Week 5 was a tough one for fantasy owners, with many key players on their bye weeks. Things will get better at running back this week when Christine Michael, Mark Ingram, T.J. Yeldon, and others can be re-inserted into lineups.
This week, only the Minnesota Vikings and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are on bye, so Jerick McKinnon's absence is the only pressing concern. Doug Martin and Charles Sims both sat out Monday night's game, but they should be healthy in time for Week 7, so the bye week is a blessing for their fantasy owners.
Without any major injury news this week, aside from Eddie Lacy (this will be covered later), the waiver wire recommendations are mostly looking forward to potential future contributors. The bye weeks will continue rolling on and will get tougher from here on out. With that in mind, let's take a look at five running backs, owned in less than 50 percent of standard Yahoo! leagues, worth looking at this week.
Kenneth Dixon, Baltimore Ravens (38 percent)
Terrance West is the clear lead back for now, as Dixon only got a brief cameo in his first season appearance. He's still battling a knee injury and was wearing a balky knee brace Sunday, and we're not sure how the backfield committee will look after offensive coordinator Marc Trestman got fired. That said, the Ravens have been talking up Dixon for months now and will surely be eager to see what he can do. At the least, he's a bench stash as West's handcuff for now.
Bilal Powell, New York Jets (35 percent)
Powell is now dominating passing-down snaps and is shaping up as New York's version of Theo Riddick, a pass catcher who only gets a handful of carries to justify the "running back" designation. That makes him a valuable asset in PPR leagues, especially if the Jets defense keeps allowing big deficits and forcing them into comeback mode through the air. Powell is a decent flex play most weeks, though he'll have a tougher matchup with the Arizona Cardinals this week.
Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins (32 percent)
The Dolphins offense is a train wreck right now, but at least they finally figured out that Ajayi is their best running back in the committee mess. Ajayi had a quiet day Sunday, with just 42 yards on 13 carries, but he did score a touchdown and will be in the RB2 conversation if Arian Foster has to miss another week. The Dolphins get the Pittsburgh Steelers next.
Devontae Booker, Denver Broncos (9 percent)
Booker's snap counts the past four weeks: 14, 16, 18, 29. He also saw 10 touches against the Atlanta Falcons, including a season-high of four receptions. There probably isn't a full committee brewing yet, but it can't be ruled out if C.J. Anderson continues to scuffle (just 127 rushing yards on 44 carries the past three weeks, an average of 2.8 yards per carry). Fantasy owners shouldn't be using Booker right now, but he's worth a speculative add in 12- and 14-team leagues. Keep a close eye on this backfield when Denver faces the San Diego Chargers on Thursday.
James Starks, Green Bay Packers (9 percent)
Starks is only on this list because Eddie Lacy picked up an ankle injury Sunday night, and he'd be the default starter if Lacy has to miss a game or two. Other than that, he's a plodding talent and likely won't be asked to do much with Aaron Rodgers carrying the offense. Lacy owners can pick him up as insurance, but he has both a low ceiling and low floor against the Dallas Cowboys this week.