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Running Back Opportunity Report: Week 11

Every point could be the difference between winning the tiebreaker at this point to push a team over the edge and a fruitless season. Finding running backs who immerge late in the season holds the utmost value. Think back to when Tim Hightower won championships, even though he wasn’t even on a team for half the season. One of these revelations may have arisen this past week. Putting an extra focus on finding the late risers often alters fringe teams into powerhouses.

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Total Opportunity Rank Name Team Rush Attempts Targets Total Opportunity Team Total Backfield Opportunity % of Backfield Opportunity
1 Ezekiel Elliott Dal 23 8 31 34 91.18
2 Leonard Fournette Jax 28 2 30 46 65.22
2 Saquon Barkley NYG 27 3 30 36 83.33
4 David Johnson Ari 25 3 28 33 84.85
5 Lamar Miller Hou 20 5 25 33 75.76
6 Melvin Gordon LAC 18 6 24 32 75.00
7 Christian McCaffrey Car 13 8 21 22 95.45
8 Payton Barber TB 18 2 20 26 76.92
9 Jordan Howard Chi 18 1 19 31 61.29
10 Marlon Mack Ind 16 2 18 30 60.00
10 Kareem Hunt KC 14 4 18 18 100.00
10 James Conner Pit 9 9 18 18 100.00
13 Gus Edwards Bal 17 0 17 25 68.00
13 Kerryon Johnson Det 15 2 17 32 53.13
13 Aaron Jones GB 11 6 17 18 94.44
13 Chris Carson Sea 17 0 17 31 54.84
17 Phillip Lindsay Den 11 5 16 27 59.26
17 Mark Ingram NO 16 0 16 34 47.06
17 Adrian Peterson Was 16 0 16 23 69.57
20 Joe Mixon Cin 12 3 15 21 71.43

Top 10 Opportunity Hogs

Ezekiel Elliott – 34 Opportunities, 23 Rush Attempts, 8 Targets

After a few quiet weeks in a row, Elliott reasserted himself in successive weeks as a top option. Elliott’s usage in the passing game should be the most be most noticed; his 42 receptions this season surpasses the number of targets he has ever seen in a season. The Cowboy’s appear to have embraced their true identity as a team with a respectable defense and a one-man offense. Washington is undoubtedly a more difficult matchup on Thanksgiving, but he should be able to thrive as the featured piece of a heavy favorite.

Leonard Fournette – 30 Opportunities, 28 Rush Attempts, 2 Targets

Fournette surely disappointed owners for most of the season, but when he has his health, he touts the ball as much as anyone else. Despite not seeing much over 65% of the opportunity share, Jacksonville leans on the run so much it does not depress Fournette’s value. Efficiency is not the name of the game for Fournette, but as long as he finds his way into this workload, he’ll hold extreme value. In week 12, Jacksonville takes on the Bills, who even for the Jags, should make an easy matchup.

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Saquon Barkley – 30 Opportunities, 27 Rush Attempts, 3 Targets

While this opportunity line may not be representative of Barkley’s typical week, it certainly cannot disappoint his owners. Barkley crushed in a smash spot again finding the end zone twice for the giants, in route to their third victory of the year. The funneling in this Giants offense continues to make Saquon a week winning piece. Nothing looks to change Saquon’s trajectory this season, barring injury, so expect another top-five performance against the struggling Eagles in week 12.

David Johnson – 28 Opportunities, 25 Rush Attempts, 3 Targets

This newly revived offense once again sported fantasy production for its keystone pieces in week 11. DJ’s talent shows through whenever the Cardinals give him opportunity. Tuning up on the Oakland defense, Johnson found his way to 154 yards from scrimmage, a number not to be scoffed at. Arizona travels to Las Angeles in week 12 to take on the Chargers. While the Chargers may not shut down running backs like the Bears, owners should not overlook the challenge they present.

