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Backfield Report

David Montgomery is Poised for a Breakout Thanksgiving Day

by Nick Mensio
Updated On: November 25, 2021, 1:24 am ET

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NFL depth charts are always changing, whether it’s due to injuries, coaching decisions, or performance-related issues. The running back position, in particular, can be tough to stay on top of throughout the season, as the vast majority of teams have gone with some sort of committee approach, featuring two and sometimes even three backs.

With one week under our belt, we now have some data to help clear some things up for us. Below is a breakdown of each team’s backfield to help us determine offenses that are using a single workhorse, committees, and situations to avoid for fantasy. I’ll use this space each week to track the numbers and provide some thoughts.

All snap counts and touches are compiled from Pro Football Focus and Pro Football Reference. Opportunities refers to the running back’s combined carries and targets.

ARIZONA CARDINALS

  • Chase Edmonds (Week 1: 58% snap rate, 16 opportunities, Week 2: 64%, 13, Week 3: 66%, 19, Week 4: 67%, 17, Week 5: 61%, 10, Week 6: 37%, 8, Week 7: 69%, 18, Week 8: 59%, 11, Week 9: 1%, 1, Weeks 10-11: DNP)
  • James Conner (Week 1: 49%, 16, Week 2: 39%, 8, Week 3: 37%, 12, Week 4: 42%, 20, Week 5: 48%, 11, Week 6: 55%, 17, Week 7: 30%, 10, Week 8: 37%, 5, Week 9: 77%, 26, Week 10: 82%, 14, Week 11: 82%, 27)
  • Eno Benjamin (Week 9: 24%, 9, Week 10: 27%, 7, Week 11: 22%, 7)

 

Notes: Edmonds remains on I.R. with a high-ankle sprain and will need to miss at least one more week with the Cardinals now headed into their bye. Conner has touchdowns in five straight games and eight of the last nine. He’s second in the NFL with his 12 rushing scores, trailing Jonathan Taylor by one after Taylor scored five times in Week 11. Conner is a high-end RB1 for however long Edmonds is on the shelf and has likely earned an even bigger slice of the pie once Edmonds does return. Conner has two 26-touch games in the last three weeks.

ATLANTA FALCONS

  • Cordarrelle Patterson (Week 1: 33% snap rate, 9 opportunities, Week 2: 33%, 13, Week 3: 42%, 14, Week 4: 30%, 12, Week 5: 59%, 23, Week 7: 73%, 19, Week 8: 60%, 14, Week 9: 56%, 15, Week 10: 28%, 6, Week 11: DNP)
  • Mike Davis (Week 1: 75%, 21, Week 2: 64%, 16, Week 3: 60%, 16, Week 4: 67%, 15, Week 5: 64%, 18, Week 7: 60%, 4, Week 8: 64%, 15, Week 9: 56%, 11, Week 10: 37%, 5, Week 11: 48%, 7)
  • Wayne Gallman (Week 10: 43%, 17, Week 11: 4%, 1)
  • Qadree Ollison (Week 11: 48%, 12)

 

Notes: Patterson suffered a sprained ankle in the Week 10 blowout loss to the Cowboys and missed Week 11. Davis is averaging a pitiful 3.2 yards per carry in his first season with Atlanta. With Patterson iffy for Week 12 and Davis’ role reduced, coach Arthur Smith said Qadree Ollison has “earned the right” for more carries after turning his first nine carries of the season into 34 yards last week against New England. Ollison “added” two catches for zero yards. Hardly anything to get excited about. This offense needs Patterson back in the lineup.

BALTIMORE RAVENS

  • Ty’Son Williams (Week 1: 51% snap rate, 13 opportunities, Week 2: 49%, 15, Week 3: 50%, 6, Week 4: DNP, Week 5: 19%, 6, Week 6: DNP, Week 7: 29%, 4, Week 9: 18%, 0, Weeks 10-11: DNP)
  • Latavius Murray (Week 1: 31%, 10, Week 2: 36%, 9, Week 3: 33%, 7, Week 4: 62%, 18, Week 5: 49%, 9, Week 6: 38%, 11, Weeks 7-10: DNP, Week 11: 37%, 12)
  • Devonta Freeman (Week 1: DNP, Week 2: 13%, 2, Week 3: 16%, 3, Week 4: 8%, 1, Week 5: 27%, 5, Week 6: 30%, 11, Week 7: 40%, 7, Week 9: 58%, 16, Week 10: 58%, 14, Week 11: 58%, 22)

 

Notes: Lamar Jackson is the Ravens’ true RB1. Murray returned from his ankle injury last week to play second fiddle to new lead back Freeman. Freeman is averaging 4.6 YPC and has double-digit carries in three straight games with multiple catches in four straight. He’s also found the end zone four of the last five weeks. Playing in a run-friendly offense, Freeman is a solid, if unspectacular, back-end RB2. The Ravens released Le’Veon Bell last week. And Williams has been relegated to special teams work when he’s been able to crack the game-day roster.

