Week 7 Running Back By Committee Report

Josh Jacobs is turning into one of the few bellcow running backs in the league. What do the rest of the leagues' backfields look like?

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.

Buffalo Bills

In his first game since Week 2, many were excited to see Devin Singletary back in the mix for the Buffalo Bills, especially playing against the helpless Miami Dolphins. Unfortunately, it didn't turn in to nearly the day that we hoped for as Singletary amassed only 26 rushing yards on seven carries. Gore remained the top option in a game in which the Bills ran 16 fewer plays than they've averaged all year.

Gore has out-snapped Singletary in two of the three games that Singletary has played and he has out-touched Singletary in all three of those games. However, what makes Singletary so enticing is his explosiveness and efficiency - in only three games played, Singletary has five carries of at least fifteen yards, tied for 13th in the league. Even after a less-than-stellar day, Singletary still averaging nine yards per carry on the season.

Fortunately, it seems like it's just Gore and Singletary as the primary options in the backfield as T.J. Yeldon was a healthy scratch for the Bills on Sunday. With upcoming games against the Washington Redskins, Cleveland Browns, and Dolphins again, both backs can be viable flex options until the schedule toughens.

Oakland Raiders

Josh Jacobs is quickly becoming one of the best rushers in the league as he has rushed for over 100 yards in each of the last two games. With these two performances and his 5.08 yards per carry on the season, Jacobs has pushed himself up to fifth in the league in rushing yards per game with an average of 92.3. He's also eleventh in the league in Rushing Net Expected Points per carry at 0.06.

He's also getting a bit more involved in the passing game. After garnering three total targets in the first three games of the season, Jacobs has gotten three targets in each of the past two games. However, it's apparent that the Raiders still want to work in Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington when the team is trailing, as evidenced by the fact that Jacobs has topped a 60 percent snap rate only twice this season.

Keep an eye on his injury status though as Sunday was the second time in as many games that Jacobs left the game due to injury. Though he was able to return to the game in both instances, it was an elbow injury that sidelined him both times. Should Jacobs miss any time, Washington would likely stand to benefit the most as Richard is typically only used in passing situations.

Arizona Cardinals

Hello, Chase Edmonds! After missing practice time throughout the week, David Johnson entered the week active, but was only expected to be used in an 'emergency' situation. Regrettably, this information didn't get released prior to the game, so owners plugged Johnson into their lineups with full confidence, only to be left with a bitter taste in their mouths after Edmonds' explosive day. Once seen as a valuable handcuff, Edmonds is creeping his way into flex territory.

The Arizona Cardinals made it clear that they trust Edmonds in a workhorse role, giving him 31 total opportunities on Sunday. Edmonds took advantage of this lead back role with his 127 rushing yards on Sunday. Not only that, but Edmonds also became the first player with 3 rushing TDs of at least 20 yards each since Doug Martin did it against the Raiders in 2012.

Yesterday the Cardinals signed Alfred Morris, indicating that Johnson's injury may be worse than once thought. That said, Edmonds and Johnson were the only two active running backs on Sunday, so the Arizona Cardinals may just be looking for a little bit more depth.

Additionally, regardless of who ends up starting, owners should temper expectations over the next several weeks as they face a daunting schedule of run defenses. While the Cardinals have rushed it the third most over the past three weeks, they face a tough set of opponents over the next month. In the four weeks before their Week 12 bye, the Cardinals will play the San Francisco 49ers twice, the New Orleans Saints, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers - each of these teams ranks 29th or worse in fantasy points allowed to running backs.

Other Notable Trends

- In Alvin Kamara's absence, Latavius Murray took full control of the New Orleans Saints backfield. Murray impressively racked up 27 carries for 119 yards and two scores against the tough Chicago Bears defense. Should Kamara continue to miss time, Murray will fill in well as an RB1 for the Saints, especially when the Saints host the Cardinals in Week 8.

- The Denver Broncos continue to employ a true RBBC with a nearly even workload between Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman. Freeman was the main beneficiary this past week as he finally found the end zone for the first time this year, but neither came close to meeting expectations against a Kansas City Chiefs that was allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs.

