*Welcome to "Committee Meetings," the running back portion of our weekly Targets/Touches column! Every Monday we'll recap the week that was among running backs and preview the outlook for the upcoming slate. *
Well kids, Week 1 is almost in the books save for a couple of Monday Night Football games. With all of the exciting action on Sunday came a few surprises as well as some "told you so" expected outcomes for your fantasy running backs. A few interesting tidbits from the games on Sunday: Lamar Miller was the only running back of the week (thus far) to collect over 100 rushing yards. DeMarco Murray, Melvin Gordon, Theo Riddick and C.J. Anderson stand as the only running backs to score multiple touchdowns for the week, and Gordon is the only player with two rushing scores. On the injury front, we escaped mostly unscathed as far as running backs go, save for Chris Ivory who was scratched Sunday morning as he had to be hospitalized with an illness.
*Below, you'll find statistics on total touches and percentage shares. These percentages relate to non-quarterback/wide receiver backfield touches. In other words, the percentages are drawn only from running back and fullback touches. *
David Johnson: 20 touches (87% share) | 16 rush | 89 rush yds |1 rush TD | 4 rec | 43 rec yds | 19.2 FPs
Chris Johnson: 1 touch (4% share) | 1 rush | 1 rush yd | 0.1 FPs
Andre Ellington: 2 touches (9% share) | 2 rec | 8 rec yd | 0.8 FPs
Enough said. David Johnson saw the bell-cow type workload we expected and showed us why he was in the conversation as the No. 1 running back in fantasy football during draft season. His 87 percent backfield touch share cements the fact that the Cardinals are going to run this kid into the ground this season. His ability to break tackles, make something out of nothing and sheer talent put him on par with the best running backs in the league. If you drafted Johnson you should be smiling this week because he's going to do great things for your fantasy team. Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington pose zero threat to David's workload. The Cardinals take on the Buccaneers in Week 2, so confidently fire up Johnson as your RB1.
Devonta Freeman: 15 touches (54% share) | 11 rush | 20 rush yds | 4 rec | 20 rec yds | 4.0 FPs
Tevin Coleman: 13 touches (46% share) | 8 rush | 11 rush yds | 5 rec | 95 rec yds | 0.2 FPs
All the talk over the summer about the Falcons giving more work to Tevin Coleman panned out in Week 1. Freeman's 11 carries is the fewest he's had in a game he finished since Week 1 of last season (he had three in Week 10 but left the game with a concussion). He also averaged a meager 1.8 yards per carry with just 20 rushing yards in the game. Coleman ended up being the better fantasy option piling up 117 yards from scrimmage on his 13 total touches, including a 47-yard catch and run in the fourth quarter. He accounted for 73 percent of Atlanta's yards out of the backfield, despite shouldering just 46 percent of the touches. The game script was definitely in Coleman's favor here but it is concerning that Freeman struggled to get anything going. It's worth noting, however, that Freeman recorded six red-zone touches compared to Coleman's one. Looking ahead to next week, both Freeman and Coleman should be considered as fantasy options against the Raiders. It could be another shootout which makes Coleman a sneaky sleeper play.
Justin Forsett: 13 touches (43% share) | 10 rush | 41 rush yds | 3 rec | 15 rec yds | 5.6 FPs
Terrance West: 14 touches (47% share) | 12 rush | 32 rush yds | 2 rec | 6 rec yds | 3.8 FPs
Kyle Juszczyk: 3 touches (10% share) | 1 rush | 2 rush yds | 2 rec | 21 rec yds | 2.3 FPs
Javorius Allen was ruled out on Sunday morning leaving Justin Forsett and Terrance West as the only two viable options in the Baltimore backfield. Unfortunately, neither panned out for fantasy owners. As a team, the Ravens combined for 3.0 yards per carry against Buffalo and scored zero rushing touchdowns. West out-carried Forsett 12-10 but Forsett was more efficient collecting 48 percent of the team's backfield yards from scrimmage. This is going to be an ugly and unpredictable split (which apparently Kyle Juszczyk is still a part of) that isn't ideal in fantasy. The Ravens do have a decent matchup in Week 2 against a Browns defense that allowed 133 rush yards in the season opener, but we'd advise against starting anyone from the Baltimore backfield until we have more clarity.
