Alright ladies and gents, it's about that time again. Time to get our jerseys washed, time to clean out the good ole can coosey and get ourselves back into fantasy football shape again. Below are my running back rankings going into Week One.
I know a lot of people have been questioning whether or not to start their studs this week, depending on the matchups, their offensive line, etc. And while the mantra of always start your studs may have dissipated over the last few years, you still have to start them in Week One, no matter what defense they are facing.
TOP FIVE WEEK-ONE MATCHUPS (MUST START)
1. Chris Johnson (TEN) @ Jacksonville: Johnson will be looking to make good on his new guaranteed money and I expect the team to use him A LOT this week. Javon Ringer and Jamie Harper will get a couple carries here and there, but expect Johnson to put up big stats against a very suspect Jaguars Defense.
2. Adrian Peterson (MIN) @ San Diego: Even though AD faces a tougher run defense than usual to start the season, he is still a must start across the board regardless. Even against a front seven of nothing by Pro Bowlers, I would STILL start him every time.
3. Jamaal Charles (KC) vs. Buffalo: Charles faces one of the worst rushing defenses in 2010 (169.6 per game). Playing at home in Arrowhead doesn't hurt either. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Thomas Jones doesn't see more than a handful of touches.
4. Arian Foster (HOU) vs. Indianapolis: Foster plays against the team that made him a fantasy football name last year after he rushed for a team-record 231 yards and three scores in Week One. Owners will want to keep a close eye on Friday's injury report to see how Foster (hamstring) looked in practice this week.
5. Darren McFadden (OAK) @ Denver: McFadden torched the Broncos Defense last year, averaging 142 rushing yards. Denver losing LB D.J. Williams for, possibly, the first 2-3 weeks of the season, is going to kill an already iffy run defense. McFadden should be huge this week.
|6.||LeSean McCoy (PHI)
||@ STL: McCoy will be used a lot in the rushing and passing game.|
|7.||Ray Rice (BAL)||vs. PIT: Tough matchup, but still has to start.|
|8.||Steve Jackson (STL)
||vs. PHI: Eagles have had rushing-defense problems.|
|9.||Frank Gore (SF)
||vs. SEA: Should have a big day against this defense.|
|10.||Maurice Jones-Drew (JAX)
||vs. TEN: Matchup is good. No Garrard could mean more touches.|
|11.||Peyton Hillis (CLE)
||vs. CIN: Excellent matchup for a guy you likely drafted as an RB2.|
|12.||Shonn Greene (NYJ)||vs. DAL: Lets hope he doesn't sputter like last year.|
|13.||Rashad Mendenhall (PIT)||@ BAL: Looked good against the Ravens last year.|
|14.||Michael Turner (ATL)||@ CHI: Turner will still get the carries if the game is close.|
|15.||Ahmad Bradshaw (NYG)||@ WAS: Should get a majority of the touches, but don't forget that Brandon Jacobs could be used more than last year.|
|16.||Matt Forte (CHI)||vs. ATL: A weapon in the air and on the ground. Marion Barber might only see a minimal amount of touches.
|17.||LeGarrette Blount (TB)||vs. DET: The Lions Defense has looked much improved this offseason, but Blount should put up solid fantasy numbers.
|18.||Tim Hightower (WAS)||vs. NYG: The Giants have been hit hard with the injury big after losing Jonathan Goff to a torn ACL.
|19.||DeAngelo Williams (CAR)||@ ARI: Carolina will run as much as possible to keep the score close. If they have to pass, forget about it.|
|20.||Mark Ingram (NO)||@ GB: Tough test this week, but he should be good for at least one score.
|21.||Beanie Wells (ARI)||vs. Carolina: Beanie let me down last year. He can't stumble again. Kevin Kolb's play will be the key.
|22.||Reggie Bush (MIA)||vs. NE: Has a chip on his shoulder to prove himself, but will he break like a Pringle? Strong PPR option.|
|23.||Felix Jones (DAL)||@ NYJ: RB2, but has one of the toughest tests of all the players on this list.
|24.||Cedric Benson (CIN)||@ CLE: Had 150 rushing yards in the second meeting against Cleveland last year.
|25.||Knowshon Moreno (DEN)
||vs. OAK: One of the hardest to rank. He could look great, or pave the way for Willis McGahee to take his job.|
|26.||Joseph Addai (IND)||@ HOU: With Peyton Manning officially out, the Colts will need to open up running room for Addai to succeed. Could lose goal-line touches to Delone Carter.
|27.||Jahvid Best (DET)||@ TB: Passing game is going to have to keep the defense honest. Like the PPR upside.
|28.||Fred Jackson (BUF)||@ KC: Spiller Schmiller. Jackson deserves to be the featured back this year.
|29.||Ryan Mathews (SD)||vs. MIN: Will share with Mike Tolbert, but should have success as a flex option.
|30.||Mike Tolbert (SD)||vs. MIN: With a 50/50 split, Tolbert has just as much value as Ryan Mathews. Even more in TD-Heavy leagues.
BEST OF THE REST:
31. Brandon Jacobs (NYG) @ WAS - Could see short-yardage and touches at the goal line.
32. BenJarvus Green-Ellis (NE) @ MIA - Lead hand in the pot.
33. Ryan Grant (GB) vs. NO - Had a bleh training camp. Could lose time to James Starks.
34. Willis McGahee (DEN) vs. OAK - Definitely some upside here.
35. James Starks (GB) vs. NO - Value is capped if Ryan Grant remains in the picture.
THE BOTTOM FEEDERS (AVOID IF POSSIBLE)
36. Marshawn Lynch (SEA) @ SF - In a perfect world, the Seahawks would upgrade their quarterback situation.
37. CJ Spiller (BUF) @ KC - Will be force fed the ball at times, but I just don't see anything in him.
38. Pierre Thomas (NO) @ GB - Will get work against the Packers, but I don't see a 50/50 split between him and Ingram.
39. Michael Bush (OAK) @ DEN - Should see some touches to keep Darren McFadden fresh, but enough?.
40. Keiland Williams (DET) @ TB - Might take over the short-yardage/goal-line role meant for Mikel LeShoure.
I wish everyone the best of luck this week. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post below.