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Week 1 Running Back Rankings - PPR

Examining the best matchups for Week One running backs from a point per reception league standpoint.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

So it begins. The position of cataclysm (I coined that). The position of death. The position of "I want to gouge my eyes out". Too much? Probably, but the running back position was an absolute catastrophe last year. While this year appears to be more clear-cut and the position should be much less volatile, all it takes is a few injuries and one-too-many meals for running backs I won't name before the position begins to fall apart. Let's hope the gods are on our side this year.

Rank Player Team Opponent Analysis
1 Lamar Miller Houston Texans CHI Miller should pass his initial season opening test with flying colors.
2 Todd Gurley Los Angeles Rams @SF He is the entire Rams offense and the 49ers are not a good defense.
3 Ezekiel Elliott Dallas Cowboys NYG Zeke will get his "Welcome to the NFL" party at home against a Giants defense that struggled heavily against the run last season.
4 Latavius Murray Oakland Raiders @NO The Saints defense isn't stopping anybody. Murray could have a field day in the Superdome.
5 David Johnson Arizona Cardinals NE DJ will be a usage machine, though the matchup is a tough one against an underrated Pats defense.
6 Adrian Peterson Minnesota Vikings @TEN He might get 40 carries with Shaun Hill at quarterback.
7 Doug Martin Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ATL The Falcons run defense (overall defense) was nothing short of atrocious last year. Look for Martin to start the year smoking hot.
8 Ryan Mathews Philadelphia Eagles CLE I wrote "Cleveland Browns run defense" in most of the player analysis columns last year for those RBs that went up against them. So, Cleveland Browns run defense.
9 LeSean McCoy Buffalo Bills @BAL The Ravens run defense isn't what it used to be, while McCoy is primed for a big season.
10 Eddie Lacy Green Bay Packers @JAX The Jags were underratedly stout against the run last year, but I'll bank on Lacy getting into the end zone at least once.
11 Devonta Freeman Atlanta Falcons TB Can he be more efficient than his 4.0 ypc average signaled last year or will he continue to rely on goal-line chances and receptions?
12 Matt Forte New York Jets CIN Their passing offense might find it tough to operate against the Bengals, providing Forte with plenty of checkdowns and rush attempts.
13 Mark Ingram New Orleans Saints OAK If he's as involved in the passing game as he showed last year, he'll rack up points in this one.
14 Spencer Ware Kansas City Chiefs SD I have a feeling Jamaal Charles is going to be held out for at least Week 1. If so, Ware is a great option against an atrocious against a weak Chargers run defense.
15 Giovani Bernard Cincinnati Bengals NYJ This game sets up much better for Gio than Hill.
16 DeMarco Murray Tennessee Titans MIN Tough opponent, but Murray will get the rock plenty.
17 Rashad Jennings New York Giants DAL Dallas struggles mightily against the run and they actually have kept Odell Beckham very quiet over the past two years. The Giants should attack the Cowboys on the ground.
18 Jeremy Langford Chicago Bears @HOU Tough opponent, but the volume will surely be there.
19 Danny Woodhead San Diego Chargers @KC This matchup is more in Woodhead's favor than his backfield counterpart.
20 Carlos Hyde San Francisco 49ers LA Will he be cleared in time for Week 1? If not, Shaun Draughn becomes an intriguing streaming option.
21 DeAngelo Williams Pittsburgh Steelers @WAS I think people are expecting way too much of him during these first three weeks, and this matchup figures to be a shootout that favors the receivers.
22 Frank Gore Indianpolis Colts DET What figures to be a legit shootout could find Gore stumbling to the end zone behind a porous offensive line.
23 Duke Johnson Cleveland Browns PHI The way to attack the Eagles is not between the tackles, but around the edges, which sets up better for Duke than Crowell..
24 Charles Sims Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ATL This offense can sustain two productive running backs and the matchup couldn't be more perfect.
25 C.J. Anderson Denver Broncos CAR I think it's going to be tough sledding for the entire Broncos offense in the NFL season opener.
26 Ameer Abdullah Detroit Lions @IND His second-year breakout should get started nicely in an easy matchup. Praying that they let him get the goal line carries.
27 James White New England Patriots @ARI Can he be as productive as he was from Weeks 13-16 last year?
28 T.J. Yeldon Jacksonville Jaguars GB I'm expecting the Jags to be chasing points all game, which bodes well for Yeldon as he's the pass-catching RB.
29 Theo Riddick Detroit Lions @IND I have Abdullah ahead of him, but if this turns into a shootout then Riddick will vacuum targets.
30 Melvin Gordon San Diego Chargers @KC A bounceback season is very much on the table, but it may have to get going in a better matchup next week.
31 Jeremy Hill Cincinnati Bengals NYJ It's going to be hard to breathe as a suffocating Jets front seven won't let Hill operate.
32 Thomas Rawls Seattle Seahawks MIA He's slated to get around 15 carries, but we'll see if that's true.
33 Matt Jones Washington Redskins PIT It appears he'll be good to go against an underrated Steelers front seven.
34 Jonathan Stewart Carolina Panthers DEN His line against the Broncos in the Super Bowl (12 att for 29 yds, 1 td) seems likely, although the touchdown might be hard to come by.
35 Derrick Henry Tennessee Titans MIN Not expecting Shaun Hill to sustain much offense for the Vikes, leading to plenty of carries for the Titans backfield.
36 LeGarrette Blount New England Patriots @ARI This could be one of his 5 carries for -2 yards games, or he can get into the end zone.
37 Shane Vereen New York Giants @DAL He figures to be a bigger part of the offense this year, and he gets a cupcake matchup to start it off.
38 BIlal Powell New York Jets CIN Forte should get the bulk of the work, but there will be targets and carries for Powell to do damage.
39 Justin Forsett Baltimore Ravens BUF I really have no idea what this team is. They don't make sense to me.
40 Arian Foster Miami Dolphins @SEA He might catch a good amount of passes, but I'm not expecting much of anything against the Seahawks.
41 Darren Sproles Philadelphia Eagles CLE Cleveland Browns run defense.
42 Chris Ivory Jacksonville Jaguars GB How many carries will he get in a game in which the Jags are likely to be behind?
43 Isaiah Crowell Cleveland Browns @PHI The Eagles run defense is very stout. He won't find much room to run, setting up much better for Duke.
44 Terrance West Baltimore Ravens BUF I really have no idea what this team is. They don't make sense to me.
45 Christine Michael Seattle Seahawks MIA Slated to get about seven carries. That's not enough to feel very good about.
46 Tevin Coleman Atlanta Falcons TB They've seemed intent on giving him more carries, but we'll see if that comes into fruition now that the games matter.
47 Chris Thompson Washington Redskins PIT In what can be an old-fashioned shootout, Thompson could very well be more important than Jones in this one.
48 DeAndre Washington Oakland Raiders @NO Should be involved whether or not Lat gets going.
49 C.J. Spiller New Orleans Saints OAK Was very involved in the preseason, but as we saw last year, that may mean nothing come the regular season.
50 Jerick McKinnon Minnesota Vikings @TEN Could be a very useful weapon for Shaun Hill.