LeSean McCoy: 20 touches (83% share) | 16 rush | 58 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 4 rec | 12 rec yds | 13 FPs
Mike Gillislee: 1 touch (4% share) | 1 rec | -4 rec yds | -0.4 FPs
Reggie Bush: 3 touches (13% share) | 3 rush | -4 rush yds | -0.4 FPs
LeSean McCoy is going to get all of the touches in Buffalo. He had collected 17 by halftime including a goal-line touchdown run in addition to two other red-zone rush attempts. The second half was a bit slower in general for the Bills offense as McCoy's first-half score marked the only points for Buffalo on the day. Still, McCoy will have RB1 upside on a weekly basis considering his usage and that there's virtually no other legitimate threat in that backfield. It's worth keeping an eye on the developing injury news regarding Sammy Watkins' foot too. The lack of Watkins as a downfield threat could lead to a) more targets as a pass-catcher for McCoy and B) more stacked boxes from opposing defenses to try and stuff McCoy on run plays. Next up for Buffalo is a Thursday night game at home against a Jets defensive front that completely shut down the Bengals' rush attack in Week 1.
Jonathan Stewart: 15 touches (68% share) | 15 rush | 64 rush yards | 6.4 FPs
Fozzy Whittaker: 4 touches (18% share) | 3 rush | 13 rush yards | 1 rec | 1 rec yd | 1.7 FPs
Mike Tolbert: 3 touches (14% share) | 2 rush | 6 rush yds | 1 rec | 1 rec yd | 0.7 FPs
Make no mistake -- Cam Newton is the Panthers No. 1 rushing option. It just so happens he's the quarterback too. Let Cam's Week 1 performance be proof as to why the fantasy community is always talking about the cap on Jonathan Stewart's ceiling from a season-long perspective. When a big and athletic signal-caller is getting rush attempts in the red zone, his backs' opportunities to score will be limited. Stewart was fairly efficient (4.2 ypc) and dominated the backfield looks that Newton didn't take himself, but it was a tough matchup against Denver's defense. The big takeaway here is that Fozzy Whittaker played the backup role with Cameron Artis-Payne a healthy scratch. Stewart should be a high-end flex play next week at home against the 49ers.
Jeremy Langford: 19 touches (95% share) | 17 rush | 57 rush yards | 1 rush TD | 2 rec | 6 rec yds | 12.3 FPs
Ka'Deem Carey: 1 touch (5% share) | 1 rush | 4 rush yards | 0.2 FPs
What we gleaned from the preseason materialized in the Bears' first game. Jeremy Langford is the lead back in Chicago, and it isn't close. He dominated with 17 rush attempts and accounted for 95 percent of the team's backfield touches and 94 percent of the team's total backfield yards, although his 3.4 yards per carry didn't sparkle. Still, he managed to punch in a touchdown from inside the 5-yard line to the delight of any fantasy owners who actually started him in a tough matchup against the Texans. From what we saw in Week 1, it seems like the Bears are planning to use Langford in a three-down role and on the goal line/in the red zone. That bodes well for his outlook in a Week 2 matchup against the Eagles at home on Monday night.
Jeremy Hill: 9 touches (56% share) | 9 rush | 31 rush yards | 1 rush TD | 9.1 FPs
Giovani Bernard: 7 touches (44% share) | 5 rush | 25 rush yards | 2 rec | 2 rec yds | 3.0 FPs
As a team, the Bengals had a combined 19 rush attempts (including three by Andy Dalton) against the Jets on Sunday. That is not a number conducive to fantasy production for any member of a backfield. Jeremy Hill led the way with nine attempts and managed to fall into the end zone as he's been known to do, but averaged just 3.4 yards per carry against a stingy New York defensive front which basically shut down Cincy's rushing attack the entire game. And even in a script that seemed to be in a player like Giovani Bernard's favor, the change-of-pace runner had just seven touches the entire game. A.J. Green absolutely dominated here as Dalton and the Bengals exploited Green's matchup against a declining Darrelle Revis. It simply wasn't in the cards for the Cincy backs in Week 1. There is no reason to panic though, as both should carry value going forward. The Bengals have a divisional matchup against the Steelers in Week 2, and it should be a more fruitful script for Hill and Bernard in a division rivalry.
Isaiah Crowell: 14 touches (70% share) | 12 rush | 62 rush yards | 1 rush TD | 2 rec | 16 rec yds | 13.8 FPs
Duke Johnson: 6 touches (30% share) | 3 rush | 22 rush yards | 3 rec | 28 rec yds | 5.0 FPs
Sigh, Browns. At least anyone who had the cojones to start Isaiah Crowell came away from this one with a smile because he actually managed to score despite his limited opportunities. The Browns were behind early, though, so it makes sense that the Crow didn't get to eat much in this one. Duke Johnson finished tied for second on the team with five targets but with just 50 yards from scrimmage he was a disappointment from a fantasy perspective. We wish it weren't the case, but Johnson's looks may be more limited with the Browns newfound depth at wideout. If the Browns want to be more effective on offense, they'd be wise to get Johnson more involved. Add to it that RGIII racked up 37 rush yards on five carries and it's hard to imagine there will be usable volume on a weekly basis for this backfield going forward. Cleveland will face Baltimore at home in Week 2, and the Ravens defense limited the Bills to just seven total points in the season opener. That said it's probably wise to leave the Browns runners on the bench next week.
