Our first week of byes is over and although we will welcome back Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles there were plenty of surprises in week 4 to keep us happy. For starters the number 1 pickup and former stud LaDainian Tomlinson had a monster game against the hapless Bills. Personally I won several leagues by playing LT, having a RB1 with 130+ yards and 2TDs will do that. But let’s not overlook the other strong performances. Arian Foster is leading ALL rushers with 537 yards by a large margin. Ahmad Bradshaw cracked the top 5 leading rushers and Mendenhall continued to provide great value for his draft status.
With the good comes the bad and boy were there some stinkers. Ray Rice neglected to tell us he wasn’t going to start and sub sequentially killed a few owners (not me, I try to make it a rule to not play injured players). Cedric Benson sucked the life out of a few of my teams. Jahvid Best did nothing remarkable. And let’s not beat around the bush… If you own Chris Johnson you are more than a little pissed right now. The guy was supposed to deliver and thus far hasn’t (to be fair neither has his team).
So while there were highs and there were lows we move on. This week has Miami, New England, Seattle, and Pittsburgh on byes. But fear not because there are more than a few good sleepers to choose from. If you are inclined to trade then perhaps focus on the keepers as they should provide excellent buy low opportunities.
I went 8-3 in my ESPN leagues and similar in Fanball. A good week to say the least. Now off to the 2010 week 5 fantasy football keepers and sleepers for running backs.
1) Ryan Mathews – For the fifth week in a row this guy lands on my list. Even with Mike Tolbert putting in a nice season for San Diego don’t discount this rookie back. Next up on the agenda, facing the 1-3 Oakland Raiders. Phillip Rivers should hit Antonio Gates for 2TDs and blow open the game. After that look for the running backs to take the game and kill the clock. Sproles fumbled last game and Mathews looked good. So my best guess is Mathews will edge out Tolbert on carries ever so slightly… say Mathews -17, Tolbert – 13, and Sproles – 4. Mathews will make the most of his carries and should break a long one for a TD run.
2) Michael Bush – Remember that guy? He’s finally healthy and notched a TD last game. With McFadden likely to miss the game due to injury, expect Bush to act as RB1 and reclaim his rightful role in the offense. The San Diego game won’t’ be a complete blowout as the QB will likely turn to Zach Miller to make up some ground. The running game should be good till the second half and even then expect Bush to get goal line duties. 2 TDs for this guy with some nice yardage, say around 75 yards.
3) Steven Jackson – Yeah, I’m not a big fan but you will more than likely be able to grab him as an excellent buy low guy. He does have some nice upside with the way Bradford is playing. The greatest show on turf part duex heads to Detroit to face Shaun Hill and company. My guess is that Jackson will dominate this game with 100+ yards and maybe just maybe a TD or two. Either way I think you should tether some Jackson trade offers.
4) Jonathan Stewart – A crushing last quarter lost to the Saints has to put a damper on this team. DeAngelo Williams is still the RB1 but I’m betting on Stewart slicing into those carries and also being used more as a receiving threat with Steve Smith injured. If you don’t have him I bet you could send a spare part someone’s way and grab him. Heck he might even be on the waiver wire. Chicago just came off a crusher too and that should make for a pretty good game with some decent yardage for the RBs.
5) Chris Johnson – Yes the guy is sporadic this year but still IT’S Chris Johnson. Make a play for him after a miserable week. Maybe you get him maybe you don’t. I think the CJ2K show will be in full effect next week as the Titans battle the Cowboys fresh off a bye. It’s a coin flip on Johnson now but this week (odd) should produce BIG numbers.
1) C.J. Spiller – MarShawn Lynch was just traded to the Seattle Seahawks and that means Spiller’s carries just went up. It’s about time! The Bills have nothing to do and will let the rookie showcase his talents. Ryan Fitzpatrick isn’t Trent Edwards and the next opponent is the Jaguars who aren’t exactly explosive. I think Spiller shows us why he is every bit as good as Jahvid Best. 100+ yards running, 100+ returns, and 50 receiving plus 2 TDs. And the Bills win.
2) Mike Bell – This is a long shot but the Eagles are hurting at QB and RB. Both runners (McCoy and Vick) are gone, most likely for the game against San Francisco and Leonard Weaver is out for the season. That leave Mike Bell. Not a great option but someone has to establish a running game. Best case scenario is a TD or two. If you are hurting on the bye this guy could help.
3) Ryan Torain – Clinton Portis said in an interview that he’d be surprised if he was going to play Sunday against Green Bay due to his injury. That leaves Torain who if you remember was a highly touted sleeper in Denver. Now I watched a quarter or two of the Redskins game and thought Torain did well. I think he could put up some good numbers and help make the Redskins a competitive team in a match you immediately want to deem a blowout. Torain will get 123 yards.
4) Thomas Jones – Why is this guy a sleeper? In the words of Rodney Dangerfield “I get no respect”. Jones put up excellent numbers last year and this year is looking pretty good too. He faces an anemic Indy run defense that allowed staggering numbers in the past couple of games. Jamaal Charles will steal a few carries but make no mistake about it; Jones is the RB1 on the team and should get the bulk of the opportunities.
5) Peyton Hillis – Well Jerome Harrison is playing with a voodoo doll and trying to get Hillis hurt. Clearly the number 1 back and it isn’t even close (Harrison didn’t even smell the leather on the ball last game). Atlanta is next up and if ManGenius has any hope of winning he’ll be running the heck out of the ball because he sure isn’t going to win with his passing attack. Hillis should be a solid play the remainder of the season.
There we go, week 5 fantasy football running back keepers and sleepers in the book. Make sure you choose your bye replacements smartly and look for good buy low opportunities because the season is more than just one week. Good luck and visit www.babybluemonkey.com (I’ll start updating the site, I promise!).