Fantasy Football Week 5: Running Backs Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em
Fantasy Football Week 5: Running Backs Start 'Em, Sit 'Em
The fifth Sunday of the football season is here. Week 5 kicked off with a shoot-out between the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns. Wait, what did I just say? Yeah, that's right. The Browns defeated the Bills 37-24 in a game that saw both starting quarterbacks go down with an injury. Fred Jackson, C.J. Spiller and Willis McGahee all scored double-digit Fantasy points (21, 12 and 13, respectively). Hopefully you had one of them on your team to help get you out to an early lead. If not, hope you weren't facing any of them.
There are four starting running backs on bye this week — Le'Veon Bell, Doug Martin, Alfred Morris and Adrian Peterson — so some owners may be missing their top back. Peterson, Martin and Morris are in the top-16 among running backs, according to ESPN standard scoring. The position is already thin of viable starters and this week doesn't help and many people are starting their fourth-string back as a No. 2. Even if you are desperate, there are still some running backs I'd be okay with leaving on my bench, despite the scarcity.
As usual, I will not mention players like LeSean McCoy, Arian Foster and Ray Rice, as they are must-starts every week. Better yet, I'll name running backs that are No. 2 or flex eligible.
With all that out of the way, here are three running backs I believe are worth starting and three that should ride the pine for one more week.
Start: Eddie Lacy
It's a given that the Green Bay Packers are a passing team. But there is still value in Eddie Lacy. He had a great first game against the San Francisco 49ers, scoring 11 Fantasy points. He then received a concussion in Week 2 and missed the following week. Luckily, the Packers had a Week 4 bye and Lacy was allowed to recover.
With James Starks out for this game, Lacy will get most of the carries with Jonathan Franklin getting some as well. The Detroit Lions have allowed seven total touchdowns and the third-most Fantasy points to opposing running backs. Expect 60-70 yards and a score from the rookie as the Packers roll over the Lions.
Sit: Chris Johnson
It may be tough to sit a player like Chris Johnson, depending on your roster depth, but you have to this week. Johnson has been a disappointment to fantasy owners. He's scored just 28 fantasy points and is ranked 25th at his position, based on ESPN standard scoring. Johnson was on a similar trend at the start of the 2012 season, going six straight games without a score.
Things won't get better for Johnson as he and the Tennessee Titans go up against the 4-0 Kansas City Chiefs. He enters the game with 3.3 yards per carry, the lowest of his career and third-string back Jackie Battle is stealing carries from the former 2,000-yard rusher. In addition, the Chiefs the third-fewest fantasy points to running backs.
Start: DeMarco Murray
DeMarco Murray has had a really good year so far. He is ranked seventh among running backs, according to ESPN scoring. At his current pace, he will eclipse 1,400 rushing yards, a number he's gotten nowhere near. However, that number is a little skewed since he had 175 rushing yards against the St. Louis Rams.
Despite being 4-0, the Denver Broncos, the Dallas Cowboys opponent this week, do not have the best rush defense. They have allowed seven touchdowns and the fifth-most points to running backs in just four weeks. With Miles Austin out this week, Murray should be featured heavily in the passing game as well.
Sit: Ryan Mathews
It seems like every week, Fantasy Football experts are telling owners to sit Ryan Mathews. But they are doing it with good reason. Mathews is no longer a must-start. He's losing carries to Ronnie Brown and Danny Woodhead. He does, however, have at least 13 carries per game, but that's not enough to keep owners happy, especially with zero rushing touchdowns.
Mathews goes up against the Oakland Raiders, a defense that's allowed just 14.43 Fantasy points to running backs in the first four weeks combined. It may be tough with the list of players injured and on bye, but you will not be doing yourself any favors by starting Mathews.
Start: David Wilson
After showing some brief highlights last season, Fantasy owners were chomping at the bit to draft David Wilson. Now, owners are looking to get rid of him as soon as possible. He has yet to score a touchdown or rush for over 55 yards.
If you're one of those owners, I'd wait one more week. Wilson is going up against a poor Philadelphia Eagles defense. They have allowed at least 100 yards or a touchdown to opposing backs in every game this season. Wilson has a good chance to do both, especially with Da'Rel Scott no longer on the team.
Sit: LeGarrette Blount
Stevan Ridley is out, which means to start LeGarrette Blount, right? Wrong. He's played really well when called upon, but I would not want to rely on Blount to score me double digits this week. He broke out for a 47-yard run and a score last week, his longest since 2011. Plus, Brandon Bolden should see some additional snaps as well.
Danny Amendola is finally making is return to the New England Patriots lineup. Tom Brady will want to get him involved early and often. The Patriots had a nice running game last year, but they will go back to what got them to the Super Bowl — the passing attack. The Cincinnati Bengals defense gives up an average of 99 yards per game, good for 11th in the league.