The Week 1 matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and the Tennessee Titans should feature a lot of action from running backs. We've got the fantasy projections courtesy of numberFire.
It’s not yet known whether Shaun Hill or Sam Bradford will be under center for the Vikings on Sunday. The uncertainty of the quarterback situation heading into the season means fantasy owners will rightfully rely on running back Adrian Peterson for production. In his early 30s, All Day is already considered one of the best running backs of all time and despite a slow start to last season and some problems off the field, Peterson is likely going to be the engine that drives the Vikings for at least another couple of years. Tennessee isn’t particularly good at defending either the run or the pass, so AP should have no problem surpassing 100 rushing yards and finding the end zone to start the season.
Although the Vikings’ passing attack doesn’t pose much of a threat on a large scale, there is one glimmer of hope and that comes in the form of sophomore standout Stefon Diggs. Diggs only burst onto the fantasy scene in the middle of last year as the Vikings began to experiment with different receivers to try and spark the passing game. It’s clear that he’s the most athletic option the team has in the receiving corps and Tennessee’s secondary was one of the worst in the league last year. Diggs could surprise some people and end up near the top of the wide receiver rankings after Week 1, assuming that whoever is throwing the football can get it into his hands.
Both offensively and defensively, the Titans were one of the lowest-ranked teams in the NFL last season. While this season won’t necessarily peg the team at the top of the AFC South, the franchise should be better off from a fantasy perspective. Much of the upside and promise in Tennessee rides on the shoulders of quarterback Marcus Mariota. He demonstrated he can handle the NFL last year, exhibiting his ability to scramble in the pocket and find open receivers down the field. This year he hopes to have an improved running game and wideout Rishard Matthews should help the team move the chains down the field. Many expect him to emerge as the team’s No. 1 receiver.
Speaking of the improved running game, that moniker gets bestowed upon the Titans’ backfield thanks to DeMarco Murray. Murray’s short-lived time as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles last year was a complete dud, but now that people have forgotten about him as a top running back he may actually provide his fantasy owners with quite a bit of value, given his lower draft position. Tennessee hasn’t had a consistent running game since Eddie George retired. Perhaps Murray can bring a new dimension to the team’s offense over the 2016 season. Going off for crazy numbers this week against Minnesota is unlikely, but don’t be surprised if Murray gets a fair amount of touches for the Titans this week.