Week Five RB Rankings: Start Sit ~ Fargas, Justin Time?

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Week Five RB Rankings: Start Sit ~ Fargas, Justin Time?
(Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Week Five RB Rankings: Sit’em or Start’em Edition

Justin time or just in case?

There haven’t been many high points for the Oakland Raiders through the season’s first four games. Scratch that. There have been none at all. With the exception of a 13-10 win over the even sadder Kansas City Chiefs, there is nothing to smile about in the black hole. Owner Al Davis might have died from a heart attack at this point, if he happened to have a heart. So alive he is, dead his team seems to be.

I won’t get into a point by point breakdown on the Raiders breakdown here, except to look at the team running back situation. This was supposed to be Darren McFadden’s breakout campaign. Yeah, not so much. Through four games he’s ranked 40th, with 145 yards and one TD. Yawn. Now he’s hurt and expected to miss a few weeks.

Meanwhile the Raiders continue to stumble. This is where everyone goes racing to the waiver wire to snatch up Michael Bush, whom I think is the Raiders best RB. Not so fast. The Raiders have shown time and time again, that they will go to Justin Fargas first, which is what they did Sunday when McFadden got hurt. If you’re determined to grab a Raiders’ replacement back, Fargas is the man. Keep in mind though, he faces the Giants defense in week five.

Let’s get straight to the beef. The following guys are on byes this week: LaDainian Tomlinson, Darren Sproles, Matt Forte, Pierre Thomas, Reggie Bush, and Ryan Grant.

–Week 5 ~ Start ‘em–

Obviously you’re going to start your studs, like Peterson, Slaton, and Maurice Jones-Drew this week. I want to look at guys who can be bye week fill-ins or non-1st rounders who could do some damage this week.

Rashard Mendenhall, PIT—While I don’t think one week cures all ills in either Mendenhall’s or the Steelers running game, the kid does have the talent and wheels to be a stud in this league, as we saw Sunday night. The Steelers faithful are all kinds of happy to see anyone in the running game breakout, but fantasy owners are doubly excited to see that it is Mendenhall (Willie Parker owners excepted). Catch my Rocket Richard article for more on that. Rashard gets to take on the Detroit Lions in week five, and in the jungle the mighty jungle, the Lions are not sleeping tonight. Not only does Mendenhall make a great week five start, he’s this week’s top waiver wire pick ujp, as he’s only owned in about 36 percent of ESPN and Yahoo leagues. Have you been sitting on that high waiver pick? Cash in.

Tashard Choice, DAL—Felix Jones is still out this week, and that means another week for Choice to split carries with Marion Barber. How did that go last week? Both had about 35 yards rushing, with Choice getting the edge in attempts, 14-11. Barber did get the lone TD against Denver, but Choice also had five receptions for another 47 yards. Neither had a huge day, but this week Choice faces the Kansas City Chiefs woeful defense. Choice should do well in yards and receptions, and I think he’ll score as well. He makes a nice bye fill or flex play.

Fred Jackson, BUF—With Marshawn Lynch back, one might expect

Jackson—One Man Lynch Mob

Jackson to fall off the fantasy map. Not so. Last week Lynch had a paltry eight carries for four yards. That’s not a misprint. Jackson meanwhile racked up 68 total yards with three receptions on a bad day. This week he faces the Browns, who surrender more fantasy points to RBs than any other team. Regardless of Lynch’s involvement, Jackson should eclipse 100 total yards, and score a TD, making him a nice flex or bye week play.

Jerome Harrison, CLE—On the flipside of that Bills/Browns game, the Bills are 3rd worst at surrendering points to RBs. They have averaged two TDs to RBs through four games. Harrison broke out last week with Jamal Lewis hurt, and James Davis pushed to the IR. Expect another solid week from another guy who should be available on most waiver wires this week. Here’s my article on What Browns Can Do For You.

Glen Goffee, SF—Coffee played his first game in place of the injured Frank Gore, and put up 106 total yards against the Rams, who despite how bad they are, have been decent against the run. This week he plays the Atlanta Falcons who have not been great against the run, giving up 531 yards and three TDs in three games so far. He will once again be in for Gore, so if you snagged him off waivers last week, I’d run him out there again.

