After what seemed like an eternity, Week 1 of the NFL season is finally upon us, which means trying to figure out which running backs to start and which to sit as you put your fantasy lineup together. And to do this without pulling out your hair.
What should you do with guys like Chris Carson and Royce Freeman? What a dilemma!
START THESE RBS...
Royce Freeman, DEN (vs. SEA)
Broncos head coach Vance Joseph seems slow to react to obvious situations. It’s clear that Freeman is the better running back for his team, but Joseph waited until this week to tab the rookie as his starter. By the end of the season Freeman is going to be in the discussion for Offensive Rookie of the Year and he will make a statement in Week 1 against the Seahawks where the “Legion of Boom” no longer exists.
Jamaal Williams, GB (vs. CHI)
It’s not a dream matchup, but the Packers are playing at home on "Sunday Night Football." Williams emerged in Week 10 of last season and had four games of 20-plus carries. The concern in the fantasy community is that Ty Montgomery will eat into Williams' workload, but the history of the Packers' play-calling tends to favor a lead dog in their offense. Williams will be motivated to impress, in hopes the coaching staff forgets all about Aaron Jones, who is suspended for the first two games. I think Williams will make a solid RB2 or flex player this week.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Peyton Barber, TB (at NO)
While rookie Ronald Jones could emerge down the road, he’s looked awful throughout the preseason. The second-round pick had just 22 yards on 28 carries this preseason. Head coach Dirk Koetter has come out and said Barber “is our starter,” and at this point it's not even close. Barber has looked the part and could be a decent flex option for Week 1.
SIT THESE RBS...
Chris Carson, SEA (at DEN)
The Seahawks' offensive line is not built for a running game. Despite the apparent affection the team says they have for rookie Rashaad Penny, the Seahawks should’ve invested in an offensive lineman in the first round of this year's draft. The over/under in this game is only 42 points, which is one of the lowest totals of the week. Denver is a tough place to debut, and I think the addition of Bradley Chubb will wreak havoc up front and in the backfield. Sit Carson, find a better option.
Alfred Morris, SF (at MIN)
Morris is the equivalent of finding $20 stuck to the bottom of your shoe. He was not supposed to be fantasy relevant, but due to the injury to Jerick McKinnon, fantasy owners are excited about the potential 49ers' starter that cost them nothing. Sticking with my Garoppolo sit 'em prediction, I feel the matchup is unfavorable and that Morris will not be able to replace some of the things that the coaching staff had planned to do with McKinnon. Morris has just 57 career receptions in six seasons. His role will likely be split in half and his fantasy production could be minimal.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
LeSean McCoy, BUF (at BAL)
McCoy’s touches will still be there, but the Bills' offensive line got throttled during the preseason. The Bills are 7.5-point road underdogs and have the slate’s lowest implied team total (16.75) and will be relying on Nathan Peterman as their starting quarterback.
— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.