Fantasy football: Harris, Jacobs among five running backs to avoid in Week 5

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris faces one of the toughest matchups in Week 5. File Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI
1 of 5 | Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris faces one of the toughest matchups in Week 5. File Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

MIAMI, Oct. 5 (UPI) -- Najee Harris and Josh Jacobs are among my five running backs to avoid for Week 5 of the fantasy football season. Nick Chubb leads my Top 30 weekly rankings for the position.

Jamaal Williams, Breece Hall and Tyler Allgeier are among the other players I would lower my expectations for or try to keep out of my lineup.


Week 4 performance, opportunity, strength of Week 5 opponents and expected game script are among the factors I considered when determining the players to avoid. My full Top 30 rankings are below.

Williams is a Top 5 fantasy football running back, on a points-per-game basis. He scored twice in three of his four appearances this season and ran for a season-high 108 yards in Week 4, but I have lower expectations for the Detroit Lions veteran in Week 5.

Detroit Lions running back Jamaal Williams (C) scored six touchdowns through four weeks, but is a low-end RB1 or high-end RB2 this week. File Photo by Mark Black/UPI

Jamaal Williams

Williams likely has to stay in your lineup as he currently leads the NFL with six rushing touchdowns, including two last week. I would not expect RB1 production this week, when his Lions battle the New England Patriots in Foxborough, Mass.

The Patriots have yet to allow a touchdown to a running back and surrendered the fifth-fewest fantasy points to the position through four weeks.

Williams likely will get close to 20 touches again this week, but I see the Lions leaning more on their passing attack this week. Williams is my No. 13 option and is a fringe RB1, but remains a high-end RB2.

Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (28) is a mid-range RB2 this week. File Photo by Matthew Healey/UPI

Josh Jacobs

Jacobs is another player who fantasy football stock owners are likely very excited about, but I don't think he will provide RB1 upside for a second-consecutive week. The Las Vegas Raiders veteran ran for a season-high 144 yards and two scores in Week 4.

This week, the Raiders will battle the Kansas City Chiefs on the road. The Chiefs allowed just 209 rushing yards to running backs through four weeks, the fewest in the NFL. They also allowed a league-high 277 passing yards to the position, but Jacobs doesn't offer a ton of upside as a pass catcher.


The Raiders veteran is my No. 20 option this week, due to his scoring upside, but will only reach RB1 territory if he finds the end zone.

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris (22) is my No. 30 fantasy football play in Week 5. File Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI

Najee Harris

Harris is among the biggest disappointments from draft day. The Pittsburgh Steelers running back has yet to eclipse 74 rushing yards in his four starts this season. He also has reached the end zone just twice.

I don't expect his luck to turn around in Week 5, when the Steelers face the Buffalo Bills on Sunday in Orchard Park, N.Y. The Bills allowed just 230 rushing yards, the fourth-fewest in the league, and the third-fewest receiving yards to running backs through four weeks.

The Bills allowed an average of just 33.5 rushing yards per game to starting running backs so far this season. Harris is my No. 30 option for Week 5.

New York Jets running back Breece Hall (20) reaches for the end zone and scores a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI

Breece Hall

Hall ran for a season-high 66 yards in Week 4 for the New York Jets, but I don't expect the rookie to find quite as much room to run in Week 5 against the Miami Dolphins.

The Dolphins allowed the second-fewest rushing yards and fourth-fewest fantasy points to running backs through four weeks. They also just held Cincinnati Bengals star Joe Mixon to 2.5 yards per carry in Week 4

Hall is outside my Top 30 and can only be used as a low-end flex play in leagues with more than 14 teams.

Tyler Allgeier

Allgeier was among my top waiver-wire pickups this week, but I wouldn't throw him in my starting lineup quite yet. The Atlanta Falcons are suddenly in need of production at the position, due to an injury sustained by starter Cordarrelle Patterson in Week 4.

Allgeier looked great last week, with 84 rushing yards, 20 receiving yards and a score against the Cleveland Browns. This week, the Falcons will face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Tampa, Fla.

Allgeier's uncertain workload and the Buccaneers' strong defense are a bad recipe for fantasy football success. The Buccaneers, who have been stingy to fantasy football running backs over the past several seasons, also allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to the position through four weeks this year.


Keep Allgeier on your bench this week. He should provide RB2 value in better matchups.

Week 5 fantasy football running back rankings

1. Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns vs. LAC

2. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings vs. CHI

3. Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers at CLE

4. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans at WAS

5. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants at GB

6. James Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. HOU

7. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals at BAL

8. Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles at ARI

9. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers vs. SF

10. Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers vs. NYG

11. Dameon Pierce, Houston Texans at JAX

12. Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. ATL

13. Jamaal Williams, Detroit Lions at NE

14. Damien Harris, New England Patriots vs. DET

15. J.K. Dobbins, Baltimore Ravens vs. CIN

16. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs vs. LV

17. Jeff Wilson Jr., San Francisco 49ers at CAR

18. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints vs. SEA

19. A.J. Dillon, Green Bay Packers vs. NYG

20. Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders at KC

21. Khalil Herbert, Chicago Bears at MIN

22. James Conner, Arizona Cardinals vs. PHI


23. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys at LAR

24. Antonio Gibson, Washington Commanders vs. TEN

25. Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints vs. SEA

26. Cam Akers, Los Angeles Rams vs. DAL

27. Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks at NO

28. Chase Edmonds, Miami Dolphins at NYJ

29. Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns vs. LAC

30. Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers at BUF

This week in the National Football League

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo calls a play against the Los Angeles Rams in the third quarter at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Monday. The 49ers defeated the Rams 24-9. Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

Latest Headlines