Week 15 Running Back By Committee Report

With Dalvin Cook potentially out of the picture for Week 16, we take a look at what the Minnesota Vikings' backfield looks like. How are other committees shaping up as the season winds down?

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.

Minnesota Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings backfield has been dominated by Dalvin Cook all year, which is why they haven't been featured much in this article. But, in light of him leaving the game early for two straight weeks, I thought it was prudent to evaluate the rest of the key rushers on the Vikings in the event he misses an extended period of time.

Though Alexander Mattison has been Cook's primary backup the entire year, he missed the Vikings' Week 15 contest due to an ankle injury, which left Mike Boone and Ameer Abdullah to share the backfield. After playing 17 total snaps prior to Week 15, I was surprised to see Boone as the primary beneficiary of the two. On 13 carries, Boone compiled 56 yards and added a pair of touchdowns, while Abdullah carried the ball only 5 times for 25 yards. Despite the disparity in rushing attempts, Boone only played six more snaps than Abdullah did, indicating that neither player will be forced into a workhorse role.

With both Mattison and Cook's availability up in the air, both Abdullah and Boone are worth rostering, if only to prevent your opponent from playing one of them against you. In a game against the Green Bay Packers that figures to be a bit more competitive, I would expect the Vikings to mix and match Abdullah and Boone once again as they did against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Early reports are that Cook isn't expected to play in Week 16, but in the event that Cook does suit up, I wouldn't trust him in my lineup, despite his high ceiling. My belief has always been that if a player is healthy enough to play, he's healthy enough for you to start in your fantasy lineup. However, Cook is an exception to that rule. As I mentioned earlier, he's now left two consecutive games early due to an injury to the same shoulder injury, and one hit to that same shoulder could take him out of the game and take you out of championship contention.

Philadelphia Eagles

Coming off of three straight games playing at least 85 percent of the team's snaps, many thought Miles Sanders had finally earned the workhorse running back role for the Philadelphia Eagles. After a stretch of four games without double-digit carries, Sanders has gotten at least 10 carries in each of the past six games. However, the exclusive role that Sanders had changed in Week 14 on Monday Night Football when Sanders left the game momentarily because of cramping issues, opening the door for Boston Scott to get involved.

Even though Sanders had his strongest performance as a pro this past week (32.2 fantasy points), Doug Pederson clearly wants to use multiple backs if given the chance. Sanders was given 13 more carries than Scott, but Scott still played on nearly half of the team's snaps in Week 15.

One differentiating factor between the two had been Sanders' consistent use as a pass-catching back. Over the Eagles' past four games, Sanders has at least five targets in each of them, including two receiving touchdowns and one of the season's best catches. However, Scott is encroaching on his territory in the passing game with at least six targets in each of the past two games.

With a roster getting ravished by injuries to key play-making options, it's no wonder Pederson wants to lean on his weapons in the backfield. Sanders will remain a solid running back option as the season comes to a close, but Scott's emergence could certainly cap his ceiling.

Buffalo Bills

Speaking of rookie running backs, Devin Singletary has been given every opportunity and more to break out for the Buffalo Bills. Singletary has been given at least 14 carries in six of the Bills' last seven games, including three games with at least 20 carries. While he's failed to reach the 100-yard rushing mark in all but one of those games, the increased usage has made him a top-10 running back in the last seven weeks.

Meanwhile, Frank Gore has become an afterthought in the Bills offense and rightfully so. Over that same seven-game stretch, Gore has averaged a devastatingly low 2.3 yards per carry. He's currently on pace to finish with a 3.6 yards per carry average, which would be the lowest of his long and tenured career.

Finally, Singletary has also worked his way back into the passing game by averaging five targets per game in the Bills' past three contests. Though he hasn't been quite as efficient catching the ball as he has been running the ball, Singletary is one of 19 running backs this year with at least 125 rushing attempts and 25 receptions. If Singletary's performance in the second half of this season is any indication of what the future will look like, then he's got a promising career ahead of him.

Other Notable Trends

- If something were to happen to Ezekiel Elliott, it's clear that Tony Pollard would have a major opportunity to shine. Of running backs with at least 70 carries this year, Pollard ranks second in yards per carry with a 5.6 average. With only one week left in the fantasy football season, Pollard isn't worth holding on to, but he'll be one of the premier handcuffs heading into 2020 drafts.

