Running backs are a staple in fantasy football. Depending on your scoring system, running back can definitely be the highest scoring position in your league. However your league is set up, RB is the thinnest position especially among the elite options.
The lack of elites is precisely why most leagues are RB-heavy in the top few rounds. The most impressive peformance of week one in the NFL probably belonged to Adrian Peterson when you consider the injury he suffered less than nine months ago. There were other standout though as well by some players looking to join the elite group that Peterson is definitely once again a part of.
Some running backs that were drafted way outside the top rounds but could be top 15 the rest of the way emerged yesterday. Here’s the backs stepping up:
Stevan Ridley-New England Patriots
Ridley was superb in his first career start rushing 21 times for 125 yards and a touchdown and adding a pair of catches on three targets for 27 yards. 152 all-purpose yards is an incredible output against a Titans defense that was solid last year.
The big question about Ridley was if he would be lost in the rotation, but he was the clear #1 on Sunday. The Pats seem committed to balancing their power passing game with a power rushing game to match.
Ridley was the back at the goalline and in passing downs, so in this offense his upside is definitely top-10. I wrote about Ridley early in the preseason and if you were able to grab him as your third for fourth back you could have snagged one of the steals of your draft. He’s a top 15 option for next week as the Pats return home to face a 1-0 Arizona team that allowed Marshawn Lynch to run for 85 yards on 21 carries yesterday with a bad back.
C. J. Spiller-Buffalo Bills
The knocks on Spiller were two-fold coming into this year. One was he was injury-prone which could still be an issue going forward. The second question everyone had was would he get the touches. On Sunday Fred Jackson, his competition for touches, left with a knee injury. Jackson’s injury may or may not be long-term, but either way Spiller’s performance earned him more touches.
Against the Jets, Spiller had took 14 carries and went off for 169 yards and a touchdown while adding 25 yards on two catches. Spiller will be a threat for 100 all-purpose yards week in and week out as long as he stays healthy. If Jackson misses significant time, Spiller could be a top 15 option since he’s definitely the best thing Buffalo has going on offense.
Next week Spiller and the Bills will come home and face the Chiefs who gave up 40 to Atlanta. If Jackson isn’t cleared to play or ready for a full load, expect another monster week from Spiller.
Alfred Morris-Washington Redskins
Picking any Mike Shanahan RB is like playing catch with a water balloon laced with nitroglycerin. That being said, Morris looked like a great option week one. He ran for 96 yards and two touchdowns and no other RB had more than two carries.
If Shanahan plays the hot hand, Morris is the guy going forward. If he does, Morris could be money the rest of the season. Just be careful for the sudden emergence of Evan Royster or Roy Helu to make Morris completely obsolete for at least a week or two at some point during the season.
Morris should be universally owned. Watch how the Redskins offense evolves with RG3, but Morris and Griffin were both dynamic options in New Orleans in their NFL debuts.