Fantasy Football RBBC Breakdown: Week 5

joshua kelley

RBBC Breakdown

Week 5 is here already after a week that was a doozy. Week 4 saw Nick Chubb and Austin Ekeler added to the injury report that already includes Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, Raheem Mostert, Leveon Bell, Leonard Fournette, Tarik Cohen and so many more. And this doesn’t even address the lack of Derrick Henry due to COVID! But don’t fret. The purpose of this article is to provide understanding into the running back by committees (RBBC) that hold fantasy value. Using the data that is provided below will help you be prepared to make a move ahead of time for a guy in a committee or if/when an issue arises.

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 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

NameTeamGMSSNAPSSNAPS/GMSNAP %UTIL %FPtsFPts/100 SnapsPlays Used% Offense
Derrick HenryTEN316153.773.955.951.5329041.31
Dalvin CookMIN417042.571.750.693.454.98636.28
Josh JacobsLV418746.867.853.56936.910036.27
Christian McCaffreyCAR2112568044.653.347.65035.68
Alvin KamaraNO417443.567.248.9127.773.48532.86
Clyde Edwards-HelaireKC418746.867.548.163.333.99032.47
Aaron JonesGB415438.555.857.1101.966.28831.86
Ezekiel ElliottDAL428270.588.735.588.231.310031.49

These are the guys that are must starts in fantasy lineups (when healthy and playing of course!).  These guys are getting not only on the field but are getting used. These are all guys that you would have needed to draft in the first two rounds of drafts so it is promising to see them on this list. Some honorable mentions are Joe Mixon and Melvin Gordon who were just 0.25% below the 30% of Total Offense needed to make the chart above. Mixon will hopefully make his typical resurgence later in the season and actually start returning on your early draft capital investment. Gordon on the other hand has Philip Lindsay returning from injury and rejoining the backfield committee. I expect Gordon to maintain the lead back role but his volume will definitely take a hit.

Week 4 RBBC Review

Detriot Lions

RBBC Review

NameOPPSNAPSSNAP %UTIL %FPtsFPts/100SnapsPlays Used% Offense
Adrian PetersonNO2744.348.19.635.61321.31
D’Andre SwiftNO2337.734.815.266.1813.12
Kerryon JohnsonNO111836.42.22046.55

The Lions have been a frustrating team in real and fantasy football. The Lions backfield just got more intricate with the return of Kerryon Johnson. It seems as though HC Matt Patricia will only play his running backs on specific plays with very little variety. Peterson will get the early-down work and will come in at the goal line regardless of how well Swift is running. Swift will get work on third down or in desperate passing downs. As much as I believe in Swift’s potential, I equally believe that Patricia will not allow him to have a lead back role. Unless I am desperate due to the various injuries or COVID related issues, I am trying to avoid playing the Lions backfield.

Cleveland Browns

RBBC Review

NameOPPSNAPSSNAP %UTIL %FPtsFPts/100SnapsPlays Used% Offense
D’Ernest JohnsonDAL1722.776.59.555.91317.37
Kareem HuntDAL2634.742.319.173.51114.68
Nick ChubbDAL1418.742.94.330.768.02
Dontrell HilliardDAL1520403.120.768.00
Andy JanovichDAL243200000.00

I am embarrassed about the performance of my Dallas Cowboys defense. However, the Browns took full advantage both on the ground and through the air. With Nick Chubb expected to miss six weeks of play there will be plenty of extra touches to go around. For all of the Kareem Hunt owners (of which I am one), I have bad news – I do not think this means Hunt becomes a bell-cow back. First of all, Hunt has been dealing with nagging injuries himself. Secondly, D’Ernest Johnson ran well against the aforementioned embarrassing Cowboys D. Johnson paced the Browns in rushing yards, despite 9 fewer snaps than Hunt, and led the RBs in Plays Used. If you have a roster spot available Johnson is worth an added while Chubb recovers. Also, If Hunt’s injury intensifies, the cost of Johnson will sky-rocket so grabbing him now could be a huge value.

