Fantasy Football Week 5 Rankings: Top 40 Running Backs

Eric StashinSenior Writer IOctober 3, 2012

HOUSTON, TX- SEPTEMBER 30: Arian Foster #23 of the Houston Texans rushes against the Tennessee Titans on September 30, 2012 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. Houston Texans won 38 to 14. (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)
Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images

Who should benefit from favorable matchups?  Who has the potential to struggle this week?  What injuries should be of specific concern and who has returned to health?  Let’s take a look as everything comes together for our running back rankings this week:

  1. Arian Foster – Houston Texans – at New York Jets
  2. Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings – vs. Tennessee
  3. Ray Rice – Baltimore Ravens – at Kansas City
  4. Marshawn Lynch – Seattle Seahawks – at Carolina
  5. Jamaal Charles – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Baltimore
  6. LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles – at Pittsburgh
  7. Trent Richardson – Cleveland Browns – at New York Giants
  8. Frank Gore – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Buffalo
  9. Matt Forte – Chicago Bears – at Jacksonville
  10. Alfred Morris – Washington Redskins – vs. Atlanta
  11. Reggie Bush – Miami Dolphins – at Cincinnati
  12. Ryan Mathews – San Diego Chargers – at New Orleans
  13. Maurice Jones-Drew – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. Chicago
  14. Willis McGahee – Denver Broncos – at New England
  15. Steven Jackson – St. Louis Rams – vs. Arizona
  16. Ryan Williams – Arizona Cardinals – at St. Louis
  17. Chris Johnson – Tennessee Titans – at Minnesota
  18. Michael Turner – Atlanta Falcons – at Washington
  19. Cedric Benson – Green Bay Packers – at Indianapolis
  20. BenJarvus Green-Ellis – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Miami
  21. C.J. Spiller – Buffalo Bills – at San Francisco
  22. Darren Sproles – New Orleans Saints – vs. San Diego
  23. Ahmad Bradshaw – New York Giants – vs. Cleveland
  24. Donald Brown – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Green Bay
  25. Stevan Ridley – New England Patriots – vs. Denver
  26. Ben Tate – Houston Texans – at New York Jets
  27. Shonn Greene – New York Jets – vs. Houston
  28. Rashard Mendenhall – Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. Philadelphia
  29. Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers – vs. Seattle
  30. DeAngelo Williams – Carolina Panthers – vs. Seattle
  31. Fred Jackson – Buffalo Bills – at San Francisco
  32. Kendall Hunter – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Buffalo
  33. Jackie Battle – San Diego Chargers – at New Orleans
  34. Pierre Thomas – New Orleans Saints – vs. San Diego
  35. Michael Bush – Chicago Bears – at Jacksonville
  36. Andre Brown – New York Giants – vs. Cleveland
  37. Isaac Redman – Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. Philadelphia
  38. Ronnie Hillman – Denver Broncos – at New England
  39. Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints – vs. San Diego
  40. Danny Woodhead – New England Patriots – vs. Denver


  • Aren’t the New York Jets supposed to be one of the best defenses in the league?  Granted, they have lost Darelle Revis, but how does that explain them allowing 172.8 rushing yards per game (second most in the league) and seven rushing touchdowns (most in the league)?  Arian Foster and Ben Tate both could be big options this week.
  • Why was Ryan Mathews not starting in Week 4?  Why did Jackie Battle get a lot of the carries?  It’s possible that the team was sending Mathews a message that he needs to protect the football.  Whatever the reason, it is hard to imagine Mathews not playing a much bigger role this week. Considering they are facing the New Orleans Saints, who are allowing a league-worst 186.8 rushing yards per game, Mathews upside keeps him as a low-end RB1/high-end RB2.
  • The Seahawks' passing game continues to leave a lot to be desired, but Marshawn Lynch continues to shine on the ground.  Through four games he has rushed for 423 yards and two TD, just ahead of Jamaal Charles (415) for the league lead.  With the Carolina Panthers able to be beat on the ground (we all saw what Andre Brown did to them a few weeks ago), look for another big game for Lynch.
  • Have the Redskins actually found a running back they trust as their consistent RB1?  Alfred Morris continues to get the touches and now gets a Falcons defense that is susceptible on the ground (fourth most rushing yards allowed).  With Robert Griffin III keeping defenses honest, Morris should be considered a RB1 this week.
  • While Maurice Jones-Drew has been good this season, he draws a tough matchup with the Chicago Bears.  That has to drop him down a couple of notches.
  • Matt Forte returned to the lineup in Week 4 and clearly quickly re-established himself as the lead back for the Bears.  With a matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars, far from a team that imposes fear in the hearts of running backs (third most rushing yards per game at 150.2), he should be thrust right towards the top of your rankings immediately.
  • While Brandon Bolden was a great story in Week 4, it just goes to show that we really never know what to expect from Bill Belichek and the New England Patriots.  Would it shock anyone if another back were to suddenly rise to lead the charge in Week 5?
  • Both C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson ended up playing in Week 4.  With Jackson struggling to get going (13 carries for 29 yards) and how impressive Spiller was when acting as the lead back, would it surprise anyone to see Spiller be the workhorse if healthy in Week 5?  He would be an elite option if that were to happen and he should be considered a RB2 (though we’ll need to monitor the news to be sure he is healthy), only because of a difficult matchup with the 49ers.
  • It was definitely nice to see Chris Johnson produce in Week 4, but the Minnesota Vikings is not going to be an easy matchup.  I would still keep your expectations in check for this week, though the “breakout” performance does give us hope.  Consider him a RB2 with upside for another week.

Make sure to check out all of our Week 5 rankings: