Week 8 Fantasy Football Backfield Report

Phillip Lindsay took on a larger workload with Royce Freeman sidelined for Week 8. What does that mean going forward?

We are now officially half way through the NFL regular season, it is absolutely crazy how fast the season moves right along! Week 8 brought us a few exciting games, and could bring more trades with the deadline approaching.

Teams have established their identities, and running back group roles are pretty much defined. This week we have some more changes. Week 8 bye teams were removed (Atlanta Falcons, Tennessee Titans, and Los Angeles Chargers), as well as the Cincinnati Bengals (Joe Mixon has worked as a bell-cow with Giovani Bernard out) and Kansas City Chiefs (Kareem Hunt has had the receiving volume of a real workhorse).

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

Let's dive into the Week 8 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 BackTeamW8 Snap %W8 TouchesSeason Snap %Season TouchesSeason RB Touch Share %
Alex CollinsBAL33/68 (48.5%)13263/612 (42.9%)11253.1%
Javorius AllenBAL23/68 (33.8%)3275/612 (44.9%)6832.2%
LeSean McCoyBUF46/64 (71.9%)18242/498 (48.6%)9446.1%
Chris IvoryBUF19/64 (29.7%)7181/498 (36.3%)8240.2%
Marcus MurphyBUF1/64 (1.6%)081/498 (16.3%)2813.4%
Jordan HowardCHI38/66 (57.6%)22297/489 (60.7%)12361.2%
Tarik CohenCHI38/66 (57.6%)6222/489 (44.9%)7336.3%
Nick ChubbCLE23/64 (35.9%)20109/595 (18.3%)5425.0%
Duke JohnsonCLE31/64 (48.4%)4256/595 (43.0%)4219.4%
Phillip LindsayDEN41/73 (56.2%)21214/543 (39.4%)11148.7%
Devontae BookerDEN32/73 (43.8%)13169/543 (31.1%)4218.4%
Royce FreemanDENDNPDNP163/543 (30.0%)7532.9%
Kerryon JohnsonDET48/59 (81.4%)14219/459 (47.7%)9850.0%
LeGarrette BlountDET7/59 (11.9%)4116/459 (25.3%)6432.7%
Theo RiddickDETDNPDNP134/459 (29.2%)3115.8%
Jamaal WilliamsGB13/52 (25.0%)4215/486 (44.2%)7143.8%
Aaron JonesGB32/52 (61.5%)14119/486 (24.5%)5030.9%
Ty MontgomeryGB6/52 (11.5%)3150/486 (30.9%)4125.3%
Lamar MillerHOU34/61 (55.7%)18326/561 (58.1%)12457.1%
Alfred BlueHOU29/61 (47.5%)15243/561 (43.3%)9041.5%
Tyler ErvinHOU35/61 (57.4%)167/561 (11.9%)31.4%
Nyheim HinesIND28/78 (35.9%)13298/589 (50.6%)8637.6%
Marlon MackIND49/78 (62.8%)27128/589 (21.7%)7231.4%
Jordan WilkinsIND3/78 (3.8%)2154/589 (26.1%)6227.1%
T.J. YeldonJAC37/64 (57.8%)9367/531 (69.1%)11864.1%
Carlos HydeJAC28/64 (43.8%)628/531 (5.3%)63.3%
Leonard FournetteJACDNPDNP45/531 (8.5%)2413.0%
Kenyan DrakeMIA37/66 (56.1%)14296/479 (61.8%)9751.1%
Frank GoreMIA29/66 (43.9%)13193/479 (40.3%)9047.4%
Latavius MurrayMIN61/73 (83.4%)18339/559 (60.6%)9959.3%
Mike BooneMIN7/73 (9.6%)336/559 (6.4%)137.8%
Roc ThomasMIN3/73 (4.1%)229/559 (5.2%)105.9%
Dalvin CookMINDNPDNP125/559 (22.4%)4526.9%
James WhiteNE61/76 (80.3%)18317/552 (57.4%)10337.5%
Cordarrelle PattersonNE13/76 (17.1%)10137/552 (24.8%)2810.2%
Kenjon BarnerNE7/76 (9.2%)239/552 (7.1%)186.5%
Sony MichelNEDNPDNP139/552 (25.2%)9936.0%
Alvin KamaraNO38/53 (71.7%)20337/469 (71.9%)13966.8%
Mark IngramNO23/53 (43.4%)1694/469 (20.0%)4823.1%
Isaiah CrowellNYJ25/54 (46.3%)14216/502 (43.0%)10447.9%
Trent CannonNYJ29/54 (53.7%)968/502 (13.5%)2210.1%
Jalen RichardOAK22/50 (44.0%)10172/466 (36.9%)5225.6%
Doug MartinOAK28/50 (56.0%)1584/466 (18.0%)4622.7%
Wendell SmallwoodPHI31/62 (50.0%)10230/569 (40.4%)7534.2%
Corey ClementPHI13/62 (20.9%)5155/569 (27.2%)6429.2%
Josh AdamsPHI18/62 (29.0%)1036/569 (6.3%)219.6%
Chris CarsonSEA42/63 (66.7%)27199/466 (42.7%)11149.6%
Mike DavisSEA20/63 (31.7%)11133/466 (28.5%)6227.7%
Rashad PennySEA0/63 (0.00%)084/466 (18.0%)4419.6%
Matt BreidaSF31/66 (46.9%)16198/538 (35.9%)9540.6%
Alfred MorrisSF11/66 (16.7%)6178/538 (33.1%)8335.5%
Raheem MostertSF 12/66 (18.2%)276/538 (14.1%)3314.1%
Peyton BarberTB43/88 (48.9%)19278/509 (54.6%)9965.1%
Ronald JonesTB11/88 (12.5%)372/509 (14.1%)2516.4%
Jacquizz RodgersTB33/88 (37.5%)5142/509 (27.9%)2415.8%
Adrian PetersonWSH41/68 (60.3%)27224/473 (47.4%)13663.8%
Chris ThompsonWSH26/68 (38.2%)5174/473 (36.8%)5425.4%

Situational Usage

Running BackTeamW8 RZ TouchesW8 RZ TargetsW8 Total TargetsSeason RZ TouchesSeason RZ TargetsSeason Total Targets
Alex CollinsBAL20217520
Javorius AllenBAL11513538
LeSean McCoyBUF0084021
Chris IvoryBUF0024013
Marcus MurphyBUF0004214
Jordan HowardCHI40018314
Tarik CohenCHI01310841
Nick ChubbCLE203606
Duke JohnsonCLE2034229
Phillip LindsayDEN61320323
Devontae BookerDEN1042225
Royce FreemanDENDNPDNPDNP1006
Kerryon JohnsonDET001211330
LeGarrette BlountDET0011104
Theo RiddickDETDNPDNPDNP7530
Jamaal WilliamsGB1017217
Aaron JonesGB002508
Ty MontgomeryGB0023123
Lamar MillerHOU40222118
Alfred BlueHOU20010215
Tyler ErvinHOU001014
Nyheim HinesIND61215542
Marlon MackIND40416111
Jordan WilkinsIND0007411
T.J. YeldonJAC10914553
Carlos HydeJAC0121722
Leonard FournetteJACDNPDNPDNP304
Kenyan DrakeMIA1028441
Frank GoreMIA002918
Latavius MurrayMIN31611221
Mike BooneMIN000003
Roc ThomasMIN001224
James WhiteNE2113161174
Cordarrelle PattersonNE2005315
Kenjon BarnerNE000300
Sony MichelNEDNPDNPDNP2108
Alvin KamaraNO528411361
Mark IngramNO003508
Isaiah CrowellNYJ10116014
Trent CannonNYJ0040010
Jalen RichardOAK1185445
Doug MartinOAK402707
Wendell SmallwoodPHI00313522
Corey ClementPHI10114116
Josh AdamsPHI101201
Chris CarsonSEA41213211
Mike DavisSEA2019012
Rashad PennySEA000109
Matt BreidaSF20013313
Alfred MorrisSF00012011
Raheem MostertSF001107
Peyton BarberTB10011312
Ronald JonesTB001527
Jacquizz RodgersTB1144312
Adrian PetersonWSH31119213
Chris ThompsonWSH0036434

Lindsay Continues To Be A Bright Spot For Broncos

Who would have ever though that after eight weeks Phillip Lindsay would be leading all rookie running backs in rushing yards (531)? This kid was an undersized undrafted rookie, who has now taken control of the Denver Broncos' backfield.

