Week 1 of the NFL season can induce panic in fantasy football players, but it is not yet time to frantically bench or release top draft picks just because of one poor performance. Keeping tabs on the Week 2 fantasy football rankings is crucial to know where players are rising and falling throughout the week at any given position. I’ve compiled a list, much like a start ’em sit ’em, that analyzes the rankings to give you some must start and must-sit running backs for Week 2 of the NFL season.
Week 2 Fantasy Football Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em: Running Backs
Derrick Henry – Tennessee Titans (at Seattle Seahawks)
Henry was immensely disappointing in Week 1. The Cardinals defense suffocated the Titans, but this week’s matchup against the Seahawks is more ideal. Jonathan Taylor ran the ball 17 times for 56 yards and added six receptions for 60 yards against Seattle last week. Unless the Titans’ offense is completely terrible, expect a bounce-back game from Henry.
Elijah Mitchell – San Francisco 49ers (at Philadelphia Eagles)
With Raheem Mostert out for the season and Trey Sermon being a healthy scratch, Mitchell is atop the 49ers’ running back depth chart. Mitchell looked excellent in relief of Mostert, with 19 carries for 104 yards and a touchdown. While it is possible Sermon will be activated, plus Jamycal Hasty could get more work, Mitchell should be the lead back.
Najee Harris – Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Las Vegas Raiders)
Harris had a bad NFL debut against the, carrying 16 times for 45 yards and catching just one pass for four yards. The Bills were always going to be a tough matchup, but it was disappointing for him to get fewer than six points in all formats. The bright spot, however, was his usage. He was the only running back on the team who saw a carry in this game. The Ravens ran all over the Raiders on Monday Night Football, so it would appear the Steelers have a positive environment for Harris to have a bounce-back game.
Saquon Barkley – New York Giants (at Washington Football Team)
Barkley had a tough matchup against the Broncos and the Giants managed his load, giving him just 11 touches for 27 yards just 10 rushes for 26 yards. The same situation applies this week, as Washington has a stout defense and Barkley is still expected to have limited opportunity. Until Barkley returns to a normal snap share and workload, he is far too risky.
James Conner – Arizona Cardinals (vs. Minnesota Vikings)
The Cardinals are using a running back committee, but Chase Edmonds was far more efficient than Conner, running 12 times for 63 yards compared to Conner’s 16 carries for 53. Plus, Edmonds saw four targets to Conner’s zero. Conner’s workload mostly came in the fourth quarter when the Cardinals were already up by a lot, which shows that Edmonds is the back to have in Arizona right now.
Javonte Williams/Melvin Gordon – Denver Broncos (at Jacksonville Jaguars)
Melvin Gordon IIi played well against the Giants, rushing 11 times for over 100 yards and a touchdown. In the same game, Williams ran 14 times for 45 yards. While Gordon played well, this is a clear split between the two running backs. If that holds true, week to week it will tough to start either back. Gordon appears to be the safer bet, but for now it is a confusing situation.
Mark Ingram – Houston Texans (at Cleveland Browns)
Mark Ingram had an excellent game last week against the Jaguars, which came as a surprise since the Texans were projected to struggle. Houston’s three-headed running back approach did not manifest itself in Week 1, as Ingram carried 26 times for 85 yards and a touchdown. However, even if Ingram continues to be the clear lead back between him, Phillip Lindsay and David Johnson, this matchup with Cleveland is tough. The Browns defense should be fortified enough to stop the Texans rushing attack. There is also a chance that Ingram will not be the clear lead back moving forward.
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