Welcome to the fantasy football Week 5 running back rankings hub!
Los Angeles Chargers’ back Austin Ekeler has proved the doubters wrong at this point. He’s an elite RB1. Najee Harris’ fantasy points totals should stay inflated via the short-area receptions. Pittsburgh is still dealing with a banged up receiving corps and Ben Roethlisberger’s “hip issues” have him moving like Hagrid. No. 2 RBs Damien Williams and Samaje Perine are prepped to plow the soft defensive-fronts of the Raiders and Packers, respectively. Michael Carter is quietly putting distance between himself and the rest of the Jets backfield. A date with the hapless Falcons should put the league on notice.
Below you will find my top-60 running backs for Week 5. These rankings are geared toward .5PPR scoring formats for Week 5 of the 2021 NFL season but should aid those who play in both non-PPR and full-point PPR formats. I’ve also included my top RB streaming option this week and DFS play of the week (cost via FanDuel).
Check back throughout the week to see how expectations have changed as news continues to roll in, enhancing our prognostication abilities. Feel free to hit me up on twitter @Ginger__Nic for any fantasy related advice.
Stream of the Week: Damien Williams at Las Vegas Raiders
Former Super Bowl 54 MVP snub, Damien Williams, is set to take on lead back duties in Chicago for the next four to five weeks as David Montgomery rehabs a knee sprain. Williams’ 2021 starting debut comes against a Raiders’ front-seven that is sorely missing off-season signee DT Gerald McCoy (suspension).
Through four contests, Vegas is allowing 24.4 .5PPR PPG to opposing backfields (7th most). Other highlights include an allowance of 1.0 RB rushing TD (T-7th most), 5 RB receptions, 35.2 RB receiving yards, and 0.5 RB receiving TDs (T-3rd most). Vegas’ 42.7% NEFF run defense efficiency score is 24th in the NFL and the Bears have been heartily committed to the run this year.
In Weeks 1 and 2 with Andy Dalton at the helm, Chicago ran the ball on 50% of first-half early-downs (FH/ED, T-8th most). In Weeks 3 and 4 with Justin Fields under center, their 67% FH/ED run rate led the entire league by a margin of 6%, per SharpFootballStats. No matter who Matt Nagy names as the starting QB, Williams is going to get fed.
DFS Play of the Week: Damien Harris ($6,500) at Houston Texans
Harris’ rostership should be low after a Week 4 flop (4 carries for -4 yards and 2 catches for 30 yards). The Buccaneers’ defensive-front is just that good though—they even held Ezekiel Elliott to 33 yards on 11 carries and 6 receiving yards on 2 catches in Week 1. Week 5 offers screaming get-right potential for Harris though.
The Texans are allowing the 12th-most PPR points to backs to start the year. They’re also giving up 113.8 rushing yards (6th most) and 0.8 rushing touchdowns (T-9th most) to opposing running backs. Their 34.3% NEFF run defense efficiency rating ranks dead last.
A revenge narrative is also at play. Belichick lost to his former 20-year disciple, Tom Brady, last week, and he’ll face another two-decade mentee again this week Texans GM Nick Caserio. The Patriots’ head coach assuredly does not want to lose to two protégés in a row. It’s the perfect storm for a Harris hit-week.
Week 5 Running Back Rankings
|1||Derrick Henry||TEN||at JAC|
|2||Ezekiel Elliott||DAL||vs. NYG|
|3||Saquon Barkley||NYG||at DAL|
|4||Alexander Mattison||MIN||vs. DET|
|5||Austin Ekeler||LAC||vs. CLE|
|6||Aaron Jones||GB||at CIN|
|7||Darrell Henderson Jr.||LAR||at SEA|
|8||Antonio Gibson||WAS||vs. NO|
|9||Alvin Kamara||NO||at WAS|
|10||Jonathan Taylor||IND||at BAL|
|11||Nick Chubb||CLE||at LAC|
|12||D'Andre Swift||DET||at MIN|
|13||Najee Harris||PIT||vs. DEN|
|14||James Robinson||JAC||vs. TEN|
|15||Damien Williams||CHI||at LV|
|16||Kareem Hunt||CLE||at LAC|
|17||Damien Harris||NE||at HOU|
|18||Chase Edmonds||ARI||vs. SF|
|19||Alex Collins||SEA||vs. LAR|
|20||Cordarrelle Patterson||ATL||vs. NYJ|
|21||Joe Mixon||CIN||vs. GB|
|22||Josh Jacobs||LV||vs. CHI|
|23||J.D. McKissic||WAS||vs. NO|
|24||Kenneth Gainwell||PHI||at CAR|
|25||Trey Sermon||SF||at ARI|
|26||Elijah Mitchell||SF||at ARI|
|27||Chuba Hubbard||CAR||vs. PHI|
|28||Zack Moss||BUF||at KC|
|29||Clyde Edwards-Helaire||KC||vs. BUF|
|30||Javonte Williams||DEN||at PIT|
|31||Melvin Gordon III||DEN||at PIT|
|32||Michael Carter||NYJ||at ATL|
|33||Mike Davis||ATL||vs. NYJ|
|34||Jamaal Williams||DET||at MIN|
|35||Latavius Murray||BAL||vs. IND|
|36||James Conner||ARI||vs. SF|
|37||Leonard Fournette||TB||vs. MIA|
|38||Samaje Perine||CIN||vs. GB|
|39||Darrel Williams||KC||vs. BUF|
|40||Tony Pollard||DAL||vs. NYG|
|41||Miles Sanders||PHI||at CAR|
|42||Devin Singletary||BUF||at KC|
|43||Nyheim Hines||IND||at BAL|
|44||Chris Evans||CIN||vs. GB|
|45||Brandon Bolden||NE||at HOU|
|46||Sony Michel||LAR||at SEA|
|47||Gio Bernard||TB||vs. MIA|
|48||AJ Dillon||GB||at CIN|
|49||Rodney Smith||CAR||vs. PHI|
|50||Ronald Jones II||TB||vs. MIA|
|51||Ty Johnson||NYJ||at ATL|
|52||Travis Homer||SEA||vs. LAR|
|53||Kyle Juszczyk||SF||at ARI|
|54||Jeremy McNichols||TEN||at JAC|
|55||Darrynton Evans||TEN||at JAC|
|56||Myles Gaskin||MIA||at TB|
|57||Malcolm Brown||MIA||at TB|
|58||Khalil Herbert||CHI||at LV|
|59||Kenyan Drake||LV||vs. CHI|
|60||Le'Veon Bell||BAL||vs. IND|