Figuring out which running backs to start in Week 1 should be easy, but it's anything but this season. Because we missed out on the preseason and reporters had limited access to closed training camp sessions, we're sort of flying in the dark when it comes to a lot of the backfield situations around the league. Antonio Gibson could see a significant role in Week 1, for instance, or he could be limited to splitting pass down work with J.D. McKissic; similarly, Leonard Fournette could play a significant role in his Tampa Bay debut, or Ronald Jones could remain the go-to option for one more week. 

We just really don't know how things are going to play out in a lot of backfields. Which means you might need more help than usual with those tough lineup calls, and you've come to the right place for help. Jamey Eisenberg's Start 'Em & Sit 'Em calls at running back can help you find the answers for Week 1, and don't forget to check out Heath Cummings' running back preview for matchup notes, key stats, projections, and more. 

START 'EM & SIT 'EM
Running Backs
Start 'Em
Projections powered by Sportsline
SF San Francisco • #31
Age: 28 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs ARI SF -7 O/U 47.5
OPP VS RB
20th
PROJ PTS
10
RB RNK
19th
2019 Stats
RUYDS
772
REC
14
REYDS
180
TD
10
FPTS/G
10.3
Mostert is expected to share touches with Tevin Coleman and Jerick McKinnon, but Mostert should still be the lead rusher this week against the Cardinals. He closed last season with a touchdown in six games in a row, and he has a good chance to find the end zone again this week. Anything he does in the passing game will be a bonus.
IND Indianapolis • #25
Age: 24 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ JAC IND -8 O/U 45
OPP VS RB
30th
PROJ PTS
11.2
RB RNK
22nd
2019 Stats
RUYDS
1091
REC
14
REYDS
82
TD
8
FPTS/G
12.9
I'm going with Mack over Jonathan Taylor if you rostered both, but I have no problem starting both Colts running backs this week against the Jaguars. The Colts offensive line should dominate the Jaguars defense up front, and Mack and Taylor should each get enough touches to be successful. It wouldn't be a surprise if Mack and Taylor each scored touchdowns in this matchup.
CHI Chicago • #29
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ DET DET -3 O/U 44.5
OPP VS RB
25th
PROJ PTS
14
RB RNK
17th
2019 Stats
RUYDS
213
REC
79
REYDS
456
TD
3
FPTS/G
10.2
We'll find out the status for David Montgomery (groin) by the end of the week, but Cohen should play a prominent role regardless. And if Montgomery is out, hopefully Cohen gets some additional carries on top of his work in the passing game. Cohen has scored a touchdown in three of his past four games against the Lions, and he's a must-start running back in PPR. In non-PPR leagues, Cohen is a high-end flex.
NE New England • #28
Age: 28 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs MIA NE -6.5 O/U 43
OPP VS RB
24th
PROJ PTS
11.7
RB RNK
25th
2019 Stats
RUYDS
263
REC
72
REYDS
645
TD
6
FPTS/G
13.3
Damien Harris (hand) is on injured reserve, and reports are Sony Michel could be limited with his snaps as he continues to work his way back from offseason foot surgery. White is the only Patriots running back to trust, and he should be good against the Dolphins. He's scored a touchdown in three of his past four meetings against Miami, and hopefully Cam Newton leans on White the same way Tom Brady did.
BUF Buffalo • #20
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs NYJ BUF -6.5 O/U 39.5
OPP VS RB
7th
PROJ PTS
8.7
RB RNK
29th
I'm going with Moss over Devin Singletary as the Buffalo running back to trust this week against the Jets. Both are expected to play a lot, and I would prefer to use Moss as just a high-end flex option if possible. But all the reports in training camp indicate Moss has earned a prominent role, while Singletary has struggled. We'll see what Buffalo has planned, but I like the outlook for Moss, especially in a game the Bills should win.
Sleepers
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WAS Washington • #24
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs PHI PHI -6 O/U 42.5
OPP VS RB
6th
PROJ PTS
7.8
RB RNK
28th
We'll see how the Washington Football Team uses its backfield in Week 1, but Gibson should get quality playing time, especially if the team is chasing points. I like Gibson as a high-end flex, especially in PPR.
KC Kansas City • #31
Age: 25 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs HOU KC -9 O/U 54.5
OPP VS RB
32nd
PROJ PTS
5.4
RB RNK
34th
2019 Stats
RUYDS
141
REC
15
REYDS
167
TD
4
FPTS/G
5.6
Clyde Edwards-Helaire should be the star of this backfield, but Williams will get work against the Texans. He had three games in 2019 with at least 10 total touches, and he scored at least 12 PPR points in each outing.
JAC Jacksonville • #34
Age: 30 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs IND IND -8 O/U 45
OPP VS RB
9th
PROJ PTS
6
RB RNK
36th
2019 Stats
RUYDS
138
REC
42
REYDS
378
TD
0
FPTS/G
8.4
While James Robinson is getting all the hype, Thompson should lead the Jaguars running backs in snaps this week, with the team likely chasing points. Thompson is a good flex option in PPR against the Colts, who led all teams with receptions allowed to running backs in 2019.
