Week 5 Running Back Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em: Could Justin Jackson break loose in week five?
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Jerick McKinnon has been solid over the last three weeks while his teammates Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman have been down due to injury. He has been in the endzone once in each contest in the last three weeks and has averaged 16.6 fantasy points this season. Raheem Mostert has returned to practice this week after missing the last two weeks of football. Even though he is back, it will take a lot for the trainers to clear him for full participation for Sunday. Even if he is present next week, McKinnon is really consistent in the passing game too with 13 receptions and 102 receiving yards this season, making him a continuous fantasy asset. Next week the 49ers face the Miami Dolphins, who have given up the seventh-most fantasy points to running backs this season. McKinnon should put up solid RB2 numbers with the chance of RB1 numbers if Mostert doesn’t see the field next week.
Justin Jackson will be coming in as a backup with Austin Ekeler going down due to injury. Jackson has been injured earlier in the season too, missing weeks two and three. Now with Ekeler out, Jackson is set to see more touches in the Chargers’ backfield. Even more appealing, Joshua Kelley has averaged only 4.75 points over the last two weeks after putting up 25.3 fantasy points through the first two weeks of the season. Kelley has left the door open for an opportunity to shine for Justin Jackson. Certainly, the New Orleans Saints’ rushing defense is better than most in the league, but Justin Jackson will see enough touches in the backfield to be a potential week five running back stream or flex play for a possible boom.
Todd Gurley has certainly lost the explosive power he had in years past, but I like him in terms of fantasy. He hauls in 16 carries per game on average, which is a ton in the NFL nowadays. He is averaging just under 14 fantasy points per game, which has ranked him in the top 20 amongst all running backs. Next week the Falcons take on the Panthers, who have allowed the second-most fantasy points to running backs this season. Gurley is a solid RB2 with a ceiling to put up RB1 type numbers next week.
James Conner has become the premier running back in Pittsburgh after his atrocious and alarming start in week one. For some time, I was certainly convinced that Benny Snell Jr. could take over as the lead back in this backfield based on his touches and production. Plus, Conner is usually injured and unproductive in the backfield. However, he has averaged 17 touches per game over the last two weeks and has added on an average of 22.5 fantasy points per game. He is a definitely a starting fantasy running back with those type of numbers for week five, even against a tough Eagles’ rushing defense.
Antonio Gibson had found himself in a similar James Conner situation, where it was possible that he would not gain the lead running back spot. After having an unproductive first week, he has stepped up by getting in the endzone in each of the last three weeks and building a season average of 13.6 fantasy points. The Rams are certainly a defensive challenge for the Football Team in the passing and running game next week. However, knowing what Gibson can do with a low amount of touches will put him in the RB2 category for week five.
Mark Ingram and the Raven’s running backs have been wildly inconsistent this season in fantasy football. J.K Dobbins scared Ingram’s fantasy owners by putting up two touchdowns in week one, but he hasn’t done anything since. Moreover, Ingram hardly touches the ball for an RB1 at an average of 8.5 times per game. Lamar dominates the touches in the offense by rushing and passing the ball most of the time. Ingram has averaged 8.1 fantasy points this season but has seen two games under 5 fantasy points. I would certainly keep him around as he has turned up his game later in the season in some years in his career, but for now, keep him on the bench.
Darrell Henderson Jr. has been a solid waiver wire add for teams that have needed a second running back for their fantasy teams. Through weeks two and three, he averaged near 20 fantasy points per game which is an astounding number. Last week against the Giants, he only put up 4.8 fantasy points while his partner Malcolm Brown put up 10 fantasy points. Now, with Cam Akers making his way back to the committee, I’m not sure we can trust Henderson to bring in 16 average touches he was hauling in-between weeks two and three with two other running backs. Plus, next week the Rams face the Washington Football Team, who rank in the top ten in the least amount of fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs.
Myles Gaskin has been a decent running back to have on your squad this season, averaging 12.1 fantasy points per game. However, his touches have been slightly minimal for a lead back with only 12 per game. Almost half of the touches he has gotten came from week three against the Jacksonville Jaguars. However, they were up by a lot in that game, forcing them to run the ball heavily to burn the clock. Next week, I don’t think that will be the case against the San Francisco 49ers who are starting to get their injured starters back. Plus, they have allowed the least amount of fantasy points to running backs this season, so Gaskin should stay on the bench in week five.
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