Fantasy Football RBBC Breakdown: Push for the Playoffs

Fantasy Football RBBC Breakdown: Push for the Playoffs

Does anyone else feel that this season was similar to running a Tough Mudder? At the start of the season we were like, “Hey, I think I’ll go for a little jog.” But a little while later, we were asking “why am I crawling through the mud and under barbwire!?” Hopefully, you have stuck with it and have found these weekly pieces to be beneficial. This will be the last of these articles for the season (I have to prepare for all my championship runs too!). To help you prepare for the playoffs, below is a combination of the % of Total Offense stat that has been used all season in tandem with fantasy points allowed to running backs for the remaining three weeks. The goal is to project the leader of the backfield as well as the difficulty of the matchups during the fantasy football playoffs. Of course, you can always reach out to me for specific questions about backfields or fantasy in general.

Before we jump into the numbers a quick note about the data: The data that I use is populated by the Snap Counts page from FantasyData.com. I then take this raw data and calculate not just whether an RB was on the field but if they were being used and what percentage of the offense did their usage make up. Looking back at the entire season of 2019 (you can find old RBBC Reviews on my profile page), the two stats that I include and lean on heavily, % of Offense and Plays Used, were more correlated with season-long PPR points than Snaps and Snap %. For example, 93% of end of year fantasy points can be explained by the number of plays that a player is used – the more plays a player is actually used on results in more fantasy points. So, if a player is being used on a lot of plays but isn’t producing fantasy points yet, there is a likelihood that he will regress to the mean in the future and produce more fantasy points.

Season-Long Workhorses

Name Team GMS SNAPS SNAPS/GM SNAP % UTIL % FPts FPts/100 Snaps Plays Used % Offense
Dalvin Cook MIN 11 526 47.8 66.5 55.9 275.4 52.4 294 37.17
Derrick Henry TEN 12 522 43.5 64.3 57.1 226.9 43.5 298 36.72
James Robinson JAX 12 565 47.1 71.7 46.9 223.8 39.6 265 33.63
Myles Gaskin MIA 8 354 44.2 69.3 44.6 112.6 31.8 158 30.91
Josh Jacobs LV 11 465 42.3 57.8 51.6 172.7 37.1 240 29.82
Ezekiel Elliott DAL 12 671 55.9 75.9 38.6 182.8 27.2 259 29.3
Alvin Kamara NO 12 528 44 64.5 43.4 280.8 53.2 229 27.99

With this being the final installment of season-long workhorses it is only fitting that Ezekiel Elliott and Alvin Kamara are included. They are slightly below the 30% of Total offense that is typical of this section but they are clearly deserving of the ‘work-horse’ title especially when considering the number of snaps they have played. Of the seven backs listed here, all but one are in the top 8 for season-long PPR scoring at the position. Gaskin is the only back not in the top-8 due to an injury that had sidelined him from Week 8 to Week 13.  Despite the extended absence, Gaskin is currently RB28 and should easily finish as a top-24 rusher. If you are playing in the fantasy playoffs, chances are you have one if not multiple players from this list on your team.

RBBC Review: Playoff Special

Arizona Cardinals

RBBC Breakdown

Name OPP SNAPS SNAP % UTIL % FPts FPts/100 Snaps Plays Used % Offense
Kenyan Drake LAR 29 45.3 44.8 13.8 47.6 13 20.29
Chase Edmonds LAR 37 57.8 29.7 6.3 17 11 17.17

Drake and Edmonds have been fantasy relevant in their own right at particular moments through the season. Drake is regaining his fantasy value as the goalline back for the Cards. However, Edmonds is continuing to see work and has seen his % of the offense increase each of the past three weeks. What makes this a tough play for fantasy owners is the progressively more difficult opponents Arizona’s runners will face through the fantasy playoffs. The New York Giants are middle of the pack as a defense against fantasy rushers on the season but have put together a string of admirable defensive performances over the past couple of weeks. After the Giants, Arizona continues against their former divisional rivals, the NFC east, and take on the Philadephia Eagles. The Eagles are slightly better than average against rushers and have a strong defensive front that can make for tough sledding in the run game. The fantasy playoffs are capped off with the surprisingly still stout defense of the 49ers – they are a top-10 defense against fantasy RBs. Given the difficult schedule and almost even amount of offensive plays, fantasy players should be wary of playing Drake or Edmonds. Drake is a cautious RB2 and Edmonds is lucky flex play or handcuff for Drake.

