Fantasy RB Start/Sit Week 5: Devin Singletary Full Blast, Melvin Gordon III Not so Fast

As we head into the third week of the season, what does our RB start/sit Week 5 report look like? Are there any matchups to either exploit or avoid?

We are now four weeks into the 2022 fantasy football season and starting to get a better idea of what these teams are. Decisions will only get more difficult from here on out. Let’s take a look at our RB start/sit Week 5 plays.

Week 5 Fantasy Football RB Start ’ems

Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills (vs. PIT)

This might be the best spot Devin Singletary finds himself in all season. The Bills are heavy home favorites against the Steelers. While they are still one of the most pass-heavy teams in the league, there will be no shortage of opportunities to run while their defense eats Kenny Pickett alive.

Singletary is only averaging 3.8 yards per carry. Fortunately, the Steelers allow the eighth-most fantasy points to running backs.

More encouraging is Singletary’s sudden involvement in the passing game. He’s seen 16 targets over his past two games.

Singletary has also seen his snap share increase considerably. He played 73% of the snaps in Week 3 and 88% in Week 4. Singletary is the clear lead back on a top-three offense. Start him this week against the Steelers.

Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson, New England Patriots (vs. DET)

We have officially entered the start your running backs against the Lions portion of this year’s programming.

Where do we even begin with the Lions’ run defense? They allow 116.8 rushing yards per game to opposing running backs and have allowed eight rushing touchdowns. Moreover, Detroit is allowing the second-most fantasy points per game to RBs. It’s just a bright green light for running backs when they see the Lions on the schedule.

MORE: Early Fantasy Football Start/Sit Week 5

For the past three weeks, it’s been about a 60-40 split in favor of Rhamondre Stevenson in the Patriots’ backfield. Stevenson has been the more active back in the passing game with five targets in each of his past two games. Meanwhile, Damien Harris has been a little more involved in the ground with 29 carries to Stevenson’s 26 over that span. He’s also been the goal-line back, scoring in three straight.

There’s enough here for both backs to produce. Harris has produced RB2 or better numbers in three straight games while Stevenson has done so in two straight. In a fantastic matchup where the Patriots will likely lean on the run starting their third-string rookie quarterback, fantasy managers can safely start both Patriots running backs.

Week 5 Fantasy Football RB Sit ’ems

Melvin Gordon III, Denver Broncos (vs. IND)

I fully acknowledge this recommendation may come back to bite me. However, I’m just not buying it with Melvin Gordon III.

With Javonte Williams done for the season, fantasy managers are reasonably assuming Gordon reclaims the RB1 role. I’m not so sure. Gordon will undoubtedly be involved, but this could very well be a pretty even split with Mike Boone or, even worse, a three-man timeshare with Latavius Murray.

Last week, Gordon played just 10 snaps. Boone played 19. Boone also ran more routes and saw more targets.

To be fair, the reason for that can be attributed to Gordon’s fumble that the Raiders returned for a touchdown. Unfortunately, the fumble issues aren’t going away. Gordon has now fumbled five times in his last 44 carries. Coaches are often too quick to bench players due to a single fumble, but this has become a recurring problem.

The Colts allow just 75.5 rushing yards per game to running backs. They’re not the most imposing run defense, but they’re not exactly a favorable matchup, either. Combine that with the Broncos operating on a short week with a quarterback who I still maintain is pretty washed, and I don’t love starting Gordon on Thursday night against the Colts.

Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks (at NO)

I know what you’re thinking. Rashaad Penny just led the entire NFL in rushing last week. He’s seen 31 carries over the past two weeks, and he’s now averaging six ypc on the season. How can we bench him?

Viewing Penny as a must-start is the epitome of recency bias. Yes, last week counts. But so do the three prior weeks where Penny failed to score more than 8.7 PPR fantasy points.

Despite Penny’s monster Week 4, he remains a touchdown-dependent grinder. He provides nothing in the passing game, commanding just five targets this season.

The Saints are not the Lions’ swiss cheese defense. New Orleans allows the third-fewest fantasy points per game to RBs and have allowed just one rushing score all season.

This game projects to be much lower in scoring than the Lions-Seahawks shootout. Penny is the goal-line back so he’s always a threat to fall into the end zone. I just fear we’re getting another sub-10-point performance if he can’t score.


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