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Week 6 Running Back Snap Count Analysis (2020 Fantasy Football)

by Michael Moore | @DLF_Moore | Featured Writer
Oct 21, 2020

Another week and another wonky schedule. Instead of a Thursday night game in Week 6, we had two Monday night games, and, in a regularly scheduled quirk, just two Sunday afternoon games. But despite the unevenness, we had a full slate of games, and we’re on track for another. This also means that we have a host of games and running back situations to dissect, a few of which are below.

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Arizona Cardinals

Player Snap Count
Kenyan Drake 42
Chase Edmonds 23

For all the talk of Kenyan Drake being the less effective running back in Arizona and getting replaced by Chase Edmonds, nothing’s happened yet. And it’s even less likely to happen after Drake’s strong showing in Week 6. He ran for 164 yards and two touchdowns and tied his season-high of 20 carries. Edmonds was not only well behind Drake in carries — seeing just five — but they saw the same amount of targets with two. The game script didn’t help Edmonds’ cause, as the Cardinals were up 21-3 at halftime and had little reason to pass the ball much afterward. Couple that with how well Drake was running, and the backfield situation looks to remain unchanged for the foreseeable future. 

Week 7: Cardinals vs. Seahawks

Baltimore Ravens

Player Snap Count
Gus Edwards 33
JK Dobbins 30
Mark Ingram 10

While the ankle injury to Mark Ingram early in Week 6 doesn’t appear serious, it gave us some insight into what an Ingram-less backfield would look like. Gus Edwards led the way with 36 snaps and 14 carries, punching in a short-yardage opportunity. Meanwhile, rookie JK Dobbins led the backfield with four targets, catching two of them. 

Despite the lofty draft capital, the Ravens don’t appear to favor Dobbins over Edwards yet when it comes to rushing downs, and that’s despite Dobbins’ 6.2 yards per carry. The situation will continue to frustrate fantasy managers, as Edwards is a flyer to punch one in every week, while Dobbins, who leads the Baltimore backfield with 14 targets, has value in PPR leagues. 

Week 7: Bye 

Buffalo Bills

Player Snap Count
Devin Singletary 40
Zack Moss 13

After Zack Moss spent three weeks on the injured list, Week 6 was supposed to be the return of the running back committee in Buffalo. It didn’t happen, as Moss saw just 13 snaps against the Chiefs, while Devin Singletary was the clear lead back and played 40 snaps. Moss also saw just half as many carries as Singletary (10-5) and no targets compared to Singletary’s two.

As far as the workload goes, the Bills may not trust Moss yet. He’s gained just 2.6 yards per carry on his 22 attempts. Singletary isn’t exactly lighting it up either — he’s averaging just 3.8 on more attempts — but he’s better than Moss right now. That’s great news for Singletary managers who drafted him in hopes of RB2 production.

Week 7: Bills at Jets 

Cincinnati Bengals

Player Snap Count
Joe Mixon 39
Gio Bernard 35

Joe Mixon truthers holding out hope that the Bengals will make him a bell-cow will have to wait another week. Granted, the snap count was only this close because Mixon missed a few drives because of an injury, but Bernard was part of the offense before and after that. He carried the ball eight times for just 15 yards, but he also got a short-yardage scoring opportunity and capitalized. For his part, Mixon led the backfield in carries with 18 and scored a touchdown of his own, but it’s clear that Cincinnati has no plans to remove Bernard from the rotation anytime soon.

Week 7: Bengals vs. Browns 

Detroit Lions

Player Snap Count
D’Andre Swift 29
Adrian Peterson 27
Kerryon Johnson 17

Even though D’Andre Swift has technically led the Lions backfield in snaps in multiple games this year, including this past week, Week 6 felt like a changing of the guard. He had about as many snaps and carries as Adrian Peterson did, but he turned his 14 carries into 116 yards and two touchdowns, while Adrian Peterson managed just 40 yards on his 15 carries (he added a score, too). The passing game was no different, as Swift led all three backs with four targets while Kerryon Johnson saw two and Peterson just one. 

On the season, Swift has been significantly better than both Peterson and Johnson. His 6.1 yards per carry is two yards ahead of Peterson’s 4.1 and nearly double Johnson’s 3.2. If Swift is still on the waiver wire in your league, claim him now — otherwise, it’ll be too late.

Week 7: Lions at Falcons 

Los Angeles Rams

Player Snap Count
Darrell Henderson 32
Malcolm Brown 27
Cam Akers 1

This may be the last time we look at the Rams running back snap distribution in this space because a trend has clearly emerged. Now that all three backs are healthy, it’s clear that Darrell Henderson is the leading rusher. He got 14 carries while Malcolm Brown saw just two and Cam Akers saw none. As far as the passing-down work, Brown led this week with four targets, more than Henderson and Akers, who were not involved in the passing game. 

The development of Henderson as the lead back is just as significant as the dearth of attention for Akers. What was expected to be a true committee is anything but, as Henderson currently leads all Rams backs with 72 carries compared to just 55 for Brown and 26 for Akers. Consider Henderson the Rams back to roster going forward.

Week 7: Rams vs. Bears 

New England Patriots 

Player Snap Count
James White 31
Rex Burkhead 18
Damien Harris 12

Between the long layoff, a matchup against a team they were favored to beat, plus the relegation of Sony Michel to injured reserve, Damien Harris was supposed to have a big rushing day. Alas, it was not meant to be, as the Broncos went up early in an upset at New England. Harris led the New England backfield in carries with six, but both Rex Burkhead (five) and James White (four) weren’t far behind. Luckily (?) for Harris, all three were ineffective on the ground, and Harris led the way with 19 yards. Remember that Cam Newton will always be the top rusher in this iteration of the Patriots’ offense. Case in point: his team-leading 10 designed run plays and a score. 

It’s the same old story in the passing game, as White not only led the backfield in targets (nine) and receptions (eight) but led the whole team. If there’s one back to roster (in PPR leagues) on the Patriots, make it James White. 

Week 7: Patriots vs. 49ers 

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Michael Moore is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Michael, check out his archive and follow him @DLF_Moore.

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