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Week 11 Running Back Snap Count Analysis (2020 Fantasy Football)

by Michael Moore | @DLF_Moore | Featured Writer
Nov 25, 2020

For the first time all season, backup Brian Hill saw more snaps than Todd Gurley.

Fantasy leagues are entering the home stretch before the playoffs and the running back position has been its usual war of attrition. Whether it be injuries or enough bad play to warrant a change, there could be important developments in your backfield. Below are a handful of situations that could ultimately determine fantasy championships.

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Arizona Cardinals

For all the talk of Chase Edmonds supplanting Kenyan Drake earlier this season, which only ramped up when Drake missed multiple weeks with an injury, it appears we’ve ended up in a full-blown timeshare. Over the last two weeks that both backs have been healthy, Drake has seen 71 snaps while Edmonds has seen 72. As far as usage, luckily those roles are defined. Drake saw 11 carries in Week 10 – scoring on one of them – while Edmonds saw just two. Meanwhile, the passing duties were much more evenly split, with Drake seeing five targets to Edmonds’ four with the latter scoring on one of those. On the day, they had the same amount of (PPR) fantasy points to go along with their similar snap numbers. Don’t look for this trend to change anytime soon with both being decent if uninspiring, fantasy options the rest of the way.

Next week: Cardinals at Patriots

Atlanta Falcons

Todd Gurley fantasy owners might be seeing the beginning of the end when it comes to their workhorse. For the first time all season, backup Brian Hill saw more snaps than Gurley and was much more effective. On just four carries, Hill totaled 18 yards while Gurley managed just 26 on his eight carries. Neither is a small sample size but consider that this was the first game Gurley managed more than three-yards-per-carry in over a month. On the season, he’s averaging 3.7 yards-per-carry – almost the exact number as he did last year when he was widely considered washed.

Meanwhile, Hill has managed 4.4 yards-per-carry on the season while also being more effective in the passing game, generating 111 yards on 16 receptions while Gurley has totaled just 82 on the same amount of catches. Gurley’s nine touchdowns are the only positive stat in an otherwise bad fantasy season. And even those looks may be ending soon.

Next week: Falcons vs. Raiders

Cleveland Browns

If the Browns are still easing Nick Chubb back from injury, you wouldn’t know it looking at his stat line. He finished behind Kareem Hunt for the second-straight week – and after he returned from an injury that kept him out a month – but still dominated carries with 20 compared to Kareem Hunt’s 13. Chubb also far outpaced Hunt on the ground, turning his 20 carries into 114 yards while Hunt managed just 11 (he did manage a score).

The big numbers on the ground for Chubb are needed since he continues to be non-existent in the passing game. He saw none of Baker Mayfield’s 22 pass attempts and has yet to even see more than one target in any game this season. Granted, Kareem Hunt only saw one in this game too, but it was just the third time he saw less than three in his 10 games this season. Look for this dynamic in the Browns backfield to continue since it seems to be working so well.

Next week: Browns at Jaguars

Denver Broncos

No matter how hard the Broncos try to quit Phillip Lindsay, he doesn’t make it easy. After drafting Royce Freeman in the third round of the 2018 Draft, the undrafted Lindsay forced his way onto the field, led the team in rushing, and made the Pro Bowl in his rookie season. And even though he posted another 1,000-yard season in his sophomore year, Denver brought in more competition in the form of veteran Melvin Gordon. And if it weren’t for injuries knocking Lindsay out for most of this season, he’d again be leading the team in rushing, averaging 5.4 yards-per-carry. Week 10 was no different as Lindsay, operating well behind Gordon, still managed 82 yards on just 16 carries.

Gordon, for his part, is making it tougher for Lindsay to see the field than Freeman ever did. He managed 84 yards on his 15 carries this week and punched in two of those for scores. Both Gordon and Lindsay are playing well so don’t expect either back to pull ahead of the other anytime soon. The situation may be frustrating for both Gordon and Lindsay fantasy owners but it’s a happy problem for the Broncos’ real-life offense.

Next week: Broncos vs. Saints

New York Jets

For fans of Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Frank Gore is the T-1000 of NFL running backs. The ever-changing machine that just won’t die. In Gore’s case, it’s jerseys he keeps changing but the not dying part still applies as Gore rolls on in his age-37 year. And despite the Jets first rolling out Le’Veon Bell earlier this season then moving on to Lamical Perine in the backfield, it appears Gore will outlast both as the Jets end their season.

In Perine’s case, he was set to be the featured back after the Jets traded Bell and was on his way to a decent game with the second-most carries (eight) and yardage (33) of his short career. He also managed to punch in a score before a high ankle sprain knocked him out of this game and at least three others since he was put on IR.

Ty Johnson saw carries after the injury, but this is Frank Gore’s job to lose, and should be the lead back for the foreseeable future. Of course, if the Jets keep up their losing ways, it’s not as if he’ll see a lot of carries anyway. He’s a pure volume option down the stretch.

Next game: Jets vs. Dolphins

Washington Football Team

It’s rare to see a positive game-script for rookie Antonio Gibson. Not only did he lead the team in snaps but he saw a significant number of carries with 16. The total was the second-most he’s seen all season and much more than Peyton Barber (eight) and JD McKissic (six). As far as production, Gibson managed 94 yards and a touchdown in one of his best fantasy games of the season.

But all this production on the ground doesn’t take away from the uptick in snaps for McKissic who has quickly become a favorite target of the newly installed Alex Smith. After seeing 31 targets over the last two weeks, McKissic was second on the team with four this week, turning that into three receptions for 26 yards. Chances are Washington will lose more games than they win the rest of the way which means McKissic will still get his. But it’s nice to see the rookie Gibson still a part of the game plan as the season ends.

Next week: Football Team at Cowboys

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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.