Week 5 Rankings (2020): Top 40 Running Backs

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by Ray Kuhn

And now here we are. Week 5 brings with it the first two, scheduled, bye weeks of the season as fantasy owners look to replace Aaron Jones and Adrian Peterson this week. The injury bug has also struck as Nick Chubb and Austin Ekeler will both be sidelined for multiple weeks so replacements are in order. Let’s take a look at how our options rank for this week:

  1. Ezekiel Elliot – Dallas Cowboys – vs. NY Giants
  2. Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints – vs. LA Chargers
  3. Dalvin Cook – Minnesota Vikings – at Seattle
  4. Josh Jacobs – Las Vegas Radiers – at Kansas City
  5. Derrick Henry – Tennessee Titans – vs. Buffalo
  6. Clyde Edwards-Helaire – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Las Vegas
  7. Chris Carson – Seattle Seahawks – vs. Minnesota
  8. Kareem Hunt – Cleveland Browns – vs. Indianapolis
  9. James Conner – Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. Philadelphia
  10. Mike Davis – Carolina Panthers – at Atlanta
  11. James Robinson – Jacksonville Jaguars – at Houston
  12. Joe Mixon – Cincinnati Bengals – at Baltimore
  13. Jonathan Taylor – Indianapolis Colts – at Cleveland
  14. Miles Sanders – Philadelphia Eagles – at Pittsburgh
  15. David Johnson – Houston Texans – vs. Jacksonville
  16. Joshua Kelley – Los Angeles Chargers – at New Orleans
  17. David Montgomery – Chicago Bears – vs. Tampa Bay
  18. Kenyan Drake – Arizona Cardinals – at NY Jets
  19. Todd Gurley – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Carolina
  20. Raheem Mostert – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Miami
  21. Melvin Gordon – Denver Broncos – at New England
  22. Ronald Jones – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Chicago
  23. Devin Singletary – Buffalo Bills – at Tennessee
  24. Le’Veon Bell – New York Jets – vs. Arizona
  25. Antonio Gibson – Washington Football Team – vs. LA Rams
  26. Jerick McKinnon – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Miami
  27. Myles Gaskin – Miami Dolphins – at San Francisco
  28. James White – New England Patriots – vs. Denver
  29. Nyheim Hines – Indianapolis Colts – at Cleveland
  30. Devonta Freeman – New York Giants – at Dallas
  31. Mark Ingram – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Cincinnati
  32. Latavius Murray – New Orleans Saints – vs. LA Chargers
  33. Darrell Henderson – Los Angeles Rams – at Washington
  34. Justin Jackson – Los Angeles Chargers – at New Orleans
  35. Damien Harris – New England Patriots – vs. Denver
  36. Chase Edmonds – Arizona Cardinals – at NY Jets
  37. Reggie Bonnafon – Carolina Panthers – at Atlanta
  38. D’Ernest Johnson – Cleveland Browns – vs. Indianapolis
  39. Duke Johnson – Houston Texans – vs. Jacksonville
  40. Brian Hill – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Carolina

Notes:

