Week 13 Fantasy Football Backfield Report
What an absolutely crazy Week 13 in terms of running backs! We have a ton to cover in this article with all of the injuries/suspensions that have recently taken place. But first, congratulations to all fantasy owners who have punched their tickets to the playoffs, and for those of you who missed out, we still have a handful of weeks to continue with DFS.
Coaches are starting to be let go, players are all banged up, and some teams are already looking towards next season, so sifting through all this information is very important.
For Week 13, there were major changes to the data tables including the addition of three teams (Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, and Pittsburgh Steelers) who had previously been using a bell-cow back. But due to injuries (James Conner & Melvin Gordon), and an off the field issue (Kareem Hunt), opportunities have opened up for others. We will dive into all of these situations later on.
As a reminder, this weekly piece is here to help fantasy players sort through all of the NFL backfields to understand how coaches are using their backs. The data only breaks down the teams that do not heavily favor one back as a bell-cow.
Let's dive into the Week 13 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||W13 Snap %||W13 Touches||Season Snap %||Season Touches||Season RB Touch Share %|
|Tevin Coleman||ATL||29/53 (54.7%)||7||457/797 (57.3%)||158||58.7%|
|Ito Smith||ATL||24/53 (45.3%)||8||250/797 (31.4%)||92||34.2%|
|Gus Edwards||BAL||41/81 (50.6%)||21||164/903 (18.2%)||77||23.6%|
|Kenneth Dixon||BAL||17/81 (20.9%)||9||39/903 (4.3%)||22||6.7%|
|Ty Montgomery||BAL||27/81 (33.3%)||8||64/903 (7.1%)||19||5.8%|
|Javorius Allen||BAL||DNP||DNP||307/903 (33.9%)||76||33.9%|
|LeSean McCoy||BUF||54/72 (75.0%)||19||419/790 (53.0%)||172||53.8%|
|Chris Ivory||BUF||12/72 (16.7%)||6||242/790 (30.6%)||101||31.6%|
|Marcus Murphy||BUF||6/72 (8.3%)||1||137/790 (17.3%)||47||14.7%|
|Jordan Howard||CHI||34/82 (41.4%)||17||470/811 (57.9%)||193||56.4%|
|Tarik Cohen||CHI||42/82 (51.2%)||20||375/811 (46.2%)||133||38.9%|
|Joe Mixon||CIN||39/68 (57.4%)||14||426/754 (56.45)||187||67.5%|
|Giovani Bernard||CIN||28/68 (41.2%)||11||241/754 (31.9%)||71||25.6%|
|Nick Chubb||CLE||27/57 (47.4%)||12||261/844 (30.9%)||143||43.7%|
|Duke Johnson||CLE||20/57 (35.1%)||2||346/844 (40.9%)||64||19.8%|
|Phillip Lindsay||DEN||25/59 (42.4%)||20||345/780 (44.2%)||179||53.9%|
|Royce Freeman||DEN||21/59 (35.6%)||12||212/780 (27.2%)||101||30.4%|
|Devontae Booker||DEN||13/59 (22.0%)||3||225/780(28.8%)||52||15.7%|
|LeGarrette Blount||DET||30/72 (41.7%)||16||211/810 (26.0%)||119||34.3%|
|Theo Riddick||DET||38/72 (52.8%)||11||313/810 (38.6%)||70||20.2%|
|Kerryon Johnson||DET||DNP||DNP||346/810 (42.7%)||150||43.2%|
|Aaron Jones||GB||39/76 (51.3%)||15||327/795 (41.1%)||135||49.6%|
|Jamaal Williams||GB||38/76 (50.0%)||11||315/795 (39.6%)||96||35.3%|
|Lamar Miller||HOU||41/76 (53.9%)||20||493/827 (59.6%)||194||58.1%|
|Alfred Blue||HOU||36/76 (47.4%)||13||345/827 (41.7%)||140||41.9%|
|Marlon Mack||IND||28/76 (36.8%)||9||263/851 (30.9%)||129||38.7%|
|Nyheim Hines||IND||46/76 (60.5%)||13||406/851 (47.7%)||124||37.2%|
|Jordan Wilkins||IND||5/76 (6.6%)||1||183/851 (21.5%)||71||21.3%|
|T.J. Yeldon||JAC||35/58 (60.3%)||15||476/798 (59.6%)||153||45.8%|
