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Leonard Fournette
AP
By the Numbers

Week 13: Taking Stock Of All 32 NFL Backfields

by Ian Hartitz
Updated On: November 27, 2019, 2:01 am ET

NFL depth charts are always in a constant state of flux due to injuries, performance and at-times questionable coaching decisions. The RB position in particular can be tough to stay on top of, as an overwhelming majority of offenses have replaced a single three-down back with committees of various shapes and sizes.

The good news is we now have 12 weeks of regular season data to help clear up the ever-murky RB position. Below is a Week 13 cheat sheet that denotes the snap rates as well as combined carries and targets for each team's top-two RBs from their last game.

Week 13 RBBC

What follows is a more specific breakdown of each team's backfield in order to better determine:

  • Offenses that are featuring a single workhorse
  • Fantasy-friendly committee backfields
  • Situations that fantasy football owners should avoid

Opportunities refer to a player's combined carries and targets. All snap count and touch data was compiled from Pro Football Reference. I'm refraining from posting every team's season-long workload rates moving forward and instead choosing a more specific split for each backfield that is defined underneath their respective team name.


Arizona Cardinals

Workload splits: Weeks 10-11 with both Kenyan Drake and David Johnson active

  • RB1: Drake (75% snap rate, 20 opportunities per game)
  • RB2: Johnson (27%, 3)

Notes: The Cardinals have almost completely relegated Johnson to the bench, as their long-time starting RB played just nine total snaps in Week 11 and failed to record a touch.

Meanwhile, Drake has been nothing short of spectacular since joining the squad in Week 9, as he's posted 41-212-1 rushing and 16-71-0 receiving lines over the Cardinals' past three games. Overall, only Christian McCaffrey, Derrick Henry, Dalvin Cook, Melvin Gordon, Josh Jacobs, Alvin Kamara and Le'Veon Bell have averaged more PPR per game than Drake over the past three weeks even though the Cardinals have had less-than-ideal matchups against the 49ers (x2) and Buccaneers.

The problem for both Drake and Johnson is that coach Kliff Kingsbury expects Chase Edmonds (hamstring) to return and suit up Sunday against the Rams.

Treat Drake as an upside RB3 in Week 13, but recognize we likely haven't seen the last of the reshuffling in this backfield. There's a very real chance that we see each of Drake, Edmonds and Johnson receive a decent portion of snaps. This scenario could render each as low-floor fantasy options.


Atlanta Falcons

Workload splits: Weeks 11-12 with Devonta Freeman (foot) sidelined

Notes: The Falcons have given Hill a featured role in Devonta Freeman's (foot) absence, but the third-year RB has totaled just 65 scoreless yards over the last two weeks. Ollison (38 yards) hasn't been much better from an efficiency standpoint, although he did fall into the end zone twice.

The lack of production in this run game without Freeman could result in the Falcons' veteran RB playing a near every-down role once he's healthy enough to suit up. This appears somewhat imminent after coach Dan Quinn said he expects Freeman to resume practicing this week. Still, it's a short week and the decision could go right up until game time. 

Be sure to monitor our Week 13 Injury Dashboard for daily practice participation along with estimated and official game statuses for every injured player.

If active, fire up Freeman as an upside RB2, particularly if Austin Hooper (knee) remains sidelined and thus unable to soak up all of Matt Ryan's underneath target share. Hill is more of a volume-induced low-end RB3 at this point if Freeman remains sidelined.


Baltimore Ravens

Workload splits: Weeks 1-12

Notes:  Lamar Jackson is perhaps the league's most-dangerous rusher, regardless of position.

The good news for Ingram is that the Ravens' No. 1 ranked scoring offense is plenty capable of enabling multiple high-end fantasy assets. The ninth-year RB has scored 12 touchdowns in 11 games this season and deserves high-end RB2 treatment regardless of the matchup.

Edwards and Hill would likely form a productive two-back committee if Ingram were forced to miss any game action.


Buffalo Bills

Workload splits: Weeks 7-12 with both Devin Singletary and Frank Gore active

  • RB1: Singletary (65% snap rate, 15.5 opportunities per game) 
  • RB2: Gore (33%, 11)

Notes: Singletary cleared 100 rushing yards for the first time in his career against the Broncos in Week 12. The rookie continues to play a three-down role, but life as Josh Allen's lead RB simply hasn't been great for business over the past two seasons. Overall, the Bills have posted the following RB position ranks in Allen's 22 starts since 2018:

  • Games as RB1 (1-12): 3
  • Games as RB2 (13-24): 6
  • Games as RB3 (25-36): 9
  • Games as RB4 or worse (37+): 4

Not helping Singletary's fantasy value is that the Bills have continued to feed Gore double-digit carries on a near weekly basis despite his reduced snap count.

