Well that was one heck of a Week 1 if you ask me. There were some big surprises across the board, especially at the running back position. Big names like Adrian Peterson and C.J. Anderson were quiet, while unexpected performances from Bishop Sankey, Danny Woodhead and Chris Ivory could have won your week. In terms of total rush attempts for Week 1, only six running backs collected 20 or more, which of course leads us to the conclusion that there must have been some busy committee backfields around the league. So let's get into this week's Committee Meetings running back breakdown.
Eagles three-headed-monster dominates
DeMarco Murray | Ryan Mathews | Darren Sproles // Eagles
As a team, the Eagles rushed the ball a mere 16 times on Monday night, but the team's three-headed-monster running back committee produced three total touchdowns and 174 total yards. Total RB touches were split up as follows: Murray (12), Sproles (12) and Mathews (six). Both Murray and Mathews got into the end zone, but Sproles was the most productive with his touches, averaging 10.0 yards per carry on his five rushes for 50 yards, while adding 76 receiving yards on seven catches. If this keeps up, all three Eagles running backs will be viable fantasy starts depending on your scoring formats. Murray is an RB1 in all leagues, while Mathews should bring value as a flex play. Sproles will have more value in PPR leagues, but after we saw him flying around the field against the Falcons on MNF, he should also be considered in standard formats. The Eagles take on Murray's former team, Dallas, in Week 2 and all three Philly backs should be productive in Chip Kelly's fast-paced offense.
Coleman leads way for Atlanta
Tevin Coleman | Devonta Freeman // Falcons
Finally, we got some clarity as to who the Falcons' favorite is to lead the backfield. Rookie Tevin Coleman out carried Devonta Freeman 20 to 10 against the Eagles and piled up 80 yards for a solid average of 4.0 YPC. Although the majority of Coleman's runs were to the outside, where he flashed his speed getting around the edge, his biggest gain of the night was a 20-yard rip up the middle in the third quarter. Going forward, Coleman is the better fantasy start over Freeman. Just keep in mind that Freeman got four red zone touches to Coleman's one in this game, including one run inside the 10-yard line, so you're still playing with fire when it comes to the Atlanta backfield.
Randle fronts Dallas backfield
Joseph Randle | Lance Dunbar | Darren McFadden // Cowboys
On Sunday night, the Cowboys pulled out an exciting, last-second win over the Giants, who had led for the majority of the game. While Dallas' running back committee split just 22 rush attempts the entire game and scored zero touchdowns, fantasy owners got a clearer picture of who the leader of this group is. Joseph Randle's 16 carries far outpaced Darren McFadden, who came away with just six. Randle averaged a solid 4.1 yards per attempt (65 rush yards) and added three receptions for 42 yards. Lance Dunbar also seemed to have a hold on the passing-down back role as he racked up 70 receiving yards on eight catches in the game and tied for the team lead in receptions with tight end Jason Witten. Going forward, Randle remains a solid flex play in standard leagues, while Dunbar makes for an interesting start in deeper PPR leagues. McFadden should remain on the pine until we see him getting more involved.
Jennings dominates red zone looks
Rashad Jennings | Shane Vereen | Andre Williams // Giants
Sticking with the Sunday night theme, the Giants backfield committee split 22 rush attempts against Dallas, with the majority of them (13) going to Rashad Jennings. He averaged 4.0 yards per carry with 52 rush yards and saw just one target in the passing game that he failed to haul in. He showed great vision and patience on a few key runs late in the game and dominated red zone carries with four of his team's five attempts inside the 20-yard line, scoring on a goal-line carry. Shane Vereen served as the G-Men's passing-down back (as expected) and caught four balls for 46 yards. Vereen also had three carries for 14 yards while Andre Williams plodded his way to 14 yards on six carries. Jennings remains the Gaints back to start in fantasy, but is more of a matchup-based flex consideration rather than even a low-end RB2. He should be a solid option against the Falcons in Week 2.
Ellington injured, the Johnsons take over
Andre Ellington | Chris Johnson | David Johnson // Cardinals
Oddly enough, the Cardinals backfield split the same amount of rush attempts as the Cowboys and Giants, 22. Andre Ellington was off to a good start to the season with 12 carries for 69 yards -- a 5.8 YPC average. He scored a rushing touchdown as well and added one reception for seven yards. But, and don't say you didn't see this coming, he left the game early with a knee injury, the extent of which is still unknown. Arizona brought in Chris Johnson who toted the rock 10 times for an unimpressive 37 yards while rookie David Johnson had just one touch the entire game -- a 55-yard touchdown reception. Coach Bruce Arians talked up CJ?K with confidence after the game saying that he would serve as Arizona's "lead dog" if Ellington has to miss playing time. We're in wait-and-see mode until we know more about Ellington's injury. It's definitely tough to endorse CJ?K as a fantasy option over the exciting rookie David Johnson who will likely play a major role in the passing game should Ellington be sidelined. Arizona takes on a Bears team in Week 2 that surrendered 99 total yards and a score to Eddie Lacy in Week 1.
