Fantasy Football Week 5 Rankings: Top 40 Running Backs
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:
- Arian Foster – Houston Texans – at New York Jets
- Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings – vs. Tennessee
- Ray Rice – Baltimore Ravens – at Kansas City
- Marshawn Lynch – Seattle Seahawks – at Carolina
- Jamaal Charles – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Baltimore
- LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles – at Pittsburgh
- Trent Richardson – Cleveland Browns – at New York Giants
- Frank Gore – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Buffalo
- Matt Forte – Chicago Bears – at Jacksonville
- Alfred Morris – Washington Redskins – vs. Atlanta
- Reggie Bush – Miami Dolphins – at Cincinnati
- Ryan Mathews – San Diego Chargers – at New Orleans
- Maurice Jones-Drew – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. Chicago
- Willis McGahee – Denver Broncos – at New England
- Steven Jackson – St. Louis Rams – vs. Arizona
- Ryan Williams – Arizona Cardinals – at St. Louis
- Chris Johnson – Tennessee Titans – at Minnesota
- Michael Turner – Atlanta Falcons – at Washington
- Cedric Benson – Green Bay Packers – at Indianapolis
- BenJarvus Green-Ellis – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Miami
- C.J. Spiller – Buffalo Bills – at San Francisco
- Darren Sproles – New Orleans Saints – vs. San Diego
- Ahmad Bradshaw – New York Giants – vs. Cleveland
- Donald Brown – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Green Bay
- Stevan Ridley – New England Patriots – vs. Denver
- Ben Tate – Houston Texans – at New York Jets
- Shonn Greene – New York Jets – vs. Houston
- Rashard Mendenhall – Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. Philadelphia
- Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers – vs. Seattle
- DeAngelo Williams – Carolina Panthers – vs. Seattle
- Fred Jackson – Buffalo Bills – at San Francisco
- Kendall Hunter – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Buffalo
- Jackie Battle – San Diego Chargers – at New Orleans
- Pierre Thomas – New Orleans Saints – vs. San Diego
- Michael Bush – Chicago Bears – at Jacksonville
- Andre Brown – New York Giants – vs. Cleveland
- Isaac Redman – Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. Philadelphia
- Ronnie Hillman – Denver Broncos – at New England
- Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints – vs. San Diego
- 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:
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