BUFFALO BILLS

  • Zack Moss (Week 1: DNP, Week 2: 28% snap rate, 10 opportunities, Week 3: 56%, 16, Week 4: 56%, 15, Week 5: 74%, 15, Week 6: 55%, 12, Week 8: 64%, 15, Week 9: 28%, 7, Week 10: 48%, 7, Week 11: 29%, 4)
  • Devin Singletary (Week 1: 75%, 16, Week 2: 66%, 16, Week 3: 43%, 13, Week 4: 44%, 15, Week 5: 26%, 8, Week 6: 45%, 10, Week 8: 34%, 8, Week 9: 72%, 14, Week 10: 38%, 8, Week 11: 38%, 7)
  • Matt Breida (Week 10: 14%, 6, Week 11: 32%, 7)

 

Notes: Moss and Singletary hadn’t been providing much juice to the Buffalo backfield, so the Bills have gotten Breida more involved the last two weeks. He turned eight carries into 79 yards and a touchdown on the ground in that span, adding 4-38-1 on five targets in the pass game. With all three backs seeing snaps and touches, it’s hard to get behind any of these guys as season-long plays. Some around the team think Breida could start separating from the pack.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

  • Christian McCaffrey (Week 1: 89% snap rate, 30 opportunities, Week 2: 71%, 30, Week 3: 30%, 9, Weeks 4-8: DNP, Week 9: 49%, 19, Week 10: 59%, 23, Week 11: 90%, 18)
  • Chuba Hubbard (Week 1: 11%, 2, Week 2: 25%, 8, Week 3: 55%, 16, Week 4: 47%, 15, Week 5: 65%, 30, Week 6: 65%, 19, Week 7: 53%, 17, Week 8: 55%, 26, Week 9: 17%, 5, Week 10: 21%, 9, Week 11: 2%, 0)
  • Ameer Abdullah (Week 8: 30%, 13, Week 9: 37%, 6, Week 10: 21%, 13, Week 11: 16%, 1)

 

Notes: Now fully healthy, we saw McCaffrey’s snap rate spike in a big way all the way up to 90% last week. He has 17 catches over the last two weeks and caught a 27-yard score from Cam Newton last Sunday. Cam’s going to keep his fair share of carries after each rushed the ball 10 times last week, but the run-heavy nature of his offense and CMC’s stranglehold on playing time and targets have him locked in as a top-two RB1 alongside Jonathan Taylor.

CHICAGO BEARS

  • David Montgomery (Week 1: 59% snap rate, 17 opportunities, Week 2: 80%, 24, Week 3: 82%, 14, Week 4: 62%, 23, Weeks 5-8: DNP, Week 9: 85%, 15, Week 11: 95%, 15)
  • Damien Williams (Week 1: 43%, 11, Week 2: 23%, 5, Week 3: 16%, 0, Week 4: 33%, 10, Week 5: 48%, 19, Week 6: DNP, Week 7: 17%, 4, Week 8: 6%, 2, Weeks 9-11: DNP)
  • Khalil Herbert (Week 5: 53%, 18, Week 6: 89%, 22, Week 7: 77%, 23, Week 8: 84%, 25, Week 9: 16%, 4, Week 11: 12%, 1)

 

Notes: In two games since coming back from I.R., Montgomery has played 85% and 95% of the snaps. That’s more playing time than he was getting before the knee injury. Scoreless on 27 carries since his return, Montgomery is still averaging 4.48 YPC on those totes and has a breakout Week 12 spot against the Lions on Thanksgiving Day. He’s a cinch RB1 play. Herbert is Montgomery’s direct backup but is nothing more than a deep-league bench stash.

CINCINNATI BENGALS

  • Joe Mixon (Week 1: 78% snap rate, 33 opportunities, Week 2: 84%, 22, Week 3: 74%, 19, Week 4: 69%, 18, Week 5: 28%, 11, Week 6: 62%, 24, Week 7: 54%, 12, Week 8: 77%, 19, Week 9: 63%, 18, Week 11: 72%, 30)
  • Samaje Perine (Week 1: 22%, 6, Week 2: 5%, 1, Week 3: 21%, 2, Week 4: 28%, 4, Week 5: 61%, 16, Week 6: DNP, Week 7: 48%, 12, Week 8: 25%, 2, Week 9: 33%, 8, Week 11: 15%, 5)

 

Notes: Mixon has at least one touchdown in seven straight games and is coming off his third straight two-score effort while registering a season-high 30 carries against the Raiders. It was just Mixon’s second 100-yard rushing game of the year. He’s the overall RB7 on the season. Mixon’s pass-game role has been sporadic with four-plus targets in four games and 0-1 targets in four others. He wasn’t targeted in last week’s 19-point win over Vegas.

