Fantasy News & Analysis

Fantasy Football: Taking stock of every NFL backfield ahead of NFL Week 7

Houston Texans running back David Johnson (31) gains yards against the Tennessee Titans during the second quarter at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020 in Nashville, Tenn. An52802

NFL depth charts are always in a constant state of flux due to transactions, 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.

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What follows is a breakdown of each team's backfield ahead of Week 7 in order to better determine:

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

This isn't a full depth chart listing; I'm not concerned about special teams RBs or guys that will be lucky to play more than an offensive snap or two come game time. Rather, the goal here is to get an early idea of the league's various committee situations in an effort to see undervalued backfields. We’ll also take a quick look at Week 7 matchups.

Each back’s Week 6 snap rate, carries and targets are listed next to his name in parenthesis. Note that the snap rates denote total snaps, so teams with a dual-threat RB/WR in the mold of an Austin Ekeler or Tarik Cohen will have a total percentage higher than 100% since those backs typically spend a solid chunk of time lined up in the slot or out wide.

Arizona Cardinals

Notes: Drake’s massive performance against the Cowboys featured his usual workload, but this time he was able to make the most out of his opportunities. Yes, both his one-yard TD and 69-yard game-ending jaunt were hardly contested. Also yes, the Cardinals have shown no signs of giving Edmonds a true opportunity to take over the lead role.

Edmonds had five receptions in Week 4 and Week 5, but the reality that he’s yet to receive double-digit touches in any game is troubling for his standalone value. Try to avoid starting the top-tier handcuff unless you’re truly in a pinch.

The Seahawks are one of just seven defenses to allow fewer than 4.0 yards per carry this season. Credit to Drake for last week’s massive performance. Still, he remains a fairly TD-dependent RB2 due to his utter lack of a pass-game role, particularly in a matchup that could see the Cardinals forced to keep their foot on the gas for 60 minutes.

Atlanta Falcons

Notes: Gurley has posted a 7-49-0 receiving line over the past two weeks after going for 4-9-0 in Weeks 1-4 combined. He’s had at least 14 carries in every game this season. The two-time All-Pro certainly hasn’t looked like his prime self, but that hasn’t stopped him from racking up five scores. Gurley is the PPR RB14 after six weeks of action and deserves weekly-RB2 treatment with this sort of workload.

Truly, only a handful of backs have touched the ball more often than Gurley this season:

Hill and Smith continue to largely split work behind Gurley; they’d likely form an evenly-split two-back committee if the six-year veteran is ever forced to miss any time.

Up next is a matchup against a Lions defense that has allowed each of James Robinson (15.3 PPR), Alvin Kamara (20.9), Latavius Murray (21.3) and especially Aaron Jones (45.6) to put forward productive performances. Continue to treat Gurley as the volume-induced RB2 that he’s been all season.

Baltimore Ravens

Notes: The Ravens have a Week 7 bye. Coach John Harbaugh is hopeful that Ingram (sprained ankle) will be back in Week 8. Expect a fairly even split between Edwards and Dobbins if Ingram ultimately misses time, although there’s potential for Justice Hill to see some reps as well. This remains a crowded situation that doesn’t possess the same sort of ceiling in 2020 with the Ravens functioning as the league’s No. 7 ranked scoring offense as opposed to the world-beating unit we saw in 2019. I remain optimistic with Dobbins’ chances of taking this situation over in 2021, but don’t expect anybody to function as a consistent top-24 option out of this backfield in 2020.

Buffalo Bills

Notes: The Bills have employed more of a 60/40 split with Singletary as the lead back in games that they’re able to build a lead in. This wasn’t the case in Week 6 against the Chiefs, although at least T.J. Yeldon (healthy scratch) didn’t make this a three-back situation.

Ultimately, Josh Allen is going to continue to account for the majority of this backfield’s scores. Moss might be the “goal-line back,” but it’s a similar situation to what Sony Michel and Damien Harris face in New England. There’s not a high-ceiling here for either back without a true three-down role; Singletary remains a weekly borderline RB2 even in cozy matchups such as next week’s date against the Jets.