Lamar Miller – 25 Opportunities, 20 Rush Attempts, 5 Targets

Just like the cheap beer, Lamar Miller is the thing no one wants but gets the job done. Miller churned out another decent line this week, as he found his way to 86 rushing and 22 receiving yards. With a team as hot as the Texans, one might expect the running back to flash a bit more often than Miller, but his lack of talent combined with a weak O-line does not make for success. The Texans take on the Titans in week 12, this should make for a tough matchup as the Titans shut down running backs.

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Melvin Gordon – 24 Opportunities, 18 Rush Attempts, 6 Targets

Finding holes on the ground proved difficult for Gordon in week 11, but the air game supplemented those difficulties. Catching all six of his targets, Gordon churned his way to 156 yards from scrimmage. With this being one of Gordon’s only games without a trip to the end zone, owners should be ecstatic moving forward as the chargers rely on him to a contentious playoff spot. Additionally, if owners are still fighting for the playoffs, Arizona should look like Swiss cheese after Gordon finishes with them in week 12.

Christian McCaffrey – 21 Opportunities, 13 Rush Attempts, 8 Targets

Running back can make for a deceptive title when so many RBs produce like CMC through the air nowadays. Carolina stumbled against the Lions in week 11. McCaffrey made late gains in the air to make his day passable. After having his two best games of the season, owners should have expected him to regress to the mean as all running backs do. McCaffrey’s matchup against the Seahawks should allow him to bounce back.

Payton Barber – 20 Opportunities, 18 Rush Attempts, 2 Targets

The un-trustable Payton Barber finally delivered for those few who still trust him in week 11.  With Jameis Winston back at the helm, Barber may find more success this coming week as Winston’s presence has appeared to help Barber in the past. Tampa Bay returns home to take on the 49ers in week 12. With this prime matchup, Barber may find success once again.

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Jordan Howard – 19 Opportunities, 18 Rush Attempts, 1 Target

Another member of the running back wasteland, Jordan Howard saw volume and failed to produce again. Week 11 seems emblematic of Howard’s whole season, opportunity typically begets production, but Howard appears to be an anomaly. Howard turned his 18 rush attempts into a mere 63 yards. Chicago takes on Detroit this Thanksgiving, but if any option should be trusted, it is Tarik Cohen.

Marlon Mack – 18 Opportunities, 16 Rush Attempts, 2 Targets

A slow start and injury could only hold back Mack for so long. Mack may not be a top 10 option, but he is certainly a weekly starter for almost every team. The Colts are rolling every team they come up against, and with the offense in full gear, Mack looks likely to continue this streak. This week Mack takes on Miami, who has a terrible running defense. Look for Mack to push his believers into the playoffs with a strong performance.

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Intriguing Opportunity Totals

Gus Edwards – 17 Targets

Out of nowhere, a new horse emerged out of the Raven’s backfield. Gus Edwards made the most of his opportunity in week 11, now Edwards looks likely to head the backfield in the coming weeks.

Theo Riddick – 7 Targets

In a vacuum, Riddick’s week 11 performance was nothing to take notice of, but Kerryon Johnson went down. This leaves plenty of opportunity for Riddick to gobble up, especially as the Lions may pass more now.

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Aaron Jones – 17 Opportunities

It is confirmed, Jones assumed the role of featured back for Green Bay. Even the thick-headedness of Mike McCarthy can only suppress supreme talent for so long.

Josh Adams – 13 Opportunities

After the Ajayi injury, Philly took its time to find the new lead back. Josh Adams has risen to the top of the crop. While he may not see 20+ touches most weeks, the chance is there.


Check out other redraft, DFS, and dynasty content at For a look at receiver usage in week two, check out Katie Babino’s Target Hogs article.

Neil Farley attends The College of William and Mary, where he is pursuing a B.S. in Psychology. Neil's fantasy days date back to the fifth grade when he participated in his first fantasy football league. Check him out on twitter @Neil_P_Farley.

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