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 6 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 TFA’s Target Analysis article to see the full picture of all the week’s action.
Buffalo, Chicago, Indianapolis, and Oakland were on BYE during week 6, 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
Despite pregame concerns of a back injury, David Johnson played his usual workload and performed well, particularly as a receiver. Arizona consistently splits him wide in effectively a 5-receiver set, a positioning where Johnson thrives. Meanwhile, Edmonds continues to run strong and demand touches. Edmonds has become efficient enough to consider as a FLEX play in deep leagues.
Freeman finally found some efficiency on the ground, albeit against a terrible Arizona defense. Dan Quinn appears to be leaning harder on Freeman knowing that his job is on the line. In view of this strong performance, consider selling high on Freeman. The Falcons’ offensive line concerns are not going away.
Ingram’s snap counts in Week 6 are very concerning, but he continues to dominate in opportunity and handle goal-line work. Baltimore dominated the Bengals defense, but it’s not like this game was out-of-hand. Cincinnati returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, so the game was not a blowout. Remember that any Baltimore running back may have limited opportunity because Lamar Jackson demands carries of his own. Now might be the perfect time to sell Mark Ingram.
We will excuse the low efficiency on jet lag.
Joe Mixon had a terrible game. Frankly, Mixon hasn’t been very good all season. See if you can sell him on name value alone. That said, A.J. Green may return soon which might help open up the running game, so if you remain a believer in Mixon’s talent, I can understand holding.
Chubb’s snap counts continue to be among the league leaders. Remember, you only have two more weeks of Chubb without Kareem Hunt. I’d shop him now to avoid the market depression that will inevitably accompany Hunt’s imminent return. That said, it’s possible that Hunt may not impact Chubb as much as we anticipate because Chubb has been so good. It’s really owner preference at this point and how you see the two splitting touches.
Elliott played high snap counts against an above-average Jets defense. He saw an increase in targets too, which may have been the result of Amari Cooper’s injury. Pollard is merely a handcuff.
Despite Lindsay always looking like the better running back, Royce’s snap counts increased. Denver prefers Freeman in the passing game, but Freeman frequently kills drives. Hold Freeman only with the hopes of a Lindsay injury.
Kerryon has firmly established himself as a workhorse. Also, JD McKissic has clearly surpassed Ty Johnson on the depth chart, if you care, which you probably shouldn’t. Green Bay’s defense is solid, so you can excuse Kerryon’s merely modest output. Better officiating would have helped his fantasy numbers as well…
|Green Bay||Snaps||+/-||Carries||Targets||Total Yards|
I warned you that this would happen. LaFluer ran with the hot-hand, and that hot-hand was Jamaal Williams. Aaron Jones’s fumble and inexcusable TD drop likely cost him some snap counts, but Williams looked strong in this one. There is absolutely no reason to believe that this won’t remain a 50-50 split throughout the season so long as both RBs are healthy. Scream “Free Aaron Jones” all you want, but it won’t matter. Grab Williams off the waiver wire if you need a flex play.
Houston largely followed Indianapolis’s ball-control game plan against KC’s awful run defense, and Carlos Hyde avenged his former employer for his preseason axing. Hyde remains the clear leader in this backfield and can be started. Duke might be more dynamic, but Houston shows no indication that they intend to use him more than sparingly.
Fournette continues to dominate snap counts and opportunity.
|Kansas City||Snaps||+/-||Carries||Targets||Total Yards|
Wow, this backfield has become a complete and utter mess. Kansas City was up by 17 points at one point in this game, and yet, Damien Williams and LeSean McCoy received only 9 carries. I want out of this backfield, and I would sell everyone. I don’t imagine you’d get much, but the data reflects absolutely no consistency from game-to-game. The bigger issue is NFL opponents have apparently figured out how to beat the Chiefs: ball and clock control. Future opponents will copy this formula. That means the entire Chiefs offense is going to have fewer opportunities to score. The Chiefs can score quickly, but through 6 weeks, those quick scores go through pass catchers, not the running backs. KC needs to make a trade to improve their run defense like the Lions did last year in acquiring Snacks Harrison. Otherwise, there just isn’t enough opportunity for anyone in this backfield, especially when three running backs are receiving consistent snap counts.
|LA Chargers||Snaps||+/-||Carries||Targets||Total Yards|
The Chargers run game is in trouble after losing Mike Pouncey. That said, better days are ahead. Pittsburgh is a good defense, and turnovers and defensive scores shifted the LA gameplan right out of the gate. I’m still holding both Chargers running backs.
|LA Rams||Snaps||+/-||Carries||Targets||Total Yards|
Henderson looked strong in limited usage, and I would guess that he will continue to receive snaps while Gurley is sidelined. This was a weird game, as Jared Goff looked completely lost against SF’s defense. The Rams pass numbers are totally noisy, but NFL teams seem to have figured out McVay. The Rams offense isn’t quite as potent as it used to be.
Mark Walton has officially surpassed Ballage, if you care.