Bishop Sankey | Terrance West | Dexter McCluster // Titans
In a blowout against Tampa Bay, the Titans backfield totaled 27 rush attempts as Bishop Sankey led the way with a surprising 6.2 YPC on his 12 carries for 74 yards and two total touchdowns. Sankey finished Sunday as the third highest scoring fantasy running back of the week to that point. As Alex Gelhar pointed out in his Week 2 waiver wire photo essay, Sankey is owned in just 56.1 percent of NFL.com fantasy leagues, which means he might be available for a claim. The only thing you might want to consider is that Terrance West actually had more carries (13) in this game than Sankey did. Although he wasn't as effective with his carries, West received three of the team's four carries in the red zone. Sankey got just one, but managed to score on it, while West had trouble breaking through the line. As you can see, he even hit the hole backwards on one run. West faces his former team in Week 2, but isn't a real option in fantasy leagues. Sankey will be an interesting sleeper next week against a Browns team that allowed Chris Ivory to rack up 100 total yards and two trips into the end zone.
Browns RBs ride struggle bus
Isaiah Crowell | Duke Johnson // Browns
With Terrance West out of the picture, Isaiah Crowell seemed poised to carry the load out of the Cleveland backfield with a little bit of rookie Duke Johnson sprinkled in on passing downs. But neither back had much success against a tough Jets defense in Week 1. Crowell averaged just 1.7 YPC on his 12 rushes for 20 yards (he added two catches for 13 yards), while Johnson had 22 yards on seven carries. It was just an ugly day all around for the Browns running backs. Next week, Cleveland takes on a Tennessee team that allowed Doug Martin to average 4.7 YPC in Week 1, so Crowell might be a more attractive flex play based on the matchup.
Ingram does damage through the air
Mark Ingram | Khiry Robinson // Saints
The Saints only rushed the ball 17 times in Week 1 against the Cardinals, and didn't have much success doing so. Mark Ingram (nine carries) and Khiry Robinson (eight carries) combined for an average of 2.5 yards per rush. But the duo did more damage through the air. Ingram, who hauled in eight of his nine targets for 98 yards, ripped off a 59-yard reception late, helping boost his fantasy totals into the double-digit range. Robinson, who got more work than he normally would if C.J. Spiller was active, piled up 51 yards on just five receptions. Neither back got into the end zone though, so fantasy owners will have to hope for more, at least from Ingram, next week against Tampa Bay. The Bucs let Bishop Sankey run for 6.2 YPC and score two total touchdowns on Sunday, so there's a good chance Ingram can capitalize on the matchup.
Abdullah's big debut
Joique Bell | Ameer Abdullah | Theo Riddick | Zach Zenner // Lions
In true running back by committee fashion, the Lions spread around their backfield opportunities between five different players. Although Joique Bell got the "start" and looked to be in good health after missing all of the preseason, rookie Ameer Abdullah out-snapped, out-touched and out-produced his veteran teammate. Bell's 2.3 YPC average was uninspiring compared to Abdullah's 7.1 yards per rush. Abdullah collected 50 rushing yards on just seven attempts and scored a 24-yard touchdown on his first carry of the game (and his career). He added 44 yards through the air on four catches for a 15.40 fantasy point day. Unfortunately, Theo Riddick scored on one of his two receptions of the game, vulturing any additional fantasy value that either Bell or Abduallah could have contributed. If the Detroit coaching staff is smart, they'll keep using Abdullah's rare talents to their advantage when the Lions take on the Vikings in Week 2.
Shady gets vultured ... twice
LeSean McCoy| Karlos Williams | Anthony Dixon // Bills
Shady owners have every right to be upset after what happened in Buffalo on Sunday. The Bills put up 27 points against the Colts, and two running backs scored touchdowns, but neither of them went to McCoy. He led Buffalo's backfield with 20 touches compared to just six for Karlos Williams and three for Anthony Dixon. McCoy only averaged 2.4 YPC though, which needs to change if fantasy owners want to get consistent production out of him. He did manage to rack up 46 yards on just three receptions, which definitely helped. He should be able to post RB1 numbers next week against a Patriots defense that allowed 127 rush yards to DeAngelo Williams in Week 1. McCoy remains the only Buffalo running back you can start in fantasy on a weekly basis, as he will continue to dominate touches. Owners will have to hope the touchdown vulturing is mitigated in coming weeks, though.
Matt Franciscovich is an associate fantasy editor at NFL.com. His nickname around the NFL Media office is Franchise, and he's totally cool with it. Follow him on Twitter for fantasy advice all season long _@mfranciscovich_.