Patrick Daugherty

Goal Line Stand

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Week 5 Rankings

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Week 5 Running Backs

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Le'Veon Bell vs. JAC -
2 Kareem Hunt at HOU -
3 Ezekiel Elliott vs. GB -
4 Todd Gurley vs. SEA -
5 Leonard Fournette at PIT -
6 Carlos Hyde at IND -
7 LeSean McCoy at CIN -
8 Jay Ajayi vs. TEN -
9 Melvin Gordon at NYG -
10 Lamar Miller vs. KC -
11 Bilal Powell at CLE -
12 Jordan Howard vs. MIN -
13 Ameer Abdullah vs. CAR -
14 Joe Mixon vs. BUF -
15 Doug Martin vs. NE -
16 Mike Gillislee at TB -
17 DeMarco Murray at MIA -
18 Jonathan Stewart at DET -
19 Latavius Murray at CHI -
20 James White at TB -
21 LeGarrette Blount vs. ARZ -
22 Frank Gore vs. SF -
23 Christian McCaffrey at DET -
24 Marshawn Lynch vs. BAL -
25 Alex Collins at OAK -
26 Duke Johnson vs. NYJ -
27 Isaiah Crowell vs. NYJ -
28 Wayne Gallman vs. LAC -
29 Aaron Jones at DAL -
30 Tarik Cohen vs. MIN -
31 Andre Ellington at PHI -
32 Buck Allen at OAK -
33 Jerick McKinnon at CHI Questionable (ankle)
34 Eddie Lacy at LAR -
35 Derrick Henry at MIA -
36 D'Onta Foreman vs. KC -
37 Elijah McGuire at CLE -
38 Thomas Rawls at LAR -
39 Jamaal Williams at DAL Questionable (knee)
40 Chris Johnson at PHI -
41 Giovani Bernard vs. BUF -
42 J.D. McKissic at LAR -
43 Shane Vereen vs. LAC -
44 Corey Clement vs. ARZ -
45 Jacquizz Rodgers vs. NE -
46 Theo Riddick vs. CAR -
47 Matt Breida at IND -
48 Chris Ivory at PIT -
49 Orleans Darkwa vs. LAC -
50 Jalen Richard vs. BAL -
51 DeAndre Washington vs. BAL Questionable (hamstring)
52 Terrance West at OAK -
53 Mike Tolbert at CIN -

RB Notes: Coming off a 186-yard explosion against the Ravens’ typically stout run defense, Le'Veon Bell gets a Jags unit surrendering 5.7 yards per carry and 166 rushing yards per game. … Kareem Hunt’s season-low for yards from scrimmage is 109. He’s averaging 165. The Texans aren’t a great matchup. It doesn’t matter. … Ezekiel Elliott has been living off workload, but it’s not like it’s going anywhere. The Packers’ defense is thoroughly mediocre on the ground. … Averaging 20 carries and 31 receiving yards, Leonard Fournette has been sure to keep his floor nice and tidy. The Steelers are more attackable on the ground than through the air. … The Colts have been selling out to stop the run and are still allowing 4.0 yards per carry and 113 yards per game. Carlos Hyde should have no trouble surpassing 20 touches. … Still without a touchdown, LeSean McCoy is averaging a Melvin Gordon-esque 3.17 yards per carry. The workloads haven’t stopped coming, but it’s been hard to monetize them in the Bills’ popgun offense. Week 5 opponent Cincinnati is permitting the sixth fewest running back fantasy points.