Philadelphia can be beat through the air, not the ground. Despite the entire world knowing this fact, Mike Zimmer still tried to “establish the run”… After hitting his head against a wall enough times, Zimmer finally attempted to pass, and he found extreme efficiency. Cook’s usage against possibly the best run defense in the league is reassuring.
|New England||Snaps||+/-||Carries||Targets||Total Yards|
Everyone was upset at Sony’s lack of goal line usage. But, the Patriots have been scoring TDs on QB sneaks for decades now, so it’s not a complete surprise. Sony got three targets again, which is great, and again, that small, but not insignificant passing game usage paid dividends for his overall production. We can seemingly trust this passing game usage, and so, Sony is now a solid RB2.
|New Orleans||Snaps||+/-||Carries||Targets||Total Yards|
Kamara tweaked an ankle, but played through it. That minor injury affected his snap counts and usage.
|NY Giants||Snaps||+/-||Carries||Targets||Total Yards|
Hilliman’s usage is irrelevant, as he got cut the next day. Better news, Saquon looks poised to return next week. If he doesn’t, the Giants signed Buck Allen, so do with that what you will (preferably nothing).
|NY Jets||Snaps||+/-||Carries||Targets||Total Yards|
Lev continues to dominate snap counts. His target numbers were shockingly low, but Darnold’s return improved the Jets offense immensely. I’m buying Le’Veon right now.
Where to begin… Jordan Howard is the clear lead back, as I previously explained. Meanwhile, Miles Sanders is barely playing and isn’t getting any rushing touches. In fact, Boston Scott out carried Miles Sanders in Week 6. Sanders continues to be awesome in the passing game, where he accumulated nearly all of his yardage, and where he got his touchdown. Sanders’ passing game work means he gets consistent high-value touches, but I just can’t get myself to start him based on these opportunity numbers and snap counts. Howard isn’t much more appealing as he was overlooked for all passing work. This looks like another murky backfield that I’d prefer to avoid.
Conner was awesome considering that he was tasked with carrying the entire offense due to the third-stringer playing QB. I am guessing Pittsburgh limited his snaps due to minor injury concerns. Conner looks solid moving forward, but the overall offensive efficiency is still a concern. Moving him makes a ton of sense in the right situation.
Carson is the clear workhorse in this backfield, and the fumbling issues appear to be in the past. He’s a beast.
|San Francisco||Snaps||+/-||Carries||Targets||Total Yards|
Tevin Coleman is total buy candidate right now. 55% snap counts is very high for a Kyle Shanahan running back, and Coleman is the clear goal-line back (I hypothesized that he was last week, and Week 6 confirmed it). Coleman scored, so it’s not a “Buy Low” situation, but I’d still make an offer. Meanwhile, I don’t love Breida’s snap counts, but he continues to get consistent usage in a strong running offense. The 49ers will get their starting tackles back soon, which will only increase the efficiency of Breida and Coleman.
|Tampa Bay||Snaps||+/-||Carries||Targets||Total Yards|
Winston’s five interceptions killed the chances of any Tampa RB. Due to playing catch-up for the entire game, Ogunbowale played big snaps, but did nothing with it. He’s fantasy irrelevant. Games like this by Winston are exactly why I didn’t agree with a lot of analysts last week that Ronald Jones is a league winner. He’s fine, and I’d acquire him for a bench player, but he kind of feels like a landmine.
Speaking of landmines, Derrick Henry is one. Without a carry from the one-yard line, Henry wasn’t good. Tannehill has taken over at quarterback and won’t improve Tennessee’s offensive prospects, but neither will continuing to start Mariota. Henry has moved down into FLEX territory.
Bill Callahan wants to run the ball, so Peterson will see work. It’s no coincidence that Peterson’s highest snap counts were the week after Callahan took over. But remember, Peterson had this efficient day against the worst team in the league. This won’t happen most weeks for Washington, as they are just barely better than Miami (one point better, to be specific). Sell Peterson for ANYTHING, and leverage the “Callahan likes to run” narrative. Peterson won’t see 63% snaps and 136 total yards again this season, mark my words.
- Gus Edwards out-snapped Mark Ingram despite a neutral-to-positive game script. Ingram’s ceiling is thereby capped by this three-back rotation and Lamar Jackson requiring 10-15 carries per game.
- Jamaal Williams will continue to get 50% of the snap counts and opportunity in GB whenever healthy. That makes him valuable and Aaron Jones less valuable.
- Kansas City’s backfield is completely unpredictable, and I want nothing to do with it until we obtain predictable data.
- The Rams offense hasn’t exactly been potent for over 14 games, and Goff looks particularly awful, as the NFL seemingly figured out McVay. All Rams RBs are hurt by this development.
- Sony Michel saw respectable passing game usage for the second game in a row, and he also had strong efficiency for the second game in a row. I continue to believe that these two outcomes are correlated strongly.
- Miles Sanders has become Philly’s version of Tarik Cohen – no running game work, only involved in the passing game. He’s not seeing enough volume to justify a start.
- Tevin Coleman is a huge buy after receiving 55% snap counts in the NFL’s best rushing offense.
- Adrian Peterson’s snap counts and efficiency are a mirage due to playing Miami. Try selling him using the Bill Callahan running game narrative.