Week 1 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings

It’s always difficult to figure out exactly who to start and who to sit in Week 1 of the fantasy football season. Sure, you’re never going to sit one of your studs, but those second running backs, third wide receivers, and matchup-based flex plays can be tricky to figure out, especially in a year without a preseason to bolster confidence in certain players. Our Week 1 fantasy RB rankings will help you figure out how to craft your lineup for the opening week of the season.

The usual suspects top the list, though tough matchups for Alvin Kamara (vs. Bucs) and Saquon Barkley (vs. Steelers) will move them down a hair in our rankings. And in a favorable matchup with a Panthers team that allowed the most fantasy points per game (FPPG) to RBs last year, Josh Jacobs moves up the list.

Quarterback | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

In the RB2/FLEX range, there are plenty of committee-based options. Notably, the Colts backs, Jonathan Taylor and Marlon Mack, have a nice matchup against the Jaguars who allowed the second-most FPPG to RBs last season. Were there a defined pecking order in Indy, it would be easier to pick a favorite, but both should be viable plays this week.

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Speaking of committees, it will be important to watch some of the more unknown backfield rotations as they establish who the lead back is going to be. Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay of the Broncos will be the top one to watch in that area, but the Mark Ingram/JK Dobbins split in Baltimore, the Kerryon Johnson/D’Andre Swift split in Detroit, and the Antonio Gibson/Bryce Love/Peyton Barber trio in D.C. all will have a bearing on start ’em, sit ’em strategy moving forward.

It’s a bit too early to find any true matchup-based fades. We’ve downgraded Derrick Henry and Chubb slightly because of their matchups with the Broncos and the Ravens, respectively, and Le’Veon Bell falls into the flex range in a tough matchup against the Bills. Leonard Fournette has also moved down because of a somewhat-uncertain Week 1 role with his new team. But, again, you don’t sit your studs in fantasy, especially without viable sleeper options emerging. All of those players should still be lead backs, so they can be trusted. Just temper expectations a bit early on in the season.

Reminder: As always, we expect to make plenty of changes to these RB rankings throughout the week, so check back for updates. 

Panthers vs. Raiders

Raiders @ Panthers

Vikings vs. Packers

Cowboys @ Rams

Chiefs vs. Texans

Giants vs. Steelers

Titans @ Broncos

Packers @ Vikings

Saints vs. Buccaneers

Eagles @ Washington

Bengals vs. Chargers

Chargers @ Bengals

Seahawks @ Falcons

Browns @ Ravens

Texans @ Chiefs

Cardinals @ 49ers

49ers vs. Cardinals

Ravens vs. Browns

Bills vs. Jets

Colts @ Jaguars

Rams vs. Cowboys

Steelers @ Giants

Falcons vs. Seahawks

Buccaneers @ Saints

Jets @ Bills

26 Sony Michel, NE vs. MIA
27 Marlon Mack, IND @ JAX
28 JK Dobbins, BAL vs. CLE
29 Phillip Lindsay, DEN vs. TEN
30 D’Andre Swift, DET vs. CHI
31 Melvin Gordon, DEN vs. TEN
32 Ryquell Armstead, JAX vs. IND
33 Tarik Cohen, CHI @ DET
34 Antonio Gibson, WAS vs. PHI
35 Zack Moss, BUF vs. NYJ
36 Kareem Hunt, CLE @ BAL
37 Latavius Murray, NO vs. TB
38 Tevin Coleman, SF vs. ARZ
39 Kerryon Johnson, DET vs. CHI
40 Duke Johnson, HOU @ KC
41 James White, NE vs. MIA
42 Chris Thompson, JAX vs. IND
43 Jordan Howard, MIA @ NE
44 Matt Breida, MIA @ NE
45 Ronald Jones II, TB @ NO
46 Justin Jackson, LAC @ CIN
47 Darrell Henderson, LAR vs. DAL
48 Alexander Mattison, MIN vs. GB
49 Boston Scott, PHI @ WAS
50 Bryce Love, WAS vs. PHI
51 Cordarelle Patterson, CHI @ DET
52 Peyton Barber, WAS vs. PHI
53 Devine Ogizbo, JAX vs. IND
54 Ito Smith, ATL vs. SEA
55 Jerick McKinnon, SF vs. ARZ
56 Nyheim Hines, IND @ JAX
57 Carlos Hyde, SEA @ ATL
58 Chase Edmonds, ARZ @ SF
59 Tony Pollard, DAL @ LAR
60 Frank Gore, NYJ @ BUF
61 Malcolm Brown, LAR vs. DAL
62 Jamaal Williams, GB @ MIN
63 Giovani Bernard, CIN vs. LAC
64 Jalen Richard, LV @ CAR
65 Joshua Kelley, LAC @ CIN
66 A.J. Dillon, GB @ MIN
67 Darrynton Evans, TEN @ DEN
68 James Robinson, JAX vs. IND
69 Anthony McFarland Jr., PIT @ NYG
70 Dion Lewis, NYG vs. PIT
71 Benny Snell Jr., PIT @ NYG
72 Justice Hill, BAL vs. CLE

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