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Fantasy Football Predictions: 5 RBs Who Will Run over Opponents in Week 1

Luke PetkacSenior Analyst IISeptember 23, 2016

Fantasy Football Predictions: 5 RBs Who Will Run over Opponents in Week 1

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    There isn't much worse than losing the first fantasy football game of the season.

    It's not just the constant ridicule from friends and colleagues that hurts. It's the knowledge that yet another fantasy season is threatening to slip away almost before it even began.

    No one wants to feel like that. And fortunately, if you have one of the following players on your fantasy team, you won't have to.

    These five running backs are poised to have huge games in Week 1 of the NFL season and can lead your fantasy team to victory.

LeSean McCoy

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    McCoy was one of the league's top fantasy options last season, and few backs have his ability to score points through the rushing and passing game.

    He started last season on an absolute tear, scoring over 20 points in each of his first three games.

    This season should begin no differently for McCoy, as he and the Eagles square off against the dreadful Browns.

    The Browns finished 30th against the run last year, and since 1999, no team has been worse against the ground game. According to Tom Reed of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Browns have allowed an average of 142.7 rushing yards per game since 1999. That mark is an astounding 13.1 yards per game more than the second-to-last Oakland Raiders.

    With McCoy in town this week, it’s hard to picture Cleveland bucking that trend. Expect a big scoring week from the Eagles back.

Darren McFadden

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    Knowing his injury history, fantasy owners will probably only be able to appreciate McFadden’s excellence for a few weeks. But as long as McFadden is healthy, the Raiders running back is always worth a start.

    McFadden was dominant in last year’s season opener, rushing for 150 yards on just 22 carries.

    This week should be even better. The Raiders are facing off against the San Diego Chargers, a team that finished 20th in the league against the run last season.

    It’s more than likely (as much as I hate to say it) that McFadden won’t play through the season. He’s just too injury prone. That’s why it’s important for fantasy owners to get the most out of him now.

    Much like Titans running back Chris Johnson, McFadden is always capable of breaking off a big run. And with former backfield partner Michael Bush now in Chicago, McFadden has no one to take goal-line carries away from him.

    That spells nothing but big fantasy numbers from McFadden come Monday night.

Chris Johnson

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    I'm not quite as high on Johnson this season as others are, but he should be terrific against the Patriots this week.

    The Titans haven’t seen the Patriots since 2009, when they were utterly humiliated in a 59-0 beatdown. Despite the score, Johnson actually ran the ball extremely well, totaling 128 yards on just 17 carries.

    According to the Associated Press, the Titans have a lot of faith in second-year quarterback Jake Locker. But considering his inexperience, the Titans will most likely try to ease him into the season by running the ball early and often.

    That's good news for Johnson's owners. The Titans back is always a threat to bust a run for a touchdown, and it's hard not to see him breaking at least one long run if he gets enough touches.

    Even if the Patriots stack the line and force Locker to throw, Johnson is a great candidate to get the bulk of those receptions.

    New England should handle Tennessee easily this week, but Johnson is still more than capable of having a big game.

Matt Forte

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    Forte has dominated in his last two season openers, particularly through the air. In those two games alone he recorded 241 yards receiving to go along with three touchdowns. He should have similar fantasy success this week against the Colts.

    The Bears may have dismissed the pass-happy Mike Martz after last season, but Forte should still play a major role in the passing game.

    He’ll have no problems gashing the Indianapolis defense on the ground either. The Colts surrendered 143.9 rushing yards per game last season, good for 29th in the league.

    This week they’ll have to deal with the revamped duo of quarterback Jay Cutler and wide receiver Brandon Marshall, which should mean even more room to run for Forte.

    The only problem that Forte owners have to deal with is the signing of running back Michael Bush. Bush is a bruising back and is a candidate to take the majority of goal-line carries for the Bears.

    It’s definitely something for owners to keep an eye on, but even if Forte is short a touchdown this week, he’ll have no problem producing points against a porous Colts defense.

Ray Rice

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    The Bengals have more than proved that they have no idea how to defend Ray Rice.

    In his last two games against Cincinnati, Rice ran for 295 yards to go along with four touchdowns and 51 yards receiving. That’s an average of just under 30 fantasy points a game, which is insane production.

    It’s not like the Bengals are a poor defensive team. On the contrary, they’re actually quite good. Last season, Cincinnati ranked ninth and 10th respectively in rushing and passing defense. For some reason, Rice just seems to have their number.

    So start Rice confidently this week and get used to seeing some big runs. The Bengals sure are by now.

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