Tim Hightower/Beanie Wells, ARI—Beanie Wells has been a bust so far, but the talent is there. This week he faces the Houston Texans who, like the Bills, have surrendered 8 TDs to RBs and 711 total yards. This could be the week Beanie breaks out. Hightower also has the chance to do big things as well, for the same reasons as Wells, plus Hightower is a threat in the passing game. Houston is averaging six receptions a game to running backs. Of the two RBs, my money is on Hightower, but Wells is always a threat.

–Week Five ~ Sit ‘em–

Kevin Smith, DET—Smith was not expected to play last week and he showed up and scored twice. This week I would leave him on the bench unless you have to play him. He faces the league’s toughest run defense in the Pittsburgh Steelers. They have allowed only 223 rushing yards and one TD to running backs through four games. That’s about 56 yards a game. And that’s without Troy Polamalu, who could return to action this week as well.

Donald Brown/Joseph Addai, IND—As woeful as the Titans have been against the passing game, they have been brutal against opposing runners, allowing only 252 yards and a TD. That’s 63 yards a game, and who knows which of the two will get those yards. One of them could find the end zone, but if one does, who might it be? Indy will bomb the Titans secondary all day, while the running game flounders. If I had to play one I’d go with Brown, but this week, I’d say bench both.

Thomas Jones, NYJ—Miami has been stout against the run and Jones has 68 total rushing yards in his last two games. We even saw Shonn Greene surface late last week. That could be a sign of things to come. Miami’s only given up 240 yards and one TD on the ground to RBs. They have also surrendered 187 receiving yards and a TD to RBs, but that would go to Leon Washington, not Jones. This is one Jet to ground in week five.

Fred Taylor, NEP—And all Patriots RBs for that matter. The Broncos just aren’t giving up much on the ground; 269 yards and two TDs through four games. With rushing duties split four ways in New England, well, you do the math. Look for a frustrated Tom Brady to push the passing game this week.

Here are three more from my colleague Chris Todish, and I agree with him:

Unfavorable Matchups: In Short, Sit’em!

Ronnie Brown vs New York Jets—Ronnie Brown has the tools to carry the ball in the end zone, but against a Rex Ryan defense, I don’t think so. The Jets defense will have many opportunities to look at the Wildcat offense the Miami Dolphins rely on so much. With Calvin Pace back from suspension to claim his OLB job back, this teams defense will be even better, and leave Ronnie Brown looking for his targets through the air from Chad Henne. Brown is the focal point of the offense in Miami, but he and Ricky Williams will have a very tough match-up on Monday night, and their offense should be prone to throwing the ball in this contest (not that it’s going to help with Revis and Rhodes). If Brown is on your team, he should most likely take a seat in week five…..in short, great defense against a team with no passing attack, that should spell trouble for Brown!

Cedric Benson vs Baltimore Ravens—Cedric Benson has established himself as a legitimate fantasy option this season, but against a physical Baltimore defense that has been tearing up RB’s at a rampant pace this year, I don’t think so. With the Ravens putting points on the board through the air, that should leave a stingy Baltimore defense applying pressure in the back-field and forcing Carson Palmer to air the ball out. Baltimore is the number one ranked rushing defense in the league, and I don’t see Cedric Benson changing that anytime soon…..in short, this team will destroy his fantasy production in week five!

Michael Turner vs San Francisco 49′ers—I know, how do you sit your first pick? Well, have you ever seen Patrick Willis and company play football this season? Coach Mike Singletary has this team playing some of the best defensive football we have seen in decades from this franchise. He’s making the Kool-Aid and they are slurping it up! The 49′ers are the third best rushing defense in the league and will have their hands full with Atlanta’s offense. With that being said, Turner will have plenty of opportunities to carry the ball, but the 49′ers don’t give up much in the way of yards or TD’s on the ground. It’s definitely not out of the realm of possibility that Turner is productive, but it’s hard to imagine in week five…in short, pray for your points from Turner! Note: To add to Chris’ opinion, SF does surrender points to RBs through the air, but Turner is not a pass catching RB.

Here’s my Stock Watch RB article for the first quarter.

