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USATSI

We get a quarterback showcase Thursday night with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs at Arrowhead against Justin Herbert and the Chargers. Austin Ekeler had a quiet Week 1 like many other top backs, but there's not much doubt about starting those guys.

It will be our objective to find you the running backs you'll want to move in and out of your lineups based on matchups every week. Playing matchups is key, and we're here to find you the perfect path to a winning 2022. 

START 'EM & SIT 'EM
Running Backs
RBs to Start
Projections powered by Sportsline
NE New England • #24
Age: 25 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ DET DET -1.5 O/U 49
OPP VS RB
28th
PROJ PTS
13.6
RB RNK
15th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
58
REC
7
REYDS
72
TD
0
FPTS/G
20
Antonio Gibson will be a quality starter for as long as Brian Robinson Jr. (knee) remains out, which will be for at least three more games. In Week 1 against Jacksonville, Gibson had 14 carries for 58 yards, along with seven catches for 72 yards on eight targets. That's tremendous production, and it's great to see him so heavily involved in the passing game. The Lions run defense allowed 216 yards and four touchdowns to the Eagles in Week 1, so Gibson has top-10 upside in all leagues for Week 2.
CLE Cleveland • #27
Age: 28 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs NYJ CLE -6 O/U 40
OPP VS RB
6th
PROJ PTS
14.1
RB RNK
23rd
YTD Stats
RUYDS
46
REC
4
REYDS
24
TD
2
FPTS/G
23
Kareem Hunt should be viewed as a must-start running back in all leagues even though he's the No. 2 option in Cleveland's backfield behind Nick Chubb. In Week 1 at Carolina, Hunt had 11 carries for 46 yards and a touchdown, along with four catches for 24 yards and a touchdown on four targets. Hopefully he continues to get around 15 total touches per week, and he should return value as a top 20 Fantasy option in all leagues if that's the case.
LAR L.A. Rams • #27
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs ATL LAR -10.5 O/U 47.5
OPP VS RB
2nd
PROJ PTS
13.2
RB RNK
17th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
47
REC
5
REYDS
26
TD
0
FPTS/G
12.3
We'll see if Darrell Henderson continues to dominate playing time over Cam Akers, but the Rams definitely favored Henderson in Week 1 against Buffalo. He had 13 carries for 47 yards, along with five catches for 26 yards on five targets. Akers, meanwhile, had three carries for no yards and wasn't involved in the passing game. The Rams are heavy favorites at home (-10.5) against the Falcons, and Henderson should have the opportunity for several scoring chances as the lead running back in Los Angeles.
GB Green Bay • #28
Age: 25 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs CHI GB -10 O/U 42.5
OPP VS RB
3rd
PROJ PTS
12.9
RB RNK
16th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
45
REC
5
REYDS
46
TD
1
FPTS/G
20.1
Dillon was the best offensive player for the Packers in Week 1 against the Vikings, and he should have the chance for another quality outing in Week 2 against the Bears. This should be a game where both Packers running backs produce at a high level with Dillon and Aaron Jones, and Dillon is worth trusting as a No. 2 running back in all leagues. Against the Vikings, Dillon had 10 carries for 45 yards and a touchdown, along with five catches for 46 yards on six targets, and we hope that involvement in the passing game continues all year.
CAR Carolina • #6
Age: 26 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs MIN PHI -2.5 O/U 50.5
OPP VS RB
26th
PROJ PTS
10.8
RB RNK
21st
YTD Stats
RUYDS
96
REC
2
REYDS
9
TD
1
FPTS/G
18.5
Sanders looked great against the Lions in Week 1 with 13 carries for 96 yards and a touchdown, along with two catches for 9 yards on two targets. He might not like Fantasy Football, but Fantasy managers will love Sanders if he continues to produce like this. I like Kenneth Gainwell as a sleeper in this game, but Sanders is worth starting as a No. 2 Fantasy running back in all leagues. This should be a fun game on Monday night, and hopefully Sanders can find the end zone for the second time in as many weeks.