If past matchups are any indication, Allen should probably be considered the favorite to lead the way in rushing this week against the Bills’ divisional rival:

  • Week 14, 2018: 18-for-36, 206 pass yards, 0 TD, 2 INT; 9-101-1 rushing
  • Week 1, 2019: 24-for-37, 254 pass yards, 1 TD, 2 INT; 10-38-1 rushing
  • Week 1, 2020: 33-for-46, 312 pass yards, 2 TD, 0 INT; 14-57-1 rushing

Carolina Panthers

Notes: CMC (ankle) is expected to miss another week, meaning the Davis experience will continue to live on. He’s barely done anything other than function as a true high-end RB1 since given the featured role in Week 3:

  • Week 3: 13-46-0 rushing, 8-45-1 receiving, 76% snaps, PPR RB9
  • Week 4: 16-84-1 rushing, 5-27-0 receiving, 71% snaps, PPR RB7
  • Week 5: 16-89-0 rushing, 9-60-1 receiving, 83% snaps, PPR RB1
  • Week 6: 18-52-1 rushing, 2-3-0 receiving, 88% snaps, PPR RB20

Obviously McCaffrey is the more-talented player, but Davis deserves credit for leaving a number of defenders in the dust through six weeks of action. Only Clyde Edwards-Helaire (29) has more total missed forced tackles than Davis (27). Nobody has topped Davis’ average of 0.28 missed forced tackles per touch among 38 backs with at least 50 touches through six weeks.

Davis will remain a weekly top-10 fantasy option regardless of the matchup as long as McCaffrey remains sidelined, although we shouldn’t expect any sort of standalone value once the Panthers get their $64-million man back in action.

The Saints don’t exactly present the easiest matchup, but Davis’ 20-touch floor is far too robust to worry about sweating a middling spot.

Chicago Bears

Notes: Montgomery ranks fourth in total missed forced tackles as well as broken tackles per touch. He’s doing a much better job in 2020 than 2019 at picking up additional yards after contact; the problem is that explosive plays have been few and far between. Overall, just one of Montgomery’s 82 carries have gone for at least 15 yards this season.

Fantasy managers should continue to fire up Montgomery as a low-upside RB2 thanks to the ridiculous volume he’s received since Tarik Cohen (ACL, IR) was lost for the season:

  • Week 4: 10-27-0 rushing, 3-30-0 receiving, 85% snaps, PPR RB27
  • Week 5: 10-29-1 rushing, 7-30-0 receiving, 81% snaps, PPR RB13
  • Week 6: 19-58-0 rushing, 4-39-0 receiving, 85% snaps, PPR RB14

The Bears continue to treat Patterson as more of a gadget than true RB option. A matchup against Aaron Donald and company in Week 7 is hardly ideal, but Montgomery will again be a top-20 option at the position thanks to his monstrous weekly role.

Cincinnati Bengals

Notes: Mixon suffered a foot injury in Week 6, ultimately returning to action and splitting reps with Gio throughout the second half. The issue is hardly ideal for Mixon; he’s largely been sustaining fantasy value thanks to the league’s single-largest workload in terms of total touches. Through six weeks Mixon’s average of 3.6 yards per carry is the lowest mark since his rookie season, while he’s posted career-worst rates in yards per reception (6.6) and yards per target (5.3) alike.

Playing behind the league’s 21st-ranked offensive line in yards before contact per rush hasn’t helped matters, and Bernard continues to get the majority of the backfield’s work in true two-minute situations.

The Browns have allowed solid performances to Ezekiel Elliott (20.5 PPR), James Conner (17.2) and Jonathan Taylor (15.4), but a less-than-100% version of Mixon might not get the sort of volume to rack up this level of production. He remains a top-12 option at the position; just keep expectations in check if we see him limited (or worse) in practice throughout the week.

Cleveland Browns

Notes: Pretty much the entire Browns offense was off the field by the start of the fourth quarter in their Week 6 38-7 loss to the Steelers. We also saw some misleading numbers in Week 5, as the majority of Johnson’s work came in the fourth quarter of a game that Hunt had to exit due to cramps.

