Week 13 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.

Every 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 every article, there will also be a table outlining how each backfield split its workload among its primary running backs.

Detroit Lions

Even though the production wasn't stellar, the Detroit Lions seem committed to Bo Scarbrough as their primary rusher. For the third straight week, Scarbrough has gotten at least 14 carries and has seen that number rise each week. He's also been averaging a nearly 50 percent snap rate, which leads the team in those three games. However, that doesn't mean Ty Johnson and J.D. McKissic have been left to the wayside.

Though their roles have decreased significantly in the past several weeks, Johnson and McKissic have been involved enough to keep Scarbrough from reaching a high ceiling. The two have primarily been factors in the passing game as change-of-pace backs, each with only a couple of targets per game. Scarbrough is a non-factor as a receiver, as he has yet to get a single target this year.

If just one of these backs saw all of the targets out of the backfield, that player might be considered a potential flex option in the right matchup, but all three of them are cannibalizing each others' opportunities. Following a tough matchup against the Minnesota Vikings this week, the Lions face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Denver Broncos, two more difficult rush defenses. Scarbrough is worth holding onto purely because of the volume he's getting, but don't expect much more production than what he's given you recently.

Green Bay Packers

Following a devastating loss on Sunday Night Football last week, the Green Bay Packers turned it around this week against the New York Giants. Unfortunately, Aaron Jones didn't see the same level of success for the Packers, as he continues to share the rushing workload with Jamaal Williams.

Since Williams returned from injury in Week 6, Jones has averaged only three carries per game more than Williams and has failed to top 100 yards rushing in each of those games. Furthermore, the snap share is a near 50/50 split, with Jones having a slight edge. Jones had been making up for the lack of work as a rusher was in the passing game, but that has disappeared as of late.

Prior to this week, Jones had gotten four total targets over the previous three games. He followed that up with a six-target game amidst reports that head coach Matt LaFleur said Jones needed to be fed the ball more. Though he was only able to turn those targets into 4 catches for 13 yards, hopefully, this is the start of a return back to increased usage as a pass-catcher.

Houston Texans

Both Carlos Hyde (9.3 points per game) and Duke Johnson (8.9 points per game) are having nearly identical seasons so far in terms of fantasy production, which has made this one of the more frustrating ones backfields of the season.

Some may be surprised to hear that the Houston Texans have been one of the better rushing teams this season, as they're seventh in rushing yards per game, but that hasn't translated to consistent fantasy success for the backfield. A large part of this is due to the rushing ability of Deshaun Watson, who has contributed nearly 20 percent of the team's rushing yards.

One wonders why the Houston Texans don't get Johnson more involved, though, as he's second in the league (behind only James White) in yards per touch among running backs with at least 70 touches this season. This translates to our metrics, too, as Johnson is second in total Net Expected Points (NEP) per touch among that same group of running backs.

Johnson is also averaging a career-high 5.2 yards per carry and is much more of a threat as a pass-catcher than Hyde. That said, Hyde's 4.6 yards per carry is tied for his career-high in a season, so he hasn't been as bad as some may have expected.

If the last three weeks are any indicator, the Texans may be leaning Johnson's way a bit more down the stretch. In Houston's last three games, Johnson has led the backfield in snaps and has been above the 50 percent mark for each of those games. Notably, Johnson had his highest snap rate of the year (68 percent) this past week against the New England Patriots, a game in which Houston led for most of the contest.

Other Notable Trends

- Derrius Guice had his first true breakout game with 129 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns on only 10 carries. Though Guice was second on the team in carries behind Adrian Peterson, he is clearly the more explosive back. Hopefully, Bill Callahan now realizes Guice's potential and continues to ride him through the end of the season.

- Raheem Mostert completely took over the San Francisco 49ers backfield this week with 19 carries for 146 yards and a score. Tevin Coleman owners, on the other hand, were left scratching their heads at his usage - Coleman had only five carries and one target in the ten total snaps that he had on the day. Since Week 8, Coleman has averaged a paltry 2.48 yards per carry, likely explaining Mostert's increased usage on Sunday.

