Week 3 Running Back By Committee Report

The San Francisco backfield continues to be a mess. Have any other running back committees sorted themselves out yet?

With the majority of teams utilizing a committee approach to their running back position, it is vital to pay close attention to the usage and workload each running back earns.

Each week, I will be sharing information to help you understand how coaches are using their running backs -- in what type of capacity and with what size of a workload. Are they getting a ton of snaps but few touches? Is the once-presumed starter now splitting more of the workload with a role player? Does a team have the ability to sustain multiple running backs on a weekly basis? All this and more will be covered on a weekly basis!

At the end of each article, there will also be a table outlining how each backfield split its workload among its primary running backs.

San Francisco 49ers

Death, taxes, and the San Francisco 49ers employing a running back by committee - these are three things that you can always count on. This week Matt Breida led the backfield in carries and snaps, but Raheem Mostert wasn't too far behind and was able to compile 11 more rushing yards than Breida.

Jeff Wilson once again finished last in snaps and carries, but continues to get the most red zone work - his 13 red zone carries are currently tied for the league lead with Ezekiel Elliott. He piled on another two touchdowns and 18 rushing yards on only eight carries this week.

Even though it's currently a three-headed monster, Kyle Shanahan has demonstrated his ability to produce several fantasy-relevant running backs. Most impressively is that each of these three running backs is in the top 20 in Rushing Net Expected Points (NEP). Each of these players will remain solid flex options following the 49ers bye.

That said, keep an eye on Tevin Coleman, who could return from his injury soon and make this backfield even more fun to project.

Philadelphia Eagles

To most people watching the games, Miles Sanders looks like the best running back on the Philadelphia Eagles. Unfortunately, Doug Pederson seems to think otherwise based on how he's splitting the workload between Sanders, Jordan Howard, and Darren Sproles.

Pederson may have a reason for this usage, though. Through three games, Sanders' Rushing NEP of -9.30 is among the bottom five running backs. However, what may surprise most, is that Sanders' Reception NEP of 4.71 is in the top 20 running backs. This is much higher than Sproles (-0.86), his pass-catching specialist teammate, who is in the bottom ten running backs.

Despite Sanders leading the team in red zone carries, he still has yet to score a touchdown. He's had some trouble with ball security as he fumbled the ball twice on Sunday, but I still contend that Sanders is a viable buy-low target if you have a winning record or have the space to stash him until he breaks out.

Kansas City Chiefs

With Damien Williams missing Sunday's game due to a knee injury and LeSean McCoy banged up, many eyes focused on the Kansas City Chiefs backfield to see how the workload would be split up. While he only got eight carries, McCoy made the most of his day by rushing for 52 yards and scoring two touchdowns. He could have had a bigger day if not for re-aggravating his ankle injury.

With McCoy's injury, that opened the door for other back to get an opportunity.

The star running back for the Chiefs on Sunday was Darrel Williams. The most impressive part of Williams' day was his role in the passing game. Williams caught all five of his targets for 47 yards, including the game-clinching screen pass. On the ground, he was just as efficient as he was able to accumulate 62 rushing yards on only nine carries.

Unfortunately, it turns out Darwin Thompson was all hype and no substance. The sixth-round pick only played five snaps on Sunday, all of which came in the fourth quarter. However, if both McCoy and Damien Williams miss the Chiefs' Week 4 matchup against the Detroit Lions, Thompson could get some valuable work.

Chicago Bears

Similar to Doug Pederson, it's clear that Matt Nagy has no intention on using his running backs the way that fantasy football owners desire. Over the past couple weeks, David Montgomery owners have been furious with how Nagy has been using the rookie running back, subbing him out for the likes of Mike Davis, Tarik Cohen, and even Cordarrelle Patterson on crucial plays throughout the game.

On a pair of fourth-quarter touches, Montgomery exploded for a couple of big gains that helped the Bears wind the clock down, showing everyone what he's capable of. Montgomery is still dominating the backfield in snaps and touches, but the Chicago Bears pass play percentage is up to 64% this year compared to 55% a year ago.

Another sign of hope is that Montgomery seems to be the clear-cut goal-line back as he's accounted for all four carries inside the five-yard line. He's also being heavily used in the red zone, garnering two-thirds of those carries. Better days should be ahead for Montgomery, but that may rely on Nagy's play-calling tendencies.

