The fantasy football season is finally here, as the first game of the season kicks off on Thursday night. That means you need to get your lineup in order, so every week Fansided will bring you rankings to set your lineups with.
This week, the rankings were established by establishing an average of the rankings of myself and Zachary Thompson. Let’s take a look at the running backs and how they rank for Week 1:
1 – Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
Was there ever any doubt? AP is your guy every week, no matter what.
2 – Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs
There’s a tie for second this week, because there are really 3 great options this week at running back. Adrian Peterson is the first choice, but Jamaal Charles (and Doug Martin) are a close second. Charles gets to test out the Andy Reid offense against the Jaguars in Week 1. Yeah, that’s a good combination.
2 – Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It’s a bit strange that the Buccaneers’ fan (me) had Martin below Charles, and it was Zachary who had him second in his rankings, leading to the tie. Martin is going against a decent New York Jets defense in Week 1, but he’s the workhorse in what should be a strong offense. The likely absence of Carl Nicks is the tiebreaker for me to have Charles ahead, but Martin is still a great play.
4 – Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots
Other than Adrian Peterson, Ridley was the only running back Zachary and I agreed on this week. We both have him sixth, but our various disagreements on other players leaves Ridley as the fourth best running back in these rankings. He has an incredible matchup against the Buffalo Bills, and the Patriots are going to establish the run this season.
4 – Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks
The Seattle Seahawks don’t have the best matchup for a running back in Week 1 as they take on Luke Kuechly and the formidable front seven of the Carolina Panthers. But Lynch is still the focus of the Seahawk offense, which will likely be in the lead and running the clock out in the second half.
6 – Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins
The Philadelphia Eagles aren’t going to stop the run this season, so capitalize on that from Week 1 by putting Alfred Morris in your lineup. This is a solid matchup for the young runner who will get plenty of chances this week to make sure RGIII isn’t overworked.
7 – LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles
LeSean McCoy was a polarizing player in the rankings this week, as Zach ranked him tenth, while I had him fourth. Chip Kelly’s offense is going to give McCoy tons of great opportunities this season, and while Zach may have his doubts, we both agree he’s a top-10 play this week.
7 – Arian Foster, Houston Texans
Oh, how the mighty have fallen! Arian Foster has been one of the most dominant runners in fantasy football over the past couple of seasons, but there is so much doubt about his health heading into 2013. The doubt combined with a mediocre matchup with the Chargers means Foster is on the low-end of a two-way tie for seventh in our rankings for Week 1.
9 – Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens
Ray Rice slips down the rankings this week as well, but mainly thanks to a rough matchup against the Denver Broncos on Thursday Night Football. Thursdays aren’t great for fantasy football as it is, and facing a tough opponent will be a negative for the do-it-all running back.
10 – Reggie Bush, Detroit Lions
You’re not guaranteed many healthy weeks of Reggie Bush. Enjoy them while you have them! And if you’re in a PPR, move him up even higher.
11 – David Wilson, New York Giants
No Andre Brown means no problems for fantasy owners. There’s one fewer touchdown vulture in New York for week one against a questionable Dallas defense making a transition to the “Tampa 2.” Wilson will get plenty of chances.
12 – Maurice Jones Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars
MJD is my seventh best running back this week, while Zach doesn’t even have him in the top 15. I can understand Zach’s doubts, but Maurice has a fantastic matchup against the Chiefs, and he’s the featured player in an offense that will be able to move the ball against Kansas City.
13 – Matt Forte, Chicago Bears
Matt Forte could be a breakout player this season under Marc Trestman, but don’t count on a great week against the Bengals. The matchup here is brutal, so Forte slides outside of the top 12.
14 – Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns
Trent Richardson has a decent matchup against the Dolphins, but his offense will be lacking its deep threat Josh Gordon. That means there will be more men in the box who will stop at nothing to keep Trent from dominating the game. He’s not a bad play, because he’ll get touches, but there are better options.
15 – C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills
When you drafted C.J. Spiller in the first round, you didn’t draft him for Patriots’ week. He’s still worthy of an RB2 spot in your yearly leagues, but I would avoid him in salary cap leagues this week.
Honorable Mention: Chris Johnson(Tennessee Titans), Darren McFadden (Oakland Raiders)
A pair of frustrating fantasy running backs on bad offenses, Johnson and McFadden are both decent plays this week for different reasons. Chris Johnson is a good play because he’s got fantastic speed against an aging defense, and he’s the only show in town for the Titans.
McFadden, on the other hand, will benefit from the rushing threat of QB Terrelle Pryor, and is facing a porous Colts’ defense. He’s got sleeper upside if he’s healthy this season, so take advantage while you can.