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Snap Counts and Opportunities: Week 9 RBs

david montgomery week 9 snap counts

Running backs can’t score fantasy points if they aren’t on the field, so this weekly article will provide impressions by analyzing snap counts, percentages, and touches. Here we go with the Week 9 snap counts and opportunities for running backs.

Fantasy football is all about opportunity, and the NFL players who have higher snap counts have a higher probability of scoring more fantasy points. I provide fantasy football snap counts here with some context and impressions to help you make fantasy transactions and gain an edge on your competition. Looking at context will involve analyzing carries and targets and whether running backs were able to convert opportunity to yards gained. Be sure to also read our other redraft content and listen to the TFA podcast to get all the info you need!

Atlanta, Cincinnati, LA Rams, and New Orleans were on BYE during week 9, so you won’t find them in the report below.

As you have noticed, this article is getting a bit repetitive. As such, I am going to focus on the biggest changes and ignore consistency, unless consistency is notable. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter (@NateHenryFF) for instant reactions to running back usage!

Fantasy Football Snap Counts and Reactions

Arizona Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 David Johnson 0% 0% 0 0 0
RB2 Chase Edmonds 0% -61% 0 0 0
RB3 Kenyon Drake 84% 84% 15 4 162

With David Johnson and Chase Edmonds on the shelf with injuries, Kenyon Drake dominated snap counts and opportunity against a strong defense. However, this development was mostly team necessity rather than indicative of future usage. Certainly, Drake has earned more playing time and opportunity, especially after Arizona paid to obtain him. David Johnson is expected to be back this week, so we might be looking at a 50-50 split or something close thereto. Drake’s performance certainly caps David Johnson’s upside and likely renders Edmonds fantasy irrelevant.

Baltimore Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Mark Ingram 44% -7% 15 3 144
RB2 Gus Edwards 40% 3% 7 0 27
RB3 Justice Hill 14% 7% 3 1 7

Speaking of big performances against strong defenses, Mark Ingram dominated against the New England defense. Unfortunately, Edwards vultured a rushing touchdown after a long Ingram run, but Mark Ingram got more carries inside the 10 yard line overall, which continues the season-long trend of Ingram being the goal-line back. You like to see Mark Ingram lead the backfield in targets, but Baltimore just doesn’t throw very much due to a strong running game and a very mobile quarterback. Ingram is a bit frustrating to own but has upside in this run-heavy offense.

Buffalo Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Frank Gore 34% 5% 11 0 15
RB2 Devin Singletary 66% -2% 20 4 140

Singletary finally got opportunity in the running and passing game, and he delivered. I didn’t get the impression that this was a hot-hand situation, and I believe that Buffalo is finally ready to hand over the “keys to the kingdom” to Singletary. Even late in the game, Singletary got goal-line carries. All signs point to big, down-the-stretch involvement for Singletary. Trade for him if you still can.

Carolina Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Christian McCaffery 86% 8% 24 3 166

McCaffery is awesome. What else can I say about this guy?

Chicago Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 David Montgomery 73% 0% 14 4 76
RB2 Tarik Cohen 36% 15% 2 5 16

Objectively, Montgomery had a great fantasy day. 73 yards and two touchdowns is solid production. Yet, the Bears offense was stifled for most of the game; at one point near halftime, they had -10 yards of offense. The overall team offense concerns hurt Montgomery, especially his TD scoring ability. He’s likely their strongest offensive player at this point, but he can’t do everything. He’s probably a low-end RB2 simply due to the Bears offense being mostly terrible.

Cleveland Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Nick Chubb 60% -3% 20 5 91
RB2 Dontrell Hilliard 40% 40% 5 2 14

Chubb was great again, but the big news of Week 10 is that Kareem Hunt returns from suspension. Chubb saw season-low snap counts and only ran routes on 43% of Cleveland dropbacks. He continues to decrease his passing game involvement, so you have to be worried that Cleveland is prepping Hunt for big involvement.

Dallas Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Ezekiel Elliott 83% 4% 23 0 139
RB2 Tony Pollard 19% -10% 3 3 30

Dallas was playing a weak NY Giants defense, so Ezekiel Elliott’s lack of passing game involvement likely stems from Dak Prescott not needing to check-down the ball against this week defense. Also, Dallas didn’t pass as often as usual, so don’t worry too much.

Denver Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Phillip Lindsay 46% -3% 9 0 92
RB2 Royce Freeman 52% 1% 5 1 14

Lindsay finally had a great day, but Royce still led in snap counts. Lindsay just isn’t much involved in the passing game, so that is frustrating.