|Carlos Hyde||JAC||22/58 (37.9%)||14||85/798 (10.7%)||41||12.3%|
|Leonard Fournette||JAC||DNP||DNP||150/798 (18.8%)||104||31.1%|
|Spencer Ware||KC||49/71 (69.0%)||15||206/784 (26.3%)||51||18.8%|
|Damien Williams||KC||19/71 (26.8%)||7||52/784 (6.6%)||13||4.8%|
|Austin Ekeler||LAC||49/63 (77.8%)||18||294/742 (39.6%)||120||35.3%|
|Justin Jackson||LAC||14/63 (22.2%)||9||39/742 (5.3%)||23||6.8%|
|Melvin Gordon||LAC||DNP||DNP||450/742 (60.6%)||197||57.9%|
|Frank Gore||MIA||20/55 (36.4%)||9||300/712 (42.1%)||150||50.2%|
|Kenyan Drake||MIA||30/55 (54.5%)||9||412/712 (57.9%)||136||45.5%|
|Latavius Murray||MIN||12/61 (19.7%)||6||407/806 (50.5%)||131||49.2%|
|Dalvin Cook||MIN||47/61 (77.0%)||17||300/806 (37.2%)||101||37.9%|
|Sony Michel||NE||30/74 (40.5%)||18||217/833 (26.1%)||151||36.5%|
|James White||NE||33/74 (44.6%)||13||485/833 (58.2%)||150||36.2%|
|Cordarrelle Patterson||NE||8/74 (10.8%)||3||190/833 (22.8%)||53||12.8%|
|Rex Burkhead||NE||17/74 (22.9%)||9||76/833 (9.1%)||36||8.7%|
|Alvin Kamara||NO||35/52 (67.3%)||19||528/794 (66.5%)||226||60.4%|
|Mark Ingram||NO||21/52 (40.4%)||9||237/794 (29.8%)||112||29.9%|
|Isaiah Crowell||NYJ||44/69 (63.8%)||25||328/757 (43.3%)||161||50.6%|
|Trent Cannon||NYJ||25/69 (36.2%)||5||106/757 (14.0%)||34||10.7%|
|Elijah McGuire||NYJ||9/69 (13.0%)||7||128/757 (16.9%)||32||10.1%|
|Doug Martin||OAK||40/76 (52.6%)||20||222/788 (28.2%)||121||35.3%|
|Jalen Richard||OAK||32/76 (42.1%)||9||311/788 (39.5%)||92||26.8%|
|DeAndre Washington||OAK||6/76 (7.9%)||3||55/788 (6.9%)||25||7.3%|
|Corey Clement||PHI||23/75 (30.7%)||8||234/818 (28.6%)||89||28.4%|
|Wendell Smallwood||PHI||2/75 (2.7%)||0||258/818 (31.5%)||81||25.9%|
|Josh Adams||PHI||41/75 (54.7%)||20||164/818 (20.0%)||80||25.6%|
|Darren Sproles||PHI||9/75 (12.0%)||4||38/818 (4.6%)||13||4.2%|
|James Conner||PIT||49/68 (72.1%)||18||686/849 (80.9%)||253||86.3%|
|Jaylen Samuels||PIT||17/68 (25.0%)||5||56/849 (6.6%)||19||6.5%|
|Chris Carson||SEA||34/58 (58.6%)||16||305/785 (38.9%)||170||46.1%|
|Mike Davis||SEA||10/58 (17.2%)||4||280/785 (35.7%)||113||30.6%|
|Rashaad Penny||SEA||12/58 (20.7%)||7||163/785 (20.8%)||82||22.2%|
|Matt Breida||SF||10/76 (13.2%)||8||310/806 (38.5%)||153||47.4%|
|Jeff Wilson Jr.||SF||55/76 (72.4%)||23||80/806 (9.9%)||31||9.6%|
|Alfred Morris||SF||DNP||DNP||202/806 (25.1%)||99||30.7%|
|Peyton Barber||TB||40/65 (61.5%)||16||470/854 (55.0%)||182||67.7%|
|Jacquizz Rodgers||TB||15/65 (23.1%)||0||266/854 (31.1%)||49||18.2%|
|Ronald Jones||TB||9/65 (13.8%)||4||81/854 (9.5%)||29||10.8%|
|Dion Lewis||TEN||40/68 (58.8%)||8||493/751 (65.6%)||180||53.7%|
|Derrick Henry||TEN||28/68 (41.2%)||23||267/751 (35.6%)||151||45.1%|
|Adrian Peterson||WSH||16/45 (35.6%)||9||375/783 (47.9%)||208||66.0%|
|Chris Thompson||WSH||29/45 (64.4%)||6||203/783 (25.9%)||60||19.0%|
|Kapri Bibbs||WSH||DNP||DNP||160/783 (20.4%)||33||10.5%|
|Running Back||Team||W13 RZ Touches||W13 RZ Targets||W13 Total Targets||Season RZ Touches||Season RZ Targets||Season Total Targets|
|Jeff WIlson Jr.||SF||4||3||9||4||3||10|
Lindsay Continues to Beat All Odds
What else can be said about Phillip Lindsay? Each and every week he continues to impress a little bit more. For a guy who is playing less than 50% of the Denver Broncos' offensive snaps, over his last three games he has scored five touchdowns while averaging 7.9 yards per carry.
