Week 5 RB Rankings, Projections and Analysis
Week 5 Running Back Sleepers
Week 5 Start N' Sit
Week 6 Waiver Wire Tips



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Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell
By Matt Brandonphoto of journalist Matt Brandon
Matt is a journalism major at SUNY Purchase College with a concentration in sportswriting. He graduates next January and is hoping to start a career as a sports journalist.
This is how we rank the RBs for Week 5 of the fantasy season. Our rankings aren't just based on name value or past performance - each week we take a comprehensive look at the match-ups and each RBs past performance and factor that into our projections. Just click on the links to read our rationale behind the ranking. The ratings are based on a standard non-PPR league where 10 rushing or receiving yards equal 1 point, rushing and receiving TDs equal 6 pts. and fumbles deduct 2 points.

Running Back Rankings
  1. Le'Veon Bell
  2. DeMarco Murray
  3. Marshawn Lynch
  4. Gio Bernard
  5. LeSean McCoy
  6. Matt Forte
  7. Rashad Jennings
  8. Jamaal Charles
  9. Eddie Lacy
  10. Andre Ellington
  11. Arian Foster
  12. Montee Ball
  13. Frank Gore
  14. Zac Stacy
  15. Alfred Morris
  16. Matt Asiata
  17. Doug Martin
  18. Reggie Bush
  19. Ahmad Bradshaw
  20. Chris Ivory
  21. Ben Tate
  22. Khiry Robinson
  23. Justin Forsett
  24. Fred Jackson
  25. C.J. Spiller
  26. Shane Vereen
  27. Darren Sproles
  28. Joique Bell
  29. Donald Brown
  30. Darrin Reaves
  31. Trent Richardson
  32. Jerick McKinnon
  33. Steven Jackson
  34. Isaiah Crowell
  35. Chris Johnson
  36. Lorenzo Taliaferro
  37. Jeremy Hill
  38. Stevan Ridley
  39. Bishop Sankey
  40. Knile Davis
Cardinals RB Andre Ellington
Photo of Andre Ellington © Greg Buch
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By Matt Brandonphoto of journalist Matt Brandon
Matt is a journalism major at SUNY Purchase College with a concentration in sportswriting. He graduates next January and is hoping to start a career as a sports journalist.
Paying attention to the match-ups each week can help you identify less heralded players with the upside to surprise and help you avoid some potential land mines. This is our list of players we expect to surpass expectations, along with a few stud RBs who may fail to deliver:

Start
Andre Ellington
Cardinals RB Andre Ellington
Photo of Andre Ellington © Greg Buch
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Ellington has been fairly quiet this season and has been banged up with a foot injury. After a much needed bye week, Ellington should be ready to explode against a Broncos defense that has allowed the 11th-most fantasy points to running backs thus far. Ellington will be the workhorse now that Jonathon Dwyer is dealing with domestic abuse charges. Ellington has breakout ability with his speed and agility. The second year runner is extremely tough and is a solid pass-catching back. Look for him to score his first touchdown of the year while gaining 100 all-purpose yards.

Matt Asiata
Vikings RB Matt Asiata
Asiata has played well in Peterson’s absence, particularly last week when he rushed for 78 yards, scored three touchdowns, and added three receptions for 22 yards. The Vikings travel to Lambeau Field to take on a Packers defense that is terrible against the run, allowing the 4th-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. While I expect Jerick McKinnon to shoulder some of the load, Coach Zimmer made it clear that for now, Asiata is the starter. I expect both Vikings backs to have a solid day at the office with Asiata gaining 80 yards and a touchdown.


Sit
Chris Johnson
Jets RB Chris Johnson
CJ2K has failed to rush for 70 yards in any of his first four outings as a New York Jet. While the Chargers are not the scariest defense, Johnson has been losing touches to Chris Ivory slowly but surely. Last week, Johnson collected 8 touches compared to Ivory’s 19. Don’t expect that to change any time soon. Johnson is clearly the change-of-pace back and is not worth starting unless he starts getting used as a feature back.

Stevan Ridley
Patriots RB Stevan Ridley
New England is looking back on that Logan Mankins trade and most likely regretting it. The Patriots running backs have been unable to find any space with the offensive line looking like boys amongst men. Ridley rushed for just 28 yards against the Chiefs last week and has only reached double digit points in one of the first four games this season. The Bengals defense has been extraordinary, only allowing 14.7 fantasy points to opposing running backs per game, which is 8th-best in the league. Between Ridley, Vereen, and rookie James White, the Patriots running backs don’t typically get enough carries to find a rhythm. Keep him on your bench for now.


