Week 5 Rankings (2014): Top 40 Running Backs

by Ray Kuhn

After a week that saw six teams on bye, which caused a great deal of stress for fantasy owners looking to field a winning a fantasy squad, this week will be a lot easier. Just two teams, the Oakland Raiders and Miami Dolphins, are getting the week off. This means that only one true usable option, Lamar Miller, will not be available to fantasy owners. As another positive note, aside from D’Angelo Williams there were not real injuries this past week making it the least eventful week of the season thus far.

Let’s take a look at how the running backs rank for Week 5.

  1. DeMarco Murray – Dallas Cowboys – vs. Houston
  2. Le’Veon Bell – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Jacksonville
  3. Giovanni Bernard – Cincinnati Bengals – at New England
  4. Matt Forte – Chicago Bears – at Carolina
  5. Jamaal Charles – Kansas City Chiefs – at San Francisco
  6. Marshawn Lynch – Seattle Seahawks – at Washington
  7. Eddie Lacy – Green Bay Packers – vs. Minnesota
  8. LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. St. Louis
  9. Rashad Jennings – New York Giants – vs. Atlanta
  10. Matt Asiata – Minnesota Vikings – at Green Bay
  11. Montee Ball – Denver Broncos – vs. Arizona
  12. Andre Ellington – Arizona Cardinals – at Denver
  13. Arian Foster – Houston Texans – at Dallas
  14. Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at New Orleans
  15. Reggie Bush – Detroit Lions – vs. Buffalo
  16. Ahmad Bradshaw – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Baltimore
  17. Frank Gore – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Kansas City
  18. Ben Tate – Cleveland Browns – at Tennessee
  19. Alfred Morris – Washington Redskins – vs. Seattle
  20. Zac Stacy – St. Louis Rams – at Philadelphia
  21. Justin Forsett – Baltimore Ravens – at Indianapolis
  22. Pierre Thomas  – New Orleans Saints – vs. Tampa Bay
  23. Donald Brown – San Diego Chargers – vs. New York Jets
  24. Fred Jackson – Buffalo Bills – at Detroit
  25. Joique Bell – Detroit Lions – vs. Buffalo
  26. Fozzy Whitaker – Carolina Panthers – vs. Chicago
  27. Shane Vereen – New England Patriots – vs. Cincinnati
  28. Chris Ivory – New York Jets – at San Diego
  29. Trent Richardson – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Baltimore
  30. Khiry Robinson – New Orleans Saints – vs. Tampa Bay
  31. Steven Jackson – Atlanta Falcons – at New York Giants
  32. Bishop Sankey – Tennessee Titans – vs. Cleveland
  33. Stevan Ridley – New England Patriots – vs. Cincinnati
  34. CJ Spiller – Buffalo Bills – at Detroit
  35. Darren Sproles – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. St. Louis
  36. Toby Gerhart – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. Pittsburgh
  37. Lorenzo Taliaferro – Baltimore Ravens – at Indianapolis
  38. Chris Johnson – New York Jets – vs. San Diego
  39. LeGaratte Blount – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Jacksonville
  40. Branden Oliver – San Diego Chargers – vs. New York Jets


