Fantasy Football

Fantasy Breakdown: RBBC Review Week 8

Running Back By Committee Review Week 8

We are half-way through the Fantasy Football season. How well have you been able to pick out which RB is the workhorse back versus the 3rd down specialist? This article is all about giving you the right tools you need to pick out which back in a crowded running back room should be your play for the week or rest-of-season.

Before we jump into it, a quick note on the data and terms used. All of the raw data is available at many free websites, but FantasyData is where I have collected the majority of data before analyzing it further. I will be looking at the percentage of a team’s total offensive plays that a player was the focal point of the play (either via handoff or passing target). This will be referred to as % of Offense. This stat was greater than 10% more correlated with PPR points than typical snap percentages through the first five weeks of 2019. I also used FantasyData’s Fantasy Points per 100 snaps to help compare running backs as if they had received the same number of snaps. This statistic helps to answer the question, “what if this secondary RB got as many snaps as the lead RB?”

Season Long Workhorses

Christian McCaffrey CAR 6 96% 65.3 172 0.42 181.3 46.2
Leonard Fournette JAX 7 91% 63.7 182 0.37 123.8 27.8
Le’Veon Bell NYJ 6 92% 57.3 137 0.37 91.1 26.5
Dalvin Cook MIN 7 68% 44.7 161 0.35 164.5 52.6
Nick Chubb CLE 6 77% 51.2 140 0.35 127.5 41.5
Ezekiel Elliott DAL 7 80% 55.9 165 0.34 135.8 34

“PPR Pts” is divided by 100 Snaps

Week 8 WorkhorsesZeke has returned to full-blown season-long workhorse status! Too bad the Cowboys are now on a bye. But, when they come back in Week 9, they get to face the abysmal defense of the New York Football Giants – a team that just got shredded by Chase Edmonds (more to come on him!). The other guys on the list have been up here for a while and there’s no indication that there will be any changes to these guys’ workload in the foreseeable future. Chris Carson, Derrick Henry, Josh Jacobs, and Marlon Mack are all in the 30%-32% range. Alvin Kamara is taking a hit being out due to injury. When Kamara gets back to full health be ready to plug and play him just like everyone else in the section.

Week 8 Workhorses

Name Team SNAP % Plays Used % OFF PPR Pts PPR Pts
Chase Edmonds ARI 93.80% 31 48% 35 57.4
Latavius Murray NO 83.30% 33 42% 32 49.2
Adrian Peterson WAS 64.60% 20 42% 6.1 19.7
Ezekiel Elliott DAL 78.60% 29 41% 26.7 48.5
Leonard Fournette JAX 90.20% 31 38% 16.5 22.3
Dalvin Cook MIN 69.90% 27 37% 27.9 54.7
Josh Jacobs OAK 56.10% 24 36% 16.4 44.3
Chris Carson SEA 88.90% 26 36% 10.4 16.2
Derrick Henry TEN 75% 23 36% 17.8 37.1

Holy Moly! What a week for running backs! There were an additional four running backs that were over 30% of their teams’ offense in Week 7 making a total of 13! Owners of David Johnson are probably a little mad, but anyone with Chase Edmonds is loving what happened in Week 7. DJ is currently listed as Questionable but he seems unlikely to play in Week 8. Fire up our friend from Fordham, Chase Edmonds! Latavius Murray had himself a day with Kamara watching, which could lead to some split-backfield talk when Kamara gets healthy but I’m not buying it yet. The only player here that I’m not throwing into line ups is Adrian Peterson. This is less about him as a running back but more about the Washington Redskins, for me.  Everyone else is at least a flex play. In fact, Tevin Coleman and Adrian Peterson were the only two running backs over 30% of their teams’ offense that did not finish as a top24 RB (Tevin Coleman was 25th).

Los Angeles Chargers

RBBC Review

Name Team SNAP % Plays Used % OFF PPR Pts PPR Pts
Austin Ekeler LAC 59.40% 13 20% 25.5 67.1
Melvin Gordon LAC 53.10% 19 30% 8.9 26.2
Derek Watt LAC 7.80% 0 0% 0 0

The Austin Ekeler versus Melvin Gordon Fantasy battle has been in full effect since rumors of Gordon returning from his holdout began. And Ekeler has been winning. Despite having close to even snap percentages and Gordon typically touching the ball more, Gordon has yet to put up double-digit PPR points while Ekeler has put over 20 PPR points twice. As much as I would like to say that Gordon is just getting started and need a few games to warm up, his next games are not going to be easy games for him to succeed. In Week 8 the Chargers go to Chicago to face the ferocious Bears defense and then in Week 9, they host a formidable Packers defense. Both of these games scream pass-heavy game script which is pushing me away from Gordon and more to Ekeler.

