Week 1 of the fantasy football season is here. The action gets started with the Buffalo Bills taking on the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday, September 8. The first Monday Night Football game of the week will see the Denver Broncos facing off with the Seattle Seahawks. Even if you are coming out of your fantasy football drafts, you may not be starting everyone you thought you would be. As we take a look at the matchups in Week 1, here are three running backs to start and sit for your fantasy football lineups.
Running Back Starts
Mike Davis, Baltimore Ravens vs. New York Jets
This pick assumes that JK Dobbins misses the first game of the season. If Dobbins is active, throw him in here. Davis and Kenyan Drake will be acting as the fill-ins. Drake was acquired halfway through the preseason, while Davis had been with the team since free agency. The Jets gave up the most fantasy points to opposing running backs a year ago. Davis comes with a ton of upside if he is the starter on Sunday.
Melvin Gordon, Denver Broncos vs. Seattle Seahawks
Gordon hit free agency in the 2022 offseason but elected to return to the Broncos even if it meant being the backup. While the focus on Monday’s game will be Russell Wilkson returning to take on his former team, Gordon has a great matchup. Seattle gave up the second-most fantasy points to running backs last season. Despite Javonte Williams, Gordon has flex appeal this week and should be started.
Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Detroit Lions
Rounding out my starting running backs that conveniently all have first names that start with M, Sanders looks primed to play on Sunday. He should lead the new look Eagles offense for running backs. Quarterback Jalen Hurts will compete for yards on the ground, but this should help open up the passing game as well as Sanders. The Lions are the belle of the NFL with their appearance on Hard Knocks, but their defense gave up the third most fantasy points to running backs in 2021. It may come with a little risk, but fire up Sanders to kick off the season.
Running Back Sits
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants vs. Tennessee Titans
Barkley has fallen from fantasy relevancy by being part of the dumpster fire that is the New York Giants offense. He does have a higher floor than other running backs from his involvement in the passing game. Barkley will likely be in your lineup, but lower your expectations against the Titans defense. It’s a new year, but Tennessee is coming off a season where its defense gave up the fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs.
Cordarrelle Patterson, Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints
Patterson was likely the MVP of your fantasy squad. His ability to rack up yards on the ground and through receptions was unmatched. He returns as Atlanta’s lead running back, but for some reason, he doesn’t have as positive an outlook. Whether that is due to Marcus Mariota being under center or an overall dislike of the Falcons offense, it is what it is. Combine that with a Saints defense that gave up the second-fewest fantasy points to running backs last year, and it could be a slow start for Patterson.
Dameon Pierce, Houston Texans vs. Indianapolis Colts
No player experienced a meteoric rise in the preseason more than Pierce. The rookie was drafted out of Florida in the fourth round and is now expected to be the Week 1 starter for the Texans. The Houston offense is mid rebuild so he should actually have a decent season with the volume he will see. Unfortunately, his first taste of NFL action is a divisional game against the Colts. Their defense gave up the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs a year ago, making Pierce a set in his NFL debut.