Hidden Stat Line: Week 2 Backfield Usage for Every NFL Team

Hidden Stat Line: Week 2 Backfield Usage for Every NFL Team

This article is part of our Hidden Stat Line series.

The first week of a new season is the most important time for gathering information, but Week 2 isn't too far behind, especially when injuries drastically alter the landscape. Unfortunately, injuries were the recurring theme of Sunday's action, with Saquon Barkley, Christian McCaffrey, Raheem Mostert all exiting early. And that's just the toll among running backs, as the injury bug also bit quarterbacks, wideouts and a few superstar defensive players.

With that in mind, it should be a frantic week on waiver wires, making it all the more important to have a clear picture of what exactly happened the past few days. Below we'll analyze Week 2 backfield usage from all 32 teams, starting with snaps, carries, targets and routes run.

The percentages shown in parentheses show the player's share of his team RB total. We'll also show target share as a percentage of the entire passing game, and routes run per QB dropback — these stats provide better context for the type of situations where a player is on the field and how he's being used (or not) as a receiving threat.

Last but not least, we add notes to provide additional context, including goal-line stats, any injury impacts and just a touch of subjective analysis. We also include leaderboards for some key usage stats at the bottom of the page, allowing for a quicker, broader outlook compared to combing through each team one at a time. 

But first, we'll do a quick summary to put each backfield in one of five generalized categories. We're strictly analyzing the Week 2 gameplan, not trying to make any judgments about what to expect in the future (our team-by-team breakdowns below will include some of that). 

The teams listed in bold and italics are the ones that saw a major backfield shift between Weeks 1 and 2, be it as a result of injuries or simply coaching decisions. These are the ones to focus on below if you're interested in reading the team-by-team recaps but don't quite have time to browse through all 32 squads. Also, we have a bonus section at the very bottom of the page, where the top RB waiver targets of the week are ranked 1-10.

Not Allowed to Come Off the Field Unless You Can't Breathe

  1. New York Giants - Saquon Barkley (then Dion Lewis)
  2. Dallas Cowboys - Ezekiel Elliott
  3. Carolina Panthers - Christian McCaffrey (then Mike Davis)
  4. Houston Texans - David Johnson (Duke Johnson out)

Three-down Role, Sometimes Subbed Out

  1. Minnesota Vikings - Dalvin Cook
  2. Atlanta Falcons - Todd Gurley
  3. Green Bay Packers - Aaron Jones
  4. Denver Broncos - Melvin Gordon
  5. Pittsburgh Steelers - James Conner
  6. Arizona Cardinals - Kenyan Drake
  7. Philadelphia Eagles - Miles Sanders

Clear Lead Back, But Usually Off the Field for Obvious Passing Situations

  1. Cincinnati Bengals - Joe Mixon
  2. Cleveland Browns - Nick Chubb
  3. Chicago Bears - David Montgomery
  4. Indianapolis Colts - Jonathan Taylor
  5. New York Jets - Frank Gore (Le'Veon Bell out)
  6. San Francisco 49ers - Raheem Mostert (then Tevin Coleman)
  7. Jacksonville Jaguars - James Robinson
  8. Tennessee Titans - Derrick Henry
  9. Washington Football Team - Antonio Gibson
  10. Kansas City Chiefs - Clyde Edwards-Helaire
  11. Seattle Seahawks - Chris Carson

Two-Man Split

  1. Buffalo Bills - Devin Singletary & Zack Moss
  2. Los Angeles Chargers - Austin Ekeler & Joshua Kelley (Justin Jackson out)
  3. New England Patriots - Rex Burkhead & Sony Michel (James White out)

Full-Fledged Committee

  1. Detroit Lions - Adrian Peterson, Kerryon Johnson & D'Andre Swift
  2. Miami Dolphins - Myles Gaskin, Matt Breida & Jordan Howard
  3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Leonard Fournette, Ronald Jones & LeSean McCoy
  4. Baltimore Ravens - Mark Ingram, J.K. Dobbins & Gus Edwards
  5. Los Angeles Rams - Malcolm Brown, Darrell Henderson & Cam Akers (injured)

(Snap totals, snap shares, carries and targets come from pro-football-reference.com or NFL.com's game books. Data on dropbacks and routes run come from Pro Football Focus.)

