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Timeshare or Position Battle? Breaking Down Running Back Committees for Fantasy Football

Raheem Mostert - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, Waiver Wire Pickups

As the season rolls along, we're starting to get a better idea of how some running back committees have gone. Some of those committees have turned out to not be committees. James Robinson has dominated the Jaguars backfield and left Travis Etienne with a minimal role, for example. And some have been even more committee than expected.

Let's examine some of the current running back committees in the NFL and try to figure out the situation there.

Will the committee approach continue? Are there signs that one back in the committee is trending toward taking over? Where's the fantasy value in the committee?

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Miami Dolphins Running Backs

The Backs: Chase Edmonds, Raheem Mostert

Things have been pretty close between these two. Mostert has 39 carries and nine targets, while Edmonds has 28 carries and 11 targets. But if you break things down farther, you can see that this is becoming Mostert's backfield.

In Week 4, Mostert's snap rate took a sharp rise. His highest rate of the season had been 56%, but he played 72% of the team's snaps against the Bengals on Thursday, while Edmonds played just 28% of them.

Mostert had 15 carries for 69 yards in that one, while Edmonds had five carries for six yards. Both backs were targeted three times and Edmonds found the end zone on a seven-yard catch, but that one touchdown doesn't negate the trend, which is that Mostert has taken over this backfield. He's a solid fantasy RB3 play now.

 

Buffalo Bills Running Backs

The Backs: James Cook, Zack Moss, Devin Singletary

This looked like a running back committee very recently, but Devin Singletary has kind of taken over this backfield. After having snap rates of 59% and 54% in the first two games, that ballooned to 73% in Week 3 and then to 88% in Week 4.

Based on that trend, this is Devin Singletary's backfield now, to the point where I don't want to talk about Singletary here. He's got the volume to be a fantasy RB3 and is involved on the ground and in the passing game. Instead, I want to talk about the two players behind them and if they can make things interesting.

So far this season, Zack Moss has 16 carries and eight targets, while James Cooom had 13 carries and seven targets. There's a possibility here for a non-Singletary back to have value, but that won't happen unless one of these two players can step up and take over this No. 2 role completely.

In Week 4, Moss played just six snaps, but Cook played just two. Both players should be off the fantasy radar at this point, but if Cook can start to show something and displace Moss, he could have value down the stretch if Singletary starts to see fewer snaps.

 

Los Angeles Rams Running Backs

The Backs: Cam Akers, Darrell Henderson Jr.

Akers had 38 carries and four targets this season, while Henderson had 34 carries and 10 targets. The two are about as close to equal as possible in terms of opportunities, though Henderson averages a full yard per carry at 4.1 to Akers' 3.1.

In terms of actual snaps, Akers played just 18% of them in Week 1, but he's had a larger role since, though his season-high in snap rate was just 50% against the Cardinals.

In Week 4, Akers was on the floor for 38% of the Rams' snaps, with eight carried for 13 yards. Henderson played 59% of the snaps, with seven carries for 27 yards. Henderson had three catches, while Akers had none.

Henderson is out playing Akers right now. But not by a ton. Both guys are low-end RB3 plays at best right now, though Akers probably has a little more long-term upside based on how the two have been used prior to this season.

 

Kansas City Chiefs Running Backs

The Backs: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Jerick McKinnon, Isiah Pacheco

Clyde Edwards-Helaire has been the best running back for the Chiefs, but a lot of that has been because of his ability to find the end zone. He's a fantasy RB2 play right now because of his volume.

But the Chiefs have a couple of players who keep posing threats to Edwards-Helaire. Week 4 was the biggest workload we've seen for Edwards-Helaire, as he had 19 carries, 11 more than his previous season high. He played 56% of the snaps, which was almost a high point for him this season.

But just as Jerick McKinnon was eating into his role in Week 2 and Week 3, Isiah Pacheco was a factor in Week 4, as he had 11 carries. He played 21% of the snaps, his second-highest percentage this season.

CEH is the lead back here, but if Pacheco can keep producing as he did against Tampa—he had 5.73 yards per carry in the win—then he can start to cut into that workload. Edwards-Helaire is the top guy, but I think that role is a little more uneasy than it might appear.

 

Atlanta Falcons Running Backs

The Backs: Tyler Allgeier, Caleb Huntley, Avery Williams, Damien Williams

This was Cordarrelle Patterson's backfield. He was playing some incredible football and looked like a fantasy RB1. And then...

Now, this backfield is set to be pretty messy for the next month or so. Damien Williams would be the lead back, but he's on IR with a rib injury. He should be back before Patterson is, but there's no guarantee that he steps into a large role.

Tyler Allgeier should have the first crack at things here, as he had 10 carries last time out, finishing with 84 yards. He also had a 20-yard reception. Huntley had 10 carries too though, and he could the end zone. But his 10 carries produced fewer yards than Allgeier, with 56 of them.

This backfield is too confusing for me to start anyone in it in season-long fantasy, but I think there's some good value in DFS with Allgeier, or as an option in deeper leagues.

 

Denver Broncos Running Backs

The Backs: Mike Boone, Melvin Gordon

You might think that Javonte Williams suffering a torn ACL means this becomes Melvin Gordon's backfield, but Sunday's game suggests that might not be the case.

So...it looks like Melvin Gordon isn't the clear lead back in Denver.

Gordon now has four fumbles this season, which already ties him for the second-most of his career, with the only season he fumbled more being his rookie season. In a sport where turnovers can kill your momentum, having a running back in the backfield who can hold onto the ball is incredibly important.

That might be Mike Boone. He's never fumbled in his NFL career, and while part of that is a lack of touches (78 carries and 11 receptions), it's still probably worth seeing what he can give you.

As far as fantasy goes, I think Gordon will get a higher workload than Boone, but Boone cuts into that playing time, and Gordon's probably got a fairly short leash because of the fumble concerns. I don't feel great playing either, but Gordon is probably a fine RB3 option.

Update #1: Since I wrote this first part, the Broncos signed Latavius Murray. I think Murray is a depth signing, and if he cuts into anyone's playing time, it'll be at Boone's expense, not Gordon's.

Update #2: The Broncos played a game on Thursday, though you're forgiven if you didn't watch it. Melvin Gordon had 15 carries. Boone had seven. So, it definitely looks like Gordon is the lead back now, but Boone is getting just enough volume to lower Gordon's upside. My stance on this backfield after Week 5 is exactly what it was before Week 5.



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