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Week 6 Running Back Depth Charts for Fantasy Football


Week 5 of NFL action brought a lot of surprises and bad news for many. The most glaring concern is the injury to Chiefs star running back Jamaal Charles. The diagnosis of a torn ACL means that the oft-injured Charles is done for the season, opening up the door for two relatively-unproven half backs and a slew of waiver wire claims.

A handful of depth chart situations became questionable or volatile this week - some due to impressive performances from two or three guys and some teams just have no reliable play out of the backfield (sorry Detroit). At the same time, some running back situations may be solid, but that doesn't mean the fantasy implications are good. Just because Miami and Carolina both have locked in starters doesn't make them valuable from a fantasy perspective. It basically just means that everyone else on the teams stinks.

Remember that before dishing out your much-cherished waiver wire priorities on either Charcandrick West or Knile Davis. Just because one of them (or both) is soon to be the starter doesn't make them good, necessarily. Don't expect to be scooping up the next Jamaal Charles out of nowhere.

 

AFC EAST: Fantasy Football Running Backs (RB)

Baller Stability Rating Team
Name
Primary
Running Back
Backup or
Handcuff
Longshot
Candidate(s)
Waiver     Wire Watch
Questionable Patriots Dion Lewis LeGarrette BlountJames White Brandon Bolden  N/A
Solid Jets Chris Ivory Bilal Powell Zac Stacy  N/A
Questionable Bills LeSean McCoy Karlos Williams Daniel Herron, Boobie Dixon Daniel Herron, Boobie Dixon
Solid Dolphins Lamar Miller Damien Williams,Jonas Gray Jay Ayaji  N/A

 

Although LeGarrette Blount led the Patriots backfield in carries again this week, Dion Lewis continued to impress in the backup role. When I say impress, I mean this. Lewis looked like a break dancer en route to the end zone against the Cowboys, ducking and contorting his body to score six. On the afternoon, the receiving back racked up 93 yards on 14 touches with the aforementioned touchdown. Through five weeks of 2015, including the Patriots Week 4 BYE week, Lewis is top-10 in standard fantasy scoring among all NFL running backs. It's probably safe to call him the nontraditional starting half back in New England. Still, Blount holds plenty of value and potential. He put up 74 yards on 13 carries in this one. Both are worthing owning in all league formats.

**BYE** Chris Ivory (quad) rebounded in a big way against the Dolphins in London, racking up 166 yards on 29 rushes and a score. Ivory's yardage was the top total from Week 4 and his 22.60 fantasy points were good for a top-three performance. That's now two-of-four weeks that Ivory has been a top-three half back. He has shown his ability to exploit favorable matchups and has proven to be a legitimate RB-1 in most league formats. Zac Stacy was the change-of-pace back in this one, gathering seven yards on five carries, while Bilal Powell caught one pass for 12 yards. Ivory is the only man in the picture in New York.

In the absence of both starting running backs in Week 5, Buffalo could not muster much of a running game. Though it was reported that Boobie Dixon would receive starting duties, newly-signed back Dan Herron surprisingly led the team with nine carries. Dixon managed 39 yards on ten touches. The leading rusher was quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who posted an impressive 8-76-1 line on the ground. If Karlos Williams (concussion) is not able to return for Week 6, Dixon and Boom Herron will likely share carries to some extent. Neither are viable options against Cincinnati's defense. LeSean McCoy (hamstring) will need at least one more week to return.

**BYE** Joe Philbin is finally out as head coach in Miami and the team is likely to (eventually) benefit from the move. Over the past three weeks, the Dolphins have been, all around, the worst team in the league as they have failed to execute in all aspects of the game. The ground game has been especially putrid. The team attempted only 10 rushes throughout the entire game due to the fact that they were playing catch-up all morning in London. Lamar Miller still appears to be the top guy here, although I would recommend benching every player on this offense (except maybe Jarvis Landry) until the new coaching staff can turn things around.