CLEVELAND BROWNS

  • Nick Chubb (Week 1: 53% snap rate, 17 opportunities, Week 2: 57%, 12, Week 3: 49%, 22, Week 4: 47%, 22, Week 5: 56%, 22, Weeks 6-7: DNP, Week 8: 56%, 17, Week 9: 56%, 16, Week 10: DNP, Week 11: 57%, 24)
  • Kareem Hunt (Week 1: 47%, 9, Week 2: 38%, 14, Week 3: 41%, 17, Week 4: 53%, 18, Week 5: 44%, 18, Week 6: 69%, 17, Weeks 7-11: DNP)
  • D’Ernest Johnson (Week 7: 69%, 24, Week 8: 31%, 7, Week 9: 33%, 8, Week 10: 88%, 27, Week 11: 35%, 5)

 

Notes: Chubb missed Week 10 with COVID but returned last week against the lowly Lions to set season-highs in snaps (42) and carries (22) en route to his second-straight 100-yard game and fourth in the last five outings. He was held out of the end zone on the ground but caught his first touchdown of the season. Kareem Hunt (calf, I.R.) returned to practice this week and could be back in the lineup against the Ravens. It would send Johnson back to just a handful of snaps. Chubb and Hunt are both top-15 fantasy running backs in this run-dominant offense.

DALLAS COWBOYS

  • Ezekiel Elliott (Week 1: 83% snap rate, 13 opportunities, Week 2: 71%, 18, Week 3: 70%, 20, Week 4: 75%, 21, Week 5: 60%, 24, Week 6: 71%, 26, Week 8: 75%, 22, Week 9: 53%, 13, Week 10: 49%, 17, Week 11: 69%, 15)
  • Tony Pollard (Week 1: 24%, 7, Week 2: 34%, 15, Week 3: 38%, 12, Week 4: 30%, 10, Week 5: 40%, 18, Week 6: 29%, 13, Week 8: 26%, 8, Week 9: 39%, 6, Week 10: 42%, 18, Week 11: 33%, 9)

 

Notes: Elliott is nursing a knee issue that isn’t bad enough to keep him out but is clearly playing a part in his down games. Zeke is coming off a season-low nine carries in last week’s loss to the Chiefs, and he’s averaging just 43.5 rushing yards per game over the last four weeks. He’s gone five straight weeks without a 100-yard game and has failed to score in four of those. Pollard quite possibly might be the Cowboys’ best running back right now. Should anything ever happen to Elliott, Pollard would be a mouthwatering RB1 play. For now, he’s an RB2 with just one touchdown on the season. On a short week, Pollard could see a little more work Thursday.

DENVER BRONCOS

  • Melvin Gordon (Week 1: 50% snap rate, 14 opportunities, Week 2: 59%, 15, Week 3: 54%, 20, Week 4: 49%, 13, Week 5: 60%, 11, Week 6: 53%, 13, Week 7: 58%, 11, Week 8: 57%, 13, Week 9: 53%, 24, Week 10: 43%, 13)
  • Javonte Williams (Week 1: 50%, 15, Week 2: 41%, 14, Week 3: 40%, 16, Week 4: 51%, 10, Week 5: 42%, 11, Week 6: 47%, 14, Week 7: 42%, 11, Week 8: 43%, 13, Week 9: 47%, 17, Week 10: 57%, 11)

 

Notes: The Broncos are coming off their bye week. Gordon and Williams are pretty much splitting work right down the middle in a slow-paced vanilla offense. The duo saw 10 touches each last time out in the loss to the Eagles. And it was Gordon’s second-half fumble that was returned for a touchdown as the nail in Denver’s coffin. But Gordon still has five touchdowns over the last four games while Williams continues to run over defenders. After the fumble, Williams dominated snaps. It will be interesting to see if the coaches flip to Williams as the Broncos’ lead back in a Week 12 date with the division-rival Chargers. Williams is at least going to be fun in 2022 when Gordon is off the roster. Coach Vic Fangio compared him to Edgerrin James.

DETROIT LIONS

  • D’Andre Swift (Week 1: 68% snap rate, 22 opportunities, Week 2: 63%, 13, Week 3: 56%, 21, Week 4: 73%, 14, Week 5: 74%, 17, Week 6: 78%, 20, Week 7: 75%, 23, Week 8: 71%, 17, Week 10: 93%, 39, Week 11: 73%, 18)
  • Jamaal Williams (Week 1: 35%, 18, Week 2: 39%, 10, Week 3: 49%, 14, Week 4: 30%, 14, Week 5: 32%, 15, Week 6: 30%, 6, Week 7: 29%, 12, Weeks 8-10: DNP, Week 11: 27%, 7)

 

Notes: Williams returned from his thigh issue last week but continues to make zero impact. Swift has played at least 70% of the snaps in seven consecutive games and leads all running backs in targets per game with a 6.7 mark. He’s the overall RB9 on the season and the only bankable fantasy option in this lackluster Lions offense. Swift is a matchup-proof RB1.

