Week 7 Fantasy Football Backfield Report

Tarik Cohen continues to showcase his versatility, and the Bears appear as if they've figured out the best way to use him.

Another NFL week in the books, and we are now almost halfway through the regular season. This week brought some excitement in the form a few big trades around the league, with Carlos Hyde to the Jags, and Amari Cooper to the Cowboys .

Teams have started to figure out their identities, and data sets and sample sizes are starting to become more reliable.

Back for another review of the backfields across the NFL that do not heavily feature one specific back. We have some changes this week, as the Week 7 bye week teams have been removed (Green Bay Packers, Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks) and the Los Angeles Chargers were removed this week because with Melvin Gordon out with an injury, they used Austin Ekeler as a bellcow.

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

Let’s dive into the Week 7 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 BackTeamW7 Snap %W7 TouchesSeason Snap %Season TouchesSeason RB Touch Share %
Tevin ColemanATL37/65 (56.9%)13271/475 (57.1%)9758.1%
Ito SmithATL28/65 (43.1%)9130/475 (27.4%)5130.5%
Devonta FreemanATLDNPDNP67/475 (14.1%)1911.4%
Alex CollinsBAL28/68 (41.2%)14230/544 (42.3%)9951.6%
Javorius AllenBAL30/68 (44.1%)6252/544 (46.3%)6533.9%
LeSean McCoyBUF2/56 (3.4%)2196/434 (45.2%)7642.5%
Chris IvoryBUF36/56 (64.3%)19162/434 (37.3%)7541.9%
Marcus MurphyBUF18/56 (32.1%)980/434 (18.4%)2815.6%
Jordan HowardCHI46/82 (56.1%)13259/423 (61.2%)10158.4%
Tarik CohenCHI42/82 (51.2%)14184/423 (43.5%)6738.7%
Joe MixonCIN45/59 (76.3%)16217/450 (48.2%)10061.3%
Mark WaltonCIN14/59 (23.7%480/450 (17.8%)159.2%
Giovani BernardCINDNPDNP152/450 (33.8%)4829.4%
Duke JohnsonCLE35/68 (51.5%)5233/531 (43.9%)3819.8%
Nick ChubbCLE45/68 (66.2%)1878/531 (14.7%)3417.7%
Phillip LindsayDEN35/59 (59.3%)15173/470 (36.8%)9046.4%
Royce FreemanDEN18/59 (30.5%)13163/470 (34.7%)7538.7%
Devontae BookerDEN6/59 (10.2%)1137/470 (29.1%)2914.9%
Kerryon JohnsonDET38/64 (59.4%)21171/400 (42.8%)8447.5%
LeGarrette BlountDET21/64 (32.8%)10109/400 (27.3%)6033.9%
Theo RiddickDETDNPDNP134/400 (33.5%)3117.5%
Lamar MillerHOU45/64 (70.3%)23292/500 (58.4%)10657.9%
Alfred BlueHOU27/64 (42.2%)8214/500 (42.8%)7540.9%
Nyheim HinesIND17/66 (25.8%)6270/511 (52.8%)7339.0%
Jordan WilkinsIND15/66 (22.7%)7151/511 (29.5%)6032.1%
Marlon MackIND37/66 (56.1%)2179/511 (15.5%)4524.1%
T.J. YeldonJAC56/68 (82.4%)17330/467 (70.7%)10964.1%
Jamaal CharlesJAC3/68 (4.4%)220/467 (4.3%)84.7%
Leonard FournetteJACDNPDNP45/467 (9.6%)2414.1%
Kareem HuntKC46/70 (65.7%)20300/461 (65.1%)13380.1%
Spencer WareKC22/70 (31.4%)11103/461 (22.3%)2716.3%
Kenyan DrakeMIA36/56 (64.3%)12259/413 (62.7%)8351.9%
Frank GoreMIA25/56 (44.6%11164/413 (39.7%)7748.1%
Latavius MurrayMIN58/69 (84.1%)17278/486 (57.2%)8152.6%
Mike BooneMIN8/69 (11.6%)429/486 (5.9%)106.5%
Roc ThomasMIN3/69 (4.3%)126/486 (5.3%)85.2%
Dalvin CookMINDNPDNP125/486 (49.9%)4529.2%
Sony MichelNE6/64 (9.4%)5139/476 (29.2%)9943.6%
James WhiteNE45/64 (70.3%)19256/476 (53.8%)8537.4%
Kenjon BarnerNE17/64 (26.6%)1032/476 (6.7%)167.0%
Alvin KamaraNO39/71 (54.9%)19299/416 (71.9%)11975.8%
Mark IngramNO35/71 (49.3%)1471/416 (17.1%)3220.4%
Bilal PowellNYJ14/71 (19.7%)6208/448 (46.4%)9146.9%
Isaiah CrowellNYJ33/71 (46.5%)12191/448 (42.6%)9046.4%
Trent CannonNYJ23/71 (32.4%)639/448 (8.7%)136.7%
Wendell SmallwoodPHI35/67 (52.2%)11199/507 (39.3%)6533.5%
Corey ClementPHI25/67 (37.3%)10142/507 (28.0%)5930.4%
Josh AdamsPHI8/67 (11.9%)418/507 (3.6%)115.7%
Matt BreidaSF5/58 (8.6%)5167/471(35.5%)7937.9%
Alfred MorrisSF20/58 (34.5%)9167/471 (35.5%)7737.0%
Raheem MostertSF 22/58 (37.9%)1163/471 (13.4%)3114.9%
Kyle JuszczykSF34/58 (58.6%)3297/471 (63.1%)2110.1%
Peyton BarberTB35/95 (36.8%)11235/421 (55.8%)8064.0%
Ronald JonesTB29/95 (30.5%)761/421 (14.5%)2217.6%
Jacquizz RodgersTB30/95 (31.6%)4109/421 (25.9%)1915.2%
Dion Lewis TEN45/71 (63.4%)19272/430 (63.3%)10253.1%
Derrick HenryTEN24/71 (33.8%)14162/430 (37.7%)9046.9%
Adrian PetersonWSH34/60 (56.7%)25183/405 (45.2%)10960.2%
Kapri BibbsWSH23/60 (38.3%)663/405 (15.6%)158.3%
Chris ThompsonWSHDNPDNP148/405 (36.5%)4927.1%

