Week 14 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.

San Francisco 49ers

In case last week wasn't evidence enough, Raheem Mostert now fully owns the San Francisco 49ers backfield, with Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida playing ancillary roles. In one of the best games of the year, Mostert played a team-high 60 percent of the snaps, with neither Coleman nor Breida reaching the 20 percent mark. This is the second week in a row in which Mostert has played at least 60 percent of the team's snaps and gotten double-digit carries, a clear sign that he's the new leader of the backfield.

Mostert is also rewarding fantasy owners in kind with four touchdowns over the past three games. To make Mostert's performance on Sunday even more impressive, the New Orleans Saints had allowed an average of just 12.8 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. Mostert's 23.9 fantasy points this week were the second-most against the Saints this year to only Christian McCaffrey.

Though Breida was efficient with his opportunities (9.0 yards per carry on Sunday), he had single-digit carries for the second time this year. This may just be a symptom of him returning from missing three games due to injury, but it may take quite a bit for him to overtake Mostert at this point. Meanwhile, Coleman's fantasy value has been all but reduced to ashes, and he can be dropped from your team if you're in need of help elsewhere.

Denver Broncos

With two games played now with Drew Lock leading the Denver Broncos, it seemed prudent to take another look at how Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman are splitting the work. While many thought that sidelining Joe Flacco would hamper the production of Denver's rushing attack, that has hardly been the case as the change in quarterbacks has had minimal impact.

During Flacco's stint as the starter, Denver averaged 110 rushing yards per game, but since Brandon Allen made his first start in Week 9, the Broncos have averaged just over 100 rushing yards per game.

As far as how it's impacting the two running backs, Lindsay has decisively benefited the most from the switch. Though the snap rates of Lindsay (52 percent) and Freeman (48 percent) are nearly identical over the past five games, Lindsay has seen an uptick in overall opportunity share. This has primarily come from work in the ground game as both backs have seen a significant dip in their involvement in the passing game.

Last 5 Games Rush Att./Game Rush Yards/Game Targets/Game Receptions/Game Rec Yards/Game Total Opportunities/Game
Phillip Lindsay 14.2 65 2 1.6 5.4 16.2
Royce Freeman 5.6 20.2 2 2 8.6 7.6

In the final two weeks of the fantasy football playoffs, the Broncos will face two of the easiest rushing defenses in the Kansas City Chiefs and Detroit Lions, which will likely benefit Lindsay the most, as evidenced by his increased usage. If Lindsay's production can match his volume, then he could help fantasy owners capture league championships this year.

Los Angeles Chargers

I've been wondering what this full season would have looked like for Austin Ekeler had Melvin Gordon held out the entire year. Though Ekeler has been a serviceable fantasy asset in the several weeks since Gordon's return, Sunday's performance showed us all once again how impressive and explosive Ekeler can be.

After spending the first four weeks of the season as the overall RB2, Ekeler has still maintained his production as the RB7 over the past nine games. Surprisingly, Gordon has also been productive this year as the RB13 since returning to the Los Angeles Chargers. At this point, if either back has gotten you this far in your fantasy season, you need to continue to trust both, knowing they may cannibalize production from one another.

That said, neither is taking away much from the others' primary role despite a nearly 50/50 split of snaps. Gordon has been used as the Chargers' primary rusher with nearly 15 rushing attempts per game, while Ekeler has solidified himself as one of the best pass-catching backs with nearly seven targets per game since Gordon returned. Over his last seven games, Ekeler has three games with at least 100 receiving yards and also has five receiving touchdowns in that span.

Other Notable Trends

- As expected, Spencer Ware's presence added a new wrinkle to the Kansas City Chiefs backfield. Ware led the team in snaps with 28, followed by LeSean McCoy (22), and Darwin Thompson (18). McCoy still led the team in total opportunities with 14, but since Week 10, no Chiefs running back has eclipsed a 50 percent snap share in a single game. Andy Reid wants to use a committee, and a committee he will use.

- In Josh Jacobs' absence, DeAndre Washington provided an admirable spot start for the Oakland Raiders. Washington did a good chunk of his damage as a pass-catcher, hauling in six of his seven targets for 43 yards. With an upcoming matchup against the league's second-worst rushing defense, Washington figures to benefit even more should Jacobs miss another game.

