Sometimes, you need to think outside the box to find that running back no one else would play who will reward your daring with fantasy points and a victory. Last week was the first week none of my sleepers came true. So, the odds are good that all three will make the grade in Week 7.
Best Bet: James White, NE vs ATL
Most of the running back talk out of New England has been about Dion Lewis taking the bulk of the touches, Mike Gillislee’s fumble and limited short-yardage role, and the return of preseason sleeper favorite, Rex Burkhead. James White remains an afterthought, which is one reason the brain trust of the Patriots will feature him this week.
Another reason is that Atlanta will put a lot of points on the board. New England will pass more than they did last week to keep up and because Tom Brady’s left shoulder injury is all better now.
The biggest reason New England will feature James White this week is because Bill Belichick and his coaches are evil. They will take much delight in hitting White for a touchdown or two and watching the Falcons curl up in the fetal position with tortuous flashbacks of last year’s Super Bowl performance playing in their minds. White catches six passes and scores twice this week.
Good Bet: Duke Johnson, CLE vs TE
Duke Johnson had his first bad game last week, which coincided with a quarterback change. It’s possible Kevin Hogan was unaware of the Duke’s position as the best receiver on the team and not a bad rusher, either.
That situation has been corrected this week as Hue Jackson put DeShone Kizer back as the Browns’ starting quarterback. Johnson is Kizer’s go-to receiver in a pinch. Look for Johnson to rebound this week with seven catches for 60 yards and four rushes for 22 more. A touchdown makes him worth the play.
Sounds like a good bet: Wayne Gallman, NYG vs SEA
Orleans Darkwa took over the primary running back role with his stellar performance against the Broncos last week. Gallman still got touches, but not enough to be relevant. The script changes this week as Russell Wilson puts points on the board early against New York. Gallman’s superior pass-catching skills and quarterback protection will give him more of a 50-50 snap-split with Darkwa.
Just like Week 5, the running backs each have good days. Gallman will catch five passes for 51 yards and a touchdown. He will also throw in 29 rushing yards on seven carries.
Bonus dark horse bet: Matt Jones, IND vs JAC
In anticipation of the Colts’ dynamic rookie getting all of Robert Turbin’s snaps this week, tons of owners start Marlon Mack. But it’s veteran Matt Jones who gets the call on short yardage plays. He picks up 22 yards on eight carries and seven more yards on two catches, but he also accounts for the Colts’ only two touchdowns. Meanwhile, Frank Gore goes over 100 yards on 28 carries.
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