- While it doesn't seem that Kareem Hunt (6.3 carries per game) is a major threat to Nick Chubb's rushing workload, it is a bit concerning to see how much passing work Hunt has been getting. In the eight games before Hunt arrived, Chubb had six games with at least four targets. Since Hunt started playing, Chubb only has one such game. Being a pass-catcher has never been Chubb's biggest strength, but his now decreased usage may limit his ceiling throughout the rest of the season.

- Welp, here we are again, with Peyton Barber leading the way for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After five straight weeks of Ronald Jones leading the team in carries and looking like he had taken over the backfield, the Buccaneers flipped the script once again to give Barber his second-most rushing attempts in a game this year. With how often these two flip-flop roles, neither can be trusted in your lineup as more than a desperate flex option.

- The Kansas City Chiefs backfield is as messy and confusing as any. On Sunday, three different Chiefs running backs were given at least eight total opportunities. Darwin Thompson led the way at 11 opportunities, with both LeSean McCoy and Darrel Williams each having eight. Granted, most of Thompson's work came in garbage time, but maybe Andy Reid saw enough explosiveness from Thompson to warrant giving him more touches. That said, the Chiefs signed veteran Spencer Ware on Tuesday, further muddying the waters in this backfield.

- We got our first look at a shared backfield for the Seattle Seahawks this week in a thrilling Monday Night Football showdown. Chris Carson edged out Rashaad Penny in carries at 23 to 15, respectively. However, Penny was used much more as a receiver with five targets (tied for a career-high), compared to only two for Carson. Finally, Carson saw his second-lowest snap rate of the season, while Penny reached a season-high in snap percentage. What we expected to happen came to fruition this week, and we shouldn't expect anything different heading into next week.

Volume Metrics

Snap data comes from Lineups.

Running BackTeamSnap %Rush Att. (3-Week Avg.)Targets (3-Week Avg.)Total Opportunities (3-Week Avg.)
David JohnsonARI(15/64) 23%4 (1.3)2 (0.7)6 (2)
Kenyan DrakeARI(51/64) 80%13 (9.7)5 (4)18 (13.7)
Brian HillATL(24/93) 26%4 (9.3)3 (3.3)7 (12.7)
Devonta FreemanATL(62/93) 67%17 (5.7)5 (1.7)22 (7.3)
Gus EdwardsBAL(25/65) 38%6 (9.3)1 (0.3)7 (9.7)
Mark IngramBAL(36/65) 55%15 (14.3)2 (2.3)17 (16.7)
Devin SingletaryBUF(52/67) 78%14 (16.7)4 (2.3)18 (19)
Frank GoreBUF(15/67) 22%9 (11.7)1 (1)10 (12.7)
Christian McCaffreyCAR(74/74) 100%14 (16.7)13 (12)27 (28.7)
David MontgomeryCHI(40/65) 62%16 (14.3)2 (2.7)18 (17)
Tarik CohenCHI(36/65) 55%3 (6)4 (6.3)7 (12.3)
Giovani BernardCIN(13/66) 20%1 (1.7)2 (2.7)3 (4.3)
Joe MixonCIN(52/66) 79%19 (17.3)4 (2.3)23 (19.7)
Kareem HuntCLE(45/69) 65%7 (7)5 (5.3)12 (12.3)
Nick ChubbCLE(41/69) 59%16 (21.3)2 (2.3)18 (23.7)
Ezekiel ElliottDAL(69/78) 88%12 (16.3)10 (5.7)22 (22)
Tony PollardDAL(11/78) 14%3 (3)1 (3)4 (6)
Phillip LindsayDEN(25/57) 44%17 (15.3)3 (2.7)20 (18)
Royce FreemanDEN(32/57) 56%5 (5)4 (2.3)9 (7.3)
Bo ScarbroughDET(36/76) 47%21 (17.7)0 (0.3)21 (18)
JD McKissicDET(17/76) 22%2 (2)3 (3)5 (5)
Ty JohnsonDET(25/76) 33%3 (3)3 (2)6 (5)
Aaron JonesGB(39/67) 58%11 (8)6 (2.3)17 (10.3)
Jamaal WilliamsGB(28/67) 42%10 (7)4 (4)14 (11)
Carlos HydeHOU(21/56) 38%10 (11.7)1 (0.7)11 (12.3)
Duke JohnsonHOU(38/56) 68%9 (6.7)6 (3)15 (9.7)
Jordan WilkinsIND(32/72) 44%11 (3.7)3 (1)14 (4.7)
Jonathan WilliamsIND(16/72) 22%8 (15.7)1 (1.7)9 (17.3)
Nyheim HinesIND(31/72) 43%4 (5.3)2 (3)6 (8.3)
Leonard FournetteJAX(65/73) 89%14 (15.3)11 (10)25 (25.3)
Ryquell ArmsteadJAX(8/73) 11%0 (0.3)1 (1.3)1 (1.7)
Darwin ThompsonKC(24/67) 36%11 (3.7)0 (0)11 (3.7)
Darrel WilliamsKC(18/67) 27%6 (5.7)2 (1.7)8 (7.3)
LeSean McCoyKC(24/67) 36%5 (4)3 (3)8 (7)
Austin EkelerLAC(35/67) 53%9 (4.7)5 (5.7)14 (10.3)
Melvin GordonLAC(43/67) 65%20 (11.3)3 (2.7)23 (14)
Darrell HendersonLAR(7/79) 9%4 (1.3)0 (0)4 (1.3)
Malcolm BrownLAR(18/79) 23%6 (4)1 (0.3)7 (4.3)
Todd GurleyLAR(54/79) 68%19 (16.7)1 (2.3)20 (19)
Kalen BallageMIA(11/72) 15%3 (6.3)1 (2.7)4 (9)
Myles GaskinMIA(16/72) 22%2 (2.3)1 (1)3 (3.3)
Patrick LairdMIA(43/72) 60%10 (4.7)5 (4)15 (8.7)
Alexander MattisonMIN(27/55) 49%4 (2.3)5 (1.7)9 (4)
Dalvin CookMIN(24/55) 44%9 (6.7)4 (3.3)13 (10)
James WhiteNE(68/87) 78%14 (7)11 (7)25 (14)
Rex BurkheadNE(4/87) 5%3 (3.3)1 (3)4 (6.3)
Sony MichelNE(15/87) 17%10 (13.3)0 (1.3)10 (14.7)
Alvin KamaraNO(41/50) 82%11 (11.7)8 (9)19 (20.7)
Latavius MurrayNO(13/50) 26%4 (7)0 (1)4 (8)
Saquon BarkleyNYG(64/67) 96%19 (12)7 (3.3)26 (15.3)
Bilal PowellNYJ(11/74) 15%4 (5.3)2 (2)6 (7.3)
Le'Veon BellNYJ(63/74) 85%10 (13.3)5 (4)15 (17.3)
Deandre WashingtonOAK(15/60) 25%2 (3.3)3 (2)5 (5.3)
Josh JacobsOAK(34/60) 57%17 (16.7)0 (1.3)17 (18)
Jalen RichardOAK(12/60) 20%1 (1.7)2 (3.3)3 (5)
Jay AjayiPHI(9/71) 13%2 (2.7)0 (0)2 (2.7)
Miles SandersPHI(62/71) 87%17 (13.3)5 (4.7)22 (18)
Benny Snell Jr.PIT(23/62) 37%16 (12.3)1 (0.7)17 (13)
Jaylen SamuelsPIT(34/62) 55%7 (4.7)2 (3.7)9 (8.3)
Chris CarsonSEA(39/75) 52%23 (10.3)2 (2)25 (12.3)
Rashaad PennySEA(35/75) 47%15 (9.7)5 (2)20 (11.7)
Raheem MostertSF(42/57) 74%19 (10.3)2 (2.7)21 (13)
Tevin ColemanSF(10/57) 18%5 (9.3)1 (3)6 (12.3)
Dare OgunbowaleTB(23/76) 30%1 (1.3)2 (2.3)3 (3.7)
Peyton BarberTB(30/76) 39%17 (9.3)0 (1)17 (10.3)
Ronald Jones IITB(21/76) 28%6 (7.3)0 (2.3)6 (9.7)
Derrick HenryTEN(45/60) 75%26 (15)3 (1.3)29 (16.3)
Dion LewisTEN(11/60) 18%0 (1.7)1 (1)1 (2.7)
Adrian PetersonWAS(23/64) 36%13 (10.7)1 (1.3)14 (12)
Chris ThompsonWAS(23/64) 36%3 (1)2 (0.7)5 (1.7)
Derrius GuiceWAS(19/64) 30%10 (9)3 (2.3)13 (11.3)