  • Jerick McKinnon outgained Matt Asiata this week, 135 rushing yards to 78. Try not to read too much into that as I think a lot of it was dictated by the game. Minnesota, behind rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, was in control of the game from the outset and put a priority on the running game. You can’t argue the fact that McKinnon looked good and explosive, but it is clear that Asiata is the still the main running back. From a fantasy perspective Asiata has more value as he is the goal line back as was evident by his three touchdowns against the Falcons. It is getting to the point where both running backs will have value, and while McKinnon is more talented Asiata is still the back to own for the next few weeks. The fact that Asiata has gotten more work as a receiver, 11 catches in the last three games compared to five for McKinnon, certainly helps as well. This week I’m not sure how much value either back, especially McKinnon, will have as they will likely be trailing in Green Bay.
  • Is it time to panic with LeSean McCoy? I’m not really sure what to think about his 39 rushing yards in the past two games. After last week’s game in San Francisco he dodged questions about his health and didn’t give a definitive answer regarding it. Not to speculate, but I would assume that McCoy is battling a nagging injury; perhaps his toe issue from the preseason. However if there ever was a time for McCoy to get on track, it would be this week against the Rams and their subpar rushing defense. It is too early to truly panic, but a poor performance this week could very well change that.
  • I don’t think we need to be concerned about Jamaal Charles and his health. Charles carried the ball 18 times for 92 yards against the Patriots and added another three catches for 16 yards. He did leave the game temporarily, but he then returned and after the game didn’t appear to be in any discomfort. What really helped his value was his three touchdowns, and there is nothing to worry about with Knile Davis and his 17 touches. Davis still should be owned, either as a direct handcuff to Charles or in case Charles misses time again, but his value is limited to being a FLEX option at best. Even more important than Charles’ performance was that he looked explosive and comfortable on the field.
  • With Denver returning from their bye this week, the clock on Montee Ball is ticking. Three games are just too soon to call him a disappointment, but he has not lived up to his draft status. So far it hasn’t appeared to as simple for Ball as just standing in the backfield behind Peyton Manning. Through three games Ball has gained 165 yards on the ground while catching seven passes for another 51 yards. With a stat line like that, only 38 rushing yards in Week 3 against Seattle, it is not a surprise that Ronnie Hillman saw a significant amount of playing time. Coming out of the bye week it is still too early for me to overreact, and I will give Ball a little pass having faced the Seahawks tough defense, but Hillman is someone who should be on your radar.
  • Ben Tate looked good to start the season for the Browns. The bad thing is that he exited with a sprained knee after gaining 41 on six carries, but Cleveland really didn’t miss a beat as Terrence West and Isaiah Crowell picked up the slack. After the Browns’ bye week, Tate returns and looks primed to retake his starting role. He practiced on Tuesday and all reports appear to indicate that Tate had no issues. It is safe to assume that he is the back to own here and will receive the majority of the touches. Even though West might be next on the depth chart, Crowell might see more use as a change of pace back, at least in the short term. I’m not sure if I would drop either of the other two Cleveland running backs, but relying on them this week could prove to be risky.
  • Entering this season it appeared that Toby Gerhart would be in the minority of running backs for whom the number of touches would not be an issue. After just four weeks, that appears to be in question. Yes you can blame some of Gerhart’s struggles on the offensive line play and the fact that Jacksonville has been consistently trailing, but you cannot fully excuse Gerhart’s poor performance. This past week Gerhart was not the leader in touches for Jacksonville running backs, Denard Robinson was, and in general his first season with the Jaguars has been a struggle. Gerhart only has 114 rushing yards on 44 carries this year and this past week he only salvaged some value by scoring a touchdown. I don’t think Jacksonville is ready to elevate Robinson ahead of Gerhart just yet, but it would be wise to look elsewhere for your FLEX option.

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

Week 5 Rankings (2014): Top 20 Tight Ends
Week 5 Rankings (2014): Top 25 Quarterbacks


  1. Joey says:

    What is knowshon Morenos value going to be for his return in the next few weeks? Would you trade asiata for him (would take effect next week) thanks!

    • I would guess Moreno’s value will be higher than Asiata (who could lose his job to McKinnon). Miller has played well, but Moreno should at least be in a timeshare, at worst

  2. MikeC says:

    My RB situation is as follows in a PPR league


    I want to add J. McKinnon…who is more valuable as a stash: Hill or McKinnon???

  3. OD says:

    Once Again LeSean McCoy will have under 60 yards rushing in Week 5 …. Greg Williams is not playing around

  4. Nate says:

    speaking of mccoy, what do you think of this? 10 team PPR

    GIVE: ryan, bradshaw, r white
    GET: e manning, mccoy, benjamin

    my (0-4) team at the moment:

    QB: ryan, roethlisberger
    RB: lacy, bradshaw, spiller, davis
    WR: thomas, white, garcon, quick
    TE: kelce

    i think benjamin might end up as a WR1 by the end of the season. banking on mccoy bouncing back and roethlisberger as an adequate replacement for ryan, whose o-line situation is a slight risk. eh? thanks for your advice!

  5. Andrew H says:

    Hey roto quick trade question. I’m really week at rb. I have leveon bell, shane vareen, Donald brown, Jeremy hill and khiry Robinson. I was offered Ryan Matthews for ty Hilton. He’s been sitting on my bench seeing that I have marshall , maclin, and patterson. I also have Kendall wright on my bench. I play three wr two rb and a flex. I figure if I do this trade I can play brown as my rb2 and slide matthews in when he comes back. What do u think? It’s a 1 point ppr. Thx

  6. MikeC – I answered this when you originally asked it.

    Nate – I would be in favor of that. You should be able to get by with Eli/Roethlisberger on a weekly basis and it’s easy to argue McCoy/Benjamin as upgrades. If you are already 0-4, roll the dice!

