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Week 5 Running Back Rankings - PPR Leagues

Examining the best matchups for week four running backs from a point per reception-league standpoint.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Now that a quarter of the season is in the books, we have a semi-clear picture of how the running back position might play out for the rest of the season. Studs have risen to the top and duds have shown their true colors. Workhorse backs are cementing their values and preseason sleepers aren't getting touches. Injuries have been brutal, but that's the case every year. Let's see what week five has in store for us.

Rank Player Team Opponent Analysis
1 David Johnson ARI @SF The complete package at a volatile position, DJ is going to be a league winner.
2 DeMarco Murray TEN @MIA Back after many pronounced him dead, Murray is the #1 fantasy RB and gets a cupcake matchup this week.
3 Le'Veon Bell PIT NYJ As tough a matchup as any, but Bell gets peppered with targets and Christine Michael just put up a big game against the Jets so they can be produced on.
4 LeSean McCoy BUF @LA The Rams have a good front, but have still been giving up some fantasy points to RBs. Given Shady's usage and efficiency, he's a top 5 play.
5 C.J. Anderson DEN ATL Three straight games of inefficiency have caused concern, but he's still a workhorse and gets a much easier matchup this week.
6 Melvin Gordon SD @OAK Gordon has been terrible from a real-life perspective (3.2 YPC), but has salvaged his fantasy season with six rushing touchdowns through four weeks. He now gets a Raiders defense that bleeds fantasy points to RBs.
7 Ezekiel Elliott DAL CIN After a rough first two weeks, Cincy's run defense has stiffened up impressively over the last two weeks. Zeke is still a must-start, but this will be a tough team to run on.
8 Jordan Howard CHI @IND After tattooing the Lions, the Bears' new three-down back gets a hapless Colts defense. Jeremy Langford isn't getting his job back.
9 Eddie Lacy GB NYG Averaging a robust 5.0 YPC and looking like his old self, the touchdowns are coming for Lacy. The Giants are coming off getting gashed by Jerick McKinnon.
10 Lamar Miller HOU @MIN The Vikings have actually gotten hurt by receiving backs and Miller does it all. Considering his usage, t's only a matter of time before he gets in the end zone.
11 LeGarrette Blount NE @CLE With Tom Brady coming back the Pats will be more pass-heavy, but there will be plenty of opportunities for scores for Blount in this prime matchup.
12 Terrance West BAL WAS West is coming off a massive game. He'll be the #1 guy in the Ravens backfield for at least another week and gets to play one of the league's worst run defenses.
13 Matt Forte NYJ @PIT His efficiency is dwindling and he's beginning to lose a lot of snaps to Bilal Powell. He needs to be started, but don't expect the production from the first two weeks.
14 Frank Gore IND CHI Underrated in fantasy all offseason, Gore has been a high-floor coverboy all season and gets a good matchup again this week.
15 Jerick McKinnon MIN HOU Jet looked really good on Monday night and the Texans have been getting gashed by RBs all season. Just be wary of Matt Asiata vulturing TDs.
16 Todd Gurley LA BUF He's become a TD dependent fantasy player in this offense. It's kind of sad to see. Still, his talent forces you to start him as and RB2 just in case he blows up.
17 Jeremy Hill CIN @DAL The Cowboys have been horrible in run defense dating back to last year. Hill should eat in this one, especially with Gio proving to be a non-threat.
18 Carlos Hyde SF ARI The matchup seems tough, but Shady tattooed this defense for 117 and 2 TD's in week three and Blount scored on them in week one. At home on Thursday night, Hyde should be started comfortably.
19 Isaiah Crowell CLE NE The league's leading rusher, Crowell has been a fantasy MVP. I imagine Bill Belichick will gameplan to stop him and the game script may become negative quickly, so proceed with caution in this one.
20 Devonta Freeman ATL @DEN Brutal matchup, but Freeman has looked great this year and will be needed as a pass-catching option in this game.
21 Theo Riddick DET PHI Might have to carry all the mail again with Dwayne Washington injured and no other decent options. Always a solid PPR starter, he'll get a bump this week.
22 Charles Sims TB @CAR Sims will be a volume-dependent RB2 in another tough matchup. He was atrocious against the Broncos last week, but should fare better.