Bengals (30) at Browns (35)

Bengals

 Snap ShareCarriesTargetsTarget ShareRoutesRoutes/DBStat Line 
 Joe Mixon50%16  (94%) 4 (36%) 6.8%27 .4016-46-0 — 4-40-0 
 Giovani Bernard46%1 (6%) 7 (64%) 11.9%30 .44 1-3-0 — 5-22-0
  • The Mixon-Bernard breakdown is similar to Week 1, only with both players getting more target/route volume because Joe Burrow threw 61 passes and the Bengals had 92 offensive snaps. Part of that was a deluge of short throws while playing from behind, and part of it was the Cincinnati defense giving up huge chunks of yardage that allowed Cleveland to score in a hurry. Both teams moved the ball down the field, but the Browns did it with ease, while the Bengals did it with five fourth-down conversions.
  • Bernard had eight snaps as a pass blocker, while Mixon ran a route every time he was on the field for a pass play. It was a similar story the prior week, with Mixon getting 17 routes and three pass-blocking snaps, compared to Gio's 11 and seven, respectively. We've all seen that Mixon has the skills to be a three-down workhorse, but Zac Taylor clearly believes Bernard is a better blocker, and clearly views that as important in his offense. It doesn't hurt that Gio is also pretty good as a pass catcher; it's the running game where he's at a big disadvantage relative to Mixon.
  • The Bengals had two inside-the-5 carries, both on the same third-quarter drive. Bernard picked up three yards from the 4-yard line, but Mixon was then stuffed for a loss of four on the next snap.

  

Browns

 Snap ShareCarriesTargetsTarget ShareRoutesRoutes/DB Stat Line
Nick Chubb62%  22 (69%) 1 (33%) 4.8% 12 .50 22-124-2 — 1-9-0
Kareem Hunt34%  10 (31%) 2 (67%)9.5% 8 .3310-86-1 — 2-15-1
  • Chubb had a 20-2 carry advantage at the end of the third quarter, and a 20-6 edge before the Browns' final drive. That last drive ended with four consecutive Hunt carries for 45 yards and a TD (from the 1-yard line). In other words, Chubb was the top dog for most of the night, while Hunt's fantasy production through three quarters was almost entirely based on a six-yard TD reception on third down.
  • Chubb had an 11-yard TD and a 1-yard score, but he also got stuffed at the goal line three times in a span of four snaps (including a fourth down) midway through the third quarter. His 5.6 YPC is all the more impressive when you consider he took four of his carries right at the goal line, plus three others inside the red zone.
  • Chubb surprisingly has a 28-21 route advantage through two games, but Hunt is ahead 8-2 in targets. Even if he's a priority whenever he's on the field, Hunt won't continue to be targeted on anything close to 38 percent of his routes (Austin Ekeler was targeted on 29.8 percent last year, Julio Jones on 27.4 percent, Hunt on 23.2 percent).
  • New HC Kevin Stefanski isn't really using Chubb and Hunt on the field together the way Freddie Kitchens did last season. Instead, Stefanski uses FB Andy Janovich (38 percent snap share Thursday) or backup TE Harrison Bryant (52 percent).
  • Hunt led the league in PFF's elusive rating at the conclusion of Sunday's action.
  • Hunt is doing well so far, but Thursday's usage hints at some empty weeks ahead if the Browns are involved in tighter contests. Chubb is the lead runner and the goal-line guy, plus he's getting a nice portion of the routes.

Giants (13) at Bears (17)

Giants

 Snap ShareCarriesTargetsTarget ShareRoutesRoutes/DB Stat Line
 Dion Lewis88%  10 (71%) 5 12.5%  41 .8710-20-1 — 4-36-0
 Saquon Barkley12%  4 (29%) 0 0 4 .094-28-0 — 0-0-0
  • Barkley bounced back from a poor Week 1 with a strong start in Sunday's game, only to suffer an ACL tear on his fourth touch of the day.
  • Wayne Gallman was a healthy scratch, leaving Lewis as the only RB after Barkley's injury. Ian Rapoport reports that the Giants are looking into signing Devonta Freeman. Even if they don't, it could be a Lewis/Gallman split in Week 3, rather than Lewis in an every-down role again.

