The Jet Press

Fantasy Football Week 5: Top 5 running backs to start

By William Schneiderhan
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 23: Christian McCaffrey #22 of the Carolina Panthers warms up against the Cincinnati Bengals at Bank of America Stadium on September 23, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 23: Christian McCaffrey #22 of the Carolina Panthers warms up against the Cincinnati Bengals at Bank of America Stadium on September 23, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /
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CHARLOTTE, NC – SEPTEMBER 23: Christian McCaffrey #22 of the Carolina Panthers warms up against the Cincinnati Bengals at Bank of America Stadium on September 23, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC – SEPTEMBER 23: Christian McCaffrey #22 of the Carolina Panthers warms up against the Cincinnati Bengals at Bank of America Stadium on September 23, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

Running backs have been one of the hardest positions to predict week in and week out so far this season. We will try our best here, so take a look at this week’s list of top five running backs to start in fantasy football.

Giovani Bernard, Nyheim Hines, Mike Davis, and Tarik Cohen. Those are four of the top 10 scoring running backs from ESPN PPR Standard scoring leagues.

That pretty much sums up how many surprising faces found themselves as some of the top scorers in fantasy football in Week 4. T.J. Yeldon and Nick Chubb also had themselves a day.

However, last week’s edition of top five running backs to start still had three players within the top 10. Alvin Kamara, per usual, led all running backs with his 41.1 points. Ezekiel Elliott came in second with 34.

Todd Gurley was ninth due to his 25.6 points. Saquon Barkley and David Johnson fell outside of the top 10. Barkley still had a favorable day with his 22 points, while Johnson may have brought some hope to fantasy owners with his 18.2. Here are the top five running backs to start heading into Week 5 fantasy football.

FOXBOROUGH, MA – SEPTEMBER 30: Sony Michel #26 of the New England Patriots runs with the ball during the second half against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on September 30, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA – SEPTEMBER 30: Sony Michel #26 of the New England Patriots runs with the ball during the second half against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on September 30, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

5. Sony Michel, New England Patriots

As seen last week, some of the lesser known names turn out to be the most productive running backs each week. Yes, Sony Michel isn’t a complete sleeper, and that is especially the case after a monster game in Week 4.

Michel had been eased into his role following injury. He played his first game in Week 2 and didn’t do too much against the dominant Jacksonville Jaguars.

The rookie and fellow New England Patriots running James White have formed a nice air/ground duo. Michel rattled off 112 yards on 25 rushing attempts, as well as one score.

Michel’s 17.2 fantasy points in Week 4 didn’t land him as a top scorer, but it does leave optimism that he has fully been integrated into the Pats offense. He may become one of the better backs in the NFL as he continues to see an increased workload.

Next: 4. Christian McCaffrey

CHARLOTTE, NC – SEPTEMBER 23: Christian McCaffrey #22 of the Carolina Panthers runs the ball against the Cincinnati Bengals in the first quarter during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 23, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC – SEPTEMBER 23: Christian McCaffrey #22 of the Carolina Panthers runs the ball against the Cincinnati Bengals in the first quarter during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 23, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

4. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers

Christian McCaffrey has only run for 100+ yards in one game this season, which came during the Carolina Panthers Week 3 win. He ran for 184 rushing yards, on his way to 21.4 points.

To further put McCaffrey’s odd production into perspective, he has only run for 87 combined rushing yards in the Panthers other two games. So, where does his fantasy value come from?

McCaffrey has become possibly the best pass-catching running back in the NFL. He has caught 22 passes on 26 targets for 157 receiving yards in three games this season.

Yeah, that’s productive and incredibly dynamic. McCaffrey and the Panthers play the struggling New York Giants in Week 5, so this may lead to another big fantasy day for the second-year back.

Next: 3. Todd Gurley

LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 27: Running back Todd Gurley #30 of the Los Angeles Rams makes a catch for a touchdown to tie the game 7-7 in the first quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 27, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 27: Running back Todd Gurley #30 of the Los Angeles Rams makes a catch for a touchdown to tie the game 7-7 in the first quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 27, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

3. Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams

The Los Angeles Rams have been the best team in the NFL over the first four weeks of the NFL season. They look primed for a big run with a steady defense and an explosive offense.

A big reason to that offensive dominance? Of course, superstar running back Todd Gurley. He has followed up his incredible 2017 with a fantastic start to the 2018 season.

Gurley hasn’t scored under 23 fantasy points so far, and he has gone for 25+ points twice. You can’t ask for more from an RB1.

But, Gurley’s best asset is his ability to punch the rock into the end zone. He has six total touchdowns and he has yet to have a game without at least one score.

Next: 2. Ezekiel Elliott

ARLINGTON, TX – SEPTEMBER 30: Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on September 30, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX – SEPTEMBER 30: Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on September 30, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

2. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys

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If the Dallas Cowboys have any hope to not only score but to win, they need to feed Ezekiel Elliott. It is really that simple.

The Cowboys offense has been incredibly bland and boring, but they have had success when they hand the ball off to number 21. Dak Prescott needs Elliott to be a force or it will be a long day full of failed play action and inaccurate throws.

Elliott has also seen his workload increase drastically. He hadn’t had a 20+ rush game until Week 4’s nail-biting win against the Detroit Lions.

The third-year back scored 34 fantasy points during that win, as he ran for 152 yards on 25 attempts. He also caught four balls for 88 yards and a score.

Next: 1. Alvin Kamara

1. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints

Alvin Kamara, that is all. No, seriously, he has been in a league of his own during the earliest stages of this season.

Undoubtedly the most dynamic running back in the NFL, Kamara has picked up right where he left off in his rookie season. He has been unstoppable in the air and on the ground.

Kamara has scored 40+ fantasy points twice and 30+ points once. He has gone for 100+ rushing yards once and 100+ receiving yards twice.

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However, Kamara will see his usage go down as Mark Ingram is set to come back from suspension. But, don’t let Ingram’s presence worry you, Kamara will get his points.

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