Running Backs to Add
Zac Stacy, St. Louis Rams
They kept him a secret in the season's first four weeks, but the Rams might have found an identity with their maligned running game. Yes, Daryl Richardson will still serve as the third-down back, but Stacy's style is that of a bull and he will get the starts, bulk of the carries and the all-important goal-line work for the Rams now.
Isaiah Pead and Benny Cunningham are no longer worth owning in any fantasy leagues. Stacy is the man, Jeff Fisher told ESPN's Nick Wagoner, naming the rookie back out of Vandy his starter against the Texans:
Would've liked to [have] seen him get more carries, but that was the way the game went. He was hitting the hole and he had yards after contact -- the violent yards, we refer to them at the running back position. He got to what he needed to do in the passing game and I thought in protection he was excellent.
Willis McGahee, Cleveland Browns
He is available in almost 30 percent of CBS Sports leagues still, but he shouldn't be. He got his feet under him in Week 5, rushing for 72 yards and a touchdown. The Browns now face a Lions team that has given up the sixth-most points per game to fantasy running backs to date. He is a starter in all leagues right now.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Cincinnati Bengals
He doesn't get enough credit in fantasy circles, mostly because everyone is drooling over Giovani Bernard's potential. The thing is, though, Bernard is not ready to be a feature back, and the rookie had a costly fumble against the Pats. BGE is still going to get the bulk of the workload and the important goal-line touches. He is a must-start in all leagues at Buffalo.
Running Backs to Monitor
Donald Brown, Indianapolis Colts
Brown rose to fantasy viability when Vick Ballard went down for the season, but the acquisition of Trent Richardson put an end to that. Now, Ahmad Bradshaw (neck) might be facing a year-ending injury, so Brown is back on the fantasy radar. The touchdown against the Seahawks certainly helps, as does the Colts' desire to pound the rock and rotate their backs.
The problem with Brown in Week 6 is the Chargers are the third-best team in fantasy against running backs. You only need to own him as a Richardson handcuff this week, especially with another solid run defense (Denver) looming in Week 7 and the bye in Week 8.
Andre Ellington, Arizona Cardinals
The rookie has stepped forward into a timeshare with Rashard Mendenhall, rushing seven times for 52 yards and catching four passes for 31 yards last week, but that is about the limit of his work, particularly for as long as Mendenhall stays healthy. Ellington is a complementary back, not a feature one, according to head coach Bruce Arians, who said at his weekly news conference (courtesy of ArizonaSports.com):
I think that's his workload. He's not that body type. If you're going to stand and hand it to him 30 times, he'd probably play two weeks. You have to be smart with these guys. He's a space player and a really good one. As he continues to find his niche he's only going to get better and better.
Anthony Dixon, San Francisco 49ers
We have been pumping the fantasy value of Kendall Hunter this season, but Dixon has been taking a chunk out of Frank Gore, too, along the goal line. Dixon got another short touchdown in Week 5, and he should continue to get goal-line touches. The problem is those are not guaranteed, particularly with Gore and Hunter both healthy. If you own LaMichael James, you probably need to drop him for Dixon as a flex player during the bye season, though.
Marcel Reece, Oakland Raiders
He is only an add if Darren McFadden (hamstring) and Rashad Jennings (hamstring) are listed as questionable or worse on the Week 6 injury report. The Chiefs have a good enough run defense for you to be wary of any of the Raiders backs this week, regardless of the injuries. Then, they have a bye in Week 7, too.
Running Backs to Ignore
Pierre Thomas, New Orleans Saints
Thomas did pick up a pair of touchdowns against the Bears, but the Pats run defense looms in Week 6 and the bye week follows in Week 7. After that point, Mark Ingram (toe) might be healthy enough to send Thomas back to a timeshare. Thomas is owned in 75 percent of CBS Sports leagues, and that is about the limit of his value for the next few weeks.
Brandon Bolden, New England Patriots
The Pats running game has little rhythm right now, and there is little rhyme or reason to it, either. LeGarrette Blount (only a desperation add in his own right) will get the short-yardage and clock-grinding work, while Stevan Ridley (knee) will still be the starter and feature back, when he's active.
That leaves mere scraps for Bolden, who is little more than a Ridley handcuff for the next few weeks. With the Patriots facing a tough Jets run defense in Week 7 and byes more plentiful in Week 8 (six teams out), Bolden is a waste of a reserve spot right now.
Jason Snelling, Atlanta Falcons
Snelling got into the end zone again Monday night on a shovel pass from Matt Ryan, but his fantasy value is mitigated by the pending return of Steven Jackson (hamstring). Jacquizz Rodgers is going to get the work Snelling was doing, while Jackson will handle the feature-back role. Also, the Falcons have a bye this week. Snelling's outlook isn't great going forward.