Alvin Kamara is not your typical fantasy football star.
He showed that last year and he proved it once again in a high-scoring affair in week 1 against Tampa Bay. Thanks to New Orleans falling behind early, Kamara actually finished with more catches than carries out of the backfield. That propelled him to 34 fantasy points, the most by any running back in week 1.
However, it's concerning that he wasn't a high-volume rusher and we weren't able to see if he could become that kind of running back in week 1. However, if the Saints' defense is going to continue to follow this pattern, Kamara's unique skills as a pass catcher should make him a valuable commodity.
If Kamara can become a running back who can generate plenty of volume not only rushing the ball, but also catching it out of the backfield, he becomes game-flow proof, and thus, one of the top-three running backs in the NFL.
You don't have to think about whether or not to start Kamara, but in case your team isn't littered with running backs like Kamara, here's the week 2 fantasy football start 'em, sit 'em list for running backs.
Adrian Peterson vs. Indianapolis Colts
Peterson's season isn't going to end anywhere near RB1 level, but while he's hot, you might as well keep starting him.
Peterson reverted back to Pro Bowl form in week 1 against the Arizona Cardinals, tallying 166 total yards and one touchdown. His receiving totals were inflated and those will continue to be downgraded, with Chris Thompson dominating the passing load out of the backfield.
However, the Redskins won't use Thompson as a primary running back and there's little competition for Peterson in the first and second down work. His yards per carry continue to underwhelm, but his volume should continue to be at a level that is fantasy relevant.
And that relevance is noteworthy against the Colts, which struggled again on the defensive side of the ball against Cincinnati. Indianapolis may have one of the worst rosters in the league, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Indianapolis can't stop the run and the Redskins are going to keep running the football. That should make Peterson at least an RB2 candidate this week.
LeSean McCoy vs. Los Angeles Chargers
I'm going to give McCoy another chance. The Bills are competing with the Colts as having the worst roster in the NFL and it showed in week 1.
However, that matchup was doomed from the start. Buffalo had to square off against a superior Baltimore defense in constant rain. The offensive line couldn't get a rhythm, committing too many penalties. And McCoy was taken out since the game was basically over by the middle of the second quarter.
Sometimes, games get away from teams, and it's easy to see that happened in week 1 for the Bills. There's no reason to overreact to week 1 results, so I'll steer clear of getting too worked up by McCoy's dismal week 1 performance.
The Bills are going to feed him the ball consistently, since they don't have any other weapons, and the Chargers have proven to be below-average against the run in the past. Los Angeles gave up 4.9 yards per carry last season and while they were better against Kansas City in week 1, I'll need to see a different game flow action to determine if the Chargers are better against the run.
Alex Collins vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Collins dug himself into an early hole in week 1. He scored a touchdown, but fumbled, was benched and then was taken out of the game because Baltimore was crushing Buffalo.
So Collins didn't necessarily do much to justify his early average draft position.
Despite the bad week 1, I won't give up just yet on Collins. He still should be the No. 1 option for a Baltimore team that will need to establish more of a running game. Collins has been that kind of player in the past, and the game got away from him in week 1.
Cincinnati did a solid job in week 1 against Indianpolis's running game, but the Colts are pretty much just Andrew Luck and nothing else. The Bengals entered this season as a below-average rushing defense and I anticipate that will be exploited in week 2 against Baltimore.
Detroit running backs vs. San Francisco 49ers
Trusting Detroit's running backs in fantasy football has long been impossible. And week 1 proved that theory again.
There's too many running backs that require touches. I know everyone was on the Kerryon Johnson bandwagon entering the season, but I'm not buying it just yet. The Lions don't have a rushing identity. Theo Riddick is going to get touches, along with LeGarrette Blount.
Without clarity, the Lions backfield will be too unpredictable going forward. And in fantasy football, that's a scary endeavor.
Even with more clarity, though, I'm not sure I would back any of the running backs in this matchup. San Francisco was good last year against the run and maintained that ability in week 1. Take a step back from the Detroit running back situation and wait to see if a clearer running back picture emerges.
Jamaal Williams vs. Minnesota Vikings
Williams got the bulk of the load in week 1 against Chicago, but his yards per carry could use a big boost.
He managed just 3.13 yards per carry in week 1. Even with plenty of the load in week 2, that may not be worth a start against a Minnesota defense that is dominating.
While the Vikings struggled a bit at times against the pass in week 1, Minnesota was stout against the run. The Vikings gave up just 3.6 yards per carry, consistent with its production in 2017.
This game is all about Aaron Rodgers vs. the Vikings, with Williams likely taking a back seat. Williams will get the majority of the carries, but it won't be enough to justify a start in a 12-team league.
Royce Freeman vs. Oakland Raiders
This is once again about clarity. If you have the opportunity to find another running back, it would be prudent to look at keeping Freeman on the bench.
Freeman didn't end up with a bad line in week 1 against Seattle, but it was thanks to a couple of nice runs in the fourth quarter. Otherwise, he was held in check for the majority of the game.
It also doesn't help that Phillip Lindsay made a statement in week 1, making the situation a little cloudier in the backfield. Devontae Booker also is in consideration for work, too, despite only generating four carries in week 1.
The Raiders are pretty good against the run, giving up an average of 4 yards per carry in 2017. The Broncos will have to rely on that passing game, which could lead to more playing time for Lindsay, keeping Freeman without the necessary touches to be an RB2.
Scott Levine is the Associate Editor for the Clinton Herald. During his free time, he blogs about fantasy sports and handicaps games. His Against The Chalk blog has earned him back-to-back Iowa Newspaper Association awards for Best Blog. Check out more fantasy football coverage at Against The Chalk.
Scott Levine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ScottLevineCH