DEN Denver • #30
Age: 26 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs TEN TEN -2.5 O/U 40.5
OPP VS RB
28th
PROJ PTS
10.1
RB RNK
35th
2019 Stats
RUYDS
1011
REC
35
REYDS
196
TD
7
FPTS/G
12.3
I'm curious to see how the Broncos are going to use Melvin Gordon and Lindsay against the Titans, but all reports indicate it could be a 50-50 split. As such, I'll still use Lindsay as at least a flex option this week.
PHI Philadelphia • #35
Age: 25 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ WAS PHI -6 O/U 42.5
OPP VS RB
27th
PROJ PTS
7.6
RB RNK
39th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
245
REC
24
REYDS
204
TD
5
FPTS/G
8.7
I'm hopeful Miles Sanders (hamstring) is going to be 100 percent this week, but Scott should have a prominent role no matter what happens with Sanders. Scott closed last season with at least 13 PPR points in three of his final four games, including Week 15 at Washington. Scott is a solid flex option in Week 1.
Sit 'Em
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TB Tampa Bay • #28
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ NO NO -3.5 O/U 49
OPP VS RB
11th
PROJ PTS
6.4
RB RNK
44th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
1152
REC
76
REYDS
522
TD
3
FPTS/G
17.3
Fournette might end up as the best running back for the Buccaneers this season, but it's hard to trust him this week against the Saints. He's had little practice time with the team, and Ronald Jones should lead the backfield in snaps, with LeSean McCoy mixing in, likely on passing downs. I'd be hesitant to play Jones as well, but I'd lean toward Jones over Fournette against New Orleans.
LAR L.A. Rams • #23
Age: 21 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs DAL DAL -3 O/U 51.5
OPP VS RB
12th
PROJ PTS
11.4
RB RNK
40th
2019 Stats
RUYDS
0
REC
0
REYDS
0
TD
0
FPTS/G
0
Even if Darrell Henderson (hamstring) doesn't play this week, it could be hard to trust Akers against the Cowboys since the Rams plan to play Malcolm Brown as well. I'm hopeful that I'm wrong on this one, and Akers comes out with a dominant performance to establish himself as the lead running back for the Rams this year. But the safe play is to keep him reserved in most leagues and just see what he does in his NFL debut.
DET Detroit • #32
Age: 21 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs CHI DET -3 O/U 44.5
OPP VS RB
14th
PROJ PTS
7.6
RB RNK
46th
Swift is in a similar scenario to Akers in that he could be hard to trust in his NFL debut. The Lions will start Kerryon Johnson, and we'll see if newly signed Adrian Peterson plays as well. Swift also has been banged up in training camp with a leg injury, and he might not be 100 percent. Long-term, I love the outlook for Swift, but I'd keep him reserved in Week 1 against the Bears in most leagues.
MIA Miami • #34
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ NE NE -6.5 O/U 43
OPP VS RB
2nd
PROJ PTS
6.8
RB RNK
32nd
YTD Stats
RUYDS
525
REC
10
REYDS
69
TD
7
FPTS/G
11
The Patriots defense might not be as stout in 2020 as it was in 2019, but I still expect New England to be tough against the run. Last year, the Patriots allowed just two total touchdowns to running backs, and Howard will likely need to score to have a successful week. He'll also be sharing touches with Matt Breida, who should have more opportunities than Howard in the passing game. At best, use Howard as a flex option in non-PPR leagues.
CLE Cleveland • #27
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ BAL BAL -8 O/U 48.5
OPP VS RB
4th
PROJ PTS
8
RB RNK
24th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
179
REC
37
REYDS
285
TD
3
FPTS/G
12.5
Hunt is more of a bust alert than an outright sit, and I'm fine using him as a flex option this week. But this is a tough matchup against the Ravens on the road, and he struggled against them in Week 16 last year at home with two carries for 8 yards, as well as four catches for 33 yards. I'm curious to see how the workload is split between Hunt and Nick Chubb this season, but Chubb should still lead the Browns in carries this week. Hunt should have a prominent role in the passing game, but Baltimore allowed the fewest receptions to running backs in 2019.
Bust Alert
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KC Kansas City • #26
Age: 28 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ BUF BUF -6.5 O/U 39.5
OPP VS RB
15th
PROJ PTS
12
RB RNK
23rd
YTD Stats
RUYDS
789
REC
66
REYDS
461
TD
4
FPTS/G
14.3
Bell had a great Fantasy outing against the Bills in Week 1 last year in Buffalo with 17 carries for 60 yards, along with six catches for 32 yards and a touchdown. If I knew he was getting 23 total touches again this week then he wouldn't be in this spot, but who knows what Adam Gase has planned when it comes to Bell and Frank Gore. Bell is still worth using in most leagues as a low-end starter or flex, but I have little confidence in him to succeed, especially in a tough matchup. This feels like a game the Bills can dominate, and Bell could struggle if his workload is limited.