Ezekiel Elliott: 21 touches (75% share) | 20 rush | 51 rush yards | 1 rush TD | 1 rec | 1 rec yds | 11.2 FPs
Alfred Morris: 7 touches (25% share) | 7 rush | 35 rush yards | 3.5 FPs
Keith Smith: 1 touch (4% share) | 1 rush | 3 rush yards | 0.3 FPs
This was the big debut for Ezekiel Elliott and for fantasy owners and he came through thanks to an impressive second-half touchdown run which was his best run of the day. From a real football perspective, Zeke was bottled up for the most part with the Giants limiting him to just 51 yards on 20 carries. A lack of patience combined with the Giants' defensive line's solid play resulted in the rookie's unimpressive efficiency. It's concerning that Zeke couldn't find room to run behind Dallas' offensive line, but Alfred Morris seemed to have no issues squirting through the holes he was provided. We'll chalk it up to rookie struggles for now, since Zeke's talent is otherworldly. Elliott will remain an RB1 in Week 2 with a matchup against the Redskins.
C.J. Anderson: 24 touches (86% share) | 20 rush | 92 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 4 rec | 47 rec yds | 1 rec TD | 25.9 FPs
Devontae Booker: 3 touches (11% share) | 3 rush | 8 rush yds | 1 fumble lost | -1.2 FPs
Andy Janovich: 1 touch (4% share) | 28 rush yards | 1 rush TD | 8.8 FPs
Kapri Bibbs: 1 touch (4% share) | 1 rec | 6 rec yds | 0.6 FPs
We knew C.J. Anderson would be Denver's primary back this season, but we didn't see his explosive performance against Carolina's defense coming in Week 1. Anderson got busy against the Panthers both on the ground and through the air as quarterback Trevor Siemian used him as a safety valve in the short passing game early on. Anderson hogged the Broncos' backfield touches with an 82 percent share in the game and was responsible for 139 yards from scrimmage by his lonesome. For a few moments in the first half, it seemed like Denver was intent on getting their rookie, Devontae Booker, involved but a lost fumble on his first NFL carry didn't help his cause. This was the C.J. Anderson show. Fullback Andy Janovich gets an honorable mention, but he's not the second coming of John Kuhn. Consider his 28-yard touchdown run a fluke. Anderson will be a must-start next week on home turf against the Colts.
Ameer Abdullah: 17 touches (52% share) | 12 rush | 63 rush yds | 5 rec | 57 rec yds | 1 rec TD | 16 FPs
Theo Riddick: 12 touches (47% share) | 7 rush | 45 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 5 rec | 63 rec yds | 1 rec TD| -1.2 FPs
Dwayne Washington: 2 touches (6% share) | 1 rush yard | 1 rush TD | 6.1 FPs
The Lions backfield might have been the biggest surprise of Week 1. Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick combined for three touchdowns and 228 yards from scrimmage on 29 total touches. Call it a Jim Bob Cooter special if you'd like. But we did have an offseason storyline that the Lions wanted to get Riddick more involved as a rusher. Both Abdullah and Riddick also hauled in each of their five targets. With Zach Zenner inactive, rookie Dwayne Washington -- who had an explosive preseason -- punched in a touchdown of his own from the goal line. For now, he's not a viable fantasy option but it is concerning that we have a possible touchdown vulture on our hands and it's something to monitor going forward. The team no longer has the threat of the towering Calvin Johnson in the red zone, so they may opt to run the ball more than they have in the past when they get inside the 5-yard line. Both Abdullah and Riddick should be considered high-end flex plays heading into a Week 2 matchup at home against the Titans. If this kind of production continues, we'll upgrade both to RB2 status in favorable matchups.
Green Bay Packers
Eddie Lacy: 15 touches (75% share) | 14 rush | 61 rush yds | 1 rec | 17 rec yds | 7.8 FPs
James Starks: 5 touches (25% share) | 4 rush | 7 rush yds | 1 rec | 6 rec yds | 1.3 FPs
Simply put, Eddie Lacy is a large man whether he lost weight or not. He had a decent day from a real football perspective averaging 4.4 yards per carry and showed off some agility combined with power. But for fantasy owners, he didn't find pay dirt despite totaling 61 yards on his 14 carries. Still, he's going to be the primary back for the Packer as he soaked up 75 percent of the team's backfield touches. But this is a pass-first offense (why wouldn't it be with Aaron Rodgers under center?) and because of that, fantasy owners may want to start using Lacy as more of a flex than an RB2 especially next week against Minnesota's tough run defense. Lacy did get four rush attempts in the red zone, but it was Rodgers who scored the team's only rushing touchdown of the day. As far as James Starks' value goes in fantasy, he's nothing more than a bench stash as long as Lacy is healthy.