Looking at the snaps and touches in this backfield during the first three quarters of their last two games paints a clearer picture of this post-Nick Chubb (knee, IR) situation:

  • Hunt: 70% snaps, 27 carries, 6 targets
  • Johnson: 27% snaps, 5 carries, 2 targets

Hunt posted 10-86-1 rushing and 2-15-1 receiving lines against the Bengals in Week 2; expect the Browns to do everything in their power to keep this game out of the hands of Baker Mayfield. Treat Hunt as a high-end RB1 this week, while Johnson would need another injury to go down in this backfield before flirting with standalone value.

Dallas Cowboys

Notes: Sheesh. Zeke’s two-fumble performance in Week 6 gives him five on the season. Nobody has put the ball on the ground more often than Zeke (20 fumbles) since he entered the league in 2016. Yes, fumbles will happen more often to players that touch the ball as often as Elliott. Also yes, he ranks 61st in fumbles per touch among 73 backs with at least 300 touches over the past three seasons.

With that said: The Cowboys aren’t going to go away from their $90-million back anytime soon. It’s tough to overstate just how horrific this offense was in Week 6, yet Zeke still worked as the PPR RB18 thanks to his large pass-game role. Only Alvin Kamara (45 targets) has more pass-game opportunities than Elliott (43) ahead of Week 7.

Pollard continues to make the most out of his limited opportunities, but standalone value won’t be coming anytime soon. Continue to treat Elliott as a top-five option at the position against the Football Team’s talented defensive front; just realize there’s a significantly lower ceiling for everyone involved in this post-Dak offense.

Denver Broncos

Notes: The Broncos leaned on Lindsay with Melvin Gordon (illness, possible suspension) sidelined in Week 6. Gordon’s status for Sunday is uncertain, but he assuredly won’t be seeing the same sort of every-down role he enjoyed while Lindsay was sidelined. Pass-down work could be heavy in a matchup that pits them as 10-point underdogs. The Chiefs’ rushing defense is far from an intimidating unit; just realize this is a crowded and somewhat murky backfield with everyone involved on an offense implied to score just 19.25 points (FantasyLabs).

Freeman had 18 snaps while running a route or pass blocking last week; Lindsay had 14. Lindsay looked plenty healthy in Week 6, but the Broncos’ potential inability to keep up on the scoreboard could be a problem for his overall usage. Projected negative game script is bad news for the third-year back, making him a low-end RB2 at best if Gordon remains sidelined.

Detroit Lions

Notes: Peterson (side) was a midweek addition to the injury report before the Lions took on the Jaguars in Week 6. The issue was serious enough to warrant reports stating that AP was expected to have his normal role, but that didn’t turn out to be the case coming out of the Lions’ Week 6 bye.

Swift impressed in a major way, posting season-high marks in rushing attempts (14), rush yards (116), yards after contact (36), TDs (2) and forced missed tackles (3) alike. On the surface, this makes sense: Swift was the No. 35 overall pick in the 2020 draft and clearly provides more burst than AP at this point in the veteran’s career.

On the other hand, it’s pretty hard to assume rational coaching out of Detroit. Swift has posted similar or better snap rates in Week 1 (44%), Week 2 (34%) and Week 4 (34%); there’s a decent chance the increase in touches and production had more to do with 1) the cozy matchup against the Jaguars’ dreadful and banged-up front-seven, 2) extremely positive game-script stemming from a 24-3 lead, and 3) Peterson’s aforementioned injury.

This remains a three-back committee. Negative game-script isn’t necessarily a concern for Swift considering his pass-game prowess, but it seems unlikely Peterson is completely phased out anytime soon without further injury. Swift has low-end RB2 appeal this week against a Falcons defense that has struggled to slow down essentially every RB other than Alexander Mattison for the better part of the last half decade.

Green Bay Packers

Notes: Jones’ snap rate continues to be a rallying cry of the fantasy community against the tyrant known as the coach Matt LaFleur, who continues to keep Williams plenty involved on a per-snap basis despite Jones’ consistently superior performance.

Jones’ average of 18.6 touches per game is the 11th-highest mark in the league; he’s not exactly handling a light workload. Still, it’s the extent that he’s out-played Williams on a per-rep basis since both entered the league in 2017 that makes the consistent disparity in snaps so alarming.

