First Quarter: Top 3 Fantasy Football Performers RB Edition

Peter Aiken

Let's take a look at the top 3 fantasy football running backs after the first quarter of the football season.

I'm mainly a PPR league guy but I've been in a league for 3 years now (won it for the first time last season) that does not award points per reception. I will look at both PPR and standard leagues.

Jamaal Charles (#1 PPR; #2 standard)

Jamaal has been in fine form so far this season and PPR players are loving Alex Smith's conservative style. Charles has not had a 100 yard rushing game yet but he is making up for that with his receptions. Jamaal has two rushing TD's and two receiving TD's so far, giving him four total TD's in four games played. He has kept his fantasy owners happy by scoring one touchdown in every game so far and combining his rushing and receiving for 100+ yards in every game. His best game in both PPR and standard leagues came in the Thursday night game against the Eagles. Jamaal carried the ball 20 times (the most he has in a single game so far this season) for 92 yards and one touchdown. That alone is a pretty good game. However, as he always does, Jamaal gave us fantasy owners something extra by adding 7 receptions for 80 yards. On the season, Jamaal has 70 carries, 289 yards, 2 TD's, 23 receptions, 213 yards and 2 TD's. He has a pretty good match up this week against a Titans defense that has allowed at least 6 receptions per game to opposing RB's and have given up the 16th most fantasy points to RB's this season. Jamaal is officially questionable for the game with blisters on his foot, but I don't expect him to miss any game time. Start him with confidence.

Adrian Peterson (#2 PPR; #1 standard)

Adrian Peterson started the season off by shredding the Lions for a 78 yard touchdown run on his first play from scrimmage. He set himself up for a huge day, but unfortunately for greedy owners everywhere (and let's face it, we're all greedy fantasy owners), Peterson was held to just 15 more yards on the ground for the rest of the game. That's one heck of a job by the Detroit Lions defensive line to stuff the best running back in the game like that after getting ripped open for 78 yards on the first play of the season. Despite that, Peterson still got one more rushing TD, and as if to say "sorry I couldn't gain more yards for you", he added a TD reception on top of it all. The Vikings lost the game but Peterson owners probably won their match ups, if they didn't then maybe we need to sit down and talk about your team.

Week 2 against Chicago, Peterson rushed for 100 yards, but that was all he could muster up. Unfortunately, he added a lost fumble to his stat line and probably cost you a couple points there too. For all you PPR guys, he couldn't even throw you a bone, catching only one pass for 7 yards. Peterson bounced back week 3 against Cleveland, going for 88 yards on 25 carries and a touchdown. He added 6 receptions for only 27 yards and again managed to lose a fumble for the second week in a row. Adrian finally exploded against Pittsburgh last week. He ripped apart the Steel Curtain for 140 yards rushing on 23 carries and 2 TD's. Matt Cassel decided he didn't need Peterson in the passing game and for the first time this season, Adrian did not record a single reception. Peterson has 92 carries, 421 yards rushing, 5 TD's, 11 receptions and 52 yards receiving after 4 weeks.

Matt Forte (#3 PPR, #4 standard)

Despite not having a single receiving touchdown as of yet, Forte is still performing at an elite level no matter what kind of league you are in. Forte started the season against the Bengals and managed 50 yards on the ground and one rushing touchdown. He pitched in a little further for PPR owners with 4 receptions and 41 yards, giving him 91 total yards on the afternoon. Week 2 against the Vikings was a beautiful day for owners of Forte in PPR leagues. Forte didn't wow us with his 88 yards rushing on 20 attempts and no touchdowns, he did wow us by hauling in 10 receptions for 73 yards. Unfortunately, he could not add a touchdown to his tally so PPR owners had to settle for just 24-25 points.

Week 3 against Pittsburgh saw Forte get back in the endzone with a 5 yard run, he could have had another but Michael Bush vultured a 1 yard TD later in the 1st quarter. It was Forte's 55 yard run that put Chicago in that position so it is a little disheartening to see Michael Bush get the touchdown in that situation. Forte finished with 87 yards rushing, 4 receptions for 24 yards and that lone touchdown from the 1st quarter. It certainly wasn't Forte's best game as 55 of his 87 yards rushing came on one play in the 1st quarter. It was much of the same from Forte last week against the Lions as he again found the endzone only once and managed to gain 95 yards on the ground. However, as was the case last week, the majority of his 95 yards came on one play where he took off for 53 yards, which turned out to be a touchdown. The Bears were getting destroyed early on so Forte wasn't heavily used as his 14 carries illustrates. He added 5 receptions but was only able to total 22 yards. After 4 weeks, Forte has 69 carries, 320 yards, 3 TD's, 23 receptions and 160 yards. The Bears face the Saints this week in a favorable match up for Forte. New Orleans have given up the 14th most fantasy points to opposing running backs.

LeSean McCoy (#4 PPR; #3 standard)

There were high hopes for McCoy coming into this season with Chip Kelly taking over the Eagles offense. Just four weeks into the season we are seeing exactly why everyone was excited for this partnership. McCoy is an explosive back with quick, shifty feet, making him the perfect running back for Chip Kelly's blocking system. Week 1 against the Redskins, McCoy showed off those quick feet and shredded Washington for 184 yards on 31 carries and 1 touchdown. After running wild on Washington, McCoy decided to switch it up a bit in week 2 against San Diego. He showed off his versatility by catching 5 passes and taking off for 114 yards, including a 70 yard scamper in the first quarter. McCoy added 53 yards rushing but failed to find the endzone all game both through the air and on the ground.

Thursday night against Kansas City was not a pretty game for Eagles fans. McCoy still found a way to be the lone bright spot for them by carrying the ball 20 times for 158 yards including a beautiful 41 yard touchdown run in the 4th quarter. Amazingly, he failed to catch a single pass. Week 4 was a week the Eagles want to forget. Philly ran into Peyton Manning and the Broncos and suffice it to say they got knocked the F out. The Broncos ran away with this one and McCoy was limited to just 73 yards on the ground, 1 reception and 21 yards receiving with no touchdowns. It was his worst game of the season but to be fair, the whole team was disappointing and they just ran into the hottest and possibly the best team in all of football. The first quarter of the season is in the books and McCoy leads the league in rushing yards with 78 attempts, 468 yards, and 2 TD's. He has also pitched in with 7 receptions and 140 yards receiving. Both the Eagles and McCoy should get back on track this week against the lowly Giants. The Giants are giving up the 7th most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

There you have it. How do you feel about these guys? Will they keep up this form all season or will we see new list of top running backs at the end of the season?

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