Plus which Patriots running back is worth starting this week against Jacksonville
With the trend this year in a lot of fantasy football leagues to replace the kicker with another flex spot, running backs have become even more important to a fantasy football roster than ever before.
But choosing which running back to put in that extra flex spot can often be a challenge. Choosing the right running back can be the difference between winning this week and losing. So choose wisely.
Let's take a quick look back at the Week 1 calls before diving into the Week 2 advice.
Good Calls for Week 1...
Sit LeSean McCoy (2.04 fantasy points) – We all knew that the Bills were going to be bad, but they are terrible and McCoy’s fantasy outlook looks rather bleak moving forward.
Sit Alfred Morris (1.80 FP) – Morris was the “must-have” waiver wire add once Jerick McKinnon was lost for the season, but starting him against the Vikings in Week 1 wasn’t a good idea.
Bad Calls for Week 1...
Start Jamaal Williams (4.7 FP) – The Packers were down 20-0 and abandoned the running game. With Aaron Rodgers, the Packers can abandon the running game all season.
START THESE RBs...
Adrian Peterson, WAS (vs. IND)
Last week against the Cardinals, Washington was able to build an early lead and then leaned on Peterson in the second half where he had 95 of his total yards. The same kind of game script should happen here as the Redskins stick with a cautious offensive approach. The Colts' run defense was manhandled by Joe Mixon in Week 1 and still projects to be among the worst in the NFL. If you have Peterson on your team, use him, then consider selling high on him since he has some tough matchups along with a Week 4 bye in his near future.
Dion Lewis, TEN (vs. HOU)
Lewis’s snap count was 71 percent (49 of 69) versus the Dolphins for Week 1. His counterpart Derrick Henry was on the field for less than 30 percent of the Titans' offensive plays. Granted, weather delays and playing from behind could have had a major impact on Lewis' heavy workload, but the loss of Delanie Walker also could mean more targets. The Titans face off against the Texans in Week 2 and with or without Marcus Mariota (elbow) they are going to need someone to step up in the passing game. Lewis is a great PPR start.
Alfred Morris, SF (vs. DET)
The Lions couldn’t handle the zone-blocking running scheme of the Jets, and the 49ers can execute it better with the game flow helping Morris. Matt Breida is worth flex consideration in deeper leagues too.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
James White, NE (at JAC)
White led the Patriots with nine targets in the opener, catching four for 38 yards and a touchdown when he was left wide open from 12 yards out. White was also the only Patriots running back to get a red-zone carry, though Rex Burkhead led the way with 18 carries to White's five. Jeremy Hill tore his ACL in the win and is obviously done for the season. Jacksonville poses a serious test, but White and Rob Gronkowski figure to be the path to success for New England on offense if Burkhead (concussion) is forced to sit. In last year’s matchup with Jacksonville, then-lead RB Dion Lewis drew eight targets, good for second on the team. Look for White to potentially be featured even more in that area Sunday. He’s a must-start in PPR leagues.
SIT THESE RBs...
LeSean McCoy, BUF (vs. LAC)
In theory, McCoy should see heavy workloads week in and week out with the Bills starting rookie QB Josh Allen, but the complete ineptitude of the entire offense is going to lead to opposing defenses selling out to stop the run. McCoy had 22 yards on seven carries (3.1 ypc) and had one catch (went for a one-yard loss) on three targets. The Chargers got torched by Patrick Mahomes, but nobody sees Allen repeating that this week. And Los Angeles' run defense wasn't the problem, holding Kareem Hunt to just 49 yards on 16 carries (3.1 ypc). Even at home, the Bills are touchdown underdogs with the second-lowest total (17.75 points) of Week 2.
Jamaal Williams, GB (vs. MIN)
This is not a great matchup for Williams. The Vikings have one of the leagues toughest defensive lines and should continue to hold rushers in check this season. The Vikings limited the 49ers to 90 rushing yards on 25 carries (3.6 ypc). If Aaron Rodgers’ knee isn’t 100 percent, the team will likely lean more on quick passes to help move the chains. I could see Ty Montgomery finishing with more snaps than Williams in this contest.
Carlos Hyde, CLE (at NO)
The Saints’ run defense looks improved, and game flow will hill hurt and mean more of
Duke Johnson and less of Hyde.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Royce Freeman, DEN (vs. OAK)
Welcome to yet another RBBC (running back by committee) in the NFL. Freeman was a popular pick in fantasy drafts this year, but after just one game, his outlook is clouded. Yes, he’s very talented, but so is Phillip Lindsay and Broncos head coach Vance Joseph isn’t letting Devontae Booker go away. Freeman’s 29 snaps led Lindsay’s 26 and Booker’s 19, but he saw zero targets (Lindsay got three and Booker had two) and his ascension will likely take time.
— 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.
(Top photo by Garrett Campbell/Washington Redskins, courtesy of www.redskins.com)