Week 5 RB Start’em, Sit’em: Running Back Fantasy Football Strategy


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If you are in doubt about some players in a tough spot this week, or players that haven’t produced yet this season, you have come to the perfect spot. We dive into a few names to start in borderline matchups, and also talk about players to fade. You can also check out our rankings area to see where players on your team rank and their projections heading into Week 5. Be sure to check out the rest of our weekly fantasy football content.

Start Em

Austin Ekeler @ Denver

With Melvin Gordon back, Austin Ekeler is still a strong start this week. Denver ranks 26th against the run, and are middle of the road against pass-catching backs. While Gordon is going to get some touches, the full workload will likely begin in a week or two. Ekeler will have some standalone value for the rest of the season, even with Gordon back.

Derrick Henry Vs. Buffalo

Buffalo hasn’t allowed a lot of fantasy points to opposing running backs, but they haven’t been a great rush defense. They also have had an easy schedule to start the year. Back to back average weeks for Derrick Henry, this is a great game for him to get going again. The Bills rank 25th against the run, and Tennessee is a slight home favorite.

Nyheim Hines @ Kansas City

I expect the Colts to be playing from behind early, and Nyheim Hines should have a strong role this week. Indy turned to him last week, which was also aided by Marlon Mack having a bum ankle. Hines is viable in deeper PPR leagues, as he saw six targets, catching all six of them for 39 yards. He has a reasonable floor this week, and this is only in PPR leagues of course.

Joe Mixon Vs. Arizona

Joe Mixon has not been returning on his ADP so far this season, and has been struggling in the fantasy department. The offensive line is partially to blame, but the defense also puts them in a passing mode early and often. This is one week right now where Mixon can bounce back. The Cardinals rank 24th against the run this season.

Ronald Jones Vs. New Orleans

Tough matchup against the Saints, but Ronald Jones is a FLEX play this week. Outside of Week 2, the touches have been there for him. The Saints rank 15th against the run, although have been on a mission since Drew Brees went down. The Buccaneers passing attack also keeps defenses honest. If you are in need of a streamer or are wondering to start Jones, the answer is yes.

Sit Em

Marlon Mack @ Kansas City

Kansas City has not been good against the run, but the fact this game is likely going to get out of hand quick is a major downgrade for Marlon Mack. He does not work in the passing game, which is why I am leaning towards Hines. Mack has six total targets in four weeks, and has struggled on the ground since his Week 1 explosion. There are better options out there.

Josh Jacobs Vs. Chicago

Josh Jacobs is having a solid season on the ground, but the disappointing volume through the air has been a concern. This doesn’t bode well for Jacobs when the Raiders are behind. Chicago is allowing the 5th fewest fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season. They also rank as the third best rush defense. It will be tough sledding for the rookie.

Phillip Lindsay @ Los Angeles

The Chargers defense struggled to defend Marlon Mack, and then lucked out with a below average rushing attack schedule the rest of the way. Most of Phillip Linday’s production came against Green Bay. His workload has been decent, but production has lacked. He has relied upon some pass-catching work, which the Chargers have allowed the fourth fewest receptions to RBs this season.

San Francisco RBs Vs. Cleveland

Tevin Coleman’s return could be coming soon, and even if he misses this week, this is still a three-headed committee running into a pretty strong Browns defense. They have allowed the 10th fewest fantasy points to opposing backs this season. They have held Mark Ingram, Todd Gurley, and Le’Veon Bell to under 75 rushing yards this season. The usage is also a big hit here, as touches have been spread out, but they have been productive on chunk plays.

Aaron Jones @ Dallas

This solely depends on Jamaal Williams clearing concussion protocol or not. If he does clear, Aaron Jones is a sit for me. If not, Jones’ volume is going to carry him again. Dallas is allowing the 7th fewest fantasy points per game to opposing backs this season. They are also coming off a game where the limited Alvin Kamara to just 89 all-purpose yards on 20 touches.

Jason Guilbault is the Brand Content Manager for Lineups.com, powered by Catena Media. He has worked 10+ in the sports betting & iGaming space as a writer and content manager. Jason has also written for DailyFantasyCafe, NBAMockDraft, & FantasyPros. He aims to bring the best sports data & insight to the industry for both novice & advanced users.

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