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Editor's note: Welcome to Week 5! We're handling Jamey Eisenberg's Start 'Em & Sit 'Em column a bit differently this season. You're still getting the same in-depth analysis as always, we're just presenting a bit differently, in an effort to get it out to you earlier in the day. This column takes a long time to write, and in the past, we've usually gotten it out to you in the evening. This year, we're going to publish it position-by-position, to get it into your hands quicker. Here's Jamey's take on running backs for this week. 

Don't worry: If you want the classic Start 'Em & Sit 'Em, we'll still be publishing that at the end of the day with every position included. For now, here's running back. 

Running backs

Note: Projections are provided by  

Start 'Em
12.8 projected points
Sony Michel New England Patriots RB
In Michel's first ever game in New England, in the first game without the injured Rex Burkhead (neck), he went off against Miami in Week 4 with 25 carries for 112 yards and a touchdown. He wasn't involved in the passing game – that role still belongs to James White, who remains a must-start Fantasy option as well – but Michel dominated on the ground. And he should have a repeat performance this week against the Colts on Thursday night. Indianapolis has a tired defense on the road on a short week after playing in overtime against Houston in Week 4, and Michel and White should take advantage of this matchup. This should be an outstanding week for the Patriots backfield.
7.0 projected points
Aaron Jones Green Bay Packers RB
The Lions have allowed some huge games to running backs this season, and Jones has the chance for a strong outing this week, even in a timeshare with Jamaal Williams and Ty Montgomery. Isaiah Crowell (102 rushing yards and two touchdowns) in Week 1, Matt Breida (138 rushing yards and a touchdown and three catches for 21 yards) in Week 2 and Ezekiel Elliott (152 rushing yards and four catches for 88 yards and a touchdown) in Week 4 all went off against Detroit, and the Lions also gave up a receiving touchdown to White in Week 3. Jones just had 11 carries for 65 yards and a touchdown and one catch for 17 yards in Week 4 against Buffalo, and he should have the chance for a similar stat line this week – if not better. I like Jones as a No. 2 running back in all formats this week.
8.9 projected points
Matt Breida San Francisco 49ers RB
The Cardinals have been awful against opposing running backs this season when it comes to their Fantasy points, and Breida should take advantage of this matchup at home. Adrian Peterson, Chris Thompson, Todd Gurley, Jordan Howard and Mike Davis have all scored at least 16 PPR points against Arizona, with only Howard failing to score at least 24 points. Breida, who is averaging 7.6 yards per carry, might not score at that level in PPR, but he is averaging 15.7 PPR points in his past three outings. He also has three catches in each of the past three games. Alfred Morris will take away some touches, but Breida should have the chance for a quality outing against this bad defense at home.
12.5 projected points
Kerryon Johnson Detroit Lions RB
I thought Johnson would have a good game in Week 4 at Dallas, and he finished with a solid stat line of 12 PPR points. He has now scored at least 11 PPR points in three games in a row, which gives him a respectable floor if this continues. It looked like Johnson was on his way to big game against the Cowboys after a 32-yard run in the first quarter. The problem for Johnson is coach Matt Patricia doesn't want to overwork him, but he's easily their best running back in comparison to LeGarrette Blount and Theo Riddick. And I expect his talent to continue to shine through, including this week against the Packers. In Green Bay's last road game in Week 3 at Washington, Peterson ran through this defense for 120 rushing yards and two touchdowns, and Johnson should follow suit with another quality performance. We just hope the Lions give him more work and allow him to flourish into a must-start Fantasy option throughout the year.
11.3 projected points
player headshot
Phillip Lindsay Denver Broncos RB
Lindsay and Royce Freeman are both worth using this week in a plus matchup against the Jets. The game flow should favor the Broncos, and both guys just had success against Kansas City in Week 4, as Lindsay had 15 PPR points, while Freeman had 12. Lindsay has scored at least 11 PPR points in three of four games this season, and the only game he failed to reach that total was Week 3 at Baltimore when he was ejected in the second quarter. The Jets come into this game having allowed five touchdowns to running backs in their past three games against Miami, Cleveland and Jacksonville, and the Broncos ground game is worth trusting in this matchup. Use Lindsay over Freeman, but both are worth starting in Week 5.


