With Week 1 set to commence, fantasy football enthusiasts the world over, now equipped with their newly-drafted rosters and the hope of championships, are faced with their first roster decisions.
Firstly, let’s get this out of the way. Always obey Rule No. 1.
Rule No. 1: start your studs.
Don’t overthink it. You drafted those guys in the first few rounds for a reason. Play them. Now that that’s settled, let’s take a look at some deeper roster decisions, starting with three running backs worth getting into your lineup.
James Robinson (JAX vs HOU)
When the Jacksonville Jaguars lost rookie first-round running back Travis Etienne, James Robinson catapulted back into high-end RB2 status for this season. The Jaguars did recently sign Duke Johnson to their practice squad, and he might be a thorn in the side of fantasy managers at some point this season, but it won’t be Week 1.
As the Jaguars square off with the hapless Houston Texans in Trevor Lawrence’s first career start, expect them to lean heavily on the run game. It’ll be a combination of Robinson and Carlos Hyde out of the backfield, with Robinson being the more efficient and talented option between the two.
Robinson should be in line for a heavy workload, and his chances at finding the end zone are high. He should be treated as an RB2 on Sunday.
Gus Edwards (BAL vs LV)
It doesn’t get any easier than this. Gus Edwards, the top running back on the Baltimore Ravens depth chart after the season-ending ACL injury to J.K. Dobbins, is going against a Las Vegas Raiders defense that gave up the fourth-most fantasy points per game to the running back position last year.
This is a must-start play.
After the injury to Dobbins, head coach John Harbaugh expressed his support for the backs currently on the roster.
“Like any injury … you just have to approach it and overcome it,” Harbaugh said, according to ESPN. “We have the players to do it. We have the team to do it. And I have full confidence in the rest of the running backs that are here to pick up the load and to do a great job for us.”
No team ran the ball more last year than the Ravens, and they also led the league with 191.9 rushing yards per game. With no Dobbins and no rookie wide receiver Rashod Bateman, Edwards should see a heavy bulk of opportunities in the Monday Night Football tilt.
Play Dobbins as a high-end RB2.
Raheem Mostert (SF vs DET)
When Mostert was healthy and on the field last year for the San Francisco 49ers, he was electric. While he may or may not hold up over the course of the season, he’s healthy to start and is going against a Detroit Lions defense that allowed the most fantasy points per game to running backs last year (26.7).
Head coach Kyle Shanahan has one of the best rushing schemes in the NFL. Rookie Trey Sermon figures to be a factor, but Mostert has the rushing upside and the big-play ability to capitalize even if he doesn’t see a bell-cow workload.
Against a weak defense, Mostert’s upside is sky-high. You can play him as a flex, and there’s a real possibility that he’ll finish in the top 10 at the position in Week 1.
Play these three high-upside backs and get off to a strong start in your fantasy league. Leaving Week 1 with a victory is always a great way to start your season. Let’s put together those rosters and get in the win column early.