1. LaDainian Tomlinson (SD) – In spite of a jammed toe and coming off a sub par week 1 by L.T. standards, he remains the best RB option in all of fantasy football. Tomlinson has gone for over 100 total yards in each of his last 4 games against Denver. Check injury report: toe
2. Adrian Peterson (MIN) – He should have plenty of opportunities to shine in week 2 against an Indianapolis run defense that looked a bit shaky against the Bears. As always, Peterson is a no brainer for your starting fantasy roster.
3. Brian Westbrook (PHI) – It is not so much what Westbrook offers fantasy owners on the ground this week in a tough match up at Dallas, as it is what he offers as a receiver. In 2 games last season against the Cowboys, Westbrook accounted for a staggering 23 receptions for 153 yards. He should be especially productive in that area again in week 2 and is a must have in your starting line up.
4. Ryan Grant (GB) – After seeing what Michael Turner did to the Lions defense in week 1, how could you not have Grant in your starting line up as a RB1 for week 2? Grant averaged 7.5 yards per carry in 2 games against Detroit last season. He was also able to find the end zone in each of those contests. If his sore hamstring is a non issue, a potential monster outing awaits Grant in week 2. Check injury report: hamstring
5. Larry Johnson (KC) – He didn’t exactly light it up in week 1, but then again, he wasn’t really expected to against a tough New England D on the road. Week 2 is a different story as expectations soar against a Raiders defense in which Johnson has been dominant against over the last 2 seasons. In his last 3 contests against Oakland, Johnson has rushed for 401 yards and 4 TD’s. This will likely be his best fantasy match up all season, so start him with confidence.
6. Frank Gore (SF) – Needless to say, he is the San Francisco offense. Gore should be in for another strong week as the go to guy in this offense. While he typically plays well against the Seahawks from a yardage standpoint, he has only managed to find pay dirt 1 time in his last 4 games against them, but the Seattle defense didn’t look as strong as usual in week 1, and there is a good chance Gore could break his scoring drought in Seattle.
7. Willie Parker (PIT) – Parker stunned the fantasy football community in week 1 by rushing for 3 TD’s. That is 1 more TD than he had all of last season on the ground. If the coaches continue to give him the ball in the red zone, Parker could be in for a monster year. Regardless, a week 2 match up at Cleveland is too good to pass up. Parker has rushed for 437 yards in his last 3 games against them, exceeding the coveted 100 yard rushing mark in each game.
8. Brandon Jacobs (NYG) – Despite 0 Td’s in week 1, Jacobs looked strong, rushing for 116 yards and a 5.5 ypc average against the Redskins. He should be able to run up, through, and around a soft Rams run defense in week 2. He is also a strong candidate to find pay dirt in this match up.
9. Clinton Portis (WAS) – After a mediocre week 1, we fully expect Portis to bounce back with a strong week 2 campaign. He rarely puts up flashy numbers, but his consistency is rock solid. Portis should be able to do some damage against what looks to be a shaky Saints run defense that allowed 7.3 yards per carry in week 1, second worst in the NFL behind only the Lions.
10. Michael Turner (ATL) – The question you have to ask yourself here is Turner really that good or is the Lions defense just that bad? We think it is probably a little bit of both, but you will soon find out when Turner faces a stingy Tampa Bay defense in week 2 on the road. If he turns in a performance even half as good as that of week 1, well my friend, you have just discovered gold on your fantasy roster. He is not a lock as of yet, but after last week, you would have to be huffing paint to leave him off of your starting roster.
11. Reggie Bush (NO) – As usual, Bush had a very mediocre outing last week against the Bucs on the ground, but he put up top shelf numbers in the receiving department. Bush hauled in 8 passes for 112 yards and a score. With the Saints go to WR Marques Colston expected to be out 4 to 6 weeks, Bush’s receiving skills will be needed more than ever. Expect more of the same from him as he will be heavily relied upon in week 2 at Washington. He is a must start, especially in reception heavy leagues.