Speaking of Melvin Gordon, he’s “super frustrated” and begging for the ball. He’s a candidate for squeaky wheel treatment, but his bum knee complicates matters. Gordon hasn’t appeared anywhere close to 100 percent health as he’s averaged 3.11 yards per carry. Working in his favor is a Giants defense that’s taken a major step back against the run. The conditions are ultimately right for an RB1 week. … Jay Ajayi’s season has gone sideways behind an offensive line that isn’t blocking. Week 5 reasons for optimism are that the road-weary Dolphins are finally in Miami, and the Titans have been disintegrating on defense. The Dolphins’ attack is struggling, but Ajayi remains the centerpiece. … Lamar Miller is ceding 8-12 weekly carries to D'Onta Foreman, but has out-caught him 10-2. Miller is also soundly out-snapping his backup. With rookie sensation Deshaun Watson opening up rushing lanes that weren’t there under Brock Osweiler and Tom Savage, the Texans’ backfield is big enough for two runners. Perhaps Miller will finally have his first Houston hot streak. … Wait and see in Green Bay. Ty Montgomery (ribs) is questionable. So is Jamaal Williams (knee). Aaron Jones is waiting in the wings.  

With Matt Forte finally out of the way, Bilal Powell picked up where he left off in 2016. He’s a dual-threat who has piled up yards every time he’s been given the chance the past two seasons. Rookie Elijah McGuire will be involved, but game flow, and therefore touches, should be in Powell’s favor against the Browns. … The Bears have had little flow week to week. The latest change — quarterback — is the biggest an offense can make. Jordan Howard, who is averaging 24 touches over his past two games, should be able to weather it at home against the Vikings. He’s a floor, not ceiling, play against a defense allowing the third fewest running back fantasy points. … One of the main reasons Ameer Abdullah is coming off his most productive game as a pro is that the Lions are finally phasing out Theo Riddick, letting Abdullah play some third downs and catch passes. Riddick was on the field for just 18-of-70 snaps in Week 4, his lowest total since Dec. 2015. If that holds going forward, Abdullah’s RB2 candidacy will be on much firmer ground.

Joe Mixon has touched the ball 21 times each of the past two weeks. He hasn’t turned his workloads into production, but should get another opportunity against the Bills. It’s not a plus matchup. … Finally returning from his four-game suspension, Doug Martin’s workload will be a wild card in his 2017 debut. It’s reasonable to assume he will take the lead on early downs, and that there will be scoring opportunities against the Patriots’ sieve-like defense. … Mike Gillislee has been sub-LeGarrette Blount in New England, but with Rex Burkhead (ribs) missing another game, there’s no one to push him on early downs. Dion Lewis won’t be getting three carries inside the eight-yard line again this week. … Awful though the Dolphins’ defense has been, it’s mostly held up on the ground. That’s not good news for DeMarco Murray, who has stunk so far. With Derrick Henry not going away and Marcus Mariota (hamstring) potentially out for Week 5, Murray’s floor is lower than his ceiling is high. … Cam Newton came to life in Week 4 and Jonathan Stewart had his best game of 2017. With Christian McCaffrey struggling as a runner, J-Stew’s short-yardage role has never been more secure.

McCaffrey's shortest “long run” for a game at Stanford last season was 11. His longest run through four games as an NFLer? 11. It is worth noting that the Lions’ 237 receiving yards allowed to running backs is the seventh most in the league. … Latavius Murray should essentially clone Jonathan Stewart’s role. He’ll become more interesting if pass-catcher Jerick McKinnon (ankle) sits. ... With at least one of Orleans Darkwa (back) or Paul Perkins (ribs) likely to suit up, Wayne Gallman’s RB2 closeup is probably on ice. … Wendell Smallwood (knee) sitting would greatly enhance LeGarrette Blount’s RB2 outlook. … At least for one week, I’m ranking Duke Johnson ahead of Isaiah Crowell. Johnson has out-gained Crowell 264-184. … Alex Collins’ downside is considerable. The same can be said for his upside against a Raiders team permitting 120 weekly rushing yards. … The Seahawks’ backfield is a complete jumble, though coach Pete Carroll seemed to hint Thomas Rawls will get the first crack on early downs. It is admittedly perplexing that Eddie Lacy was active over Rawls in Week 4. … Ripped from The Lord’s Worksheet:Chris Johnson’s 36 carries are the most in the league without a red zone rushing attempt.” Have fun with that one.

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Patrick Daugherty is a football and baseball writer for He can be found on Twitter .
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