- Just when we thought things were turning around for Aaron Jones following two games with a combined 13 targets, he finished Sunday's game without a single target. Granted, he saved fantasy owners with two rushing touchdowns, but outside of that, his performance against the Bears wasn't much to write home about. Jamaal Williams continues to cut into Jones' opportunity share, but it's tough to bench Jones considering his massive ceiling in any given week.

- Once again, Spencer Ware led the Kansas City Chiefs backfield in snaps, yet Darwin Thompson edged him and LeSean McCoy out in terms of rushing attempts. Since Week 10, no Chiefs running back has gotten more than 11 carries in a single game. Unless you have a crystal ball laying around that tells you who's going to score the most out of this trio, then don't bother plugging any of these backs into your championship lineup.

- For the third week in a row, Raheem Mostert reached the double-digit carry mark, and also added a rushing touchdown for the fourth straight game. I don't blame Kyle Shanahan for not wanting to go away from the hot hand in Mostert as neither Matt Breida nor Tevin Coleman has shown anything recently to point to him going their way.

- Well, Chris Carson is back to having complete control of the Seattle Seahawks backfield. In the first full game following Rashaad Penny tearing his ACL, Carson had his best day rushing of the year (133 rushing yards) on his third-most carries in a game this season. C.J. Prosise played an ancillary role in the offense this past week and shouldn't cause a headache for Carson owners heading into the championship-week matchup against the Arizona Cardinals.

