Week 1 of the fantasy football season is in the books and it’s time to start perusing the waiver wire. It’s still too early in the season to be making any major wholesale changes to your team, and while the injury bug swept through quarterbacks (Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin III) and wide receivers (Keenan Allen, Sammy Watkins) the running back position escaped largely unscathed.
So, if you drafted a high-end starter, best to stick with them for a few weeks at least. Don’t panic about Adrian Peterson or Doug Martin’s slow starts, for instance. However, it’s not too early to be churning your bench and finding some potential gems on the wire, and that’s what this week’s column will look at.
Here are five worthy targets at running back, all owned in 50 percent or less of Yahoo! standard leagues.
James White, New England Patriots (47 percent)
LeGarrette Blount is entrenched as the Patriots’ between-the-tackles runner, but White still has a role in the passing game and played it well on Sunday night, grabbing five catches for 40 yards. White will never be a major asset in standard fantasy leagues, but he should be a useful PPR flex option while Dion Lewis is on the shelf. Look for him to continue soaking up checkdown targets from Jimmy Garoppolo for the next three weeks.
Tevin Coleman, Atlanta Falcons (43 percent)
Is there a changing of the guard in Atlanta? Devonta Freeman got the start, but it was almost an even timeshare by the end. Coleman got 13 touches on 32 snaps, while Freeman played 36 snaps and touched the ball 15 times. More telling, Coleman was more productive, racking up 117 total yards while Freeman had just 40. Maybe Coleman won’t be the lead back quite yet, but he’s played his way into a serious flex role against the Oakland Raiders this week.
Theo Riddick, Detroit Lions (35 percent)
Ameer Abdullah looked like a star on Sunday, piling up 120 total yards and a touchdown on 17 touches, but Riddick still has a big role in the offense and scored two crucial touchdowns against the Indianapolis Colts. Perhaps the scores were a fluke, but with five catches on all five targets, Riddick looks like he’ll continue to dominate.
Terrance West, Baltimore Ravens (29 percent)
The Ravens entered the season with a muddled committee, and Week 1 didn’t really provide any solid answers. Justin Forsett got the start and managed 13 touches for 56 yards on 34 snaps, but West was right behind him with 30 snaps, 14 touches and 38 total yards. It may take a few weeks until we get some real clarity on this backfield, but West remains a worthy bench stash in 12-team leagues. He has some flex appeal against the Browns’ porous defense this week.
Jalen Richard, Oakland Raiders (1 percent)
Here’s the speculative deep dive of the week. Latavius Murray is the starter and DeAndre Washington is the trendy sleeper backup, but Richard upstaged both of them in Week 1. He took his first career carry 75 yards to the house and ended with 84 yards on just three carries. Maybe this is a random Week 1 fluke, but Richard has certainly made his mark. He belongs on watch lists in case the Raiders give him some more run against the Atlanta Falcons’ questionable defense in Week 2.