Fantasy RB Rankings Week 5: Who to start, sit at running back in fantasy football

A slew of key running backs (Jonathan Taylor, Dalvin Cook, Antonio Gibson, Darrell Henderson, Melvin Gordon) were “questionable” heading into Sunday’s action, but Elijah Mitchell was the only one who actually wound up being inactive (along with Christian McCaffrey, of course). Even so, game-time decisions cause plenty of start ’em, sit ’em headaches, and they serve as a reminder that injuries (and byes) are about to become an issue at this position. Just ask David Montgomery owners. Enjoy these mostly complete Week 5 fantasy RB rankings — it might be one of the last times you see all these studs and sleepers in one place for a while.

Most of the familiar names are near the top, but this is one of those weeks where many of the statistically favorable matchups are either to the very top guys (Derrick Henry vs. Jaguars, Dalvin Cook vs. Lions, Nick Chubb vs. Chargers) or to backs in committee situations, such as Leonard Fournette/Ronald Jones II (vs. Dolphins), Zack Moss/Devin Singletary (@ Chiefs), Cordarrelle Patterson/Mike Davis (vs. Jets in London), Chase Edmonds/James Conner (vs. 49ers). Damien Harris (@ Texans) and Darrell Henderson (@ Seahawks) are two of the few primary backs with highly favorable matchups.

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

That makes it more difficult to really elevate any sleepers to “must-start” status, but, as we alluded to in the intro, at least most backs seem like they’ll be suiting up, and that’s most important. All those committee guys with good matchups just means there are more potential sleepers and low-end RB2s/flexes. You might not like using Edmonds in standard leagues or Conner in PPR leagues most games, but both are in play in Week 5 after they both had impressive Week 4’s. The same goes for Moss/Singletary. Patterson and Davis is a slightly different story since they do roughly the same thing and Patterson seems to be playing (and producing) more, but Davis is the more likely to get goal-line carries, so that’s something to consider in standard leagues. 

Quarterback | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Unfortunately, with the favorable matchups come the unfavorable ones. Miles Sanders/Kenny Gainwell (@ Panthers), Najee Harris (vs. Broncos), Melvin Gordon/Javonte Williams (@ Steelers), Antonio Gibson vs. Saints, Austin Ekeler (vs. Browns), Saquon Barkley (@ Cowboys), and Clyde Edwards-Helaire (vs. Bills) are all facing teams that have done a good job limiting RBs this year. We’re not too worried about Harris, Gibson, Barkley, and Ekeler, as they do a lot of damage through the air, but Sanders, CEH, and the Broncos, are a little tougher to trust given their struggles this year. We still have Edwards-Helaire in our top 25, but he’s not necessarily an auto-start.

Damien Williams (@ Raiders) and Chuba Hubbard (vs. Eagles) are both in play after producing at least 70 total yards each last week. They should get the bulk of their teams’ RB touches, and that volume gives them plenty of value in standard leagues. Their pass-catching skills make them solid PPR plays, too.

Overall, this looks like a good week for RBs. You could argue, to use the old football saying about QBs, “if you have two, you have none,” but at RB, that’s not always true. After all, any RB can flop, so it’s really more about having usable options that allow you to sleep easy going into Sunday’s action. Chances are, your WR3 spot maybe even QB is enough of a mess to cause headaches, so you don’t need any more from your running backs. 

Note: We’ll be updating these RB rankings as needed throughout the week, so check back for the latest changes. 

Fantasy RB Rankings Week 5: Who to start at running back

Rankings are based on standard, non-PPR scoring

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