Fantasy Football Week 1 Rankings: Projecting Most Favorable Fringe Running Backs

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Fantasy Football Week 1 Rankings: Projecting Most Favorable Fringe Running Backs
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Depth is vital at running back in every format of fantasy football. Your Week 1 lineup might have one or two Top 20 guys, but it's important to have at least one or two more capable backs for flex or third-back spots.

As the most consistent points producers, you can't afford to miss on your selections each week. Do you play a fringe guy like Isaac Redman or roll with a guy like DeAngelo Williams against a stout Seattle pass defense?

You likely have options, including high-potential rookies or rushers in confusing backfield situations. We'll take a look at the top rankings for running backs this week and also highlight a couple of the fringe guys to help you decide who to play in Week 1.

 

Top 30 Running Back Rankings - Week 1
Rank Running Back Opponnent Yahoo! Rank
1 Adrian Peterson @DET 1
2 Jamaal Charles @JAC T4
3 Alfred Morris PHI T4
4 Steven Jackson @NO 9
5 Marshawn Lynch @CAR 8
6 Stevan Ridley @BUF 3
7 Doug Martin @NYJ 2
8 LeSean McCoy @WAS 7
9 Ray Rice @DEN 10
10 Arian Foster HOU 16
11 C.J. Spiller NE 6
12 Trent Richardson MIA 10
13 David Wilson @DAL 12
14 Lamar Miller @CLE 20
15 Frank Gore GB 17
16 Maurice Jones-Drew KC 13
17 Darren Sproles ATL 22
18 Chris Johnson @PIT 19
19 Matt Forte CIN 14
20 Reggie Bush MIN 15
21 DeAngelo Williams SEA 30
22 Shane Vereen BUF 24
23 Isaac Redman TEN 31
24 Daryl Richardson ARI 26
25 DeMarco Murray NYG 18
26 Darren McFadden IND 21
27 Ryan Matthews HOU 23
28 Giovani Bernard CIN 29
29 Mark Ingram ATL 32
30 Eddie Lacy SF 27

Mike Hoag's Week 1 Rankings

 

No. 21 DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers

John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

DeAngelo Williams has less mileage than most running backs at 30 years old. He has consistently been in a timeshare in Carolina's backfield, a maddening fact for fantasy owners over the years.

But this year, at least in the early stages of the season, the backfield belongs to the speedy veteran back. Johnathan Stewart is going to miss the first six weeks of the season after being placed on the physically unable to perform list, making rookie Kenjon Barner the only real threat to steal carries.

His matchup might not be great, but Williams will get plenty of opportunities to run the ball to help take the pressure off of Cam Newton. He flashed his skills during the end of 2012 when given the chance, showing he still has the chance to change a game with one touch. Against Seattle's tough defense, he's Carolina's only hope.

 

No. 22 Shane Vereen, New England Patriots

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

There are going to be plenty of fantasy points to go around for New England against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Shane Vereen figures to be a big beneficiary of that considering his role in the Pats' passing game.

Vereen flashed some pretty awesome fantasy potential in the playoffs last season, scoring three total touchdowns during New England's win over Houston. With so much offensive turnover, he'll likely be relied on more heavily in passing situations.

He'll undoubtedly be on the field more, too, with running back Danny Woodhead gone and Leon Washington being cut following the preseason.

 

No. 23 Isaac Redman, Pittsburgh Steelers

Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Not many people are showing Isaac Redman any love. He wasn't a fantasy stud by any means, but I think concerns about the back are being overblown.

For one thing, he's excellent in the pass game, both as a receiver and a blocker for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Last year, he racked up over 100 yards receiving against the Tennessee Titans. Big Ben knows he can rely on Redman being in the right place for a dump-off when in a pinch.

Plus, the Titans defense was miserable against the run last year, and the Steelers offensive line was banged up. Opposing running backs averaged 19.6 points per game against their porous front seven. Redman might not be an elite back, but he has the matchup and the role it takes to have a big fantasy day.

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