GREEN BAY PACKERS

  • Aaron Jones (Week 1: 49% snap rate, 7 opportunities, Week 2: 69%, 23, Week 3: 73%, 21, Week 4: 62%, 19, Week 5: 69%, 19, Week 6: 59%, 17, Week 7: 73%, 11, Week 8: 66%, 26, Week 9: 63%, 14, Week 10: 46%, 13, Week 11: DNP)
  • AJ Dillon (Week 1: 28%, 5, Week 2: 29%, 6, Week 3: 29%, 8, Week 4: 40%, 16, Week 5: 33%, 12, Week 6: 42%, 11, Week 7: 23%, 5, Week 8: 40%, 16, Week 9: 38%, 12, Week 10: 49%, 23, Week 11: 75%, 17)
  • Patrick Taylor (Week 11: 25%, 4)

 

Notes: Jones suffered a sprained MCL in the second half of the shutout win over the Seahawks in Week 10, paving the way for AJ Dillon to railroad Seattle’s defense for 128 total yards and two touchdowns on 23 touches. Prior to Jones’ injury, Jones had been dominating red-zone and goal-line looks in the Green Bay backfield. Dillon played a season-high 75% of the snaps in the Week 11 loss to the Vikings sans Jones, totaling 97 yards on 17 touches. Jones, however, was back at practice Wednesday, giving him a shot to suit up this week against the Rams. The smarter move would be to give Dillon another start and let Jones get to 100% through the Week 13 bye that follows. If Jones does play, it’ll bump Dillon down to mid-to-low RB2 status.

HOUSTON TEXANS

  • David Johnson (Week 1: 28%, 7, Week 2: 43%, 8, Week 3: 38%, 2, Week 4: 57%, 9, Week 5: 53%, 8, Week 6: 43%, 4, Week 7: 54%, 13, Week 8: 18%, 3, Week 9: 45%, 9, Week 11: 55%, 17)
  • Rex Burkhead (Week 8: 49%, 8, Week 9: 30%, 2, Week 11: 42%, 18)

 

Notes: The Texans have traded Mark Ingram and waived Phillip Lindsay over the last month, going from a four-man backfield to a two- or three-way committee, depending on what they decide to do with Royce Freeman this week following the Lindsay ouster. With a matchup with the Jets on deck, there’s some merit to Johnson being a plug-and-play, hold-your-nose RB2. Burkhead is averaging 2.8 yards per carry with no pass-game involvement.

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

  • Jonathan Taylor (Week 1: 55% snap rate, 24 opportunities, Week 2: 45%, 16, Week 3: 48%, 13, Week 4: 51%, 19, Week 5: 52%, 19, Week 6: 65%, 16, Week 7: 69%, 21, Week 8: 74%, 20, Week 9: 69%, 21, Week 10: 84%, 29, Week 11: 83%, 35)
  • Nyheim Hines (Week 1: 45%, 17, Week 2: 37%, 3, Week 3: 56%, 12, Week 4: 31%, 4, Week 5: 38%, 5, Week 6: 23%, 6, Week 7: 28%, 11, Week 8: 31%, 6, Week 9: 45%, 12, Week 10: 28%, 6, Week 11: 19%, 4)
  • Marlon Mack (Week 4: 31%, 12, Week 5: 14%, 7, Week 6: 19%, 5, Week 7: 6%, 3, Week 8: 1%, 0, Weeks 9-11: DNP)

 

Notes: After the Colts failed to trade Mack, he’s been removed from the offense as a healthy scratch. Taylor is coming off a five-touchdown barrage of the Bills and has 15 touchdowns over his last eight games. He leads the league with 60 red-zone carries, 25 more than second-place Dalvin Cook. Taylor is just on an insane pace after a slow start to the season. He’s a top-two fantasy back the rest of the way alongside Christian McCaffrey. Hines is a volatile RB3/4 with sporadic, totally unpredictable touch counts.

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

  • James Robinson (Week 1: 64% snap rate, 11 opportunities, Week 2: 73%, 14, Week 3: 59%, 21, Week 4: 95%, 20, Week 5: 68%, 19, Week 6: 85%, 21, Week 8: 11%, 6, Week 9: DNP, Week 10: 59%, 17, Week 11: 63%, 15)
  • Carlos Hyde (Week 1: 34%, 11, Week 2: 25%, 4, Week 3: 34%, 8, Week 4: DNP, Week 5: 25%, 5, Week 6: 14%, 1, Week 8: 66%, 17, Week 9: 79%, 23, Week 10: 27%, 4, Week 11: 30%, 1)

 

Notes: After missing what amounted to basically two games with a heel issue, Robinson was eased back into the offense against the Colts in Week 10 before he out-touched Hyde 14-0 last week against the Niners. Robinson’s snap share should rise closer to normal going forward as a steady RB1 as the only real means of offense for this team, especially with Jamal Agnew (hip) now done for the season. Hyde is nothing more than an end-of-bench stash.

