Fantasy Football Week 1: Running Backs Who Must Be in Your Starting Lineup

Ian Hanford@Ian_HanfordFeatured ColumnistSeptember 3, 2012

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 08:  Running back Isaac Redman #33 of the Pittsburgh Steelers carries the ball against the Denver Broncos during the Wild Card Playoffs at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 8, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The NFL season kicks off on Wednesday evening, and that means you better set your fantasy football lineup.

The question is, who should you start?

The answer may not be as obvious as you think. Of course, you have your obvious starters, but the rest is murky. As the NFL changes, fantasy football strategies change along with it.

Week 1 features several favorable matchups for running backs. Let's take a look at three backs you must slot into your starting lineup.

Isaac Redman

Redman faces a subpar Denver Broncos run defense, and the Pittsburgh Steelers should give him around 20 carries in their opening game.

Don't expect Redman to break big runs. He's a powerful runner. Pittsburgh will have chances to score, and Redman will get the ball in the red zone.

Redman is probably on your bench. You probably took him in the late rounds of your draft, but this is a start to give him. Pittsburgh will play it safe in Week 1, and you can expect them to lean on Redman whenever possible.

The Steelers love to knock opposing teams in the mouth, and Redman's north-south style will do well against the Broncos.

Reggie Bush

Houston's defense is stacked, and a worthy No. 1 defense on your team, but the Texans were 31st against the run last year.

I don't expect Daniel Thomas to carry the load for Miami, but I do think this team will lean on the run, and Bush will be the guy.

The Dolphins aren't going to throw Ryan Tannehill into the fire and let him fail in Week 1. They will protect him, and you should expect the Dolphins to run the ball more than they put it in the air.

Bush is a dangerous fantasy player because he's a home-run threat, and he can catch balls out of the backfield.

He's a fringe No. 2 option, but he's worth playing in the season's opening week.

Rashad Jennings

This has to be taken with a grain of salt, but the Jacksonville Jaguars organization said that Jennings will start their season opener.

If that's the case, you must start him. The Minnesota Vikings were 30th against the run last year, and they won't be much better this time around.

He's run for 209 yards in the preseason and he looks to be ready to go. Despite his inexperience, Jacksonville will lean on him while Blaine Gabbert gets acclimated in Week 1.

Maurice Jones-Drew will steal some carries from Jennings, but Jacksonville will run enough for both players to produce. If you're in a league featuring a "flex" position, or are thin at running back, slot Jennings in for a week.

You won't be disappointed.