It’s become crystal clear who the best running back in the league this season is, hasn’t it?
The real question is how the injuries (and those players returning to health) shake things up.
Let’s take a look:
- Darren McFadden – Oakland Raiders – at Houston
- Arian Foster – Houston Texans – vs. Oakland
- Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings – vs. Arizona
- LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles – at Buffalo
- Fred Jackson – Buffalo Bills – vs. Philadelphia
- Matt Forte – Chicago Bears – at Detroit
- Chris Johnson – Tennessee Titans – at Pittsburgh
- Maurice Jones-Drew – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. Cincinnati
- Ryan Mathews – San Diego Chargers – at Denver
- Frank Gore – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Tampa Bay
- Cedric Benson – Cincinnati Bengals – at Jacksonville
- Ahmad Bradshaw – New York Giants – vs. Seattle
- Beanie Wells – Arizona Cardinals – at Minnesota
- Michael Turner – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Green Bay
- Joseph Addai – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Kansas City
- Jahvid Best – Detroit Lions – vs. Chicago
- Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers – vs. New Orleans
- LeGarrette Blount – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at San Francisco
- Shonn Greene – New York Jets – at New England
- Darren Sproles – New Orleans Saints – at Carolina
- Willis McGahee – Denver Broncos – vs. San Diego
- James Starks – Green Bay Packers – at Atlanta
- Stevan Ridley – New England Patriots – vs. New York Jets
- Marshawn Lynch – Seattle Seahawks – at New York Giants
- Isaac Redman – Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. Tennessee
- DeAngelo Williams – Carolina Panthers – vs. New Orleans
- BenJarvus Green-Ellis – New England Patriots – vs. New York Jets
- Brandon Jacobs – New York Giants – vs. Seattle
- LaDainian Tomlinson – New York Jets – at New England
- Michael Bush – Oakland Raiders – at Houston
- Kendall Hunter – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Tampa Bay
- Thomas Jones – Kansas City Chiefs – at Indianapolis
- Dexter McCluster – Kansas City Chiefs – at Indianapolis
- Knowshon Moreno – Denver Broncos – vs. San Diego
- Mike Tolbert – San Diego Chargers – at Denver
- Pierre Thomas – New Orleans Saints – at Carolina
- Ryan Grant – Green Bay Packers – at Atlanta
- Delone Carter – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Kansas City
- Toby Gerhart – Minnesota Vikings – vs. Arizona
- Deji Karim – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. Cincinnati
Just like that, Arian Foster again became one of the better running back options in the league. Forget about the groin injury to Ben Tate, Foster went off for 155 yards and one TD on 30 carries against the Steelers in Week 4.
It finally appears he’s over the injury that slowed him early in the season.
Inexplicably, despite trying to preserve a lead, LeSean McCoy was given just nine carries in Week 4 against the 49ers (which he turned into 18 yards). Sure, he also had six receptions for 34 yards and a touchdown, but it is impossible to imagine a scenario where he gets so few carries again.
Considering that the Raiders rushing defense has been poor this season (136.0 yards/game and five TDs), look for McCoy to be used early and often in Week 5.
Matt Forte erupted in Week 4, getting 25 carries for 205 yards and a touchdown. His advantage is that even if the game falls into a shootout, he could play a major role in the passing game.
On the season, he has 26 receptions for 310 yards and a touchdown. He’s clearly going to be a must-use option every week.
There were concerns about Frank Gore’s health heading into Week 4, though you wouldn’t know it by his production. Taking on the Eagles, he got 15 carries for 127 yards and a touchdown. That’s a good thing, right?
It’s great that he’s turning things around after struggling for three weeks, but the increased carries for Kendall Hunter has got to be a small concern.
Hunter has now received nine carries in each of the past two weeks and could cut into Gore’s playing time moving forward. It’s just something that needs to be kept in mind.
We all knew that Chris Johnson was going to get things on track before long.
He rushed for 101 yards in Week 4 and draws a Steelers defense that has been surprisingly porous thus far (119.5 yards/game and three TDs). It’s definitely hard not to consider him a top 10 option, isn’t it?
Michael Turner has been very good this season, but the Falcons-Packers game will almost certainly turn into a shootout.
Exactly how many carries can we expect him to get? Considering he’s not much of a passing target (six receptions on the season), he has to be considered a RB2 this week due to the risk involved.
Obviously, no one expects Beanie Wells to replicate his Week 4 performance, having ripped off 138 yards and three TDs.
However, the fact that he proved that he’s healthy and ready to contribute should do wonders for fantasy owners' trust in him. Consider him worth using as a RB2 this week.
DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart
This past week, DeAngelo Williams rushed for 82 yards on 10 carries while Jonathan Stewart ran for 52 yards on 8 carries (though he did add 33 yards on four receptions). The question for fantasy owners is who will get the bulk of the looks this week.
The truth is, they are probably going to continue sharing carries, though Stewart’s ability to contribute in the passing game makes him a slightly better option.
Who do we think is going to be the usable back for the Patriots?
Stevan Ridley is quickly entrenching himself as the option to own, averaging more than eight yards per carry. He is getting more and more involved in the offense—look for that to continue against the Jets.
Does anyone have faith in Marshawn Lynch at this point?
On 46 carries, he has rushed for 141 yards and one touchdown. Sure, the Giants showed that they can be beaten by the run, but is it enough?
He’s a low-end RB2 due to the bye week and nothing more.
It looks like Isaac Redman will get the nod for the Steelers, with Rashad Mendenhall hurting this week.
Redman was impressive last week, with 40 yards on six carries. However, he’s only had as many as 10 carries in a game once in his career.
It’s hard to depend on him, and I would consider him more of a flex option.
Make sure to check out the rest of Rotoprofessor’s Week 5 information: