Week 8 Running Back By Committee Report

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 of this and more will be covered each week.

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

Detroit Lions

Welp, here we are. Just days after fantasy owners spent loads of their FAAB (free agent acquisition budget) on Ty Johnson, Matt Patricia decided to turn this backfield on its head.

On Sunday, seemingly every running back on the Detroit Lions roster got a carry. Unsurprisingly, none of these running backs did anything spectacular on the ground, as the Lions remain one of the least efficient rushing offenses in the league -- Detroit currently ranks 25th in yards per carry with a 3.6 average.

Tra Carson, who started the year as a member of the Green Bay Packers, paced all running backs with 12 carries. Overall, Johnson wasn't far behind Carson as he had 11 total opportunities (seven carries and four targets). Paul Perkins -- who got promoted to the active roster from the Lions' practice squad just last week -- also got involved with a couple carries of his own. Finally, J.D. McKissic was seldom involved but did get a handful of targets as a pass-catcher.

Needless to say, if four running backs continue to be involved, nobody in this backfield can be trusted.

Philadelphia Eagles

In a game with wind gusts over 40 miles per hour, the Philadelphia Eagles flexed their ability to run the ball well. The Eagles ran the ball 41 total times for 218 yards, both season-highs for Philadelphia.

Once again, Jordan Howard led the Eagles with 23 carries, narrowly missing the 100-yard rushing mark, and scoring a touchdown as well. With only six touches on Sunday, Miles Sanders has yet to reach the mark in each of the last three games after getting double-digit touches in each of the first five games of the season. Howard is quietly having an extremely efficient year, which may justify his usage. Howard's Rushing Net Expected Points (NEP) per carry of 0.09 is eighth-best in the league among running backs with at least 25 carries.

However, Sanders continues to show that he deserves more touches. Per Next Gen Stats, Sanders reached a max speed of 20.9 MPH -- the fastest speed reached of any Eagles running back in the past two years -- on his 65-yard touchdown run.

Furthermore, excluding plays from DeSean Jackson, Sanders has seven of the Eagles' ten plays of at least 30 yards. Why he doesn't get the ball more will remain a mystery, but his explosiveness shows that he can be worth starting as a flex option.

Unfortunately, Sanders left the game late with a shoulder injury, but the X-rays came back negative, and he expects to be just fine. Sanders is currently listed as day-to-day, and if he misses any time, Howard will get a huge bump, with Boston Scott likely filling in for Sanders' role.

Cincinnati Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals have been hard-pressed to offer any fantasy relevance this year, especially for their running backs. However, with one of the easier remaining schedules for running backs, I thought it would be prudent to more deeply examine this backfield.

Joe Mixon -- currently the 32nd ranked running back in half PPR leagues -- has been one of this year's biggest fantasy draft busts. Mixon has yet to eclipse 100 rushing yards in a game and has reached 100 total yards in only one contest this season. Though, with touchdowns in each of the past two weeks, Mixon owners find themselves grasping for any production they can get. Right now, Mixon is averaging a career-worst 3.2 yards per carry average, which is also the worst in the league among qualified running backs.

Giovani Bernard, on the other hand, hasn't shown anything that indicates he should be taking work away from Mixon. While he hasn't seen a ton of opportunities in either the running or passing game, Bernard has still been on the field for 46% of the Bengals' snaps. Opportunity is king in fantasy football, and not being on the field hinders Mixon's ability to produce.

As I mentioned earlier, the schedule lightens up for the Bengals following their Week 9 bye. So far this season, the Bengals have faced the sixth-toughest schedule for running backs. However, in Weeks 10 through 16, the Bengals will play the 16th-easiest schedule. While Cincinnati still doesn't have the easiest schedule, it certainly lightens up a bit. If you're in a good spot and can buy low on Mixon, now may be the time to do so.

Other Notable Trends

- Ronald Jones and Peyton Barber continue to share the workload for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, the running game is far from being the focus of the offense. Over its last three games, Tampa Bay has a pass to rush ratio of 1.57, which is 13th-highest in the league. Jones still leads the team in carries, but the Buccaneers don't have a particularly easy schedule for running backs in their final nine games.

- Despite missing about a quarter of the game due to a shoulder injury, Aaron Jones led the Green Bay Packers in both snaps and touches. Over the past several weeks, Jones has displayed his phenomenal pass-catching skills. During Sunday Night Football, Jones racked up 159 receiving yards on 7 receptions and now leads the Packers in catches. Granted, Davante Adams has been out for an extended period of time, but Jones has proven himself to be a game-changing player.

