Cedric Benson and Must-Sit RBs in Fantasy Football Week 1
Believe it or not, Week 1 of the fantasy football season begins tonight when the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants kick off the 2012 regular season.
That means fantasy decisions need to be made between now and Sunday's slate of games.
Some running backs, like Green Bay's Cedric Benson, need to be put on your bench.
In the following slides, we break down Benson and the other backs that shouldn't be starting for you in Week 1.
Cedric Benson, Green Bay Packers
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There's a lot working against Benson in his regular-season debut with the Green Bay Packers this Sunday.
For starters, he'll be working in an offense that's built around throwing the ball with NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers under center. The number of available touches should be limited for Benson.
However, the main factor here is the defense Benson will see on Sunday afternoon.
The San Francisco 49ers, whose defense ranked first in the NFL a season ago in rushing yards, rushing touchdowns and yards per carry, will make every yard Benson gains a tough one.
Somewhere around 60 total yards may be Benson's fantasy ceiling on Sunday.
San Francisco gave up just three rushing touchdowns a year ago, so don't expect him to fall into an easy score, either.
Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars
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It's understandable for owners to want to start Jones-Drew, especially after spending what was likely a high pick to get him. However, in Week 1, keep him on your bench.
Rashad Jennings will start for the Jaguars at running back, with Jones-Drew getting a handful of touches in a limited role. It won't be enough for Jones-Drew to make a significant fantasy impact.
Stash him away for this first week or until the workload he's used to in Jacksonville is back in place.
Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
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Peterson is in a similar situation to Jones-Drew, except his knee is to blame for his likely limited workload in Week 1, not a holdout.
The Vikings continue to be cautious with Peterson, who underwent reconstructive knee surgery late last year. It's actually somewhat of a medical miracle that Peterson will even be in uniform for Week 1.
With a dependable backup in Toby Gerhart, the Vikings can afford to be safe with their pricey investment.
Like Jones-Drew, keep Peterson on your bench early this fantasy season. He'll inch closer to 100 percent as the weeks drag by.
Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers
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Stewart is always a risky fantasy start with DeAngelo Williams splitting carries and Cam Newton stealing goal-line touchdowns. However, an ankle injury makes Stewart even more risky for Week 1.
He's missed most of practice in the lead up to Carolina's matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Therefore, one could expect Williams will get a bigger load on Sunday.
If Stewart isn't getting his normal split, he's a fantasy no-go. Keep him on the bench until the ankle heals up.
Roy Helu, Washington Redskins
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Helu was one of the most over-drafted backs in all of fantasy football this year, with some owners pulling the trigger in the sixth and seventh rounds. That's a crazy spot for a back who may see only a limited number of carries in some weeks.
Of course, many fantasy owners will see Helu's preseason finale—in which he rushed for 90 yards and two scores—and start him against the New Orleans Saints without hesitation.
I wouldn't. Bench him this week and see how the Redskins handle the running back situation. There's nothing you can be confident about at this point.