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Fantasy Football: RB handcuff index, matchup notes and Week 1 rankings

Inglewood, California, USA; Denver Broncos running back Javonte Williams (33) carries the ball for a short gain in the first half against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

• There are roughly 11 teams with a backup running back who would be expected to handle something close to a true every-down role should their offense’s starter miss time.

Denver Broncos RBs Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon stand out as having the week’s best matchup against the Bobby Wagner-less Seattle Seahawks front-seven, which is the league’s reigning 32nd-ranked defense in receptions and receiving yards allowed to opposing running backs.

Carolina Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey takes the top spot in Ian’s Week 1 RB rankings due to his ability to generate rushing and receiving production in an intriguing matchup against the Cleveland Browns.

Estimated reading time: 22 minutes

Despite what the overlords at PFF might think: Running backs are people too, and we care about them very deeply in fantasy football land.

What follows are:

  1. A handcuff index to help get an idea of the pecking order inside all 32 backfields.
  2. 15 key takeaways and questions about the position based on Week 1 matchups.
  3. Full-PPR Week 1 rankings.

It’s truly a great day to be great, so let’s boogie.

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Handcuff index

The following teams would be expected to hand their backup running back something pretty close to a fantasy-friendly three-down role should their team’s starter be forced out of action:

Additionally, these teams would give their backup running backs nice boosts if their starter misses time, although a committee of sorts would still be expected:

Finally, there are a handful of teams with a combination of unproven backups and a history of committees that make it awfully difficult to have any feel for who would benefit the most should the starter go down. There might even be future potential for a free agent addition:

Offenses expected to dominate the line of scrimmage


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