Fantasy Football Week 5: Last-Minute Top 40 Running Back Rankings
The Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams handed the football to a running back 42 times on Thursday night in Week 5. They threw 10 passes in the direction of a running back as well.
The six guys who registered a touch in that game totaled 18 fantasy points in ESPN standard scoring leagues.
That’s not exactly what fantasy owners had in mind when starting Ryan Williams or Steven Jackson.
Sunday’s slate of games presents more favorable matchups for fantasy running backs like Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin of the Seattle Seahawks.
Those two rushers will face the Carolina Panthers, a rushing defense that has allowed a generous 5.2 yards per carry and three rushing touchdowns through four weeks.
Carolina also has allowed the most receptions (42) and receiving yards (355) of any team in the NFL to running backs.
Statistics like those play a major role in the position Lynch holds at the top of the Week 5 rankings.
They also suggest that Turbin may be a viable flex option in a bye week that keeps fantasy owners from starting four featured backs: Doug Martin of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, DeMarco Murray of the Dallas Cowboys, Mikel Leshoure of the Detroit Lions and Darren McFadden of the Oakland Raiders.
In a week like this, it’s hard to let Ryan Mathews’ potential time-share in New Orleans for the San Diego Chargers deter you from starting him in fantasy football.
The time-share (and extremely favorable matchup with the New Orleans Saints) also allows for Jackie Battle’s name to be considered as a flex option.
Another backfield committee situation seems to be taking shape in New York, with Andre Brown and Ahmad Bradshaw splitting carries for the New York Giants.
The Browns are a middle-of-the-pack impediment to fantasy running backs while Cleveland’s pass defense has gotten repeatedly torched in the first month of the season.
New York should attack that weakness at home, leaving precious few carries for Bradshaw or Brown as individual entities.
I have each of them listed as flex options below.
1. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks (at Carolina Panthers)
2. Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens (at Kansas City Chiefs)
3. Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans (at New York Jets)
4. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings (vs. Tennessee Titans)
5. Reggie Bush, Miami Dolphins (at Cincinnati Bengals)
6. Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers (vs. Buffalo Bills)
7. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. Baltimore Ravens)
8. Matt Forte, Chicago Bears (at Jacksonville Jaguars)
9. LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles (at Pittsburgh Steelers)
10. Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns (at New York Giants)
11. Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins (vs. Atlanta Falcons)
12. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. Chicago Bears)
13. Willis McGahee, Denver Broncos (at New England Patriots)
14. Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans (at Minnesota Vikings)
15. Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers (at New Orleans Saints)
16. Cedric Benson, Green Bay Packers (at Indianapolis Colts)
17. Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots (vs. Denver Broncos)
18. C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills (at San Francisco 49ers)
19. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. Miami Dolphins)
20. Darren Sproles, New Orleans Saints (vs. San Diego Chargers)
21. Michael Bush, Chicago Bears (at Jacksonville Jaguars)
22. Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants (vs. Cleveland Browns)
23. Jackie Battle, San Diego Chargers (at New Orleans Saints)
24. Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons (at Washington Redskins)
25. Robert Turbin, Seattle Seahawks (at Carolina Panthers)
26. Andre Brown, New York Giants (vs. Cleveland Browns)
27. Donald Brown, Indianapolis Colts (vs. Green Bay Packers)
28. DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers (vs. Seattle Seahawks)
29. Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills (at San Francisco 49ers)
30. Ben Tate, Houston Texans (at New York Jets)
31. Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Philadelphia Eagles)
32. Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers (vs. Seattle Seahawks)
33. Pierre Thomas, New Orleans Saints (vs. San Diego Chargers)
34. Shaun Draughn, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. Baltimore Ravens)
35. Daniel Thomas, Miami Dolphins (at Cincinnati Bengals)
36. Shonn Greene, New York Jets (vs. Houston Texans)
37. Bilal Powell, New York Jets (vs. Houston Texans)
38. Jacquizz Rodgers, Atlanta Falcons (at Washington Redskins)
39. Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints (vs. San Diego Chargers)
40. Kendall Hunter, San Francisco 49ers (vs. Buffalo Bills)
For more fantasy football advice on Twitter: Follow @StatManJ
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