The Bills have less than ideal matchups in upcoming weeks against the Cowboys, Ravens, Steelers and Patriots. Each of the latter three opponents have ranked among the league's top-eight stingiest defenses in fewest PPR per game allowed to opposing RBs.


Carolina Panthers

Workload splits: Weeks 1-12

Notes: Some fantasy studs make their living with several 'boom' performances that make up for their 'busts' in a big way.

And then there's Run CMC, who apparently knows how to do nothing other than boom:

  • Week 1: PPR RB1
  • Week 2: RB41
  • Week 3: RB4
  • Week 4: RB2
  • Week 5: RB2
  • Week 6: RB8
  • Week 8: RB6
  • Week 9: RB1
  • Week 10: RB4
  • Week 11: RB1
  • Week 12: RB2

Continue to treat the league's most-productive non-QB as the overall RB1.

The Panthers claimed former-Bears RB Mike Davis earlier in November, but he was a healthy scratch in Weeks 11 and 12. I wouldn't expect a single RB to inherit CMC's monstrous workload if he were to miss any game action. We have oodles of evidence that no RB in the league is capable of providing the same rushing and receiving threat as McCaffrey, so it seems a bit silly to assume there's another back on the Panthers that would walk into this same workhorse role.


Chicago Bears

Workload splits: Weeks 7-12 since team's Week 6 bye

Notes: The good news is Montgomery has consistent usage, racking up at least 15 touches in each of the team's past five games.

The bad news is the rookie hasn't resembled the same talent that was lauded for his collegiate tackle-breaking numbers for much of the offseason. Only David Johnson and Kalen Ballage have averaged fewer yards after contact per rush among 52 qualified RBs (PFF).

Tarik Cohen has a more-than-solid receiving floor as one of just six RBs with at least 50 receptions this season. Still, the scat back has yet to reach even 75 yards from scrimmage in a game through 12 weeks.

The Bears Offense continues to show little sign of life, as they've failed to score more than 20 points in five consecutive games. Everybody involved has a low floor with Mitchell Trubisky under center, although Montgomery and Cohen alike are set up well on Thursday against the Lions' 31st-ranked defense in fewest PPR per game allowed to opposing RBs.

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Cincinnati Bengals

Workload splits: Weeks 1-12

Notes: It seems less than ideal that Mixon ranks seventh ... on his OWN TEAM ... in targets this season.

The Bengals' decision to bench Ryan Finley for Andy Dalton might be good news for everyone except Mixon, who racked up 30, 15 and 18 rush attempts in three games since the offense made the switch under center.

Mixon is the lead back on one of the worst offenses in the league. The Bengals' most-prolific offensive performance this season was when they scored 23 points in a losing effort against the Cardinals back in Week 5.

Treat Mixon as an upside RB3 for his Week 13 matchup against the Jets. Dalton does help the general upside of the offense and thus could increase Mixon's scoring opportunities, but Bernard remains involved to an annoying extent on a weekly basis.


Cleveland Browns

Workload splits: Weeks 10-12 with Kareem Hunt active

  • RB1: Nick Chubb (70% snap rate, 25.7 opportunities per game)
  • RB2: Hunt (55%, 12.7)

Notes: The Browns have fed Hunt (20 targets) and Chubb (9) more targets than everybody except Odell Beckham (30) and Jarvis Landry (30) during their three-game win streak.

Coach Freddie Kitchens deserves credit for refocusing the offense around the team's best players. This has meant getting Hunt plenty of reps as a true receiver, as the third-year RB has spent 33% of his snaps in the slot or out wide this season. Chubb has racked up 22, 27 and 24 touches in three games with Hunt.

Continue to fire up Chubb as a matchup-proof RB1, while Hunt deserves high-end RB3 consideration thanks to this robust pass-game role.

Week 13's matchup in Pittsburgh isn't ideal, but the backfield has a chance to finish off the 2019 fantasy season with a bang:

  • Week 13: at Steelers (No. 7 in fewest PPR per game allowed to opposing RBs)
  • Week 14 vs. Bengals (No. 27)
  • Week 15 at Cardinals (No. 24)
  • Week 16 vs. Ravens (No. 8)
Ian Hartitz

All things NFL. Great day to be great. You can follow Ian on Twitter @Ihartitz.