- Don't be fooled by what David Johnson did this week, as Kenyan Drake is still the primary back for the Arizona Cardinals. Though Johnson saved his day with a receiving touchdown, he only had five total touches all game on just 37 percent of the snaps. On the other hand, Drake was given double-digit carries for the fifth game in a row, but his production hasn't matched the volume. Outside of the 115-yard performance in Week 9, Drake has failed to top 50 rushing yards in all but one game.

- I hate to say it, but Alvin Kamara should no longer be considered an RB1 in fantasy football. Despite playing at least 61 percent of the team's snaps over the past five weeks, Kamara hasn't been able to produce quite like he used to. He's gotten double-digit carries in four of those five games and has still failed to reach 100 yards rushing this year. What's most troublesome is that he isn't being used in the passing game nearly as much as of late. In each of the last four games, Kamara's targets have gone down in consecutive weeks. Not to mention, he hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 3.

- After three straight weeks playing at least 85 percent of the Philadelphia Eagles' snaps, Miles Sanders finished with just a 56 percent snap rate on Monday Night Football. Granted, this is largely because he left the game in the third quarter due to a leg injury. In his place, Boston Scott got 10 carries for 59 rushing yards along with six targets that he turned into six receptions for 69 yards. Sanders did return to the game in the fourth quarter, but Scott clearly looked like the more explosive player all night with six plays of at least ten yards (Sanders had two such plays).

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(11/60) 18%1 (0.3)2 (0.7)3 (1)
David JohnsonARI(22/60) 37%3 (2.3)2 (1.3)5 (3.7)
Kenyan DrakeARI(39/60) 65%11 (8)3 (2.7)14 (10.7)
Brian HillATL(14/72) 19%9 (7.3)0 (2.3)9 (9.7)
Devonta FreemanATL(48/72) 67%17 (11.3)4 (3)21 (14.3)
Gus EdwardsBAL(20/62) 33%4 (8)0 (0.3)4 (8.3)
Justice HillBAL(6/62) 10%3 (4)0 (0)3 (4)
Mark IngramBAL(33/62) 55%15 (15)3 (2)18 (17)
Devin SingletaryBUF(61/75) 81%17 (17.3)8 (4.7)25 (22)
Frank GoreBUF(14/75) 19%4 (9.3)0 (0.3)4 (9.7)
Christian McCaffreyCAR(70/71) 99%11 (15.7)12 (11.3)23 (27)
David MontgomeryCHI(47/73) 64%20 (16.3)1 (2)21 (18.3)
Tarik CohenCHI(34/73) 47%3 (4)6 (6.3)9 (10.3)
Giovani BernardCIN(30/75) 40%4 (2)3 (2.7)7 (4.7)
Joe MixonCIN(44/75) 59%23 (20)4 (2.7)27 (22.7)
Kareem HuntCLE(35/56) 62%9 (8)3 (3.7)12 (11.7)
Nick ChubbCLE(39/56) 70%15 (17.3)1 (2.3)16 (19.7)
Ezekiel ElliottDAL(72/73) 99%19 (17.3)5 (6.3)24 (23.7)
Phillip LindsayDEN(31/59) 53%16 (15.3)2 (2.7)18 (18)
Royce FreemanDEN(27/59) 46%8 (5)2 (2.7)10 (7.7)
Bo ScarbroughDET(34/71) 48%19 (19.3)3 (1.3)22 (20.7)
JD McKissicDET(16/71) 23%1 (1.3)4 (3)5 (4.3)
Ty JohnsonDET(21/71) 30%2 (3)1 (2)3 (5)
Aaron JonesGB(36/62) 58%16 (13.3)7 (4.7)23 (18)
Jamaal WilliamsGB(26/62) 42%7 (9.3)1 (4.3)8 (13.7)
Carlos HydeHOU(41/80) 51%14 (13.3)3 (1.3)17 (14.7)
Duke JohnsonHOU(42/80) 52%1 (5)8 (5)9 (10)
Marlon MackIND(26/63) 41%13 (4.3)0 (0)13 (4.3)
Nyheim HinesIND(35/63) 56%4 (5.7)5 (3.3)9 (9)
Leonard FournetteJAX(51/66) 77%15 (17.7)6 (9.7)21 (27.3)
Ryquell ArmsteadJAX(15/66) 23%2 (0.7)2 (1.3)4 (2)
Darwin ThompsonKC(21/78) 27%4 (5)5 (1.7)9 (6.7)
LeSean McCoyKC(24/78) 31%11 (5.3)3 (2)14 (7.3)
Spencer WareKC(31/78) 40%5 (1.7)2 (0.7)7 (2.4)
Austin EkelerLAC(31/63) 49%8 (5.7)5 (3.3)13 (9)
Justin JacksonLAC(13/63) 21%3 (1)0 (0)3 (1)
Melvin GordonLAC(29/63) 46%12 (10.7)5 (2.7)17 (13.3)
Malcolm BrownLAR(14/70) 20%5 (4)0 (0.3)5 (4.3)
Todd GurleyLAR(56/70) 80%23 (16)4 (2.7)27 (18.7)
Myles GaskinMIA(13/72) 18%4 (3.3)2 (1.3)6 (4.7)
Patrick LairdMIA(59/72) 82%15 (9.3)5 (3.7)20 (13)
Alexander MattisonMIN(27/73) 37%14 (6)2 (2.3)16 (8.3)
Dalvin CookMIN(34/73) 47%18 (9)2 (2)20 (11)
James WhiteNE(41/67) 61%6 (7.3)7 (7)13 (14.3)
Rex BurkheadNE(18/67) 27%7 (4)1 (2.3)8 (6.3)
Sony MichelNE(9/67) 13%5 (11.7)1 (0.3)6 (12)
Alvin KamaraNO(55/72) 76%13 (11.7)6 (7.7)19 (19.3)
Latavius MurrayNO(24/72) 33%7 (6)3 (1)10 (7)
Elijhaa PennyNYG(4/52) 8%0 (0.7)0 (0.3)0 (1)
Saquon BarkleyNYG(49/52) 94%17 (17.7)4 (4.7)21 (22.3)
Bilal PowellNYJ(56/71) 79%19 (9.3)3 (2.3)22 (11.7)
Ty MontgomeryNYJ(23/71) 32%9 (5)3 (2)12 (7)
Deandre WashingtonOAK(40/63) 63%14 (7.3)7 (3.7)21 (11)
Jalen RichardOAK(24/63) 38%7 (3.3)3 (4)10 (7.3)
Boston ScottPHI(39/89) 44%10 (3.3)6 (2)16 (5.3)
Jay AjayiPHI(5/89) 6%2 (3.3)0 (0)2 (3.3)
Miles SandersPHI(50/89) 56% 15 (14.7)5 (5)20 (19.7)

