The running back position has seen plenty of flux early in the season, with injuries and suspensions wreaking havoc on fantasy football lineups. Thankfully, things are starting to stablize a bit. Le'Veon Bell is back and roaring, while Jamaal Charles should be back at full health after making a brief cameo in Week 4 before the Kansas City Chiefs' bye. This week's bye week teams (Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers) don't have a lot of big fantasy names at running back, although Doug Martin owners should be able to use him in Week 7.
For now, let's examine some running backs in friendly spots for Week 6, players who should be in your starting lineup. We also take a look at backs who should be avoided, whether they have bad matchups or uncertain workloads.
Christine Michael, Seattle Seahawks (vs. Atlanta Falcons)
Thomas Rawls is still out, so Michael will have the backfield to himself once again. He's been enjoying a breakout year with 290 rushing yards and 4.6 yards per attempt in four games, and has strong upside against the Falcons' beatable defense. Fantasy owners can fire up C-Mike as a borderline RB1 in all league formats.
Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers (@ New Orleans Saints)
Making his return from a hamstring injury, Stewart will try to kickstart a running game that's been stuck in neutral since he went down in Week 2. It's the Saints defense on the Superdome speed track, so every Panthers' skill position player should get fantasy consideration for this matchup. Stewart should quickly re-establish his RB2 value here.
Lamar Miller, Houston Texans (vs. Indianapolis Colts)
Miller has been something of a disappointment, averaging only 3.7 yards per carry and failing to score a touchdown so far. However, the Texans are still feeding him heavy workloads and should continue leaning on him with Brock Osweiler badly struggling. The Colts' defense ranks only 18th against the run, so Miller has a decent shot at finding the end zone for the first time this week. Fantasy owners shouldn't give up on him yet.
Justin Forsett, Detroit Lions (vs. Los Angeles Rams)
Theo Riddick is out and Dwayne Washington is limited with a foot injury, so it's plausible that the Lions give Forsett lots of carries after signing him off the street this week. Fantasy owners might be tempted to use Forsett as a pinch flex play, but we advise caution. In two games with the Baltimore Ravens, Forsett averaged only 3.2 yards per carry and looked washed up at 31 years old. Even against a friendly Bears defense, Forsett has a low fantasy ceiling and even lower floor. Wait and see if he shows something before you use him in lineups.
Matt Forte, New York Jets (@ Arizona Cardinals)
Forte is now losing passing-down snaps to Bilal Powell, so owners can no longer count on him getting the kind of workloads he did in the first two weeks. Although Arizona's run defense is 23rd in the league in yards allowed per game, the Jets' offense is a mess with Eric Decker done for the year and Ryan Fitzpatrick imploding. His fantasy arrow is trending down for the rest of the season.
Matt Jones, Washington (vs. Philadelphia Eagles)
Jones has shown some flashes this season, but outside of Week 4 when he had 117 rushing yards, he hasn't cleared 70 yards in any other game. His ball security issues have also started cropping up, as he lost a fumble last week. And now Washington faces the Eagles and their fierce defensive line anchored by Fletcher Cox. Jones is a hard pass in standard leagues this week.