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Week 6 Running Back Snap Count Analysis (2021 Fantasy Football)

by Michael Moore | @DLF_Moore | Featured Writer
Oct 19, 2021
James Conner

Bye weeks are fun, aren’t they? Nothing like the surprise you get when you start looking at your lineup for the upcoming week only to see that your stud player doesn’t play anyone. Add into that wrinkle of games beginning at breakfast the last two weeks, and you have to be on your game. No more so than at running back, where things change weekly. Below are a few teams and their situations so you can plan accordingly. 

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Arizona Cardinals

If the Cardinals keep winning as they’ve done through the first six weeks of the season, the game script may become more favorable to James Conner. He saw a career-high in snaps and snap share on his way to 16 carries as the Cardinals were bleeding the clock. A small consolation is he also had his best game of the year as far as yardage with 71. 

As for Edmonds, the Cards didn’t need him. His four carries against the Browns were a season-low. Luckily, he extended his streak of seeing at least four targets, turning those into three receptions. 

The backfield dynamic is great for the Cardinals in real life but a nightmare for fantasy purposes. They can seemingly beat you in the air or on the ground, which leaves both running backs as options going into a game but not knowing which one will prevail until after. Next week’s game against the Texans should be an easy win, so look for Conner to have a lot of carries again. 

Next week: Cardinals vs. Texans 

Cincinnati Bengals 

Going into the game, we expected more rookie Chris Evans with primary backup Samaje Perine out, and we got it. He took the first four carries of his career for 18 yards. He also scored the first touchdown of his career with a 24-yard reception to go along with his three receptions for 49 yards. 

But we also got a lot of Trayveon Williams as the Bengals blew past Detroit by 23 points. He finished second on the team with six carries in his first action since last season. Granted, the Bengals are very good but don’t expect them to blow out opponents every week. If anything, this game confirms that Chris Evans is real and could see more action as the season progresses. 

Next week: Bengals at Ravens 

Denver Broncos

Ugh. Another week and another nearly 50/50 split when it comes to the Broncos backfield. Javonte Williams had 11 carries while Melvin Gordon had 10, while they both had three targets and three receptions. It reminds me of when my grandmother would keep a notepad and write down the exact dollar amount she spent on gifts for my brother and me so one wouldn’t get more than the other. 

The silver lining is they both are playing well in their split time. Both are averaging over 4.5 yards-per-carry, and both see a few targets in each game. Either one would be a stud RB1 if the other went down with an injury. But until then, we have to live with 50% capacity. 

Next week: Broncos at Browns 

Green Bay Packers 

If you would have told fantasy managers that AJ Dillon would have seen this highest snap count share of the season against the Bears, you might have thought he’d see his most touches all season too. And while the 11 carries he had was the second-most he’s seen all season (along with 59 yards), he saw no targets. In his place, Aaron Jones saw four targets for 34 yards and a touchdown. 

This looks to be the rotation as we advance. If he can get receptions, Dillon will be a fringe-flex player, but it’s certainly not a guarantee. Jones is still the lead dog and clear-cut RB1. 

Next week: Packers versus Washington 

Indianapolis Colts

What’s sadder? The fact that the 65% share of snaps Jonathan Taylor had this week was his most significant of the season? Or that he only saw 14 carries on those 31 snaps? The usage continues to be mind-boggling, especially with what Taylor is doing with his limited touches. He averaged over 10-yards-per-carry on his 14 rushes and scored twice. Yet, for some reason, Frank Reich and the Colts gave five and four snaps to Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines, respectively, where they totaled all of 25 yards between them. 

We also saw what the Colts’ offense looks like with such a big lead which hasn’t happened often this season. Between the three running backs, they saw all of two targets for two receptions and 22 yards. It’s rough out there for the Colts backfield when they’re winning. 

Next week: Colts at 49ers

New England Patriots

After an early-season banishment to the bench, rookie Rhamondre Stevenson clawed his way back onto the field and can now be considered a viable backup to starter Damien Harris. Harris is still the clear starter – he handled 18 carries in Week Six compared to the next closest runner, Stevenson, with five – but Stevenson was the clear number two. Stevenson was also a force in the passing game, tied for second on the team in both targets (three) and receptions (three). 

And while both Jakob Johnson and Brandon Bolden were on the field for plenty of snaps, neither saw anything by way or carries or targets. So this is the Harris / Stevenson show now in the future. 

Next week: Patriots vs. Jets 

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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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