There are only so many stars at running back, but quite a few others have exceeded expectations after being thrown into the fire unexpectedly. We’ve identified some top plays and some options you should stay away from ahead of Week 5.
Running back Starts
James Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans
Robinson ranks 11th in touches with 74 and is up against a Texans defense that’s given up more rushing yards than any team in the NFL. Chris Thompson has been phased out, so Robinson should have a heavy workload moving forward.
Mike Davis, Carolina Panthers vs. Atlanta Falcons
Davis has been on a tear since Christian McCaffrey went down with an ankle injury. He doesn’t get a boatload of carries, but gets more targets out of the backfield than most backs. Atlanta has given up the second-most points in the NFL and got torched by the Green Bay Packers’ backfield in Week 4. Davis has the versatility to rack up yardage on the ground and through the air.
Running back Sits
Myles Gaskin, Miami Dolphins vs. San Francisco 49ers
Gaskin has been getting enough work to be a flex play most weeks, but this matchup, plus the overall poor rushing from the Dolphins, makes him a sit. The 49ers have multiple injuries to defensive linemen this year, but they’ve managed to stay strong against the run. They’ve allowed just 2.97 yards per rushing attempt and just one touchdown on the ground.
Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Sanders was bottled up against the San Francisco 49ers’ undermanned defensive line, and the Steelers are at full strength. There’s no telling whether they’ll be rusty or fresh after taking a week off, but they’ve stuffed the run at an elite level so far this season. Sanders gets a big enough workload to use as a flex option, but if you have a strong replacement, this matchup is daunting.