Best and Worst Week 5 Matchups for Running Backs (RB) – Fantasy Football 2013

At this point in the fantasy football season, you’ve hopefully began to separate from the pack and are looking to add/drop or sit/start the right players to lead you to a championship. Our “Best and Worst” posts each week will be another essential guide in helping get you the necessary information to set the best lineup possible. Running back is the position most owners build their teams around but that doesn’t mean you can’t play the match-up at times.

This week poses plenty of great story lines and interesting match-ups, and it starts at the top. The St. Louis Rams give up more fantasy points to running backs than any other team in the NFL.

Best Week 5 Match-Ups for Running Backs

RankTeamPPG Allowed
to RB
Week 5 Opposing RBs
1St. Louis Rams25.4Maurice Jones-Drew (PROBABLE)
2Pittsburgh Steelers23.53BYE
3Detroit Lions23.2Jason Starks (QUESTIONABLE)
4Minnesota Vikings22.63BYE
5Denver Broncos22.49DeMarco Murray
6Washington Redskins21.93BYE
7Miami Dolphins21.5Ray Rice (PROBABLE)
Bernard  Pierce (PROBABLE)
8San Francisco 49ers20.93Arian Foster (PROBABLE)
9Jacksonville Jaguars19.88Daryl Richardson
10New York Giants19.43LeSean McCoy
Bryce Brown

Stats and information is courtesy of NFL.com. 

Daryl Richardson (STL) is only averaging 2.7 yards per carry and has been out-rushed by seven quarterbacks. In a similar situation, Maurice Jones-Drew is averaging an even worse 2.4 yards-per-carry, but is only behind five quarterbacks. He is playing the worst run defense in the NFL. So now you face the dilemma, do you go with the better talent or the better match-up? Those of you with DeMarco Murray have been pleasantly surprised as the Dallas running back is third in the league in rushing. He faces an opportunistic Denver defense so just hope for no turnovers. Ray Rice, Arian Foster and LeSean McCoy are all top backs facing awful defenses. Rice is returning from injury so there is concern there, and we all know the 49ers won’t be on this list of worst run defenses all season. McCoy is having a great start to the season. There is no reason he shouldn’t tear up the Giants, but division games are always tough.

I’m never a fan of Green Bay running backs but if Starks or Lacy proves to be healthy and the starter, they could be worth it over someone with a tough match-up (see below).

Well, every situation is different so comment with yours below.

Worst Week 5 Match-Ups for Running Backs

RankTeamPPG Allowed
to RB
Week 5
Opposing RBs
32New York Jets8.78Steven Jackson (OUT)
Jacquizz Rodgers
31Cleveland Browns12.45C.J. Spiller (QUESTIONABLE)
Tashard Choice
30Kansas City Chiefs12.55Chris Johnson
29Tampa Bay Buccaneers12.58BYE
28Arizona Cardinals12.58DeAngelo Williams
Kenjon Barner
27Carolina Panthers13.1Rashard Mendenhall (PROBABLE)
Ryan Williams
26San Diego Chargers13.33Darren McFadden (QUESTIONABLE)
Rashad Jennings
25Buffalo Bills13.55Willis McGahee
Bobby Rainey
24Chicago Bears13.6Pierre Thomas
Darren Sproles
23Indianapolis Colts13.68Marshawn Lynch

Stats and information is courtesy of NFL.com. 

Luckily there aren’t too many top running backs facing these top 10 run defense, and the only team consistently holding backs to low scores is the Jets. I know most people have been high on Spiller this season, but if you have another back on your bench with a better match-up, I would consider turning to them. Cleveland held the all-mighty Adrian Peterson to under 90 yards rushing a few weeks ago and Spiller is splitting carries. Chris Johnson is in a similar situation and they’re facing a fast defense in Kansas City. Don’t feel bad if you are still starting him, but don’t expect a stellar performance as the Jets kept him in check in Week 4.

There is no way anyone will consider benching Sproles after what he did on Monday night, and I wouldn’t suggest you bench him. While the Bears might be decent against the run, Sproles ability out of the backfield is what makes him such a threat and is definitely still a must-start. Marshawn Lynch barely makes the list as he is facing the leagues 10th best run defense when Seattle travels in Indianapolis. Lynch doesn’t have the receiving ability that Sproles does, but the Colts don’t typically shut guys down completely. You should undoubtedly still be starting Lynch this week.

I will be updating any of the injury statuses above as they change throughout the week. Again, make sure you post any dilemmas based on talent and match-up below. For an even more in-depth discussion about your lineup, make sure you check out our our forums, they are completely free, and you can engage with our community and writers as we help get your fantasy lineups set for the week ahead.

Find me in the forums before games on Sundays and randomly throughout the week. For a more immediate response on these rankings or any other questions you have, comment below or find me on Twitter: @dhrodgers52

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Staff Fantasy Football writer for FTA – Weekly QB Rankings. Towson University Journalism graduate and New York sports fan surviving in the Philadelphia burbs.

Find me on Twitter giving fantasy advice and complaining about the Jets: @dhrodgers52