It was a rough Week 1 for some running backs, as David Johnson’s fantasy owners felt the pain when he went down with what ended up being a dislocated wrist. The good news is that there were plenty of pleasant surprises as well, some of which were reflected in my Week 1 start/sit advice. Let’s see how those calls went shall we?
Start Todd Gurley (20.6 fantasy points) – While he didn’t look that great running the football, he did find the end zone and was heavily involved in the passing game. Still there are plenty of red flags moving forward.
Start Terrance West (14 FP) – West was the starting back for the Ravens and really helped keep the offense after Danny Woodhead hurt his hamstring. He’ll be the lead back moving forward.
Sit Mark Ingram (12.1 FP) – The Saints have a three-headed monster in the backfield that is cutting into each RB’s fantasy value. Plus, they still have Drew Brees, which means that they are probably to throw the ball more than they run it.
Sit all Bengals RBs – Jeremy Hill (3.4 FP), Giovani Bernard (8.9 FP) and Joe Mixon (5.4 FP) all did something, but this backfield is a fantasy nightmare for now, until someone (presumably Mixon) takes over as the clear No. 1 option. Stay away.
Start Bilal Powell (8.9 FP) – The Jets are really trying to lose. Even in a negative game script they didn’t use Powell enough. Hopefully that changes when they are losing again this week.
START THESE RBs...
Marshawn Lynch, OAK (vs. NYJ)
Last week Lynch was a must-sit, and that was a good thing as he finished as the 26th RB in PPR formats. But things change in a big way this week for Lynch. This week he faces a depleted Jets defense that just allowed 27.8 fantasy points to LeSean McCoy last week. This could easily be a 100-yard, two-touchdown game for Lynch.
Ty Montgomery, GB (at ATL)
Heading into the season everyone was wondering how much Montgomery was going to play. Well, in Week 1, he barely came off of the field and was heavily involved in the Packers’ attack. This week he could explode against the Falcons, who struggle against pass-catching backs (i.e., Tarik Cohen) and Montgomery plays in a better offense than what Atlanta faced in Week 1.
Todd Gurley, LAR (vs. WAS)
Gurley was a must-start last week, and while he didn’t look great running the ball, the volume was there and he managed to score 20.6 PPR points. Don’t give up on Gurley yet, as he faces a Redskins defense that allowed the sixth-most fantasy points and 11 touchdowns to running backs on the road last season.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Javorius “Buck” Allen, BAL (vs. CLE)
With Danny Woodhead out, Allen steps into the RB timeshare with Terrance West. He had 21 carries for 71 yards and actually out-snapped West (33 to 27) in Week 1, and while the blowout likely had something to do with that, he clearly has a role. Most importantly, Allen, who caught 45 passes two seasons ago, should step in as the passing-down RB, which makes him very valuable in an offense that has thrown to its RB’s more than any other team the last two years. The Browns’ run defense looks legit after stifling Le’Veon Bell in Week 1, but Allen is viable flex option in PPR leagues.
Related: Waiver Wire Week 2
SIT THESE RBs...
Carlos Hyde, SF (at SEA)
Ty Montgomery grinded out an RB1 performance in Week 1 against the Seahawks, but I wouldn’t get used to that. Sheldon Richardson looked absolutely dominant in the middle of an already-stout Seattle defensive line, giving the Seahawks arguably the best front seven in football. Things will get even tougher for opponents when having to deal with the crowd noise in Seattle, and when you throw in a negative game script (49ers are 13-point underdogs), it’s difficult to justify using Hyde in any format.
All Arizona RBs (at IND)
With the loss of David Johnson (wrist), the Cardinals are scrambling to replace him. That won't be easy, nor will it be done with one player. Kerwynn Williams and Andre Ellington are the top options to pick up the slack, but the cloudy situation got even more annoying for fantasy players when the team re-signed Chris Johnson. All signs point to a running back by committee, and that's not ideal for a team that looks average at best. Plus, the Cardinals will be without starting left tackle D.J. Humphries (sprained MCL). You can't use any Cardinal RB with confidence.
Ameer Abdullah, DET (at NYG, Mon.)
Heading into the season, Abdullah was high on everyone’s breakout list and for those fantasy owners who reached for him on draft day, his 7.1 fantasy points in Week 1 against Arizona had to be a letdown. This week things don’t get any easier as he travels to New York to face a Giants defense that last season allowed only six total touchdowns at home to opposing running backs.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Tarik Cohen, CHI (at TB)
Before Week 1 most people had no idea who Tarik Cohen was. Now in Week 2, many fantasy owners have blown their FAAB budget just to get him on their roster. If that’s you, you are going to be disappointed this week. Cohen and the Bears face a Buccaneers defense that allowed the fourth-fewest targets, the fifth-fewest receptions and the fifth-fewest receiving yards to RBs at home last season.
— 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.