Team Week 14 Week 15 Week 16
ARI New York Giants 25.2 19 Philadelphia Eagles 21.8 14 San Francisco 49ers 20.1 8

Denver Broncos

RBBC Breakdown

Name OPP SNAPS SNAP % UTIL % FPts FPts/100 Snaps Plays Used % Offense
Melvin Gordon III KC 35 53 48.6 15.2 43.4 17 25.76
Phillip Lindsay KC 26 39.4 57.7 2.6 10 15 22.73

The ongoing struggles for Denver are almost laughable at this point. They have weathered injuries across their entire team and even a week of starting a practice squad WR at QB. However, it looks like they could be righting the ship to finish out the season respectably. Melvin Gordon has solidified himself as the main back in Mile High. The issue is Philip Lindsay continues to garner plays. Over the last three weeks, each running back accounted for over 20% of the team’s offensive plays. In those games, Melvin Gordon put up two games above 15 PPR points whereas Philip Lindsays best game was only 8 points and the other two were only two points each. The Broncos, and mainly MG3, get a very favorable playoff schedule. They play the Panthers and then the Bills – both teams are allowing top-10 most fantasy points to opposing rushers. Championship week (assuming you are having Week 16 championships, as you should) is the Broncos versus the Chargers who are average against fantasy RBs. The Broncos lack the firepower to be confident in MG3 as a top-12 RB but he should be able to put up high RB2 borderline RB1 numbers with this schedule. Lindsay is nothing more than a handcuff at this point but worthy of that role on a roster.

Team Week 14 Week 15 Week 16
DEN Carolina Panthers 26.6 25 Buffalo Bills 25.1 24 Los Angeles Chargers 25.1 18

Indianapolis Colts

RBBC Breakdown

Name OPP SNAPS SNAP % UTIL % FPts FPts/100 Snaps Plays Used % Offense
Jonathan Taylor HOU 33 47.8 48.5 22.5 68.2 16 23.18
Nyheim Hines HOU 23 33.3 39.1 12.2 53 9 13.02
Jordan Wilkins HOU 13 18.8 53.8 3.8 29.2 7 10.11

Week 13 provided the Jonathan Taylor experience that people have been waiting and hoping for all season. The rookie took advantage of a bottom of the league rushing defense for 135 scrimmage yards and a receiving score. Hines was the back that struggled in this game with 1.7 yards per attempt (JT had 7 yards/att). Hines’ day was saved by a rushing score. JT should be in fantasy lineups for the playoffs because he gets to run against the 29th worst rushing defense and follows that up with the 31st rushing defense for fantasy RBs. Week 15 is a second go at the poor rushing defense of the Texans. The only issue is that Colts will square off against the run-stuffing Steelers in Week 16 so plan accordingly.  Hines will continue to be what he has been all season, a guy you can start when you need to and hope he has a 15+ point week (he has had 4 so far) vs a sub 10 outing (he has had 3 – one was 9,52 points tho).

Team Week 14 Week 15 Week 16
IND Las Vegas Raiders 28.6 29 Houston Texans 32.8 31 Pittsburgh Steelers 18.1 3

New England Patriots

RBBC Breakdown

Name OPP SNAPS SNAP % UTIL % FPts FPts/100 Snaps Plays Used % Offense
Damien Harris LAC 33 49.3 51.5 10.5 31.8 17 25.39
Sony Michel LAC 22 32.8 50 6.8 30.9 11 16.4
James White LAC 19 28.4 21.1 3.1 16.3 4 5.99
Jakob Johnson LAC 28 41.8 3.6 1.1 3.9 1 1.5

The New England backfield has had moments of success but most weeks have been disappointing. A Week 13 blowout of the Chargers should have led to at least one of the Patriots rushers putting up a nice fantasy day however Harris led the way with a mediocre 10 point game. With Rex Burkhead out for the rest of the season, the door was open for a pass-catching back to step up however neither James White nor Sony Michel did. As if this backfield needed anything else to make it more difficult to trust for fantasy, they face two top-12 defenses that stifle fantasy points for rushers. Things do get easier in Week 16 as the Patriots take on the Bills but by that point, the Patriots’ backfield could have already knocked you out of the fantasy playoffs. At the moment Damien Harris is the only back that can be started with any confidence and that is as an RB2/3.  The rest of the backfield can be rostered as handcuffs or left on waivers.

