Fantasy Football 2012: Running Backs That Will Be Fantasy Machines in Week 1

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Fantasy Football 2012: Running Backs That Will Be Fantasy Machines in Week 1
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The NFL keeps being called a quarterback’s league, but in fantasy football, it is still a running back’s world.

Who was the highest-selected player in fantasy drafts on average, according to ESPN.com? That would be Arian Foster, a running back.

When Michael Vick is questionable for Week 3’s matchup (there’s a 76 percent chance this will happen) owners will go to their bench and find more than a capable backup.

With running backs, it’s not always as easy; running back committees are abound in this year’s NFL, diluting this year’s crop of ball-carriers. Scraping the waiver wire in the office for a replacement is a likely occurrence.

Scroll down for a preview of which backs will be lighting it up in Week 1.

Matt Forte vs. IND

The Bears running back will be looking for a triumphant return after suffering an ACL injury 12 games into last season. No doubt Forte will be juiced for his return to the field.

Even tastier is his matchup with the Indianapolis Colts. While all the publicity has been on Andrew Luck, that’s because the Colts defense needs to be hidden. One of the league’s worst units will be changing schemes this season, not to mention a ton of personnel turnover.

The Bears will get a lead early and ride Forte late. Sounds like bliss for his fantasy owners.

Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Doug Martin vs. CAR

Much of the Bucs game plan will be centered around Martin as they attempt to become a tougher unit under head coach Greg Schiano.

That means a strong dose of Martin and LeGarrette Blount in Week 1. The Bucs will be able to stay on the field with a run-first approach because of upgrades in the offensive line, include guard Carl Nicks.

Their opponent, the Carolina Panthers, were one of the ten worst run defenses in football last season. Regardless if the Panthers have improved, Schiano will run, run and run again .

Even if Tampa gets behind, they will call on their running backs in the passing game for bail-out plays. Since Blount isn’t known for catching passes, Martin will be the beneficiary of an excess of dump-down passes.

Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Ronnie Brown vs. OAK (Monday Night)

Need a last minute starter for Week 1? The Chargers' new backup running back looks like a sure bet.

Wait, isn’t Ryan Matthews a first-round fantasy player? Well, his status is up in the air for Monday’s game because he’s recovering from a collarbone injury. Sounds like damage the Chargers would like to avoid reinjury.

Have no fear San Diego. The Chargers have a starter-quality back in Brown, who was a fantasy juggernaut in 2010 with the Dolphins before tearing his ACL. Two years later and finally looking healthy, Brown has a quick burst and receiving ability that complements Philip Rivers well.

Oakland will be revamping their defense, but weren't strong against the run last year anyway. Stash Brown onto the roster for Monday’s game, you heard it here first.

Follow Mike Shiekman on Twitter @TheRealShiek

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