Week 5 Rankings (2017): Top 40 Running Backs

by Ray Kuhn

This is not an easy week as we have four teams on bye and Week 4 saw multiple running backs go down with injury. While the options at the top of the rankings are as strong as ever, it gets thin quick. Unless you are looking for value options in DFS, it is going to be a week where you jump to the top of the list and pay the premium. When it comes to seasonal leagues there isn’t the same luxury, and there will be some speculation involved. Let’s take a look at how our options rank this week:

  1. Le’Veon Bell – Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. Jacksonville
  2. Todd Gurley – Los Angeles Rams – vs. Seattle
  3. Kareem Hunt – Kansas City Chiefs – at Houston
  4. Ezekiel Elliot – Dallas Cowboys – vs. Green Bay
  5. Carlos Hyde – San Francisco 49ers – at Indianapolis
  6. LeSean McCoy – Buffalo Bills – at Cincinnati
  7. Melvin Gordon – Los Angeles Chargers – at New York Giants
  8. Leonard Fournette – Jacksonville Jaguars – at Pittsburgh
  9. Lamar Miller – Houston Texans – vs. Kansas City
  10. Jordan Howard – Chicago Bears – vs. Minnesota
  11. Jay Ajayi – Miami Dolphins – vs. Tennessee
  12. DeMarco Murray – Tennessee Titans – at Miami
  13. Bilal Powell – New York Jets – at Cleveland
  14. Ameer Abdullah – Detroit Lions – vs. Carolina
  15. Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers – at Detroit
  16. Duke Johnson – Cleveland Browns – vs. New York Jets
  17. Latavius Murray – Minnesota Twins – at Chicago
  18. Andre Ellington – Arizona Cardinals – at Philadelphia
  19. Marshawn Lynch – Oakland Raiders – vs. Baltimore
  20. Wendell Smallwood – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Arizona
  21. Joe Mixon – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Buffalo
  22. James White – New England Patriots – at Tampa Bay
  23. Frank Gore – Indianapolis Colts – vs. San Francisco
  24. Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. New England
  25. Tarik Cohen – Chicago Bears – vs. Minnesota
  26. Aaron Jones – Green Bay Packers – at Dallas
  27. LeGarrette Blount – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Arizona
  28. Mike Gillislee – New England Patriots – at Tampa Bay
  29. Isaiah Crowell – Cleveland Browns – vs. New York Jets
  30. Alex Collins – Baltimore Ravens – at Oakland
  31. Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers – at Detroit
  32. Thomas Rawls – Seattle Seahawks – at LA Rams
  33. Theo Riddick – Detroit Lions – vs. Carolina
  34. Giovani Bernard – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Buffalo
  35. C.J. Prosise – Seattle Seahawks – at LA Rams
  36. Derrick Henry – Tennessee Titans – at Miami
  37. Wayne Gallman – New York Giants – vs. LA Chargers
  38. Jerick McKinnon – Minnesota Vikings – at Chicago
  39. Buck Allen – Baltimore Ravens – at Oakland
  40. Shane Vereen – New York Giants – vs. LA Chargers


