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Week 10 Running Back Snap Count Analysis (2019 Fantasy Football)

by Josh Shepardson | @BChad50 | Featured Writer
Nov 13, 2019

Damien Williams dominated snaps out of the backfield for the Chiefs in Week 10.

A back surprisingly being inactive last week gets a backfield that was regularly in this space earlier in the year back under the spotlight. It’s joined by a returning backfield with an electric rookie back who was underutilized last week as well as a backfield that featured the return of a versatile back coming back from suspension. Also, the adage volume is king was put to the test by one back in a backfield that’s included in this piece.

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Browns last week vs. Bills, this week vs. Steelers

Player Snaps (Percentage of offensive snaps)
Nick Chubb 57 (81%)
Kareem Hunt 38 (54%)
Dontrell Hilliard 8 (11%)

 
The Browns wasted no time getting Hunt involved in the team’s offense in his first game of the season after serving a suspension to open the year. The team was rather creative using him, and, as a result, Chubb was able to play over 80% of the offensive snaps and touched the ball 22 times. He carried the ball 20 times for 116 rushing yards, and he hauled in two of four targets for five receiving yards.

Hunt rushed the ball four times for 30 rushing yards, but he was highly involved in the passing attack. The former Chief reeled in seven of nine targets for 44 receiving yards. Circling back to his usage, Hunt was on the field fairly frequently with Chubb and lined up at receiver. Adam Levitan of Establish the Run tweeted out specifics in regards to Hunt’s routes run.

Additionally, I watched the majority of the Bills at Browns last week live, and Hunt was used on at least one occasion lined up like a fullback with Chubb also on the field. I’m encouraged by Hunt’s usage as a receiver, so much so that I’m willing to call him an RB2 already.

While nothing is imminent, it’s possible Hunt’s versatility could result in him usurping some of Chubb’s red zone work. For the year, Chubb has five touchdowns from the red zone on 27 touches in that part of the field, per Lineups. Chubb failed to score on his seven red-zone touches last week.

Bills last week at Browns, this week at Dolphins

Player Snaps (Percentage of offensive snaps)
Devin Singletary 46 (67%)
Frank Gore 23 (33%)

 
The game script was neutral or favorable for the Bills for the entirety of their narrow loss to the Browns. Despite that being the case, Buffalo’s offensive coordinator Brian Daboll inexplicably dialed up 41 pass attempts for Josh Allen. As a result, Singletary carried the ball only eight times. The rookie runner ripped off 42 rushing yards. He also caught three passes for eight receiving yards, but his seven targets are encouraging. Gore’s clearly the second back in Buffalo’s backfield, and he carried the ball five times for 12 rushing yards and corralled his only targets for two receiving yards. I’ll pound the table again for Singletary even off of a disappointing week, and believe his versatility makes him an every-week RB2 who’s a top-25 RB the rest of the season.

Dolphins last week at Colts, this week vs. Bills

Player Snaps (Percentage of offensive snaps)
Kalen Ballage 54 (82%)
Patrick Laird 8 (12%)
Myles Gaskin 5 (8%)

 
The mantra volume is king was put to the test by Ballage last week. He toted the rock 20 times for 43 rushing yards and caught all four of his targets for two receiving yards. Ballage didn’t score, and his 1.88 yards per touch from scrimmage was pathetic. The second-year back is averaging a horrendous 3.3 yards per carry on 91 rushes through his first 21 games as a pro, and his 5.76 yards per reception is awful as well. According to the Play Index tool at Pro-Football-Reference, 83 running backs have caught at least 15 passes since 2018, and Ballage’s 5.76 yards per reception are tied for 77th. Yikes. Ballage isn’t worth rostering in anything but deep leagues (at least 16 team leagues), and he’s unlikely to continue to touch the ball a ton if he’s going to remain wildly inefficient. Given his performance thus far, the smart money is on his volume drying up as opposed to his efficiency improving.

Deep league gamers (again, 16 team leagues or larger) wouldn’t be crazy for scooping Laird in the hopes of Miami giving him some opportunities. He carried the ball twice for four yards and caught both of his targets for 15 yards last week. Laird showcased a well-rounded skill-set in college, as you can see on his Sports-Reference page. For full disclosure, however, Laird went undrafted and lacks eye-catching measurables, as you can see on his PlayerProfiler page.

Chiefs last week at Titans, this week vs. Chargers (Mexico City on Monday Night Football)

Player Snaps (Percentage of offensive snaps)
Damien Williams 60 (73%)
Darrel Williams 17 (21%)
Darwin Thompson 5 (6%)

 
LeSean McCoy was inactive last week. He was healthy, and James Palmer of NFL Network reported the move was predetermined for rest.

Color me skeptical of the truthfulness of why Shady was sat. And, to be clear, that’s not a shot at Palmer’s reporting, but rather the explanation he was reporting on. Adam Teicher of ESPN NFL Nation offered the following explanation for Shady being inactive in Week 10.

Seeing as how the Chiefs still have their bye week forthcoming in Week 12 and Shady received plenty of rest in Week 9 when he touched the ball only four times and played 10% of the team’s offensive snaps, it seems improbable he’ll resurface as an integral part of the backfield mix this week. Damien Williams dominated the backfield touches with 19 carries and five receptions, and Darrel Williams and Thompson combined for only three carries and two receptions. Damien Williams did lose a fumble, but he also totaled 77 rushing yards and 32 receiving yards. I’m viewing him as an RB2 this week.

Cardinals last week at Buccaneers, this week at 49ers

Player Snaps (Percentage of offensive snaps)
Kenyan Drake 45 (64%)
David Johnson 30 (43%)

 
Here’s a look at one of Johnson’s five carries last week.

Sure, I’m not a scout, but I know that’s not gonna cut it. Johnson rushed five times for two rushing yards, caught his only target for eight receiving yards, and he lost a fumble. It was an unmitigated disaster returning from injury. Making matters worse, it was Drake who was the closer, as head coach Kliff Kingsbury stated he wanted to keep him “rolling.”

Drake carried the ball 10 times for 35 rushing yards, and he caught six of seven targets for six receiving yards. No, that’s not a typo. He averaged one yard per reception. For now, Drake appears to be the more desirable running back to own in fantasy. Having said that, the situation could be fluid from game to game and even within each game.

A matchup in San Francisco against the 49ers probably isn’t as bad as it seems. Football Outsiders ranks them 17th in Defense-adjusted Value Over Average against the run. In his debut with the team and just a few days to get acclimated to Arizona’s offense before facing the 49ers in the Week 9 Thursday Night Football game, Drake blew up for 162 yards from scrimmage on 15 carries and four receptions while adding a rushing touchdown. Although, that was with Johnson inactive. I’m benching Johnson in a 12-team league this week, but other gamers might not have that luxury. He’s only a flex at best for the time being, while Drake’s just a bit ahead of him as a low-end RB2/flex.

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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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