  • Chris Thompson (at NO): We'll see if Adrian Peterson (ankle) is fine this week against the Saints, and you should start him as a No. 2 running back if he's healthy. But Thompson also has plenty of appeal in a game where Washington is likely chasing points. New Orleans has allowed 14 receptions to running backs in the past two weeks against Atlanta and the Giants, and Thompson has 20 catches through three games. He scored at least 22 PPR points in his first two outings and has the chance for another standout performance this week.
  • Austin Ekeler (vs. OAK): Ekeler hasn't had more than 14 touches in any game this season, but he's scored at least 12 PPR points in three of four outings. At some point, his minimal workload may catch up to him, but you should still feel comfortable using him in this matchup with the Raiders. Five running backs have either scored a touchdown or had at least 100 rushing yards against Oakland, and this should be a good game for Ekeler and Melvin Gordon.
  • Derrick Henry (at BUF): In full disclosure, I wish I had the guts to rank Henry higher because this feels like a breakout game for him. The Bills offense should struggle to move the ball this week, and the Titans should dominate time of possession. And while the Bills haven't given up a lot of rushing yards, they have allowed touchdowns, with seven scores allowed to the position. Henry has yet to find the end zone this year, but I'm expecting a touchdown from him in Week 5. He's worth using as a flex in all leagues.
  • Nyheim Hines (at NE): The Colts aren't expected to have T.Y. Hilton (hamstring), can't run the ball and will likely be chasing points. That should lead to Andrew Luck throwing the ball with lots of dump-off passes, and Hines has three games this season with at least five catches. He's clearly a better option in PPR, and he's averaging 13.5 PPR points for the season. He's a flex option in Week 5 given the circumstances in this matchup.
  • Javorius Allen (at CLE): Could this be the week the Ravens give Allen a full workload over Alex Collins? Coach John Harbaugh called out Collins for his fumble woes, and that could lead to more work for Allen. He failed to score in Week 4 for the first time this season, but he has at least 13 PPR points in three of four games. Allen is worth using as a flex option, with his value higher in PPR. And the Browns have allowed four running backs to catch at least three passes this season.
Sit 'Em
12.2 projected points
LeSean McCoy Buffalo Bills RB
The matchup in Week 5 is awful for McCoy since the Titans are the only team that hasn't allowed a touchdown to a running back this year. And McCoy is less than 100 percent, dealing with a hand injury, along with playing through injured ribs. McCoy has yet to score more than nine PPR points in any game this season, and he has yet to have more than 13 total touches. Behind a bad offensive line, as well as playing with an inexperienced quarterback in Josh Allen, it will be a long year for McCoy, including this week against the Titans at home.
8.5 projected points
Dalvin Cook Minnesota Vikings RB
Cook said this week that his hamstring injury still has him at less than 100 percent heading into a matchup in Philadelphia, and he was on a pitch count in Week 4 against the Rams. As a result, he was limited to just 10 carries for 20 yards, with no catches. We'll see if that's the game plan again this week against the Eagles, but the situation doesn't sound encouraging. Along with that, Philadelphia has been excellent against opposing running backs all season, with one touchdown allowed to Tevin Coleman in Week 1, and no running back gaining more than 36 rushing yards in the first four games. I'm hopeful that Cook will be healthy soon and turn around what has been a disappointing start to the season, but he's just a flex option at best in Week 5 since he's playing hurt.
10.7 projected points
Kenyan Drake Miami Dolphins RB
Drake has been among the biggest busts this season, and he's been a disaster as a Fantasy option the past two weeks. In his past two games against Oakland and New England, Drake has combined for just four PPR points behind eight carries for 6 yards and three catches for 20 yards. The timeshare with Frank Gore has proven to be problematic, and Miami's offensive line is now beat up with center Daniel Kilgore (chest) joining left guard Josh Sitton (shoulder) as out for the season. Along with that, Cincinnati is expected to get linebacker Vontaze Burfict back from his four-game suspension for this matchup. It's hard to even trust Drake as a flex option right now, and he should be benched in all leagues.
10.4 projected points
Lamar Miller Houston Texans RB
Miller is battling an undisclosed injury, although he's expected to play in Week 5 against Dallas. It's a good matchup on paper with Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee (hamstring) potentially out again, but it's hard to trust Miller as anything more than a flex option this week. He has two games this season with at least 11 PPR points, and two games with eight points or less, including Week 4 at the Colts when he had just 14 carries for 49 yards and no catches. Keep an eye on Miller's health for Sunday, but he should not be considered a starting-caliber Fantasy option this week in most 10- and 12-team leagues.
8.9 projected points
Chris Carson Seattle Seahawks RB
Carson cost many Fantasy owners some much-needed production in Week 4 when he was a surprise inactive with a hip injury. He's healthy for Week 5, but he could be looking at a timeshare with Mike Davis, who played well in his absence against the Cardinals, and potentially Rashaad Penny. Carson had a quality performance in Week 3 against Dallas with 20 PPR points, but he needed 32 carries to rush for 102 yards and a touchdown, as well as two catches for 22 yards. With the Seahawks likely chasing points against the Rams, it's hard to expect a heavy workload for Carson even without Davis or Penny taking away touches. And the Rams have only allowed Marshawn Lynch in Week 1 and Melvin Gordon in Week 3 to score double digits in Fantasy points this year.

Bust Alert

Carlos Hyde
JAC • RB • #24
Week 5 projection8.4 Fantasy points
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Hyde comes into Week 5 as the No. 8 PPR running back, and he's scored at least 11 PPR points in each game this season, including five touchdowns over that span. But this should be his worst game of the year against Baltimore. If he doesn't score a touchdown he might be in trouble since he's averaging just 3.4 yards per carry, and he only has four catches for 15 yards in four games. The Ravens have allowed just one rushing touchdown this season, which was to Royce Freeman in Week 3, and are No. 3 in fewest Fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs. Coach Hue Jackson also said Nick Chubb could get more work after he had three carries for 105 yards and two touchdowns against the Raiders in Week 4. Hyde should still get the majority of touches, but I would only use him as a flex option this week, with his value lower in PPR. 

So who should you sit and start? And what shocking QB could win you Week 5? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy football rankings for every single position, and see which shocking QB finishes in the top 10 this week, all from the model that out-performed experts big time last season.