Welcome to our weekly look at running back and wide receiver committees for fantasy football owners. They can be confusing and/or interesting, and we'll review a handful of each on Tuesdays.
Starting with the Ravens' backfield ... you’re not the only one confused here. The Ravens waived Justin Forsett on Saturday, but it appears to have been a roster-related procedural maneuver, as Forsett re-signed on Monday. One beat writer wrote on Sunday that Forsett would have a “significant role” in Week 1 against the Bills.
That leaves us with Forsett, pleasant summer surprise Terrance West and possible third-down back Buck Allen in the Ravens’ backfield, and we’re all basically guessing as to how the workload will be shared. Since West ran so well in the preseason and seems most likely to get goal-line carries, I’ve got him at RB34 for the week, with Allen at RB45 and Forsett at RB46. West is the only one I’d realistically consider starting for fantasy purposes.
Let’s all agree that we want rookie Kenneth Dixon coming back soon from his knee injury to add some order to this situation. Or more confusion. Or something.
Getty ImagesJason Miller
RBs: Kansas City Chiefs
The Jamaal Charles news seems to get worse by the day, as Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said Monday that it would be a “stretch” for Charles to play in Week 1. That makes Spencer Ware the lead back, and an obvious fantasy starter. Ware moves up to RB13 on my board.
Ware has been so impressive this summer that you could argue for an even higher ranking, but Charcandrick West still looms as a threat. From Weeks 11-17 last season, Ware and West were active together five times (Ware missed Week 15), and they each had 55 carries in those games. Ware appears to be the No. 1 back in KC now, but he might not be the only back. West starts the week at RB48, but he might inch up as Sunday gets closer depending on news from the Chiefs’ practice field.
Getty ImagesRonald Martinez
RBs: Seattle Seahawks
Pete Carroll said Monday that the Seahawks would “love” for Thomas Rawls to “carry the ball quite a bit” against the Dolphins after playing in only one preseason game. Rawls appears ready to roll, but can the ‘Hawks ignore Christine Michael after his strong preseason? And what about rookie third-down back C.J. Prosise? One ESPN report suggested a 15/7 carry split for Rawls and Michael, and another from the Seattle Times said that "easing" Rawls in seems likely. This week could see more rushing attempts for both if there’s a blowout.
Due to the uncertainty, I’ve got Rawls at RB26 this week, with Michael at RB37 and Prosise at RB53. Rawls has the potential to blow up this situation with a 150-yard game, though.
Getty ImagesStephen Brashear
RBs: New York Jets
There’s been plenty of noise out of Jets camp this summer about Bilal Powell sharing time with Matt Forte, with local media suggesting that Powell will get “a lot of touches” after catching 47 passes last season. Over the weekend, NJ.com proposed 1,100-1,200 yards from scrimmage for Forte, who had 1,287 yards last season after averaging 1,663 in the five previous years. An 1,100-yard season for Forte leaves room for Powell to be a regular flex-y option.
However, Ralph Vacchiano of SNYT suggested this week that Forte could get 20 touches per game, with Powell used as a change-of-pace option. For Week 1, we’ll assume a split with a slight lean to Forte, who is my RB24 to Powell’s RB34. Both might be higher if not for the Bengals’ tough defense.
Getty ImagesRich Barnes
RBs: Detroit Lions
Is Ameer Abdullah ready to lead the Lions’ running attack? “Attack” might be putting it strongly, since this team will be run-challenged even with an improved offensive line. Also, head coach Jim Caldwell seems to prefer committees, and said recently that you “have to spread it out a little bit” so the backs don’t take too many hits. Enter receiving threat Theo Riddick along with Zach Zenner and maybe rookie Dwayne Washington.
Abdullah can catch the ball, but Riddick is so good in that department that he figures to handle much of the third-down work. As for Zenner, maybe he’ll get some goal-line duties, but that’s hard to predict. For Week 1, Abdullah ranks at RB23, with Riddick at RB41 (higher in PPR) and the Zenner/Washington duo off the fantasy starter radar.
Getty ImagesDonald Miralle
WRs: Baltimore Ravens
Again? Yep. Kamar Aiken had 83 targets and 47 receptions over the final eight games last season, when he was basically the last man standing in the Ravens’ receiving corps. Joe Flacco also will have Steve Smith and Mike Wallace at his disposal this week, with Breshad Perriman (knee) uncertain after playing in his first preseason game.
Let’s bet on Aiken reprising his role as the Ravens’ Steady Eddie, and make him WR35 for the week. Wallace is my WR50, but as he’s been Flacco’s favorite target this summer, a vertical connection is possible (making him a DraftKings tournament target at $4,200). As for Smith, I’ll never bet on a 37-year-old recovering from an Achilles injury until he gives me reason to.
WRs: Carolina Panthers
This will be a tough matchup with the Broncos, for sure. Add a report from the Charlotte Observer that the Panthers are targeting approximately 35 snaps for Kelvin Benjamin, and you have a path to modest success for Devin Funchess.
Still, the larger, rangier Benjamin is a better red-zone target, which is why he’s at WR33 to Funchess’ WR40. It could go the other way, though. Neither is an optimal fantasy starter.
WRs: Indianapolis Colts
All aboard the Colts’ receiving train! The Lions’ defense ranked 25th in the league last season with 7.7 receiving yards per attempt allowed. A healthy Andrew Luck figures to throw plenty for the Colts, especially since their primary running option is 79-year-old Frank Gore.
Colts-Lions has one of the highest over-unders on the board at 50.5, and should live up to its shootout billing. T.Y. Hilton is WR10, with Donte Moncrief at WR19 and Phillip Dorsett at WR41.
Getty ImagesJason Miller
WRs: Arizona Cardinals
Last season, Larry Fitzgerald ranked seventh among wide receivers in FOXSports.com fantasy scoring, with John Brown 25th and Michael Floyd 35th. However, in the final eight games, Fitzgerald was targeted 76 times, with Floyd getting 52 looks and Brown 50. Floyd surpassed 100 yards five times over that span, too.
The Patriots’ defense won’t be a pushover on Sunday night, but the strong Cardinals’ offense should put up some good numbers. The opinion here is that Floyd is the Cardinals’ best wideout, so he’s at WR24, with Fitz at WR31 and Brown at WR39. Part of the last ranking is due to Brown’s slightly uncertain status – he’s been dealing with concussion issues over the past few weeks, but should play.
Getty ImagesChristian Petersen
WRs: Oakland Raiders
Let’s wrap up with an easy one – START EVERYONE AGAINST THE SAINTS! At least until they prove that you shouldn’t, anyway.
This situation is mentioned as a committee only because of the shared workload – Michael Crabtree had 146 targets to Amari Cooper’s 130 last season. Cooper should improve in his second season, and he’s at WR8 this week to Crabtree’s WR22. In PPR leagues, Crabtree draws a bit closer.