 

AFC WEST: Fantasy Football Running Backs (RB)

Baller Stability Rating Team
Name
Primary
Running Back
Backup or
Handcuff
Longshot
Candidate(s)
Waiver     Wire Watch
Questionable Broncos C.J. Anderson Ronnie Hillman Juwan Thompson  N/A
Volatile Chiefs Charcandrick West Knile Davis De'Anthony Thomas Charcandrick West, Knile Davis
Solid Raiders Latavius Murray Roy Helu, Jamize Olawale Taiwan Jones  N/A
Questionable Chargers Melvin GordonDanny Woodhead Branden Oliver Donald Brown  N/A

 

Another week, another uninspiring performance from the Broncos backfield. C.J. Anderson continued his poor play with just 22 yards on 11 carries, followed by more poor play from Hillman's 7-21-0 afternoon. Neither of these guys should show their faces in starting fantasy rosters until further notice. In all fairness, much of the backfield's struggles are directly attributable to Denver's woeful run blocking.

Prepare your waiver wire claims. Jamaal Charles tore his ACL against the Bears on Sunday, capping off a miserable start to the Chiefs' 2015 season. In the wake of the devastating injury are three running backs who will have a chance to shine. For now, it seems that backup Charcandrick West will be the most likely to benefit as he has out-touched all of the other RBs in the Kansas City backfield. Also, Bleacher Report reported earlier that West is indeed the preferred back in Kansas City, according to Head Coach Andy Reid. Knile Davis is still a must-add in all league formats, as the 24 year-old back has seen a good deal of success, including a 134-463-6 line last year as Charles' backup. Add both, prioritize West, and keep a close eye on the matchup in Minnesota Week 6. De'Anthony Thomas could see an increased role from the backfield as well, though he is listed as a wide receiver.

Week 5 showed another sign of regression for Latavius Murray, who only recorded 57 yards on 16 touches, good for his lowest total of the year. There were a ton of different faces popping up in the Raiders backfield in this contest, as Murray, Jamize Olawale, Roy Helu and fullback Marcel Reece all managed more than five touches. This is a bit worrying for Murray owners, as the back's main strength this year has been his high level of touches and relatively small amount of competition in the backfield. Head Coach Jack Del Rio alluded to some sort of injury to his starting tail back after the game, saying that Murray was "banged up". This is surely a situation worth monitoring over the next few days. Needless to say, Murray is still locked in as starter if healthy. The Raiders will have a Week 6 BYE.

Yet again, Melvin Gordon was unable to get much going on the ground against the Steelers on Monday night. His 15-42-0 line has become fairly standard, regardless of the competition. However, he salvaged his night in the passing game, adding another 52 yards on seven receptions, which all together created a solid night for the rookie. Danny Woodhead was slightly less effective than usual, accounting for only 76 yards on nine touches. Both backs are poised for success in their next outing against Green Bay and a defense that was just shredded by Todd Gurley. I guess we'll finally find out how Gordon and Gurley stack up.

 

AFC NORTH: Fantasy Football Running Backs (RB)

Baller Stability Rating Team
Name
Primary
Running Back
Backup or
Handcuff
Longshot
Candidate(s)
Waiver     Wire Watch
Solid Ravens Justin Forsett Javorius Allen Lorenzo Taliaferro  N/A
Solid Steelers Le'Veon Bell DeAngelo Williams Dri Archer  N/A
Volatile Bengals Giovani Bernard Jeremy Hill Rex Burkhead  N/A
Questionable Browns Isaiah Crowell Duke Johnson Shaun Draughn Duke Johnson

 

Justin Forsett was a monster against the Browns on Sunday, going 21-121-1 and adding four receptions for 49 yards. After a slow start to the season, Forsett has established himself as one of the top half backs in the league. Javorius Allen has a nice day as well, tacking on 58 yards on eight carries, most of which came on a breakout 44-yard rush. Lorenzo Taliaferro (foot) was inactive for this one and may have fallen behind Allen on the depth chart.