- Matt Nagy said he wanted the Chicago Bears to run the ball more, and that they did. David Montgomery had his best game of the year, passing the 100-yard rushing mark for the first time in his career on 27 carries, also a career-high. No other Bears running back had more than four carries, but Tarik Cohen, who is a versatile weapon, will continue to push Montgomery for snaps, especially when they are in a negative game script.

- Even though Melvin Gordon scored, neither him nor Austin Ekeler had a particularly impressive afternoon against the Bears. Chicago's defense, which had been exploited by rushing attacks over the past couple of weeks, only allowed 36 total rushing yards to the Los Angeles Chargers. Gordon appears to be holding the lead running back role as he's led the team in rush attempts in each of the four games he's played, but this offense has not been able to move the ball nearly as well as they have in the past.

- For the fifth week in a row, Royce Freeman out-snapped Phillip Lindsay. That being said, Lindsay is still seeing the majority of the opportunities, but only by a slight margin (2.6 rush attempts per game more than Freeman). Fortunately for Freeman owners, he has found the end zone in each of the past two games. Having both of these running backs produce as well as they have, however, limits the ceiling of either one as they'll both continue to be worked in.

- Prior to the trade deadline yesterday, the Arizona Cardinals made a move to acquire Kenyan Drake. With a Thursday night game looming and uncertainty about the health of David Johnson and Chase Edmonds, Drake could be in line to see a decent workload. However, he'll still likely share work with Zach Zenner and Alfred Morris, whom the Cardinals signed last week. It's not a great matchup for the running backs against a tough San Francisco 49ers defense, so avoid playing them this week if possible.

