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Why You Should Start Eddie Lacy and Other RB Start/Sit Fantasy Advice for Week 1

Eddie Lacy

Eddie Lacy

After what seemed like an eternity, Week 1 of the NFL season is finally upon us, which means trying to figure out which running back to start for your fantasy team and which to sit each week without pulling out your hair.

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What should you do with guys like Eddie Lacy, Melvin Gordon and Arian Foster? What a dilemma!

Find out all you need to know in this week’s start/sit running back edition.

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex

START THESE RBs...

Spencer Ware, KC (vs. SD)

It remains to be seen if Jamaal Charles will even be active for this game, although it doesn’t appear that he is going to see the field if you believe the Chiefs' beat reporters and even head coach Andy Reid. That is great news if you were the lucky one to snag Ware in your draft. Ware will be running against a Chargers defense that should be one of the worst against the run this season and he will get plenty of work. Last season, with Charles out, Ware had three games in the final seven with double-digit carries, and he scored double-digit fantasy points (standard scoring) in those contests. Now Ware won’t help you much in PPR leagues (that’s where Charcandrick West comes into play) but Ware’s numbers and touchdown potential make him an easy start this week.

Eddie Lacy, GB (at JAC)

Was there a bigger first-round fantasy bust last year than Lacy? I could make all the fat jokes I want here, but the simple fact is that Lacy was out of shape and terrible at football last year. Well, forget about last year and look forward to the Eddie Lacy of old as this is the year he resurrects his career. It all starts this week against the Jaguars, which gave up a league-high 13 rushing touchdowns last season. The Packers know that they need a solid ground game to get their aerial attack going. Look for Lacy to go for more than 100 yards with a touchdown in this one.

Latavius Murray, OAK (at NO)

Believe it or not, Murray finished 10th in fantasy points among running backs last season, not because he was amazing, but because of volume. The Raiders kept on giving him the ball. Murray is still the lead back in Oakland and now thanks to a great offseason, the Raiders boast one of the best offensive lines in all of football. Murray could surprise many people and be a top-5 fantasy back this year and an opening matchup against the Saints bodes well for his chances for a hot start to 2016. New Orleans surrendered the fourth-most rushing yards at home last season, not to mention the third-most fantasy points to RBs overall (22.84 ppg).

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MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...

Ryan Matthews, PHI (vs. CLE)

If he can stay healthy then he could have a big year, but we know that's the knock on him with only one 16-game season on his resume and 13 missed games over the past two years. He ran well last year when healthy (5.0 ypc, 7 TDs), and the Browns allowed 10 running backs to score double digits in fantasy points in 2015. Mathews appears locked into a featured role for the Eagles to start the season, and he'll no doubt see a lot of burn with rookie quarterback Carson Wentz under center.

SIT THESE RBs...

Melvin Gordon, SD (at KC)

Gordon was one of the best running backs in the preseason, which hopefully bodes well for his prospects in 2016. After all, he couldn’t get much worse than his rookie year where he didn’t even score a touchdown, right? But this is the regular season and his Week 1 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs is a tough one. The Chiefs' defense has only surrendered one rushing touchdown in its last five games against the Chargers while San Diego has rushed for more than 70 yards just once in its last four games against Kansas City. Hopefully you have enough running back depth on your roster to leave Gordon on the bench this week. But don’t worry, the Chargers’ schedule gets much easier in the next couple of weeks.

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Jeremy Hill, CIN (at NYJ)

Along with Eddie Lacy and C.J. Anderson, Hill was another one of those early-round running back busts last year that burned many fantasy teams. Even though he did score 11 touchdowns, he was still a major bust. In standard leagues it will always be hard to sit Hill because of his touchdown potential, especially in the red zone and around the goal line. However, he doesn’t have a good matchup this week against the Jets, which only allowed three rushing touchdowns total last year at home.

Arian Foster, MIA (at SEA)

It’s true that Foster looked like his old self in the preseason and easily took the starting job away from Jay Ajayi. But don’t forget that Foster is coming off a torn Achilles, he’s now 30 years old with a decent injury history and his opening game is against the Seahawks in Seattle. The Seahawks' defense has been dominant for several years now and that trend should continue this year. Last year Seattle yielded the fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. It’ll be interesting to see how much Foster has left as he did only average just 2.6 yards per carry with the Texans last year before getting hurt. Take a wait and see approach with Foster to start the year.

YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...

Jeremy Langford, CHI (at HOU)

Depending on where you look, or who you trust in the fantasy world, Langford is either a sure-fire breakout candidate or a huge bust. So far he looks more like a breakout than a bust as he played well in the preseason with 18 carries for 79 yards and a touchdown and two catches for 11 yards. He established himself as the No. 1 option in the Bears’ backfield, and he might not get much competition for touches as long as he's healthy. But the Texans’ defense should be dominant against the Bears this week now that J.J. Watt (back) appears on track to play. Houston gave up just one rushing touchdown and surrendered 100 yards to just one back (LeSean McCoy) over the final nine games 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.