Johnson has a matchup against the Washington Redskins to open the 2018 season and I expect him to be used heavily after missing most of the 2017 season. Johnson is an elite player and one of the most dynamic offensive threats in the game. He is also matchup proof.
I also have Los Angeles Rams star Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Chargers back Melvin Gordon, Dallas Cowboys workhorse Ezekiel Elliott and New Orleans Saints dynamo Alvin Kamara inside my top five for the position this week.
If you started your draft wide receiver heavy, you likely don't have any of those options at the running back slot. But there are still plenty of great matchups to open the season.
Here are my Top 30 options at the position this week.
TOP 30 WEEK 1 RANKINGS BELOW
Los Angeles Rams superstar Todd Gurley might be a must-start every week, but I think he has a chance to explode in Week 1 against the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders just lost All-Pro Khalil Mack in a trade with the Chicago Bears and already struggled against the running back position in fantasy football. Last season, Oakland allowed the 12th most rushing yards to opposing ball carriers. Gurley should go off in this spot.
Los Angeles Chargers star Melvin Gordon is also coming off of a big 2017 campaign. The dual-threat running back is my No. 3 option for Week 1, ahead of Ezekiel Elliott, Le'Veon Bell, Alvin Kamara and other elite talents. I expect Gordon to have a huge game against the Kansas City Chiefs, a team that allowed the seventh-most rushing yards and tied for allowing the fifth-most rushing scores to opposing running backs in 2017.
Minnesota Vikings sophomore back Dalvin Cook has returned from injury and is ready to blow up in 2018. I have Cook as my No. 6 option to open the season. I expect him to be a stellar RB1 option against the San Francisco 49ers, a team that allowed the 11th most fantasy points to opposing running backs in 2017. I also think that the Vikings show a dedication to the run early as the work in new quarterback Kirk Cousins and open up the passing game through Cook.
Baltimore Ravens running back Alex Collins may not have been a sexy pick on draft day, but he should get the job done most weeks this season. I have Collins listed as a back-end RB1 for Week 1. Collins should have a good day against the Buffalo Bills to kick off his 2018 campaign. The Bills allowed more points to opposing running backs than any other team in 2017. Collins should see plenty of work and provide consistency for your lineup immediately.
Cleveland Browns veteran Carlos Hyde is another guy that I expect will see plenty of carries early on. The Browns have a matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers to open the 2018 season. Last season, the Steelers were tied for allowing the fifth-most rushing scores to opposing running backs. Hyde should see the end zone in this AFC North clash. I have him ranked at No. 21 among running backs, good enough for an RB2 start in deeper leagues.
|1||David Johnson||Arizona Cardinals||vs. WAS|
|2||Todd Gurley||Los Angeles Rams||at OAK|
|3||Melvin Gordon||Los Angeles Chargers||vs. KC|
|4||Ezekiel Elliott||Dallas Cowboys||at CAR|
|5||Alvin Kamara||New Orleans Saints||vs. TB|
|6||Dalvin Cook||Minnesota Vikings||vs. SF|
|7||Joe Mixon||Cincinnati Bengals||at IND|
|8||Alex Collins||Baltimore Ravens||vs. BUF|
|9||Leonard Fournette||Jacksonville Jaguars||at NYG|
|10||Kareem Hunt||Kansas City Chiefs||at LAC|
|11||Christian McCaffrey||Carolina Panthers||vs. DAL|
|12||Jordan Howard||Chicago Bears||at GB|
|13||Devonta Freeman||Atlanta Falcons||at PHI|
|14||Kenyan Drake||Miami Dolphins||vs. TEN|
|15||Saquon Barkley||New York Giants||vs. JAC|
|16||Derrick Henry||Tennessee Titans||at MIA|
|17||Jamaal Williams||Green Bay Packers||vs. CHI|
|18||James Conner||Pittsburgh Steelers||at CLE|
|19||LeSean McCoy||Buffalo Bills||at BAL|
|20||Lamar Miller||Houston Texans||at NE|
|21||Carlos Hyde||Cleveland Browns||vs. PIT|
|22||Royce Freeman||Denver Broncos||vs. SEA|
|23||Marshawn Lynch||Oakland Raiders||vs. LAR|
|24||Dion Lewis||Tennessee Titans||at MIA|
|25||Chris Carson||Seattle Seahawks||at DEN|
|26||Jay Ajayi||Philadelphia Eagles||vs. ATL|
|27||Peyton Barber||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||at NO|
|28||Rex Burkhead||New England Patriots||vs. HOU|
|29||Adrian Peterson||Washington Redskins||at ARI|
|30||Isaiah Crowell||New York Jets||at DET|
Former Cleveland Browns ball carrier Isaiah Crowell went somewhat unnoticed on draft day, based on his average draft position. But Crowell could be a decent option to throw into your lineup based on his weekly matchups. He comes in at No. 30 among running backs in my Week 1 rankings. The New York Jets running back is a low-end RB2 or flex option against the Detroit Lions, a team that allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs in 2017. The Lions also allowed the second-most touchdown runs to the position last season. If Crowell reaches pay dirt, he could provide low-end RB1 value.