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Running back non-PPR rankings for Week 1 fantasy football

We take you through some of the best non-PPR running backs going in Week 1 for fantasy football.

 Derrick Henry #22 of the Tennessee Titans on the sidelines during a NFL Preseason game against the Chicago Bears at Nissan Stadium on August 28, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Bears defeated the Titans 27-24. Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Thursday injury update

Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Chiefs — CEH is practicing in full after tweaking his ankle in preseason. He should be all systems go against the Browns.

Austin Ekeler, Chargers — Ekeler did not practice with a hamstring injury on Wednesday. This could just be a rest day and he gets back at it today, but it’s worth keeping an eye on for sure.

Saquon Barkley, Giants — Barkley was limited on Wednesday, but is expected to play Week 1. He could be eased in, but he’s still worth a start in your average fantasy league against Denver unless news changes.

D’Andre Swift, Lions — Swift is practicing in full after dealing with a groin injury this preseason. He should be a full go in a tough matchup with the 49ers.


When we think of non-PPR running backs we think of hard-nosed, between the tackles backs like Derrick Henry and Gus Edwards. But with them being such a rare breed at this point, any back that can get the bulk of the work can be considered a non-PPR back worth using in fantasy. Let’s look at some of those backs who will see a lot of work in Week 1.

Compelling RB matchups

Dalvin Cook and the Vikings face Joe Mixon and the Bengals in Cincinnati. These two backs are both every-down backs this season and if they can stay healthy, should both have high floors in fantasy football. We know what Cook can do, but Mixon has only shown glimpses. This is his year to prove he can handle being one of the few 20-touch backs in the league.

Alvin Kamara has 58 touchdowns and Aaron Jones has 43 touchdowns in their first four seasons. That’s 101 touchdowns in 104 games played between the two. The Packers and Saints take on each other in Week 1 and you really can’t find a more compelling running back matchup, especially for fantasy.

Najee Harris is the key to turning the Steelers offense around, which is a tall order for any running back in this era of football. His matchup with the duo of Zach Moss and Devin Singletary isn’t exactly a compelling watch, but by himself, he’ll make for must-see TV. The Bills offense is going to be great again, so Harris will have a lot on his shoulders in this first game. He should see the ball over 20 times, but can he truly be the deciding factor?

The Washington Football Team and the Los Angeles Chargers face off with two backs that can both be weapons in the receiving game. Austin Ekeler is more of a receiver slash running back while Gibson was a receiver slash running back in college. Washington didn’t use him as much as a receiver last season as many thought they would, but we keep hearing that head coach Ron Rivera wants to use him like he used Christian McCaffrey in Carolina. Washington is going to be hard to run on and the Chargers are going to be hard to pass deep on, so there could be plenty touches through the air for the backs in this one.

RB Standard Rankings Week 1

Rk Name Team Opp
Rk Name Team Opp
1 Christian McCaffrey CAR vs NYJ
2 Dalvin Cook MIN @ CIN
3 Derrick Henry TEN vs ARI
4 Alvin Kamara NO vs GB
5 Aaron Jones GB @ NO
6 Raheem Mostert SF @ DET
7 Najee Harris PIT @ BUF
8 Nick Chubb CLE @ KC
9 Joe Mixon CIN vs MIN
10 Damien Harris NE vs MIA
11 Ezekiel Elliott DAL @ TB
12 Antonio Gibson WAS vs LAC
13 Saquon Barkley NYG vs DEN
14 Miles Sanders PHI @ ATL
15 Jonathan Taylor IND vs SEA
16 Clyde Edwards-Helaire KC vs CLE
17 James Robinson JAC @ HOU
18 Chris Carson SEA @ IND
19 David Montgomery CHI @ LAR
20 Ty'Son Williams BAL @ LV
21 Austin Ekeler LAC @ WAS
22 Josh Jacobs LV vs BAL
23 Darrell Henderson LAR vs CHI
24 Myles Gaskin MIA @ NE
25 Mike Davis ATL vs PHI
26 Melvin Gordon III DEN @ NYG
27 Kareem Hunt CLE @ KC
28 Chase Edmonds ARI @ TEN
29 Javonte Williams DEN @ NYG
30 Trey Sermon SF @ DET
31 James Conner ARI @ TEN
32 Ronald Jones II TB vs DAL
33 D'Andre Swift DET vs SF
34 Leonard Fournette TB vs DAL
35 Zack Moss BUF vs PIT
36 Jamaal Williams DET vs SF
37 Devin Singletary BUF vs PIT
38 Tevin Coleman NYJ @ CAR
39 Ty Johnson NYJ @ CAR
40 AJ Dillon GB @ NO
41 Nyheim Hines IND vs SEA
42 David Johnson HOU vs JAC
43 Tony Jones Jr. NO vs GB
44 Kenyan Drake LV vs BAL
45 Tony Pollard DAL @ TB
46 Phillip Lindsay HOU vs JAC
47 Carlos Hyde JAC @ HOU
48 J.D. McKissic WAS vs LAC
49 Rhamondre Stevenson NE vs MIA
50 Sony Michel LAR vs CHI
51 Darrel Williams KC vs CLE
52 Rashaad Penny SEA @ IND
53 James White NE vs MIA
54 Malcolm Brown MIA @ NE
55 Justin Jackson LAC @ WAS
56 Devontae Booker NYG vs DEN
57 Giovani Bernard TB vs DAL
58 Boston Scott PHI @ ATL
59 Alex Collins SEA @ IND
60 Alexander Mattison MIN @ CIN
61 Salvon Ahmed MIA @ NE
62 Mark Ingram II HOU vs JAC
63 Marlon Mack IND vs SEA
64 Kenneth Gainwell PHI @ ATL
65 Damien Williams CHI @ LAR
66 Joshua Kelley LAC @ WAS
67 Chuba Hubbard CAR vs NYJ
68 Jerick McKinnon KC vs CLE
69 DeeJay Dallas SEA @ IND
70 Larry Rountree III LAC @ WAS
71 Benny Snell Jr. PIT @ BUF
72 Michael Carter NYJ @ CAR
73 Jordan Wilkins IND vs SEA
74 Matt Breida BUF vs PIT
75 Samaje Perine CIN vs MIN
76 Wayne Gallman Jr. ATL vs PHI
77 Jermar Jefferson DET vs SF
78 Kalen Ballage PIT @ BUF
79 Jaret Patterson WAS vs LAC
80 Ke'Shawn Vaughn TB vs DAL
81 Jordan Howard PHI @ ATL
82 Jake Funk LAR vs CHI
83 Rex Burkhead HOU vs JAC
84 Eno Benjamin ARI @ TEN
85 Dare Ogunbowale JAC @ HOU
86 Kyle Juszczyk SF @ DET
87 Devine Ozigbo JAC @ HOU
88 Elijah Mitchell SF @ DET
89 Travis Homer SEA @ IND
90 Kylin Hill GB @ NO
91 Chris Evans CIN vs MIN
92 Jaylen Samuels PIT @ BUF
93 Khalil Herbert CHI @ LAR
94 Trayveon Williams CIN vs MIN
95 JaMycal Hasty SF @ DET
96 D'Ernest Johnson CLE @ KC
97 Alec Ingold LV vs BAL