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Fantasy football waiver wire: 10 running backs to target for Week 5

Week 4 didn't have any major injuries to the running back landscape, but there are possible changes on some depth charts.

It seems like every year we are always left wondering what the heck happened in the running back world. This season is no different and it's hard to believe three consensus No. 1 picks -- Jamaal Charles, LeSean McCoy and Adrian Peterson -- have yet to live up to the billing. Meanwhile, DeMarco Murray and Le'Veon Bell are exceeding their ADPs in a major way.

Waiver Wire Targets: QB RB WR TE Injury Replacements

If you're in a jam at running back, here are 10 guys who could help you out:

Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns (owned in 24 percent of leagues)

He looks to have leapfrogged Terrance West as the No. 2 back on the depth chart. Starter Ben Tate does have a chance to play in Week 5, but his touches are likely going to drop to just 15 per game. Plus, he has to prove he can stay healthy.

Crowell has earned the goal-line touches and he's done well in that role to this point, scoring three touchdowns to go with his 5.2 yards per carry average. The Browns have been able to move the ball so far this season and rank 11th in the league in points per game.

They get the Titans in Week 5 and should have a lot of success. The Titans allowed 37 points per game in their last two outings and look horrible up front. If Tate doesn't play this week, Crowell is a serviceable RB2 in most formats.

Darrin Reaves, Carolina Panthers (owned in 1 percent of leagues)

Well, the Panthers can't stay healthy. DeAngelo Williams is doubtful with a foot injury and his nagging thigh injury isn't much better. Coach Ron Rivera has already stated that Reaves will be his starter for Week 5. He should get as many carries as he can handle, which probably won't be much. He had a putrid 2.2 yards per carry average on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, totaling just 37 yards on his 15 touches.

The good news is he'll get a much-maligned Chicago Bears defense in Carolina for Week 5. If you're in a pinch and need a back this week, Reaves is definitely worth a look. He should be owned in all leagues and is a better short-term add than Crowell.

Justin Forsett, Baltimore Ravens (owned in 41 percent of leagues)

The Ravens seem to be warming up to Forsett, who ripped off 66 rushing yards and one touchdown on 14 carries in Week 4. He also had three catches for 31 yards as the Ravens put up 38 points against what was expected to be a stout Carolina defense.

Bernard Pierce seems to have fallen out of favor with the Ravens and Forsett now has the inside track for double-digit carries every week. The Ravens will take on the Colts in Week 5 in what could be a very high-scoring game. Forsett should be owned in all leagues.

Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota Vikings (owned in 16 percent of leagues)

When a player posts 135 rushing yards, it's going to get your attention. What's more, when the starter is posting just a 3.4 yards per carry average, it's someone you're going to want to add to your fantasy team. McKinnon is a speedster and was one of the fastest backs at the 2014 NFL Draft Combine, so he could blossom into something special.

The Vikings are going to want to establish the run to help their rookie quarterback and they also have a decent schedule as far as defenses go. If the Vikings decide to give McKinnon some serious run ahead of Matt Asiata, he could be a must-start option.

Lorenzo Taliaferro, Baltimore Ravens (owned in 39 percent of leagues)

While Forsett helped himself, Taliaferro hasn't looked too shabby. He's scored in back-to-back games and seems to be the best bet for goal-line touches. On the down side, Forsett appears to have created a little separation from Taliaferro.

Taliaferro is more of a stash at this point and is probably only worth using in favorable matchups.


Chances are if you're in a deeper league, all of those guys are owned. Here are five other options.

Denard Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars (owned in 1 percent of leagues)

Robinson played 36 snaps to Toby Gerhart's 21 in Week 4 and Gerhart has been useless in the starting lineup, averaging a paltry 2.6 yards per carry on the season. Robinson is a solid add down the line in case the Jaguars decide to make a switch.

Branden Oliver, San Diego Chargers (owned in 3 percent of leagues)

Donald Brown is not good. It's taken him 50 carries to get to 100 rushing yards on the season and he is probably the worst starter in the league right now. Plus, the Chargers were lucky they only played the Jaguars in Week 4. Oliver wasn't anything special either with 56 yards on 13 touches, but he didn't look as bad.

The Chargers get the New York Jets in Week 5 and will probably be passing the ball a lot. That should give Oliver more snaps.

Antone Smith, Atlanta Falcons (owned in 3 percent of leagues)

He has just 10 carries on the season, but is making them count. Smith has 119 yards and two scores this season thanks to a 38-yard run in Week 3 and a 48-yard run in Week 4. The 29-year-old back is probably the Falcons' best bet for production. He's a player to consider down the line once Steven Jackson goes down.

Andre Williams, New York Giants (owned in 15 percent of leagues)

He is getting snaps at the goal line and even vultured a TD from Rashad Jennings in Week 4 against Washington. Williams won't be worth starting right now, but it's encouraging to see he's in the coaching staff's good graces. If Jennings goes down, Williams could be a solid RB2, especially now that the Giants have figured out how to move the ball.

Travaris Cadet, New Orleans Saints (owned in 0 percent of leagues)

The Saints were blown out and it allowed Cadet to catch six balls. He has been in that role before and with Khiry Robinson not performing, Cadet could be in for more carries. He's worth a look as a speculative add in deep PPR leagues.