Fantasy News & Analysis

Fantasy Football Rushing Report: Touches, schemes, matchups, more ahead of Week 4

2RXGNDX Seattle Seahawks running back Zach Charbonnet runs the ball against Carolina Panthers linebacker Deion Jones (40) during an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023, in Seattle. The Seahawks won 37-27. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

We’re officially one-fifth of the way through the 2023 fantasy football season, and somehow, there are more questions than ever regarding the league’s most confusing backfields. Fear not, though, dear friend. Here are five running back takeaways from Week 3’s targets and touches report to help make sense of the running back landscape in Week 4 and beyond.

WR:CB Matchup Chart

Seattle Seahawks rookie Zach Charbonnet sees a bump in snap count for the third straight week.

Lost in Kenneth Walker’s dominant finish as fantasy football’s overall RB3 this week is the slow and steady uptick in snaps and touches for his teammate, rookie Zach Charbonnet. Though Charbonnet received just 11 touches to Walker’s 21 on the day, he played just six total fewer snaps. Charbonnet’s 82.3 rushing grade ranked fifth among running backs on the week after receiving three red zone carries (including one inside the five) to Walker’s five. 

Though there was a demonstrable difference in production for fantasy, the uptick in usage (and how good he looked on his limited touches) should have fantasy managers considering him as a speculative add moving forward.

Philadelphia Eagles split snaps for D’Andre Swift and Kenneth Gainwell, but the box score is deceiving.

Gainwell missed Week 2 due to a rib injury, setting the stage for a career day from teammate D’Andre Swift. As the lead back, Swift ran for a ridiculous 175 rushing yards and a score on 28 attempts.

In Gainwell’s Week 3 return, he totaled 15 touches to Swift’s 17 with a slightly higher 40.5% touch rate. On those attempts, he was much less efficient than Swift, who once again exceeded the 100-yard rushing mark to average 8.1 yards per rush attempt. In fact, Swift out-paced Gainwell across the board.

Statistic D’Andre Swift Kenneth Gainwell
Carries 16 14
Rushing yards 130 43
Yards after contact/attempt 3.5 2.6
Missed forced tackle rate 38% 21%
Explosive runs 4 0
1st downs on rush att. 6 0

Though these two split work more evenly than expected following Swift’s Week 2 breakout, the timing of Gainwell’s usage should have fantasy managers very encouraged after he recorded nine of his 14 carries in the fourth quarter, when the team was looking to put the game on ice. Make no mistake, this is Swift’s backfield barring injury.

Cleveland Browns RB Kareem Hunt makes his 2023 debut with a 20% snap share in Week 3.

Following the season-ending injury to starting running back Nick Chubb, the Browns signed a familiar face in Hunt, who hit free agency this offseason. Just days after the signing, Hunt was already suited up for action, as he is more than familiar with HC Kevin Stefanski’s offense from his years of experience prior. In his 2023 debut with the team, Hunt played 20% of the available offensive snaps, totaling seven touches for 35 scrimmage yards on the day while Jerome Ford got the start.

Though Ford was inefficient on his touches overall, he received the two most valuable touches on the day, including an end zone target and goal-line carry, both of which went for touchdowns. Still, a 20% snap share from the jump is something to monitor very closely, especially as his game conditioning improves and he reacclimates to the team. 

The Chicago Bears’s backfield is still at a near-perfect 50/50 split.

For anyone wondering where the race stands between Bears RBs Khalil Herbert and rookie Roschon Johnson, we’re no closer to an answer following Week 3. In another week where teammate D’Onta Foreman was inactive, there was once again a near-even split between Herbert and Johnson that left both of them utterly useless for fantasy football. Herbert did play a higher percentage of the Bears' offensive snaps at 55% and ran more routes (15).

The split in workload is just one of the reasons for fantasy managers to be ice-cold on this backfield, though. The Bears will not often have the luxury of establishing the run given the state of the defense, as they are will likely be playing from behind in most games this season. The team doesn’t seem likely to take many trips to the red zone, either, limiting volume for high-upside carries inside of the five. That’s a full fade on this backfield from me, dawg. 

Jacksonville JaguarsTank Bigsby remains a pain in Travis Etienne’s upside.

Etienne has dominated snaps and touches in the Jaguars backfield so far this season. Training camp darling, rookie Tank Bigsby, playing just 37 total snaps through three weeks. However, when he has played, it’s been to the detriment of Etienne’s fantasy football managers, stealing some of those valuable touches in the red zone and inside the five. In fact, three of Bigsby’s total rush attempts so far this season have come inside the five-yard line while Etienne is still seeking his first such carry. 

Although Etienne’s more than fine considering the volume he’s seen elsewhere on the field, it’s somewhat discouraging to see him lose these valuable touches inside the five. So far this season, Etienne ranks as the RB10 for fantasy, with potential for top-five upside should he see more goal-line work. 


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