Another solid start from Le'Veon Bell. His 21-111-1 line is almost identical to last week's line and Bell is averaging a consistent 100 yards plus a touchdown per game. This Monday night contest was capped off by a Bell touchdown run as time expired, amounting to a very risky play call from Head Coach Mike Tomlin. Still, when you have a player like Bell, those are the risks you feel comfortable taking. DeAngelo Williams saw some action as well, gathering 20 yards on five carries.

It seems quite certain the Giovani Bernard has regained the starting duties from sophomore RB Jeremy Hill in Cincinnati. Bernard managed 101 yards on 20 touches compared to just 25 yards on nine touches for Hill. This game comes to the dismay of owners who spent an early draft pick on a now-backup running back. Andy Dalton is enjoying a career season thus far, meaning the Bengals will continue to throw the ball while their quarterback continues to succeed. All of this spells trouble for Hill, who should now be benched in most leagues until things turn around. Bernard, on the other hand, is a must start against the Bills Week 6. Rex Burkead carried the ball once, lost yards and fumbled. Don't expect to see him again any time soon.

After an electric Week 4 performance from Duke Johnson, Isaiah Crowell led the Browns backfield in touches, yards and touchdowns in Week 5 against the Ravens. Johnson saw most of his action in the receiving game, making him the more appealing option in PPR formats. Even so, the rookie has great breakout potential and it is only a matter of time before he takes the reigns from Crowell. For now, Crowell remains the starting back. He piled up 87 yards on 15 touches and scored a crucial touchdown in the Browns overtime victory in Baltimore.

 

AFC SOUTH: Fantasy Football Running Backs (RB)

Baller Stability Rating Team
Name
Primary
Running Back
Backup or
Handcuff
Longshot
Candidates
Waiver     Wire Watch
Solid Colts Frank Gore Josh Robinson Tyler Varga  N/A
Solid Texans Arian Foster Chris Polk, Alfred Blue Jonathan Grimes  N/A
Volatile Titans Antonio Andrews Dexter McCluster, Bishop Sankey Terrance West, David Cobb Antonio Andrews
Solid Jaguars T.J. Yeldon Denard Robsinson, Bernard Pierce Toby Gerhart  N/A

 

Frank Gore looked good against the Texans on Thursday night, posting an encouraging 22-98-1 line. He was not targeted in the passing game, which is not unusual. Still, Gore remains the only running back of any consequence in Indianapolis. Thus far, his performance has been polarized. Perhaps he should only be started when the situation looks good. Josh Robinson recorded 12 yards on four touches.

Arian Foster finally surfaced on Thursday night against the Colts, recording 118 yards on 28 touches, including nine receptions. It was an encouraging performance from Foster, who spent the first four weeks of the season on IR. Expect these type of performances from Foster for weeks to come, especially considering the dreadful passing game in Houston. The touchdowns will come eventually. Alfred Blue was the primary backup in this one, adding 22 yards on six carries. Chris Polk saw a couple of touches as well.

Tennessee has entered into a true RBBC situation, as Bishop Sankey, Dexter McCluster and Antonio Andrews all received an equal amount of carries and success, or lack thereof. Andrews was the only back who recorded over 50 yards from scrimmage with 54 yards on ten touches. Similarly to the opposing Buffalo Bills, the quarterback Marcus Mariota led the club in rushing with 47 yards on five attempts. Still, Andrews managed to record a touchdown for the second consecutive week. Andrews is probably the only back worth owning here, though none of them should be trusted to start in fantasy lineups until one emerges as a true talent.

Despite the high score of the Jaguars-Buccaneers matchup, Yeldon provided a middling performance. The rookie rushed 11 times for just 32 yards, though he did reel in five receptions for an additional 31 yards and a touchdown. Still a solid fantasy outing. Yeldon's main strength is his unquestioned status as the primary back in Jacksonville, which remained apparent in this matchup. The Jags have a favorable matchup with the Texans next week. Yeldon will have low-end RB1 value.