  

Bears

 Snap ShareCarriesTargetsTarget ShareRoutesRoutes/DB Stat Line
 David Montgomery54%  16 (57%) 3 10.7%15  .4516-82-0 — 3-45-1
 Tarik Cohen32%  5 (18%) 1 3.6%14 .42 5-12-0 — 1-15-0
 Cordarrelle Patterson22%  7 (25%) 2 7.1% 7 .21 7-25-0 — 2-8-0
  • Cohen signed a three-year extension Saturday, so while the Bears do seem to value him, there's no denying his role has suffered with Patterson picking up backfield snaps. The scatback is up from 4.0 carries per game last year to 6.0 this year, but he's seen only three targets in two weeks, after getting 104 in 2019 and 91 in 2018.
  • This was basically the same workload division as Week 1, only with a little more Montgomery and a little less Cohen because the Bears had a 17-point lead instead of a 17-point deficit. They were nearly on the wrong end of a huge comeback his time around.
  • The Bears didn't have any goal-line carries, scoring their TDs from 28 (Montgomery reception) and 15 yards out.
  • Montgomery had seven carries for 54 yards on the final drive, pushing him up to 5.0 YPC on 29 attempts through two weeks. He still isn't getting huge workloads, but the Bears at least have shown some ability to run the ball, unlike last season.
  • Patterson has 11 carries and three targets this year... not enough for fantasy value, but he is stealing snaps from both Montgomery and Cohen. Consider that Cohen is at .44 routes per dropback this year, down from 0.55 last season. And his snap share is 39 percent, down from 49 percent in 2020. The same goes for Montgomery's snap share — 57 percent last year, 49 percent so far this year. That might be a problem as the year moves along.

Vikings (11) at Colts (28)

Vikings

 Snap ShareCarriesTargetsTarget ShareRoutesRoutes/DB Stat Line
 Dalvin Cook80% 14 (78%)  2 (50%) 7.7% 22 .7614-63-1 — 2-8-0
 Alexander Mattison19% 3 (17%) 2 (50%) 7.7% 4 .143-13-0 — 1-3-0
  • Ameer Abdullah got some playing time on third downs last year, but he's taken only three snaps through two weeks in 2020, despite the Vikings being in catch-up mode both times. That's a positive development for Cook, though it's not like Abdullah stole much last year (23 carries, 21 targets).
  • The Vikings have barely held the ball this year, running only 96 offensive plays through two games. Every other team (MNF squads excluded) has run at least 115, including four with 150 or more. Regression to the mean is inevitable, considering every NFL team ran at least 55.3 plays per game last season. That said, a struggling Minnesota defense obviously isn't great news for Cook and Mattison.

  

Colts

 Snap ShareCarriesTargetsTarget ShareRoutesRoutes/DB Stat Line
 Jonathan Taylor 67% 26 (74%) 2 (67%) 8.0% 17 .6326-101-1 — 2-9-0
 Jordan Wilkins 23% 9 (26%) 0 0 4 .15 9-40-0 — 0
 Nyheim Hines 12% 0 1 (33%) 4.0% 6 .220 — 1-4-0
  • Taylor got the start and saw 12 touches on the opening drive, which ended with a red-zone interception. He had 19 carries and two targets by the end of the second quarter, helping the Colts enter the break with a 15-3 lead (one TD, one safety, two FGs).
  • Taylor got six of the seven red-zone carries.
  • Wilkins got only one carry through the first 43 minutes of the game, before taking eight over the final 17 minutes. He got each of the last five carries, which means it was Taylor with a 26-4 advantage at one point.
  • Hines completely disappeared, after seeing 53 percent snap share and 15 touches Week 1. The Colts ran 80 percent of their plays from 11 personnel in the season opener, but they were more varied in Sunday's win, despite having top tight end Jack Doyle (ankle/knee) on the inactive list.

Falcons (39) at Cowboys (40)

Falcons

 Snap ShareCarriesTargetsTarget ShareRoutesRoutes/DB Stat Line
 Todd Gurley 64%21 (70%) 0 0 20 .49 21-61-0 — 0
 Brian Hill 20% 3 (10%) 2 (50%) 5.6% 9 .22 3-14-0 — 2-11-0
 Ito Smith 15%5  (17%) 0 0 6 .15 5-20-0 — 0
  • Fullback Keith Smith got a carry and two targets, with the former on 4th-and-1.
  • Gurley's snap share was up from 46 percent the previous week, but that was mostly just the difference between losing garbage-time snaps and not having any garbage-time snaps to lose. He also had dominant carry share (78 percent) in the season opener, plus five targets. He didn't have the receiving chances Week 2, but he was still the lead runner by a mile.
  • There was surprisingly little goal-line work for such a high-scoring game. Smith got two carries inside the Dallas 10-yard line in the second quarter, gaining six yards from the 7-yard line but then losing two on the next snap. Gurley's fantasy managers obviously weren't thrilled to see Smith taking a carry from the 1-yard line, but Gurley did get all the red-zone work (five carries) before and after that sequence.
  • Gurley got nine of the 17 snaps on third downs, including 6-of-11 when the Falcons needed more than four yards to convert. That was a little different from Week 1, when he, Smith and Hill each saw either four or five snaps on third downs. In other words, the Falcons are using Gurley as a three-down back... they just substitute him out pretty often, especially on snaps where the ball isn't going to the RB anyway. Kinda odd that he saw five targets on only 14 routes Week 1, followed by zero on 20 routes Week 2... I guess Matt Ryan doesn't really need Gurley if Calvin Ridley is always open.

