October 19, 2021

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Week 2 Fantasy Football Rankings: RB

Alvin Kamara aims to keep rolling against the Panthers while Ezekiel Elliott hopes to shake off his quiet Week 1.

Other positions: Quarterback | Receiver | Tight End/Kickers/Defense

Week 2 Running Backs

RB Notes: Christian McCaffrey returned to 187 yards from scrimmage, a total that would have been the 18th highest of 2020. He’s back. Moving on. … Alvin Kamara’s 23 Week 1 touches would have been his second most of 2020, and came even as the Saints spent much of the second half in blowout game script. He also reached 20 carries for only the second time in his career. It sure seemed like confirmation his workloads will become a little bit bigger post Drew Brees. … Joe Mixon played 78 percent of the Bengals’ Week 1 snaps even as the game went to overtime, confirming he is in store for the heaviest usage of his career. Of the Bengals’ 41 running back touches, Mixon handled 33 of them. @CHI with a 45 over/under isn’t an amazing game environment, but it will be impossible for Mixon to fall out of the top eight with these kinds of workloads. … Like every other Packer, Aaron Jones must never view his Week 1 game film. Also like every other Packer, he has the perfect bounce-back spot in a Lions “defense” that just made Elijah Mitchell a FAAB star.

It’s a smash spot for Nick Chubb, who should have A+ game script against one of the league’s worst defensive lines. The Browns are soaring 12.5-point home favorites against the Texans. … Derrick Henry is in a tough spot. The Titans’ passing game commanded no Week 1 respect, and Week 2 opponent Seattle is stout against the run. The Titans have a billion things to figure out on offense, none of which bode particularly well for Henry as a six-point road ‘dog. The Big Dog is The Big Dog, of course. … Making like Christian McCaffrey, Najee Harris played 100 percent of the Steelers’ Week 1 snaps. The production wasn’t there against a tough Bills defense, but the opponent softens considerably this week in the Raiders. Even with the Steelers’ awful line and questionable quarterbacking, there is legitimate reason for sky-high 2021 Harris expectations. … Antonio Gibson out-touched J.D. McKissic 23-1 in the opener, though McKissic still played 36 percent of the Football Team’s snaps. McKissic drew only one target from Taylor Heinicke in the quarterback’s Wild Card start. You can see Gibson’s ceiling rising in real time. … This is quite possibly too bearish on Ezekiel Elliott, especially in this scoring environment. I just wonder how much the Cowboys will be able to #EstablishIt in what should be another up-and-down contest. I’m also expecting new Bolts coach Brandon Staley to once again establish one of the league’s best run defenses. We’ll see.

I see no real reason to worry about Austin Ekeler’s zero-target Week 1. He is a proven pass catcher with Justin Herbert, while new OC Joe Lombardi comes from a Saints team that made RB targets a foundation of its offensive approach. Even if Herbert decides to think even bigger this year, Week 2 should feature plenty of Ekeler looks vs. a Cowboys defense whose linebackers got put into a Week 1 blender by the Bucs. … #PeopleForget Jonathan Taylor still managed to catch a respectable 36 balls as a rookie. He was well on his way to a repeat with six Week 1 grabs. RB targets are going to be an integral part of this receiver-less offense. They will be needed against the Rams’ elite defense. … David Montgomery looked electric in Week 1 even as he ceded more of the passing-game work than I was hoping. He goes from awful game script in the Rams to home-favorite status against the Bengals. … Miles Sanders looked the part in Week 1. That hasn’t always been the case despite his athleticism. Jalen Hurts is someone you want to run alongside. … Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s Week 1 usage was off the charts. The production, not so much. Same as it ever was. We are banking on touches in a 54.5 over/under.

Ace Patriots beat reporter Mike Reiss would not be surprised if Damien Harris saw his workload scaled back after his game-costing fumble. As much as I respect Reiss, I’m going to gamble Bill Belichick knows he lacks a better option. 5-foot-6 J.J. Taylor was healthy scratched in Week 1 and rookie Rhamondre Stevenson also put the ball on the ground. Harris was so impressive physically vs. the Dolphins. … It turns out, Mike Davis has a backup after all in career gadget man Cordarrelle Patterson. Davis is a pure volume bet against a Bucs defense that stymied Ezekiel Elliott. As for Patterson, he will undoubtedly max out in the 6-8 touch range, leaving him on the fringe of FLEX status. … Saquon Barkley failed to break a tackle for the first time in his career in Week 1. There is almost no chance he is cut loose from a workload perspective on the short week. Circle Week 3 and its 10 days of rest on your calendars. … The Lions’ backfield will be big enough for the two of D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams. Where else are the touches going to go, Quintez Cephus? … Darrell Henderson’s Week 1 snap share was truly stunning. Perhaps it is more than just the playbook with Sony Michel, and coach Sean McVay, who has long expressed skepticism about Henderson’s durability, is ready to conduct an in-season experiment.

Now do it again, kid. Elijah Mitchell provoked fierce FAAB debate. The upside is self-evident for an explosive-play threat in this offense. The same is true of the downside with Kyle Shanahan calling the shots. With Raheem Mostert (knee) on injured reserve, Trey Sermon is going to be up this week, and will likely see enough touches to get a shot at the “hot hand.” If Shanny’s summer observations are correct, he won’t establish it, making Mitchell a legitimate low-end RB2. … The very bad news: Malcolm Brown and Salvon Ahmed both played at least 20 percent of the Dolphins’ Week 1 snaps. The good news: They failed to apply real pressure to Myles Gaskin. This is week by week. … Josh Jacobs is probably too banged up to shake his 50-50 committee right now. … Ronald Jones has gone from benched to starting in one seven-day period. I’d say get used to it, but you already should be after last year. … Urban Meyer believes in his heart that Carlos Hyde is better than James Robinson. I will give sanity the narrowest of Week 2 margins. … Ty’Son Williams offered more big plays, Latavius Murray more second half chain-moving. It’s possible an equilibrium will be established that allows both to reside in the top 36. … Zack Moss probably won’t be a healthy scratch again, but he belongs on waiver wires.

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