After what seemed like an eternity, week 1 of the fantasy football season is finally upon us. Which means trying to figure out who to start and who to sit each week without pulling out your hair.
Find out all you need to know in this week’s start/sit running back edition.
Fantasy Football Week 1: START THESE RBs…
Spencer Ware, KC (vs. SD)
Even if Jamaal Charles happens to be active for this game, it doesn’t appear that he is going to see the field if you believe the Chiefs beat reporters and even head coach Andy Reid. That is great news if you were the lucky one to snag Spencer Ware in your draft. Ware will be running against a Chargers defense that should be one of the worst run defenses in the league this season and he will get plenty of work. Last season, with Charles out, Ware had three games in the final seven outings with double digits in carries, and he scored double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league every time. Now Ware won’t help you much in PPR leagues, that’s where Charcandarick West comes into play, but Ware’s numbers and touchdown potential make him an easy start this week.
Eddie Lacy, GB (@ JAC)
Look for Lacy to go over 100 yards with one touchdown in this one.
Was there a biggest first-round fantasy bust last year than Eddie Lacy? I could make all the fat jokes I wanted here, but the simple fact is that Lacy was out of shape and terrible at football last year. Well, forget about last year and look forward to the Eddie Lacy of old and this is the year he resurrects his career. It all starts this week against the Jaguars, who gave up a league high 13 rushing touchdowns last season and the Packers know that they need a solid ground game to get their pass game going. Look for Lacy to go over 100 yards with one touchdown in this one.
Latavius Murray, OAK (@ NO)
Believe it or not, Murray finished tenth in fantasy points among running backs last season, not because he was amazing, but because of volume. The Raiders kept on giving him the ball. Murray is still the lead back in Oakland and now to a great off-season, the Raiders boast one of the best offensive lines in all of football. Murray could surprise many people and be a top 5 fantasy back this year and an opening match-up against the Saints bodes well for his chances for a hot start to 2016. New Orleans surrendered the fourth-most rushing yards among home defenses last season, not to mention the third-most fantasy points to backs overall (22.84 PPG).
Ryan Mathews, PHI (vs. CLE)
If he can stay healthy then he could have a big year, but we know that’s the knock on him with only one 16-game season on his resume and 13 missed games over the past two years. He ran well last year when healthy with 5.0 yards per carry and seven total touchdowns in 13 games, and the Browns allowed ten running backs to score double digits in Fantasy points in 2015. Mathews appears locked into a featured role for the Eagles to start the season, and he’ll no doubt see a lot of burn with a rookie quarterback in Carson Wentz under center.
Next: SIT THESE RBs...
Fantasy Football Week 1: SIT THESE RBs…
Melvin Gordon, SD (@ KC)
The Chiefs defense has only surrendered one rushing touchdown in its last five games against the Chargers
Gordon was one of the best running backs in all of football in the preseason, which bodes well for his prospects in 2016. After all, he couldn’t get much worse than his rookie year where he didn’t even score a touchdown, right? But this is the regular season and his week 1 match-up against the Kansas City Chiefs is a tough one. The Chiefs defense has only surrendered one rushing touchdown in its last five games against the Chargers and the Chargers have only rushed for 70-plus yards once in their last four games against Kansas City. Hopefully you have enough running back depth on your fantasy roster to leave Gordon on the bench this week. But don’t worry, the Chargers schedule gets much easier in the next couple of weeks.
Jeremy Hill, CIN (@ NYJ)
Along with Eddie Lacy and C.J. Anderson, Jeremy Hill was another one of those early round running back busts last year that burned many fantasy teams. Even though he did score 11 touchdowns, he was still a major bust. In standard leagues it will always be hard to sit Hill because of his touchdown scoring ways as he gets basically all the Bengals goal-line work. But he doesn’t have a good match-up this week against the Jets who only allowed three rushing touchdowns total last year at home.
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Arian Foster, MIA (@ SEA)
It’s true that Foster looked liked his old self in the preseason and easily took the Dolphins starting running back job away from Jay Ajayi. But don’t forget that he’s coming off a torn Achilles, he’s now 30 years old with a decent injury history and his week 1 match-up is against the Seahawks in Seattle. The Seahawks defense has been dominant for several years now and that trend should continue this year. Last year the Seahawks D allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. It’ll be interesting to see how much Foster has left as he did only average 2.6 yards per carry last year with the Texans before getting hurt. Take a wait and see approach with Foster to start the year.
Jeremy Langford, CHI (@ HOU)
Depending on where you look, or who you trust in the fantasy world, Langford is either a sure-fire breakout candidate or a huge bust. So far he looks more like a breakout than a bust as he played well in the preseason with 18 carries for 79 yards and a touchdown and two catches for 11 yards. He established himself as the No. 1 option in the backfield, and he might not get much competition for touches as long as he’s healthy. But the Texans defense should be dominant against the Bears this week now that J.J. Watt (back) appears on track to play. Houston has allowed one rushing touchdown and one 100-yard rusher, which was LeSean McCoy, in the final nine games of the season last year.
Best of luck to all this week as we kick off the 2016 NFL season!