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By the Numbers

Week 5: Taking Stock Of All 32 NFL Backfields

by Ian Hartitz
Updated On: October 2, 2019, 1:12 am ET

Dallas Cowboys

Notes: Zeke resumed his role as the Cowboys' every-down featured back in Week 4, posting a 97% snap rate and racking up 18 carries along with a season-high seven targets. Of course, this might not necessarily be a sign of things to come after the offense scored just 10 points against the Saints. Either way, continue to fire up Zeke as a high-end RB1 thanks to his status as the focal point of one of the league's better offenses. Tony Pollard (two snaps in Week 4) will almost assuredly be more involved moving forward, but he's still not expected to offer any standalone fantasy value unless Elliott misses game time.


Denver Broncos

Notes: Lindsay had more carries (nine) than Freeman (six) last week, but the target advantage leaned heavily towards Freeman (six) over Lindsay (one). This is further evidence that the Broncos aren't treating either RB as a clear-cut early-down or pass-game specialist. Rather, both Lindsay and Freeman have been trusted to function as a three-down RB during their respective snaps, which has been for roughly half of the offense's plays in every game this season. Life in the league's 26th-ranked scoring offense won't feature the most-consistent production, but there's still value in a two-back committee where each RB is capable of handling both pass-game and goal-line work.


Detroit Lions

Notes: Paul Perkins has been inactive in each of his first two games since the Lions signed him to replace C.J. Anderson. The result has been back-to-back performances with at least 20 rushes and 70% snaps for Kerryon, who totaled 157 combined rushing and receiving yards in Week 4 against the Chiefs. Ty and McKissic will continue to steal some of the backfield's fantasy-friendly targets, but Johnson is plenty capable of flirting with RB1 status more weeks than not with this type of high-end usage.


Green Bay Packers

Notes: Williams suffered a scary concussion on the first play of Week 4 and should be considered very questionable for Week 5. Jones went on to play 84% of the offense's snaps with Williams sidelined, although we probably shouldn't expect this type of usage to continue in Week 5. Sure, Jones *should* receive a nice bump and play more than his 40-60% snap rate in Weeks 1-3, but No. 3 RB Dexter Williams wasn't active last Thursday night. Coach Matt LaFleur has preached his commitment to a committee approach all season, so I wouldn't anticipate him completely handing the backfield over to Jones this early in the year.


Houston Texans

Notes: Johnson surprisingly out-snapped Hyde 45-to-33 last week, but the latter RB still had twice as many touches. The presence of Keke Coutee in 3-WR sets with Kenny Stills (hamstring) likely sidelined won't help Johnson's already-small underneath target share. #FreeDuke.


Indianapolis Colts

Notes: Mack was a victim to both an ankle injury and game script in Week 4. He ultimately played a season-low 36% snaps and had just 11 carries with zero targets. Coach Frank Reich confirmed Mack was never ruled out due to injury, noting that the offense instead rolled with Hines while they were in hurry-up mode. This was a reminder that Mack hasn't quite busted his status as a sneaky game-script dependent RB, though it'd be surprising if he doesn't get 15-20 touches on a near weekly basis with better injury luck inside the Colts' run-first offense. Still, Sunday night's matchup against the Chiefs at Arrowhead is far from a smash spot for the Colts' starting RB.


Jacksonville Jaguars

Notes: Fournette's ridiculous volume finally resulted in some elite-level production in Week 4, as the Jaguars' every-down RB converted 29 carries into 225 yards and added an additional two receptions for 20 receiving yards. Armstead flashed some solid three-down ability as well, but was less of a change-of-pace option and more of a pure backup that only got reps when Fournette needed a breather. Regardless, Armstead is an underrated handcuff given Fournette's injury and off-the-field history. More positive regression could be on the way for Fournette considering he's racked up a league-high 88 touches this season without a score. Devonta Freeman is the next-closest player at 64 scoreless touches.


Kansas City Chiefs

Notes: Damien remains sidelined without a clear timetable for return. The lack of usage for Darwin Thompson in the past two games leads me to believe that Damien and Shady would form a two-RB committee with the entire backfield at full health, regulating Darrel to a clear No. 3 RB role. Damien and Darrel seem to be the offense's primary pass-down RBs after each worked ahead of McCoy in terms of both pass blocking snaps as well as targets. This leaves Shady to continue to work as the offense's lead early-down back that is also fully capable of handling some pass-game duties. Of course, any role that consists of a near double-digit touch floor inside of the league's No. 1-ranked scoring offense should be just fine for fantasy business. By the way, remember this time a month ago when the entire fantasy industry shouted from the mountain tops that McCoy was washed?

Ian Hartitz

All things NFL. Great day to be great. You can follow Ian on Twitter @Ihartitz.