- Since returning from his holdout three weeks ago, Melvin Gordon has been a shell of himself on the football field. In 36 carries this season, Gordon has yet to have a carry go more than seven yards. Meanwhile, he's just cutting into the rushing workload of Austin Ekeler, who continues to be an elite weapon in the passing game and is the RB12 in half PPR leagues over the past three weeks.

- Though he hasn't scored since Week 3, Marlon Mack is every bit the workhorse back. Currently, fourth in the league in rush attempts per game at 19.8, Mack is currently the RBX in half PPR leagues. While his downfall going into the season was his lack of production in the passing game, Mack has gotten three targets in four of six games this season. Surprisingly, Jacoby Brissett has eight touchdown passes inside the five-yard line, so if a couple of those turn into rushing touchdowns for Mack, then he could be in for a huge second half of the season.

- Sony Michel owners finally got the day they've all been waiting for as he racked up three touchdowns in the New England Patriots dominating win over the New York Jets. He was able to make the most of his 19 carries with scoring plays, but has yet to top 100 rushing yards on the season. That said, James White continues to be a valuable asset as he leads the team in snaps and had a team-high 59 receiving yards on seven receptions. If the Patriots ever trail and are forced to pass the ball (and that's a big if).

- Yesterday the Detroit Lions placed second-year running back Kerryon Johnson on injured reserve due to a knee injury. In the meantime, Ty Johnson and J.D. McKissic will step in together to fill Johnson's role as head coach Matt Patricia has indicated the use of an RBBC. Up until this point, McKissic was playing the change-of-pace role so Ty Johnson is set to fill in as the primary downs back, making him a top add in all leagues.

