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Oct 09

Touches and Targets Week 5: Running Backs

The final numbers tell one part of the story, but fantasy football is a game of volume. Knowing any given week who is going to get the looks, and in what situations those looks are coming, can help you make important lineup decisions – touches and targets on a weekly basis play as big a role as the name on the back of the jersey. With that in mind let’s take a look back at workloads from this past weekend and start thinking forward to who may find themselves in a more favorable situation in Week 5. This post takes a look at Running Backs; we addressed the touches and targets for Wide Receivers and Tight Ends in a previous article.

Week 5 Running Back Touches

  • For the second straight week Arian Foster saw significantly more work than Ben Tate, and he delivered his second consecutive 100 total yard performance after failing to eclipse the mark in the season’s first three games. His workload (48 snaps to 18) seems to be back where fantasy owners would like it for the foreseeable future.
While not his best effort, Danny Woodhead's use before Ryan Mathews' injury confirms he's the Chargers back to own (Photo via chargers.com).

While not his best effort, Danny Woodhead’s use before Ryan Mathews’ injury confirms he’s the Chargers back to own (Photo via chargers.com).

  • Ryan Mathews carried the ball on every play that he was in the game (just three) before getting hurt, but Danny Woodhead was already starting ahead of him and receiving much more action. In terms of rest of season value I’d rather ownWoodhead.
  • As Donald Brown was more productive than Trent Richardson, again, we saw the workload gap narrow slightly as compared to Week 4. Richardson played in 48 snaps and had 18 touches to Brown’s 18 and 8, after a 55/21 to 13/5 split. For now, the backfield remains Richardson’s, and he’ll likely lead the timeshare all year… but… if the production trends continue Brown will continue chipping away.
  • In their respective returns to the lineup for the Jets Chris Ivory and Mike Goodson played 8 and 11 snaps, touching the ball 4 and 5 times. The touches aren’t staggering by any stretch, but each back was effective with his hands on the ball and Bilal Powell touched the rock just 13 times – his lowest total of the season. His days of being a bell-cow are over but Powell should still be a productive RB2/Flex.
  • Jacquizz Rodgers out-touched Jason Snelling 18-11 this week and has seen more volume in every game this season. If Steven Jackson misses another contest following their Week 6 bye, the debate over which back you want to use is over.
  • Zac Stacy was hurt in the 4th quarter so the snap count evened out but he had control of backfield until then… he was the far more effective back in terms of yards gained and Pro Football Focus grades: receiving a +1.3 compared to the 0.5 awarded to Daryl Richardson. The Rams clearly have no more interest in Isaiah Pead, neither should fantasy owners.
  • Jamaal Charles had another 27 touches, and has had more than 20 in every game but one. Again, he compiled 100+ total yards and scored a touchdown, having now done so in every game this season. Write it all in pen until further notice.
  • If you take out the shovel pass that went for 6 (and credit him, it was a great run) Chris Johnson posted just 31 total yards on 13 touches included a 1.7 per carry average on 10 totes. If Shonn Greene is effective on his return to the lineup, he presents a bigger threat to CJ’s playing time than does Jackie Battle.
  • Rashard Mendenhall out-touched Andre Ellington 19 to 11, but was out-gained by 33 yards (83 total for the rookie). Still, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians intends to limit Ellignton’s workload moving forward citing concerns over durability.
  • It took a lot of volume, but, the Ravens promised it and Ray Rice delivered. Amassing 33 touches that went for 102 yards and 2 scores. They also led to a Ravens win, which may mean more high volume days for #27 moving forward.
  • Lamar Miller saw just 7 touches against Baltimore this week. He posted a high of 16 in Week 2 but has otherwise seen a maddeningly low workload, typically barely eclipsing double digits.
  • Wih CJ Spiller battling injury Fred Jackson saw much more work. Both produced viable fantasy outings, but it took a long TD for Spiller to contribute. Without it, he carried 7 times for 12 yards. Jackson started and played 50 snaps on the night.
  • Willis McGahee wasn’t overly effective, but he mastered the endzone plunge and dominated the workload. Playing 52 snaps to 10 apiece for Chris Ogbonnaya and Bobby Rainey.
  • After watching Reggie Bush knife through the Bears a week prior, Darren Sproles played just 15 snaps for New Orleans, naturally. Khiry Robinson faded back to irrelevance (3 snaps).
  • There is no confusion in Green Bay’s backfield after Eddie Lacy‘s concussion and Johnathan Franklin‘s strong Week 3 outing. Franklin fumbled early and the snap count was won in a lanslide by Lacy: 58-7. He received 24 touches.
  • The Seahawks put up big rushing yards on the road against Indianapolis, rolling up 218 yards as a team with 102 apiece from Marshawn Lynch on 17 carries and Russell Wilson. Lynch, Adrian Peterson (in just 4 games) and DeMarco Murray are the only backs in the league with 25 missed tackles to date.
  • The gameplan against Denver is unlike anything Dallas will roll out again this season so there isn’t a lot we can make of it but it is interesting to note that the Cowboys went with an empty backfield on 16 plays. Murray saw 43 snaps, and the team played just 59 meaning that no other back saw the field.
  • David Wilson is set to miss Week 6 and it led to an Interesting scenario re: Da’Rel Scott being brought back after his release a week ago. Brandon Jacobs had 11 carries in the loss but, they won’t want him playing 61 snaps again. Wilson scored so fantasy owners happy but was just 6/16 on his 10 snaps, less efficient than the previous two weeks.
  • Montee Ball played just 6 snaps and should be off radar in redraft leagues.

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