Situational Usage

Running BackTeamW7 RZ TouchesW7 RZ TargetsW7 Total TargetsSeason RZ TouchesSeason RZ TargetsSeason Total Targets
Tevin ColemanATL0029218
Ito SmithATL00212213
Devonta FreemanATLDNPDNPDNP317
Alex CollinsBAL10415514
Javorius AllenBAL21312430
LeSean McCoyBUF0004021
Chris IvoryBUF0064013
Marcus MurphyBUF3264214
Jordan HowardCHI20114314
Tarik CohenCHI221210737
Joe MixonCIN11515324
Mark WaltonCIN000107
Giovani BernardCINDNPDNPDNP7121
Duke JohnsonCLE0042226
Nick ChubbCLE302403
Phillip LindsayDEN20114220
Royce FreemanDEN1001006
Devontae BookerDEN0011221
Kerryon JohnsonDET61311318
LeGarrette BlountDET3001103
Theo RiddickDETDNPDNPDNP7530
Lamar MillerHOU20318116
Alfred BlueHOU0008215
Nyheim HinesIND0029437
Jordan WilkinsIND0017410
Marlon MackIND5031215
T.J. YeldonJAC11713544
Jamaal CharlesJAC001003
Leonard FournetteJACDNPDNPDNP304
Kareem HuntKC64622721
Spencer WareKC4038213
Kenyan DrakeMIA0287439
Frank GoreMIA101916
Latavius MurrayMIN4128115
Mike BooneMIN001003
Roc ThomasMIN000223
Sony MichelNE0012108
James WhiteNE3210161161
Kenjon BarnerNE300300
Alvin KamaraNO502361153
Mark IngramNO202505
Bilal PowellNYJ00110118
Isaiah CrowellNYJ00315013
Trent CannonNYJ005006
Wendell SmallwoodPHI10213519
Corey ClementPHI10213115
Josh AdamsPHI100100
Matt BreidaSF30011313
Alfred MorrisSF10112011
Raheem MostertSF004106
Kyle JuszczykSF1032426
Peyton BarberTB00210312
Ronald JonesTB401526
Jacquizz RodgersTB001328
Dion Lewis TEN30610133
Derrick HenryTEN3021318
Adrian PetersonWSH31216112
Kapri BibbsWSH005307
Chris ThompsonWSHDNPDNPDNP6431

