Welcome to Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em for Week 5 of the NFL season. Our running back edition this week features a certain RB in Los Angeles making his return to the gridiron, along with two future Hall of Famers.
* Reminder: Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em is intended to present you with the non-obvious choices for your fantasy lineup. We dig deep into player matchups, scoring trends, and other factors to best help you with your fantasy decisions. Superstars such as Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley will not be found in this column. If you’re looking for players of their caliber check out our weekly fantasy football running back rankings.
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RB: Start ‘Em
Start of the Week: Mark Ingram vs. PIT
Ingram has been a bit of a roller coaster this season, one that at times, can be the best ride at the park, ie. the best fantasy back in football. Ingram has averaged 29+ points in half of his games this season. Unfortunately, he’s failed to hit double digits in the other half of his games. Ingram’s usage will always be there, and this week a decent amount may also come through the air. Pittsburgh has allowed an average of 7.5 receptions to RBs in 2019, the third-most in football. They’ve also surrendered the seventh-most points overall to the position this season.
Austin Ekeler/Melvin Gordon vs. DEN
Austin Ekeler was the only Charger to carry the ball inside the red zone this season. That stat will likely come to an end with the return of Melvin Gordon this week. Still, both are worth a start in your lineups this week. The once-stingy defense of the Denver Broncos allows the fourth-most fantasy points to RBs this season. Leonard Fournette just tore them up for 225 rushing yards. There will be plenty of yardage to go around for both Chargers running backs.
Devonta Freeman vs. HOU
Freeman has not been good on the ground this season. However, Atlanta’s got no one else to give the rock to in their backfield. Still, even with a 3.3 ypc average, Freeman remains fantasy relevant due to his pass-catching abilities. The running back went for eight receptions and 72 yards one week ago. Houston allowed Christian McCaffrey to rack up 10 receptions for 86 yards against them last Sunday.
Sleeper: James White at WAS
Sony Michel continues to struggle in the New England backfield, and Rex Burkhead is hit-or-miss each week. However, James White continues to be the one constant from the running back position for the Pats. White was targeted 10 times in his return to the Patriots lineup a week ago following the birth of his son. Washington allowed Wayne Gallman to put up a receiving stat line of six catches for 55 yards and a touchdown in Week 4.
RB: Sit ‘Em
Sit of the Week: Adrian Peterson vs. NE
The only reason he makes this list is because he still is considered a starting running back for one of the 32 NFL teams. However, for all the great AP has done in his career, he’s barely rosterable at this point, as are most of Washington’s skill players. Peterson has averaged just 3.6 fantasy points over the past two weeks. New England, on the other hand, allows the second-fewest fantasy points to RBs in 2019.
Peyton Barber vs. NO
Barber’s placement in this column is a combination of usage and matchup. The Buccaneers’ “starting” running back has seen his rushing attempts and rushing yards take a dip in consecutive weeks as Ronald Jones begins to eat away at his touches. The Saints have also been tremendous at defending the running back position this season. Only two RBs all season have scored in double-digits against the Saints, none of which have reached 15 points.
Frank Gore at TEN
Gore keeps chugging along, most recently eclipsing the 100-yard mark against the Patriots in Week 4. However, Buffalo may be forced to rely on Matt Barkley at the helm of their offense this week vs. Tenessee, allowing the Titans to focus in on Gore and the run game. Tennessee has allowed starting running backs to rush for an average of just 48.3 yards over their past three games.
Buyers Beware: Le’Veon Bell at PHI
I wouldn’t dare tell you to bench Bell, but be wary of his fantasy output in Week 5. Quarterback Sam Darnold is focused on making sure he’s “not going to die” on the football field this week, meaning he likely shouldn’t be on the football field this week. If Darnold can’t go, that leaves Luke Falk with the duty of pulling defenders out of the box to free up space for Bell, an unlikely scenario. Bell has averaged just 2.9 ypc this season, while Philly has allowed starting running backs in their past two games to average just 1.7 ypc combined.
READ NEXT: Fantasy: Running Back Rankings Week 5