Lamar Miller: 32 touches (89% share) | 28 rush | 106 rush yds | 3 rec | 11 rec yds | 11.7 FPs
Alfred Blue: 1 touch (3% share) | 1 rush | 4 rush yds | 0.4 FPs
Tyler Ervin: 2 touches (6% share) | 1 rush | 3 rush yds | 1 rec | 5 rec yds | 0.8 FPs
Jay Prosch: 1 touch (3% share) | 1 rush | 2 rush yds | 0.2 FPs
Oh, Lamar Miller ... hey man, how you doing? Do you like it in Houston? Yeah, 32 touches just told me you're going to love it there, and so will fantasy owners. He registered a career-high 28 carries on the day and was the only running back in Week 1 to record over 100 rushing yards. Miller absorbed a whopping 56 percent of his team's total touches against the Bears in Week 1. He converted his 32 opportunities into 117 yards from scrimmage, but he didn't manage to get into the end zone. Still, the volume is enough to make Miller an RB1 on a weekly basis. He'll be used on all three downs and because he's an elite pass-catching back, his ceiling will be sky-high. Miller and the Texans get a home matchup in Week 2 against a Chiefs defense that let San Diego's running backs put up three combined scores in Week 1.
Frank Gore: 18 touches (75% share) | 14 rush | 59 rush yds | 4 rec | 19 rec yds | 7.8 FPs
Robert Turbin: 3 touches (13% share) | 1 rush | 4 rush yds | 2 rec | 15 rec yards | 1.9 FPs
Josh Ferguson: 3 touches (13% share) | 1 rush | -2 rush yds | 2 rec | 26 rec yds | 2.4 FPs
No surprises here. Frank Gore led the Colts with 14 carries with a 75 percent share of backfield touches and averaged a respectable 4.2 yards per carry. But despite putting up 35 points, Indy didn't score a single rushing touchdown. Gore added a handful of receptions too, which proves his worth as a three-down back and the fact that he'll be at worst a volume play on a weekly basis. Still, in the same way that the Packers are, the Colts are a pass-first offense and it makes sense given the wide receiver depth and talent they have. Robert Turbin and Josh Ferguson are waiver wire guys for the time being as we saw no evidence that they're threatening Gore's workload. Gore is nothing more than a flex play going forward, but fantasy owners might want to think about finding another option for Week 2 as the Colts take on the Broncos in Denver.
T.J. Yeldon: 25 touches (89% share) | 21 rush | 39 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 4 rec | 30 rec yds | 12.9 FPs
Denard Robinson: 3 touches (11% share) | 3 rush | 7 rush yds | 0.7 FPs
With Chris Ivory ruled out on Sunday morning, T.J. Yeldon shot up ranking boards for Week 1. He was the primary back and shouldered an 89 percent share of the team's backfield touches in the game but collected a mere 39 yards on the ground. That's pretty awful. It's also a reminder of why the Jaguars signed Ivory in the first place. Yeldon made up for his lack of efficiency on the ground with his 30 receiving yards and added a rushing touchdown. Yeldon saw five touches in the red zone too, but it's worth wondering if most of those would be Ivory's when he's healthy. Denard Robinson was not much of a threat for touches, even with the backfield corps down a man. We'll be keeping a close eye on Ivory's status ahead of Week 2 as the Jacksonville backs have a favorable matchup against a Chargers defense that surrendered 199 scrimmage yards to Spencer Ware in Week 1.
Kansas City Chiefs
Spencer Ware: 18 touches (67% share) | 11 rush | 70 rush yds |1 rush TD | 7 rec | 129 rec yds | 25.9 FPs
Charcandrick West: 9 touches (33% share) | 3 rush | -1 rush yds | 6 rec | 24 rec yds | 2.3 FPs
The Chargers came out to a big lead in the first half, so Spencer Ware didn't get the rush attempt volume we would have liked to see for a guy who was highly touted as an RB1 option for Week 1. But Ware made up for his lack of rushing volume by producing in a big way as a pass-catcher collecting 129 receiving yards on his seven receptions -- that's 18.4 yards per catch. In fact, Ware toted just 67 percent of the Chiefs' backfield touches but converted 90 percent of his team's total backfield yards. Now that's efficiency. As long as Jamaal Charles is out, Ware is going to be the primary back in Kansas City -- there's no need to worry about Charcandrick West or Knile Davis siphoning significant touches. When all was said and done, Ware had 199 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown run to boot. He finished as the week's highest-scoring running back in fantasy (tied with C.J. Anderson) when the curtain fell on Sunday night. Although he has a tough matchup against Houston in Week 2, he needs to be started across the board.
