Week 9 Fantasy Football Backfield Report
It is absolutely crazy to think that we are now through 65-70% of the fantasy regular season in most leagues. Week 9 was a struggle for many fantasy owners as we saw the most NFL teams on a bye that we have all season.
By now teams are defined and player roles are well established. Of course on a week to week basis injuries have opened up opportunities for other players to shine. There we no changes to this weeks data tables besides the removal of the six teams that were on a bye (Arizona Cardinals, Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants, and Philadelphia Eagles).
One of the more intriguing backfield situations to watch going forward is the Jaguars, Leonard Fournette is expected back for Week 10 so it will be interesting to see how they use him with Carlos Hyde and T.J. Yeldon moving forward.
This weekly piece is here to help fantasy owners understand how coaches are using their backs in terms of volume and high leverage situations. Also a reminder that the data covers all backfields in which teams are not using one running back as a bell-cow.
Let's dive into the Week 9 data, and, as always, snap counts and red zone data come from Pro Football Reference.
The table below is sorted by total season touches for each backfield.
|Running Back||Team||W9 Snap %||W9 Touches||Season Snap %||Season Touches||Season RB Touch Share %|
|Tevin Coleman||ATL||39/68 (57.4%)||18||310/543 (57.1%)||115||58.7%|
|Ito Smith||ATL||28/68 (41.2%)||11||158/543 (29.1%)||62||31.6%|
|Alex Collins||BAL||31/61 (50.8%)||10||294/673 (43.7%)||122||53.5%|
|Javorius Allen||BAL||26/61 (42.6%)||6||301/673 (44.7%)||74||32.5%|
|LeSean McCoy||BUF||37/91 (40.7%)||14||279/587 ( (47.5%)||108||46.6%|
|Chris Ivory||BUF||30/91 (32.9%)||10||211/587 (35.9%)||92||39.7%|
|Marcus Murphy||BUF||24/91 (26.4%)||4||105/587 (17.9%)||32||13.8%|
|Jordan Howard||CHI||26/51 (50.9%)||14||297/489 (60.7%)||137||61.4%|
|Tarik Cohen||CHI||28/51 (54.9%)||7||222/489 (43.4%)||80||35.9%|
|Nick Chubb||CLE||37/75 (49.3%)||23||146/670 (21.8%)||77||30.9%|
|Duke Johnson||CLE||35/75 (46.7%)||10||291/670 (43.0%)||52||20.9%|
|Phillip Lindsay||DEN||38/66 (57.6%)||19||252/608 (41.4%)||130||51.6%|
|Devontae Booker||DEN||26/66 (39.4%)||5||195/608 (32.1%)||47||18.7%|
|Royce Freeman||DEN||DNP||DNP||163/608 (26.8%)||75||29.8%|
|Kerryon Johnson||DET||39/70 (55.7%)||15||258/529 (48.8%)||113||50.4%|
|LeGarrette Blount||DET||11/70 (15.7%)||6||127/529 (24.0%)||70||31.3%|
|Theo Riddick||DET||39/70 (55.7%)||7||173/529 (32.7%)||38||16.9%|
|Jamaal Williams||GB||31/74 (41.9%)||9||246/560 (43.9%)||80||42.8%|
|Aaron Jones||GB||43/74 (58.1%)||16||162/560 (28.9%)||66||35.3%|
|Lamar Miller||HOU||40/62 (64.5%)||14||366/623 (58.7%)||138||56.1%|
|Alfred Blue||HOU||22/62 (35.5%)||15||265/623 (42.5%)||105||42.7%|
|Melvin Gordon||LAC||45/51 (88.2%)||17||315/477 (66.0%)||138||62.4%|
|Austin Ekeler||LAC||9/51 (17.6%)||4||181/477 (37.9%)||76||34.4%|
|Frank Gore||MIA||29/57 (50.9%)||21||222/536 (41.4%)||111||51.6%|
|Kenyan Drake||MIA||28/57 (49.1%)||7||324/536 (60.4%)||104||48.4%|
|Latavius Murray||MIN||22/49 (44.9%)||11||361/608 (59.4%)||110||57.3%|
|Dalvin Cook||MIN||28/49 (57.1%)||14||153/608 (25.2%)||59||30.7%|
|James White||NE||56/71 (78.9%)||18||373/623 (59.9%)||121||39.5%|
|Cordarrelle Patterson||NE||13/71 (18.3%)||12||150/623 (24.1%)||40||13.1%|
|Kenjon Barner||NE||3/71 (4.2%)||1||42/623 (6.7%)||19||6.2%|
|Sony Michel||NE||DNP||DNP||139/623 (22.3%)||99||32.4%|
|Alvin Kamara||NO||41/71 (57.7%)||23||378/540 (70.0%)||162||67.2%|
|Mark Ingram||NO||34/71 (47.9%)||10||128/540 (23.7%)||58||24.1%|
|Isaiah Crowell||NYJ||23/66 (34.8%)||14||239/568 (42.7%)||118||48.9%|
|Trenton Cannon||NYJ||7/66 (10.6%)||1||75/568 (13.2%)||23||9.5%|
|Elijah McGuire||NYJ||36/66 (54.5%)||9||36/568 (6.3%)||9||3.7%|
|Jalen Richard||OAK||22/57 (38.6%)||6||194/523 (37.1%)||58||25.6%|
|Doug Martin||OAK||26/57 (45.6%)||12||110/523 (21.0%)||58||25.6%|
|DeAndre Washington||OAK||10/57 (17.5%)||5||12/523 (2.3%)||6||2.6%|
|Chris Carson||SEA||10/81 (12.3%)||8||209/527(39.7%)||119||45.6%|
|Mike Davis||SEA||59/81 (72.8%)||22||192/527 (36.4%)||84||32.2%|
|Rashad Penny||SEA||12/81 (14.8%)||7||96/527 (18.2%)||51||19.5%|
|Matt Breida||SF||27/55 (49.1%)||13||225/593 (37.9%)||108||40.9%|
