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Fantasy football start/sit advice, Week 1: Running backs

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Football is back. All is right with the world again. And with the return of football comes the return of stressing out over your fantasy lineup. It's okay, we're here to help.

For Week 1, you probably shouldn't think too hard about who you should start. Don't sit your studs, for instance -- you drafted them high for a reason. Let the player's ADP be your guide for at least the first 3-4 weeks. That said, there are some players who could go either way, so let's examine some guys worth starting based on friendly matchups, along with some you should avoid this week.

This post focuses on the running back position.


Spencer Ware, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. San Diego Chargers)

With Jamaal Charles unlikely to play, Ware is the back to own in Kansas City's backfield. Perhaps Charcandrick West will get some decent playing time on passing downs, but Ware is the better runner between the tackles and should see the majority of carries. He also has a good matchup against a Chargers defense still missing Joey Bosa. Ware is one of the better RB2 investments this week.

Rashad Jennings, New York Giants (@ Dallas Cowboys)

The Giants finally got rid of their ill-advised RB rotation and cut Andre Williams, leaving Jennings as the clear lead back. Aside from a sprinkling of change-of-pace snaps by Shane Vereen, Jennings should be the guy on most downs. He'll be facing a Cowboys defensive line decimated by suspensions and is a good flex option.

Latavius Murray, Oakland Raiders (@ New Orleans Saints)

Despite getting 266 carries last year (third-most in the league behind Adrian Peterson and Doug Martin), Murray barely cleared 1,000 yards and averaged just 4.0 yards per carry. But he'll get another chance to be the workhorse, even with rookie DeAndre Washington looming as a threat on passing downs. The Raiders will likely be in a high-scoring game and New Orleans' defense looks like it'll be a mess again, so this should be one of the best matchups Murray will get all year.


Thomas Rawls, Seattle Seahawks (vs. Miami Dolphins)

Rawls is fully healed from the broken ankle that ended his 2015 season early, but he barely got in any training camp reps and missed practice this week with an illness. The Seahawks plan on giving Rawls work this week, but they hedged their bets by naming Christine Michael the starter ahead of time. Rawls can and should be a RB1 once again this year, but until he gets back to full speed he's best left on fantasy benches for now.

Matt Forte, New York Jets (vs. Cincinnati Bengals)

I'm not saying Forte will be bad this year, or that he won't have productive weeks. But he's also 30 years old and was slowed down by injuries last season, and could find himself in a timeshare with Bilal Powell. Forte might be a flex-worthy gamble in PPR leagues, but until we see what the Jets' backfield workload looks like, he's too risky to trust in regular fantasy formats.

Justin Forsett, Baltimore Ravens (vs. Buffalo Bills)

It's been a bizarre week for Forsett, who was released at final roster cuts and re-signed with the Ravens just two days later, and the backfield still looks like a messy committee. Maybe Forsett will continue being the starter, but we'll believe it when we see it. With Terrance West and Buck Allen both threatening for touches, Forsett can't be trusted as a starter in 12-team leagues.