Week 2 of the fantasy season will go down as the running back apocalypse. The list of injuries to key players is staggering -- Adrian Peterson, Doug Martin, Arian Foster, Danny Woodhead, and Jonathan Stewart are all out for multiple weeks, if not the entire season.
This leaves fantasy owners in a lurch heading into Week 3. Do they roll with those players' backups, or look for some other options? We're here to help you out, or at least attempt to. Here are three running backs you should start, and three you should stay away from.
Christine Michael, Seattle Seahawks (vs. San Francisco 49ers)
Thomas Rawls is still hurting and listed as doubtful, which basically means he won't play. The Seahawks badly need a spark on offense with Russell Wilson banged up, so feeding Michael seems like the way to go. He was one of the few offensive players to show anything against the Rams last week. Finally getting a chance as the feature back, Michael is on the RB2 radar against the 49ers.
Charles Sims, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. Los Angeles Rams)
Martin is out with a hamstring injury, so the Bucs will see what they have in Sims, who's flashed big playmaking ability in limited action. Although the Rams still have a tough defense, Sims has pass-catching ability, which will make him a must-start in PPR leagues. In standard, he's more of a mid-level flex, but still worth starting in most leagues.
Melvin Gordon, San Diego Chargers (@ Indianapolis Colts)
Gordon's improvement appears to be for real, and now he's lost his biggest competition with Woodhead tearing his ACL. The Chargers will also be without Antonio Gates, so they could dial up a run-heavy gameplan against the Colts. Gordon could have one of his best games of the season this week.
Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. Denver Broncos)
Hill had a prime matchup last week, going against a middling Steelers defense in rain-soaked conditions. Instead, he had just 22 yards on 11 carries and it looks like Hill is going through another one of his dreaded dry patches. Now playing the Broncos' otherwordly defense this week, Hill is an easy sit.
Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers (@ Seahawks)
The Seahawks have problems, but their run defense isn't one of them -- they held Todd Gurley to just 51 yards on 19 carries. Hyde couldn't do anything against the Panthers last week and this looks to be another down performance. He's having a slow start to the year and can't be considered an every-week starter in fantasy.
Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota Vikings (@ Carolina Panthers)
With Peterson possibly done for the year, McKinnon is the next man up ... or is he? The Vikings still have Matt Asiata, who played the role of goal line vulture in 2014. Perhaps McKinnon gets more opportunity in his third season (Mike Zimmer is notorious for making rookies pay their dues), but we'll have to see how the committee shakes out first. He's too risky to use as your flex player against Carolina.