  • One of the worst injuries we saw this past Sunday was Chris Carson going down with a broken ankle. Despite the loss Seattle’s backfield is still pretty crowded, but the rookie had taken the lead in the hierarchy. I wouldn’t read too much into the fact that Thomas Rawls was inactive last week, as he doesn’t contribute in any other areas of the game besides carrying the football. Following Carson’s injury Pete Carroll talked up Rawls as his replacement even though he has just five carries for four yards so far this season. Eddie Lacy will also be a factor, he carried the ball 11 times for 52 yards last week, but it’s worth taking a shot on Rawls to see if he can re-create the magic from prior seasons. C.J Prosise, assuming he returns from his ankle injury, will be a factor on passing downs but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Rawls take advantage of the Rams’ 32nd ranked defense against opposing running backs.
  • The Cardinals lost their starting running back in Week 1, and they are still looking to replace David Johnson. In reality they aren’t going to, but as we enter Week 5 Andre Ellington looks to be the closest option to do so. Arizona does have a tough match-up in Philadelphia, and their offense hasn’t exactly been strong so far, but Ellington had himself quite a game last week. He was targeted 14 times and caught nine passes for 86 yards, while just missing a 12 yard touchdown as he stepped out of bounds. In the past he has had success running the ball, but last week he gained just 18 yards on five carries. However it is not like Chris Johnson is doing that much better on the ground, as he gained 32 yards on 13 carries. At this point,Ellington is the back to own, as at the very least he will get plenty of work in the passing game.
  • Just like that Green Bay is down to their number three running back in Aaron Jones. While Ty Montgomery hasn’t been officially ruled out with broken ribs, I’m not expecting to see him out on the field in Week 5 and Joseph Williams doesn’t appear to be a factor thanks to his knee injury. That brings us to Jones, who had success last week while making his NFL debut. He had his share of success in college, but his pro career consists of 13 carries for 49 yards and a touchdown. Green Bay is a strong offense which should benefit Jones, as will facing Dallas who has the 26th ranked fantasy defense against the run.
  • Another rookie running back who made his debut last week is Wayne Gallman. Unlike Jones, Gallman is part of an offense, and a team, that is a complete mess. While Orleans Darkwa was inactive due to a back injury, Gallman got his chance mainly thanks to the ineffectiveness of Paul Perkins. The Giants haven’t gotten much going on offense this season, so it is likely that they will stick with Gallman as long as it continues to work. He gained 42 yards on 11 carries, while catching another two passes for eight yards and finding the end zone. With New York’s struggles on the offensive line, Gallman’s running style is a better fit.
  • The last two weeks Houston’s offense has come around, and last week, Lamar Miller was truly a part of that. He found the end zone for the first time all season, as he picked up both a rushing and receiving touchdown against the Titans. So far he has managed to hold off D’Onta Foreman, and he is averaging 17 carries per game. The problem is that while Miller is getting the work, he is averaging just 3.8 yards per carry. It does work in his favor that the Texans offense really seems to be getting on track with Deshaun Watson under center. On a per carry basis Foreman isn’t much better than Miller, and the veteran’s dependability certainly has fantasy value.
  • For the second straight week Alex Collins gained 82 yards on nine carries, and it appears he has left Terrance West in the dust. Collins also caught four passes for 32 yards, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have questions. He fumbled once again on Sunday, and this is not a new problem. Despite the fact that he led Baltimore in carries, Collins was only on the field for 17 plays while Buck Allen saw 40 snaps. Allen carried the ball twice while catching six passes for 37 yards. That appears to be the ceiling for Allen, while if Baltimore (and Collins) can get past the fumbles he could get into double digits carrying the ball. There is some value in that, especially this week depending on your situation.

This weekend only, Pre-order Rotoprofessor’s 2018 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide for just $6.25!!  Click here for the details, but don’t miss out on the best bargain in fantasy baseball preparation.

Make sure to check out all of our Week 5 rankings:

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Week 5 Rankings (2017): Top 50 Wide Receivers
Week 5 Rankings (2017): Top 20 Tight Ends


  1. Manu says:

    Hi Prof,

    I have to choose between L. Murray and T. Cohen as a FLEX in STD League.

    Are you really confident with L. Murray for “his first” game ?


  2. dd says:

    hello professor, who do you think is the better pick up lacy or rawls?
    is wayne gallman a better pick up than lacy or rawls? i would be dropping rob kelley to pick up one of these running backs

    im thinking of dropping Mathew Stafford for either Carson Wentz or Carson palmer, is this a bad idea? how would you rank all 3 in order?

  3. John says:

    If you had to pick two of these RBs who would you start? Demarco, latavious, Doug Martin. I lost Cook last week so I’m in a tough spot

    • Murray/Murray. I have a hard time trusting Martin in his first game back, especially since he will likely be on a limited snap count

      • John says:

        I was so dead set on Doug I’m not sure why I asked. After dalvin went down I thought I was toast but Doug is here to save the team! Demarco finally is hitting a soft part of the schedule with Miami, Indy and Cleveland. Hoping he’ll have some trade value after that

  4. darrick says:

    hey professor, which rb do i start in as my secon rb2 in a 1/2 ppr league. mixon, smallwood, alex collins or crowell

  5. Teri says:

    PPR Flex- Ajayi vs Tenn or Ellington @ Philly, Have Jay in there now. But Ellington will get a lot of looks out of the backfield but does not every down back like Jay.

