Here are my top 40 running backs for Week 6 (standard-scoring leagues).
To clarify, this countdown doesn't lean on a particular stat. It's merely an educated best guess of which rushers will tally the best combination of total yards and touchdowns for the NFL's sixth weekend.
NOTE: The Panthers, Bears, Saints and Jaguars have bye weeks.
Top 40 Backs For Week 6
1. Arian Foster vs. Green Bay
2. Jamaal Charles @ Tampa Bay
3. LeSean McCoy vs. Detroit
4. Michael Turner vs. Oakland
5. Ray Rice vs. Dallas
6. Ryan Mathews vs. Denver
7. Darren McFadden @ Atlanta
8. Adrian Peterson @ Washington
9. Frank Gore vs. N.Y. Giants
10. Trent Richardson vs. Cincinnati
11. Marshawn Lynch vs. New England
12. Reggie Bush vs. St. Louis
13. BenJarvus Green-Ellis vs. Cleveland
14. Mikel Leshoure @ Philadelphia
15. DeMarco Murray @ Baltimore
16. Stevan Ridley @ Seattle
17. Alfred Morris vs. Minnesota
18. Fred Jackson @ Arizona
19. Ahmad Bradshaw @ San Francisco
20. Chris Johnson vs. Pittsburgh
21. Willis McGahee @ San Diego
22. Doug Martin vs. Kansas City
23. Rashard Mendenhall @ Tennessee
24. Steven Jackson @ Miami
25. C.J. Spiller @ Arizona
26. Alex Green @ Houston
27. Vick Ballard @ N.Y. Jets
28. LaRod Stephens-Howling vs. Buffalo
29. Shonn Greene vs. Indianapolis
30. Toby Gerhart @ Washington
31. Jacquizz Rodgers vs. Oakland
32. Kendall Hunter vs. N.Y. Giants
33. Jackie Battle vs. Denver
34. Ben Tate vs. Green Bay
35. Brandon Bolden @ Seattle
36. LeGarrette Blount vs. Kansas City
37. Joique Bell @ Philadelphia
38. Shaun Draughn @ Tampa Bay
39. Robert Turbin vs. New England
40. Isaac Redman @ Tennessee
1. Arian Foster (592 total yards, six TD) is the unquestioned rushing king in standard-scoring leagues right now. He's notched 110-plus total yards or one touchdown in all five games, and he's averaging 28.4 touches this season (up considerably from 2011).
2. Jamaal Charles has amassed 564 total yards and three touchdowns in the last three NFL Sundays. In this special case, Charles is actually benefiting from his club's anemic play at quarterback.
For points-per-reception league owners, here's a bold prediction: Charles will catch five balls for 45-plus yards against the Bucs.
3. The last time he faced the Lions (September 2010—Michael Vick's Philly starting debut), LeSean McCoy crushed the opposition for 128 total yards and three touchdowns.
In hindsight, that game served as Shady's official coming-out party as an elite fantasy back. For Week 6, he's a healthy lock for 115 total yards and/or two touchdowns against Detroit.
4. I don't have many positive Sunday vibes for Ahmad Bradshaw (@ 49ers), Chris Johnson (vs. Steelers), Steven Jackson (@ Dolphins) or Alfred Morris (vs. Vikings). In 12-team leagues, they're nothing more than RB2 or flex considerations for Week 6.
5. If ever there was a time for BenJarvus Green-Ellis (348 total yards, two TD) to end a mini-slump and thrill Who Dey Nation—it's Sunday in Cleveland. The Browns have already surrendered 100 combined rushing yards four times this season...with the lone exception coming Week 2 against the Bengals.
To be fair, though, Green-Ellis racked up 105 total yards in that meeting.
6. IF ONLY the Packers had drafted a pair of tailbacks in 2011, perhaps they'd be better equipped to handle the long-term absence of Cedric Benson (Lisfranc injury). Oh wait, that's exactly what occurred two springs ago.
In other words, opportunity knocks for Alex Green and Brandon Saine.
For what it's worth, I would take any reasonable chance to acquire the explosive Green on waivers—especially since Green Bay's vaunted passing game hasn't consistently been operating at full power.
7. Arizona's LaRod Stephens-Howling will be a highly coveted asset on waivers—given the key losses of rushers Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams. But don't be surprised if the Cardinals execute a midweek trade to acquire another tailback before Sunday's home tilt against Buffalo.
One other plausible scenario: It's possible that a street free agent, like former Cardinals back Tim Hightower, could be counted on for crucial touches. Keep tabs on this fluid situation all week.
Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.
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