Fantasy Football Week 5 Start or Sit: Running Backs

Joe Addai and the Colts have a nice match-up this weekend with Kansas City.

Joe Addai and the Colts have a nice match-up this weekend with Kansas City.

-by Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden on twitter)

Complete Week 5 NFL Fantasy Rankings

Week 5 Start & Sit: Quarterbacks
Week 5 Start & Sit: Running Backs
Week 5 Start & Sit: Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Week 5 NFL Byes: Dallas, Cleveland, Washington, Baltimore, St. Louis, Miami

Start These Running Backs:

Joseph Addai, Indianapolis (Kansas City)
Don’t be fooled by the 41 yards on 11 carries last week from Addai. The Bucs forced Curtis Painter to beat them (and he nearly did). If the Colts expect to win any games this season (which they may not want to do, actually), then the ground game will have to feature prominently. And the Kansas City Chiefs haven’t stopped many rushing attacks as they rank 26th in the NFL against the run allowing 130 yards per game. They are also giving up an NFL-worst 31.5 points per game. Play Addai and feel good about it.

Willis McGahee, Denver (San Diego)
The former Bill and Raven promised big production during the summer months. Then he asked for the football more. It appears that not only was he right but that John Fox is going to give him what he wants. Certainly, a banged-up Knowshon Moreno has helped open the door, but McGahee has charged through it with renewed vigor. All but four of his 69 carries this season have come in the last three weeks, and while San Diego isn’t a great match-up, the Chargers did give up 28 points and nearly 150 yards rushing in Denver last season.

Arian Foster, Houston (Oakland)
This one may seem too obvious, but Foster looks like he is officially back. And Oakland looks ripe for the fantasy running back’s picking. The Raiders were gashed on the edge last weekend by Stevan Ridley and BenJarvus Green-Ellis to the tune of 183 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries. With Andre Johnson out for this one, expect Foster to get a boatload of touches.

Deep Week 5 RB Plays:

Issac Redman, Pittsburgh (Tennessee)
Even if Mendenhall plays, it is likely to be the fresher, healthier Redman who figures to get the bulk of the carries.

LaDainian Tomlinson, NY Jets (at New England)
Rex Ryan has vowed to return to the ground, and it won’t just be Shonn Greene who gets touches.

Stevan Ridley, New England (NY Jets)
With Danny Woodhead not practicing and Bill Belichick’s desire to rotate backs, look for Ridley to get 10-14 touches.

Thomas Jones, Kansas City (at Indianapolis)
The Colts have been unable to slow anyone's ground game and Jones could benefit.

Sit These Running Backs:

LeGarrette Blount, Tampa Bay (at San Francisco)
Blount has looked the part of weekly fantasy starter this fall. But against the Colts a mediocre fantasy week was salvaged by a late long touchdown run. And that was against one of the worst rushing defenses in the NFL. This week, the Bucs travel across four time zones to take on the NFL’s No. 4 rushing defense in the Niners. They are allowing 74 yards per game on the ground and have yet to surrender a single rushing touchdown to anyone. You may have better options.

Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh (Tennessee)
After battling a bad hamstring issue all week, the Steeleres running back does not look like he should be anywhere near your line-up this week. The Titans have been stingy on defense — they rank as the No. 8 rush defense in the league at 87.8 yards per game. The Steelers offensive line has looked terrible thus far as Mendenhall is averaging just over 40 yards per game this season when healthy. Look for Redman to get plenty of work.

Ryan Grant and James Starks, Green Bay (at Atlanta)
This looks like the definition of a timeshare now that Grant has returned to the playing field. The Packers have no loyalty to any one particular running back. This game also has passing game written all over it as Green Bay is No. 2 (71 ypg) in the NFL in rushing defense and Atlanta is No. 10 (97.3 ypg).

Mike Tolbert, San Diego (at Denver)
In full PPR leagues, Tolbert still offers some value as he caught eight passes over the last two weeks. But his role continues to shrink with the emergence and improved play of Ryan Mathews. Tolbert has 10 carries in the last two games while Mathews has had 37 over that same span. If he does not reach paydirt — which he has done one time since week one — he offers little value to the traditionally scored fantasy league.

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