Volume Metrics

Snap data comes from Lineups

Running BackTeamSnap %Rush Att. (3-Week Avg.)Targets (3-Week Avg.)Total Opportunities (3-Week Avg.)
Chase EdmondsARI(30/49) 61%7 (13)4 (3.3)11 (16.3)
Zach ZennerARI(19/49) 39%1 (0.6)1 (1)2 (1.6)
Brian HillATL(11/80) 14%3 (2.7)0 (0.7)3 (3.3)
Devonta FreemanATL(64/80) 80%13 (13)8 (4.7)21 (17.7)
Devin SingletaryBUF(42/62) 68%3 (3.3)6 (2)9 (5.3)
Frank GoreBUF(18/62) 29%9 (6.7)0 (0.3)9 (7)
Christian McCaffreyCAR(54/69) 78%14 (12)5 (3.3)19 (15.3)
Jordan ScarlettCAR(4/69) 6%4 (1.3)0 (0)4 (1.3)
Reggie BonnafonCAR(12/69) 17%1 (0.3)3 (1)4 (1.3)
David MontgomeryCHI(60/82) 73%27 (9.7)5 (2.3)32 (12)
Mike DavisCHI(11/82) 13%2 (0.7)1 (0.3)3 (1)
Tarik CohenCHI(17/82) 21%4 (2.3)3 (5)7 (7.3)
Giovani BernardCIN(33/83) 40%3 (3.7)2 (2.7)5 (6.3)
Joe MixonCIN(42/83) 51%17 (11.7)4 (3)21 (14.7)
Dontrell HilliardCLE(26/68) 38%1 (0.3)4 (2.3)5 (2.7)
Nick ChubbCLE(43/68) 63%20 (13.3)1 (2.3)21 (15.7)
Phillip LindsayDEN(36/73) 49%14 (13.3)5 (3)19 (16.3)
Royce FreemanDEN(37/73) 51%12 (11)2 (4)14 (15)
JD McKissicDET(16/63) 25%1 (3)3 (3)4 (6)
Paul PerkinsDET(6/63) 10%3 (1)0 (0)3 (1)
Tra CarsonDET(19/63) 30%12 (4)0 (0)12 (4)
Ty JohnsonDET(25/63) 40%7 (5.7)4 (2.7)11 (8.3)
Aaron JonesGB(44/69) 64%13 (12)8 (6.3)21 (18.3)
Dexter WilliamsGB(9/69) 13%0 (1)0 (0)0 (1)
Jamaal WilliamsGB(32/69) 46%7 (8)3 (4.3)10 (12.3)
Carlos HydeHOU(43/83) 52%19 (19)1 (1)20 (20)
Duke JohnsonHOU(37/83) 45%3 (5)5 (4.7)8 (9.7)
Jordan WilkinsIND(6/64) 9%2 (1.3)0 (0.3)2 (1.7)
Marlon MackIND(39/64) 61%19 (12.3)1 (1.3)20 (13.7)
Nyheim HinesIND(18/64) 28%4 (1.7)3 (1.7)7 (3.3)
Leonard FournetteJAX(60/76) 79%19 (22.7)7 (5)26 (27.7)
Ryquell ArmsteadJAX(16/76) 21%6 (3.3)0 (0.3)6 (3.7)
Darwin ThompsonKC(2/59) 3%0 (0)1 (0.3)1 (0.3)
Darrel WilliamsKC(9/59) 15%2 (1.3)0 (1.3)2 (2.7)
Damien WilliamsKC(25/59) 42%7 (5.7)0 (1.3)7 (7)
LeSean McCoyKC(23/59) 39%9 (9.7)4 (2.7)13 (12.3)
Austin EkelerLAC(24/45) 53%3 (4.3)3 (5)6 (9.3)
Melvin GordonLAC(25/45) 56%8 (10.7)3 (3.3)11 (14)
Darrell HendersonLAR(30/62) 48%11 (9.3)3 (2)14 (11.3)
Todd GurleyLAR(32/62) 52%10 (9.3)1 (0.7)11 (10)
Kalen BallageMIA(10/60) 17%3 (3)1 (0.3)4 (3.3)
Mark WaltonMIA(52/60) 87%11 (10.3)6 (4.3)17 (14.7)
Alexander MattisonMIN(19/72) 26%13 (11.3)2 (0.7)15 (12)
Dalvin CookMIN(51/72) 71%23 (21.3)6 (3.3)29 (24.7)
Brandon BoldenNE(3/69) 4%0 (1.3)1 (2.3)1 (3.7)
James WhiteNE(28/69) 41%2 (3)5 (7.3)7 (10.3)
Rex BurkheadNE(13/69) 19%3 (1)1 (0.3)4 (1.3)
Sony MichelNE(28/69) 41%21 (20.7)0 (1.7)21 (22.3)
Dwayne WashingtonNO(6/76) 8%3 (1)0 (0.3)3 (1.3)
Latavius MurrayNO(62/76) 82%21 (18.7)12 (7)33 (25.7)
Elijhaa PennyNYG(10/74) 14%1 (1.3)0 (0.7)1 (2)
Saquon BarkleyNYG(61/74) 82%19 (12.3)10 (5)29 (17.3)
Wayne GallmanNYG(13/74) 18%0 (0)1 (0.3)1 (0.3)
Bilal PowellNYJ(10/61) 16%4 (2)0 (0.3)4 (2.3)
Le'Veon BellNYJ(52/61) 85%9 (12.7)5 (3.3)14 (16)
Ty MontgomeryNYJ(6/61) 10%0 (0.7)0 (1.3)0 (2)
Deandre WashingtonOAK(9/56) 16%5 (3.7)1 (0.7)6 (4.3)
Josh JacobsOAK(31/56) 55%15 (12)2 (1.7)17 (13.7)
Jalen RichardOAK(17/56) 30%1 (1)3 (1.3)4 (2.3)
Boston ScottPHI(9/73) 12%5 (5.3)0 (0.3)5 (5.6)
Jordan HowardPHI(53/73) 73%23 (15.7)2 (1.3)25 (17)
Miles SandersPHI(13/73) 18%3 (4)3 (3)6 (7)
Benny Snell Jr.PIT(11/77) 14%5 (7.3)0 (0.3)5 (7.7)
James ConnerPIT(64/77) 83%23 (13)4 (3.7)27 (16.7)
Chris CarsonSEA(42/61) 69%20 (21.7)1 (3.3)21 (25)
Rashaad PennySEA(18/61) 30%8 (2.7)0 (0)8 (2.7)
Jeffery WilsonSF(3/67) 4%2 (2.3)0 (0)2 (2.3)
Matt BreidaSF(19/67) 28%11 (10.7)1 (2)12 (12.7)
Raheem MostertSF(14/67) 21%9 (4.3)0 (0)9 (4.3)
Tevin ColemanSF(32/67) 48%11 (16.3)2 (2.3)13 (18.7)
Dare OgunbowaleTB(27/83) 33%1 (0.7)3 (2.7)4 (3.3)
Peyton BarberTB(29/83) 35%10 (6)3 (1)13 (7)
Ronald Jones IITB(22/83) 27%11 (5)4 (1.3)15 (6.3)
Derrick HenryTEN(42/63) 67%16 (17.7)1 (1.7)17 (19.3)
Dion LewisTEN(21/63) 33%0 (0.7)1 (1.7)1 (2.3)
Adrian PetersonWAS(31/43) 72%14 (19)2 (1.3)16 (20.3)
Wendell SmallwoodWAS(12/43) 28%2 (2.7)2 (1)4 (3.7)