  

Cowboys

 Snap ShareCarriesTargetsTarget ShareRoutesRoutes/DB Stat Line
 Ezekiel Elliott93%  22 (92%) 7 (88%) 14.3% 36 .7222-89-1 — 6-33-0
 Tony Pollard10% 2 (8% 1 (12%) 2.0% 5 .102-6-0 — 1-3-0
  • Zeke had two fumbles in the first quarter, including one he lost. After that, he was busy and mostly effective. He's sitting at 90 percent snap share through two weeks, on pace for 352 carries, 88 targets and 1,992 total yards (plus he already has three TDs). The only downside Sunday was Prescott stealing three rushing touchdowns, but even then, Elliott still saw five carries in goal-to-go situations from the 5-yard line or closer.

Lions (21) at Packers (42)

Lions

 Snap ShareCarriesTargetsTarget ShareRoutesRoutes/DB Stat Line
 D'Andre Swift34%  5 (25%)5 (71%)  15.2% 14 .375-12-0 — 5-60-0
 Kerryon Johnson32% 8 (40%) 1 (14%) 3.0% 7 .188-32-1 — 0
 Adrian Peterson25% 7 (35%) 0 0 7 .187-41-0 — 0
Ty Johnson8%01 (14%)3.0%4.110 — 0
  • The Lions had three guys heavily involved for a second straight week, plus Ty Johnson getting some work in garbage time. This is a total disaster for fantasy purposes.
  • Kerryon got the start and took five carries for 20 yards and a TD on the opening drive. He got three more carries on the third drive, then disappeared from the offense.
  • Swift has drawn five targets back-to-back weeks, but he probably won't keep it up if he's running routes on less than half of Stafford's dropbacks (44 percent so far, to be exact).
  • Kerryon had the one-yard TD, and Swift got a carry from the 9-yard line... that was the full extent of goal-to-go work in Week 2 for the Lions backfield.

  

Packers

 Snap ShareCarriesTargetsTarget ShareRoutesRoutes/DB Stat Line
 Aaron Jones 48% 18 (58%) 8 (100%) 26.7% 13 .3918-168-2 — 4-68-1
 Jamaal Williams 42% 8 (26%) 0 0 16 .488-63-0 — 0
 AJ Dillon 10% 5 (16%) 0 0 0 05-17-0 — 0
  • I tried to look this up but couldn't figure it out: Did Jones set a record for most fantasy points by a guy with snap share below 50 percent?
  • Dillon got the final five carries of the game. He did get two carries Week 1 while the game was still competitive.
  • Jones has been targeted on 14 of 32 routes (44 percent) this year, up from last year's already-lofty rate of 22 percent. Going back to the start of last season, he's either seen a carry or target on 48 percent of his snaps. For a point of comparison, Christian McCaffrey has gotten a target/carry on 42 percent of snaps over the same stretch, and Derrick Henry is at 52 percent.
  • The Packers still use Williams a lot, but his presence on the field suggests the ball won't be going to the RB, whereas Jones' presence hints at the exact opposite. And we don't necessarily see specific situations where Jones always comes off the field — he's a three-down back, just not one who plays a ton of snaps.
  • The Packers didn't have any Week 2 goal-line work, but Jones monopolized the red-zone carries (three) and also got two of the team's six RZ targets. He opened his TD scoring with a 7-yard catch in the second quarter, followed by runs of 74 and 14 in the second half.

