It's amazing what one year of fantasy football can do. Last year, the guys to have were Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson. Now one year later, we are talking about guys like Fred Jackson and Beanie Wells. It just goes to show you that owners should go into the regular season with a clean slate and a clear mind, especially those who passed up Wells because of his pedestrian 2010.
Below are my running back rankings going into Week Two.
TOP FIVE WEEK-TWO MATCHUPS (MUST START)
1. Adrian Peterson (MIN) vs. Detroit: If the Vikings want to stop Stafford and Co. from destroying them through the air, they are going to have to keep the offense on the field as long as possible. Give AD the ball 25 times and they should keep it close.
2. Rashard Mendenhall (PIT) @ Indianapolis: People probably looked at last week's box score and wondered why Isaac Redman got so many carries against Seattle. Don't worry Mendy owners. Redman got some playing time because the Steelers were up by so much so late. Facing a soft Colts rushing defense, Mendy should have a big day in Week Three.
3. Ray Rice (BAL) @ St. Louis: Rice faces a Rams Defense that ranks dead last in the league against the run, giving up a whopping 177.5 on the ground. They also give up an average of 5.1 yards a carry. Rice should have a field day this week. Rice could easily be the No. 1 fantasy running back when Week Three is done.
4. LeSean McCoy (PHI) vs. NY Giants: Through two games, McCoy has averaged almost 127 total yards from scrimmage and has tallied four total touchdowns. He had a field day with the Giants last year, so expect another big game in the Eagles' home opener.
5. Michael Turner (ATL) @ TB: Adrian Peterson had a big game against the Bucs defense last weekend and even Jahvid Best was able to do damage against them on the ground back in Week One. Coming off a big Sunday night against the Eagles, Turner should have a big Week Three.
|6.||Darren McFadden (OAK)
||vs. NYJ: Matchup isn't stellar, but McFadden should rack up yardage on the ground and through the air.|
|7.||Matt Forte (CHI)||vs. GB: Forte has been a huge part of the Bears' passing game, averaging 103.5 receiving yards a game.|
|8.||Peyton Hillis (CLE)
||vs. MIA: The Browns want to try to give Hillis a breather, but he should find the endzone this week.|
|9.||Fred Jackson (BUF)
||vs. NE: Jackson has been tops for the last two weeks, but can he keep it up? Matchup against the Patriots isn't bad, but the Bills may need to air it out to keep up.|
|10.||Maurice Jones-Drew (JAX)
||@ CAR: Panthers give up 111.5 yards a game on the ground and the Jaguars will need to rely on MJD with Blaine Gabbert starting.|
|11.||Chris Johnson (TEN)
||vs. DEN: The Broncos can be run on and this might finally be the week Johnson breaks out.|
|12.||Beanie Wells (ARI)||@ SEA: Should have no problems against a so-so defense|
|13.||Jahvid Best (DET)||@ MIN: Tough matchup, but Best has been productive in the air and on the ground through two games.|
|14.||Ben Tate (HOU)||@ NO: Should get at least another week of productivity.|
|15.||Ryan Mathews (SD)||vs. KC: Still splits carries with Mike Tolbert, but has shown to be the better of the two on the ground.|
|16.||Ahmad Bradshaw (NYG)||@ PHI: Eagles have been absolutely dreadful against the run.
|17.||Frank Gore (SF)||@ CIN: The matchup is good. But if Gore can't do anything this week, he is going to drop in the 20s next week.
|18.||BenJarvus Green-Ellis (NE)||@ BUF: Has found the endzone in two-straight games.
|19.||James Starks (GB)||@ CHI: Averaging 6.8 yards a carry. Clearly the lead back.|
|20.||Mike Tolbert (SD
||vs KC: Value is close to equaling Ryan Matthews in PPR leagues.
|21.||Willis McGahee (DEN)||@ TEN: If McGahee has another good game, he could be the lead back even when Knowshon Moreno comes back.
|22.||LeGarrette Blount (TB)||vs. Atlanta: Will the real Blount please stand up?|
|23.||Shonn Greene (NYJ)||@ OAK: The Raiders are giving up 6.7 yards a carry and 127.5 yards per game on the ground. If Greene stinks it up again, that's it.
|24.||Felix Jones (DAL)||vs WAS: At the time of this writing, Jones (shoulder) is expected to play Week Three.
|25.||Daniel Thomas (MIA)
||@ CLE: Finally lived up to the hype in Week Two.|
|26.||Tim Hightower (WAS)||@ DAL: Needs a big game to hold off Roy Helu.
|27.||Brandon Jacobs (NYG)||@ PHI: Flex at best behind Ahmad Bradshaw.
|28.||Cedric Benson (CIN)||vs. SF: Faces the top rushing defenses in the league and coming off a terrible Week Two.
|29.||S. Jackson/C. Williams (STL)||vs. BAL: Ravens have shut down Rashard Mendenhall and Chris Johnson so far.
|30.||Darren Sproles (NO)||vs HOU: Strong flex option in PPR leagues.
BEST OF THE REST:
|31. Pierre Thomas (NO) vs. HOU: Is clearly ahead of Mark Ingram in terms of production per touch.|
|32. Marshawn Lynch (SEA) vs. ARI: Is only on this list because he still starts, but you could do better.|
|33. Thomas Jones (KC) @ SD: Takes over for Jamaal Charles (knee), but could yield touches to Dexter McCluster.
|34. Mark Ingram (NO) vs. HOU: Has yet to find the end zone.|
|35. Roy Helu (WAS) @ DAL: Don't start Helu yet after a big Week Two. But if he has another strong showing Monday night, he could turn the backfield into a committee.|
Keep An Eye On:
Dexter McCluster (KC) @ SD
McCluster is an interesting option to keep in mind if you are absolutely desperate. Through two weeks, he has racked up 58 total yards from scrimmage per game and has nine receptions on the year. Thomas Jones will get the start and most of the love from the fantasy football community because of that. And while McCluster's size (5'8' /170) puts him at a disadvantage, he could be a steal if you can stash him for at least one week to see what he does in Week Three.
I wish everyone the best of luck this week. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post below.