When setting your fantasy football lineups for Week 5 of the NFL season, you might want to consider sitting or keeping these five running backs on your bench:
Kendall Hunter, San Francisco 49ers
Last week was an example of reading too much into an injury. Hunter was given the start, but Frank Gore still got the majority of carries while dealing with a banged-up ankle.
Don't get fooled again. Hunter is certainly going to get touches, but this is Gore's backfield. Another week of healing and Gore's ankle will no longer even be an issue.
Keep Hunter on the bench unless you're sure that Gore is going to be limited.
Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks
Beast Mode finally hit paydirt over the weekend, scoring his first touchdown of 2011 in a loss to the Falcons.
However, that's the underlying problem. The Seahawks have been playing from behind all season, which has limited what they can do in the running game. Lynch has yet to crack 20 carries, and he likely needs at least that many to be relevant in fantasy.
The Giants haven't been good against the run, especially lately. However, it's still more likely that the Seahawks will be behind early.
Mendenhall is both struggling and hurt, which are the two words you don't want associated with your fantasy running back.
He's yet to crack 70 yards rushing in 2011, behind the Steelers' woeful offensive line, but the injury is more worrisome.
Mendenhall likely won't practice all week, which gives him a high chance of being deactivated on Sunday. Unless he gets back on the practice field, I'd keep the under-performing and gimpy star on the bench.
Thomas Jones, Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs continue to give Jones the ball in Jamaal Charles's absence, despite a yards-per-carry average that has lingered below three this season.
There's no strong indication that Todd Haley will change that game plan, but you have to figure that Dexter McCluster is going to start getting more touches.
Jones is over the hill, and his prime is getting farther and farther away in the rear-view mirror. Do what Haley should and get Jones on your bench.
The injury isn't the reason to keep Grant on your bench, however. The Packers have been committed to giving both Grant and Starks equal carries in 2011. That won't change in Atlanta. The plan has always been to start Grant and ease Starks into the game.
There's a strong case to be made that the Packers want Starks to take a stronger hold of the position. The team gave him every chance in Chicago, despite a frustrating performance and Grant's success.
Just pretend Grant still has a bruised kidney and keep him in the reserves.
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