Other Notable Trends

- Based on early reports, it seems as though Saquon Barkley will miss 4-8 weeks due to a high ankle sprain. In his absence, Wayne Gallman will likely fill in as the New York Giants' starting running back. Although it was only five carries, Gallman was the only other Giants running back to get a carry on Sunday in relief of Barkley. Over the next several weeks, the Giants have a fairly tough schedule of run defenses, so be wary of plugging Gallman into your lineup.

- With the release of C.J. Anderson, Kerryon Johnson was set up to fully take over the Lions backfield. He certainly got the most work on Sunday, but Johnson has been terribly inefficient so far this season, just like he was on Sunday. So far he's averaging an abysmal 2.6 yards per carry, including his 1.8 yards per carry clip this past week. Johnson's -6.47 Rushing NEP on the season is also among the bottom ten running backs.

- I guess Ronald Jones is back to being the lead back in Tampa Bay. In a game that featured a big game in the passing game from Mike Evans and Jameis Winston, Jones was once again the most efficient running back. In addition to averaging 5.7 yards per carry on Sunday, Jones took his lone target of the game for 41 yards.

- Since getting the majority of the work in Week 1, Josh Jacobs has seen his total snaps and touches go down each week. Conversely, Jalen Richard's snaps and touches have gone in the opposite direction. Though some of this may be due to Jacobs dealing with an illness, the Oakland Raiders have found themselves in negative game scripts the past two weeks, forcing them to throw the ball more.

- Ito Smith left Sunday's game early with a concussion, leaving Devonta Freeman to finally own the entire backfield. Freeman recorded a solid day on the ground and was also worked into the passing game with four targets. If Smith's status is in doubt for Week 4 or more, Freeman could finally pay off for owners.