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KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Week 1: 72% snap rate, 17 opportunities, Week 2: 65%, 13, Week 3: 62%, 19, Week 4: 52%, 17, Week 5: 26%, 9, Weeks 6-10: DNP, Week 11: 47%, 14)
  • Darrel Williams (Week 1: 22%, 1, Week 2: 27%, 3, Week 3: 34%, 10, Week 4: 36%, 12, Week 5: 43%, 10, Week 6: 72%, 25, Week 7: 64%, 9, Week 8: 64%, 19, Week 9: 54%, 23, Week 10: 59%, 20, Week 11: 53%, 8)

 

Notes: Edwards-Helaire made his return to the lineup last week against the Cowboys, out-touching Williams 14-6, even though Williams held a slight edge in playing time. Williams’ pass-blocking will always be a priority for this offense, but CEH looks poised for steady high-end RB2 numbers the rest of the way after the Week 12 bye. The week off will give him a chance to get even closer to 100% off his MCL sprain. Williams remains a hold in 12-team leagues.

LAS VEGAS RAIDERS

  • Josh Jacobs (Week 1: 52% snap rate, 12 opportunities, Weeks 2-3: DNP, Week 4: 63%, 18, Week 5: 69%, 20, Week 6: 64%, 17, Week 7: 36%, 9, Week 9: 49%, 17, Week 10: 57%, 12, Week 11: 66%, 16)
  • Kenyan Drake (Week 1: 48%, 11, Week 2: 71%, 13, Week 3: 43%, 14, Week 4: 35%, 1, Week 5: 18%, 3, Week 6: 21%, 6, Week 7: 39%, 17, Week 9: 45%, 12, Week 10: 31%, 7, Week 11: 32%, 7)

 

Notes: Jacobs is purely touchdown-dependent. When he isn’t scoring touchdowns, Jacobs is a back-end RB2 with no playmaking skills as a receiver. He has 14 catches over the last three weeks but has managed to turn them into just 63 scoreless yards with no rushing touchdowns in that span. Drake is tough to start with any confidence and should probably be pushing for more work over Jacobs, though that has yet to happen. Jacobs is averaging 3.7 yards per carry with less than 10 carries in three of the last four games.

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

  • Austin Ekeler (Week 1: 58% snap rate, 15 opportunities, Week 2: 63%, 18, Week 3: 74%, 17, Week 4: 60%, 20, Week 5: 71%, 22, Week 6: 61%, 13, Week 8: 75%, 21, Week 9: 67%, 20, Week 10: 71%, 17, Week 11: 70%, 18)
  • Larry Rountree (Week 1: 27%, 8, Week 2: 14%, 2, Week 3: 17%, 4, Week 4: 29%, 11, Week 5: 0%, 0, Week 6: DNP, Week 8: 13%, 4, Week 9: 9%, 1, Week 10: 15%, 5, Week 11: 25%, 2)

 

Notes: Ekeler is as safe of an RB1 as there is in one of the league’s more talented offenses. He’s the overall RB3 in half-PPR points per game. Ekeler leads the team with 30 red-zone carries, tied for fourth in the league, and is fourth among running backs, averaging 5.8 targets per game. After his four-touchdown assault of the Steelers last Sunday night, Ekeler is right there with Christian McCaffrey and Jonathan Taylor as the top RB1’s the rest of the season. Rountree, Jackson, and Joshua Kelley have all taken turns acting as the RB2. None of the three have any sort of fantasy value with Ekeler healthy.

LOS ANGELES RAMS

  • Darrell Henderson (Week 1: 94% snap rate, 17 opportunities, Week 2: 68%, 18, Week 3: DNP, Week 4: 90%, 20, Week 5: 66%, 18, Week 6: 82%, 24, Week 7: 88%, 21, Week 8: 61%, 16, Week 9: 60%, 15, Week 10: 75%, 11)
  • Sony Michel (Week 1: 6%, 1, Week 2: 27%, 10, Week 3: 74%, 24, Week 4: 10%, 3, Week 5: 34%, 12, Week 6: 18%, 9, Week 7: 12%, 2, Week 8: 30%, 11, Week 9: 40%, 10, Week 10: 25%, 6)

 

Notes: The Rams are coming off their bye. Henderson is 10th in the NFL in red-zone carries and is a strong mid-range RB1 in a high-octane L.A. offense. Week 10 just got away from the Rams pretty quickly, falling in an early 14-0 hole. Michel remains little more than a bench stash.