Detroit Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Ty Johnson 62% 37% 9 3 36
RB2 JD McKissic 38% 8% 4 4 72
RB3 Paul Perkins 4% 0% 3 0 16

Even with Tra Carson in IR, this backfield is still a mess. Ty Johnson dominated snap counts, but he was not efficient. The Lions throw the ball downfield a ton, so there won’t be much opportunity for any running back in this offense. Even worse, the Detroit defense is awful, so the Lions are constantly playing catch-up through the air. McKissic is probably the best option of this bunch, but not someone I’d be looking to start in anything other than a very deep league.

Green Bay Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Aaron Jones 59% -5% 8 4 29
RB2 Jamaal Williams 44% -2% 2 6 49

The LA Chargers defense completely stopped the GB offense (the Packers only obtained 184 total yards and 49 total plays). This backfield remains essentially a 50-50 split, especially in the passing game where both running backs ran the exact same number of routes. The low efficiency seems like a blip on the radar due to an inspired outing from the Chargers defense.

Houston Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Duke Johnson 47% 2% 7 5 81
RB2 Carlos Hyde 56% 4% 19 0 160

Nothing new here other than Hyde having a great day against a strong Jacksonville defense on the ground. I’m blaming Jacksonville’s poor performance on the travel to London, so don’t get too excited about Hyde.

Indianapolis Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Marlon Mack 55% -6% 21 0 89
RB2 Nyheim Hines 28% 0% 1 3 28
RB3 Jordan Wilkins 20% 11% 1 2 12

Mack will dominate touches, but he is not involved in the passing game. You must start him, but he’s not an RB1 without any passing game involvement. Hines might be interesting with all the WR injuries in Indy.

Jacksonville Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Leonard Fournette 84% 5% 11 6 72
RB2 Ryquell Armstead 13% -8% 0 5 65

The Jacksonville Week 9 RB numbers are pretty typical other than Fournette’s low number of carries, which was totally game script related.

Kansas City Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Damien Williams 72% 30% 12 2 128
RB2 LeSean McCoy 10% -29% 3 1 9
RB3 Darrell Williams 18% 3% 1 0 1

Just when I had given up on Williams, he blows up. However, this is exactly what I have been saying – the backfield is a minefield at the moment. McCoy’s snap counts were low because he fumbled, and Williams efficiency was completely boosted by a 91 yard TD run. For all we know, McCoy could lead the backfield in touches again next week. Let someone else have this headache. I realize that 72% snap counts is nothing to sneeze at, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this additional playing time was due to the McCoy fumble, not indicating higher usage in the future. That said, Damien is the best pass-catcher in this backfield and gets the most opportunity to catch passes, which has huge value in a Mahomes offense (I expect him back this week). Wait one more week and see if Damien gets high opportunity multiple weeks in a row before inserting him into your starting lineup.

LA Chargers Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Austin Ekeler 34% -19% 12 4 93
RB2 Melvin Gordon 63% 7% 20 4 109

Melvin Gordon broke out against a defense that was previously playing well against the run. Like I said in the past, Melvin’s usage is elite. Hopefully, he finally shook of the rust and can deliver consistent performance in response to receiving elite usage. Most importantly, LA installed a new offensive coordinator this week. Even so, the new OC still heavily involved Gordon and apparently drew up some plays that work (or caught GB off-guard…). Either way, I am playing Gordon this week.

Miami Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Mark Walton 74% -13% 12 4 43
RB2 Kalen Ballage 30% 13% 7 1 19

Miami’s backfield sucks. Walton got suspended for 4 games, so Ballage is the last man standing now. Myles Gaskin was signed off the practice squad and could easily jump Ballage in snap counts immediately. Nevertheless, it won’t matter because this running game is terrible. Don’t play anyone in this backfield.

Minnesota Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Dalvin Cook 80% 9% 21 7 116
RB2 Alexander Mattison 8% -18% 3 0 6

Nothing new here. Dalvin saw increased snap counts in a tighter game. He’s fantastic.

New England Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Sony Michel 22% -19% 4 2 30
RB2 James White 42% 1% 9 3 84
RB3 Rex Burkhead 36% 17% 4 2 34

Sony Michel was completely game-scripted out and failed to deliver any value despite getting 2 targets. This data is important because this was the first time all year that the Patriots have played a worthy adversary. Sony was averaging 20+ touches per game before Week 9, so his complete lack of usage in tight games or games where the Patriots trail does not bode well for his future. Burkhead and White split the snap counts while NE tried to even the score. Burkhead actually ran more routes, so James White is really not very useful right now.

