Week 6 Fantasy Football Backfield Report

Sony Michel looks to be emerging as a true workhorse in New England. What other backfield trends should you have an eye on after Week 6?

Another week has quickly come and gone, with a few exciting games, including that massive shootout between the Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots. Data trends are getting stronger as teams have mainly figured out their identities, and it is important for us to use that information to our advantage.

Back for another review of the backfields across the league that do not heavily feature one specific back. Week 6 shed some more light on some messy backfield situations, as well as made other situations even more uncertain.

Minimal changes have been made to the data tables this week besides the removal of the Week 6 bye week teams New Orleans Saints and Detroit Lions.

This weekly piece is here to help fantasy owners see how coaching staffs are deploying their backs in terms of volume and high leverage situations.

Let's dive into the Week 6 data, and as always snap counts and red zone data come from Pro Football Reference.

Volume Metrics

The table below is sorted by total season touches for each backfield.

Running BackTeamW6 Snap %W6 TouchesSeason Snap %Season TouchesSeason RB Touch Share %
Tevin ColemanATL38/67 (56.7%)11234/410 (57.1%)8460.3%
Ito SmithATL31/67 (46.3%)13102/410 (24.9%)4224.0%
Devonta FreemanATLDNPDNP67/410 (16.3%)1915.7%
Alex CollinsBAL34/75 (45.3%)19175/389 (44.9%)8550.0%
Javorius AllenBAL28/75 (37.3%)4173/389 (44.5%)5934.7%
LeSean McCoyBUF47/62 (75.8%)19194/378 (51.3%)7449.7%
Chris IvoryBUF16/62 (25.8%)7126/378 (33.3%)5637.6%
Jordan HowardCHI36/70 (51.4%)14213/341(62.5%)8860.3%
Tarik CohenCHI34/70 (48.6%)12142/341 (41.6%)5336.3%
Joe MixonCIN42/61 (68.9%)15172/391 (43.9%)8458.7%
Mark WaltonCIN19/61 (31.1%)266/391 (16.9%)117.7%
Giovani BernardCINDNPDNP152/391 (38.9%)4833.6%
Carlos HydeCLE32/74 (43.2%)14237/463 (51.2%)12071.0%
Duke JohnsonCLE35/74 (47.3%)6198/463 (42.8%)3319.5%
Nick ChubbCLE7/74 (9.5%)333/463 (7.1%)169.5%
Phillip LindsayDEN20/66 (30.3%)10138/411 (33.6%)7542.9%
Royce FreemanDEN25/66 (37.9%)9145/411 (35.3%)6235.4%
Devontae BookerDEN22/66 (33.3%)4131/411 (31.9%)3821.7%
Jamaal WilliamsGB27/71 (36.6%)7202/434 (46.5%)6751.1%
Aaron JonesGB19/71(27.2%)868/363 (18.7%)3627.5%
Ty MontgomeryGB26/71 (36.6%)6144/434 (33.2%)2821.4%
Lamar MillerHOU41/61 (67.2%)17247/436 (56.7%)8354.9%
Alfred BlueHOU25/61 (40.9%)9187/436 (42.9%)6744.4%
Nyheim HinesIND30/69 (43.5%)5253/445 (56.9%)6744.9%
Marlon MackIND24/69 (34.9%)1342/445 (9.4%)2416.1%
Robert TurbinIND13/69 (18.8%)513/445 (2.9%)53.4%
Jordan WilkinsINDDNPDNP136/376 (36.2%)5335.6%
T.J. YeldonJAC31/48 (64.6%)11274/399 (68.7%)9261.3%
Jamaal CharlesJAC17/48 (35.4%)617/399 (4.3%)64.0%
Leonard FournetteJACDNPDNP45/399 (11.3%)2416.0%
Kareem HuntKC31/54 (57.4%)15254/391 (64.9%)11383.7%
Spencer WareKC16/54 (29.6%)481/391 (20.7%)1611.9%
Damien WilliamsKC3/54 (5.6%)131/391 (7.9%)64.4%
Melvin GordonLAC38/60 (63.3%)20270/382 (70.7%)12168.8%
Austin EkelerLAC21/60 (35.0%)7130/382 (34.0%)5531.3%
Kenyan DrakeMIA49/78 (62.8%)17223/357 (62.5%)7352.5%
Frank GoreMIA30/78 (38.5%)16139/357 (38.9%)6647.5%
Latavius MurrayMIN58/71 (81.7%)25220/417 (52.8%)6448.5%
Roc ThomasMIN5/71 (7.0%)123/417 (5.5%)75.3%
Dalvin CookMINDNPDNP125/417 (49.9%)4534.1%
Sony MichelNE37/78 (47.4%)24133/412 (32.3%)9450.3%
James WhiteNE33/78 (42.3%)11211/412 (51.2%)6635.3%
Rex BurkheadNEDNP DNP59/412 (14.3%)2714.4%
Bilal PowellNYJ32/71 (45.1%)16194/377 (51.5%)8552.1%
Isaiah CrowellNYJ29/71 (40.8%)15158/377 (41.9%)7847.9%
Marshawn LynchOAK30/60 (50.0%)16209/416 (50.2%)10558.9%
Jalen RichardOAK24/60 (40.0%)9150/416 (36.1%)4223.6%
Doug MartinOAK7/60 (11.7%)157/416 (13.7%)3117.4%
Wendell SmallwoodPHI44/71 (61.9%)19164/441 (37.2%)5431.9%
Corey ClementPHI26/71 (36.6%)14117/441 (26.5%)4928.9%
Darren Sproles PHIDNPDNP29/370 (7.8%)95.3%
Chris CarsonSEA27/64 (42.2%)14157/382 (41.1%)8445.7%
Mike DavisSEA23/64 (35.9%)7112/382 (29.3%)5127.7%
Rashad PennySEA13/64 (20.3%)1184/382 (21.9%)4423.9%
Matt BreidaSF27/57 (47.4%)14162/413 (39.2%)7440.2%
Alfred MorrisSF1/57 (1.8%)0147/413 (35.6%)7239.1%
Raheem MostertSF 23/57 (40.4%)1241/413 (9.9%)2010.9%
Kyle JuszczykSF39/57 (69.4%)3263/413 (63.7%)189.8%
Peyton BarberTB41/66 (62.1%)17200/326 (61.3%)6966.9%
Ronald JonesTB12/66 (18.2%)432/326 (7.7%)1514.4%
Jacquizz RodgersTB10/66 (15.2%)079/326(26.5%)1514.4%
Dion Lewis TEN32/44 (72.7%)7227/359 (63.2%)8352.2%
Derrick HenryTEN12/44 (27.3%)8138/359 (38.4%)7647.8%
Adrian PetersonWSH37/70 (52.9%)17149/345 (43.2%)8456.8%
Kapri BibbsWSH26/70 (37.1%)340/345 (11.6%)96.1%
Chris ThompsonWSHDNPDNP148/345 (42.9%)4933.1%