MIAMI DOLPHINS

  • Myles Gaskin (Week 1: 54% snap rate, 14 opportunities, Week 2: 61%, 10, Week 3: 52%, 19, Week 4: 23%, 2, Week 5: 69%, 15, Week 6: 36%, 11, Week 7: 63%, 19, Week 8: 58%, 16, Week 9: 72%, 26, Week 10: 61%, 16, Week 11: 74%, 27)
  • Malcolm Brown (Week 1: 30%, 5, Week 2: 12%, 5, Week 3: 41%, 7, Week 4: 67%, 9, Week 5: 9%, 0, Week 6: 36%, 6, Week 7: 7%, 4, Weeks 8-11: DNP)
  • Salvon Ahmed (Week 1: 20%, 6, Week 2: 31%, 9, Week 3: 6%, 0, Week 4: 10%, 5, Week 5: 20%, 5, Week 6: 27%, 9, Week 7: 30%, 9, Week 8: 23%, 9, Week 9: 19%, 4, Week 10: 13%, 3, Week 11: DNP)

 

Notes: Brown (quad) has missed the last four games on I.R. Gaskin set season-highs in carries (23) and rushing yards (89) last week against the Jets while catching his fourth touchdown of the season compared to just one on the ground. Seeing 4.7 targets per game and double-digit carries in five straight keep Gaskin locked in as a usable RB2, even if his efficiency is severely lacking at 3.5 yards per carry. Patrick Laird and Duke Johnson were the backups last week.

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

  • Dalvin Cook (Week 1: 71% snap rate, 27 opportunities, Week 2: 77%, 25, Week 3: DNP, Week 4: 49%, 15, Week 5: DNP, Week 6: 74%, 31, Week 8: 71%, 20, Week 9: 80%, 20, Week 10: 82%, 29, Week 11: 76%, 26)
  • Alexander Mattison (Week 1: 11%, 2, Week 2: 21%, 4, Week 3: 68%, 34, Week 4: 34%, 10, Week 5: 66%, 32, Week 6: 13%, 3, Week 8: 12%, 4, Week 9: 17%, 5, Week 10: 15%, 5, Week 11: 17%, 4)

 

Notes: Cook is as safe of an every-down workhorse there is when he’s healthy. But he has just four touchdowns on the year and is the overall RB10 in half-PPR points per game since returning to action in Week 6. Cook is averaging 24.2 touches per contest in that span. He’s due for some serious positive regression in the touchdown department, and it’s starting to happen with touchdowns in back-to-back games. Mattison is an RB1 whenever Cook misses action with touch counts of 32 and 32 in two games without Cook.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

  • Damien Harris (Week 1: 53% snap rate, 26 opportunities, Week 2: 41%, 17, Week 3: 31%, 8, Week 4: 61%, 6, Week 5: 33%, 14, Week 6: 48%, 19, Week 7: 46%, 16, Week 8: 53%, 24, Week 9: 39%, 16, Week 10: DNP, Week 11: 39%, 11)
  • Brandon Bolden (Week 4: 32%, 7, Week 5: 38%, 6, Week 6: 20%, 2, Week 7: 28%, 9, Week 8: 32%, 4, Week 9: 47%, 10, Week 10: 27%, 6, Week 11: 27%, 3)
  • Rhamondre Stevenson (Week 5: 34%, 11, Week 6: 33%, 8, Week 7: DNP, Week 8: 16%, 10, Week 9: 27%, 12, Week 10: 55%, 25, Week 11: 34%, 13)

 

Notes: With Harris back for Week 11 following Stevenson’s big Week 10, the two split early-down work right down the middle. Harris held the snaps edge 25-22, but Stevenson out-carried him 12-10 and out-gained Harris 69-56. In the Patriots’ run-centric offense, there’s enough for both backs to have box-score success. The problem is the upside is capped. Harris has played well this season, but Stevenson just looks like he has an extra gear to his game.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

  • Alvin Kamara (Week 1: 73% snap rate, 24 opportunities, Week 2: 84%, 11, Week 3: 84%, 28, Week 4: 87%, 26, Week 5: 88%, 24, Week 7: 82%, 31, Week 8: 67%, 23, Week 9: 68%, 20, Weeks 10-11: DNP)
  • Mark Ingram (Week 8: 29%, 8, Week 9: 34%, 14, Week 10: 85%, 21, Week 11: 72%, 24)
  • Tony Jones (Week 11: 15%, 3)

 

Notes: Kamara has missed the last two games with a knee injury and isn’t going to play Thursday against the Bills. In his absence, Ingram has turned 40 touches into 221 yards and one touchdown. In a run-heavy offense with minimal pass-catching talent, Ingram is an RB1 when Kamara sits. But now Ingram has a knee issue of his own that could force him to miss Week 12 on a short week. Kamara is fantasy’s overall RB4 in half-PPR points per game. The offense operates through these two backs. If neither plays this week, Jones and Dwayne Washington are next up in the New Orleans backfield.

NEW YORK GIANTS

  • Saquon Barkley (Week 1: 48% snap rate, 13 opportunities, Week 2: 84%, 16, Week 3: 86%, 23, Week 4: 89%, 19, Week 5: 9%, 3, Weeks 6-9: DNP, Week 11: 62%, 12)
  • Devontae Booker (Week 1: 39%, 5, Week 2: 14%, 3, Week 3: DNP, Week 4: 11%, 2, Week 5: 88%, 20, Week 6: 72%, 16, Week 7: 82%, 17, Week 8: 93%, 21, Week 9: 73%, 24, Week 11: 36%, 4)

 

Notes: The Giants were destroyed by the Bucs Monday night, leading to the team firing OC Jason Garrett. The game just got too far away from New York for Barkley to make much of an impact, as he handled six carries and six targets. Playing 62% of the snaps was the real win, as Barkley looks healthy off his ankle injury. He’s an RB1 going forward as a three-down back.