 

NFC EAST: Fantasy Football Running Backs (RB)

Baller Stability Rating Team
Name
Primary
Running Back
Backup or
Handcuff
Longshot
Candidates
 Waiver      Wire Watch
Questionable Giants Rashad Jennings Andre WilliamsShane Vereen Orleans Darkwa Shane Vereen
Questionable Eagles DeMarco Murray Ryan MathewsDarren Sproles Kenjon Barner  N/A
Solid Cowboys Joseph Randle Darren McFadden Christine Michael Darren McFadden
Volatile Washington Matt Jones Chris Thompson, Alfred Morris  Darrel Young Chris Thompson, Matt Jones

 

The roles in the Ginats backfield were further affirmed on Sunday night against the 49ers, as Rashad Jennings led the committee in carries while Shane Vereen was the featured back in the passing game. By the numbers, Vereen had the most impressive performance of the three, racking up 110 yards on 13 touches with a touchdown. Much of that success can be attributed to his fourth quarter prominence, in which the Giants had almost no viable receivers left due to injury and Eli Manning was driving down the field to complete a down-to-the-wire win. Meanwhile, Jennings was largely unsuccessful on the ground, going 11-46-0. Still, he technically remains the starting back in New York. Andre Williams carried the ball three times for zero yards.

Sunday brought another telling performance from the Eagles backfield. DeMarco Murray was the unquestioned starter, out-carrying Ryan Mathews 20-to-8. Here's the thing - Murray managed a respectable 83 yards and touchdown, while Mathews gained 73 yards and a touchdown, good for 9.1 YPC. This is worrying for Murray owners, as the contest only affirmed the belief that Mathews is a better fit for Chip Kelly's system in Philadelphia. Fortunately for those owners, Murray is being paid too much money to be a backup and his play is good enough to start in most rosters. For what it's worth, Murray added 37 yards on seven receptions while Mathews caught three passes for 23 yards. Darren Sproles accounted for 37 yards on six touches.

Darren McFadden has absorbed Lance Dunbar's role as the pass-catching back in addition to maintaining his handful of carries for the Cowboys. The result was 78 yards on five carries and nine receptions. All of the sudden, McFadden is a tantalizing option in PPR leagues. His role and productivity is only likely to increase as the Cowboys face easier opponents than New England. Joseph Randle remains the starter in Dallas for now, but couldn't get much going against a tough Patriots defense. He accounted for only 60 yards on 15 carries with no scores. Christine Michael had one carry for six yards and is expected to get more work moving forward. The Cowboys will have a Week 6 BYE.

OK, what is going on here? After declaring that Morris had regained control of the backfield in Washington, he ended up with the least touches among the three RBs on the team. Matt Jones saw the majority of the work here, but still posted a somewhat ineffective 11-20-1 line. Chris Thompson was the most active back in the passing game, hauling in six-of-seven targets for 33 yards, adding 15 yards on the ground. Seriously, who knows what will happen next week. Maybe Morris will get 20 carries out of nowhere. None of these backs are viable options against a stout Jets defense Week 6.

 

NFC WEST: Fantasy Football Running Backs (RB)

Baller Stability Rating Team
Name
Primary
Running Back
Backup or
Handcuff
Longshot
Candidates
Waiver Wire Watch
Solid 49ers Carlos Hyde Reggie Bush Jerrod Hayne, Mike Davis  N/A
Solid Seahawks Marshawn Lynch Thomas Rawls Fred Jackson Thomas Rawls
Volatile Cardinals Chris Johnson Andre Ellington David Johnson, Stepfan Taylor Andre Ellington
Solid Rams Todd Gurley Tre Mason Benny Cunningham  N/A

 

Carlos Hyde turned in an impressive nighttime performance on Sunday in the Meadowlands, flaunting a 21-93-1 line with a four-yard reception. Hyde looked hobbled at multiple points of the game, but continued to come into the game and make big plays into the fourth quarter. There has been no talk of a serious injury. Hyde will be hit-or-miss behind a weak offensive line in San Francisco. Reggie Bush reinjured his calf in the effort, and Jerrod Hayne used to play rugby, just in case you didn't hear Chris Collinsworth say it 100 times last night.

