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Week 2 Running Back Snap Count Analysis (2021 Fantasy Football)

by Michael Moore | @DLF_Moore | Featured Writer
Sep 22, 2021

Week 2 saw some Week 1 developments turn into a full-blown trend. While other developments look to be a fluke after the season opener. Either way, the running back snap counts below can help with your lineup decisions for Week Three. 

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Baltimore Ravens

Different week, same story for the Baltimore backfield and rookie Ty’son Williams. Williams led the committee in snaps, carries, and even targets but it resulted in a mixed bag of results. On the ground he turned 13 carries into 77 yards, averaging nearly six yards per carry, and was the only running back to even see targets. The bad news is he didn’t score and lost a fumble (which, luckily for Baltimore, they recovered). 

That last development could lead this rotation to change soon along with the onboarding of Le’Veon Bell. But the fact remains that no Ravens running back will be a league-winner. At best, they can rotate the RB2 value that comes with leading the backfield which will be a constant guessing game. For now, Williams is the player to own but his hold on that spot is tenuous. 

Next week: Ravens at Lions 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

While the snaps make it look like it was a timeshare, Ronald Jones was well behind Leonard Fournette as far as snaps and receptions. Fournette led the team with 11 carries to Jones’ six. It was a little better for Jones in the passing game, as he saw just one less target from Fournette but converted for just one for a catch. Through two games, Fournette is averaging ten carries and 4.5 receptions while Jones is averaging just five carries and has just the one catch. Neither back will see RB1 numbers but if forced to choose, Fournette is the pick. 

Perhaps the bigger development here is the complete lack of usage for Gio Bernard. Touted as a significant passing down weapon when signed in the off-season, he’s caught just four balls for 28 yards through two games. And that’s with Tom Brady throwing it 86 times! Bernard simply can’t be trusted in fantasy lineups until such time that he at least leads the backfield in targets and receptions. 

Next week: Buccaneers at Rams 

Arizona Cardinals

The signing of James Conner certainly dampened the pre-season hopes of Chase Edmonds’ fantasy outlook. But through two games, it’s clear that Edmonds is not just the lead back in terms of snaps and touches but the better one. Week Two was a perfect encapsulation of the difference. Edmonds led the way with 2/3 of the snaps in the backfield and while both he and Conner both had eight carries, Edmonds turned that into 46 yards while Conner ran for just 26 yards. The disparity was even bigger in the passing game with Edmonds seeing five targets, catching all of them for 29 yards while Conner didn’t see a single one. 

Going forward, Edmonds could be a difference-maker on your fantasy team, especially in PPR leagues. He’s the lead back on a high-powered offense with quarterback Kyler Murray playing the best football of his short career. Edmonds is one of the few backs that looked to be splitting time this season who is now pulling away. 

Next week: Cardinals at Jaguars 

New England Patriots

One doghouse that was occupied this weekend was the one filled by Rhamondre Stevenson. After his fumble last week, it was declared inactive going into Week Two with Damien Harris assuming most of the rushing duties. The Patriots’ offense blew up for 25 points, including two rushing touchdowns so I wouldn’t count on Stevenson being active anytime soon.

As mentioned above, Harris led the team in attempts with 16, totaling 62 yards and a touchdown. Behind him was actually James White who, in addition to his normal passing duties, rushed five times for 20 yards and even scored a rushing touchdown. The five rushing attempts were White’s most since the middle of last season and boost his fantasy value a bit. The Patriots won’t play the Jets defense every week but this rotation was effective and should be what New England rolls with going forward. Plan accordingly. 

Next week: Patriots vs. Saints 

Houston Texans

Don’t let the final snap count fool you. When it comes to the early rushing downs, Mark Ingram has this job wrapped up. He only saw 19 snaps but the Texans were down by 10 for most of the second half which is why David Johnson – the apparent passing down back – saw more snaps. But Ingram saw the carries, rushing 14 times or half of all of the Texans attempts. He wasn’t necessarily effective nor did he score but he was still relied on to carry the load. 

As far as actual targets, the Texans are doing a good job of distributing the ball. Mark Ingram and David Johnson both led the way with two targets while Philip Lindsay had one but was the only want to score. 

As long as all Houston running backs are healthy, it seems unlikely that any of them will separate from each other. It’s best to avoid this situation for fantasy purposes. 

Next week: Texas vs. Panthers

Jacksonville Jaguars

After a small scare for James Robinson drafters, where he was out carried 9-5 by Carlos Hyde in Week One, Robinson returned to workhorse status after Week Two. Robinson out carried Carlos Hyde 11-2 while he also saw just as much passing work, seeing three targets to Hyde’s two despite Jacksonville losing for more than half the game. 

Jacksonville won’t be leading many games so passing down duty in the backfield will be important. If Robinson can hold on to the targets, there’s no reason he couldn’t be just as fantasy-relevant as he was in 2020 when he was a borderline RB1.

Next week: Jaguars vs. Cardinals

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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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