NEW YORK JETS

  • Michael Carter (Week 1: 25% snap rate, 6 opportunities, Week 2: 45%, 14, Week 3: 43%, 12, Week 4: 51%, 16, Week 5: 52%, 13, Week 7: 72%, 20, Week 8: 70%, 29, Week 9: 58%, 15, Week 10: 52%, 22, Week 11: 33%, 10)
  • Ty Johnson (Week 1: 54%, 7, Week 2: 45%, 12, Week 3: 57%, 8, Week 4: 33%, 5, Week 5: 39%, 7, Week 7: 32%, 12, Week 8: 29%, 10, Week 9: 42%, 7, Week 10: 32%, 10, Week 11: 33%, 2)
  • Tevin Coleman (Week 1: 26%, 9, Week 2: 10%, 5, Week 3: DNP, Week 4: 18%, 6, Week 5: 9%, 4, Weeks 7-9: DNP, Week 10: 22%, 7, Week 11: 33%, 6)

 

Notes: Carter suffered a high-ankle sprain in the Week 11 loss to the Dolphins and is expected to miss a couple weeks. Look for Johnson and Coleman to handle the backfield work in his absence. Johnson is the preferred add with more of a pass-game role in an offense that is going to be chasing points every week, but Coleman could find his way into 10-12 carries.

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

  • Miles Sanders (Week 1: 66% snap rate, 20 opportunities, Week 2: 67%, 15, Week 3: 60%, 6, Week 4: 64%, 10, Week 5: 75%, 16, Week 6: 83%, 13, Week 7: 17%, 7, Weeks 8-10: DNP, Week 11: 46%, 17)
  • Kenneth Gainwell (Week 1: 35%, 12, Week 2: 33%, 9, Week 3: 31%, 5, Week 4: 39%, 11, Week 5: 24%, 5, Week 6: 23%, 2, Week 7: 51%, 13, Week 8: 31%, 13, Week 9: 19%, 2, Week 10: 31%, 3, Week 11: DNP)
  • Boston Scott (Week 7: 31%, 9, Week 8: 45%, 13, Week 9: 44%, 10, Week 10: 31%, 13, Week 11: 37%, 8)
  • Jordan Howard (Week 8: 25%, 12, Week 9: 40%, 17, Week 10: 38%, 12, Week 11: 17%, 10)

 

Notes: Sanders returned from I.R. and paced the backfield in playing time and rushing attempts while the Eagles made Gainwell a healthy scratch in favor of Scott and Howard. With Howard now expected to miss Week 12 against the Giants due to a knee injury, Sanders’ floor and ceiling get a boost with a better shot at handling goal-line work. Sanders can be penciled in as a strong RB2 in a run-heavy offense as favorites. Scott has some FLEX appeal.

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

  • Najee Harris (Week 1: 100% snap rate, 19 opportunities, Week 2: 95%, 15, Week 3: 95%, 33, Week 4: 80%, 22, Week 5: 65%, 28, Week 6: 84%, 31, Week 8: 84%, 29, Week 9: 82%, 25, Week 10: 87%, 30, Week 11: 75%, 18)

 

Notes: Harris is an every-week RB1 based on volume alone, even if he’s running behind one of the league’s worst offensive lines while averaging 3.6 YPC. Harris is third among running backs, seeing 6.2 targets per game. He has six touchdowns over his last seven games. Harris is the overall RB8 in half-PPR points per game. He’s on pace for over 400 touches as a rookie.

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

  • Elijah Mitchell (Week 1: 64% snap rate, 19 opportunities, Week 2: 61%, 19, Weeks 3-4: DNP, Week 5: 68%, 11, Week 7: 66%, 18, Week 8: 64%, 18, Week 9: 66%, 13, Week 10: 53%, 27, Week 11: DNP)
  • JaMycal Hasty (Week 7: 34%, 9, Week 8: 34%, 5, Week 9: 34%, 5, Weeks 10-11: DNP)
  • Jeff Wilson (Week 10: 32%, 10, Week 11: 58%, 21)

 

Notes: Mitchell is an every-week RB2 with 17-plus carries in 5-of-7 games played. He has four games of 91-plus rushing yards. Mitchell has next to no pass-game involvement outside of an outlier Week 9 that saw him catch five passes. After missing Week 11 with a broken finger, Mitchell is expected back this week against the Vikings. Wilson has settled in as the Niners’ RB2 with Hasty (ankle) injured and Sermon only coming in for mop-up duties. Deebo Samuel has carried the ball 13 times over the last two weeks, producing 115 yards and two touchdowns on those runs. His emergence there just raises his floor and ceiling as a top-five WR1.