Shame on everyone who benched/dropped Thomas Rawls for Week 5. The undrafted rookie amassed 169 yards on 23 carries with a touchdown. Really, he looked impressive in every aspect of the game, making defenders miss in the open field en route to a 69-yard touchdown sprint and shedding tackles at the line of scrimmage pushing piles past the first down marker. This is all even more impressive considering the effort came against a very formidable Bengals run defense. If Marshawn Lynch cannot return for a Week 6 matchup against the Panthers, expect another strong outing from Rawls. Fred Jackson managed only five yards on two carries.

The Arizona backfield shredded an emotionally depleted Lions defense on Sunday. This time, one of the Johnsons was largely left out of the picture. Chris Johnson remained the lead back even though Andre Ellington returned from injury, gaining 103 yards on just 11 carries. Ellington looked impressive as well, as he erupted for a 63-yard touchdown run. David Johnson was, for the most part, left in the dust, gaining just six yards on three carries. Oddly enough, Stepfan Taylor was the third-stringer in this one, as he added 19 yards on four carries. This probably means that D. Johnson can be dropped in most formats, barring further injury to either C. Johnson or Ellington. Ellington must be added in all formats and C. Johnson should be started unilaterally against the Steelers Week 6.

Todd Gurley is now, indisputably, a top-5 fantasy football running back. The rookie from Georgia had his second consecutive monster game, racking up 159 yards on 30 carries, the most attempts of any RB this week. The time to buy low on Gurley is gone and the time to sell high is nonexistent. Don't let go of this guy. Tre Mason and Benny Cunningham can and should be dropped in all leagues. No one else is touching the ball in Saint Louis any time soon. The Rams will have a Week 6 BYE.

 

NFC NORTH: Fantasy Football Running Backs (RB)

Baller Stability Rating Team
Name
Primary
Running Back
Backup or
Handcuff
Longshot
Candidates
Waiver Wire Watch
Solid Packers Eddie Lacy James Starks Alonzo Harris  N/A
Volatile Lions Ameer Abdullah Theo Riddick, Zach Zenner Joique Bell Theo Riddick
Solid Bears Matt Forte Jacquizz Rodgers Jeremy Langford  N/A
Solid Vikings Adrian Peterson Jerick McKinnon Matt Asiata  N/A

 

Eddie lacy turned in a disappointing effort on Sunday against the Rams, gaining only 27 yards on 13 carries. This was not a typical game in Lambeau for the Packers. Much of this can be chalked up to an underrated Rams defense, which has been quite formidable over the past few weeks. Lacy will likely have a much easier time in Week 6 against the Chargers and a defensive unit the is 29th in rushing yards allowed per game. James Starks got some quality touches in this one, adding 17 yards on five attempts and three receptions for another 29 yards.

The Lions should just give up on their run game. Actually, the Lions should just give up in general. It was another blowout loss for Detroit at the hands of the Cardinals on Sunday. Again, the Lions could not get any semblance of a run game going. Surprisingly, Zach Zenner was the featured back in this one. The Lions knew they were getting trounced and Ameer Abdullah was doing nothing, again, so the team decided to try something new. Zenner gained 30 yards on ten carries. Theo Riddick remains the only relevant man in the Lions backfield. Although he didn't see a single carry, Riddick managed 53 yards and a touchdown on six receptions. If he is still not owned in your league, he should probably be picked up in 12-14 team leagues.