Cohen Being Utilized in A Mini Tyreek Hill Role Under Nagy

The season started off quite underwhelming for Tarik Cohen under new offensive-minded head coach Matt Nagy, but things have picked up immensely as he is averaging 15.3 touches over the last three weeks.

Over that span, Cohen has been the most targeted Chicago Bears player with 29 targets (27.1% target share), which is 10 more looks than the next closest Bears pass catcher (Trey Burton).

Cohen is being used in a mini-Tyreek Hill role, as he is seeing a ton of work in the passing game through screens and other easy routes. He has lined up as a wideout on 29.3% of the offensive snaps he has played on.

It seems as if the Bears have figured out how to make Mitchell Trubisky feel more comfortable, and easy throws to get Cohen into open space has been a big part of the game plan.

Chubb's Role Defined in Cleveland

With the trade of Hyde, it finally forced Hue Jackson to actually give Nick Chubb more work instead of just continuing to talk about it. Chubb immediately stepped right into the Hyde role as he handled 18 touches, including all the red-zone work.

Chubb's role looks to be quite similar to what fellow rookie and former college teammate Sony Michel is seeing in New England. Chubb will primarily handle all of the early-down work and red-zone work with a limited role in the Cleveland Browns' passing attack.

Dating back to college, Chubb has played in 54 games and has only 31 receptions. While he maybe a good receiver, we have never seen it his playing career, and the Browns already have a stud pass-game back in Duke Johnson in that role.

Look for Chubb to be heavily featured as Jackson's teams have been in the top 10 in terms of rush attempts in four of the last six seasons. He could be a better version of Hyde moving forward.

Kerryon Shows He Can Handle a Bigger Workload

The fantasy community has been waiting for the Detroit Lions to give Kerryon Johnson a larger workload, and in Week 7, the Lions were forced to do so without Theo Riddick. Johnson handled 21 total touches in the win. He continues to show off his skills when given the opportunity, and according to Football Outsiders, Johnson ranks first in DVOA at the position as well as first in Effective Yards.

The biggest surprise of Johnson’s performance was the fact that he out touched LeGarrette Blount in the red zone six to three, and all six of those opportunities came from within the 10-yard line. While Johnson did not find the end zone, it was significant change from previous weeks, when Blount had primarily dominated those touches.

It will be interesting to see if the Lions revert to the volumes we have seen in Week 1 through Week 6 when Riddick returns, or if they start to move the needle in Johnson's favor.

Colts Happy to Have Mack Back

Injuries derailed the early part of Marlon Mack's season. While Mack was out, the Indianapolis Colts' backfield was unproductive besides a few weeks in which Nyheim Hines found success in the pass game.

When Mack rejoined the Colts, they were ready to unleash him as he has had lead the Colts' backfield in touches for two straight weeks. His coming out party finally occurred in the dream matchup against the Buffalo Bills as he handled 21 touches for 159 total yards and 2 touchdowns. He commanded 61.7% of the Colts' running back touches in that game.

While Mack has shown he is more than capable in the pass game, Hines has run 13 more pass routes than him in the last two games. Mack should continue to handle most of the early-down work and red-zone duties, and if his receiving opportunities grows, he could be a league-changing waiver wire pick up.

Chiefs Expanding Hunt's Pass-Game Role

Early in the season, there were some real concerns with how the Kansas City Chiefs were using Kareem Hunt in the pass game. In the first three weeks, he only saw two total targets.

Since then, Hunt has seen 18 targets and has caught 3 touchdowns. Over this four-game span (Week 4 to Week 7), Hunt has averaged 20 touches, 148.8 total yards and 1.5 total touchdowns.

With opposing teams having trouble slowing down the Chiefs' offense and Hunt’s expanding role, he has to be one of the most exciting fantasy backs to own going forward.