Many prominent fantasy running backs will be up against some tough defenses in Week 6 of the NFL season.
Sure, Arian Foster is still going to be No. 1 because he is being force-fed the football and scoring touchdowns in the Houston Texans offense.
Yet, his Week 6 opponent is a bottom-half defense in terms of points allowed to fantasy running backs.
Ahmad Bradshaw ran for 200 yards in Week 5, but he should end up running into a brick wall that is the San Francisco 49ers' run defense this weekend.
Washington Redskins rookie running back Alfred Morris has been a top-five fantasy rusher so far this year, but he’ll be running into the second-toughest squad to get fantasy points on: the Minnesota Vikings.
Another top-five guy, Stevan Ridley of the New England Patriots, gets the third-most difficult defense to get fantasy points against as a running back in the Seattle Seahawks on the road.
Maybe those runners are in the top-five through five weeks based on the strength (or weakness, as the case may be) of their schedule. Maybe they’re in the top-five because they’re actually that good.
The truth, of course, lies somewhere in between.
Ranking fantasy running backs like Ridley, Bradshaw and Morris—among other talented players with more favorable matchups—are going to result in an advantage for the matchup guys. That’s especially likely when the players with the good matchups this week also appear to have stellar talent in their own right.
For example, the Cleveland Browns’ Trent Richardson has been impressive enough this season to rank sixth among fantasy RBs through five weeks. In Week 6, he gets the Cincinnati Bengals at home. Richardson’s my No. 2 running back this week.
Another guy who should continue his early success this weekend is Michael Turner of the Atlanta Falcons. Any prominent Atlanta fantasy player is worth a start against the Oakland Raiders at home in Week 6.
After his impressive performance in Week 5, Ryan Mathews enters the top 10 of these weekly rankings, but just barely. He should have earned more playing time on Sunday night, but it was the New Orleans Saints.
He’ll have to show up against a defense that actually scares some people (or have a wonderful matchup) in order to jump into the top-five.
Here are my top 40 fantasy running backs for Week 6.
1. Arian Foster, Houston Texans (vs. Green Bay Packers)
2. Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns (vs. Cincinnati Bengals)
3. Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens (vs. Dallas Cowboys)
4. Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons (vs. Oakland Raiders)
5. LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Detroit Lions)
6. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs (at Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
7. Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers (vs. New York Giants)
8. Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders (at Atlanta Falcons)
9. DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys (at Baltimore Ravens)
10. Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers (vs. Denver Broncos)
11. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. Kansas City Chiefs)
12. Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh Steelers (at Tennessee Titans)
13. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings (at Washington Redskins)
14. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks (vs. New England Patriots)
15. Willis McGahee, Denver Broncos (at San Diego Chargers)
16. Reggie Bush, Miami Dolphins (vs. St. Louis Rams)
17. Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins (vs. Minnesota Vikings)
18. Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots (at Seattle Seahawks)
19. Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants (at San Francisco 49ers)
20. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Cincinnati Bengals (at Cleveland Browns)
21. Mikel Leshoure, Detroit Lions (at Philadelphia Eagles)
22. C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills (at Arizona Cardinals)
23. William Powell, Arizona Cardinals (vs. Buffalo Bills)
24. Alex Green, Green Bay Packers (at Houston Texans)
25. Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams (at Miami Dolphins)
26. Vick Ballard, Indianapolis Colts (at New York Jets)
27. Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills (at Arizona Cardinals)
28. Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans (vs. Pittsburgh Steelers)
29. LaRod Stephens-Howling, Arizona Cardinals (vs. Buffalo Bills)
30. Mike Goodson, Oakland Raiders (at Atlanta Falcons)
31. LeGarrette Blount, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. Kansas City Chiefs)
32. Jacquizz Rodgers, Atlanta Falcons (vs. Oakland Raiders)
33. Shonn Greene, New York Jets (vs. Indianapolis Colts)
34. Daniel Thomas, Miami Dolphins (vs. St. Louis Rams)
35. Kendall Hunter, San Francisco 49ers (vs. New York Giants)
36. Daryl Richardson, St. Louis Rams (at Miami Dolphins)
37. John Kuhn, Green Bay Packers (at Houston Texans)
38. Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos (at San Diego Chargers)
39. Ronnie Brown, San Diego Chargers (vs. Denver Broncos)
40. Bilal Powell, New York Jets (vs. Indianapolis Colts)