NFL depth charts are always in a constant state of flux due to transactions, injuries, performance and, at times, questionable coaching decisions. The running back 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 in order to better determine:
- Offenses featuring a single workhorse
- Fantasy-friendly committee backfields
- Situations fantasy football owners should avoid
- Teams that are most open for a rookie back to thrive in 2020
This isn't a full depth-chart listing, as I'm not concerned about running backs who make their living on special teams or guys only expected to see a touch or two per game. Rather, the goal here is to get an early idea of the league's various committee situations in an effort to see both undervalued situations as well as teams that could theoretically enable a highly productive rookie running back.
Each back’s Week 2 snap rate, carries and targets are listed in the below tables. It's a great day to be great.
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The Cardinals have been slow to fully turn the backfield over to Edmonds despite his rather commanding lead over Conner in both yards per carry (5.5 vs. 3.3) and yards after contact per carry (3 vs. 2.6). This backfield is clearly defined: Edmonds is the 1A, as he has played 100% of two-minute snaps and 77% of third-down reps, while Conner is the 1B, as he has soaked up eight of the backfield’s 11 snaps (73%) of snaps inside the 10-yard line.
Ultimately, Kyler Murray is the engine of the league’s second-ranked scoring offense, as neither Edmonds nor Conner is going to flirt with 20 touches most weeks. Still, Edmonds’ command of the pass-down work makes him a solid upside RB3 in full point-per-reception (PPR) formats, particularly against a Jacksonville Jaguars defense that has made a habit of loading up against the run this season. No team has stacked at least eight defenders in the box on more total plays than the Jaguars (64) through two weeks. Conner remains more of a ‘flex with benefits’ talent as opposed to someone folks should be actively looking to start, even in this plus spot.
Credit to Patterson for finding the end zone twice in Week 2, but the sudden rush to add him off the waiver wire is a bit befuddling. He's made the most out of his opportunities, but Davis has posted superior marks in PFF rushing grade (72.5 vs. 61.8) as well as missed tackles forced per carry (0.17 vs. 0.14). As long-time president of the Patterson fan club, I’m absolutely thrilled the man is the PPR RB9 after two weeks of action but just don’t chase these points with reckless abandon moving forward.
Both are set up well against a Giants defense that struggled to slow down the likes of Melvin Gordon (PPR RB7) and J.D. McKissic (RB6) during the first two weeks. Davis remains the preferred fantasy option, as he’s a low-end RB2 set up for a nice bounce-back performance after last week’s impossible spot (on the ground at least) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ beastly front-seven. Patterson is more of a flex dart, as double-digit touches per week aren’t exactly guaranteed inside of an offense that has looked broken for most of 2021.
Check out the Tuesday edition of The PFF Fantasy Football Podcast for complete waiver wire thoughts on Patterson and the rest of Week 3’s add/drop candidates.