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Shuffle Up: What’s so special about Trent Richardson, again?

Scott Pianowski
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Colt of Contention (USAT)

You should know the drill by now. These rankings below are rest-of-season rankings, not Week 6 rankings. Pretend you're assembling a team from scratch, starting now. What's happened to this point is an audition but that's it - we're not simply ranking the players by how they've scored to this point.

Have some disagreements? That's logical. That's why we have a game, after all. Your respectful and intelligent disagreement is always welcome in the comments.

This week, it's running backs and tight ends. In the odd weeks, we'll get the quarterbacks and wideouts.

$36 Adrian Peterson
$35 Jamaal Charles
$34 LeSean McCoy
$31 Marshawn Lynch
$30 Matt Forte
$27 Ray Rice
$26 Arian Foster
$25 Reggie Bush
$25 Alfred Morris

Everyone knows what Charles can do between the 20s, but the new coaching staff isn't treating him any differently in scoring territory. Charles already has 25 opportunities (rushes plus targets) in the red zone, far and away the most among backs, and his eight goal-line opportunities are tied for first . . . Foster has proven durable through five games, not that anyone throws a parade over 4.0 YPC. Running-mate Ben Tate is at 6.2 for his 41 carries, though he's also fumbled a couple of times . . . Morris only has three carries in the red zone this year and one rush inside the 10. The Redskins might be a mediocre club, but let's see those numbers for what they are - a stone fluke. It might be a good time to buy low on Morris.

$23 DeMarco Murray
$22 Doug Martin
$21 Frank Gore
$20 Knowshon Moreno
$20 Eddie Lacy
$19 Trent Richardson
$19 C.J. Spiller
$19 Le'Veon Bell

If Richardson weren't the No. 3 player from his draft class, would anyone make a bother over him? He's tops in goal-line and inside-10 carries this year, and tenth in carries overall. The return? Two measly touchdowns and a crummy 3.1 YPC. Richardson's longest run this season is 16 yards and he's posted just one rush over 26 yards in his entire NFL career. If he were something special, we better see evidence of it soon.

Of course we can't drop him too far in the ranks - the Colts want to run the ball more than most clubs, and Richardson is a safe volume play. But I still think this is an overrated commodity.

It's mind-boggling to see Spiller ignored in the passing game; just nine grabs (for 29 yards) through the first five weeks. Show us something, Doug Marrone. Figure out a way to get your most explosive player in space . . . I'd like to go higher on Moreno, who looks terrific. Injury concerns knock him down a peg or two, but so long as he's healthy, there's no shot of him losing the gig to Hillman or Ball. Moreno's dynamic pass-blocking is a key factor here . . . I'd like to go higher on Gore, perhaps the most underrated back of his generation. But we have to consider the downside: he's 30; he's not catching the ball a lot these days (five receptions); and the Niners like to close with other backs in the fourth period (Gore has just 11 rushes in the final period).

$18 Giovani Bernard
$16 Chris Johnson
$15 Darren Sproles
$14 Fred Jackson
$14 Danny Woodhead
$13 Lamar Miller
$12 DeAngelo Williams
$11 Darren McFadden
$11 *Steven Jackson
$11 Bilal Powell
$11 Stevan Ridley
$10 Maurice Jones-Drew
$10 Joique Bell
$10 Willis McGahee

I tend to expect less from major injury comebacks, and Jackson's situation falls in line with that. Atlanta's offensive line is a joke and the team overall is in dire straits - I'm not going to assume Jackson comes back to work wearing a cape, ready to save the day . . . McGahee already has eight carries inside the five, tied for most in the league. His ordinary rate of converting his carries has padded the total, but it's still encouraging to see him relied upon in this area.