In Week 8, Lindsay saw his biggest opportunity, as Royce Freeman sat out due to an ankle injury. In his absence, Lindsay showcased, for the first time all year, that he could handle 20-plus touches in a game and be effective with them (5.3 per-carry average).

Where Lindsay picked up the most work with Freeman out was in the red zone, where he handled six touches, including a short touchdown run. While he didn't pick up extra pass game volume, due to Devontae Booker being involved, he still saw three targets and ran only one fewer route than Booker.

The Broncos look like sellers and are not competing for a playoff position, they should be poised to continue to feature their younger players and get them experience. Lindsay has improved each week and has separated himself from the pack.

Green Bay Shifts Towards Jones

In what everyone thought would be a shootout in Los Angeles, we saw the Green Bay Packers run the fewest offensive plays of the season (52). One thing that was clear after the game was that Aaron Jones was the most effective back for them.

He far out-snapped Jamaal Williams and Ty Montgomery (32-13-6) and more than tripled their touches. One of the most significant takeaways for Jones was his involvement in the pass game. While he only saw two targets, he led the backfield in routes ran by a wide margin, which could point to a breakout game coming shortly.

With all the negativity around Montgomery, and the ineffectiveness of Williams while Jones was out, it seems as if the Packers might be moving toward the direction of featuring Jones. Being involved in a high-scoring offense is always a positive role for a running back, Jones has a chance to help fantasy owners going forward.

Kamara Reestablishes Lead Role For Saints

Since Mark Ingram returned in Week 5 and scared Alvin Kamara owners everywhere, the shift has started to swing back in Kamara's favor.

Over the last two weeks, Kamara has played on 77 snaps, handled 30 carries and seen 10 targets, while Ingram has played 58 snaps, handled 25 carries and seen 5 targets. The key factor in the role differential has been the red zone usage. Kamara has out-touched Ingram 10 to 2 in the red zone over the last two games and has three touchdowns to Ingram's zero.

Kamara is too special of a talent to take a backseat to Ingram, the backfield is shaping up to be similar to last season with a slight lean towards Kamara in high-leverage situations.

Seattle Returning To Rushing Dominance

All offseason we heard new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer say that the Seattle Seahawks were going to establish the run. It has officially come to fruition, as the Seahawks are now averaging 31.7 rushing attempts per game.

The main beneficiary of this rushing approach has been Chris Carson, who has averaged 23.8 touches over the last four Seahawks games. This plan doesn't seem to be leaving anytime soon, as Seattle has gone 3-1 in that span. Carson appears to be more than capable of handling a heavy load, while Mike Davis plays the complementary role behind him.

What stands out the most is the fact that Rashaad Penny, the 27th pick of the 2018 draft, has been active but not played a down in two of the last three games. Seattle seems to like what they have in Carson and Davis, and should look to continue to lean on them heavily.

Resurrection of AP In Washington

At age 33, Adrian Peterson is defying odds and enjoying a career renaissance for the Washington Redskins. Peterson was not even on the Redskins' radar until they lost Derrius Guice to an ACL injury.

Here we are. Peterson is seven games into the season, handling 19.4 touches per game, including 22 or more carries in the last two games. On the season, AP is averaging 4.6 yards per attempt, which is his highest average since 2012. He is also tied for third among all running backs in red zone carries, with 21.

Washington has found a successful recipe, leaning on the run game and defense that has led them to a 5-2 record as they sit atop the NFC East standings.

Peterson is on pace to become the comeback player of the year, which at age 33, would be quite impressive.