Fantasy Football Week 5: The Week's Top 10 Scoring RBs #5-1
After taking a look at the #10 through #6 RBs this week, let's go a step further and take a look at five through the best of the best.
Fantasy Football Week 5: The Top 10 High-Scoring RBs
#5: Frank Gore - San Francisco 49ers
NumberFire Projected Stats: 98.35 rushing yards, 0.80 rushing TDs, 18.47 receiving yards, 0.05 receiving TDs
Projected Fantasy Points: 16.42
Week 6 Opponent: Buffalo Bills
Frank Gore's a solid back, and his 49 FP and three double-digit fantasy games so far this year have exceeded some expectations. But that alone isn't enough to merit his inclusion as a top five back this week. Looking at the Buffalo Bills' defense does. Last week, Stevan Ridley tied for the highest fantasy point total of any running back in the NFL. Brandon Bolden finished tied for third. The problem: they're both on the same team, and both absolutely destroyed the Bills defense. The Bills have been up and down stopping the run so far this season—they held both Trent Richardson and Jamaal Charles in check, but Peyton Hillis and Shonn Greene went off for their best performances of the season.
The thing is, Frank Gore is a better running back than any of the previous names mentioned in this article. His four games so far this year have been against Minnesota, Green Bay, Detroit, and the Jets, all four of whom have talented defenses, but three of whom (Minnesota excepted) have struggled at times this year. There is one main difference between the team he'll face this week and those teams: Buffalo does not have the same front seven talent. Gore can be a league-winner this week.
#4: LeSean McCoy - Philadelphia Eagles
NumberFire Projected Stats: 96.17 rushing yards, 0.78 rushing TDs, 25.70 receiving yards, 0.02 receiving TDs
Projected Fantasy Points: 16.78
Week 6 Opponent: Pittsburgh Steelers
In the Battle of Pennsylvania, you must take a side. And if I have to choose, I'm riding the guy who has amassed 43 fantasy points so far this year in a standard league while only scoring one touchdown.
I wouldn't worry about those scoring stats, as they will come for McCoy. And I'm especially comforted when you notice the amount the Eagles are getting him involved in the offense. 63 percent of all Eagles rushing attempts are by McCoy, and that even includes the times Vick takes off with the ball. There is no reason to worry about poachers here; backup Bryce Brown only has 13 carries and 43 yards on the season. In the passing game, McCoy has been dangerous as ever as well, being targeted 19 times (third most on the team).
This week should prove to be a good matchup for him as well, as the Steelers have been nowhere near as effective defensively as they have been in past seasons. They as rank numberFire's no. 26 opponent-adjusted defense so far this season, behind such staunch defensive names as the Colts, Chiefs, and Jaguars. In the three games the Steelers have played, they have only allowed one 100-yard rusher (Darren McFadden), but only due to a lack of carries as both Bilal Powell and Willis McGahee had a yards per carry average at 3.3 or above.
#3: Adrian Peterson - Minnesota Vikings
NumberFire Projected Stats: 103.34 rushing yards, 0.80 rushing TDs, 19.11 receiving yards, 0.02 receiving TDs
Projected Fantasy Points: 16.89
Week 6 Opponent: Tennessee Titans
I think I'm ready to say that All-Day is officially All-Day once again. His 102 yards rushing last week was his highest yardage total since Week 7 last year, and it was only his fourth time reaching the century mark rushing since the beginning of the 2011 season. But slowly, AP is regaining his form. Peterson has increased his rushing total in each of the past three weeks, and a big reason is simply the amount of carries he's been given. He finished fourth among all backs with 25 carries in Week 3, and he was sixth in Week 4 with his 21 carries. The Vikings obviously see no issue with his body pounding the rock; backup and expected vulture Toby Gerhart only has 22 combined carries on the season.
And if you're ever going to trust Peterson, it's going to be against the Tennessee team he faces this weekend. Because it's extremely relevant, here's the rundown of every opposing back Tennessee has faced this season. See if you can spot a trend.
Week 1, Stevan Ridley: 20 FP
Week 2, Jackie Battle: 18 FP
Week 3, Mikel LeShoure: 19 FP
Week 4, Arian Foster: 14 FP
#2: Marshawn Lynch - Seattle Seahawks
NumberFire Projected Stats: 107.04 rushing yards, 0.94 rushing TDs, 18.40 receiving yards, 0.07 receiving TDs
Projected Fantasy Points: 18.15
Week 6 Opponent: Carolina Panthers
Quick, tell me the one running back to have at least 80 yards rushing in every single game so far this season. Wait, looking at the picture is cheating. Perhaps I should have led off with that... Fine, since you're bad at playing by the rules, it's Marshawn Lynch.
In first in rushing yards in the NFL, Lynch is a case of high quantity over all else. The Seattle Seahawks are dead last in the NFL so far this season with 100 passing attempts. They are also second in the entire NFL with 137 rushing attempts, with an NFL-high 57.8 percent rushing rate as the result. And it's Lynch who has been the benefit of that rushing attack, accounting for 92 of the Seahawks' 137 carries. Lynch has more carries by himself than eight different NFL franchises have rushes.
If he's going to go off once more, the Panthers are a solid candidate for him to do it against as well. They have allowed at least 95 yards rushing to each opponent's lead back this season, including season-highs for Doug Martin (95 rushing yards), Pierre Thomas (110), Andre Brown (113), and Michael Turner (103).
#1: Arian Foster - Houston Texans
NumberFire Projected Stats: 98.72 rushing yards, 0.86 rushing TDs, 26.08 receiving yards, 0.13 receiving TDs
Projected Fantasy Points: 18.16
Week 6 Opponent: New York Jets
And now, for your number one running back, we have the man who has been the number one back the entire season: Arian Foster.
Even with Ben Tate sitting on the bench, the Texans simply trust Foster to get the job done. His 103 carries this year lead the league, and the next closest player is 11 away (Lynch). He has not been overly effective with his runs, as his 3.7 yards per carry only ranks 30th among qualified backs, but when you're running the ball as much as Foster does, big totals are no issue. Currently, Foster is on pace to finish the year with 412 rushing attempts. For comparison's sake, that mark would place him second on the all-time list. The NFL record is 416 rushing attempts, set by Larry Johnson in 2006. The 400-attempt mark has only been met five times in the NFL's history, and only twice since the turn of the century (Eddie George's 403 mark in 2000 being the other).
I don't expect to see Foster slow down against the Jets either, especially considering the weeks they have given up to opposing backs. Frank Gore had 17 FP against them in Week 4, Daniel Thomas and Reggie Bush each had 60 yards rushing against them in Week 3, C.J. Spiller had 169 yards rushing against the Not-So-Mean Green in Week 1. Foster could be due for a big day once again, and he deserves the top slot this week.