by Ray Kuhn
This week the bye’s are in full swing as four teams will be taking Sunday off. There are also a few question marks to along with some under achievers, so setting your lineup will not get any easier in Week 5. With that being said, let’s take a look at where the running backs sit for this week.
|1. LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles – at New York Giants|
|2. Reggie Bush – Detroit Lions – at Green Bay|
|3. Marshawn Lynch -Seattle Seahawks – at Indianapolis|
|4. Jamaal Charles -Kansas City Chiefs – at Tennessee|
|5. Matt Forte -Chicago Bears – vs. New Orleans|
|6. Arian Foster – Houston Texans – at San Francisco|
|7. Trent Richardson – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Seattle|
|8. DeMarco Murray – Dallas Cowboys – vs. Denver|
|9. Chris Johnson – Tennessee Titans – vs. Kansas City|
|10. Darren Sproles – New Orleans Saints – at Chicago|
|11. Frank Gore – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Houston|
|12. Ray Rice – Baltimore Ravens – at Miami|
|13. D’Angelo Williams – Carolina Panthers – at Arizona|
|14. CJ Spiller – Buffalo Bills – at Cleveland|
|15. Knowshon Moreno – Denver Broncos – at Dallas|
|16. Eddie Lacy – Green Bay Packers – vs. Detroit|
|17. Bilal Powell – New York Jets – at Atlanta|
|18. Lamar Miller – Miami Dolphins – vs. Baltimore|
|19. Daryl Richardson – St. Louis Rams – vs. Jacksonville|
|20. Maurice Jones-Drew – Jacksonville Jaguars – at St. Louis|
|21. Stevan Ridley – New England Patriots – at Cincinnati|
|22. Giovani Bernard – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. New England|
|23. David Wilson – New York Giants – vs. Pittsburgh|
|24. Willis McGahee – Cleveland Browns – vs. Buffalo|
|25. Ryan Matthews – San Diego Chargers – at Oakland|
|26. Jacquizz Rodgers – Atlanta Falcons – vs. New York Jets|
|27. Rashad Jennings – Oakland Raiders – vs. San Diego|
|28. Pierre Thomas – New Orleans Saints – at Chicago|
|29. Bernard Pierce – Baltimore Ravens – at Miami|
|30. Fred Jackson – Buffalo Bills – at Cleveland|
|31. Danny Woodhead – San Diego Chargers – at Oakland|
|32. Joique Bell – Detroit Lions – at Green Bay|
|33. Andre Ellington – Arizona Cardinals – vs. Carolina|
|34. Jason Snelling- Atlanta Falcons – vs. New York Jets|
|35. Rashard Mendenhall – Arizona Cardinals – vs. Carolina|
|36. Montee Ball – Denver Broncos – at Dallas|
|37. Daniel Thomas – Miami Dolphins – vs. Baltimore|
|38. Branden Bolden – New England Patriots – at Cincinnati|
|39. Johnathan Franklin – Green Bay Packers – vs. Detroit|
|40. BenJarvus Green-Ellis – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. New England|
- After two weeks off, it appears that Eddie Lacy is good to go this week. The rookie running back was cleared for practice and already has a full session from Monday under his belt. After Johnathan Franklin emerged two weeks ago, I think he will still play a role in Green Bay’s offense, but I would expect Lacy to get the majority of the carries.
- Reggie Bush proved this past week that regardless of how many ailments he already has under his belt this season; it will not affect his performance. In fact, he is one of the few top running backs that have lived up to or surpassed his draft value. Bush carried the ball 18 times for 139 yards and a touchdown while also catching four passes for another 34 yards. Detroit wasn’t kidding when they said this preseason that Bush would be a focal point of their offense, and he has certainly delivered. Joique Bell also had eleven touches (seven carries and four receptions), but he only gained 42 yards total and did not find the end zone. Unless you are in a bind or in a PPR league, I’m not sure you can start Bell when Bush is healthy.
- For both the Raiders and your fantasy team, I’m not sure Rashad Jennings is much more than a warm body. Both Darren McFadden and Marcel Reese left Sunday’s game with injury and appear to be out for this week. After replacing both backs Jennings carried the ball 15 times gaining only 45 yards, but he did catch eight passes for 71 yards. Do not get used to the receptions, as those came with Matt Flynn at quarterback. When Terelle Pryor returns this week, those “dump off” screen passes likely will be off the table. Jennings will have 20-25 touches and might find the end zone, but I’m not sure that he will be primed for a big game.
- Both Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller left this Sunday’s game due to injury, and both are currently saying they plan to play this week. The problem is that their game is Thursday, so you must have a contingency plan at the ready. Spiller had a decent game this week carrying the ball 23 times before getting hurt, but he only gained 77 yards and did not catch one pass. His reception skills are a large part of what made him a first round pick this season. Jackson carried the ball another 16 times on Sunday gaining 87 yards and also scoring a touchdown, but he also did not catch a pass. I’m thinking Spiller might be more of an option this week, but the Browns actually have a tough defensive front so it will be difficult for either back to get much going. Tashard Choice also factors in here, but it is still a little early to tell. This might be a situation to stay away from entirely unless the picture clears up by Thursday.
- David Wilson still looks like a back to stay away from. He actually looked pretty good on Sunday gaining 55 yards on 13 carries while catching another two passes for eight yards. He still is not playing on third downs and is not a true factor in the passing game. We didn’t even mention that as a whole the Giants are just a mess. Unless you have no choice, let Wilson play his way into your lineup.
- Another situation to say away from is the Arizona Cardinals backfield. Andre Ellington might have gained more yards than Rashard Mendenhall this week, but he had eight less touches. Ellington only carried the ball four times, but he did look explosive and gained 29 yards while also catching three passes for another 22 yards. In his 12 carries, Mendenhall only gained 21 yards, so clearly something needs to be done here. I think Ellington is the back to own, but it might take another week or two before he is worthy of starting in fantasy leagues.
- It finally happened. The Texans treated Arian Foster as the stud starter that he is, and Ben Tate was the backup. Tate fumbling certainly did not hurt that cause, but Foster had 33 touches compared to his 8. Foster carried the ball 27 times gaining 102 yards while also catching six passes for 69 yards a touchdown. Foster is back to being an unquestioned RB1.
- I would not be too concerned that Ray Rice only carried the ball five times for 17 times this week. Baltimore fell behind early, and Rice clearly was not 100% healthy. The running back appears to have come out of the game in good health, and should only be healthier for this coming week against Miami. It’s still hard to think of him as an RB1, but you have to start him.
Make sure to check out all of our Week 5 rankings: