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Fantasy Football: Dwayne Washington an intriguing DFS play in Week 4

Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire

Theo Riddick’s fantasy owners were likely feeling pretty good about their investment after word came down that Ameer Abdullah had been placed on injured reserve. In a season already rife with injuries, especially at the running back position, Riddick owners seemingly received the blessing of a ready-made starting tailback.

Unfortunately, Riddick never got the memo. The fourth-year tailback received 10 carries in his first start of 2016 but managed a putrid nine yards on those totes. Now, Riddick’s an adept pass-catcher, so he will continue to be fantasy-relevant. However, given that he’s managed just 3.0 yards per carry throughout his career, it seems unlikely that he’ll remain Detroit’s go-to rusher.

Capitalizing on Riddick’s struggles was another Detroit running back – rookie Dwayne Washington. Washington received as many carries as Riddick (10) and more than quadrupled his teammate’s output with 38 yards. In a bubble, Washington’s 10-carry, 38-yard outing isn’t spectacular, but it continues a trend of success in this young man’s even younger pro career. It’s also a good sign that he’ll be greater utilized moving forward.

Washington showed out in the preseason, first by taking a kickoff 96 yards to pay dirt. He later cemented his place on the Lions’ opening day roster by galloping 56 yards to score in Detroit’s preseason finale. The big plays are no aberration for the University of Washington product. The 22-year-old had at least one run of 68 or more yards in each of his three collegiate seasons despite never being the Huskies go-to guy.

With his big-play ability and an increase in touches heading his way, Washington should be rostered in every fantasy league. In standard leagues, we’ll likely need to see just how big a share of touches Detroit’s willing to give him for another week before plugging him into any lineups. For DFS purposes, though, Washington’s a viable flex play as soon as this week.

For one, you couldn’t ask for a much better matchup. The Lions are headed to Soldier Field to take on a wounded Chicago Bears team that’s been absolutely gashed on the ground. The Bears currently rank 31st against the run, giving up 428 yards and five rushing scores. Lamar Miller and Ezekiel Elliott each have 100-yard days against the Bears, and the Philadelphia Eagles’ stable of backs ran for 100 as a group as well.

As far as price goes, you couldn’t ask for a better option than Washington. Washington’s going for $3,800 right now on DraftKings. Given that even usable fantasy backs start at $3,000, that’s pennies on the dollar. Especially when you consider some of the backs surrounding Washington.

Just ahead of Washington are players like Alfred Morris, who’s yet to receive more than seven carries in a game this year, and Justin Forsett, who’s yet to top 41 yards in three games played. And just below him are backs like James White, who managed 14 total yards last week, and Dexter McCluster, who’s still being worked into San Diego’s offense.

Even though he’ll segue passing-down work to Riddick, Washington should still be good for 15 or so touches. That alone gives him a solid floor, but it’s the big-play ability that makes him a highly intriguing DFS option this week. If you decided you want to splurge on receivers this week, then Dwayne Washington is the ideal bargain option to fill out one of your running back slots.

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