  • Jones: 5.1 yards per carry, 0.19 forced missed tackles per carry, 3.1 yards after contact per carry, 1.22 yards per route run
  • Williams: 3.9 yards per carry, 0.10 forced missed tackles per carry, 2.6 yards after contact per carry, 1.06 yards per route run

Jones remains locked in as a high-end RB1, while Williams won’t see enough targets with Davante Adams healthy to warrant standalone consideration.

An injury to Jones would likely result in a two-back committee with Williams soaking up most of Jones’ pass-down work, and Dillon getting plenty of run on early-downs. Neither is a particularly enticing bench stash.

Houston Texans

Notes: David has no fewer than three potential better-ball TDs as a receiver this season and also just can’t seem to breakout on the ground. Overall, only Ezekiel Elliott (8) has had more rush attempts end on the one-yard line than David (5).

Deshaun Watson’s career-long habit of looking downfield as opposed to checking down to this RB has persisted in 2020, limiting the potential for David to get back into RB1 territory. Still, this remains the undisputed starting RB of an ascending offense with plenty of winnable matchups up until the fantasy playoffs:

  • Week 7: Packers (No. 32 in PPR per game allowed to RBs)
  • Week 8: Bye
  • Week 9: Jaguars (No. 28)
  • Week 10: Browns (No. 15)
  • Week 11: Patriots (No. 5)
  • Week 12: Lions (No. 27)

David is borderline RB1 in this mouth-watering spot and due for some positive TD regression. 

Duke, The U’s all-time leading rusher, remains a criminally underused talent that doesn’t warrant standalone consideration. One can hope that the only reason he hasn’t been given a true three-down role since entering the league in 2015 is because of the incompetence of Bill O’Brien and Hue Jackson. Haters will say the man that has missed two games due to injury in six seasons of action is too small to handle a featured role. Truthers like myself would simply sigh and continue to hope for a better future.

Indianapolis Colts

Notes: Taylor is my favorite buy-low/even candidate entering the Colts’ Week 7 bye because 1) Wilkins (calf) has clearly worked as the No. 3 back in this committee, 2) Hines is no threat to early-down work, and 3) the Colts’ second-round rookie has had far more pass-game work than anticipated. Taylor is 11th among all RBs in touches and 15th in PPR points; he’s already a borderline RB1. Expect better days ahead on a second-half schedule that includes dates against the Lions, Titans (x2), Packers, Raiders and Texans (x2).

Jacksonville Jaguars

Notes: Robinson’s second-half TD catch in the Jaguars’ blowout loss to the Lions in Week 6 was a good reminder that he’s locked in as a high-end RB2 at worst regardless of potential game script. The Jaguars are expected to go into kickoff as TD-underdogs against a Chargers defense that has allowed the fourth-most receptions to the RB position in the league. The Jaguars’ featured back should continue to be started in fantasy leagues of all shapes and sizes, even if his scoring ceiling isn’t all that high in this up-and-down offense. Sadly, Chase Claypool (2) has more carries inside the five-yard line than Robinson (1) through six weeks.

Kansas City Chiefs

Notes: CEH leads the NFL in total missed forced tackles and ranks eighth on a per-touch basis. He’s the PPR RB11 despite end zones around the league seemingly having a personal vendetta against him. The Chiefs are sitting pretty at 5-1 and have scored at least 26 points in all but one game this season.

Le’Veon Bell’s greatest talent with the Steelers was his receiving ability; I’d anticipate him taking over Williams’ third-down role sooner rather than later. Still, the Chiefs drafted Edwards-Helaire in the first round before knowing that Damien Williams would be opting out of the season. The rookie is fresh off his best game of the season and hasn’t fumbled or dropped a pass. CEH has had two TDs nullified by penalty over the past two weeks and hasn’t exactly had the best blocking on carries inside the five-yard line.

Bell’s presence is a bit similar to Leonard Fournette’s Tampa Bay adventure in that both probably take away their respective starter’s high-end upside, but CEH (and to a lesser extent RoJo) should still see plenty of touches to maintain weekly top-12 treatment at the position. Continue to auto-start the Chiefs’ talented rookie back in fantasy leagues all around the world, while Bell is better approached as a wait-and-see bench stash for the time being. 

