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:
- Le’Veon Bell – Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. Jacksonville
- Todd Gurley – Los Angeles Rams – vs. Seattle
- Kareem Hunt – Kansas City Chiefs – at Houston
- Ezekiel Elliot – Dallas Cowboys – vs. Green Bay
- Carlos Hyde – San Francisco 49ers – at Indianapolis
- LeSean McCoy – Buffalo Bills – at Cincinnati
- Melvin Gordon – Los Angeles Chargers – at New York Giants
- Leonard Fournette – Jacksonville Jaguars – at Pittsburgh
- Lamar Miller – Houston Texans – vs. Kansas City
- Jordan Howard – Chicago Bears – vs. Minnesota
- Jay Ajayi – Miami Dolphins – vs. Tennessee
- DeMarco Murray – Tennessee Titans – at Miami
- Bilal Powell – New York Jets – at Cleveland
- Ameer Abdullah – Detroit Lions – vs. Carolina
- Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers – at Detroit
- Duke Johnson – Cleveland Browns – vs. New York Jets
- Latavius Murray – Minnesota Twins – at Chicago
- Andre Ellington – Arizona Cardinals – at Philadelphia
- Marshawn Lynch – Oakland Raiders – vs. Baltimore
- Wendell Smallwood – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Arizona
- Joe Mixon – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Buffalo
- James White – New England Patriots – at Tampa Bay
- Frank Gore – Indianapolis Colts – vs. San Francisco
- Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. New England
- Tarik Cohen – Chicago Bears – vs. Minnesota
- Aaron Jones – Green Bay Packers – at Dallas
- LeGarrette Blount – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Arizona
- Mike Gillislee – New England Patriots – at Tampa Bay
- Isaiah Crowell – Cleveland Browns – vs. New York Jets
- Alex Collins – Baltimore Ravens – at Oakland
- Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers – at Detroit
- Thomas Rawls – Seattle Seahawks – at LA Rams
- Theo Riddick – Detroit Lions – vs. Carolina
- Giovani Bernard – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Buffalo
- C.J. Prosise – Seattle Seahawks – at LA Rams
- Derrick Henry – Tennessee Titans – at Miami
- Wayne Gallman – New York Giants – vs. LA Chargers
- Jerick McKinnon – Minnesota Vikings – at Chicago
- Buck Allen – Baltimore Ravens – at Oakland
- 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.
** PRE-ORDER SALE **
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: