Top Running Backs In Fantasy Football Week 1

by Michael Drahota | Posted on Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014 | 0


After an offseason that seemed like an eternity, the 2014 NFL regular season will kick off tomorrow night when the Green Bay Packers take on the Seattle Seahawks in Washington.

It’s time to set your fantasy lineups for the upcoming slate of games this weekend, and obviously a key component to your success is going to depend on your stable of running backs. The crucial yet volatile position often makes or breaks fantasy teams given the injury risk involved.

That dynamic makes workhorse running backs increasingly more rare and valuable in today’s NFL, and they’re quite possibly the most valuable commodities in all of fantasy football. Here are the Top 10 running backs in fantasy for Week 1:

1.) Lesean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles:

The lynchpin of Chip Kelly’s high-volume offensive attack in Philadelphia, McCoy is coming off a 2013 season where he lead the NFL in rushing yards with 1,607. The potential is there for him to surpass that mark in 2014, and he has the perfect match-up to get that started in Week 1. The lowly Jacksonville Jaguars will travel into Philly to face off with the Eagles, and McCoy should carve them up like a Thanksgiving turkey.

2.) Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs:

A close second to McCoy, Charles scored the most fantasy points at running back last year thanks to his multi-faceted skillset. The Chiefs let some of their best offensive linemen go in the offseason, which is a definite concern for Charles owners. However, with Tennessee set to come into the notoriously hostile Arrowhead Stadium in Week 1, Charles is poised for another blowup game.

3.) Matt Forte, Chicago Bears:

Forte enjoyed a career year under new head coach Marc Trestman in 2013, and the consensus is that they’re just getting started in Chicago. Forte may be the second most dangerous pass catching back in the NFL behind Charles, and with the Buffalo Bills coming into Solider field this Sunday (September 7, 2014), he’ll be showcasing that ability in a big way. Forte has all the pieces in place to become the top scoring back in the NFL this year.

4.) Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings:

AP may have experienced a bit of a down season last year, but that’s kind of inevitable considering that he came within a few short yards of the NFL single season rushing record in 2012. With new offensive coordinator Norv Turner calling the plays in Minnesota, Peterson should have a myriad of now plays being called for him. He has all the speed and athleticism in the world, but he’s primarily been a smash mouth inside runner recently. At 29-and-a-half years old and facing the tough St. Louis Rams defensive lie in Week 1, 2014 is a make or break year for Peterson.

5.) Montee Ball, Denver Broncos:

Second-year man Ball has a golden opportunity to thrive in Denver’s explosive offense this year. Running backs alongside quarterback Peyton Manning have always done well; Ball should fall into the same boat. He showed flashes of boneheaded play as a rookie last year, but with Knowshon Moreno up and gone for Miami, Ball has been gifted the reigns in Denver. He’s a strong back with a nose for the end zone.  Ball should put up big numbers against Manning’s former team when the Broncos take on the Indianapolis Colts in Week 1.

6.) Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks:

Long the focal point of the bruising Seattle offense, Lynch has been an absolute force for the Super Bowl champion Seahawks. There were whispers that the wear and tear has finally begun to wear on “Beast Mode” and that touted second year man Christine Michael would be sharing some of the load in Seattle. But with Michael out with a hamstring ailment, Lynch will once again be relied on to tote the rock for the ‘Hawks.’ He’ll carry the ball quite a few times against Green Bay’s suspect defensive line.

7.) Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers:

Lacy is truly poised for a breakout season after rushing for nearly 1,200 yards as a rookie in 2013. With Green Bay loaded on offense, Lacy could legitimately challenge for then FL rushing title. However, his Week 1 game against the NFL’s best defense in Seattle is quite possibly the worst match-up he could have, so that’s why he’s not a truly elite back in Week 1.

8.) Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers:

It seems that every year Gore is supposed to break down, and the ageless wonder does the opposite yet again to rush for over 1,000 yards. There’s quite a stable of running backs in San Francisco right now, but Gore is undoubtedly the lead dog in the pack. The veteran has quite possibly the most favorable match-up in Week 1 against the more-than-generous Dallas Cowboys defense. Don’t be surprised if he rumbles for a ton of yards and a score or two.

9.) Arian Foster, Houston Texans:

Foster comes into the season with a ton of question marks about his health. He missed half of last season after undergoing back surgery and has been dealing with recurring hamstring issues for the majority of his career. Foster has taken an insane pounding in a short time, and he’s even teased an early retirement from football. But the Texans success (or lack thereof) runs through Foster, and he’s got a plus match-up against the weak Washington Redskins this week. We’ll see how motivated this once elite back is to keep playing in the NFL.

10.) Zac Stacy, St. Louis Rams:

Stacy is a second year bruiser who is set for another huge workload after quarterback Sam Bradford suffered another torn ACL in the preseason. He’s not flashy or super fast, but he gets the job done for the Rams’ grinding style of football. Against the middling defense of the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1, Stacy should see a ton of carries as veteran backup Shaun Hill leans on Stacy as his go-to man. That makes him a must-start for fantasy in Week 1.

About the Author

Both an avid NFL fan and analyst, I’ve been following professional football since the late 1980s. I’m also an avid fantasy football player with several league victories under my belt. Check out my NFL articles on TSM for the latest NFL news, highlights, predictions, and more.

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