Sleepers (Start/Sit)
Projections powered by Sportsline
ARI Arizona • #22
Age: 24 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ CLE CLE -6 O/U 40
OPP VS RB
9th
PROJ PTS
10.4
RB RNK
24th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
60
REC
7
REYDS
40
TD
0
FPTS/G
17
I didn't want to believe that Michael Carter would be the best Jets running back to start the season, but that's what happened in Week 1 against Baltimore. And it should continue in Week 2 at Cleveland, with Carter getting more work than Breece Hall. Against the Ravens, Carter had 10 carries for 60 yards, along with seven catches for 40 yard on nine targets. Hall had six carries for 43 yards and six catches for 38 yards on 10 targets, but Carter is the preferred option now and worth using as a flex against the Browns.
TB Tampa Bay • #22
Age: 28 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ BAL BAL -3.5 O/U 44.5
OPP VS RB
20th
PROJ PTS
12
RB RNK
25th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
25
REC
4
REYDS
40
TD
0
FPTS/G
10.5
Chase Edmonds didn't have a big game against the Patriots in Week 1 with 12 carries for 25 yards, along with four catches for 40 yards on four targets. He played more than Raheem Mostert, which should continue, and Edmonds could be a huge factor in the passing game this week. The Ravens just allowed Michael Carter and Breece Hall to combine for 13 catches for 78 yards on 19 targets in Week 1, so hopefully the Dolphins lean on Edmonds through the air in Week 2.
JAC Jacksonville • #1
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs IND IND -4 O/U 45
OPP VS RB
11th
PROJ PTS
11.2
RB RNK
28th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
47
REC
2
REYDS
18
TD
0
FPTS/G
8.5
Travis Etienne might take a backseat to James Robinson after what happened in Week 1 at Washington, but I don't expect Etienne to go away. He's worth using as at least a flex option in PPR this week against the Colts. Against the Commanders, Etienne had just four carries for 47 yards, along with two catches for 18 yards on four targets. He had a fumble, but the Jaguars recovered it, and Etienne could have caught a touchdown pass from Trevor Lawrence with a better throw. Robinson remains a flex play also, and hopefully both Jacksonville running backs can have success against the Colts at home.
CLE Cleveland
Age: 27 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ JAC IND -4 O/U 45
OPP VS RB
21st
PROJ PTS
9.4
RB RNK
32nd
YTD Stats
RUYDS
4
REC
6
REYDS
50
TD
0
FPTS/G
11.4
Nyheim Hines had what will likely be a typical stat line in Week 1 at the Texans as long as Jonathan Taylor is healthy with three carries for 4 yards, along with six catches for 50 yards on six targets. In PPR leagues, that's a good flex option, and he might see his role expand in the passing game if Alec Pierce (concussion) is out this week against the Jaguars. Jacksonville also just allowed Washington's Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic to catch 10 passes for 92 yards on 11 targets, which bodes well for Hines in this matchup.
MIA Miami • #23
Age: 28 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs SEA SF -9.5 O/U 41.5
OPP VS RB
22nd
PROJ PTS
9.9
RB RNK
30th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
22
REC
2
REYDS
8
TD
0
FPTS/G
5
The 49ers will start Jeff Wilson at running back this week with Elijah Mitchell (knee) out, but coach Kyle Shanahan said the team will use a hot-hand approach against the Seahawks. That could mean Wilson, Tyrion Davis-Price or Jordan Mason, but we also know Deebo Samuel and Trey Lance will get carries as well. It could get messy, but Wilson still has flex appeal as the starter. And the Seahawks are bad against pass-catching running backs -- Javonte Williams just had 11 catches for 65 yards on 12 targets in Week 1 -- and Wilson should have an edge over Davis-Price and Mason in that area.