Benny Snell Jr.PIT(24/60) 40%16 (17.7)0 (0.7)16 (18.3)
Jaylen SamuelsPIT(28/60) 47%7 (5.3)2 (2.3)9 (7.7)
Chris CarsonSEA(55/67) 82%15 (15.3)4 (3.3)19 (18.7)
CJ ProsiseSEA(11/67) 16%1 (0.3)0 (0)1 (0.3)
Matt BreidaSF(12/67) 18%6 (2)1 (0.3)7 (2.3)
Raheem MostertSF(40/67) 60%10 (11.7)2 (2.3)12 (14)
Tevin ColemanSF(11/67) 16%3 (6.3)0 (1.7)3 (8)
Dare OgunbowaleTB(23/80) 29%0 (0.7)5 (2.7)5 (3.3)
Peyton BarberTB(30/79) 38%11 (13)2 (1)13 (14)
Ronald Jones IITB(27/78) 35%11 (9.7)5 (2.7)16 (12.3)
Derrick HenryTEN(37/62) 60%18 (21)1 (1.7)19 (22.7)
Dion LewisTEN(24/62) 39%9 (4.7)1 (1.3)10 (6)
Khari BlasingameTEN(13/62) 21%0 (0)2 (0.7)2 (0.7)
Adrian PetersonWAS(28/65) 43%20 (14.3)0 (0.7)20 (15)
Chris ThompsonWAS(26/65) 40%0 (1)8 (3.3)8 (4.3)
Derrius GuiceWAS(9/65) 14%5 (8.3)0 (1.7)5 (10)