Situational Usage

Running BackTeamW6 RZ TouchesW6 RZ TargetsW6 Total TargetsSeason RZ TouchesSeason RZ TargetsSeason Total Targets
Tevin ColemanATL1229216
Ito SmithATL40212211
Devonta FreemanATLDNPDNPDNP317
Alex CollinsBAL30114414
Javorius AllenBAL00210230
LeSean McCoyBUF3054021
Chris IvoryBUF101407
Jordan HowardCHI31112313
Tarik CohenCHI2298525
Joe MixonCIN20714219
Mark WaltonCIN000107
Giovani BernardCINDNPDNPDNP7121
Carlos HydeCLE20017110
Duke JohnsonCLE0152222
Nick ChubbCLE000101
Phillip LindsayDEN10712219
Royce FreemanDEN100906
Devontae BookerDEN0131220
Jamaal WilliamsGB1136216
Aaron JonesGB301506
Ty MontgomeryGB1033121
Lamar MillerHOU10316113
Alfred BlueHOU1038215
Nyheim HinesIND0129437
Marlon MackIND413715
Robert TurbinIND101101
Jordan WilkinsINDDNPDNPDNP7410
T.J. YeldonJAC00512437
Jamaal CharlesJAC002002
Leonard FournetteJACDNPDNPDNP304
Kareem HuntKC30616315
Spencer WareKC2134210
Damien WilliamsKC000113
Melvin GordonLAC414211042
Austin EkelerLAC10013317
Kenyan DrakeMIA2167231
Frank GoreMIA301815
Latavius MurrayMIN1024013
Roc ThomasMIN000223
Sony MichelNE4012107
James WhiteNE10713951
Rex BurkheadNEDNPDNPDNP036
Bilal PowellNYJ20110117
Isaiah CrowellNYJ50215010
Marshawn LynchOAK00519518
Jalen RichardOAK0084337
Doug MartinOAK001305
Wendell SmallwoodPHI60212517
Corey ClementPHI41312113
Darren Sproles PHIDNPDNPDNP317
Chris CarsonSEA400919
Mike DavisSEA0037011
Rashad PennySEA002109
Matt BreidaSF10011313
Alfred MorrisSF00012010
Raheem MostertSF000102
Kyle JuszczykSF0032423
Peyton BarberTB40410210
Ronald JonesTB003115
Jacquizz RodgersTB000327
Dion Lewis TEN0027127
Derrick HenryTEN0011016
Adrian PetersonWSH40113010
Kapri BibbsWSH002302
Chris ThompsonWSHDNPDNPDNP6431

