Fantasy football guru Matthew Berry provided his weekly insights on which running backs to start and sit for week 2. Berry analyzed injuries, workloads, matchups, and expectations for backs like Kenneth Gainwell, Rachaad White, Jamal Williams, and more. For those setting lineups this week, Berry’s rundown gives actionable advice on some tricky backfield situations.
Matthew Berry’s Week 2 Running Backs
Kenneth Gainwell Dealing With Rib Injury, Monitor His Status
Eagles running back Kenneth Gainwell did not practice on Tuesday due to a rib injury. With the Eagles playing on Thursday night against the Vikings, Gainwell’s status is up in the air.
Gainwell led the Eagles’ backfield in week 1 with 62% of snaps and 82% of running back touches. However, with the short week, Berry expects Gainwell to see a reduced workload or potentially not be active on Thursday. This would lead to more opportunities for DeAndre Swift, who only had a couple touches in week 1.
If Gainwell is out, Berry said he would feel comfortable starting Swift against the Vikings. However, if Gainwell is active, it will likely be more of a committee approach in the Eagles backfield. Berry advised to avoid the situation if Gainwell plays.
Rashad Penny an Intriguing Stash
Eagles running back Rashad Penny was a healthy scratch in week 1. Berry acknowledged Penny’s upside. However, going from a healthy scratch to starting lineups seems unlikely.
While the Eagles could suddenly give Penny a lot of work, Berry expects them to use a committee approach. Therefore, DeAndre Swift is the only Eagles back Berry would feel comfortable starting on Thursday night.
Bijan Robinson Should Out-Touch Tyler Allgeier Again
Berry expect Falcons rookie Bijan Robinson to out-touch Tyler Allgeier again in week 2. Robinson played 65% of snaps in week 1, with most of his touches coming early. Meanwhile, Allgeier was not involved in the passing game.
The Packers allowed the most running back targets and receptions in week 1. Berry thinks the Falcons will have to throw more this week and will utilize Robinson’s pass catching ability out of the backfield.
Overall, Berry has Robinson ranked as his RB6 this week compared to Allgeier at RB31. He believes Robinson will continue to see more opportunities than Allgeier.
Keeping Faith in Rachaad White
Bucs running back Rachaad White struggled mightily with efficiency in week 1. However, Berry is keeping the faith and expects better days ahead.
White had 19 touches last week despite the struggles. He is still the clear lead back over Sean Tucker. Tampa gets a favorable matchup against the Bears, who have struggled against the run.
Berry acknowledged the talent and opportunity is there for White. He has faith White will bounce back this week against Chicago. Sean Tucker looms as an intriguing stash, but White should hold him off for now.
Jamal Williams Gets a Mulligan After Facing Stout Titans Defense
Lions running back Jamal Williams received a hefty workload in week 1 with 18 carries and 2 catches. However, he only gained 45 rushing yards against a staunch Titans defensive front.
Berry is keeping Williams as a potential fantasy starter after writing off week 1 as an expected struggle versus Tennessee. Williams is not explosive but should find more running room against the Panthers in week 2.
Williams saw 77% of Detroit’s snaps in week 1 and had 20 total touches. Berry believes Williams will continue to get opportunities, making him a flex option. The matchup against Carolina is far more favorable than Tennessee.