Team Week 14 Week 15 Week 16
NE Los Angeles Rams 20.4 7 Miami Dolphins 22 11 Buffalo Bills 25.1 24

San Francisco 49ers

RBBC Breakdown

Name OPP SNAPS SNAP % UTIL % FPts FPts/100 Snaps Plays Used % Offense
Jeff Wilson Jr. BUF 28 45.9 42.9 7.9 28.2 12 19.69
Raheem Mostert BUF 27 44.3 37 5.3 19.6 10 16.39
Kyle Juszczyk BUF 14 23 21.4 8.1 57.9 3 4.92
Tevin Coleman BUF 4 6.6 50 -1.1 -27.5 2 3.3
Jerick McKinnon BUF 2 3.3 0 0 0 0 0

The San Francisco 49ers have been absolutely demolished by injuries this year. They have had five different running backs handle over 20% of the team’s offense for a given week and JaMycal Hasty missed the mark with an 18.5% week. However, when HC Shanahan’s backs have had 20% or greater of the offense they have put up over 15 PPR points on average which is borderline RB1 numbers. There is fantasy success in this backfield if a lead back can be established. Yet, playing any San Fran back in Week 14 is going to be a gamble as San Francisco hosts the very stingy Washington Football Team. Once the Niners make it through Week 14 there are green pastures for runners against the Cowboys in Week 15 and the Cardinals in the Championship, Week 16. Mostert is a flex, or worse, play against Washington but should be in the RB1 conversation for Weeks 15 & 16. Jeff Wilson could hit pay dirt as the goal line back in any of these weeks but is a desperation play as long as Mostert is healthy.

Team Week 14 Week 15 Week 16
SF Washington Football Team 18.7 6 Dallas Cowboys 26.8 26 Arizona Cardinals 23.1 21

Washington Football Team

RBBC Breakdown

Name OPP SNAPS SNAP % UTIL % FPts FPts/100 Snaps Plays Used % Offense
Jeff Wilson Jr. BUF 28 45.9 42.9 7.9 28.2 12 19.69
Raheem Mostert BUF 27 44.3 37 5.3 19.6 10 16.39
Kyle Juszczyk BUF 14 23 21.4 8.1 57.9 3 4.92
Tevin Coleman BUF 4 6.6 50 -1.1 -27.5 2 3.3
Jerick McKinnon BUF 2 3.3 0 0 0 0 0

Antonio Gibson has led the Washington backfield in % of Offense for all but two weeks this season. It is bad luck and indicative of 2020 that he is not inflicted with turf toe. Gibson is doubtfully for Week 14 and may end up missing more games through the fantasy playoffs and possible championship as turf toe can linger and take multiple weeks to heal. Sitting out Week 14 might actually be a blessing in disguise as Washington travels to the west coast to take on the stout San Francisco defense. J.D. McKissic and Peyton Barber will struggle to find running room against this top-10 fantasy run-stopping squad. McKissic will continue his work in the passing game which makes him volatile but usually provides a safe fantasy floor. Barber on the other hand will need a goalline plunge to save his fantasy day in Week 14. If Gibson is able to play Week 15 and 16, the Washington Football team gets gifted the swiss cheese defenses of the Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers – both teams are top-10 in giving up points to fantasy rushers. Again, if Gibson is healthy, he can put up RB1 numbers in these contests. McKissic and Barber get boosted if Gibson cannot go but they are in the RB2 and RB3 conversations (respectively).

Team Week 14 Week 15 Week 16
WAS San Francisco 49ers 20.1 8 Seattle Seahawks 25.8 23 Carolina Panthers 26.6 25

I can’t believe another season of the RBBC Review has already come and gone! I hope you have enjoyed the series! If you want more playoff matchups, playoff matchups for all positions can be accessed here. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@fftheathomedad) if you have any questions! Till next time, catch you on the flip side…

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