Smith's Role Continues to Grow for Falcons

With Devonta Freeman ruled out in Week 6, the Atlanta Falcons leaned on a two-headed committee between Tevin Coleman and Ito Smith. Smith saw his highest usage of the season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He out touched Coleman in both total touches (13 to 12) and red zone touches (4 to 1).

In the four games that Freeman has missed this season, Smith has averaged 9.5 touches and 13.7 PPR points per game. While his snap counts and touch counts continue to rise each and every week.

His emergence has put a damper on the Coleman breakout, and if Week 6 is any indication we could see the Falcons deploy them as a 60/40 split going forward as Freeman hit IR with a groin injury on Tuesday.

Smith could become a league winner if anything were to happen to Coleman, and provides stand alone value as his monstrous red zone usage should help him find the end zones. He has a good chance to hit pay dirt again in Week 7 as a home favorite against the New York Giants

Michel's Elite Red Zone Usage Continues

The New England Patriots have found themselves a steady running back in rookie Sony Michel. Since Rex Burkhead was placed on IR, Michel has seen 16 red zone carries (5.3 per game) from Weeks 4 to 6. Over that same three game span, Michel has handled an average of 22.7 touches and scored 1.3 touchdowns per game.

With no threat for touches behind him, Michel has his early-down and goalline workload well established. As the New England Patriots continue to hit their stride offensively, it will only become easier for Michel to continue cashing in on touchdowns, while opposing defense focus on Tom Brady and the passing game.

Michel faces a decent matchup in Week 7 against the Chicago Bears, who just allowed Frank Gore to rush for 101 yards on 15 touches.

Eagles Backfield Without Ajayi

With Jay Ajayi having probably played his last game as a Philadelphia Eagle after suffering an ACL injury, we got to see our first look at the backfield breakdown.

It was roughly a 60/40 split in favor of Wendell Smallwood over Corey Clement. No back seemed to have any specific role, as it looks like the Eagles feel comfortable with either back in all different situations. Both saw heavy usage in the red zone with a total of 10 touches between the two of them.

The Eagles have been using a committee backfield since Doug Peterson has been there, and it is unpredictable on a week by week basis. While this game was won rather comfortably for the Eagles, it will be interesting to see how they split the work when faced with a negative game script.

Both Smallwood and Clement have value moving forward, but could be up and down throughout the rest of the season. This is a situation to continue to monitor and see if Pederson ends up favoring one of the two backs.

Barber Continues the Destruction Running Backs are Having Against the Falcons

The thought heading into Week 6 was that the trend of running backs' success against the Atlanta Falcons might falter due to the uncertainty in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers backfield.

Ronald Jones had some momentum heading into the week, but in the end only played 12 snaps and handled 4 touches. It was actually Peyton Barber, who woke back up from the dead and smashed the Falcons to the tune of 17 touches for 106 total yards and a touchdown. He has helped the continued trend of the Falcons allowing 20+ PPR points to running backs in all six weeks now.

It seems as if Barber still has the lead in the Bucs' backfield, as Jones has not gained the trust of the coaching staff yet. Jones only saw true usage in a game in which Tampa Bay was trailing by 30 or more points against for the majority of the game against the Chicago Bears.