Running Back Snap Count Analysis: Week 13 (Fantasy Football)
The Seahawks might finally have their first reliable lead back since Chris Carson was injured in Week 4. Doug Martin might have gotten himself Wally Pipped. Four more backfields join those two situations in this week’s Running Back Snap Count Analysis piece.
Falcons last week vs. Vikings, this week vs. Saints
Freeman returned from a two-game absence due to a concussion, and he immediately resumed lead-back duties. So much for Coleman’s strong showing filling in resulting in a timeshare. The good news for Coleman is that there was overlapping playing time between the two. Given the multi-faceted skill sets of the two backs, it’s a bit perplexing the two aren’t on the field more together, though. Coleman played only 38% of the team’s offensive snaps, and that makes him just a low-end RB2/Flex most weeks. However, as an explosive participant in a game with an over/under total of 53 points, per Pinnacle, Coleman’s more of an RB2 than a Flex this week. Freeman’s a weekly, matchup-proof RB1.
Cowboys last week vs. Redskins, this week @ Giants
Morris played more snaps than Smith for the first time since Ezekiel Elliott began serving his suspension, and it’s probably not coincidental that was the first game the Cowboys didn’t find themselves playing catch up and ultimately blown out. Morris carried the ball 27 times for 127 yards and a score, and Smith even reached double-digit carries with 10 for 27 yards and a touchdown. The Cowboys squashed the visiting Redskins 38-14, and they’re four-point favorites at the Giants this week. The game script should once again play in the favor of Morris, and he’s a solid RB2 this week.
Packers last week vs. Buccaneers, this week @ Browns
Jones returned to the active roster last week, but Williams dominated the workload. Williams rushed 21 times for 113 yards and a touchdown, and he caught two of three targets for 10 yards. The game marked Williams’ fourth straight of 20-plus touches, his second in a row eclipsing 100 yards from scrimmage, second in a row scoring at least one touchdown, and his fourth game in a row besting 70 yards from scrimmage. He’s rolling and should continue to see a steady diet of touches, however, Jones made the most of his only touch last week ripping off a 20-yard, game-winning touchdown run. Jones has rushed for 125 yards or more twice this season, and his game-winning score could net him some more touches. Still, Williams should be viewed as an RB2, and Jones is more of a bench option than a Flex play.
Eagles last week @ Seahawks, this week @ Rams
For the first time since joining the Eagles via trade, Ajayi led Philadelphia’s backs in snaps. It wasn’t a commanding lead, though, and game script played a big role in the snap distribution. Notoriously inept receiver Blount was hurt by the Eagles falling behind two scores in the first quarter last week. The Eagles remain out west this week and are 2.5-point underdogs against their NFL co-scoring leaders at 30.1 points per game. The Rams can hang points, so there’s once again game-script risks for Blount. The committee nature of the backfield caps the ceiling of all of the backs regardless of game flow, but Ajayi looks like the least game-script dependent and best weekly option. He’s an RB2/Flex and Blount is a risky Flex against a Rams defense that’s yielded the second most fantasy points per game to running backs this year, per Pro-Football-Reference.
Seahawks last week vs. Eagles, this week @ Jaguars
Not all of my prognosticating has worked out this year, but a few weeks ago I suggested scooping Davis despite getting banged up in his first start. I hope you listened. He dominated the backfield in playing time and workload, and he looked shifty and decisive rushing for 64 yards on 16 carries and adding four receptions for 37 yards receiving. McKissic scored a touchdown, but the Seahawks appear completely unwilling to use him as more than a change-of-pace option. Davis is the only rosterable back, but he’s best kept on benches in a matchup with the suddenly stingy run defense of the Jaguars this week. Having said that, he has a plus matchup on tap in Week 15 versus the aforementioned soft run defense of the Rams.
Buccaneers last week @ Packers, this week @/vs. Lions
Doug Martin was out last week while recovering from a concussion, and opening the door for Barber to shine will probably put an end to Martin topping the depth chart. Martin’s been largely ineffective this year, and Barber rumbled for 102 yards on 23 carries while hauling in all four of his targets for 41 yards receiving against the Packers last week. The week before, Barber punched in a pair of short rushing scores. As Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times points out, Martin has three non-guaranteed years remaining on his contract after this season. The 4-8 Buccaneers are out of playoff contention, so it makes sense for them to give an extended look to Barber. Sims could cut into some of his receiving work, but the matchup is favorable for Barber this week. The Lions have allowed the second most rushing touchdowns (13) and fourth most fantasy points per game to running backs this year. Barber’s an RB2 this week.