$9 Zac Stacy
$9 Pierre Thomas
$7 BenJarvus Green-Ellis
$6 Rashard Mendenhall
$6 Jacquizz Rodgers
$6 *Shane Vereen
$5 Ryan Mathews
$5 Ben Tate
$5 Andre Ellington
$5 Brandon Bolden
$4 Bernard Pierce
$4 Brandon Jacobs

I don't know anyone who thinks Mendenhall is better than Ellington, but the Cardinals seem insistent on limiting the workload for their 199-pound rookie. There's still some flex appeal, but unless the plan changes, say goodbye to the theoretical upside . . . Stacy passed the eye test in his first start, gaining positive yards on all 14 of his carries. Okay, Jacksonville is a cushy matchup. I'm eager to see what Stacy can do at Houston in Week 6.

$3 Ronnie Hillman
$3 Jason Snelling
$3 Daryl Richardson
$3 Bryce Brown
$3 LeGarrette Blount
$3 Kendall Hunter
$3 Donald Brown
$3 Roy Helu
$2 Mike Goodson
$2 Rashad Jennings
$2 *Jonathan Stewart
$2 Chris Ogbonnaya
$2 Johnathan Franklin
$2 *Shonn Greene
$2 Montee Ball
$2 Daniel Thomas
$2 James Starks
$2 Chris Ivory
$1 Da'Rel Scott
$1 Robert Turbin
$1 *Mark Ingram
$1 Marcel Reece
$1 Mike Tolbert
$1 Michael Bush
$1 *Andre Brown
$1 Jordan Todman
$1 Knile Davis
$1 Jackie Battle
$1 Christine Michael
$1 Lance Dunbar
$0 *David Wilson
$0 Ronnie Brown
$0 Felix Jones
$0 Jonathan Dwyer
$0 Isaiah Pead
$0 Toby Gerhart

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Matchup nightmare (USAT)

$25 Jimmy Graham
$19 Julius Thomas
$18 Tony Gonzalez
$17 Jordan Cameron
$16 Vernon Davis
$16 Jason Witten
$14 Antonio Gates
$14 *Rob Gronkowski
$13 Greg Olsen

I'm over the word count on Gronkowski for the year; you should know my stance by now. I don't own him and I doubt I'm trading for him. No one knows when he'll play, no one knows how he'll play upon return, and obviously this is a player with an extensive injury and surgery history. (If you have a stake in Gronkowski, this Ben Volin piece from Friday's Boston Globe is a must read.) . . . Gonzalez's basketball background is easy to pinpoint; he's one of those players who's open even when he's not open. But he'll see a ridiculous amount of defensive attention going forward, with Julio Jones done for the year and Roddy White recovering slowly. Perhaps it won't matter that much between the 20s, but things can get congested and tricky in the scoring area.

$12 Martellus Bennett
$11 Jermichael Finley
$11 Heath Miller
$9 Coby Fleener
$9 Charles Clay
$8 Jared Cook
$7 Garrett Graham
$7 Kyle Rudolph

Matt Schaub struggles to make throws outside the numbers, which means Graham is a terrific plug-and-play while Owen Daniels is hurt . . . Time to throw up your hands and give up the Cook ghost. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has no idea how to utilize his athletic tight end . . . The Bears don't go overboard with Bennett, but he does have four looks inside the 10, and three inside the five. And as we discussed earlier in the week, there are only four primary pass receivers on this roster, a good thing for our purposes.

$5 Brent Celek
$5 Brandon Pettigrew
$4 Tyler Eifert
$4 Jeff Cumberland
$3 Jermaine Gresham
$3 Brandon Myers
$3 *Owen Daniels
$2 Delanie Walker
$2 Scott Chandler
$2 Jordan Reed

Let's hear it for Cumberland, who's scored two straight weeks and no longer has Kellen Winslow to worry about. You watch his tape and wonder what took so long for the Jets to stumble onto him.

$1 Dallas Clark
$1 Mychal Rivera
$1 Fred Davis
$1 Zach Miller
$1 Sean McGrath
$1 Rob Housler
$1 Zach Ertz
$1 Lance Kendricks
$0 Ben Watson
$0 Ed Dickson
$0 Marcedes Lewis
$0 Anthony Fasano
$0 Zach Sudfeld

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