Ben Tate
Browns RB Ben Tate
Tate sprained his knee in his first game as a Cleveland Brown and has missed the last couple games. It looks like he has healed and will be ready to suit up against the Titans on Sunday. Tennessee has allowed the 9th-most points to running backs this season and both head coach Mike Pettine and running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery expressed that they would like to see Tate return to the starting lineup. Arian Foster’s former backup may not receive 20 touches but he should get the opportunity to prove himself to the Browns organization. Look for Tate to have a solid performance rushing for about 60 yards and a touchdown.

Chris Ivory
Jets RB Chris Ivory
Ivory has scored at least 9.6 points in each of his first four games since Chris Johnson became a New York Jet. Initially, Johnson was the clear-cut starter but it seems that the torch has been passed down to Ivory. The Chargers have an average run defense and Geno Smith is struggling at quarterback. Rex Ryan will likely get back to ground-and-pound football, feeding Ivory the rock 15-20 times. I think the Jets pull off the upset with the help of their running game. Ivory could be in for a huge day with his downhill approach and success running up the middle.


Giants RB Andre Williams
By Matt Brandonphoto of journalist Matt Brandon
Matt is a journalism major at SUNY Purchase College with a concentration in sportswriting. He graduates next January and is hoping to start a career as a sports journalist.
Don't get too discouraged if your draft didn't work out as you planned. Fantasy success isn't the exclusive result of a solid draft - often it's the in-season waiver wire moves that determines who makes it to the post-season. We've got some hot tips for you that should help you improve your roster and catch up to those lucky sons-of-guns who always seem to draft the right players:

Running Backs to Add

Andre Williams
After Rashad Jennings went down with a sprained knee in the third quarter in the Giants-Falcons game, the fourth round draft pick, Andre Williams out of Boston College, took over as the lead back for the G-Men. Williams carried the ball 20 times for 65 yards and a touchdown while adding two receptions for 18 yards. Despite just 3.25 yards per carry, Williams looked like a truck out there, bulldozing Falcon defenders left and right. He ran hard, got his shoulders low, and inflicted serious pain on several runs. It appears Jennings will be out for two or three games, leaving Williams as the feature back in this up-and-coming offense. The G-Men face the Eagles and Cowboys, two defenses that are mediocre against the run, before their Week 8 bye. Williams will be in the RB2 discussion for the next few weeks. He is a very solid pick up at this point of the season.

Branden Oliver
Branden Oliver was the ultimate sleeper against the New York Jets rushing 19 times for 114 yards and a touchdown plus four receptions for 68 additional yards and another touchdown. This was the best fantasy performance amongst running backs all season! With Ryan Mathews out another two weeks, Danny Woodhead done for the season, and Donald Brown dealing with a concussion, the undrafted rookie scored 29 points in Week 5. The Chargers face an Oakland Raider defense that has allowed 23.3 points per game to opposing running backs, ranking 4th worst in the NFL. Oliver is a must-add if you need a running back for the next one or two weeks before Ryan Mathews returns to the lineup.

Running Backs to Drop

Chris Johnson
Chris Johnson is horrible. There, I said it. I admit that he has not gotten help from his offensive line play or the Jets quarterback play but Johnson is clearly not the player he once was and Ivory has outplayed him in just about every game thus far. Against the Chargers in Week 5, Johnson carried the ball 7 times for 24 yards and lost a fumble. Johnson will likely continue to be a small part of Rex Ryan’s game plan (assuming he survives the season as the head coach) but with the Jets constantly playing from behind, Geno Smith will be forced to throw the ball. Johnson has proved to be a massive disappointment for Gang Green and it is officially time to drop him.

Shonn Greene
The big Tennessee back continues to struggle rushing the ball with his diminishing speed. He may be the slowest running back in the entire league. Greene has now posted a 3.3 YPC average in three straight games. Bishop Sankey seems to be the Titans running back of the future and should take over as the lead back for Ken Whisenhunt’s offense. Greene has yet to catch a pass this season, rush for over 40 yards since Week 1, and has only reached the end zone once through five weeks. It’s time to drop this guy.