12. Earnest Graham (TB) – Considering he only had 10 carries in week 1, Graham’s 91 yards rushing was very impressive. When you also consider that he totaled 227 yards and 2 TD’s against the Falcons in 2 games last season, Graham should be in your starting line up for week 2. Bucs Head Coach John Gruden all but promised that Graham would be much more involved in the offense moving forward, so the 10 carries in week 1 was probably a fluke, although back up Warrick Dunn will probably steal a few touches here and there. Graham should prove that he was not a one year wonder, and he will look to begin that quest in week 2.
13. Marshawn Lynch (BUF) – He had a solid week 1 totaling 94 yards and a TD. He will have a more difficult week 2 match up at Jacksonville. The Jags typically play tough against the run, but they are vulnerable against speedy backs like Lynch off the edges, as the Titan’s Chris Johnson proved last week against them. It’s not an optimal week for Lynch, but he is always capable, and should be on your starting roster.
14. Joseph Addai (IND) – He is not listed on the injury report, but Addai left last week’s game pre maturely after suffering a head injury, presumably a concussion. As of now, he should play this week, but stay posted. If he does play, Addai will face a hard nosed Vikings run defense in week 2. If Manning and company can get it into the red zone, and they should, Addai has TD potential against any defense, but do not expect his typical output this week at Minnesota.
15. Marion Barber (DAL) – He was one of week 1’s better fantasy backs totaling 101 yards and 2 TD’s in spite of a rib injury which forced him out of action in the second half. The rib injury will probably be a non factor heading into week 2, but the Eagles defense is another story entirely. Barber has only managed to muster up 113 yards rushing in his last 4 games against the Eagles, which comes out to a sad 28 yards per game. He also hasn’t faired particularly well against them in the reception or TD department either, which is usually a strong suit of his. Barber is plenty talented and capable of lighting up anyone, but this Eagles defense looked better than ever shutting down Steven Jackson last week, and Barber will have his work cut out for him. Check injury report: ribs
16. Steven Jackson (STL) – Jackson was all but shut down in week 1 against the Eagles. The week 2 match up against a Giants team that shut down Clinton Portis last week does not look to be much better. The bottom line is that if Jackson doesn’t get going early, chances are he will struggle. The Ram’s offense looked awful last week, and if they have to continue to abandon the running game playing from behind, that could be bad news for Jackson all season. He is still a stud caliber fantasy RB, but he is going to need some help. Jackson remains a must start, but lower your expectations so long as the Rams offense continues to struggle.
17. Chris Johnson (TEN) – Johnson more than lived up to the hype rushing for 93 yards on just 15 carries while adding 3 catches for 34 yards and a TD in his first ever NFL game. The fact that he did it against a top flight Jaguars defense is even more impressive. Now he has to prove he can be explosive on a consistent basis, and week 2 against a soft Bengals defense is a great place to start. The sky is the limit for this rookie and this match up bodes well for him. If you have room on your starting fantasy roster, fit him in.
18. Matt Forte (CHI) – While we are not 100% sold on him, first impressions are that this kid is a real deal fantasy RB. Forte rushed for 123 yards and a TD against what is thought to be a fairly stout Colts defense. The week 2 match up looked very promising as well, that is until the Panthers were able to hold super stud LaDainian Tomlinson in check in his own back yard in week 1. The Carolina defense may prove to be a tough test for Forte after all, but we still like his chances for a solid afternoon.
19. Julius Jones (SEA) – Typically, we would never suggest using Jones in your fantasy line up, but under the circumstances, he is not a bad option for week 2. With Maurice Morris out with a knee injury, Jones will get his shot as the Seahawks feature back. When you consider that Seattle’s WR corps is decimated by injuries and will have to rely heavily on the run this week, and the fact that the match up against the 49ers is a good one; it kind of makes sense that Jones could be in for a solid fantasy performance.
20. Thomas Jones (NYJ) – As expected, Jones had a strong opening week against the Dolphins rushing for over 100 yards and a TD. This week against New England will be his first real test. Jones was awful in both games against the Patriots last season, but this offense is much improved over last year’s edition. You should lower your expectations for week 2, but Jones is worthy of a look as a RB2 or flex option.
