2012 Week One Running Back Rankings – Keep Maurice Jones-Drew On The Bench
Fresh off the press are my 2012 Week One Running Back Rankings for this week. I, and other owners, were ecstatic that Maurice Jones-Drew finally ended his holdout Sunday. But temper that enthusiasm. Even though MJD is back, it’s still going to be Rashad Jennings in at starter against the Vikings. But don’t fret. We’ll see MJD in about two-to-three weeks back to his old self.
There are a few debuts this year with Buccaneers Doug Martin making his first NFL start against the Panthers. I have him ranked a bit low compared to the matchup, but I protected myself just in case Martin has a brain fart, which I doubt we’ll see. Browns Trent Richardson is also set to make his NFL debut against the Eagles. However, unlike Martin, I think Richardson’s points could be hard to come by against an Eagles Defense that improved it’s front seven over the offseason.
With that said, lets see which players I think could blow up, surprise and those who you might want to consider leaving on the bench this week. Don’t forget that it looks highly doubtful that Chargers Ryan Mathews will play this week, leaving Ronnie Brown as the starter. Although, well, you’ll see he isn’t ranked very high.
Along with the running back rankings, make sure to check out the rest of the rankings in our rankings section.
MAJOR UPDATE (9/6) It looks like Marshawn Lynch’s back problems will keep him out of this weekend’s game against the Cardinals, although he has yet to be ruled out. With that said, Robert Turbin could be a sneaky low-end RB2/flex option.
RANKING PLAYER TEAM OPPONENT SYNOPSIS
1. Arian Foster Houston vs. Miami You took him No. 1 for a reason right?
2. LeSean McCoy Philadelphia @ Cleveland 3. Ray Rice Baltimore vs. Cincinnati 4. Chris Johnson Tennessee vs. New England
5. Matt Forte Chicago vs. Indianapolis Some will worry about Michael Bush, but Forte is still money. Start him with confidence this week.
6. Darren McFadden Oakland vs. San Diego 7. Marshawn Lynch Seattle @ Arizona 8. Steven Jackson St. Louis @ Detroit 9. Doug Martin Tampa Bay vs. Carolina Should look good right out of the gate this year. Bye Bye Blount.
10. Fred Jackson Buffalo @ New York Jets 11. Darren Sproles New Orleans vs. Washington 12. Ahmad Bradshaw New York Giants vs. Dallas 13. Jamaal Charles Kansas City vs. Atlanta Hard to gauge what JC will do with Peyton Hillis in the mix as well.
14. Rashad Jennings Jacksonville @ Minnesota Will start, but MJD will start seeing work as soon as Week Two.
15. Toby Gerhart Minnesota vs. Jacksonville I really doubt AP gets makes any impact Week One.
16. DeMarco Murray Dallas @ New York Giants 17. Trent Richardson Cleveland vs. Philadelphia 18. Kevin Smith Detroit vs. St. Louis 19. Frank Gore San Francisco @ Green Bay 20. Cedric Benson Green Bay vs. San Francisco Is he all hype? Or can Benson finally live up to that first-round pick from several years ago?
21. Reggie Bush Miami @ Houston 22. DeAngelo Williams Carolina @ Tampa Bay I could move him up if J-Stew is out completely. This is a great matchup.
23. Michael Turner Atlanta @ Kansas City Starting, but how much with Rodgers cut into his touches?
24. Stevan Ridley New England @ Tennessee 25. Willis McGahee Denver vs. Pittsburgh 26. BenJarvus Green-Ellis Cincinnati @ Baltimore Definitely has the upside, but Bernard Scott lingers in the background.
27. Beanie Wells Arizona vs. Seattle 28. Shonn Greene New York Jets vs. Buffalo As a Greene owner, just give me something. Anything at the point.
29. Peyton Hillis Kansas City vs. Atlanta Don't sleep on Hillis. Playing on a new team with a new offense could boost some life back into him.
30. Donald Brown Indianapolis @ Chicago 31. Isaac Redman Pittsburgh @ Denver Will start, but will deal with ankle and hip problems. Could be pushed by Jonathan Dwyer.
32. Ronnie Brown San Diego @ Oakland Will start Week One in place of Mathews, but there is no way he will get 20 carries like Turner wants.
33. Alfred Morris Washington @ New Orleans Will he start? If he does, will he have a big role? Try to avoid if possible.
34. Mark Ingram New Orleans vs. Washington Could surprise if he gets goal-line looks.
35. Jacquizz Rodgers Atlanta @ Kansas City One of my big-time sleepers this year. Low ranked due to uncertainty regarding Week One role.
36. Michael Bush Chicago vs. Indianapolis We'll see what role Bush has. He was never much of a goal-line back in Oakland, so he could be a pure backup.
37. C.J. Spiller Buffalo @ New York Jets His value is higher in kick-return leagues.
38. Roy Helu Washington @ New Orleans I'd leave him on the bench for now. Has the most upside of all the Redskins' backs.
39. Ryan Williams Arizona vs. Seattle Love the upside, but we may have to wait so actually see it.
40. Ben Tate Houston vs. Miami Garbage time anyone?
Keep An Eye On:
Jonathan Stewart – For now, Stewart is a game-time decision against the Buccaneers due to an ankle injury. He’s been held out of practice, but that could be because the team wants him healthy for Week One. If he plays, I love him as a possible RB2 against a pretty crappy Bucs Defense. Of course, if J-Stew does play, it will also knock Williams’ value as an RB1 down to an RB2. Both of these guys could have great games this week.