With the 2012 NFL season finally underway after an unbearably long offseason, it's also time for us to play armchair GM and lead our fantasy football teams to victory.
There are lot of exciting games to watch during the opening week, but which games provide the best matchup for your fantasy players?
Week 1 is one of the most difficult weeks to predict for fantasy owners, because NFL teams are seldom the same as they were in the previous year.
Some teams that used to constantly run the ball are suddenly focused on an airborne offense, while other teams went the opposite direction and developed a run-oriented offense practically overnight.
With that in mind, which running backs have the best matchups this week?
Read on and discover which top running backs are practically guaranteed to exceed the 100-yard mark this weekend.
Matt Forte, Chicago Bears
Matt Forte is back and finally healthy in Chicago, and he's expected to be a key part of the Bears' offense in 2012.
Last season, Forte posted 1,487 total yards and four touchdowns in just 12 games before going down with a season-ending knee injury.
The Bears added Michael Bush to their backfield, but Forte is still the featured back and will take the majority of the carries this Sunday.
And to add the intrigue, the Bears are playing the Indianapolis Colts this week. The Colts were not only the worst team in the NFL last season, but they also had the fourth-worst run defense (143.9 yards per game).
The Colts are still lacking of defense and they even switched to a 3-4 defensive scheme, which will likely force them to go through an adjustment period early on.
If Forte is on your roster, he needs to be in the lineup.
Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams
After rushing for seven consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, you would think the 29-year-old Steven Jackson is ready to slow down and experience a decline.
However, Jackson looked spry in the preseason and is set to carry the St. Louis offense once again.
The Rams are going against the Detroit Lions, who had a below average run defense a year ago (23rd overall), but the real key that will attribute to Jackson's success is head coach Jeff Fisher's game plan.
Fisher and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer love to run the ball all day long. Jackson should get more than 25 carries, which practically guarantees a 100-yard performance.
If Detroit takes a commanding lead early on and forces the St. Louis offense to go airborne, then Jackson's production could be spoiled. But expect the new and improved Rams to stay competitive at least throughout the first half.
LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles
LeSean McCoy was considered possibly the best running back of 2011 after rushing for 1,309 yards and scoring 20 total touchdowns.
McCoy is once again expected to post big numbers in the Philadelphia offense, and an opening day matchup against an inept Cleveland Browns team will allow for major fantasy production.
Cleveland had the third-worst run defense in the league a year ago (147.4 yards per game), and will struggle to stay competitive against the Eagles despite their homefield advantage.
The Eagles will take an early lead and will begin to burn the clock by running the ball, which allows McCoy to post big numbers.
Arian Foster, Houston Texans
Arian Foster came out of nowhere in 2010 and has an unbelievable year with 1,616 yards and 18 total touchdowns.
In 2011, fantasy owners were curious as to whether Foster would be able to repeat his success, or if he would simply fade away.
Foster ran for 1,224 yards and 10 touchdowns in only 13 games, so it's about time we put some faith in his abilities.
The Houston Texans will take on the Miami Dolphins in the opening week, and Miami had a stout run defense in 2011 that ranked as the third-best in the league (95.6 yards per game).
Miami's capable run defense may scare some people, but Houston will take an early lead, which will result in them running the ball all day long.
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