Los Angeles Rams
Todd Gurley: 18 touches (90% share) | 17 rush | 47 rush yds | 1 rec | -5 rec yds | 4.2 FPs
Benny Cunningham: 2 touches (10% share) | 1 rush | 1 rush yds | 1 rec | 7 rec yds | 0.8 FPs
Welp. For fantasy owners who used a high pick on Todd Gurley are hanging their heads this week. But you can't say Matt Harmon didn't warn you. As long as Gurley is attached to poor quarterback play in an even worse all-around offense, his ceiling as a fantasy option is going to be capped. He's still an elite talent, but sometimes in fantasy football situation trumps talent. This is becoming one of those cases. With zero downfield passing-game threats, Gurley had nowhere to run all night. The only positive here is that the second-year runner dominated 90 percent of the touches, but that was never really in question. Gurley's owners will have to seriously consider other options in Week 2 when the Rams take on Seattle.
Arian Foster: 16 touches (84% share) | 13 rush | 38 rush yds | 3 rec | 62 rec yds | 10 FPs
Damien Williams: 3 touch (16% share) | 2 rush | 9 rush yds | 1 rec | 29 rec yds | 3.8 FPs
On Friday, reports surfaced that Jay Ajayi did not travel with his team to Seattle for Week 1. He was officially ruled out on Sunday morning, leaving Arian Foster as the only viable option at starting running back for the Dolphins. For what it's worth, Foster looked spryer than he did back in the Week 3 preseason game. Still, it was an extremely unfavorable matchup against Seattle, and Foster did not buck the trend. His 2.9 yards per carry average mirrored his mediocre output on the ground from early last year. Foster was much more effective as a pass-catcher collecting 62 yards on his three receptions and finished as Miami's leading receiver on the day. He ended up totaling a respectable 100 yards from scrimmage and shouldered 84 percent of Miami's backfield touches, as Damien Williams got a few looks. With Ajayi sidelined for who knows how long, you can safely drop him to waivers to make room for another player who may actually matter. Foster is the lead back in Miami and he's going to get all of the carries as long as he can stay healthy. He'll be a must-start on a weekly basis as a high-end RB2 with PPR upside, including next week against New England.
Adrian Peterson: 19 touches (76% share) | 19 rush | 31 rush yds | 3.1 FPs
Matt Asiata: 4 touches (16% share) | 4 rush | 13 rush yds | 1.3 FPs
Jerick McKinnon: 2 touches (8% share) | 1 rush | 6 rush yds | 1 rec | 3 rec yds | 0.9 FPs
To the fantasy owners who rolled Adrian Peterson out against the Titans on Sunday ... welp. A lot of his ineffectiveness probably had to do with the fact that Shaun Hill was the quarterback, meaning Tennessee's defense could load up the box and not have to worry too much about the passing game. Don't forget that A.D. had an atrocious Week 1 outing last season and then ended up leading the NFL in rushing. Stay the course with Peterson, he's still arguably the best running back in the league, and this was simply one of the worst outings of his career. Matt Asiata and Jerrick McKinnon combined for just six touches and don't have any stand-alone value as long as Peterson is healthy as evidenced by the veteran's 76 percent share of backfield touches. Unfortunately, next week's matchup against the Packers does not bode well for the Vikings backfield as it will likely be a pass-heavy tilt.
New England Patriots
LeGarrette Blount: 22 touches (76% share) | 22 rush | 70 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 11 FPs
James White: 6 touch (21% share) | 1 rush | 4 rush yds | 5 rec | 40 rec yds | 4.4 FPs
Brandon Bolden: 1 touch (3% share) | 1 rush | 4 rush yds | 0.4 FPs
With Dion Lewis out indefinitely, this is LeGarrette Blount's backfield. He's not going to get work as a pass-catcher but it doesn't matter. He's the back the Patriots trust to shoulder the workload early in the game, and despite Sunday night's tilt against the Cardinals looking like a bad matchup on paper, Blount was still able to produce. James White will get his on passing downs and might steal some targets in the red zone, but for the most part, Blount is the only running back here you can safely start in fantasy. Look for more of the same from the big bruising back when the Patriots take on the Dolphins at Foxboro in Week 2. He should be able to sniff out the end zone at least once.
