Christian McCaffrey should be back soon but until then continue to ride the Mike Davis train
Yes, Kareem Hunt has a pretty high perch amongst my Week 5 fantasy football running back rankings. But he is a solid RB1 according to nearly every "expert" this week. But I also like D'Ernest Johnson far more than ECR (Expert Consensus Rankings), as he is the only player I have double-digit slots higher than the ECR. Hunt will benefit, but Johnson proportionally sees a far bigger jump. I don't think Hunt's carries will double, but I would be surprised if Johnson's carries per game don't triple in the absence of Nick Chubb.
Cleveland's RB situation coming into this week doesn't surprise me one bit. I am, however, surprised how much more I like Mike Davis than the ECR and how much more the ECR likes Ronald Jones than myself. Let's start with the latter.
The ECR has RoJo as an RB2. Yes, LeSean McCoy suffered an ankle sprain and we know that Leonard Fournette is probably going to miss a second straight game. But just because some of the corporals go down, that doesn't mean a lieutenant is suddenly a four-star general. Last time I checked, the Buccaneers go as Tom Brady goes. This is not a running team. The bigger beneficiary of McCoy going down is Ke'Shawn Vaughn. Jones is an okay back when running traps, blasts, and the like. But he turned nine targets into all of 17 yards this week. And it's not as if the Bucs' opponent on Thursday night presents smooth sailing. The Bears are one of the NFL's top 10 rushing defenses in both yards and first downs allowed. Especially on a short week, Jones is a high-end RB3 at best.
But as I said, I do like Davis this week. He hasn't quite made up for the loss of Christian McCaffrey, but he has scored a TD each of the last two weeks while posting double-digit fantasy points thanks to his work as a receiver. And while C-Mac might be playing as soon as Week 6, Davis has carved out a role for himself. If nothing else, he should continue to feast with Atlanta next on the menu. We saw what both Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams did against the Falcons this past Monday night. And Reggie Bonnafon has now been placed on injured reserve. Expect plenty of carries for Davis this week. And given that the Falcons have given up the ninth-most fantasy points to RBs this year, Davis is an easy RB1 for me this week.
Teams on bye: Detroit, Green Bay
NFL RB Rankings: Week 5
— Rankings by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.
(Top photo by Brandon Todd, courtesy of panthers.com)