Week 5 Field Pass: Surging wide receivers, dire state of running backs

It has been a tough fantasy football season at running back for many, but the depth at wide receiver has never been greater. Chris Godwin is among the many wideouts whose arrows are pointing upward. Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire

I've been covering fantasy football for quite some time now and have had the honor of meeting many fellow fantasy managers during various offseason occasions (a part of the job that should never be taken for granted, I might add).

Without fail, the most popular question I receive during these interactions is simple: "Who should I take first overall in my draft this year?"

It's a logical question and one that usually leads back to a similar answer: whoever the top-rated running back is going into that season, as the chat invariably pivots toward a discussion about the positional value of running backs compared to any other spot in fantasy football.

Yes, this offseason was, for the most part, the same: If you were to poll 100 people who are passionate about fantasy football, my suspicion is that somewhere between 90-95 of them would have cast a ballot for either Jonathan Taylor (most of them) or Christian McCaffrey (a few) to go No. 1 overall, with a handful opting for the otherworldly producer that is Cooper Kupp.

While it feels today like the dissenters who opted for Kupp were right, the focus of Field Pass this week is the dire state of running backs as things presently stand.

Entering Week 4, much of the direness was related to a simple lack of production. Taylor had a total of 19.4 fantasy points in Weeks 2 and 3, a figure that most managers would expect from their star on any given Sunday.

McCaffrey hadn't scored even 17 fantasy points in a game in Weeks 1-3, a start that had many CMC managers crying foul. Meanwhile, Alvin Kamara had played in just two games and failed to score even 8.0 points in a game, Derrick Henry had back-to-back games to start the season with 8.5 points or fewer. The list goes on and on.

And then Week 4 happened. Adding injury to insult, we now have three more running backs that are dealing with injuries, including Taylor (we'll deep dive there in a moment). While we don't know for certain whether these players will be back or not this week, it feels possible that six of the top 26 running backs will be out because of injury this week: Taylor, Kamara, D'Andre Swift, Javonte Williams, David Montgomery and Cordarrelle Patterson.

Elite running backs are hard to find, especially this year. Let's look at the next players up in regards to the three new injuries that were suffered in Week 4:

Jonathan Taylor, Colts: