Bye weeks, bumps and bruises have shuffled the landscape of fantasy running backs this week while most of them haven’t even played a game.
Donald Brown of the Indianapolis Colts underwent knee surgery on Tuesday and leaves the starting running back job in the hands of rookie rusher Vick Ballard.
Ballard will be behind fellow rook Andrew Luck as they stare down the defense of the New York Jets on Sunday. New York hasn’t been especially harsh on opposing fantasy running backs this season. Running backs have scored at least one rushing touchdown in each game against the Jets so far.
Fantasy owners in a pinch should consider starting Ballard in Week 6.
Another player who has ascended to a starting job prior to Sunday’s games is William Powell of the Arizona Cardinals. Arizona hasn’t gotten much push in the running game, but the Buffalo Bills (their Week 6 opponent) haven't stopped anybody, either.
This matchup is sort of like throwing a Styrofoam ball into a pile of suds; you know the ball will get through, but you’re not sure just how far it’ll go.
Powell, like Ballard, is worth a look as a No. 2 running back if you have no other options for that spot in your lineup.
The last major news at running back is Alex Green’s insertion into the Green Bay Packers’ starting lineup.
He performed well last week against the Colts, but that was the Colts. This week, Green and the Packers will draw the Houston Texans. That makes him a considerably less attractive start heading into Week 6.
The idea that someone has to get a fantasy-relevant amount of carries in Green Bay may not be a very accurate one, considering that Aaron Rodgers lit the league up in the passing game last season while Ryan Grant took few carries.
His biggest volume of carries came in Week 3 against the Chicago Bears: 17 rushes. Grant finished last year with five games of double-digit carries while Rodgers went on to be the fantasy football MVP.
For a look at how the new starters compare to their running back counterparts, check out the list below.
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. Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders (at Atlanta Falcons)
7. DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys (at Baltimore Ravens)
8. Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers (vs. Denver Broncos)
9. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. Kansas City Chiefs)
10. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs (at Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
11. Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers (vs. New York Giants)
12. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks (vs. New England Patriots)
13. Willis McGahee, Denver Broncos (at San Diego Chargers)
14. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings (at Washington Redskins)
15. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Cincinnati Bengals (at Cleveland Browns)
16. Reggie Bush, Miami Dolphins (vs. St. Louis Rams)
17. William Powell, Arizona Cardinals (vs. Buffalo Bills)
18. Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants (at San Francisco 49ers)
19. Vick Ballard, Indianapolis Colts (at New York Jets)
20. Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins (vs. Minnesota Vikings)
21. Mikel Leshoure, Detroit Lions (at Philadelphia Eagles)
22. Danny Woodhead, New England Patriots (at Seattle Seahawks)
23. Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots (at Seattle Seahawks)
24. C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills (at Arizona Cardinals)
25. Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams (at Miami Dolphins)
26. Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills (at Arizona Cardinals)
27. LaRod Stephens-Howling, Arizona Cardinals (vs. Buffalo Bills)
28. LeGarrette Blount, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. Kansas City Chiefs)
29. Shonn Greene, New York Jets (vs. Indianapolis Colts)
30. Alex Green, Green Bay Packers (at Houston Texans)
31. Mike Goodson, Oakland Raiders (at Atlanta Falcons)
32. Bilal Powell, New York Jets (vs. Indianapolis Colts)
33. John Kuhn, Green Bay Packers (at Houston Texans)
34. Brandon Bolden, New England Patriots (at Seattle Seahawks)
35. Jacquizz Rodgers, Atlanta Falcons (vs. Oakland Raiders)
36. Ronnie Brown, San Diego Chargers (vs. Denver Broncos)
37. Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos (at San Diego Chargers)
38. Kendall Hunter, San Francisco 49ers (vs. New York Giants)
39. Daryl Richardson, St. Louis Rams (at Miami Dolphins)
40. Joe McKnight, New York Jets (vs. Indianapolis Colts)
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