21. Kevin Smith (DET) – He didn’t open his NFL career with an explosive performance rushing for only 48 yards on 16 carries, but he did manage to find the end zone, and was effective in the passing game. Smith’s opportunities were limited as the Lions had to abandon the run, trailing most of their week 1 game against the Falcons. You can probably expect a similar situation in week 2 when the Lions face off against the high powered Packers. We think he will be more useful as a pass catcher out of the backfield than as a RB in week 2, but he has the potential for decent numbers.
22. Maurice Jones-Drew (JAX) – Jones-Drew’s horrible week 1 performance does not come as much of a surprise when you consider the opponent was Tennessee and his track record against them. He has a tradition of starting slow, never eclipsing 32 rushing yards in his first 2 games in any of his 3 NFL seasons. You have to expect that he will rebound at home against Buffalo, but the Bills defense also looks tough. Also, he will be working behind a make shift offensive line after a series of injuries. The deck is certainly stacked against him, but it would be difficult to leave his level of talent on your bench.
23. Justin Fargas (OAK) – Despite an embarrassing loss to Denver, Fargas was one of the few bright spots for the Raiders offense. He was expected to be outshined by rookie phenom Darren McFadden, but it did not happen. If Fargas can keep McFadden on the bench this week, it could be a big one for him against a porous Kansas City defense. Fargas rushed for 139 yards and a TD against the Chiefs last season. He is a bit risky with McFadden waiting in the wings to steal carries, but it is a gamble that could pay off nicely given the match up.
24. Edgerrin James (ARI) – While James is still a solid back in terms of yardage if the match up is right, his days of finding pay dirt are pretty much over. He managed to hit the magic 100 yard mark in week 1, but lost out on all goal line carries to rookie Tim Hightower. With another nice match up awaiting him at home against the Dolphins, 100 + yards is a strong possibility, but the chances for a TD are slim and none.
25. DeAngelo Williams (CAR) – If week 1 was any indication, it appears Williams will continue to get the majority of the carries in this offense, at least for now. He looked fairly solid in week 1 against a tough defense, and will face another big test this week against a Bears defense that held Joseph Addai in check last week. He has potential for success, but he is not your safest fantasy option for week 2 under the circumstances.
26. Darren McFadden (OAK) – He didn’t blow anyone away with his week 1 performance, but in all fairness he only had 9 carries, and left the game with a shoulder issue. McFadden should be more of a factor in week 2 against a soft Chiefs defense, but it will come down to how many touches he gets. It appears the Raiders are still leaning more on Justin Fargas for now. McFadden could break out this week, but if you have more reliable options, you might want to take another week to see how McFadden progresses.
27. LenDale White (TEN) – He should continue with a prominent role in the Titans offense, especially in goal line situations, but with Chris Johnson emerging, White’s days as a feature back are probably over. He has a good match up this week against the Bengals, and while another TD is highly possible in week 2, do not expect big rushing totals.
GAME POSTPONED DO NOT START 28. Ray Rice (BAL) – Rice is the “Mac Bros. Gambler’s Special” for week 2. With Willis McGahee expected to return this week, the question is, how much action will Rice see in week 2? Only Head Coach John Harbaugh really knows the answer to that question. We are sure Rice will see some action, but if it is significant, he could have a huge week 2 against a soft Texans run defense. If you feel like rolling the dice, he is your guy, but if you like to play it safe, look elsewhere.
29. Laurence Maroney (NE) – It looks as though those of you who drafted Maroney, expecting a big year, may have gotten the Bill Belichick shaft once again. Maroney only saw 10 carries in week 1, while fellow back Sammy Morris also received 10 carries including the lone goal line carry. With the season ending injury to Tom Brady, there is still hope for Maroney to become more involved in the Patriots game plan, which we think will be the case, but until he sees consistent touches; you might be better off going with someone else in spite of his potential.