Volume Metrics

Snap data comes from Lineups

Running BackTeamSnap %Rush Att.
(3-Week Avg.)
(3-Week Avg.)
Total Opportunities
(3-Week Avg.)
Chase EdmondsARI(61/65) 94%27 (13.3)4 (3.3)31 (16.7)
David JohnsonARI(3/65) 5%1 (10)0 (4.3)1 (14.3)
Brian HillATL(17/55) 31%5 (1.7)2 (0.7)7 (2.3)
Devonta FreemanATL(31/55) 56%7 (12.3)3 (3.7)10 (16)
Ito SmithATL(3/55) 5%1 (3)0 (2)1 (5)
Gus EdwardsBAL(22/59) 37%8 (6.3)0 (0.3)8 (6.7)
Justice HillBAL(4/59) 7%0 (2.3)0 (0)0 (2.3)
Mark IngramBAL(30/59) 51%12 (14.7)1 (2)13 (16.7)
Devin SingletaryBUF(22/59) 39%7 (2.3)0 (0)7 (2.3)
Frank GoreBUF(30/59) 54%11 (8.3)1 (1)12 (9.3)
David MontgomeryCHI(30/65) 46%2 (4.3)2 (1)4 (5.3)
Tarik CohenCHI(36/65) 55%3 (2.3)12 (6.3)15 (8.7)
Giovani BernardCIN(34/72) 47%4 (3.3)3 (3)7 (6.3)
Joe MixonCIN(39/72) 54%10 (12.3)2 (2)12 (14.3)
Ezekiel ElliottDAL(55/70) 79%22 (20.7)7 (5.7)29 (26.3)
Tony PollardDAL(20/70) 29%8 (5)0 (0)8 (5)
Phillip LindsayDEN(27/67) 40%11 (13.7)1 (2.7)12 (16.3)
Royce FreemanDEN(42/67) 63%10 (11.3)5 (4)15 (15.3)
JD McKissicDET(19/76) 25%5 (2.7)3 (2)8 (4.7)
Kerryon JohnsonDET(11/76) 14%5 (6)1 (1.7)6 (7.7)
Ty JohnsonDET(49/76) 64%10 (3.3)4 (1.3)14 (4.7)
Aaron JonesGB(34/60) 57%12 (14)4 (6.3)16 (20.3)
Jamaal WilliamsGB(24/60) 40%3 (5.7)5 (3.3)8 (9)
Carlos HydeHOU(26/65) 40%12 (19.7)1 (1)13 (20.7)
Duke JohnsonHOU(39/65) 60%7 (7)5 (3.3)12 (10.3)
Jordan WilkinsIND(14/76) 18%2 (3)1 (0.3)3 (3.3)
Marlon MackIND(54/76) 71%18 (15.7)3 (2)21 (17.7)
Nyheim HinesIND(9/76) 12%1 (1)2 (2.3)3 (3.3)
Leonard FournetteJAX(74/82) 90%29 (24)2 (5)31 (29)
Ryquell ArmsteadJAX(7/82) 9%3 (1.7)1 (0.7)4 (2.3)
Darrel WilliamsKC(17/61) 28%2 (0.7)2 (1.3)4 (2)
Damien WilliamsKC(18/61) 30%9 (6.3)3 (2.7)12 (9)
LeSean McCoyKC(26/61) 43%12 (6.7)2 (2)14 (8.7)
Austin EkelerLAC(38/64) 59%5 (4.3)8 (9.3)13 (13.7)
Melvin GordonLAC(34/64) 53%16 (12)3 (4.3)19 (16.3)
Darrell HendersonLAR(26/76) 34%11 (5.7)1 (1)12 (6.7)
Todd GurleyLAR(46/76) 61%18 (11)1 (2)19 (13)
Kalen BallageMIA(5/73) 7%3 (2)0 (0)3 (2)
Kenyan DrakeMIA(30/73) 41%6 (5.3)4 (4.3)10 (9.7)
Mark WaltonMIA(38/73) 52%14 (6.7)1 (2.3)15 (9)
Alexander MattisonMIN(21/73) 29%7 (9.3)0 (0)7 (9.3)
Dalvin CookMIN(51/73) 70%25 (20.7)2 (3.3)27 (24)
Brandon BoldenNE(19/82) 22%1 (3)4 (2.3)5 (5.3)
Damien HarrisNE(5/82) 6%4 (1.3)0 (0)4 (1.3)
James WhiteNE(44/82) 54%5 (4.3)8 (8.7)13 (13)
Sony MichelNE(31/82) 38%19 (19)2 (2.7)21 (21.7)
Dwayne WashingtonNO(1/78) 1%0 (0)1 (0.3)1 (0.3)
Latavius MurrayNO(65/78) 83%27 (14)6 (3.7)33 (17.7)
Elijhaa PennyNYG(6/71) 8%0 (2)0 (1)0 (3)
Saquon BarkleyNYG(61/71) 86%18 (6)5 (1.7)23 (7.7)
Wayne GallmanNYG(10/71) 14%0 (0.7)0 (0)0 (0.7)
Bilal PowellNYJ(4/61) 7%1 (1)0 (0.3)1 (1.3)
Le'Veon BellNYJ(57/61) 93%15 (14.7)4 (4.7)19 (19.3)
Ty MontgomeryNYJ(7/61) 11%2 (1.3)1 (1.3)3 (2.7)
Deandre WashingtonOAK(14/66) 21%6 (4)1 (1.3)7 (5.3)
Josh JacobsOAK(37/66) 56%21 (15.7)3 (2.3)24 (18)
Jalen RichardOAK(15/66) 23%2 (1.3)1 (1)3 (2.3)
Jordan HowardPHI(23/61) 38%11 (12.3)2 (0.7)13 (13)
Miles SandersPHI(33/61) 54%6 (6)3 (3.7)9 (9.7)
Chris CarsonSEA(64/72) 89%21 (24)5 (3.7)26 (27.7)
CJ ProsiseSEA(6/72) 8%1 (1.3)0 (1)1 (2.3)
Rashaad PennySEA(2/72) 3%0 (2)0 (0.7)0 (2.7)
Jeffery WilsonSF(8/64) 12%5 (1.7)0 (0)5 (1.7)
Matt BreidaSF(17/64) 27%8 (10.7)1 (2.7)9 (13.3)
Tevin ColemanSF(42/64) 66%20 (18)2 (1.7)22 (19.7)
Derrick HenryTEN(48/64) 75%22 (19)1 (1.3)23 (20.3)
Dion LewisTEN(17/64) 27%1 (1.3)1 (2.7)2 (4)
Adrian PetersonWAS(31/48) 65%20 (16.7)0 (0.7)20 (17.3)
Wendell SmallwoodWAS(17/48) 35%5 (4)1 (0.3)6 (4.3)