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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 1 ISSUES: MANY BACKFIELDS ARE MUDDLED GOING INTO SUNDAY

In this era of the running back committee, trying to figure out who will emerge from the pack to lead the teams involved in such a setup in rushing yardage becomes like throwing darts at a wall.  As we move ahead to Week 1 in fantasy football, there are quite a few completely muddled running back situations that are already causing stress to owners of players involved.  Often it is best to avoid these situations if you can in Week 1 and see how things play out before jumping in.  Here are such situations that are currently classified this way:

New England:  All summer we have heard that Mike Gillislee would be the "LeGarrette Blount" of the 2017 New England Patriots but injuries and falling behind in Bill Belichck's running back hierarchy have made him far from a guarantee to even contribute a decent amount of numbers in Week 1.  Instead Rex Burkhead could easily lead the Pats in carries and rushing yards; plus get the goal-line work.  Then there is James White who is a tremendous receiver of the backfield and useful in PPR.  We all knew going in the Pats backfield was one big mess and the best method to use here is avoiding all involved until Week 2 so we can get a gauge on what will take place

Cincinnati:  Head coach Marvin Lewis has stubbornly stuck with incumbent power back veteran Jeremy Hill as the starter despite the electric preseason of rookie Joe Mixon.  Receiving back Gio Bernard is also still around and so this is a completely messy situation here as well.  Ultimately it is just a matter of time before Mixon takes firm control of this backfield and he could have an Ezekiel Elliott-like impact when that does happen.  Mixon is really the only back worth owning here as Hill has struggled two years in a row and Bernard won't run much at all.

Seattle:  Thomas Rawls is now listed as the starter for the Seattle Seahawks but he has been banged up all preseason and Eddie Lacy was brought in during the offseason to compete for the starting gig.  Lacy has not been awful this summer but he has not been great either and in fact rookie Chris Carson has outperformed everyone.  Then there is also receiving back C.J. Prosise who makes this a four-man unit which of course is completely a no-go when it comes to fantasy football Week 1.

As you can see all three of these situations are unpredictable and quite troubling for fantasy football owners.  You also have a committee setup in Kansas City and Detroit to further add to the angst.  This why bellcow backs are so valuable in drafts and well worth the high cost.  So while the players we mentioned are all very talented, the best course of action is to avoid these situations if you can.  We can always try again Week 2 after seeing how things play out.


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