There are some nice things about the first week of the season with running backs. Just about every team should have a healthy stable of backs and only Jonathan Stewart and Le'Veon Bell as the only starters expected to sit out. Hopefully, those two were drafted late in your league and they're nothing more than RB5s.
A lot has changed, but let's take a quick look at which teams were good and bad in stopping the run. Here are the worst five matchups based on rushing yards per game last season:
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs have a tremendous front seven and their line-backing duo of Lavonte David and Mason Foster racked up plenty of tackles. They've added an even more stout secondary, so they're going to be one of the tougher matchups again this year. When in doubt, bench your backs vs. TB.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers - They didn't bring back nose tackle Casey Hampton and let linebacker James Harrison head to division rival Cincinnati. They've been among the elite in stopping running backs for decades thanks to defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau and that won't chance this year. They're going to be stout again.
3. Denver Broncos - They're off to a rough start this year with linebacker Von Miller being slapped with a six-game suspension and Champ Bailey being banged up. They lost D.J. Williams and their defense isn't quite as strong. Their powerful offense focuses teams to pass in the second half, so they shouldn't drop outside of the top 15.
4. San Francisco 49ers - As far as linebackers go, there is no better group than the one in San Francisco. NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis are tackling machines while Aldon Smith led the NFC in sacks. Ahmad Brooks is no slouch, either. They're going to be a very tough team to run on and only really lost Dashon Goldson.
5. Washington Redskins - The Redskins defense got worse and their secondary could be one of the worst in the NFL. They do have some pass rushers and their ILB tandem of Perry Riley and London Fletcher are above average. They're almost a lock to fall out of the top five and it wouldn't be a surprise to see them drop close to 20 than 10.
32. New Orleans Saints - The Saints defense was one of the worst in NFL history and they're not much better. Owners have to play their guys. Do it. Do it.
31. Buffalo Bills - The Bills were supposed to make a turnaround last year with Mario Williams, but that didn't happen. Marcell Dareus should be solid up front and rookie Kiko Alonso will have plenty of tackling opps at ILB.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars - Their offense has been better, but not so much on the other side. Besides drafting Jonathan Cyprien in the second round, their D looks very similar. Teams will beat up on them again.
29. Indianapolis Colts - The Colts had some injuries last year and if 2013 Pat Angerer looks more like the 2011 version and not the 2012, they should be better. Also the Colts should put up a lot of points, which could make teams more likely to have to throw to keep pace. They're still a near must-start option.
28. Arizona Cardinals - The Cardinals really aren't that bad, but their schedule last year wasn't very friendly and their lack of an offense made teams more prone to play the clock-control game. They'll still get the Seahawks and 49ers twice, so that won't help their cause. Their best player, Daryl Washington, is also suspended for the first four games. They'll be a favorable matchup, just not that favorable.
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|Standard League||PPR League|
|1||Adrian Peterson (@DET)||Adrian Peterson (@DET)|
|2||Jamaal Charles (@JAX)||Jamaal Charles (@JAX)|
|3||Alfred Morris (PHI)||Doug Martin (@NYJ)|
|4||Marshawn Lynch (@CAR)||Ray Rice (@DEN)|
|5||Doug Martin (@NYJ)||C.J. Spiller (NE)|
|6||Arian Foster (@SD)||LeSean McCoy (@WAS)|
|7||Trent Richardson (MIA)||Trent Richardson (MIA)|
|8||C.J. Spiller (NE)||Arian Foster (@SD)|
|9||LeSean McCoy (@WAS)||Alfred Morris (PHI)|
|10||Ray Rice (@DEN)||Marshawn Lynch (@CAR)|
|11||Maurice Jones-Drew (KC)||Steven Jackson (@NO)|
|12||Steven Jackson (@NO)||Darren Sproles (ATL)|
|13||Stevan Ridley (@BUF)||Reggie Bush (MIN)|
|14||Lamar Miller (@CLE)||Maurice Jones-Drew (KC)|
|15||David Wilson (@DAL)||Matt Forte (CIN)|
|16||Daryl Richardson (AZ)||David Wilson (@DAL)|
|17||Frank Gore (GB)||Lamar Miller (@CLE)|
|18||Matt Forte (CIN)||Stevan Ridley (@BUF)|
|19||Reggie Bush (MIN)||Daryl Richardson (AZ)|
|20||Chris Johnson (@PIT)||Chris Johnson (@PIT)|
|21||DeMarco Murray (NYG)||DeMarco Murray (NYG)|
|22||Ahmad Bradshaw (OAK)||Darren McFadden (@IND)|
|23||Darren McFadden(@IND)||Rashard Mendenhall (@STL)|
|24||Eddie Lacy (@SF)||Frank Gore (GB)|
|25||Ryan Mathews (HOU)||Shane Vereen (@BUF)|
|26||DeAngelo Willliams (SEA)||Ahmad Bradshaw (OAK)|
|27||Darren Sproles (ATL)||Ryan Mathews (HOU)|
|28||Chris Ivory (TB)||Giovani Bernard (@CHI)|
|29||Mark Ingram (ATL)||Eddie Lacy (@SF)|
|30||Ben Tate (@SD)||Mark Ingram (ATL)|
|31||Bernard Pierce (@DEN)||DeAngelo Williams (SEA)|
|32||Giovani Bernard (@CHI)||Ben Tate (@SD)|
|33||Fred Jackson (NE)||Chris Ivory (TB)|
|34||BenJarvus Green-Ellis (@CHI)||Joique Bell (MIN)|
|35||Shane Vereen (@BUF)||Danny Woodhead (HOU)|
|36||Vick Ballard (OAK)||Pierre Thomas (ATL)|
|37||Felix Jones (TEN)||Bilal Powell (TB)|
|38||Knowshon Moreno (BAL)||Jacquizz Rodgers|
|39||Mike Tolbert (SEA)||Fred Jackson (NE)|