Week 5 is beginning to look like the week of the backup running back. We currently don't expect Christian McCaffrey, Joe Mixon, or David Montgomery to suit up. And as of Thursday morning, Chris Carson is questionable at best.
Carson is dealing with a neck injury that held him out of practice for the week. He is currently viewed as a game-time decision, and if he's able to go we'll view him as a high-end flex who would share with Alex Collins. But if Carson is out, we'd like Collins even more.
Collins picked up 80 yards and. a touchdown on 12 touches in Week 4 against the 49ers and could be even better in Week 5. While the Rams defense is more talented than the 49ers, they were just gashed by Chase Edmonds and James Conner to the tune of 205 yards and two scores. And they figure to be far more concerned about Russell Wilson, DK Metcalf, and Tyler Lockett than Collins.
In the projections below you'll see Collins as a mid-range No. 2 running back because we're ranking and projecting as if Carson will not play. That makes Collins a better option than the other fill-in options Damien Williams, Chuba Hubbard, and Samaje Perine. It also makes him a priority on the waiver wire, because he's still rostered in less than two-thirds of leagues.
For those of you not impacted by these injuries, let's get to the rest of the Week 5 RB Preview:
Week 5 RB Preview
The following players are not being projected to play Week 5 at this time. Here's what it means:
Joe Mixon RB
CIN Cincinnati • #28
Age: 27 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Samaje Perine would be a high end flex without Mixon
DET Detroit • #5
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Damien Williams would be a high-end flex without Montgomery.
Tony Jones RB
ARI Arizona • #37
Age: 26 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Alvin Kamara could get a bigger share of the load without Jones.
Numbers to know
- 4,077 -- Rushing yards for Derrick Henry since the start of 2019. No other running back has more than 3,000 yards rushing in that stretch.
- 78 -- Rush attempts for Alvin Kamara without a touchdown this season, the most in the NFL.
- 26 -- Receptions for Najee Harris, which is tops amongst running backs in 2021.
- 72% -- Josh Jacobs handled 72% of the rush attempts in his Week 4 return. Even with his inefficiency, that makes him a start in Week 5.
- 19 -- Jonathan Taylor leads the NFL with 19 red zone rush attempts. He still has not scored a rushing touchdown in the red zone.
- 56.7% -- The Dallas Cowboys have a 56.7% rush rate the past three weeks. Both Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard may be starters this week against the Giants.
- 3.7 -- Miles Sanders has broken a tackle once every 3.7 rush attempts. The Eagles should probably give him the ball more.
Matchups that matter
Waiver Wire Targets
Alex Collins RB
SEA Seattle • #41
Age: 29 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Collins has a pretty high floor without Carson and the Cardinals showed us how high his ceiling could be.
DEN Denver • #25
Age: 28 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Perine's situation is more dicey than Williams because Mixon still hasn't been ruled out for Week 5. Still, that's our expectation, which makes Perine with 10-15% of your FAB. I would anticipate Perine being better in non-PPR than PPR as Evans takes on a larger role in the passing game.
Sermon saw a huge workload in Week 4 and will continue to as long as Eli Mitchell remains out. But I would expect even more production from Sermon in that situation, thanks to the Cardinals' poor run defense. Sermon is the same price as injury replacements like Damien Williams and Samaje Perine and I think they'll have a higher roster rate.
BUF Buffalo • #7
Age: 28 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Fournette should be locked into a workhorse role as long as Giovani Bernard remains out. I'd expect 15-plus rushes and around five catches against the Dolphins in Week 5. I bet he scores his first touchdown as well.