While he can't quite shake off Royce Freeman and Devontae Booker to command a bigger workload, Lindsay has killed with efficiency. For the season, Lindsay is averaging 6.3 yards per touch and is scoring a touchdown every 19.9 touches. Lindsay has a reasonable argument for offensive rookie of the year when compared to Saquon Barkley.
Lindsay looks poised to finished the regular season strong with three straight matchups against NFL bottom feeders.
Questionable Usage of Running Backs in McCarthy's Last Game as Packers Head Coach
McCarthy's usage of the running backs in Week 13 was very questionable. From Weeks 8 to 12, Aaron Jones had handled 84 touches compared to 18 by Jamaal Williams. But against the Cardinals, Jones only out-touched Williams 15 to 11. Williams played a total of 38 snaps on Sunday, which was a huge uptick because he only played on 31 over the last three games.
While the deployment by McCarthy was head scratching, with him out of the picture in Green Bay, Jones could jump right back into that lead back role.
Ware Takes Over the Chiefs' Backfield
By now we all know about the horrific Kareem Hunt situation, and I'll leave that one out of here. But he is no longer employed by the Chiefs, so someone had to step into lead back role. Spencer Ware got first crack at it as he played on 69% of the snaps and handled 68.2% of the running back touches in Week 13.
Ware did not have a great game against the Oakland Raiders, but his volume and red zone usage suggest that he is the Chiefs' guy moving forward. It will be interesting to see how Kansas City uses newly acquired Charcandrick West, but with him not playing a single snaps in over 18 months, it could be a while for him to significantly eat into Ware's work.
Chargers Find a Successful Combo in Gordon's Absence
The Los Angeles Chargers' backfield rotation broke down as we expected against the Pittsburgh Steelers, with Austin Ekeler picking up the majority of the snaps (49) and touches (18), while Justin Jackson sprinkled in throughout with 9 touches.
Ekeler struggled to find any success on the ground, though, averaging fewer than two yard per carry, but made up for it with a sizable role in the passing game with eight targets.
It was actually Jackson who stole the show, who had a coming out party where he averaged 7.9 yards per carry and pretty much seemed unstoppable against a strong Steelers defense.
It sounds like Gordon will be out at least one more week, and after Jackson's strong performance it would not be surprising for him to handle a few more carries, while Ekeler continues to man the receiving role.
Samuels Takes Over After Conner Leaves With Injury
On Sunday night, James Conner suffered an ankle injury that forced him to miss part of the game and he has already been ruled out for Week 14. In his absence, Jaylen Samuels stepped in to handle five touches, including three receptions, one of which he cashed in for a touchdown.
It is noteworthy that Samuels was the only back to see action after Conner left in trying to predict how this Steelers backfield will shake out this week. Dating back to the last three games, Samuels is the only other running back besides Conner to see the field for the Steelers.
Samuels is the best pure talent option on the Steelers roster ahead of Stevan Ridley and Trey Edmunds, and he played tight end in college, where he racked up 201 receptions over 50 games while scoring 47 total touchdowns.
Mike Tomlin came out on Tuesday stating Pittsburgh will go with a running back by committee approach, which could be true, but it is hard not to imagine Samuels leading that committee against the Oakland Raiders.
Shananhan Finds Another Back to Plug Into His System
It looked as if the San Francisco 49ers had found something in Matt Breida this season, but the guy just can't stay on the field. He sustained an ankle injury that has him already ruled out for Week 14. When he suffered the injury on Sunday, Kyle Shanahan had no issue plugging in Jeff Wilson and feeding him the rock.
Wilson was the only healthy back against the Seattle Seahawks, so he had no choice but to handle everything he could. He was a game flow independent back as evidenced by his 23 touches in a 27-point loss. His biggest impact came in the pass game where he saw nine targets and caught eight of them.
With Breida out, it should be expected that Alfred Morris will be active for Sunday's game against the Broncos, but, realistically, for a Niners team with two wins and nothing really to play for, it would make the most sense to feature the 23-year-old Wilson over Morris.