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(13/61) 21%3 (3.3)0 (1.3)3 (4.7)
Kenyan DrakeARI(46/61) 75%22 (15.3)1 (3)23 (18.3)
Brian HillATL(10/67) 15%1 (4.7)0 (1)1 (5.7)
Devonta FreemanATL(53/67) 79%12 (15.3)3 (4)15 (19.3)
Gus EdwardsBAL(18/63) 29%5 (5)0 (0.3)5 (5.3)
Justice HillBAL(10/63) 16%4 (2.7)0 (0)4 (2.7)
Mark IngramBAL(34/63) 54%13 (14.3)2 (2.3)15 (16.7)
Devin SingletaryBUF(46/65) 71%21 (17.3)3 (5)24 (22.3)
Frank GoreBUF(19/65) 29%10 (7.7)0 (0.3)10 (8)
Christian McCaffreyCAR(72/72) 100%19 (14.7)10 (11.7)29 (26.3)
David MontgomeryCHI(36/84) 43%14 (16.7)1 (1.3)15 (18)
Tarik CohenCHI(55/84) 65%8 (4.7)10 (6.7)18 (11.3)
Giovani BernardCIN(22/66) 33%5 (3.3)2 (2.3)7 (5.7)
Joe MixonCIN(44/66) 67%25 (22.3)3 (3.7)28 (26)
Kareem HuntCLE(43/70) 61%4 (6.7)9 (5.7)13 (12.3)
Nick ChubbCLE(35/70) 50%17 (16)3 (2)20 (18)
Ezekiel ElliottDAL(50/70) 71%24 (18.3)4 (6.3)28 (24.7)
Tony PollardDAL(23/70) 33%12 (5)2 (1)14 (6)
Phillip LindsayDEN(23/59) 39%7 (13.3)2 (2.3)9 (15.7)
Royce FreemanDEN(32/59) 54%5 (6)4 (3.3)9 (9.3)
JD McKissicDET(12/64) 19%1 (1.3)3 (3.3)4 (4.7)
Ty JohnsonDET(29/64) 45%2 (2.3)5 (3)7 (5.3)
Wes HillsDET(23/64) 36%10 (3.3)2 (0.7)12 (4)
Aaron JonesGB(35/59) 59%13 (13.3)0 (4.3)13 (17.7)
Jamaal WilliamsGB(24/59) 41%8 (8.3)1 (2)9 (10.3)
Carlos HydeHOU(42/63) 67%26 (16.7)0 (1.3)26 (18)
Duke JohnsonHOU(21/63) 33%2 (4)3 (5.7)5 (9.7)
Jordan WilkinsIND(24/56) 43%3 (5)3 (2)6 (7)
Marlon MackIND(25/56) 45%11 (8)0 (0)11 (8)
Nyheim HinesIND(9/56) 16%2 (3.3)2 (3)4 (6.3)
Leonard FournetteJAX(55/57) 96%15 (14.7)7 (8)22 (22.7)
Ryquell ArmsteadJAX(2/57) 4%1 (1)0 (1)1 (2)
Darwin ThompsonKC(24/68) 35%8 (7.7)1 (2)9 (9.7)
LeSean McCoyKC(17/68) 25%6 (7.3)0 (2)6 (9.3)
Spencer WareKC(27/68) 40%7 (4)2 (1.3)9 (5.3)
Austin EkelerLAC(30/62) 48%7 (8)7 (5.7)14 (13.7)
Justin JacksonLAC(13/62) 21%5 (2.7)2 (0.7)7 (3.3)
Melvin GordonLAC(25/62) 40%7 (13)7 (5)14 (18)
Malcolm BrownLAR(3/73) 4%0 (3.7)0 (0.3)0 (4)
Todd GurleyLAR(70/73) 96%11 (17.7)7 (4)18 (21.7)
Myles GaskinMIA(34/71) 48%9 (5)3 (2)12 (7)
Patrick LairdMIA(34/71) 48%12 (12.3)5 (5)17 (17.3)
Ameer AbdullahMIN(15/65) 23%5 (1.7)2 (1)7 (2.7)
Dalvin CookMIN(28/65) 43%9 (12)3 (3)12 (15)
Mike BooneMIN(21/65) 32%13 (6)0 (0)13 (6)
James WhiteNE(25/65) 38%3 (7.7)4 (7.3)7 (15)
Rex BurkheadNE(20/65) 31%6 (5.3)2 (1.3)8 (6.7)
Sony MichelNE(27/65) 42%19 (11.3)2 (1)21 (12.3)
Alvin KamaraNO(42/67) 63%14 (12.7)5 (6.3)19 (19)
Latavius MurrayNO(22/67) 33%9 (6.7)3 (2)12 (8.7)
Javorius AllenNYG(14/66) 21%8 (3)0 (0)8 (3)
Saquon BarkleyNYG(54/66) 79%24 (20)5 (5.3)29 (25.3)
Le'Veon BellNYJ(51/59) 86%21 (10.3)2 (2.3)23 (12.7)
Ty MontgomeryNYJ(12/59) 20%2 (4)1 (1.7)3 (5.7)
Deandre WashingtonOAK(11/75) 15%6 (7.3)3 (4.3)9 (11.7)
Josh JacobsOAK(43/75) 57%24 (13.7)3 (1)27 (14.7)
Jalen RichardOAK(22/75) 29%1 (3)3 (2.7)4 (5.7)
Boston ScottPHI(35/77) 45%6 (5.3)7 (4.3)13 (9.7)
Miles SandersPHI(55/77) 71%19 (17)6 (5.3)25 (22.3)
James ConnerPIT(34/59) 58%8 (2.7)5 (1.7)13 (4.3)
Jaylen SamuelsPIT(17/59) 29%2 (5.3)1 (1.7)3 (7)
Chris CarsonSEA(51/67) 76%24 (20.7)2 (2.7)26 (23.3)
CJ ProsiseSEA(10/67) 15%5 (2)1 (0.3)6 (2.3)
Matt BreidaSF(12/64) 19%4 (3.3)2 (1)6 (4.3)
Raheem MostertSF(34/64) 53%14 (14.3)2 (2)16 (16.3)
Tevin ColemanSF(19/64) 30%4 (4)1 (0.7)5 (4.7)
Dare OgunbowaleTB(21/75) 28%1 (0.7)1 (2.7)2 (3.3)
Peyton BarberTB(21/75) 28%10 (12.7)2 (1.3)12 (14)
Ronald Jones IITB(34/75) 45%11 (9.3)3 (2.7)14 (12)
Derrick HenryTEN(39/67) 58%21 (21.7)1 (1.7)22 (23.3)
Dion LewisTEN(24/67) 36%3 (4)1 (1)4 (5)
Khari BlasingameTEN(13/67) 19%0 (0)1 (1)1 (1)
Adrian PetersonWAS(32/53) 60%16 (16.3)3 (1.3)19 (17.7)
Chris ThompsonWAS(18/53) 34%0 (1)3 (4.3)3 (5.3)