks and finished both games with over 94 yards, he is yet to score this season but given the usage, he has seen in the red zone and his ability that should fix itself sooner rather than later.

What to offer
McCoy won't have scored too many points, and the other owner will be keenly aware of that. The best thing to do in that situation is to offer them a player who is scoring well at the moment, or currently has a decent floor that they can lean on. Lamar Miller is one player that springs to mind, packaging him with a wide receiver such as Sammy Watkins who has potential in his offense but is costing you a space on your roster until that happens.

Marlon Mack, Indianapolis Colts

The case for acquiring him
Mack is a great talent, able to catch balls out of the backfield if required (although he hasn't really shown that yet this season) and is simply the team's best running back. The rookie tandem of Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines just haven't been able to get it done so far this season. To put it into perspective Mack has rushed for 5.6 yards per carry with 123 yards in just two games, which ranks him second on the team behind Wilkins but able to surpass him after around a game's worth of rushing (assuming he can rush for 52 yards in a game). Mack is going to be the lead back on an offense led by Andrew Luck, who seems to be recapturing his form of seasons past.

What to offer
Mack is a player who has just returned from injury and he flashed on his return, so it may be a difficult time to try and trade for him right now, as the owner that added him before his return added him for a reason. Keep an eye out for him having a dud against either Buffalo or Oakland, or wait until his bye week. Start with an offer of Peyton Barber coming off the back of a game where he looked impressive and see how that is received.

D'Onta Foreman, Houston Texans

The case for adding him
I've changed the title for Foreman as he is currently owned in 22% of Yahoo leagues and only 9% on ESPN, but that simply has to change. If you are reading this then you are thinking about taking a risk, and Foreman is a risk that you can take for free in most leagues. The reason you should add him is that simply the running backs in Houston haven't performed. The expectation was that Lamar Miller would have the role of lead back sewn up, but he has found himself sharing time with Alfred Blue. Foreman flashed in 2017 and is definitely worth consideration of a stash on your team regardless of your record. If he returns and he isn't the player he was then you can cut him having ventured little, but if he returns and is that same player then you just picked up a great RB2 option on the waiver wire halfway through the season.

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