|Alfred Morris||SF||10/55 (18.2%)||7||188/593 (31.7%)||90||34.1%|
|Raheem Mostert||SF||14/55 (25.5%)||7||90/593 (15.2%)||40||15.2%|
|Peyton Barber||TB||35/67 (52.2%||13||313/576 (54.3%)||112||65.5%|
|Jacquizz Rodgers||TB||26/67 (38.8%)||4||168/576 (29.2%)||28||16.4%|
|Ronald Jones||TB||DNP||DNP||72/576 (12.5%)||25||14.6%|
|Dion Lewis||TEN||59/70 (84.3%)||23||331/500 (66.2%)||125||56.1%|
|Derrick Henry||TEN||14/70 (20.0%)||8||176/500 (35.2%)||98||43.9%|
|Adrian Peterson||WSH||32/69 (46.4%)||12||256/542 (47.2%)||148||63.5%|
|Kapri Bibbs||WSH||21/69 (30.4%)||4||85/542 (15.7%)||19||8.20%|
|Samaje Perine||WSH||15/69 (21.7%)||4||25/542 (4.6%)||8||3.4%|
|Chris Thompson||WSH||DNP||DNP||174/542 (32.1%)||54||23.2%|
|Running Back||Team||W9 RZ Touches||W9 RZ Targets||W9 Total Targets||Season RZ Touches||Season RZ Targets||Season Total Targets|
Falcons Amp up Coleman's Receiving Work
The Atlanta Falcons came off a bye were firing on all cylinders against the Washington Redskins in Week 9. With Devonta Freeman on IR, Atlanta has been using a 60/40 split between Tevin Coleman and Ito Smith. Both backs had been around the 10-13 touch mark over the last two games, but we saw the Falcons come out with a different approach this week.
Coleman saw a huge spike in his receiving role: he ran a route on 41% of his snaps, and was targeted a season-high seven times. It seemed as if the Falcons regrouped over the bye and wanted to get him in open space more. Before Week 9, Coleman was only averaging 2.6 targets per game.
Three of the seven targets Coleman saw against Washington came in the red zone and one of them was turned into a touchdown. Coleman gets a Week 10 matchup against the Cleveland Browns who have allowed 4.9 receptions per game to running backs.
Duke Revitalized in Cleveland After Firing of Coaches
Interim offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens (who falls under the Bruce Arians coaching tree), seems to be the key in getting Johnson the ball. Johnson saw his season high nine targets, including two in the red zone that were both cashed in for touchdowns.
Johnson finished as the RB11 last season, mainly due to his success in the pass game and now if Kitchens has unlocked him going forward, he could be a big help to fantasy owners down the stretch.
Cook Returns To Lead Vikings Backfield
He was active in Week 9, but was expected to be on a small pitch count. While the pitch count might have been in place, he ended up leading the Vikings in backfield snaps played, and out-touched Latavius Murray 14 to 11. Murray still dominated all the red zone work, while Cook took care of the receiving work handling four targets.
Cook should have a pretty clean bill of health after the Vikings Week 10 bye, and could finish the season strong as Minnesota is desperate to find some balance in their offense.
McGuire Jumps Into a Big Role Straight off IR
The New York Jets offense is one of the worst in the NFL, but the backfield situation is still something to monitor. Isaiah Crowell has been ineffective in the two games since Bilal Powell was injured, averaging 2.8 yard per carry.
Week 9 brought the return of Elijah McGuire and he stepped into a big role right away. He lead the Jets backfield in snaps, routes ran, and backfield targets. He handled 9 touches compared to Crowell's 14.
The pass game work McGuire saw was significant, as it basically took Trenton Cannon out of the picture and established McGuire as the Jets receiving back moving forward.
With Crowell's ineffectiveness, McGuire could potentially see his touches increase, and a juicy matchup against the Buffalo Bills next week could pay dividends.
Titans Shifting Towards Lewis
Over the last two weeks, there has been a major shift to Lewis over teammate Derrick Henry. Lewis has out-touched Henry 42 to 22 and out-snapped him 104 to 38 over that two-game span.
Lewis is a weapon in the passing attack and has now seen 4 or more targets in 5 of the Titans 8 games. He finds himself in the top-15 among all NFL running backs in terms of routes ran.
With the momentum that Lewis has built over the last two weeks, and a Week 10 revenge matchup against the New England Patriots, Lewis is ready to be a difference maker for fantasy owners.