Las Vegas Raiders (from Week 5)

Notes: Jacobs is on pace to catch 48 passes this season. This is a massive step in the right direction considering he caught just 20 balls in 2019 and finished third among Raiders RBs in receptions. The Raiders’ featured back is capable of flirting with triple-digit yards and multiple TDs in any game with a positive game script, but his 59% and 68% snap rates during the team’s two losses this season truly help demonstrate the reality that Jacobs is a matchup-proof RB1.

Of course, this week’s matchup just so happens to be the single-toughest spot in the league. The Buccaneers have shut down every opposing RB they’ve come across this season.

Ultimately, Jacobs is one of the league’s better talents with the ball in his hands, and he has at least 18 touches in every game this season. Keep going back to the well despite the brutal matchup.

Los Angeles Chargers (from Week 5)

Notes: I didn’t expect Jackson to work as the outright RB1 in Week 5, but that seemed to develop over the course of the game as he continued to function as the superior back. Kelley remains a solid rookie; he just hasn’t been dominant enough to earn the majority of the backfield’s workload. 

Jackson served as the lead back that hardly left the field on passing downs, while Kelley took plenty of early-down work and was on the field near the goal line. Basically, treat Jackson as a middle class man’s Austin Ekeler, while Kelley’s role as a TD-dependent RB3 really hasn’t changed all that much. Both backs could flirt with top-24 production in Week 7 against the Jaguars in a matchup that could yield 15-plus touches for both.

Los Angeles Rams

Notes: Akers’ performance in Week 5 was good enough for coach Sean McVay to say, “You can expect his workload to increase.”

McVay had the following to say after the rookie’s Week 6 goose-egg:

“It was more the result of Cam not being able to get into the flow because we had such a minimal amount of drives in the first half. We got him in there a little bit in the second half, but we ended up throwing it on a one-play sequence where it’s incomplete so then it’s second-and-10 and we ended up putting Malcolm in the game.”

It sure sounds like Akers hardly played last week simply because the Rams were more interested in getting Henderson and Brown on the field. The lack of a rib injury mention reinforces the idea that this projected three-headed committee could feasibly shrink to two backs.

The Rams probably didn’t draft Akers with the No. 52 overall pick to sit him on the bench for all of 2020, although that was pretty much the case with Henderson (2019 No. 70 overall pick) during his 43-touch debut last season. The Rams’ current starting RB has sure looked like the backfield’s best option ever since Week 2, and McVay has accordingly fed him the 15th-most carries in the league over the past five weeks.

Akers is a great but-low dynasty option, but can probably be released in most season-long formats. Henderson is more of a low-end RB2 than borderline RB1 against the Bears’ ferocious front-seven, while Brown isn’t a recommended starter due to the likelihood that he’ll only flirt with a workload consisting of 15-ish touches under the most-ideal circumstances.

Miami Dolphins

Notes: The Dolphins are 3-3 entering their Week 7 bye and riding a two-game win streak. And yet, Tua Tagovailoa will be under center come Week 8 against the Rams. It remains to be seen if this will be an immediate net positive for Gaskin’s weekly scoring opportunities, but either way he remains one of the league’s few backs with their team’s 1) early-down, 2) pass-down, and 3) goal-line role. The PPR RB16 through six weeks could flirt with RB1 production down the stretch if Tua proves to be the real deal Holyfield.

Minnesota Vikings

Notes: Sheesh. Not great! Mattison was lauded for his pass-blocking ability throughout training camp, and OC Gary Kubiak noted last week that, “I guess the best compliment I can give (Alexander) is that when Dalvin leaves the game I don’t change my mindset at all. We are really proud of how he played the other night. I would say everybody expects it from him because of watching him work and watching him practice.”

L taken; we (me) need to be better about projecting such high-end production from players in unproven scenarios, even if their coaches and local beat writers indicate a massive role could be on the horizon.

Cook should be back in Week 8 following the team’s Week 7 bye. I’d still treat Mattison as a viable RB2 starter if Cook misses additional time in the second half of the season, but the days of prioritizing him as a top-tier handcuff are over.