30. Jamal Lewis (CLE) – It is can not often that you can not rely upon Lewis as a starting fantasy back, but week 2 against the Steelers is probably one of those times. Lewis failed to surpass 35 yards rushing in either of his 2 games against Pittsburgh last season, and he never came close to scoring. You can never count J-Lew out against any opponent, but you might want to consider giving him the week off.
31. Jonathan Stewart (CAR) – Stewart looked good in his Panthers debut, but there was only so much he could do with only 10 carries. The Carolina coaching staff still appears to favor DeAngelo Williams and until that changes, Stewart’s fantasy value is limited. He has a tough week 2 match up as well.
32. Selvin Young (DEN) – Mike Shanahan did it again. Young was expected to be the feature back in week 1, but actually had fewer carries than his back up Andre Hall. On top of that, Michael Pittman ended up getting the goal line carries that were expected to go to Hall. It’s a new year, but the same old situation in Denver with regard to RB’s. Young looked good despite receiving only 7 carries in week 1, but it is anyone’s guess as to how the RB situation will play out this week. Young is very risky at this point. Shanahan must really hate fantasy football.
33. Ricky Williams (MIA) – After a very disappointing week 1, Williams probably can’t be trusted as anything more than a risky flex option. He has a good match up at Arizona, but he will probably give up a lot of carries to Ronnie Brown, who may even start this week. Williams could get it going any week, but until he does, keep him reserved.
34. Ronnie Brown (MIA) – The good news is that he will probably get the start this week over Ricky Williams and the match up is favorable. The bad news is that Williams could still end up with more touches, and after last week’s sub par effort, you would be taking a big risk starting him. You are best served waiting to see how this situation plays out before committing to start Brown on a regular basis.
35. Fred Taylor (JAX) – He is notorious for starting the season out slow, and he couldn’t have been any slower in week 1. Taylor should easily surpass last week’s totals, but he will face another tough run defense, and his offensive line will be comprised primarily of scabs after a plague of injuries up front. Taylor usually gets hot in the second half of the season, so it’s too early to give up on him, but week 2 does not bode well.
GAME POSTPONED DO NOT START 36. Willis McGahee (BAL) – He is expected to play in week 2, but how much is anyone’s guess. The match up is superb, but we really don’t foresee him getting a lot of work in, although it is a possibility. Our best advice is to take a wait and see approach this week with McGahee. Week 2 should provide more insight into his future status as a fantasy RB, as well as Ray Rice’s.
37. Chris Perry (CIN) – Perry has upside as the Bengals feature RB, but after his performance last week, and facing a really difficult match up against the Titans, you should probably consider another option for week 2. Perry could provide a few points in the passing game, but do not expect much from him in the ground game. Check injury report: knee
38. Sammy Morris (NE) – He was expected to see a couple of scrap carries in week 1, instead, Morris ended up splitting even carries with Laurence Maroney, and he received the teams only goal line carry in which he scored. It is unclear if Morris will continue to play a prominent role in the Patriots offense on a weekly basis. A wait and see approach is your best bet with regard to Morris, but he might prove to be a decent flex start down the road.
39. Michael Pittman (Den) – You can never be sure with Mike Shanahan at the helm, but Pittman looks like he is going to the Broncos goal line back this season, that is until Shanahan changes his mind. Pittman found pay dirt twice last week, and is a candidate to find the end zone in week 2 as well. If you put him on your fantasy roster do not expect much more than a chance for a score and even that is far from guaranteed.
40. Tim Hightower (ARI) – He appears to have locked down the position of goal line back for Arizona and even scored a TD in week 1. While his week 2 match up against Miami looks promising for a repeat score, TD’s are difficult to come by, even for a goal line back. You probably can’t expect much more than a small shot at a score from Hightower in week 2.
Additional week 2 fantasy RB options worthy of consideration include:
Felix Jones (DAL)
Derrick Ward (NYG)
Andre Hall (DEN)
Chester Taylor (MIN)
Jerious Norwood (ATL)
Rashard Mendenhall (PIT)
Warrick Dunn (TB)
Pierre Thomas (NO)
Kevin Jones (CHI)
Rudi Johnson (DET)
T.J. Duckett (SEA)
Deuce McAllister (NO)