After five weeks of play, the Cardinals’ offence has been one of the biggest letdowns in the NFL, and I believe the running backs are primarily to blame. They started last season ranked ninth in RB scoring but are currently ranked 21st. James Conner hasn’t been fantastic, and the offence that has always allowed for numerous Fantasy-relevant running backs to thrive hasn’t produced much success for anybody else.
I rank Eno Benjamin among the best 12 backs to start this week: Conner has a rib ailment and Darrel Williams has a knee problem, so that’s where it all begins. With Jonathan Ward also injured, Kelvin Benjamin is the only healthy running back on the team and might get significant playing time in Week 6 against the Seahawks. Also, that’s why he’s a top-12 pick.
Because even though Geno Smith has made the Seahawks’ offence one of the biggest surprises of the season, the team’s defence has been abysmal. They’ve given up the fifth-most points to opposing running backs, and they’re ranked 31st in defensive DVOA (a measure of a team’s overall defensive effectiveness) on FootballOutsiders.com.
They’ve allowed at least 100 scrimmage yards to a running back in each game this season, including 194 to Alvin Kamara in Week 5 and 108 to Jamaal Williams in Week 4. If Conner is healthy, Benjamin’s value plummets, but if he’s out, he’s a no-brainer for a top-12 fantasy wide receiver spot. Perhaps even my initial placement of RB11 in this group of rankings is too low for him.
Eno Benjamin, football player. pic.twitter.com/9OcaObRruK
— PHNX Cardinals (@PHNX_Cardinals) October 4, 2022
Here is my initial rating of running backs for Week 6, along with some observations on the players I considered while making these rankings and projections for some of the most intriguing names this week.
Throughout the week, we will provide updates based on any new information we receive regarding player injuries. Keep in mind that the Lions, Titans, Raiders, and Texans are all resting their starters this week due to the start of their bye weeks; thus, you won’t be able to count on seeing Jamaal Williams, D’Andre Swift, Derrick Henry, Josh Jacobs, or Dameon Pierce. You will surely miss them.
Benjamin started 10 games for Arizona State as a rookie in 2017, rushing 23 times for 142 yards and a score. In 2017, Benjamin added to his 2017 total of 119 return yards as a punt returner, which was a significant contribution to the special teams unit.
In 2018, during his sophomore year, he rushed for 312 yards, setting a new school record. After stirring for 1,083 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior, Benjamin chose to skip his senior year and enter the 2020 NFL Draft instead.
On April 29, 2020, the Arizona Cardinals took a chance on Benjamin and the 222nd overall choice in the NFL Draft. In his debut season, he was inactive for every single game.
At the start of the 2021 season, Benjamin was listed as the Cardinals’ third-string running back behind Chase Edmonds and James Conner. Benjamin, starting in place of Edmonds in Week 9 against the 49ers, rushed for the first rushing touchdown of his NFL career. Through the end of the season’s nine games, he had 118 yards and one touchdown.