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

  • Alex Collins (Week 4: 39%, 12, Week 5: 71%, 18, Week 6: 60%, 21, Week 7: 39%, 17, Week 8: 47%, 10, Week 10: 49%, 11, Week 11: 37%, 10)
  • Rashaad Penny (Week 7: 36%, 6, Week 8: 19%, 7, Week 10: DNP, Week 11: 16%, 2)
  • Travis Homer (Week 10: 51%, 5, Week 11: 10%, 1)
  • DeeJay Dallas (Week 11: 37%, 6)

 

Notes: Chris Carson (neck) needs disc-fusion neck surgery and is done for the season. The Seahawks can’t seem to find a capable running back, cycling through all four remaining options week in and week out. Penny (hamstring) is hurt again. Dallas scored a late meaningless touchdown last week against the Cardinals. Maybe he’ll get a shot at some carries.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

  • Leonard Fournette (Week 1: 65% snap rate, 16 opportunities, Week 2: 49%, 15, Week 3: 36%, 7, Week 4: 82%, 25, Week 5: 62%, 17, Week 6: 63%, 28, Week 7: 53%, 19, Week 8: 61%, 13, Week 10: 65%, 20, Week 11: 59%, 16)
  • Ronald Jones (Week 1: 9%, 4, Week 2: 41%, 9, Week 3: 16%, 5, Week 4: 17%, 6, Week 5: 14%, 6, Week 6: 19%, 6, Week 7: 19%, 10, Week 8: 15%, 4, Week 10: 2%, 0, Week 11: 19%, 8)
  • Giovani Bernard (Week 1: 26%, 3, Week 2: 10%, 2, Week 3: 45%, 10, Week 4: DNP, Week 5: 23%, 6, Week 6: 16%, 2, Week 7: 15%, 3, Week 8: 21%, 3, Week 10: 29%, 4, Week 11: 10%, 1)

 

Notes: Fournette is the overall RB14 since Week 4. He’s soaking up all the money touches in the passing game and at the goal line when the Bucs decide to run the ball down there. He’s fifth in the NFL in red-zone carries with 29. Fournette is just a rock-solid RB2 in a potent offense.

TENNESSEE TITANS

  • Derrick Henry (Week 1: 62% snap rate, 21 opportunities, Week 2: 76%, 41, Week 3: 72%, 31, Week 4: 59%, 35, Week 5: 77%, 29, Week 6: 81%, 23, Week 7: 74%, 31, Week 8: 74%, 28, Weeks 9-11: DNP)
  • Jeremy McNichols (Week 1: 36%, 6, Week 2: 24%, 4, Week 3: 26%, 4, Week 4: 40%, 13, Week 5: 23%, 3, Week 6: 2%, 0, Week 7: 15%, 1, Week 8: 23%, 3, Week 9: 45%, 10, Week 10: 27%, 7, Week 11: DNP)
  • D’Onta Foreman (Week 9: 21%, 5, Week 10: 35%, 13, Week 11: 19%, 8)
  • Dontrell Hilliard (Week 11: 63%, 17)

 

Notes: Henry (foot) is expected to miss the remainder of the regular season. McNichols missed Week 11 with an injury, and Adrian Peterson was cut this week after turning in a 27-82-1 (3.0 YPC) line across three games with the team. Playing from behind much of last week, Hilliard was targeted 10 times. Trying to figure out this backfield is a chore. You’re on your own. Foreman would probably still be the preferred one to have in fantasy.

WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM

  • Antonio Gibson (Week 1: 65% snap rate, 25 opportunities, Week 2: 61%, 15, Week 3: 57%, 14, Week 4: 55%, 16, Week 5: 57%, 22, Week 6: 39%, 13, Week 7: 42%, 16, Week 8: 33%, 11, Week 10: 63%, 26, Week 11: 49%, 19)
  • J.D. McKissic (Week 1: 36%, 1, Week 2: 44%, 10, Week 3: 46%, 5, Week 4: 40%, 12, Week 5: 41%, 6, Week 6: 61%, 18, Week 7: 64%, 10, Week 8: 46%, 11, Week 10: 38%, 6, Week 11: 46%, 11)
  • Jaret Patterson (Week 8: 23%, 12, Week 10: 7%, 4, Week 11: 19%, 7)

 

Notes: Gibson logged his highest snap share since Week 1 in the upset of the Bucs in Week 10. Playing from ahead in that one contributed to Gibson’s elevated playing time and season-high 24 carries. Gibson’s two touchdowns were his first end-zone trips since Week 5. Gibson remains a mostly TD-dependent RB2 without much of a role in the pass game. He handled 19 carries and zero targets last week against Carolina, rushing for a season-high 95 yards. McKissic is a PPR-friendly RB2/3 who succeeds when Washington is chasing points on the scoreboard.

Nick Mensio

Nick Mensio has been covering the NFL for NBC Sports Edge since 2012. He can be found on Twitter at @NickMensio.