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Week 6 Running Back Snap Count Analysis (2019 Fantasy Football)

by Josh Shepardson | @BChad50 | Featured Writer
Oct 16, 2019

Buccaneers running back Dare Ogunbowale led the team’s stable of running backs in snaps this week.

This week’s look around NFL backfields is littered with familiar faces. The landscapes are frequently changing, and that’s the case in a few of these situations. Having said that, one new backfield goes under the spotlight following a surge in activity from a second-year back who was picked in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft but also finds himself in a new home this year.

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Patriots last week vs. Giants, this week at Jets

Player Snaps (Percentage of offensive snaps)
Sony Michel 41 (50%)
James White 31 (38%)
Brandon Bolden 12 (15%)
Rex Burkhead Inactive
Damien Harris Inactive

Michel dominated the backfield touches with 22 carries for 86 rushing yards. He failed to reach pay dirt, however, with Tom Brady punching in a pair of one-yard scores and Bolden scoring from one-yard out, too. The lack of touchdown scoring was a downer for gamers using Michel, but they had to be pleased to see his usage in the passing attack. Michel was targeted three times and corralled a pair of those balls for 27 receiving yards. In all, that means he reached triple-digit yardage from scrimmage for the second week in a row. Circling back to his receiving usage, after being targeted only one time through four games, he’s hauled in five receptions on six targets for 59 receiving yards. His increased passing usage enhances his ceiling, and he should have some better luck in regards to scoring short touchdowns. Put another way, Brady’s not going to score a couple of one-yard touchdowns every week.

The value of White’s work in Week 6 simply comes down to the type of scoring format. His 45 yards from scrimmage were dreadful in standard-scoring formats, but since he reeled in all nine of his targets, he performed acceptably in PPR leagues. When Burkhead is healthy, he threatens White’s floor and ceiling.

Apparently, I’ve undersold Bolden. I previously indicated I didn’t expect him to continue to have a notable role in the offense. I was wrong. The veteran back who’s made hay on special teams for the bulk of his career carried the ball three times for 23 rushing yards and a score, and he added a pair of receptions on two targets for 22 yards. The touchdown extended Bolden’s touchdown streak to three. Although he’s riding this hot streak, it’s tough to buy into him as even a touchdown-or-bust option. Regardless, he’s doing enough to be a thorn in the side of fantasy gamers relying on another member of New England’s backfield mix.

Buccaneers last week vs. Panthers (London), this week on a bye

Player Snaps (Percentage of offensive snaps)
Dare Ogunbowale 46 (58%)
Peyton Barber 19 (24%)
Ronald Jones 13 (16%)

My apology tour continues, this time across the pond — sort of. I truly believed Jones ascended to reliable RB2 territory a couple of weeks ago when he looked great and even had a couple of long runs called back due to penalties in Los Angeles against the Rams in Week 4. He’s since carried the ball only 13 times for 45 rushing yards, and he’s caught two passes on three targets for 21 receiving yards. In Week 5, he amassed 56 yards from scrimmage with two receptions. Last week in London, he rushed only four times for 10 yards and wasn’t targeted a single time in the passing attack, but he did score a rushing touchdown. Sure, he could have been worse in those two games and didn’t completely flop, but he certainly didn’t play like a locked-in RB2. Furthermore, he played the fewest offensive snaps in the backfield.

Barber remains an unexciting plodder, and he carried the ball eight times for 28 yards without sniffing a target. Pass-catching back Ogunbowale rushed once for a three-yard touchdown and secured three of five targets for 22 receiving yards. Perhaps Ogunbowale can be a hail-mary flex option when the Buccaneers project to play in a negative game script, but that’s about as “strong” of an endorsement as I can give him in fantasy.

Dolphins last week vs. Redskins, this week at Bills

Player Snaps (Percentage of offensive snaps)
Kenyan Drake 46 (61%)
Mark Walton 32 (42%)
Kalen Ballage 4 (5%)

The Dolphins are still in the mix for the top pick in the 2020 NFL Draft after losing to the visiting Redskins. They rank dead last in scoring offense at a pathetic 8.4 points per game, per Pro-Football-Reference. Football Outsiders (FO) also ranks them dead last in Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) in overall offense, passing offense, and rushing defense. In short, this isn’t a fantasy-friendly offense.

Sometimes desperate times caused by byes and injuries can call for desperate measures, though. Drake continues to play at a consistently ho-hum level. He rushed 10 times for 40 yards and caught six of nine targets for 30 receiving yards against the Redskins. The 10 carries were his second-highest total of the year, and ditto for his 40 rushing yards. He’s caught multiple passes in every game, however, and he’s caught three or more passes in four straight. He’s averaging 58 yards from scrimmage and 3.8 receptions per game, but he hasn’t scored a single touchdown. Approximately 50-60 yards from scrimmage and a few receptions per game is an attainable weekly expectation and just might be good enough to slot in to get through bye weeks or hold down the fort for an injured player in standard-sized or deeper PPR leagues. It’s not anything to get excited about.

Walton saw his most extensive action of the year last week, and he parlayed six carries into 32 rushing yards while catching five of six targets for 43 receiving yards. Walton was selected in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Bengals, but off-field troubles helped make it easy for the team to move on. You can read a bit about his arrests and off-field transgressions here. Walton’s work last week should be good enough to get him a lengthier look on the rebuilding Dolphins. His value is in the same range as Drake’s presently, but both backs could see an uptick in value if Drake were traded before the NFL’s trade deadline on October 29. Don’t go crazy overspending FAAB on him, but he’s not the worst speculative add and stash to see how things shake out.

Packers last week vs. Lions (Monday Night Football), this week vs. Raiders

Player Snaps (Percentage of offensive snaps)
Jamaal Williams 39 (53%)
Aaron Jones 36 (49%)
Tra Carson 0 (0%)

A healthy Williams was back atop Green Bay’s backfield in offensive snaps last week. Jones did himself no favors by losing a fumble and comically dropping a touchdown pass. Jones carried the ball 11 times for 47 rushing yards and caught four of seven targets for 13 receiving yards, but he was kept out of the end zone. Williams balled out with 14 carries for 104 rushing yards and four receptions for 32 receiving yards and a touchdown on five targets. Jones can’t get out of his own way, though, but it might not matter since head coach Matt LaFleur appears intent on sharing the backfield load between both backs. Jones is an RB2 who’s a tease to do more. Williams is a fringe RB2 or flex who would be a slam-dunk, volume-driven RB2 if Jones were to get nicked up.

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Josh Shepardson is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Josh, check out his archive and follow him @BChad50.

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