New Orleans Saints
Mark Ingram: 14 touches (56% share) | 12 rush | 58 rush yds | 2 rec | 29 rec yds | 8.7 FPs
Tim Hightower: 5 touches (20% share) | 4 rush | 9 rush yds | 1 rec | 1 rec yds | 1.0 FPs
Travaris Cadet: 4 touches (16% share) | 1 rush | 1 rush yds | 3 rec | 14 rec yds | 1 rec TD | 7.5 FPs
John Kuhn: 2 touches (8% share) | 2 rush | 4 rush yds | 0.4 FPs
In the same way that this game script didn't work out so well for Latavius Murray for the Raiders, Mark Ingram didn't see the kind of volume needed to have a big day for his fantasy owners either. Ingram's 14 total touches resulted in 87 yards from scrimmage but he didn't get the coveted touchdown. Instead, Travaris Cadet -- filling the C.J. Spiller role (who was a healthy scratch) -- got a touchdown reception in the fourth quarter from two yards out. That could easily have been Ingram's ball but he wasn't on the field. It's frustrating to see an under-the-radar player like Cadet get these valuable looks, but it remains part of the Saints' modus operandi ... they have more than a few mouths to feed and tend to spread the love. It doesn't help that Ingram saw just one attempt in the third quarter either. Ingram will remain a Weekly RB2 option but be aware that his matchup against the Giants next week could be another shootout. Add that to the fact that the Giants defensive line bottled up Ezekiel Elliott for the most part, and Ingram might be downgraded to low-end RB2 status. It's worth noting that when these two teams met last year boasting two of the worst defenses in the NFL, Ingram posted 119 yards from scrimmage but didn't score in a game where the Saints put up 52 points.
New York Giants
Rashad Jennings: 19 touches (68% share) | 18 rush | 75 rush yds | 1 rec | 3 rec yds | 7.8 FPs
Shane Vereen: 9 touches (32% share) | 6 rush | 38 rush yds | 3 rec | 23 rec yds | 6.1 FPs
With Andre Williams out of the picture, Rashad Jennings got the featured-back kind of workload we figured he would. His failure to score sunk his week as a fantasy option but his efficiency is a good sign going forward. Most of Jennings' damage was done in the second half as 14 of his 18 rush attempts came in the third and fourth quarters. Shane Vereen worked into the mix too, but he's really only an option in full-point PPR leagues due to his lack of volume. He's a situational back who will be rotated in during hurry-up situations. Jennings only had one catch in this game but he's a very capable receiving back too. Despite the backs' failure to score, it's a promising sign that it seems the Giants are actually moving away from the headache-inducing four-man backfield they employed last season. Fantasy owners will be looking for a score from Jennings next week against the Saints in what should be a high-scoring affair but should keep Vereen on the bench for now.
New York Jets
Matt Forte: 27 touches (82% share) | 22 rush | 96 rush yds | 5 rec | 59 rec yds | 15.5 FPs
Bilal Powell: 6 touches (18% share) | 4 rush | 41 rush yds | 1 rec | 7 rec yds | 4.8 FPs
For all the concerns that were showered upon Matt Forte this summer, the veteran came out of the gate looking like a workhorse in Week 1. He led the Jets in both rushing and receiving, with 156 total yards from scrimmage on his 27 touches. He did get a chance to punch one in at the goal-line but was stuffed. Still, he came away with 15 fantasy points thanks to his big yardage totals. It's hard to imagine the Jets saddling him with that kind of volume all season given his age and career workload. Bilal Powell was left to scavenge for his six touches but was extremely efficient with his opportunities averaging 10 yards per carry on his four rush attempts. When the Jets take on the Bills in Buffalo on Thursday night, we might see more of a split workload considering the short week. Forte will have RB1 upside while Powell remains a flex consideration until we see the touch share even out.
Latavius Murray: 15 touches (50% share) | 14 rush | 59 rush yds |1 rush TD | 1 rec | 13 rec yds | 13.2 FPs
Jalen Richard: 5 touches (17% share) | 3 rush | 84 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 2 rec | 11 rec yds | 15.5 FPs
DeAndre Washington: 6 touches (20% share) | 5 rush | 14 rush yds | 1 rec | 10 rec yds | 2.4 FPs
Jamize Olawale: 1 touch (3% share) | 1 rush | 2 rush yds |1 rush TD | 6.2 FPs
Taiwan Jones: 3 touches (10% share) | 1 rush | -8 rush yds | 2 rec | 17 rec yds | 0.9 FPs
We expected Latavius Murray to lead the way for Oakland, and he did with 14 carries and a score on the day. But his 14 rush attempts accounted for only a 50 percent share of Oakland's backfield touches. The game script did have something to do with Murray's usage as he only saw two carries in the fourth quarter as the game became a shootout. Behind him, this backfield was an inexplicable cluster with guys like Jalen Richard (who finished with more fantasy points than Murray) and Jamize Olawale hitting pay dirt. Olawale's came on the goal line, and it's a head-scratcher as to why Murray wasn't on the field in that situation. In fact, the three red-zone rush attempts the Raiders had each went to a different player. Richard's score was a 75-yard run that nobody saw coming. Rookie DeAndre Washington got a few chances too, but for the most part was ineffective. Fantasy owners will have to hope for a better script in Week 2 when the Raiders take on the Falcons at home. Murray should be considered a high-end RB2 in that game.
