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Week 7 Running Back Snap Count Analysis (2019 Fantasy Football)

by Josh Shepardson | @BChad50 | Featured Writer
Oct 23, 2019

Aaron Jones led Green Bay’s backfield in Week 7.

Injuries are a huge underlying topic in this week’s look at backfield situations. A pair of backfields impacted by banged up top backs make the cut. They’re joined by a few familiar situations.

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Packers last week vs. Raiders, this week at Chiefs (Sunday Night Football)

Player Snaps (Percentage of offensive snaps)
Aaron Jones 34 (57%)
Jamaal Williams 24 (40%)
Dexter Williams 6 (10%)

 
Sunday was largely the Aaron Rodgers show in Green Bay’s blowout win over the visiting Raiders. Lost in Rodgers lighting the opposition up was a shift back to Jones topping the backfield in playing time and touches. Jones carried the ball a dozen times for 50 scoreless yards and hauled in all four of his targets for 33 receiving yards and a touchdown. He was very much the leader among Green Bay’s running backs, as Jamaal Williams was a distant second with only three carries for five yards and four receptions on five targets for 26 receiving yards and a touchdown. The receiving touchdown prevented Jamaal Williams from being a total dud for those who used him in fantasy but subtract the touchdown, and you’re looking at his realistic weekly floor.

Rookie Dexter Williams was active, but he received all three of his carries for two yards with under five minutes remaining in a blowout victory, per Pro Football Reference’s play-by-play data. Jones remains an RB2 who’s ceiling and floor are both lowered by the presence of Jamaal Williams, who is a flex or low-end RB2 through bye weeks.

Lions last week vs. Vikings, this week vs. Giants

Player Snaps (Percentage of offensive snaps)
Ty Johnson 49 (64%)
J.D. McKissic 19 (25%)
Kerryon Johnson 11 (14%)

 
The Lions’ biggest loss in Week 7 wasn’t necessarily being beaten 42 to 30 by their division rival Vikings. They also lost starting running back Kerryon Johnson to injury, and he’s on IR. Adam Levitan of Establish the Run tweeted out the snap counts of Detroit’s running backs after Kerryon Johnson went down.

As you can see, those totals vary from the overall game totals in the table. Ty Johnson was the primary beneficiary, and he’s worthy of a top waiver investment or a significant chunk of FAAB investment — even if he’ll almost certainly cede some work to others on the roster or perhaps added to the roster. Ty Johnson’s measurables include top-flight straight-line speed and earned him a best comparable of Kenyan Drake at PlayerProfiler. He was never leaned on as a workhorse at Maryland, but he averaged an eye-popping 7.6 yards per carry in 348 carries, per Sports-Reference. He has a cushy matchup this week that makes him an RB2 in Week 8, but his usage this week will help determine whether he’s more of an RB2 or flex going forward.

Dolphins last week at Bills, this week at Steelers

Player Snaps (Percentage of offensive snaps)
Mark Walton 38 (52%)
Kenyan Drake 30 (41%)
Kalen Ballage 5 (7%)

 
Speaking of the aforementioned Drake, he’s now officially fallen behind Walton in Miami’s backfield pecking order. He’s reportedly on the trade block, and Walton looked sharp after I touted him as an add in last week’s piece. Walton rushed a team-high 14 times for 66 yards and caught his only target for negative eight yards against the Bills last week while Drake was held to only 21 rushing yards on six carries but avoided a total stinker by catching three of four targets for 37 receiving yards. Walton’s the better option to own at the moment, but Drake could get a lift if dealt into a favorable situation.

Cardinals last week at Giants, this week at Saints

Player Snaps (Percentage of offensive snaps)
Chase Edmonds 61 (94%)
David Johnson 3 (5%)

 
Many gamers rostering Johnson breathed a sigh of relief when he was active for last week’s game. The relief was quickly replaced by disappointment when Edmonds stole the show and Johnson stood on the sidelines in his helmet as an “emergency option” most of the afternoon.

Notice the time stamp on Darren Urban’s tweet above. Kliff Kingsbury didn’t reveal that plan before the game, and it doesn’t entirely pass the sniff test with the team signing Alfred Morris since. I’m not usually one for speculation and conjecture, but I suspect Johnson aggravated his ankle injury in his limited time on the field, and the addition of Morris adds fuel to the fire. The forthcoming schedule for Arizona’s running game is brutal, but if Johnson misses time, Edmonds is a volume-based RB2 in the NFL’s fastest-paced offense — at least according to Football Outsiders entering last week. He’s a tougher sell as even a flex if Johnson is active since his path to receiving work would be clouded by Johnson’s presence, and receiving work is the easiest path to making hay in the upcoming schedule. If Johnson’s healthy, both he and Edmonds are risky flexes. However, bump Edmonds all the way up from risky flex to locked-in RB2 if Johnson misses times.

Chargers last week at Titans, this week at Bears

Player Snaps (Percentage of offensive snaps)
Austin Ekeler 38 (59%)
Melvin Gordon 34 (53%)

 
Remember when Gordon held out because he felt like he was underpaid? He likely hasn’t done himself any favors by “demonstrating his value” with his holdout. Ekeler’s been the far superior back. Gordon’s yet to even reach 40 rushing yards in a game in three contests. Hell, he hasn’t surpassed 50 yards from scrimmage in any of his three games played. Last week, he rushed for a pitiful 32 yards on 16 carries, and he added two receptions for negative two yards and a score on three targets. He’s averaging an embarrassingly-low 2.3 yards per carry on 36 carries and a ghastly 3.8 yards per carry on nine receptions. Woof.

Ekeler’s carried the ball just 13 times for 28 rushing yards in his last three games, but he’s balled out in the passing attack. In Week 5, he posted a 15-86-0 line on 16 targets, struggled in Week 6 with a 3-14-0 line on four targets, then had a 7-118-1 outburst on eight targets last week. Ekeler’s an RB2 whose value is enhanced in point-per-reception (PPR) formats. Meanwhile, Gordon should be benched until showing signs of life. The Chargers have been a disaster, and they aren’t even providing much touchdown-or-bust upside for Gordon presently.

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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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