Week five of the 2011 NFL season is upon us, which means the league enters its first round of bye weeks. Week Five byes include the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, St. Louis Rams and Washington Redskins. For the purposes of the running back position, the following players are on bye:
A few days after the free world went crazy adding Ryan Torain to their roster, they now get to wait a week to find out exactly what kind of role he fits into with the Redskins. Aside from the Redskins potential running back by committee, this week features some tough breaks as Ray Rice, Steven Jackson and Felix Jones are all on byes. For Jones and Jackson it will hopefully help get them back to 100%. For Peyton Hillis, maybe he can get something figured out with his contract before this situation gets any uglier.
Running back play wins fantasy football titles. While you can get through the occasional tough bye week, the right play can help you score a victory you might otherwise have forsaken due to weak running back depth. All the big names are gone and people are likely pilfering running backs like crazy this week. It will be tough to find the right running back, but there are a few options.
More than likely Isaac Redman has already been grabbed. Rashard Mendenhall is looking doubtful to play on Sunday, and most leagues have at least one person who already knew this. If you're going to find a decent play this week you'll need to look deeper. Here are some options:
Earnest Graham, TB: Not a fantastic play, but he is prominently featured in the Bucs passing attack. If you're in a PPR league, grab him ASAP for this weekend. If you're not in a PPR league, I still recommend checking him out. He is probably the best waiver wire option for Sunday.
Kendall Hunter, SF: More than likely he was grabbed last week, but given Frank Gore's return to health, he might have been just as quickly dumped. He is likely going to see a variety of touches this weekend and could be a stealthy option.
Jackie Battle, KC: He's not gotten much work but with Jamaal Charles down and Thomas Jones struggling, he is a deep, deep option for bigger leagues. There is some upside if Jones gets benched, but a lot of downside, too.