Detriot Lions

RBBC Review

Name Team SNAP % Plays Used % OFF PPR Pts PPR Pts
Ty Johnson DET 64.50% 14 18% 9.7 19.8
JD McKissic DET 25% 8 11% 8 42.1
Kerryon Johnson DET 14.50% 6 8% 2.3 20.9
Nick Bawden DET 9.20% 0 0% 0 0

With Kerryon Johnson being placed on IR, effectively ending his Fantasy season, everyone is going to try to pick his replacement. Last week, I talked up JD McKissic as a deeper option as a 3rd-down back that could see some more involvement. Despite Ty Johnson’s promising performance with Kerryon going down, I still see some value in McKissic. Ty Johnson is going to be everyone’s favorite pick off the waiver wire leaving McKissic to be the value play. If you have the option, Ty Johnson is safer play as he figures to take over lead back duties while I like McKissic’s upside.

Denver Broncos

RBBC Review

Name Team SNAP % Plays Used % OFF PPR Pts PPR Pts
Royce Freeman DEN 62.70% 15 22% 16.7 39.8
Phillip Lindsay DEN 40.30% 12 18% 4.2 15.6
Andy Janovich DEN 19.40% 1 1% 3.2 24.6

Royce FreemanI might give the Broncos a bye week from this series next week because it seems to be almost impossible to pick which RB will be the featured back on any given Sunday. I am still going pick Lindsay if I have to pick one of these guys based on his raw talent. However, the Broncos just traded veteran wideout Emmanuel Sanders and Joe Flacco has been a liability all year and getting worse. This is an offense I would prefer not to have to touch but either Lindsay or Freeman has put up over 15 PPR points every week except for weeks one and four. This makes them at least flex worthy. You just have to hope you win the coin toss. Week 8 the Broncos travel to the Colts who have a solid defense. I think Lindsay is still the better play here and would roll him out over Freeman.

Green Bay Packers

RBBC Review

Name Team SNAP % Plays Used % OFF PPR Pts PPR Pts
Aaron Jones GB 56.70% 16 27% 18.3 53.8
Jamaal Williams GB 40% 8 13% 13.1 54.6
Dan Vitale GB 28.30% 2 3% 6.3 37.1
Dexter Williams GB 10% 3 5% 0.2 3.3

I really like the idea of Dexter Williams getting some touches but seriously this backfield is enough of an issue with only Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams.  Jones looked like an absolute stud with Williams was nursing a concussion. Then, Williams came back and basically said: “hold my beer”. Now, Jones is back in the driver seat having double the plays intended for him than Williams. The tricky part is they were both about as effective in terms of earning fantasy points per snap. I think Jones is by far the superior player here but it seems like the only way this will not be an RBBC is if one of the main guys in hurt. Again I love Dexter Williams, but seriously let’s get those three plays to Jones – every bit counts!

Miami Dolphins

RBBC Review

Name Team SNAP % Plays Used % OFF PPR Pts PPR Pts
Kenyan Drake MIA 41.10% 10 14% 8.8 29.3
Mark Walton MIA 52.10% 15 21% 6.8 17.9
Kalen Ballage MIA 6.80% 3 4% 6.7 134

I think it ‘s pretty fair to say Miami is a mess, not just their running back situation but as a whole organization. Unfortunately, when an organization is a mess, there is less opportunity for a running back to show the ability they have. Drake, Walton, and Ballage are all guys that I have liked at some point in their NFL career or during the scouting process. Now, the best-case scenario is that Drake gets traded. If the rumors are true, and Drake does get traded, the door opens wide for Walton or Ballage to break out. My deep stash is Walton if you are making me have to pick a Dolphin RB but for the most part stay away, like really far away!

San Francisco 49ers

RBBC Review

Name Team SNAP % Plays Used % OFF PPR Pts PPR Pts
Tevin Coleman SF 65.60% 22 34% 8.1 19.3
Matt Breida SF 26.60% 9 14% 4.6 27.1
Jeffery Wilson SF 12.50% 5 8% 2 25

This week was very un-Shanahan-esque. Coach Shanahan has been one of the most creative play-callers when it comes to the run. The elements were the real defense out there this past weekend but the big take away was the confidence that the team has in Tevin Coleman. Coleman has been separating from Breida in snaps and usage but he was a workhorse in Week 7. Despite being top-12 in total yards allowed per game, the Carolina Panthers (the 49ers Week 8 opponent) are a bottom-10 team in rushing yards allowed. I like Coleman to have a strong outing in Week 8. I also like putting Breida in the flex because he can take a well blocked run the distance from just about anywhere on the field.

That’s all of Week 8! Let me know who you want to see for Week 9.

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