Volume Metrics

Snap data comes from Lineups

Running BackTeamSnap %Rush Att.
(3-Week Avg.)
(3-Week Avg.)
Total Opportunities
(3-Week Avg.)
Chase EdmondsARI(9/75) 12%3 (1.7)2 (1.7)5 (3.4)
David JohnsonARI(65/75) 87%11 (12)9 (5.7)20 (17.7)
Devonta FreemanATL(55/61) 90%16 (11.7)4 (4)20 (15.7)
Ito SmithATL(3/61) 5%1 (3.7)0 (1.4)1 (5)
Gus EdwardsBAL(22/83) 27%7 (9)2 (0.7)9 (9.7)
Justice HillBAL(11/83) 13%1 (3)3 (1.7)4 (4.7)
Mark IngramBAL(50/83) 60%16 (14.4)4 (2)20 (16.4)
Frank GoreBUF(49/78) 63%14 (14.7)2 (1.4)16 (16)
TJ YeldonBUF(29/78) 37%8 (2.7)3 (1)11 (3.7)
Alex ArmahCAR(19/63) 30%1 (0.7)1 (0.4)2 (1)
Christian McCaffreyCAR(58/63) 92%24 (19.7)4 (7)28 (26.7)
David MontgomeryCHI(44/66) 67%13 (12.4)3 (2.4)16 (14.7)
Mike DavisCHI(1/66) 2%1 (3)0 (2.4)1 (5.4)
Tarik CohenCHI(32/66) 48%4 (2.7)4 (6.4)8 (9)
Giovani BernardCIN(26/61) 43%3 (5.4)2 (2.7)5 (8)
Joe MixonCIN(35/62) 57%15 (10.7)2 (3.4)17 (14)
Dontrell HilliardCLE(1/68) 1%0 (0.3)0 (0.7)0 (0.3)
Nick ChubbCLE(67/68) 97%23 (19.4)7 (5)30 (24.4)
Ezekiel ElliottDAL(48/72) 67%19 (18.4)3 (2.4)22 (20.7)
Tony PollardDAL(23/72) 32%13 (10)3 (1.4)16 (11.4)
Phillip LindsayDEN(41/73) 56%21 (15)5 (6)26 (21)
Royce FreemanDEN(36/73) 49%15 (12)5 (4.4)20 (16.4)
Kerryon JohnsonDET(48/64) 75%20 (16)1 (2)21 (18)
Ty JohnsonDET(13/64) 20%4 (3.4)2 (1.4)6 (4.7)
Aaron JonesGB(22/57) 39%10 (15.4)1 (2.7)11 (18)
Jamaal WilliamsGB(35/57) 61%12 (8.7)2 (2.7)14 (11.4)
Carlos HydeHOU(31/60) 52%10 (13.4)0 (0.4)10 (13.7)
Duke JohnsonHOU(29/60) 48%2 (5.7)3 (3)5 (8.7)
Jordan WilkinsIND(10/71) 14%3 (2.7)0 (0.4)3 (3)
Marlon MackIND(44/71) 62%16 (20.4)3 (2)19 (22.4)
Nyheim HinesIND(18/71) 25%2 (2.7)4 (3.4)6 (6)
Leonard FournetteJAX(54/54) 100%15 (14.4)8 (6.7)23 (21)
Darwin ThompsonKC(5/68) 7%4 (1.7)0 (0.4)4 (2)
Darrel WilliamsKC(37/68) 54%9 (3)5 (1.7)14 (4.7)
LeSean McCoyKC(26/68) 38%8 (9.7)3 (2.4)11 (12)
Austin EkelerLAC(49/75) 65%9 (12.7)7 (6.7)16 (19.4)
Justin JacksonLAC(28/75) 37%5 (6)4 (2.7)9 (8.7)
Malcolm BrownLAR(17/64) 26%3 (6.7)1 (0.7)4 (7.4)
Todd GurleyLAR(49/64) 74%14 (14.7)1 (2)15 (16.7)
Kalen BallageMIA(25/72) 35%8 (5.7)3 (3)11 (8.7)
Kenyan DrakeMIA(46/72) 64%12 (7.4)6 (5)18 (12.4)
Alexander MattisonMIN(19/63) 30%12 (8.4)0 (0)12 (8.4)
Dalvin CookMIN(38/63) 60%16 (19)5 (3.4)21 (22.4)
Brandon BoldenNE(22/77) 29%2 (1)3 (1)5 (2)
Rex BurkheadNE(57/77) 74%11 (8)7 (5.7)18 (13.7)
Sony MichelNE(17/77) 22%9 (15)1 (0.4)10 (15.4)
Alvin KamaraNO(51/58) 88%16 (14)10 (7)26 (21)
Latavius MurrayNO(12/58) 21%2 (4.4)0 (1.4)2 (5.7)
Saquon BarkleyNYG(24/65) 37%8 (12.4)5 (6)13 (18.4)
Wayne GallmanNYG(41/65) 63%5 (2.4)1 (1.7)6 (4)
Le'Veon BellNYJ(51/51) 100%18 (18.7)4 (7.7)22 (26.4)
Ty MontgomeryNYJ(8/51) 16%2 (2.4)1 (1.4)3 (3.7)
Deandre WashingtonOAK(9/59) 15%6 (3.7)0 (0.7)6 (4.4)
Josh JacobsOAK(25/59) 42%10 (15)2 (1)12 (16)
Jalen RichardOAK(29/59) 49%2 (1.7)3 (2)5 (3.7)
Darren SprolesPHI(27/76) 36%2 (3.7)1 (2.4)3 (6)
Jordan HowardPHI(25/76) 33%11 (8.4)1 (1.7)12 (10)
Miles SandersPHI(26/76) 34%13 (11.4)4 (3.4)17 (14.7)
Benny Snell Jr.PIT(3/53) 6%3 (1.4)0 (0)3 (1.4)
James ConnerPIT(36/53) 68%13 (11.4)5 (4.4)18 (15.7)
Jaylen SamuelsPIT(14/53) 26%0 (1.7)0 (1)0 (2.7)
Chris CarsonSEA(37/84) 44%15 (15)1 (3.7)16 (18.7)
CJ ProsiseSEA(46/84) 55%4 (2)5 (2.7)9 (4.7)
Jeffery WilsonSF(21/79) 27%8 (6)0 (0)8 (6)
Matt BreidaSF(32/79) 41%14 (13.7)3 (1.7)17 (15.4)
Raheem MostertSF(24/79) 30%12 (11.4)1 (2)13 (13.4)
Dare OgunbowaleTB(19/77) 25%0 (0)3 (3)3 (3)
Peyton BarberTB(28/77) 36%13 (14.7)2 (2.4)15 (17)
Ronald Jones IITB(23/77) 30%14 (10.4)1 (0.7)15 (11)
Derrick HenryTEN(38/80) 48%17 (17)2 (2.4)19 (19.4)
Dion LewisTEN(42/80) 52%3 (3)1 (2)4 (5)
Adrian PetersonWAS(37/79) 47%12 (7.4)3 (1.7)15 (9)
Chris ThompsonWAS(40/79) 51%7 (4)5 (7.7)12 (11.7)