    Standard scoring Flex help: Cohen vs Minny (MNF), Mixon vs Buffalo, or Fuller vs KC. Have Cohen in there now. Figuring a lot of dump offs to him because of new QB.

    Thank you!!!

  6. Andy says:

    This week my line up PPR
    QB: Jameis Winston
    WR: Godeln Tate, DEvante Parker
    RB: Melvin Gordon, Lamar Miller
    TE: C Clay
    Flex: Doug Martin
    BK: Amari Cooper, Michael Thomas, Isaiah Crowell

    The other team line up
    QB: C Wentz
    WR: A Thienlen, T Hill
    RB: D Johnson Jr, M Lynch
    TE: B Watson
    Flex: A Jones
    I need a win so should I drop Isaiah Crowell to pick up
    A. Ellington or G Bernard to replace Doug Martin for Flex PPR ? Thanks

    • I don’t trust Martin, but dropping Crowell isn’t ideal either. That said I could see using Ellington over him this week, though at the same time I’d just put Crowell in and cross your fingrs

  7. David says:


    I’m in a 16 team PPR league with a 3-1 Record. I’m in trouble this week at the RB position. My Saints are on bye this week.

    QB’s Brees and Palmer
    RB’s are Abdullah, Ingram, West Kerwynn Williams.
    WR’s are Fitzgerald, Cooks, Decker, Ginn, Golladay
    K’s are Lutz and Cantanzaro

    I really don’t want to start West. Who would you drop and try to get off the waiver wire for a starting RB this week.

    McGuire, Lacy, McKissic, Collins, Gallman, McKinnon are the only options on our waiver wire that is worth consideration.

    Thanks David

  8. Carmen says:

    Hey prof,
    Not the greatest options but I need a second RB and flex.. My options are w. Smallwood, Duke Johnson Jr, J. Landry, Deshaun Jackson or (currently I’ve benched) Amari Cooper.. I also recently put w. Fuller at wr2 because of byes

  9. Dev says:

    Hello professor;

    Full point PPR;

    Need advice with my RB2 since bye weeks are here..Currently have Mixon, Crowell, both Doug Martin and Jacquizz Rodgers. Who shall I starter?

    Thank you in advance…

  10. Dev says:

    Also, full point PPR

    Deshaun Watson or Russell Wilson? Thank you

  11. BroncoZ says:

    Hi Prof !

    I can trade T. Cohen + L. Murray in order to obtain J. Mixon : what do you think about it ?

    Thanks a lot !!

  12. Manu says:

    Hi Prof,

    In a trade, I could have J. Mixon in exchange for T. Cohen and L. Murray.

    What do you think about it ? (Non PPR)


  13. chris says:

    Need a Flex for this week- Mixon, Cohen, or duke johnson?? Also have alex collins as a darkhorse.

  14. stephen martin says:

    start 2 at rb 10 team standard 0-4 need a win
    letavius, howard, mixon, do i go upside with mixon even though he has shown nothing so far. I have to win. it’s the only option.
    also have martin, rawles, gallman.
    thanks as always

  15. Conner McAuliffe says:

    Flex choice this week in standard

    James White or Potential Green Bay RB I have both williams and jones.

  16. Marion says:

    Hi Prof
    I have a mess at RB after losing Cook/Carson last week and now it looks like Smallwood is out as well. Standard scoring need to pick 2 for this week:

    T Cohen, J Stewart, W Gallman, Alex Collins and Aaron Jones. I know…YUK! Thanks for the advice.

    • If you want to play it safe I’d go Cohen/Strewart. That said I love Gallman this week and think that he could have a big week. If you are willing to gamble I’d go Cohen/Gallman (and that’s the way I’d lean)

  17. Jason says:

    Hi professor,
    My RBs: Fournette and Ajayi.. kamara/elijah McGuire/McKinnon
    WRs:Diggs & devante Parker. . Rishard matthews/martavis Bryant
    I’m tired of Ajayi. I was offered Mixon/Mike Evans for Ajayi/Parker.. I would have great WRs but struggle weekly with that 2nd RB.
    Should I do it? Will mixon be anything more as the season proresses?

    • I wouldn’t be in a rush to give up Ajayi myself. Miami’s offense should get going, but Mixon is a solid RB2 going forward. If you are deadset on moving Ajayi it’s a fair deal

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