RBs to Sit
Projections powered by Sportsline
NE New England • #15
Age: 28 • Experience: 8 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs CIN CIN -7.5 O/U 41.5
OPP VS RB
5th
PROJ PTS
12.4
RB RNK
27th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
52
REC
1
REYDS
-3
TD
0
FPTS/G
6.2
I was concerned about Ezekiel Elliott before Dak Prescott (thumb) got hurt in Week 1 against Tampa Bay, and now Elliott is just a flex for Week 2 against the Bengals. The Cowboys offensive line isn't as stout with Tyron Smith (hamstring) out, and Cooper Rush isn't going to enhance Elliott's value. Against the Buccaneers, Elliott ran well with 10 carries for 52 yards, but he had just one catch for minus-3 yards. I can see plenty of games with empty production for Elliott moving forward, and he's not a must-start running back in the majority of leagues.
HOU Houston • #31
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ DEN DEN -10 O/U 45
OPP VS RB
1st
PROJ PTS
8.7
RB RNK
39th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
33
REC
1
REYDS
6
TD
0
FPTS/G
4.9
I'm still hopeful that Dameon Pierce will be the best running back for the Texans, but Week 1 was not a good start for his Fantasy managers. He took a backseat to Rex Burkhead against the Colts as Burkhead had 14 carries for 40 yards, along with five catches for 30 yards on eight targets. Pierce had 11 carries for 33 yards and one catch for 6 yards on one target, but he needs more volume. Now, Lovie Smith said Pierce will get more work moving forward, but we need to see it first. As such, consider Pierce just a flex option in most leagues for Week 2.
MIN Minnesota • #31
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs ATL LAR -10.5 O/U 46
OPP VS RB
2nd
PROJ PTS
9.1
RB RNK
48th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
0
REC
0
REYDS
0
TD
0
FPTS/G
0
Cam Akers can't be used in the majority of leagues right now until we see evidence that he's back in the good graces of Sean McVay. His usage -- or lack thereof with just three total touches in Week 1 against Buffalo -- was reportedly not health related, so hopefully Akers had a good week of practice. For now, treat Darrell Henderson as the lead running back for the Rams, and Akers is more like a handcuff. It might take a Henderson injury for Akers to get back on the field in a featured role.
NYG N.Y. Giants • #26
Age: 26 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs TEN BUF -10 O/U 49
OPP VS RB
27th
PROJ PTS
10
RB RNK
35th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
48
REC
2
REYDS
14
TD
0
FPTS/G
8.2
We'll see how the Bills use their running backs in Week 2 against the Titans, but it will be tough to trust Devin Singletary when Zack Moss and potentially James Cook are all getting work. In Week 1 against the Rams, Singletary looked the best with eight carries for 48 yards, but he only had two catches for 14 yards on two targets. Moss had six carries for 15 yards, but he had six catches for 21 yards on six targets. Cook had one carry for 2 yards and lost a fumble, so we'll see what happens with him. It's too messy for me, and Singletary is only a flex option in most leagues for Week 2.
BUF Buffalo • #22
Age: 27 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ PIT NE -2 O/U 40
OPP VS RB
23rd
PROJ PTS
10.5
RB RNK
38th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
48
REC
2
REYDS
10
TD
0
FPTS/G
7.8
Ty Montgomery (knee) being placed on injured reserve should be a benefit for Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson, and we'll see how the Patriots use either one -- or both -- in the passing game. I'd give a slight lean toward Stevenson as a pass catcher, but Harris did have two catches for 10 yards on three targets in Week 1 at Miami. You might want to avoid both until we see what happens, and the Steelers defense should be able to contain this Patriots attack. For now, consider Harris just a flex option in the majority of leagues.
Bust Alert (Start/Sit)
Projections powered by Sportsline
DET Detroit • #5
Age: 26 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ GB GB -10 O/U 42.5
OPP VS RB
12th
PROJ PTS
12.7
RB RNK
26th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
26
REC
3
REYDS
24
TD
0
FPTS/G
8
I'm starting to fear that David Montgomery could be a bust for the full season after what happened in Week 1 against the 49ers. The concerns over the offensive line were more than justified, and Khalil Herbert looked like the better Bears running back. Against San Francisco, Montgomery had 17 carries for 26 yards, along with three catches for 24 yards on four targets. Herbert had nine carries for 45 yards and a touchdown and one catch for minus-2 yards. We'll see how both do against the Packers, but Montgomery should be considered a flex option at best. Hopefully, he does well so we can start him with confidence moving forward.