New England Patriots

RBBC Review

NameOPPSNAPSSNAP %UTIL %FPtsFPts/100SnapsPlays Used% Offense
Damien HarrisKC2330.773.91043.51722.69
Rex BurkheadKC2634.746.2623.11216.03
James WhiteKC4053.327.512.932.21114.66
Jakob JohnsonKC2330.700000.00

Welcome to the party, Damien Harris! In a game almost no one would have predicted the only scores through half-time would be three field goals, the New England running backs were central to the game plan in trying to limit the Cheifs possesions. Unfortunately, the Patriots offense was plagued by bad to terrible quarterback play and a strong defensive effort by Kansas City. Harris rushed for a 100 yards on his rookie debut and led the team in Plays Used despite being on the field less than Burkhead or White. White maintained his role as the pass-catcher reeling in a team-high seven receptions. White led the backfield in fantasy points despite being used on the least number of plays and only four rushes. The Patriots have once again earned their status as the worst NFL team for fantasy running backs. There will be points for the Patriots RBs in the future – the issue will be guessing which one will earn them. If Harris is still somehow on waivers, put in a claim just in case he can maintain his involvement in the offense. Otherwise, I am only starting New England rushers in desperation with White’s reception floor as the safest play.

Los Angeles Chargers

RBBC Review

NameOPPSNAPSSNAP %UTIL %FPtsFPts/100SnapsPlays Used% Offense
Joshua KelleyTB3056.6404.314.31222.64
Justin JacksonTB2139.638.14.119.5815.09
Austin EkelerTB35.71002.48035.70
Gabe NabersTB713.228.61.927.123.78

Although I’ve been an Ekeler nay-sayer since the off-season, it’s still a shame to see another high-profile RB go down to injury. As Adam Schefter reported, Ekeler was on crutches and in a brace for his partially torn hamstring. Ekeler’s injury opens the door for Joshua Kelley to take the lead back role. Kelley led the Chargers’ runners in Snaps as well as Plays Used however he only managed 7 yards. More concerning for Kelley but possibly the opening Justin Jackson needs, Kelley had his second lost fumble on the year this past week. Jackson didn’t look a great deal better than Kelley with only 2 more yards on the ground. Jackson is worth a $0 waiver add if you have a roster spot available. Tampa Bay has a stout run defense but the Chargers backs face a more manageable front against the Saints in Week 5. I am playing Kelley all over as I believe he will maintain his volume and could hit pay dirt against a team that just let AP and Swift find the endzone.

Washington Football Team

RBBC Review

NameOPPSNAPSSNAP %UTIL %FPtsFPts/100SnapsPlays Used% Offense
Antonio GibsonBAL3143.758.122.873.51825.39
J.D. McKissicBAL3954.925.69.624.61014.05
Peyton BarberBAL57800.51045.60

I debated putting the Washington Football Team in here because of how bad their offense has been. However, Antonio Gibson’s 128 total yard and one touchdown performance pushed me to write it. Peyton Barber started the season looking like he could be a fantasy-relevant goalline back after punching two in during the season opener. But that glory was short-lived as his 17 attempts Week 1 is just one attempt shy of three times his Week 2-4 attempts combined. Gibson and McKissic have risen to the top of the depth chart and have developed a clear RBBC. Gibson has the skills and talents to be a bell-cow back but HC Ron Rivera has yet to unleash him. McKissic continues to get a sizeable chunk of the passing game and third-down work. by contrast, Gibson has yet to record a rush on third down and only has a single target on third down.  I excited about Gibson’s future because the more work he gets the better he looks. I want to say McKissic is a guy worth grabbing in deep leagues. But, I just can’t, considering how bad the WFT offense is and that I don’t trust McKissic as a led back.

That’s all for Week 4! As you’re watching Week 5 keep an eye on Tampa Bay, Buffalo, and the LA Rams. They either have a player gaining some reps (Vaughn in TB) or have players coming back from injury (Moss in Buffalo and Akers in LA). If you want to vote for a team for next week’s RBBC, look for a Tweet every Monday morning asking which team from the weekend you think should be included in the RBBC Review. Be sure to follow me (@FFTheAtHomeDad) and reply! Until next time, catch you on the flip side…

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