New England Patriots

Notes: Week 6 was weird for Newton and company. Both of his interceptions were tipped at the line of scrimmage, and the Patriots weren’t able to consistently 1) get open, or 2) protect Cam.

Luckily, Newton’s usual sky-high rushing upside saved the day in fantasy land. His current 15-game pace on the ground is absolutely absurd for the position.

  • Rush attempts: 169 (No. 2 behind only 2019 Lamar Jackson among all QBs over the past 50 years)
  • Rush yards: 844 (No. 7)
  • Rush TDs: 19 (No. 1)

Harris will get more rush attempts when the Patriots are able to build a lead, but the reality that 1) Newton is the goal-line back, 2) Sony Michel (quad/Covid, IR) isn’t expected to miss the entire season, and 3) Harris hasn’t registered a single forced missed tackle on 23 carries, makes the second-year back a TD-dependent RB3 at best in a good matchup.

White has caught 15 passes in the Patriots’ last two games. It’d make sense if they continue to treat him as their primary pass-game option as long as the receivers and tight ends continue to have difficulty in getting open. Treat him as a sneaky-solid RB2 moving forward.

Burkhead needs an injury to occur to someone before he can flirt with a fantasy-relevant role.

New Orleans Saints (from Week 5)

Notes: Kamara is the overall RB1 ahead of his Week 7 date against a Panthers defense that he’s had plenty of success against over the years. On pace to break Christian McCaffrey’s 2019 reception record, Kamara probably deserves to be ranked over CMC even once he returns due to the reigning overall RB1’s potentially somewhat-reduced pass-game role moving forward.

I’d expect Murray to get less weekly action with Michael Thomas (ankle) back in the offense. Either way, hang onto him. Murray is the single most-valuable handcuff in fantasy football with Mattison exposed and Tony Pollard now having to deal with the Red Rifle under center. He’s only a potential flex option in plus matchups (like this) in non-point-per-reception formats.

New York Giants

Notes: Freeman has had some decent moments over the past two weeks against the Giants’ NFC East foes, and he’s rather inexplicably being given a true workhorse role. The problem is that the Eagles’ defensive line is the single-strongest unit on their team, and the Giants’ offensive line is potentially the single-worst unit in the league.

There’s legit potential for RB2 production here if the Clapper continues to feed Freeman like it’s still 2016. Just realize this offensive line could hardly enable Saquon Barkley to success during his short stint, and Freeman (career-low 3.2 yards per carry) isn’t faring much better through four weeks of action.

Neither Lewis nor Gallman are on the fantasy radar, although Gallman would be the favorite to take on this primary-back role if Freeman is forced to miss anytime. Neither are priority bench stashes.

New York Jets

Notes: Perine is a solid pass-catching talent, but Johnson looked like the most-explosive back in Week 6 and could be poised for more touches moving forward. Either way, Gore is going to continue to demand close to 15 touches per game for whatever reason, and anybody (other than Jamison Crowder) associated with the league’s 32nd-ranked scoring offense carries a low weekly floor. I’ve heard worse ideas than stashing Perine in the hopes a featured role emerges down the road, but none are realistic top-30 fantasy options ahead of Week 7 even in a good matchup against the Bills’ shoddy run defense.

Philadelphia Eagles

Notes: I’m fine going back to the well with Scott as a RB2 with Sanders (knee) expected to miss one to two weeks of action.

Clement has been far less involved than Scott over the past few weeks. His lack of involvement in the passing game after Sanders was hurt in Week 6 makes it possible that Scott receives a role closer to the 74% snap rate he posted in Week 17 last season. The Giants aren’t a bad defense by any stretch, but the Eagles are once again hurting for play-makers at pretty much every position, and Scott should be fed something in the range of 15-20 touches by virtue of being one of the last men standing.

Hardly a ringing endorsement for Scott as a football player, I know. Still: Chase volume in fantasy football. Scott is a top-20 RB ahead of this week’s date against the league’s 24th-ranked defense in fewest PPR per game allowed to the position.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Notes: I’m a fan of selling high on Conner at the moment. Yes, the Steelers’ starting RB has racked up at least 18 touches and found the end zone in four consecutive games. Also yes, Conner’s three targets per game are a far cry from his average in both 2018 (5.5) and 2019 (3.8). Credit to the Steelers for being 5-0, but Ben Roethlisberger and company have been significantly less explosive than past seasons in cozy matchups against the Giants, Broncos, Texans, Eagles and Browns to start the season.