    Andrew H – I am a big Hilton fan, but it makes sense if you need the RB (which you do). I wouldn’t want to be playing Brown as my RB2, though, especially this week

  7. Corey says:

    Would you rather have Crowell or McKinnon for the season? I’m going to need to trade one off for a WR.

  8. Steven says:

    I recently traded rashad Jennings & Reggie bush for matt forte & knile davis. I already have jamaal Charles. Should I play knile davis at the flex this week or Lorenzo taliaferro. It is a standard ppr league.

  9. romo says:

    I just picked up McKinnon and was gonna start him over d Brown but saw someone drop Gore so I scooped him up! Silly question but should I start Gore over McKinnon? My other rb is L bell and AP lol

  10. Ross says:

    Just traded shady and brandin cooks for megatron. Good move or bad?

  11. Law says:

    I seem to have a lot of good options this week, so this is a nice problem I’m having. Asiata, Donald, Lacy, Martin, Davis. Asiata and Lacy the best bet right now?

    Oh and Just got a surprising trade offer. They want Asiata from me, for McCoy! Wanted to bite his hand off but thought id ask others opinions first. Cheers for any help!

  12. Ross – Depends on need, honestly, as you are getting the elite WR for potentially the elite RB. I’d prefer the RB, but it could be argued for if you have ample RB depth.

    Law – Take that deal in a heartbeat, witout a second thought. As for the options this week, assuming you make the trade I could argue that it’s McCoy/Martin (Martin/Lacy are in the same boat, but you could argue is in the slightly better position with Glennon at QB and has a slightly better matchup)

  13. S says:

    Am very weak in depth at the RB position as AP left me hanging. I have Bernard, Khiry, Sankey and McKinnon. For WR’s I have Green, Floyd, Crabtree, Desean Jackson and Brian Quick. I need to start 2 RB, 2 WR’s and a Flex. Who would you recommend for RB2, WR2 and Flex behind Bernard & Green?

  14. MikeP says:

    standard 12 team nfl.com league, I’m in a bit of a rb pickle with 2 of my planned options down with injuries. My limited options for week 5 include Sankey and Darrin Reaves, between those 2 guys who would you go with?

  15. S – I’d go Sankey with a RB spot, with his role expected to grow. As my WR2, I’d go Crabtree. The FLEX is trickier, because you have guys who can produce but are risks. I’d probably roll the dice on Floyd, but if you are a “risk taker”, go McKinnon.

    MikeP – Sankey for sure

  16. Dale H says:

    Got to drop one…Khiry Robinson or Terence West. Who should I keep for the long haul. Got Murry and Ellington starting but want RB for fill in. Also what do you think of Maurace Jones-Drew at this point.

  17. Andy says:

    Roto, I have Arian Foster, Shane Vereen, Joique Bell, Lamar Miller, CJ Spiller.
    My RBs are not strong. Who do you think i should drop and pick?
    1. Ryan Matthew
    2. K Moreno
    3. Bishop Sankey
    4. McKinnon
    For Rest of season and non PPR. Thanks

  18. Dale H – I still like. West, but I think Robinson has more value moving forward. With Tate back and Crowell emerging, West is a tough sell. As for MJD, move on.

    Andy – I’d prefer all of those guys…hahahaif you want someone now, grab Sankey. Long-term, I’d go Mathews, as for drops, it’s tough to let go of any of those guys and I think Vereen/Spiller/Bell have too much upside just to let go. Any chance of a trade?

  19. Mike856 says:

    I have rb morris was, rb bush det, rb khiry st, wr jackson tb, wr allen sd, wr quick st, who should i start? 2rb 2wr and one flex and i have wr watkins buf

    Mr. Professor?

    • RB – Bush/Robinson
      WR – Jackson/Allen
      FLEX – This is where it gets difficult. Sitting Morris is tough, but Seattle is a near impossible matchup. Quick too is a gamble, but I’d lean going with him, given Morris’ matchup (though the “safer” play is Morris)

  20. Andrew H says:

    Hey roto I need some upside seeing I started patterson last night and my opponent had lacy. I’m starting marshall and maclin. In rb I have leveon bell. Now I need a rb and a flex I can start ty, shane vareen, Donald brown, gates, or khiry Robinson. 1 point ppr thx

  21. Max McDonald says:

    Mr Professor I play you this wk on our ESPN web site and would like nothing more than to take you down! good start with Green Bay Def anyways, in my opionion would be willing to bet that K, Robinson (RB) N.O out scores P, Thomas (RB) N.O and you have Thomas ranked higher? Good luck in our match up this weekend…and we shall see!!!

  22. Rand says:

    Davis chiefs he will in top 10

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