Fantasy Football Week 1: 5 Running Backs Who Will Explode in the Opener

Kasey ScottAnalyst ISeptember 7, 2011

Fantasy Football Week 1: 5 Running Backs Who Will Explode in the Opener

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    Fantasy football is back in full swing as week one of the NFL season gets underway Thursday, and there are more than a few running backs set to explode.

    During last season's first week, Arian Foster torched the Colts defense for 231 yards and three touchdowns.

    This season, there are a few running backs who have favorable match-ups in week one. Here are the five running backs who are in for a big week. 

5) Darren McFadden

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    Darren McFadden missed all of the NFL preseason with a broken orbital bone, but don’t let the injury scare you out of starting McFadden as the Raiders take on the Broncos.

    Last season, the Broncos were the second-worst team in the NFL against the run, allowing 154.6 yards per game.

    This year, it doesn’t appear as if they will be much better, as the Broncos have not gone out and made many improvements.

    Look for McFadden to be a key part of the Oakland offense and to take full advantage of the Broncos rush defense in week one. 

4) Frank Gore

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    Frank Gore is an obvious key for the San Francisco 49ers offense. He will get plenty of touches and does not have a very tough match-up in week one.

    The 49ers face off against the Seattle Seahawks in week one—a team that allowed 118.9 rushing yards per game in 2010.

    Gore will likely get 25 carries and close to three catches in this game and is a must-start in any league. I could easily see Gore as a top three back when all is said and done in week one. 

3) Ahmad Bradshaw

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    Ahmad Bradshaw is stuck in a tough running back by committee with Brandon Jacobs, but is the starter this week.

    Bradshaw also catches the ball much better than Jacobs, meaning he will see a majority of the snaps.

    The Giants take on the Washington Redskins in week one. The Redskins gave up 127.6 rushing yards per game in 2010.

    Bradshaw is a duel threat, both in the air and on the ground. Look for Bradshaw to have at least 100 total yards and at least one touchdown. 

2) Maurice Jones-Drew

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    With the shocking news coming out about David Garrard, one would have to think that Maurice Jones-Drew would see in excess of 30 carries in week one.

    Jones-Drew’s backup, Rashad Jennings, is out for the season, meaning the rushing load is all on Jones-Drew's shoulders.

    The Jaguars get the Titans in week one, with the Titans allowing 115.7 rushing yards per game in 2010.

    Tennessee also lost a few key pieces from their defense—most importantly, Stephen Tulloch, who led the team in tackles in 2010.

    Look for Jones-Drew to get plenty of carries in week one and have an outstanding start to his 2011 season. 

1) Jamaal Charles

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    I personally believe that Jamaal Charles is the best running back in the NFL. It bodes very well for Charles that he faces off against the worst rush defense of 2010.

    Buffalo allowed 169.6 yards per game to opposing teams' running games in 2010. The Bills should be shaking in their boots at the thought of trying to contain Charles.

    Charles averaged six yards per carry in 2010, and could average eight yards per carry in this week's game against the Bills.

    Even though Matt Cassell is still questionable due to a rib injury, Jamaal Charles is a no-brainer.