Between injuries and byes, it might be difficult to field respectable running back starters from now until Week 15. Most teams in your league will have to go through it at least once, so don’t feel bad when it’s your turn. If anything, it’s probably better to get it out of the way early. So, depending on your injury situation, perhaps you should consider yourself lucky if you own one or more of Alvin Kamara, Michael Carter, Elijah Mitchell, or Mike Davis/Cordarrelle Patterson, all of whom are nowhere to be found in our Week 6 fantasy RB rankings.
Of course, those backs won’t be the only key players missing this week. David Montgomery (knee) is still on the shelf for a couple more games, Saquon Barkley (ankle) figures to be out at least this week, and Chris Carson (neck), Dalvin Cook (ankle), and Christian McCaffrey (hamstring) will be up in the air after missing last week. We know several more RBs will be “questionable” going into Sunday’s games, too. This will make lineup decisions difficult, but, again, that’s going to be par for the course going forward.
Matchups, as always, will also play a big role in determining who to start and who to sit. This could be a big week for Antonio Gibson (vs. Chiefs), Najee Harris (vs. Seahawks), and Jonathan Taylor (vs. Texans), but they’re must-starts anyway. However, a couple of their backups known primarily for their PPR prowess — J.D. McKissic (vs. Chiefs) and Nyheim Hines (vs. Texans) — could also be in play in standard leagues because of the favorable opponents.
Going a little deeper, Darrell Henderson (@ Giants) has established himself as a safe RB2 in most matchups, and the Giants are definitely a run defense he can compile points against. Leonard Fournette (@ Eagles) is in a similar situation, and given his ever-growing touch share, he’s a must-start against an overmatched Eagles defense. Both Broncos backs (vs. Raiders) have been mostly disappointing this year, but the Raiders are top 10 in fantasy points allowed to running backs, so this is a spot where one or both can return RB2 value. We like Melvin Gordon slightly more than Javonte Williams, but both are worth starting. The same goes for Darrel Williams (@ Washington), who figures to get the bulk of the Chiefs’ RB touches with Clyde Edwards-Helaire nursing a knee injury. Jerick McKinnon does have some PPR appeal, though.
We wish we could say the same about Myles Gaskin (@ Jaguars) after his monster week, but touches are always a question mark in Miami. The matchup is great, so you can use Gaskin in your flex, especially in PPR leagues, but don’t get overly confident. The same goes for the Bills’ backs (@ Titans), though Buffalo’s high-powered offense should afford both Zack Moss and Devin Singletary plenty of chances for points.
Of course, there are some unfavorable matchups, too, and while you still might start Damien Harris (vs. Cowboys), Devontae Booker (@ Rams), Chris Carson/Alex Collins (@ Steelers), and Josh Jacobs (@ Broncos) based on volume and short-TD potential, they’re all riskier plays than usual. Mark Ingram (@ Colts) is in a similar spot on a much worse offense.
The bigger worries are Eagles backs Miles Sanders and Kenneth Gainwell (vs. Buccaneers) going against the league’s top run defense. It’s tough to make a case for either this week, though Gainwell could have an edge since Philadelphia will probably be passing more.
At this point in the season, it’s tough to find weekly “sleepers” at running back unless there’s an injury. Sure, secondary backs like McKissic and Hines could come alive in the right matchups, and you never know when someone like Samaje Perine (@ Lions), AJ Dillon (@ Bears), or Jeremy McNichols (vs. Bills) will steal a touchdown, but for the most part, you just have to cobble together the best you can, hope for a score, and try to make it to the next matchup. Chances are, it’s going to get worse before it gets better for you, so if you’re in a period of prosperity, enjoy it.
Note: We’ll be updating these RB rankings as needed throughout the week, so check back for the latest changes.
Fantasy RB Rankings Week 6: Who to start at running back
Rankings are based on standard, non-PPR scoring
|1||Christian McCaffrey, CAR vs. MIN|
|2||Derrick Henry, TEN vs. BUF|
|3||Antonio Gibson, WAS vs. KC|
|4||Najee Harris, PIT vs. SEA|
|5||Jonathan Taylor, IND vs. HOU|
|6||James Robinson, JAX vs. MIA|
|7||Aaron Jones, GB @ CHI|
|8||Joe Mixon, CIN @ DET|
|9||Dalvin Cook, MIN @ CAR|
|10||Nick Chubb, CLE vs. ARI|
|11||Austin Ekeler, LAC @ BAL|
|12||Ezekiel Elliott, DAL @ NE|
|13||Darrell Henderson, LAR @ NYG|
|14||Leonard Fournette, TB @ PHI|
|15||D’Andre Swift, DET vs. CIN|
|16||Damien Williams, CHI vs. GB|
|17||Josh Jacobs, LV @ DEN|
|18||Kareem Hunt, CLE vs. ARI|
|19||Devontae Booker, NYG vs. LAR|
|20||Melvin Gordon, DEN vs. LV|
|21||Zack Moss, BUF @ TEN|
|22||Latavius Murray, BAL vs. LAC|
|23||Myles Gaskin, MIA @ JAX|
|24||Darrel Williams, KC @ WAS|
|25||Javonte Williams, DEN vs. LV|
|26||Damien Harris, NE vs. DAL|
|27||Chris Carson, SEA @ PIT|
|28||Devin Singletary, BUF @ TEN|
|29||JD McKissic, WAS vs. KC|
|30||Jamaal Williams, DET vs. CIN|
|31||James Conner, ARI @ CLE|
|32||Chase Edmonds, ARI @ CLE|
|33||Tony Pollard, DAL @ NE|
|34||Miles Sanders, PHI vs. TB|
|35||Mark Ingram, HOU @ IND|
|36||Kenneth Gainwell, PHI vs. TB|
|37||Nyheim Hines, IND vs. HOU|
|38||Jerick McKinnon, KC @ WAS|
|39||Samaje Perine, CIN @ DET|
|40||AJ Dillon, GB @ CHI|
|41||Khalil Herbert, CHI vs. GB|
|42||Ronald Jones II, TB @ PHI|
|43||Alex Collins, SEA @ PIT|
|44||Alexander Mattison, MIN @ CAR|
|45||Kenyan Drake, LV @ DEN|
|46||Sony Michel, LAR @ NYG|
|47||Brandon Bolden, NE vs. DAL|
|48||David Johnson, HOU @ IND|
|49||Giovani Bernard, TB @ PHI|
|50||Rhamondre Stevenson, NE vs. DAL|
|51||Jeremy McNichols, TEN vs. BUF|
|52||Chuba Hubbard, CAR vs. MIN|
|53||Malcolm Brown, MIA @ JAX|
|54||Phillip Lindsay, HOU @ IND|
|55||Larry Rountree III, LAC @ BAL|
|56||Joshua Kelley, LAC @ BAL|
|57||Le’Veon Bell, BAL vs. LAC|
|58||Devonta Freeman, BAL vs. LAC|
|59||Carlos Hyde, JAX vs. MIA|