Running Backs are always some of the most highly sought after players in all of fantasy football. The reason being there are significantly less truly stand out RBs in the NFL than there are WRs; especially this year.
Unfortunately, the pickings become even slimmer when matchups come into play. One RB that everyone has been talking about this pre-season is BenJarvus Green-Ellis. In 2011, he managed 11 TDs with The Patriots. When Tom Brady wasn’t busy throwing goal line passes to Gronkowski or sneaking the ball in himself, he was handing the ball off to Green-Ellis. Now with The Bengals, everyone assumes BenJarvus will be even better. Unfortunately, “The Law Firm” might have to wait until week two to start making a case for being an every week starter; the Ravens are not exactly easy to run against.
How does that song go? Something like:
“Well you just drafted me,
and this is crazy,
I play the Ravens,
so bench me maybe.”
Moving on to another highly touted RB this pre-season: Cedric Benson. Does anyone remember last year when the 49ers defensive line was the Nokia phone of the NFL? Seriously, have you ever tried to break one of those things? Anyway, just last year, Benson had the misfortune of playing against the 49ers and managed 17 carries for 64 yards without a TD. That was when he played for a team that LIKED running the football. Sure, Aaron Rodgers might be forced to hand the football off every once in a while, but when a team as pass happy as The Packers goes up against one of the best run defenses in the NFL, there is absolutely no reason you should expect big things from the RB.
Then there’s Beanie Wells. The Seahawks were one of the best run defenses in the NFL in 2011 and with Ryan Williams fighting him for carries now, it’s unlikely we’ll see anything worth a start in week 1. He may have scored 10 TDs last year, but three of those came in a single game against The Giants and that was one of only two games in which he rushed for over 100 yards last year.
So who can you start? Someone typically drafted after both Green-Ellis and Benson that’s worth a look is Stevan Ridley. Ridley faces off against a Titans team that finished in the bottom third of the NFL in rush defense. The starting job is his to lose in New England for now so he’ll be playing his heart out. Michael Bush is also worth a look if you’re in need of a flex. Going up against The Colts, Matt Forte is sure to get the bulk of the carries, but whenever The Bears get close to the endzone, and they’ll probably be there a few times this Sunday, they’ll turn to Bush for support.
Finally, now that Maurice Jones-Drew has finally swallowed his pride and come back to The Jaguars, I believe he’s worth a week 1 start, but not for his running ability. Jennings has already been announced as the starter, but The Vikings aren’t going to be opening any doors for him, so when it’s 3rd down, that will give MJD a chance to shine. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends the day as The Jaguars’ leading receiver despite only running the ball 5-10 times. Don’t count on him for RB1 numbers this week, but as an RB2, I’d still start him ahead of Jennings.