–RB Statistical Rankings through Week Four (Actual stats)–

Player Name

Team

G

Att

Rush Yards

TDs

Targets

Rec

Rec Yards

TDs

Fantasy Points

1. Adrian Peterson

MIN

4

84

412

5

8

8

56

0

76.8

2. Chris Johnson

TEN

4

69

434

2

21

14

117

1

73.1

3. Maurice Jones-Drew

JAC

4

63

296

5

25

16

97

0

69.3

4. Willis McGahee

BAL

4

37

201

5

11

7

54

2

67.5

5. Ronnie Brown

MIA

4

72

369

4

8

6

50

0

65.9

6. Fred Jackson

BUF

4

70

333

0

25

18

160

1

55.3

7. Frank Goreinjured

SF

3

39

241

3

11

8

57

1

53.8

8. Cedric Benson

CIN

4

84

367

2

9

6

49

0

53.6

9. Kevin Smith

DET

4

74

234

3

19

16

101

0

51.5

10. Julius Jones

SEA

4

57

251

1

12

11

65

2

49.6

11. Ricky Williams

MIA

4

50

248

2

11

8

62

1

49.0

12. Ray Rice

BAL

4

49

295

1

24

16

134

0

48.9

13. Marion Barber

DAL

3

43

244

3

4

4

58

0

48.2

14. Joseph Addai

IND

4

48

183

2

18

16

100

1

46.3

15. Ryan Grant

GB

4

67

257

2

11

9

83

0

46.0

16. Steven Jackson

STL

4

83

367

0

20

12

67

0

43.4

17. Pierre Thomas

NO

3

33

212

3

5

5

42

0

43.4

18. Steve Slaton

HOU

4

59

192

1

16

11

121

1

43.3

19. Correll Buckhalterinjured

DEN

4

37

267

1

11

8

96

0

42.3

20. Matt Forte

CHI

4

71

271

1

16

13

92

0

42.3

21. Thomas Jones

NYJ

4

61

229

3

3

2

1

0

41.0

22. Darren Sproles

SD

4

37

90

1

22

15

197

1

40.7

23. Knowshon Moreno

DEN

4

60

249

1

4

4

33

1

40.2

24. Cadillac Williams

TB

4

38

191

1

15

12

81

1

39.2

25. DeAngelo Williams

CAR

3

41

180

2

13

9

84

0

38.4

26. Donald Brown

IND

4

38

132

2

6

5

125

0

37.7

27. Rashard Mendenhall

PIT

4

36

210

2

3

3

39

0

36.9

28. Brandon Jacobs

NYG

4

79

288

1

7

3

13

0

36.1

29. Michael Turner

ATL

3

65

226

2

2

1

5

0

35.1

30. Tim Hightower

ARI

3

32

109

1

25

20

172

0

34.1

31. Fred Taylor

NE

4

45

201

2

2

2

17

0

33.8

32. Reggie Bush

NO

4

36

148

1

22

14

121

0

32.9

33. Clinton Portis

WAS

4

72

281

0

5

4

25

0

30.6

34. Mike Bellinjured

NO

2

45

229

1

1

1

9

0

29.8

35. Felix Jones

DAL

3

21

212

1

2

1

20

0

29.2

36. Tashard Choice

DAL

4

36

133

1

16

12

92

0

28.5

37. Ahmad Bradshaw

NYG

4

47

265

0

6

5

19

0

28.4

38. Jerome Harrison

CLE

3

48

181

0

18

14

88

0

26.9

39. Willie Parker

PIT

3

52

159

0

4

4

44

1

26.3

40. Darren McFaddeninjured

OAK

4

47

145

1

13

7

53

0

25.8

41. LeSean McCoy

PHI

3

34

148

1

10

6

47

0

25.5

42. Leon Washington

NYJ

4

45

181

0

16

11

72

0

25.3

43. Larry Johnson

KC

4

72

189

0

10

7

48

0

23.7

44. Michael Bush

OAK

4

30

120

1

7

7

45

0

22.5

45. Brian Westbrook

PHI

2

26

116

0

9

6

22

1

19.8

46. Sammy Morris

NE

4

13

41

1

12

9

95

0

19.6

47. Heath Evans

NO

4

3

12

0

10

7

62

2

19.4

48. Derrick Ward

TB

3

26

96

1

7

5

33

0

18.9

49. Chester Taylor

MIN

4

19

49

0

23

18

138

0

18.7

50. Glen Coffee

SF

4

59

138

0

10

6

48

0

18.6

What was on my CD player while I wrote this article:

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