Just when we thought Arian Foster was dead in the fantasy waters, he rose to the occasion and took back his rightful place as fantasy football's No. 1 running back going into Week Five. I am sure there were some owners, like myself, that thought there was going to be a full-blown timeshare between Foster and Ben Tate against the Steelers. Especially after Tate's string of strong fantasy games while Foster was nursing a hamstring. But Foster appears set to take up where he left off from last season as he begins his quest for a new contract extension.
Below are my running back rankings going into Week Five.
UPDATE 10/7: It appears that Cedric Benson will be able to play at least one more week against the Jaguars. He is a usable RB2 for Week Five. Owners should continue to hold onto Bernard Scott. As for Rashard Mendenhall, he has yet to practice at all this week and is looking like he will be either doubtful or a game-time decision. If he is still on the waiver wire, Isaac Redman makes an excellent option as a three-down back against the Titans. He is even more valuable in PPR leagues. Brandon Jacobs is reportedly dealing with a sprained MCL and has a good chance to sit, pushing Ahmad Bradshaw up a couple spots against Seattle.
TOP FIVE WEEK-FIVE MATCHUPS (MUST START)
1. Arian Foster (HOU) vs. OAK: So much for a timeshare until Foster got his bearings again. After rushing for 155 yards and a score against the Steelers, Foster should have no problems putting up a second-straight performance against a Raiders Defense that gives up 28.6 fantasy points a game to running backs this year.
2. Adrian Peterson (MIN) vs. ARI: Peterson didn't have a great game last week against the Chiefs, only totaling 80 yards on the ground. But when you are pretty much the best player on your offense, teams are going to do everything to try and stop you. The good news, however, is that the Vikings gave Peterson 23 carries, which they will need to do if they want to keep scores close because their passing game is abysmal. The Cardinals Defense can be run on, making AD a top option for Week Five.
3. Darren McFadden (OAK) @ HOU: McFadden is still rock solid, despite a passing game that is clearly inconsistent. Through four games, he's averaging 150 total yards from scrimmage, with four total touchdowns. We'd like to see more rushing scores, but the team continues to use Michael Bush closer to the goal line. Still, McFadden should have a big day on the turf at Houston, especially if Bush's ankle injury keeps him out.
4. Fred Jackson (BUF) vs. PHI: The Eagles Defense is dead last against fantasy running backs, giving up close to 30 fantasy points a game. 49ers RB Frank Gore couldn't reach three yards a carry in the first three weeks of the season, but put up 8.5 on just 15 attempts against Philly. Bills coach Chan Gailey isn't dumb. He'll run Jackson into the ground if he wants to win. I simply can't see Philly turning the rushing defense around, even in a must-win game.
5. LeSean McCoy (PHI) @ BUF: Watching the Eagles, especially near the goal line, is so frustrating. In Week Three they decided fullback Owen Schmitt was a red-zone option. This week they decided to be cutesy and give the ball to Ronnie Brown, which resulted in a fumble and a turnover. If the Eagles want to win, they have to stop with all these stupid plays and get back to basics. In the first three weeks, McCoy was averaging nineteen carries a game. Sunday he got nine. That's ridiculous. Unless Andy Reid got a cheesesteak lodged in his brain, I expect double-digit carries from McCoy against Buffalo.
|6.||Ryan Mathews (SD)
||@ Denver Broncos
|7.||Maurice Jones-Drew (JAX)||vs. Cincinnati Bengals: Should get more than 11 carries this weekend.|
|8.||Matt Forte (CHI)
||@ Detroit Lions|
|9.||Beanie Wells (ARI)
||@ Minnesota Vikings: Came out of Week Four without aggravating his hamstring.|
|10.||Chris Johnson (TEN)
||@ Pittsburgh Steelers: Hopefully Johnson is finally going to produce consistently.|
|11.||Ahmad Bradshaw (NYG)
||vs. Seattle Seahawks|
|12.||Michael Turner (ATL)||vs. Green Bay Packers: Packers have now shown they can be run on.|
|13.||LeGarrette Blount (TB)||@ San Francisco 49ers
|14.||Jahvid Best (DET)
||vs. Chicago Bears: A better option in PPR leagues.
|15.||Rashard Mendenhall (PIT)
||vs. Tennessee Titans: Has yet to be ruled out with a hamstring injury. Isaac Redman will start if he is.
|16.||Joseph Addai (IND)
||vs. Kansas City Chiefs: Chiefs aren't great against the run, but Addai could go either way.
|17.||DeAngelo Williams (CAR)||vs. New Orleans Saints
|18.||Mike Tolbert (SD)||@ Denver Broncos: Stronger PPR option.|
|19.||Shonn Greene (NYJ)||@ New England Patriots|
|20.||Frank Gore (SF)
||vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Week Four was likely a mirage.
|21.||James Starks (GB)||@ Atlanta Falcons
|22.||Brandon Jacobs (NYG)||vs. Seattle Seahawks|
|23.||BenJarvus Green-Ellis (NE)||vs. New York Jets: Losing value to Stevan Ridley.
|24.||Darren Sproles (NO)||@ Carolina Panthers: Having the best year out of all Saints running backs.
|25.||Ryan Grant (GB)
||@ Atlanta Falcons|
|26.||Willis McGahee (DEN)||vs. San Diego Chargers
|27.||Stevan Ridley (NE)||vs. New York Jets
|28.||LaDainian Tomlinson (NYJ)||@ New England Patriots
|29.||Dexter McCluster (KC)||@ Indianapolis Colts: Higher PPR option.
|30.||Pierre Thomas (NO)||@ Carolina Panthers
BEST OF THE REST:
|31. Jonathan Stewart (CAR) vs. New Orleans Saints|
|32. Mark Ingram (NO) @ Carolina Panthers
|33. Marshawn Lynch (SEA) @ New York Giants
|34. Thomas Jones (KC) @ Indianapolis Colts|
|35.Michael Bush (OAK) vs. Oakland Raiders: Could come off if his ankle injury is serious.
Keep An Eye On:
The Bengals Running Back Situation
If you hadn't noticed, I left Bengals RB Cedric Benson off the list for the time being. According to head coach Marvin Lewis, the team has yet to be notified by the league regarding Benson's appeal of a three-game suspension. If it turns out that Benson will be able to play Week Five against the Jaguars, I will add him. In the meantime, Benson owners should have already made other arrangements, including picking up Bernard Scott, if/when Benson has to begin serving his suspension.
I wish everyone the best of luck this week. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post below.