Top Tier

Christian McCaffrey, CAR – First game back and immediately jumping on playing CMC? Yes, yes I am. He is the best running back in football, he is healthy, and he is ready to start putting up big numbers once again. We know he’s going to get a big workload, both on the ground and through the air. The best part about CMC is that not only does he have elite upside and can drop a huge total any given week, he’s got one the biggest floors of anyone. Even being priced as the top back, he’s still being priced a bit cheaper than he will be after the first week or two once we see him on the field and ballin’. We need to take advantage of the discount while we have it. 

Mid Tier

James Robinson, JAX – Robinson is a no-brainer play Week 1. With Etienne out and the Jags having nobody but a washed up Hyde to compete for touches, we can expect a massive workload for Robinson. Not only will the workload be massive, but it comes against the Texans defense (ranked dead last against running backs last season) and the Texans might be the worst team in the NFL this season, so game flow should also work in his favor. On top of that, Lawrence will be making his first career NFL start and you shouldn’t expect him to throw the ball 50 times, but you can expect some nice easy throws (which include check-downs) to boost the confidence. On top of all that he comes in at a very reasonable price tag. 

Joe Mixon, CIN – Mixon is very similar to Robinson for Week 1. With Bernard gone, Mixon is expected to take on a three-down role and get the most volume he’s ever received. He doesn’t have a QB making his NFL debut, but he does have a QB making his first start since tearing his ACL last season and you can expect the Bengals to try and ease him in a little bit and really get the ground game established with Mixon. He also has a good matchup as the Vikings ranked as one of the best matchups last season and look like they will be another solid matchup once again this season. And just like with J-Rob, the price tag is very reasonable and makes for one of the best value plays for Week 1 action. 

Value Tier

Melvin Gordon, DEN – I don’t love Gordon this year (or any year for that matter), but I do think he’s a solid and cheap play for Week 1 action. We all love Williams and expect him to be involved and eventually takeover the backfield, but the keyword there is eventually. This is Week 1 and Gordon is the lead back and he’s going to have to play his way out of (or Williams into) his role, but that’s not going to happen in the very first game and Gordon is going to see high volume this week. Not only will the volume be there, but the matchup is there as the Broncos take on the Giants who ranked as a strong matchup last season and don’t look like they will be a very good team on paper this season, so game flow should also work in Gordon’s favor. 

Chase Edmonds, ARZ – Edmonds makes for a fantastic dart throw in Week 1 at nearly the minimum price. With Drake out of the picture, Edmonds is expected to become the 1A option for the Cardinals and get passing work, while Conner becomes the 1B option and probably takes on the goal line and short yardage work. For that reason, I have more interest in him on DK with the full PPR than I would on FD with the half point. This is also a great matchup as the Titans defense is certainly not their strength (it’s their offense – if that wasn’t clear) and they ranked as one of the best matchups in the league last season for running backs. He is far from a sure-thing as we don’t fully know how the Cardinals breakdown of touches will work out, but he’s got upside. 


Saquon Barkley, NYG – Is he fully healthy? That’s a big question mark for me heading into Week 1. He is expected to play, but he hasn’t even been able to get into the full swing of things yet and it would be surprising to see him get full usage in Week 1 in his first game since tearing his ACL in Week 2 of last season. On top of that, the Giants offensive line is still terrible and PFF grades them as the WORST group in the entire league. This isn’t even a good matchup either as the Broncos are expected to have one of the best defenses in the league this season. And it’s not even like he’s cheap, being priced as the sixth-most expensive back on DK and fifth-most back on FD. Add it all up and this is just a whole lot of “No thanks!” for me.