Week 5 brought another 100-yard day for Matt Forte, who looked great as usual. In light of the Jamaal Charles injury, Forte may be the most reliable RB1 in football. The starter racked up 109 yards on 23 touches and found the end zone on a reception from Jay Cutler. Jacquizz Rodgers and Jeremy Langford saw two carries a-piece. Nothing to see here until further notice.

**BYE** The 16-81-1 performance was nothing extraordinary from Adrian Peterson, but is something to be respected against an incredibly tough Broncos defense. Through four weeks, AP has racked up 464 yards from scrimmage with three touchdowns, making him a top-three fantasy RB thus far. All Day believes he can produce another 2,000-yard season. It would not be wise to doubt him. Matt Asiata and Jerrick McKinnon received one carry each in the contest.

 

NFC SOUTH: Fantasy Football Running Backs (RB)

Baller Stability Rating Team
Name
Primary
Running Back
Backup or
Handcuff
Longshot
Candidates
Waiver Wire Watch
Solid Saints Mark Ingram Khiry Robinson C.J. Spiller  N/A
Questionable Falcons Devonta Freeman Tevin Coleman Terrone Ward  N/A
Solid Panthers Jonathan Stewart Cameron Artis-Payne Fozzy Whittaker  N/A
Questionable Buccaneers Doug Martin Charles Sims Mike James, Bobby Rainey Charles Sims

 

Mark Ingram turned in a decent performance in the midst of a blowout loss to Philadelphia on Sunday, amassing 74 total yards from scrimmage on 14 touches. New Orleans did not have much of a chance to run the ball, as they were playing from behind for much of the contest after the first quarter. Ingram has been one of the most reliable backs in fantasy this year, much to the surprise of many, and he finds himself among fantasy's top-10 scoring running backs. Khiry Robinson managed 32 yards on seven touches, while C.J. Spiller was continually taken down in the backfield on passing plays, giving him only 2 net yards on six touches.

Another week, another awe-inspiring performance from Devonta Freeman. The second-year back posted a 27-153-1 line as the Falcons pulled out an overtime thriller over Washington. He even added an extra 44 yards on seven receptions. Freeman has been absolute dynamite out of the Falcons backfield and is an unexpected contributor to Atlanta's undefeated streak. Tevin Coleman did not get much of a chance to shine in his first action of the year, gaining only three yards on two carries. As long as Freeman continues to play this way, no one else will be touching the ball much in Atlanta. Freeman is, by far, the top RB in fantasy in 2015.

**BYE** Cam Newton led the Panthers run game on Sunday, rushing for 51 yards on 12 carries against a weak Buccaneers run game. Despite that weak defensive front, Jonathan Stewart was, once again, unable to get anything going, posting a 10-50-0 line on the afternoon. Is this guy even good? In his defense, the panthers never really gave him much of a chance to find a rhythm in this one. Still, Stewart has no handcuff with whom to split carries and has still managed just 220 yards rushing through four weeks with no scores. He trails all three of Philadelphia's tepid half backs, to put things in perspective. Cameron Artis-Payne was a slight factor, adding 25 yards on eight attempts.

The half back situation in Tampa Bay continues to be an interesting one. Doug Martin is among the top-3 fantasy RBs this season (top-2 if you take into account the injury to Jamaal Charles). His performance against the Jaguars on Sunday helped reaffirm that, as the Muscle Hamster produced a 24-123-2 line (along with a 3-35-1 receiving line) against a lackluster Jags defensive squad. Despite this dominant play, backup Charles Sims continues to receive quality touches and remains relevant from a fantasy standpoint. The handcuff tacked on 136 yards on just 16 touches. There are plenty of things Tampa Bay does poorly - but rushing the ball is not one of them. Both of these guys are incredibly valuable in fantasy and Sims' value is only likely to increase as his talent earns him more and more touches, as has gradually been the case thus far in 2015. If there is any chance he's still available on your waiver wire, scoop him up before it's too late. The Buccaneers will have a Week 6 BYE.

 

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