Welcome to week two of the NFL/Fantasy season. Here are my top 25 running backs for the sophomore game of the season. Good luck with your teams!
1. Adrian Peterson – Min at Chi — Peterson has owned Chicago in the past. He’s averaged 108 rushing yards for 5 yards per carry and has 14 touchdowns in 10 games against them.
2. LeSean McCoy – Phi vs. SD — You saw what Chip Kelly’s offense can do for a running back in week 1 and until they prove otherwise McCoy is a top back week in and week out. The Chargers gave up 112 yards rushing to the Texans on Monday night and now they fly cross-country for an early game.
3. Doug Martin – TB vs. NO — The Jets front line put the beat down on Doug Martin and made Josh Freeman beat them, which he did not. This week Martin gets a much easier go of it against the Saints rush defense who gave up 5.8 yards per carry to the Falcons week one, the worst in the league. And he also gets offensive lineman Carl Nicks back.
4. Jamaal Charles – KC vs. Dal — Charles looked good in Andy Reid’s system and totaled 100 yards against the Jaguars. He left the game early with a thigh contusion, but the Chiefs were up by a large margin and he looks like he is fine. The Cowboys weren’t really tested in the run game week one with David Wilson fumbling and being benched, but their D-line is hurting.
5. Trent Richardson – Cle at Bal — Richardson averaged 120 total yards a game against the Ravens last season and scored a touchdown. Hopefully this week Norv Turner and company will make him the workhorse and let their defense do the heavy lifting.
6. Arian Foster – Hou vs. Ten — Even though Foster didn’t put up great numbers in his first game back from injury he did see by far the most time on the field between him and Ben Tate and this week things should be back to normal and I expect a big game from him.
7. Ray Rice – Bal vs. Cle — Rice averaged 99 total yards a game against the Browns last season and had one touchdown. The Browns defense looks legit, but I do see both teams giving their start running backs more touches than they did week 1.
8. Matt Forte – Chi vs. Min — The Vikings just allowed a similar player to Matt Forte, Reggie Bush, to put up 191 total yards and a touchdown. They also allowed Joique Bell to score two touchdowns and gain 92 yards. Trestman’s offense isn’t nearly as vanilla as the last few times thee two met.
9. C.J. Spiller – Buf vs. Car — The Panthers front seven looks extremely tough and shut down a very good Seattle running game allowing just 60 yards rushing on 20 attempts. But Spiller is a different kind of runner than Lynch and can do more in the passing game. The Panthers did allow a big gain to Robert Turbin through the air. I like Spiller to bounce back from a poor week 1.
10. Steven Jackson – Atl vs. StL — I really don’t know how pumped Jackson will be to face his old team, but I’m assuming his energy level will get a jump-start. And his usage in the passing game (8 targets) was nice to see. The Rams faced a Cardinals team not meant to run and they still gave up 86 yards. It’s a tough matchup, but the history and SJax’s receptions should help.
11. Marshawn Lynch – Sea vs. SF — The 49ers are always tough to run on, but last season Marshawn Lynch had two 100-yard rushing games against them and one touchdown. He needs that touchdown to be a top producer most likely, but he’s at home this week where he got his lone TD against them last season.
12. Reggie Bush – Det at Ari — The Cardinals did a good job of stopping Daryl Richardson in week one, but so did Minnesota in stopping Reggie Bush for the most part on the ground, but Bush does his damage through the air. The Cardinals will have to pick their poison, Megatron or Bush.
13. Maurice Jones-Drew – Jac at Oak — The Jaguars couldn’t do jack squat against the Chiefs on Sunday with Blaine Gabbert at the helm, but KC loaded up the box to let Gabbert beat them and he, as usual, was overmatched. This time around they’ll have Chad Henne and will be facing the Raiders. Henne will at least throw the ball deep, which should open up some running lanes for MJD.
14. Eddie Lacy – GB vs. Was — Lacy goes from a horrible week 1 matchup on the road to a much easier matchup at home against Washington. The Eagles and LeSean McCoy just ran all over Washington, but of course the Packers aren’t running that kind of offense. What they are running is a passing offense that scares the bajeezers out of the defense and keeps them on their heels for Lacy to push them over.
15. Alfred Morris – Was at GB – I’m a little scared of Morris after his week 1 game because the Packers are a team that can put up points fast and take Morris out of the game. I do think Washington will have a better time of it and should keep the game closer, so I’m not going to recommend sitting him, but just be cautious.
16. Darren McFadden – Oak vs. Jac – The emergence of Terrelle Pryor as a running threat should help McFadden see more daylight in the running game. He put up a decent game against the Colts in week 1 and just missed a big game when he had half his foot out of bounds on a touchdown reception. The Jaguars gave up 175 total yards to Kansas City’s running backs and Jamaal Charles left the game early!
17. DeMarco Murray – Dal at KC – Murray had eight receptions against the Giants in week one. That kind of usage can be a fantasy gold mine. The coaching staff was also disappointed in how little he ran the ball, so look for them to make more of a concerted effort to run, especially with Tony Romo’s ribs and Dez Bryant’s foot hurting.
18. Stevan Ridley – NE vs. NYJ — It may be hard to trust him after his week one performance, but he’s come back from similar games to play very well and the Patriots just don’t have anyone else so they’ll have to give him plenty of work. The Jets defense is tough, but the Patriots probably won’t be losing by enough to always be in passing mode.
19. Chris Johnson – Ten at Hou – The Texans put the clamps down on the Chargers when they needed to and especially the running game. They allowed just 62 yards on 19 carries. They were beat early by a touchdown pass to Ryan Mathews after a turnover, but I believe in that Texans defense late in the game more than early, especially at home.
20. Frank Gore – SF at Sea – Last season Gore had a nice game against Seattle and a pitiful game, but that was pretty much the way of the whole team when losing 42-13 in week 16. The Seahawks gave up 86 yards rushing on 20 carries to DeAngelo Williams last week. Gore can get his in any matchup.
21. Darren Sproles – NO at TB – Last season Sproles averaged 4.5 receptions, 51 yards and a touchdown against Tampa. Mark Ingram looks washed up already and Darrelle Revis should be on Marques Colston. Look for Sproles to get plenty of looks after an 8-reception week 1 against the Falcons.
22. DeAngelo Williams – Car at Buf – Shane Vereen and company ran all over Buffalo in week one to the tune of 162 yards at 5.4 yards per pop. Williams was used heavily in week 1 against a tough Seahawks defense and had 20 touches totaling 100 yards. He’s a good RB2 this week.
23. Lamar Miller – Mia at Ind – Miller and David Thomas were completely shut down in Cleveland week one, but should have more room to work against an easier Colts defense.
24. Ryan Mathews – SD at Phi – The Eagles run defense is a big weakness, but they were able to get up to a big lead and take Washington out of their plan to run the ball. Mathews is no super stud by any means, but the Eagles should be susceptible to the run this season.
25. David Wilson – NYG vs. Den – I’ll be giving Wilson another chance this week, especially because the Giants signed an old, slow and out of shape Brandon Jacobs and have a third string Da’Rel Scott as their other option. Wilson will get his chances and he’s too good to bench unless you know he isn’t playing.