  • With Nick Chubb sidelined for roughly the next six weeks, there is opportunity to be found in Cleveland’s backfield. To say that Chubb was having success to start the season would be an understatement and it’s pretty clear that the Browns are both highly committed to run as well as being successful at it. Kareem Hunt will be the main option and Sunday he rushed for 71 yards on 11 carries while scoring two touchdowns. For the season Hunt has carried the ball 50 times for 275 yards and three touchdowns while also catching eight passes for another 42 yards and two more touchdowns. With Chubb’s absence he will get busier and his ranking will reflect that, but D’Ernest Johnson is also a name to be aware of. Last week, with the game well in hand, Johnson gained 95 yards on 13 carries after carrying the ball just once in the past three weeks. He is more of an option in deeper leagues but it’s possible we saw his best performance of the season last week as well.
  • Our other injury replacement situation will be taking place with the Chargers and the good news is that we know who the beneficiary will be; Joshua Kelley. The problem though is that prior to last week, I would have felt a lot better about Kelley than after he gained just seven yards on nine carries. For the season Kelley has had success though rushing for 167 yards and a touchdown on 43 carries and he did catch three passes for 26 yards last week so there is some receiving ability is there. Before we judge Kelley too harshly though, it should be noted that he did face a Tampa Bay team last week that has a strong front seven as things should get better this week for Kelley against the Saints.
  • While Devonta Freeman is “the guy” for the Giants, does that really matter? Of course Freeman does deserve to be rostered in all leagues, but how confident can we feel while he struggles to find his footing with New York. I’m not saying we should right him off, but it’s possible there are better options out there. He did face a tough Rams defense last week, but Freeman also struggled to find room to run gaining 33 yards on 11 carries. Freeman was targeted four times and he caught all four of his targets for an additional 35 yards. Things should get a lot better for Freeman this week against a Dallas defense that allowed 307 rushing yards against the Browns last week. But I’m just not sure how much better?
  • Devin Singletary could have done a better job taking advantage of the absence of Zach Moss but the volume is there for the second year running back. Last week Singletary rushed 18 times for 55 yards while picking up his first touchdown of the season to go along with five receptions for 21 yards. What Singletary is missing though is the explosiveness as he averaging just 4.2 yards per carry and 7.1 yards per reception. There is value with Singletary, I’m just not sure there is upside.
  • We try to stay away from crowded backfields, and the Rams are no different. After his performance two weeks ago, it seemed like Darrell Henderson was the running back to own in Los Angeles, but that quickly changed last week. Henderson followed up a 100-plus yard effort by gaining just 22 yards on eight carries while adding one catch for 16 yards. Malcolm Brown is another option, but with just 46 yards on 14 touches, I’m staying away here too. At this point, it’s Cam Akers or bust once the rookie comes back from his rib injury and proves himself capable.
  • While I’m not sure how exciting it truly is, it does appear that Myles Gaskin has grabbed a hold of the job in Miami’s backfield. Gaskin did see his carries drop from 22 two weeks to just 10 last week, but game flow was in play. As the Dolphins were playing catchup against the Seahawks, Gaskin gained 40 yards on his 10 carries but he did catch three passes for 22 yards as well. The job does belong to Gaskin, or at least the majority of the touches, but this week things will be tough for him against a tough San Francisco running back.

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

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defenses



23 COMMENTS

  1. Hi, Prof: I’m in a 14-team, 2-man keeper league, 0.5 PPR.

    Should I drop either of Philip Lindsay, Justin Jackson, D-Swift (potential keeper), and Cam Akers (potential keeper) for Josh Kelley? I’ve just got Justin Jackson today off waivers spending 10% of my FAAB money. I think he’ll split time or maybe even outdo Kelley. Thoughts?

    My other RBs are Mark Ingram and Mike Davis. Thanks.

  2. Need 1 Flex help from these guys Full PPR:
    RB- McKinnon vs Miami (great match up) but Mostert might be back and is practicing as of Wednesday, RB-Kelly @NO ( splitting time with Jackson?) or will he “BE” the guy, WR- Hollywood Brown vs Cinny ( good match up) but he has been average at best so far-Hard for me to trust him or WR- AJ Brown vs. Buffalo -first game back from injury but is he a must start?

    Thank you

    • If Brown is healthy, I’d lean him but it’s risky. Kelley is actually the “safest” option of the group, even in a timeshare

  3. Hell I was wondering who I should play at the WR3 spot in my non-PPR league. Please pick one: Jamison Crowder, Sammy Watkins, Laviska Shenault? Thank you!

  4. I have A. Peterson on my bench PPR league with M. Brown and Swift on waivers should I pick any of them for Peterson and who’s the safest in the long term… Thanks

    • Safe would be Peterson, who appears locked in as the lead back. Highest upside is Swift, though there’s no guarantee he ever takes over the lead role

  5. Hi Professor,

    Standard league for Flex.

    Antonio Gibson, Ju Ju Schuster, Michael Gallup, Darrell Henderson, or Cam Akers.

    Thanks.

  6. What do you think of this trade?

    Kenyan Drake, DJ Moore, Devantae Parker, Devonta Freeman for Josh Jacobs, DK Mercalf and Chase Edmonds…

  7. RB help for MNF. Full PPR Kelly or Singeltary are the choices? Looks like Titans-Bills are a go for tomorrow, but that could change an at any time. Kelly is a sure go tonight but I think Singeltary will have better stats IF he plays. I am down by 10 pts. He has TE-Henry and I have Karmara, Allen and Singeltary OR Kelly.
    Who to play IYO?

    Thank you

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