A blistering start for running backs came to a halt in week 5. Other than Leonard Fournette and Melvin Gordon, no individual running back tallied 20 fantasy points in week 5.

And the names in slots three through nine aren’t necessarily household fantasy football names. Aaron Jones, Marlon Mack, Javorius Allen, Duke Johnson, Doug Martin, Charcandrick West and Orleans Darkwa all were top-10 fantasy options in week 5.

Don’t expect that kind of production to continue. Here’s the week 6 running backs start ’em, sit ’em guide.


Marshawn Lynch vs. Los Angeles Chargers

It’s not Amari Cooper bad, but Lynch hasn’t necessarily been stellar in Derek Carr’s absence.

Lynch’s week 5 was saved by a touchdown, but he hasn’t gone for more than 50 yards rushing since week 1, and he’s not a viable option in the passing game. It’s natural to be frustrated with his performances, but this week’s matchup is much better in terms of fantasy.

The Chargers have been terrible against the run this season. They’re allowing a league-high 161 yards per game on the ground, 15 more yards per game than the next-worst defense.

Even the Giants — one of the worst rushing teams in the NFL — ran the ball well on the Chargers.

The Raiders need a spark and Lynch should get some volume in week 6. He’s had tough assignments in the last three weeks against Baltimore, Denver and Washington. Expect better production against a weaker rush defense.

Mike Gillislee vs. New York Jets

Normally I try to avoid the New England rushing attack like the plague. There’s too many moving parts and I can’t depend on a singular option on a weekly basis.

But this matchup seems too good to pass up for the Patriots main ball carrier.

The New England backfield has plenty of mouths to feed. When it comes to rushing between the tackles, though, Gillislee is the main answer.

That should work well in this week 6 tilt against a Jets defense giving up 143 yards per game on the ground. The Jets aren’t bad against the pass, so I expect New England to establish a run, and keep going to it with an early lead.

That benefits Gillislee. He’s been pretty unproductive in recent weeks, but this matchup offers a solid chance at more volume.

Don’t lose faith in Jay Ajayi in the week 6 running backs start ’em, sit ’em guide. Flickr

Jay Ajayi vs. Atlanta Falcons

There have been some major disappointments this season in fantasy football. Taking away the contingent of injured players, Ajayi would rank right up there with the biggest busts.

Miami has looked terrible on offense and Ajayi is contributing to that awfulness. His 77 yards in week 5 may look decent, but he needed 25 carries to reach that number.

It’s natural for fantasy owners to give him a seat. Not so fast. His volume is still high. And there’s no way the Dolphins are going to rely more on the pass.

Miami is going to continue to feed Ajayi, and that will be a different scenario for the Falcons. Teams are averaging only 22 rushing attempts per game against the Falcons, the fourth-fewest in the NFL.

Teams are having success with those carries, though, averaging 4.2 yards per carry. Ajayi will get plenty of volume in this game and that will translate into fantasy points.


Mark Ingram vs. Detroit Lions

Ingram shouldn’t have to be on the weekly sit list, but until I see something different out of the New Orleans offensive approach, I have to give him a rest.

It’s still unclear what his role will be in week 6, even after a bye week. One thing I do know is that Detroit’s rush defense has been tough on the opposition. Teams are averaging only 3.3 yards per carry.

That doesn’t lend itself to too much confidence in the Saints. Ingram is having to battle for carries and the Lions are one of the best in the NFL at stopping the run. Keep him on the bench for another week.

Carlos Hyde vs. Washington Redskins

He might be injured. Or maybe Kyle Shanahan really believes in rookie Matt Breida.

Either way, Hyde’s situation looks dicey. And with a road game against a Washington team that has been more than serviceable against the run this season, I’m eyeing other running backs if possible.

When called upon, Hyde has been pretty good this season, but he wasn’t a factor in the week 5 matchup against Indianapolis. Breida outsnapped him, and Shanahan said he was going with the “hot hand,” and not placing the blame on an injury.

It’s impossible to trust coaches in the NFL, but this situation deserves more monitoring. If you can, I’d try to avoid this matchup against a top-10 rush defense.

LeGarrette Blount vs. Carolina Panthers

I’ll give Blount credit. He’s looked pretty good in the last two weeks. With a less crowded backfield, Blount has been the main bellcow for this Eagles offense and has delivered.

This week, though, I don’t like him on a short week, on the road against a top-10 rush defense.

The Panthers are allowing less than 80 yards per game on the ground, meaning Blount likely won’t have many chances. And upon further examination, Blount has been the recipient of some pretty strong matchups in recent weeks.

Blount ran wild against a Chargers rush defense that is atrocious, and last week’s solid day was buoyed by great game flow.

I’m going to back off the Blount train in week 6.

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