Running Back Roundup: Week 5 (2019 Fantasy Football)
Week 4 was full of surprises as we saw Nick Chubb demolish a sound Ravens defense and Leonard Fournette bulldoze his way to 225 rushing yards. Fournette’s huge game was the second most in Jaguars’ history and the highest rushing total (by far) this season. Frank Gore turned back the clock for a 109-yard game against New England, Christian McCaffrey piled up his usual 150+ yards, and Jordan Howard came alive with three touchdowns on Thursday Night Football. It was an exciting week for sure, and now that the games are in the books, we can take a look at how some backfields are shaking out at the quarter mark of the season. Let’s get to it with this week’s Running Back Roundup!
Week 4 Rushing Leaders
1. Leonard Fournette (JAC): 225
2. Nick Chubb (CLE): 165
3. Kerryon Johnson (DET): 125
4. Frank Gore (BUF): 109
5. Chris Carson (SEA): 104
Week 4 Scrimmage Yards Leaders
1. Leonard Fournette (JAC): 245
2. Nick Chubb (CLE): 183
3. Christian McCaffrey (CAR): 179
4. Kerryon Jonson (DET): 157
5. Chris Carson (SEA): 145
Week 4 Fantasy Leaders (PPR)
1. Nick Chubb (CLE): 44.3
2. Christian McCaffrey (CAR): 34.9
3. Jordan Howard (PHI): 32.5
4. Leonard Fournette (JAX): 31.5
5. Austin Ekeler (LAC): 29.2
Week 4 Biggest Busts
1. Marlon Mack (IND): 3.9
2. Sony Michel (NE): 6.3
3. Phillip Lindsay (DEN): 7.0
4. Mark Ingram (BAL): 9.1
5. David Montgomery (CHI): 9.7
Freeman’s poor rushing efforts continued in Week 4, as he turned 12 carries into just 28 rush yards. His involvement as a receiver, however, saved the day for fantasy owners. Freeman caught eight passes for 72 yards and finished with over 15 fantasy points in PPR formats — the first time doing so all year. Ito Smith only had four touches, but he vultured a touchdown. Freeman’s 20 touches were encouraging, but unless he’s highly involved in the passing game, his upside remains limited.
Gore played a vintage game, ripping off big runs and consistently making plays against the Patriots’ defense and he became just the fourth player in NFL history to rush for 15,000 yards thanks to his big afternoon. T.J. Yeldon didn’t see a single carry, though he was utilized in the passing game. Gore will play a huge role for as long as Devin Singletary (hamstring) remains out, but he’ll still have low-end flex appeal when Singletary returns. The veteran has a decent matchup with the Titans for Week 5 and a juicy matchup on tap for Week 7 with the Dolphins following the Bills’ Week 6 bye.
Montgomery ran as the workhorse once again, outplaying and out-touching Tarik Cohen handily. He should continue to see a similar workload as the unquestioned No. 1 back in the Bears’ backfield, though his low output is a bit concerning. Keep firing Montgomery up as an RB3/flex with upside. He hasn’t had a big game yet, but it won’t be long before he pops off.
Both backs were productive in Week 4 with Shady leading the pack in carries and rushing yards and Williams leading in everything else. Though McCoy was healthy, the backs operated in tandem and Williams finished just two touches behind McCoy. It was Williams, however, who had the bigger receiving day and scored twice — including the game-winning score to give the Chiefs the 34-30 victory. Damien Williams (knee) may be back soon, but as long as he’s out, both McCoy and Darrel Williams will be flex plays, especially with a string of favorable matchups on deck.
Michel took on another enormous workload in Sunday’s win, though he failed once again to crack four yards per carry. Despite a banged-up Patriots offensive line, Michel has just been bad — failing to break tackles or make defenders miss. On the season, the second-year back has rushed 62 times for a pitiful 171 yards — less than three yards per carry. Michel will have a chance to turn things around in a cake matchup with a Washington defense that was just gashed by Wayne Gallman in Week 4, but his severe inefficiencies and lack of involvement in the passing game should have fantasy owners seriously concerned. James White remains a PPR stud and his regular involvement as a receiver makes him a weekly flex play.
After Saquon Barkley went down with a high ankle sprain in Week 3, Wayne Gallman was the hottest waiver pickup of the week. He didn’t disappoint fantasy owners who were able to land him, as he throttled the Redskins’ defense to the tune of 118 yards and two total touchdowns.
Gallman led the backfield in carries and finished second only to Sterling Shepard in receiving yards on the day. His 24 total touches show that the Giants’ coaching staff has faith in him, and similar workloads may be on tap for as long as Barkley is out. Jonathan Hilliman played a complementary role and his 10 carries were due to the blowout nature of the contest. Gallman should be viewed as an RB2/3 moving forward.
The pair of Eagles backs once again split carries and it was Sanders who looked more explosive on his 11 totes. However, Howard consistently moved the chains and picked up chunk yardage all evening. It was the veteran — not the rookie — who scored two rushing touchdowns and a receiving touchdown. Howard’s lack of involvement in the passing game in Chicago certainly hasn’t shown through with Philadelphia. He’s been used as a receiver regularly and he was able to take a short reception 20 yards to the house. Howard is the preferred back around the goal line, giving him more upside than Sanders in this timeshare.
For the second week in a row, Jones dominated backfield touches, seeing he ball 20 times compared to Barber’s nine. Jones totaled at least 100 yards or a touchdown for the second week in a row and it appears he now has the edge over Barber. Bruce Arians said he wanted to utilize a “hot hand” approach at running back, and that’s been RoJo as of late. The Buccaneers have a tough matchup in Week 5 against a stout Saints front, but the recent volume should be enough to keep Jones in the flex conversation in that one.