NY Giants Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Saquon Barkley 82% -4% 14 8 95
RB2 Wayne Gallman 18% 4% 0 1 0

Saquon was horribly inefficient in the running game, but continues to salvage his day through the passing game.

NY Jets Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Le’Veon Bell 90% 5% 17 9 121
RB2 Bilal Powell 10% 0% 2 0 16

Bell is maybe injured? He had an MRI, the Jets signed Josh Adams, but Bell is apparently “good”. None of the warning signs bode well for Bell, so look to pick up Powell if you need a replacement. Hopefully, Bell is okay because his upcoming schedule remains juicy.

Oakland Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Josh Jacobs 58% 3% 28 2 120
RB2 Jalen Richard 33% 3% 2 4 68
RB3 DeAndre Washington 10% -6% 3 1 28

Every Raider was pretty efficient against my Lions’ lousy defense. Other than the inflated efficiency, these numbers are pretty typical. Keep starting Jacobs with confidence.

Philadelphia Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Miles Sanders 40% 22% 10 3 73
RB2 Jordan Howard 48% -25% 19 1 83
RB3 Darren Sproles 11% 11% 2 2 10

Another ambiguous backfield that frustrates from week-to-week. Sanders is getting more involved, but not enough to justify a start. Howard is probably the only one worth starting, but it’s risky.

Pittsburgh Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Jaylen Samuel 63% 63% 8 13 83
RB2 Trey Edmunds 27% 27% 12 0 73

It looks like James Conner will be out again in Week 10, so we are looking at another week of Samuels and Edmunds. Samuels saw a whopping 13 targets, making him a fantastic PPR play. Samuels looks like a great start if Conner is indeed out in Week 10.

Seattle Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Chris Carson 85% 16% 16 2 133
RB2 Rashaad Penny 15% -15% 4 1 12

Nothing new here either. Carson dominates snap counts and usage. Penny is officially just a handcuff, which means that he should be on your bench at this point in the season.

San Francisco Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Matt Breida 39% 11% 15 2 92
RB2 Tevin Coleman 55% 7% 12 4 36
RB3 Raheem Mostert 3% -18% 1 0 -2

Not exactly what I expected, but Matt Breida treats injury concerns like I treat spam email – dismissed as soon as it arrives. He apparently has another “injury concern” yet again this week, so he will probably see a season-high in touches. Either way, both Coleman and Breida are both start-able.

Tampa Bay Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Peyton Barber 14% -21% 4 0 15
RB2 Ronald Jones 53% 26% 18 2 82
RB3 Dare Ogunbowale 27% -6% 1 1 13

The big development here is that Tampa Bay finally made Jones the lead back in this backfield. He didn’t exactly dominate in snap counts, but he did dominate in yards. I can only image his usage increases, so he’s someone to target, if you still can.

Tennessee Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Derrick Henry 53% -14% 13 3 99
RB2 Dion Lewis 47% 14% 4 5 53

Tennessee was down big, so Henry’s snaps decreased. We have seen this multiple times this year, which makes Henry a somewhat risky play here forward. Tennessee is not very good, so this could happen more often.

Washington Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Adrian Peterson 71% -1% 18 1 130
RB2 Chris Thompson 0 0% 0 0 0
RB3 Wendell Smallwood 35% 7% 2 3 3

Peterson is looking like a pretty solid start for those of you who have suffered through owning him so far. Guice might return soon though, but who knows if he actually jumps Peterson while he plays well. Some of this inspired play may have resulted from the whole “revenge game” narrative. No matter how you cut it, he is getting above average usage and actually delivering. He’s an above average flex play, rest of year.

Biggest Takeaways

  • Kenyon Drake’s solid play likely means that he isn’t going away and will eat into David Johnson’s snap counts
  • Devin Singletary looks poised to lead the Bills backfield rest of season
  • Nick Chubb’s receiving usage continues to trend downward, which is a terrible sign right before Kareem Hunt returns from suspension
  • Damien Williams big week was inflated by one, big 91-yard play and Lesean McCoy’s fumble; I am not confident that he has taken control of this backfield
  • The new LA Chargers offensive coordinator still wants to involve Melvin Gordon heavily, and the new OC may have benefited Gordon’s efficiency
  • In games where the Patriots trail, Sony Michel is not part of the game-plan
  • Ronald Jones finally has the lead-role and appears poised to deliver fantasy points

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