The first two weeks of the NFL Season have raised some questions about the fantasy value of some prominent running backs in the league. Still, there hasn’t been much change at the top of the RB boards. The most notable changes are the breakout of Carlos Hyde and the amazingly fast fantasy collapse of DeMarco Murray.
A shaky week one performance might have had some AP owners worried, but a dominating week two (192 yards on 31 touches) made it clear that he is still an elite fantasy running back. Teddy Bridgewater is improving, but Peterson is still the center of Minnesota’s offense. They will continue to lean on him, and he will continue to produce.
DeAngelo Williams was arguably the best fantasy RB of the first two weeks (204 yards and 3 TDs). Some might be concerned that his success hurts Bell’s value. What it really shows, though, is just how good the Steelers run game should be. Bell comes back in week three and, despite DeAngelo’s success, Bell is going to get most of the carries. Don’t forget that Bell had over 2,200 total yards and 11 TDs last season.
Charles had two terrible fumbles in week two, but he is still a clear fantasy stud. He’s obviously the cornerstone of the Chiefs’ offense. He has already racked up 182 yards on the ground, and the Chiefs always keep him involved in the passing game.
Lacy seems optimistic about the possibility of playing next week. Assuming he is right, or he at worse he only misses one game, lacy is as solid of back as there is in the league. He closed last season out with 9 straight games with over 100 total yards, and in the Packers high-powered offense he always has a chance to score.
Hyde is also dealing with an injury (thigh contusion), but it doesn’t look like he will miss any time because of it. Despite missing most of the second half, Hyde is still on pace for over 1,600 yards. That number may be inflated because of his huge week one, but he is the primary back on what will be a run first offense. He should be on his way for a big season, and week one has already shown how high his upside is.
Seattle is off to a rough start, and so is Marshawn Lynch. It is too early to panic on him. He has not played at home yet this season, where he rushed for 11 of his 13 TDs last year. Seattle should start to win some games, and win they do we can expect Lynch’s workload and production to increase. If he struggles against a terrible Bears defense next week, then consider panicking.
Forte had a great week one and solid week two. The fact that back up Jeremy Langford got a whole series last week is concerning, but Forte is still a solid RB1. He is still highly involved in the passing game, and new coach John Fox is going to continue to give him plenty of carries (especially with Cutler out). Forte’s early season yards per carry average is up from his career low last year of 3.9 to 5.2. At almost 30 years old his career may start to decline soon, but there is no indication that it will be this season.
After week two it looks like Shady McCoy is getting healthy and going to be getting plenty of work. He is one of the most talented backs in the league when healthy, but there is still a question about whether his hamstring will hold up. McCoy rushed for 1,319 yards behind a questionable offensive line in Philly last year. If the hamstring holds up, this should be another big season for the winner of the 2013 rushing title.
The Texans offense desperately needs Arian Foster to come back. Admittedly, the first two games have been against stout defenses, but their leading rusher right now has only 60 yards. Foster played 13 games last season and was held under 100 total yards only twice. He was also second in rushing yards per game last year. When Foster comes back he should be the center of this offense again.
Last week fumbles landed Hill on the bench watching Gio Bernard show out. Still, indications are that Hill will resume his role as the early down back next week and his upside is very high. He had a great rookie season going over 1,100 yards and averaging over 5 yards per carry. His role was not expanded until week eight last season. Even with a sluggish start, with an expanded role for a full season it is a good bet that Hill will at least match his production from last year.