23 Latavius Murray OAK SD Murray's days of being an RB2 are dwindling as the coaching staff has been lowering his touch count every week. The matchup is still good for him to find a touchdown, though.
24 Ryan Mathews PHI @DET The Eagles really aren't letting it be known what exactly is wrong with Mathews, but he's clearly been hampered by injury. The bye week should have helped and the Lions defense is awful, but we just don't know how much he'll play.
25 Fozzy Whittaker CAR TB The Bucs are tough to run on so look for the Panthers to use passing-game specialist Fozzy to attack their defense.
26 Bobby Rainey NYG @GB Being deployed in the Shane Vereen role, Rainey has looked like the Giants best RB. He might be used a ton in a game where the G-Men will have to put up points.
27 Duke Johnson Jr. CLE NE If this game gets out of hand, and it very well might, Duke will soak up targets with the offense in comeback mode.
28 Bilal Powell NYJ @PIT Powell is starting to siphon touches from Forte and is doing much more with them. He'll continue to carve out a role in this offense, especially in the passing game with Eric Decker out.
29 Matt Jones WAS @BAL Has looked great over the past few weeks, but gets a brutal matchup.
30 Jay Ajayi MIA TEN I won't pretend to know what in the world the Dolphins will do at RB, but Ajayi looked the best out of the bunch last week.
31 Darren Sproles PHI @DET They seem to want to get him the ball, but I'm really not sure what they are doing by using every single one of their backs.
32 James White NE @CLE White should benefit greatly from getting Brady back, but the game script could phase him out of the gameplan.
33 Tevin Coleman ATL @DEN So much for Coleman taking Freeman's starting job. Freeman looks great and this isn't a matchup that will allow both RBs to produce.
34 DeAndre Washington OAK SD Wasn't given the additional touches Jack Del Rio said he would give him and he lost a fumble, but he continues to playa big role behind Lat Murray.
35 Josh Ferguson IND CHI Ferguson is currently the Colts second (SECOND!) most targeted PLAYER. He has a lot of PPR appeal, even with Gore still playing a lot in front of him.
36 Giovani Bernard CIN @DAL He's hard to trust at this point. Unless a game gets away from them, they won't turn to him. And that won't happen against the Cowboys.
37 Chris Thompson WAS @BAL If the Skins can't get the running game going in a tough matchup, they'll resort to using Thompson more in a pass-heavy plan.
38 Derrick Henry TEN @MIA Murray is taking all the touches, but the Titans would be smart to mix in Henry a bit more and give Murray some rest in an easy matchup.
39 Devontae Booker DEN ATL Booker is averaging 4.0 YPC and mixes in every now and then. He could be useful in a plus matchup.
40 Orleans Darkwa NYG @GB The Packers have been ridiculously impenetrable in run defense, but Darkwa will see 10 or more carries and could fall into the end zone on one of them.
41 Lance Dunbar DAL CIN Hasn't fully reclaimed his recurring passing-game role, but still gets a decent amount of usage in that aspect of the offense.
42 Matt Asiata MIN HOU Might vulture a touchdown and catch two passes.
43 Kenneth Dixon BAL WAS Everyone's favorite rookie will make his debut and take over as the preferred third down back, but will have to get acclimated.
44 DeAngelo Williams PIT NYJ Might get in for a short touchdown, but won't be used much at all.
45 Dexter McCluster SD @OAK His role will grow weekly as Gordon continues to struggle with efficiency. Gordon isn't much of a pass-catcher anyway.
46 Wendell Smallwood PHI @DET With Mathews' lingering injury unknown/uncertain
47 Zach Zenner DET PHI Could take on a bigger role with Dwayne Washington probably out, but Riddick continues to handle nearly all of the backfield touches.
48 Cameron Artis-Payne CAR TB CAP failed his audition in a good matchup and Fozzy is the much better option, especially in a tough matchup.
49 Mike Gillislee BUF @LA McCoy's clear backup, he gets some chances when McCoy needs a rest and is a capable pass--catcher.
50 Kenyan Drake MIA TEN The Dolphins RB situation is honestly depressing. Drake might catch some passes, though.