Ryan Mathews: 22 touches (65% share) | 22 rush | 77 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 13.7 FPs
Kenjon Barner: 4 touches (12% share) | 4 rush | 42 rush yds | 4.2 FPs
Darren Sproles: 7 touches (21% share) | 5 rush | 12 rush yds | 2 rec | 14 rec yds | 2.6 FPs
Wendell Smallwood: 1 touch (3% share) | 1 rush | 1 rush yds | 0.1 FPs
How the Philadelphia offense would look with rookie quarterback Carson Wentz was a huge question mark heading into Week 1. But Wentz and the Eagles came out of the gate with a 10-point lead and never looked back. That meant good things for Philly's running backs. Ryan Mathews took his 22 attempts for 77 yards and a score while Kenjon Barner was worked in and managed to rack up 42 yards on just four attempts. Darren Sproles, an underrated sleeper candidate this year, didn't get the same kind of rush volume but actually ended up out-snapping Mathews by a count of 45-37. The game flow wasn't in Sproles' favor, though, so it makes sense that he didn't get loaded up with touches. This is a situation to monitor going forward because usually the guys who are on the field more end up getting more opportunities to put up points at the end of the day. It's also worth noting that Mathews received seven rush attempts in the red zone, more than any other running back in Week 1. The Eagles will face the Bears in Week 2 on Monday night, which could be another positive game script for Philly. That means Mathews is a must-start.
DeAngelo Williams: 32 touches (91% share) | 26 rush | 143 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 6 rec | 28 rec yds | 29.1 FPs
Fitzgerald Toussaint: 3 touches (9%% share) | 3 rush | 6 rush yds | 0.6 FPs
Le'Veon who? The Steelers offense was firing on all cylinders Monday night and that includes your top-scoring fantasy running back for Week 1, DeAngelo Williams. The veteran chugged along to the tune of 143 rush yards and two touchdowns on the ground and added 28 yards through the air. For the next few games that Bell is serving his suspension, Williams is a virtual lock for RB1 production. He's a must start at home in Week 2 against a Bengals defense that got shredded by Matt Forte on Sunday.
San Diego Chargers
Melvin Gordon: 14 touches (40% share) | 14 rush | 57 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 17.7 FPs
Danny Woodhead: 21 touches (60% share) | 16 rush | 89 rush yds | 5 rec | 32 rec yds | 1 rec TD | 16.0 FPs
Melvin Gordon truthers can breathe a sigh of relief after he punched in his first career touchdown against the Chiefs. He followed that up with another first-half touchdown and it seemed like he might finish the day with five or so. For what it's worth, Gordon looked like a man on a mission on his runs, breaking tackles and looking determined to gain every last yard he could. Unfortunately, the game script shifted in the second half and Danny Woodhead got some action. A lot of action in fact. Woodhead, who scored a receiving touchdown in the game, finished with more touches than Gordon did as the Chargers let a 21-3 lead slip away and ultimately ended up losing the game. It's a good sign that both Gordon and Woodhead will get their opportunities, but it's also a red flag that each back's ceiling may be capped depending on game flow. The Keenan Allen injury is also concerning for Gordon's potential workload going forward. The lack of a top pass-catcher could mean more work for Woodhead. Looking ahead to next week, Gordon can still be used as an RB2 while Woodhead will have high-end flex consideration against the Jaguars.
San Francisco 49ers
Carlos Hyde: 25 touches (74% share) | 23 rush | 88 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 2 rec | 5 rec yds | 21.3 FPs
Shaun Draughn: 9 touches (26% share) | 7 rush | 18 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 2 rec | 18 rec yds | 9.6 FPs
We had some offseason question marks answered on Monday night regarding the 49ers ground attack. Does Carlos Hyde fit in a Chip Kelly scheme? Yes, yes he does. Hyde looked like his old, healthy self, remaining patient behind his line and using his lateral-cutting abilities to find room to gain chunks of yardage. The Rams defensive front was not as tough as predicted, and Hyde took full advantage especially once Aaron Donald was ejected. When all was said and done on Monday night, Hyde finished as fantasy's RB5 for Week 1 in standard scoring. Shaun Draughn's nine touches resulted in nine fantasy points thanks to his rushing touchdown, but he didn't see enough volume to be considered even a low-end flex going forward. The 49ers' backfield faces a challenge against Carolina on the road in Week 2.