Conner is a perfectly viable borderline RB1; just realize the often-injured back isn’t being deployed as the same sort of every-down workhorse that we saw in the past. His current role is still viable, but the public might be confusing his early production with a return to past glory. I love the idea of packaging him as part of a deal to try and acquire Jonathan Taylor if possible.

Expect a three-back committee with Snell seeing a poor man’s version of Conner’s current role if disaster strikes.

San Francisco 49ers

Notes: Mostert (high ankle sprain, IR) is out indefinitely. McKinnon dominated snaps and touches alike when the 49ers’ starting RB missed time in Weeks 3-4, but I’m hesitant in treating him as more than a borderline RB2 ahead of this week’s matchup against the Patriots because:

  1. Hasty oddly dominated early-down usage after Mostert was injured.
  2. Jeff Wilson (calf) was sidelined in Week 6.
  3. George Kittle and Deebo Samuel were previously each sidelined alongside Mostert.

McKinnon and WR Brandon Aiyuk were basically the offense’s last men standing in the form of explosive pass-catchers when Mostert, Kittle and Samuel were previously sidelined. McKinnon’s more-recent usage has been more similar to his early-season work as more of a true scat back. Both McKinnon and Hasty could flirt with 15 touches if Wilson remains sidelined, but don’t be surprised if Wilson makes it into a muddled three-back situation if active. The Patriots are one of five defenses averaging 20 or fewer PPR points per game to opposing RBs and know Jimmy G better than anybody; I’ll pass.

Seattle Seahawks (from Week 5)

Notes: Carson entered the Seahawks’ Week 6 bye as the PPR RB5. Most would’ve expected him to achieve this thanks to gaudy rushing numbers, but instead he’s simply benefited from being the lead pass-down and goal-line back in the league’s second-ranked scoring offense.

Carlos Hyde (shoulder) and Rashaad Penny (knee, PUP) don’t seem to be immediate threats to taking away Carson’s touches if active in the coming weeks. Continue to treat Carson as an every-week RB1 inside of the league’s No. 1-ranked scoring offense.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Notes: RoJo is averaging career-best marks across the board and continues to dominate usage with Leonard Fournette (ankle) sidelined. The presence of Shady and Vaughn shut down the potential for Jones to obtain a 2016 David Johnson-esque role, but a consistent diet of 15-plus carries per game inside of this ascending offense should still be good enough to enable RB2 production more weeks than not.

The Raiders have hardly shut down opposing RBs:

Jones will be a borderline RB1 in Week 7 if we receive word that Fournette will be limited or inactive. Either way, RoJo should be locked into starting lineups across the fantasy football landscape. Fournette’s best hope at achieving fantasy-relevant value at this point seems to be as an 8-12 carry 2020 version of Peyton Barber. He’s a drop candidate for those that need more immediate production.

Tennessee Titans

Notes: Give Henry the ball and good things happen.

The Big Dog only gets better as the weather gets colder. Continue to treat him as a weekly top-five option at the position, regardless of the matchup.

McNichols would likely form a two-back committee of sorts with rookie Darrynton Evans; neither are recommended bench holds.

Washington Football Team

Notes: Sheesh. BUT: RB nirvana is here for Gibson truthers in the form of the Cowboys defense.

Many have tried to pierce through the Dallas front-seven, and seemingly all have exceeded to a solid extent:

Gibson is a middling RB2 this week that should be in more starting lineups than not. His role could be so much bigger, but this matchup is truly fantastic, and he’s still looking at around 15 touches per week.

McKissic has posted 7-40-0, 6-46-0 and 6-43-0 receiving lines of the past three weeks. The Cowboys have allowed the third-fewest receptions to the position, but this is likely more of a result of opponents being able to constantly play with a lead than a tip of the cap to Jaylon Smith and company. He’s a low-ceiling RB3 in this prime spot.


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