Running to fantasy victory

By Steve Shonder

Week one came and went and no doubt you’re disappointed in your fantasy team.

Running back depth is pretty hard to establish; they’re prone to injury and teams are putting more emphasis on the passing game. Once again, I’ve returned to help you put a little more oomph in your rushing attack.

There’s a plethora of solid running backs who can instantly shore up your team and they’re all mostly — probably — available on the free agents list.

The New Orleans Saints’ backfield is loaded with players who’re going to have huge weeks. The Saints have an explosive offense loaded with above-average wide receivers and above-average running backs who are turned into fantasy gold by Drew Brees. It’s likely someone has already picked up No. 1 back Pierre Thomas, but that shouldn’t be a cause for concern.

Mark Ingram got the bulk of the carries, while Thomas has been a target in the passing game. That’s the typical trend for the Saints’ offense: One back catches passes while another runs. Khiry Robinson, another New Orleans back, could be a nice grab, but he’ll be limited behind the two guys ahead of him on the depth chart. He’d be a grab ‘n’ stash sort of guy. Ingram is available in 44 percent of Yahoo leagues, while Robinson can be found in 82 percent of leagues.

Chris Johnson and Chris Ivory make up a pretty interesting backfield for the Jets. Neither one got the touches to be declared the outright go-to back; Johnson got 18 carries to Ivory’s 10. In both cases, they’d be solid pick-ups.

The duo put together a 19-yard day on the ground with Ivory earning 102 of those yards. Yes, this was against the Raiders, but the next games for the Jets are against the Packers and Bears. Neither of those teams has figured out how to stop any sort of run game. Expect a big two weeks from those two. Johnson is owned in 54 percent of Yahoo leagues, while Ivory can be found in 66 percent.

If you’re playing in a points-per-reception league, I’m sure you’ve already picked up Darren Sproles. If you’re not playing PPR, pick him up anyway. Sproles was a big part of the Eagles’ offense on the ground and minimally through the air. They’re going to use him a lot, whether to give LeSean McCoy a breather or because Sproles is that good. He’s available in 35 percent of Yahoo leagues, so move fast. He’s going to be a great flex or RB2 option all season.

Justin Forsett is the go-to man in Baltimore right now. Bernard Pierce, the Ravens’ predicted starter, can’t hold onto the ball. Forsett had a good game against the Bengals, and given Baltimore’s quarterback is Joe Flacco you should expect them to need to run a lot. Forsett is headed to Pittsburgh, which in addition to being the oldest team in the league has forgotten how to stop the run. Expect a nice game from him. Forsett is available in 88 percent of Yahoo leagues.