Christine Michael: 17 touches (50% share) | 15 rush | 66 rush yds | 2 rec | 5 rec yds | 7.1 FPs
Thomas Rawls: 15 touches (44% share) | 12 rush | 32 rush yds | 3 rec | 26 rec yds | 5.8 FPs
C.J. Prosise: 2 touches (6% share) | 1 rush | -2 rush yds | 1 rec | 13 rec yds | 1/1 FPs
As predicted, Christine Michael led the Seattle backfield because he's woke. But Thomas Rawls still contributed more than expected with 15 touches including three receptions. Neither back had performances worth bragging about, but Michael was the more efficient runner averaging 4.4 yards per carry compared to Rawls' 2.7. It was an unexpected game script -- Seattle was supposed to come out guns blazing and jump to an early lead, but that did not happen. Because it was a low-scoring affair there was no room for the Seahawks to bleed the clock with their backs in the second half. The storyline regarding Rawls heading into the game was that the coaches would see how he looked after a few carries. Well, they must have liked what they saw from him because they gave him seven rushes in the third quarter. It was still a "1-2 punch" as Pete Carroll hinted towards during the preseason and likely will be for the time being. It's going to remain a split between Michael and Rawls until one emerges as the superior option, which makes things cloudy for fantasy purposes. Add that to an unfavorable matchup against the Rams in Week 2 and things aren't shaping up nicely for either back's outlook.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Doug Martin: 23 touches (77% share) | 18 rush | 62 rush yds | 5 rec | 34 rec yds | 9.6 FPs
Charles Sims: 7 touches (23% share) | 4 rush | 9 rush yds | 3 rec | 32 rec yds | 1 rec TD | 8.1 FPs
Doug Martin looked like the same, tough-running bruiser that he was last season. He racked up 62 hard-earned yards against the Falcons and collected 23 total touches. That's RB1-type volume, and even though he didn't score, his 92 total yards and 77 percent share of his team's backfield touches is a promising sign that he's going to have top-five upside at the running back position by the end of the season. Meanwhile, Charles Sims made the most of his seven touches, taking one of his receptions into the end zone on a highlight-reel 23-yard catch-and-run. For a pass-catching back, Sims has size and toughness that warrants flex consideration in fantasy on a weekly basis. Still, Martin's usage as a pass-catcher can't be overlooked as he also had five receptions. Tampa Bay will visit Arizona next week, so it could be a nice game to consider Sims as an upside play, especially in PPR formats while Martin brings low-end RB1 value to the table in a tough matchup.
DeMarco Murray: 18 touches (72% share) | 13 rush | 42 rush yds | 5 rec | 35 rec yds | 2 rec TDs | 13.7 FPs
Derrick Henry: 7 touches (28% share) | 5 rush | 3 rush yds | 2 rec | 41 rec yds | 4.4 FPs
The thunder-and-thunder combination of DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry was not very efficient against the Vikings. We didn't really expect it to be either, for what it's worth. The duo combined for a measly 2.5 yards per carry average. Murray was clearly the lead back with nine rush attempts in the first half compared to just three for Henry. Murray ended up shouldering 77 percent of backfield touches compared to Henry's 28 percent. Fortunately for Murray's fantasy owners, he scored twice. Both of his scores came inside the 10-yard line - and both were on receptions. Henry gained a few nice chunks of yardage through the air too, but he needs more than just seven touches to be a viable play in fantasy. They'll take on the Lions on the road in Week 2. Murray will have RB1 upside, while Henry will be a questionable flex play due to his current low-volume role.
Matt Jones: 8 touches (57% share) | 7 rush | 24 rush yds | 1 rec | 9 rec yds | 3.3 FPs
Chris Thompson: 6 touches (43% share) | 4 rush | 23 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 2 rec | 16 rec yds | 9.9 FPs
This game got away from the Redskins early on. That's probably why Matt Jones and Chris Thompson combined for a mere 11 carries on the night. Washington had to throw the ball to keep pace with the high-flying Steelers offense so Thompson saw double the snaps that Jones got. Thompson also got a valuable carry inside the 5-yard line and managed to follow his blocks and break the plane for a score. To be honest, we want no part of this backfield for fantasy purposes going forward. Washington is a pass-first team, especially in the red zone (see: Jordan Reed) so scoring opportunities for their running backs will be limited this season. We don't feel confident using either back in Week 2 against Dallas.
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Matt Franciscovich is an associate fantasy writer/editor for NFL.com. Follow him on Twitter @MattFranchise