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Committee Meetings: Sorting out Week 1 RB touches

Well fantasy owners, we've made it through our first full Sunday of games that actually matter. As promised, Committee Meetings will break down the performances of running back by committee (RBBC) backfields in an attempt to sort out the good, the bad and the players to just plain avoid.

There were only two running backs on Sunday who scored two touchdowns (Marshawn Lynch scored two on Thursday night), seven running backs put up 100 yards or more rushing and the Steelers' Le'Veon Bell was the top fantasy scorer at his postion with 25.70 points totaling 197 yards from scrimmage and a rushing score. A couple of games are left to play out on Monday night and we'll be watching the Detroit Lions' and San Diego Chargers' backfields closely to see how those RBBCs play out. But since we have a full slate of Sunday games to look back on, let's recap what went down.


New Orleans had the most productive running back committee of Sunday as the team's three backs split 26 carries for 119 yards and three rushing touchdowns against the Falcons. Mark Ingram led the backfield with 13 carries going for 60 yards and scored twice, while Pierre Thomas ran for 31 yards on seven carries and added six catches for 58 yards through the air, proving most valuable in PPR scoring formats. Khiry Robinson had six carries for 28 yards and a touchdown.

The fact that it was a high-scoring game helped fantasy owners who started any member of the trio as all three ranked among the top 26 running backs in fantasy points as Ingram lead the way with 18.10. Next week, Ingram and Thomas will be must-starts as New Orleans will head to the Dawg Pound. The Browns gave up two rushing touchdowns and over 110 yards on the ground to Steelers running backs in Week 1, so it will be another juicy matchup for the Saints' runners.


There was much speculation about the Steelers backfield during the preseason after Le'Veon Bell stated that he thought LeGarrette Blount would get the goal-line carries, frustrating fantasy owners and in turn, lowering his average draft position in fear of vulture touchdowns.

In a rollercoaster of emotions on Sunday, fantasy owners breathed a collective sigh of relief on Sunday when Bell received a carry inside the five yard line and ran it in for a touchdown early in the game (the play was called back on a penalty, but a good sign none-the-less). But then, on Blount's first touch of the day he ran in a score from seven yards out, and Bell owners began to sweat once again. When all was said and done though, Bell out-carried Blount 21-4 on the day and put up 109 yards which included a 38-yard touchdown run. He also added six catches for 88 receiving yards for a total of 197 yards from scrimmage. So chill out Bell owners, you're good.


Many fantasy owners started Ben Tate on Sunday who was poised to lead the Browns as a three-down back after beating out rookie Terrance West for the job. Unfortunately, Tate left the game with a knee injury -- the extent of which is unknown at this point -- after only carrying the ball six times for 41 yards.

West and undrafted rookie Isaiah Crowell (who!?) took over the running duties in Tate's absence. West finished with 16 carries for 100 yards while Crowell surprisingly scored two touchdowns on five carries and totaled 32 yards -- good for 15.20 fantasy points. Tate owners need to monitor this situation closely heading into Week 2 and have a backup plan in place if his injury ends up being serious enough for him to miss playing time. For West and Crowell owners/waiver-wire winners, the Week 2 matchup against the Saints could provide good value if Tate is out, as the Saints surrendered 123 rushing yards and a touchdown to the Falcons on Sunday.


New England's backfield production was somewhat disappointing on Sunday in a loss to Miami. Stevan Ridley received eight carries and only managed 21 yards on the day (no fumbles), while Shane Vereen played a bigger role taking his seven attempts for 36 yards and a rushing touchdown and added five catches for 35 yards totaling 13.10 fantasy points.

It's pretty clear that the Pats favor Vereen since he is a much more versatile back than Ridley. Ridley's production is too unpredictable to rely on and Tom Brady has a number of other weapons at his disposal. As long as Vereen remains healthy, he will be the Patriots running back fantasy owners want to start on a weekly basis and has boosted value in PPR leagues.


In Miami, Lamar Miller got the start over Kowshon Moreno but Moreno ended up being the more productive back at the end of the day. The former Bronco received 24 carries and ran for 134 yards and a touchdown totaling 19.40 fantasy points. Miller was productive with the 11 carries he got going for 59 yards and a receiving touchdown, but he lost a fumble which didn't help his cause. Fantasy owners who took a chance drafting Moreno late might have gotten a steal. His knee that was operated on in May did not seem to be an issue at all and he put to rest any offseason speculation about his ability to perform without Peyton Manning as his quarterback. Sure, it was only one game but Moreno looked like a running back that fantasy owners can rely on this season.


Gang Green had an ideal matchup against the Raiders Sunday and the Jets' running backs took advantage of it. Chris Ivory and Chris Johnson combined for 170 rushing yards on 23 carries while CJ2K added five receptions for 23 yards and a receiving score. Ivory averaged an insane 10.2 yards per carry as he took his share of 10 attempts for a total of 102 yards and scored the committee's only rushing touchdown of the day on a 71-yard run finishing the day with 16.20 fantasy points.

Both running backs finished among the top 10 at their position in fantasy points in standard leagues. While CJ2K got the start over Ivory, fantasy owners should expect the split workload to remain pretty even as the season progresses, with Johnson remaining more valuable in PPR leagues. His odds of a homerun play remain a bit higher than that of Ivory's as well.

Matt Franciscovich is an associate fantasy editor at Follow him on Twitter _**@mfranciscovich**._

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