Week 1 in the NFL was a remarkably lackluster performance for running backs — with just 17 rushing touchdowns over 14 games. Last year, just around 28 rushing touchdowns were netted. The league also saw just 11 teams run for more than 100 yards total and just seven running backs reach that mark.
If you picked first in your fantasy draft you were dissapointed this weekend, as Le’Veon Bell didn’t eclipse 50 yards and David Johnson injured his wrist and will miss 6-8 weeks. If you are wanting more from the running back spot, there are a handful of players for the taking who could break through given big opportunities. Or the downward trend could continue.
Either way, if any of the followign five ball-carriers are available target them on the waiver wire:
1. Tarik Cohen, Bears
Backing up Jordan Howard in an offense led by a subpar quarterback, Cohen showed he would get touches in Week 1 — and he knew what to do with them — catching five passes and rushing eight times for 113 total yards and a score. He proved to be Mike Glennon’s safety net as he was targeted 12 total times in the passing game.
2. Kerwynn Williams, Cardinals
With the aformentioned Johnson to miss up to two months of action, the running back starting role will fall to either Andre Ellington or Kerwynn Williams. Either would be a smart pick up, but the small sample size of action from Sunday suggests Williams is the next man up. He got the lionshare of touches after Johnson exited, including a touchdown score.
3. Javorius Allen, Ravens
Without Danny Woodhead, who could miss the season after an injury Sunday, the Ravens turned to Terrance West as the No. 1 running back in an offense that values them heavily. West already had high fantasy value as one of the highest upside back ups — bumping Buck Allen into the West role. He had 21 carries for 71 yards and split the remaining carries with West 50-50.
4. Mike Tolbert, Bills
LeSean McCoy has the inside track at a rushing title, but in another offense with much to be desired in the passing game, McCoy can’t do it all. Spelling Shady, who had 27 touches and broke the 100-yard mark Sunday, Tolbert scored a touchdown and made the most of 13 opportunities.
5. Marlon Mack, Colts
Frank Gore is 34-years-old, the Colts are perhaps in the worst quarterback shape in the NFL, and Marlon Mack is the back up runninb back. He was on the field for 34 percent of Indy’s snaps on offense and netted a touchdown. He could be a valuable contributor down the road as Andrew Luck continues to rehab.