Bills (31) at Dolphins (28)

Bills

 Snap ShareCarriesTargetsTarget ShareRoutesRoutes/DB Stat Line
 Devin Singletary56%  10 (56%) 3 (100%) 8.6% 16 .4310-56-0 — 2-20-0
 Zack Moss46%  8 (44%) 0 0 13 .358-37-0 — 0
  • Through two weeks, Singletary has a 19-17 edge in carries, 10-4 edge in targets and 57-45 edge in snap percentage.
  • The Bills didn't have any goal-line carries Week 2, but it's worth noting Moss was on the field for a one-yard TD pass to Reggie Gilliam (who?) in the first quarter. On the other hand, Singletary had a 2-0 advantage in red-zone carries and took each of the team's other three snaps in goal-to-go situations.
  • Singletary got six snaps on third downs, compared to five for Moss. However, Singletary got 5-of-7 when it was 3rd-and-4 or longer. The Bills seems to trust both players in all situations, but with a slight preference for Singletary on passing downs. And they're passing a lot...

  

Dolphins

 Snap ShareCarriesTargetsTarget ShareRoutesRoutes/DB Stat Line
 Myles Gaskin65% 7 (37%) 7 (78%) 14.9% 27 .527-46-0 — 6-36-0
 Matt Breida21% 7 (37%) 2 (22%) 4.3% 6 .127-37-0 — 1-2-0
 Jordan Howard11% 5 (26%)  0 0 3 .065-4-1 — 0
  • The breakdown was pretty similar to Week 1. Bascically, Gaskin is handling the role we expected Breida to have, while Breida and Howard split the role we expected Howard to have. Gaskin leads the group in carries (16), targets (11), snaps (64 percent) and routes (49) through two weeks.
  • Patrick Laird played three snaps (with no carries/targets), after taking four snaps in the season opener. In case you were wondering...
  • Howard technically got the start and the first carry, but he didn't touch the ball again until midway through the third quarter. In addition to a one-yard TD, he converted a 3rd-and-1 just outside the red zone, and he was stuffed from the 1-yard line later on that same drive. In other words, three of his five carries were goal-line/short-yardage.
  • Howard is tied for second in the NFL with five carries inside the 5-yard line this season. And he only has 13 carries overall. It's working out okay so far, but 'goal-line back for the Miami Dolphins' doesn't exactly sound like a fruitful job.

49ers (31) at (Jets 13)

49ers

 Snap ShareCarriesTargetsTarget ShareRoutesRoutes/DB Stat Line
 Tevin Coleman 49%14 (52%)2 (40%)7.4%11  .3714-12-0 — 2-28-0
 Raheem Mostert21% 8 (30%) 2 (40%)7.4%  .138-92-1 — 2-15-0
 Jerick McKinnon21% 3 (11%)1 (20%)3.7% 6 .23-77-1 — 0
Jeff Wilson8%2 (7%)001.022-3-0 — 0
  • Mostert ran untouched for an 80-yard TD on a toss play on the first snap of the game. But he was held in check through the rest of the first half, and exited the game at the end of the second quarter with a possible MCL sprain.
  • Coleman had six carries for one yard and two catches for 28 yards in the first half, mixing in frequently behind Mostert. It was then Coleman in the lead role after halftime, but he suffered a knee injury of his own in the fourth quarter, leaving McKinnon and Wilson as the only healthy running backs (it was grabage time at that point, so Wilson got the work).
  • McKinnon had a 55-yard run to convert a 3rd-and-31 in the third quarter, and he scored a TD from 16 yards out to ice the game in the fourth quarter.
  • Is Tevin Coleman the only person who can't manage efficient rushing production in Kyle Shanahan's 49ers offense? Dude had 4.0 YPC last year, while Mostert put up 5.6 and Matt Breida had 5.1. Now, Coleman is at 1.7 YPC through two games.
  • Remember that Mostert had 15 of the 23 RB carries — plus five targets — on 60 percent snap share Week 1. (RM was the clear lead runner for the Niners before Sunday's injury.)

  

J-E-T-S

 Snap ShareCarriesTargetsTarget ShareRoutesRoutes/DB Stat Line
Frank Gore  57% 21 (81%) 2 (50%) 6.3%9 .2621-63-0 — 0
La'Mical Perine 14% 3 (12%) 0 04 .123-17-0 — 0
Kallen Ballage 12% 1 (4%) 2 (50%)  6.3%6 .181-5-0 — 2-12-0
Josh Adams8%1 (4%)00001-0-0  — 0
  • What a joke.

Jaguars (30) at Titans (33)

Jags

 Snap ShareCarriesTargetsTarget ShareRoutesRoutes/DB Stat Line
James Robinson51%  16 (89%) 4 (50%) 8.9% 13 .2616-102-1 — 3-18-0
Chris Thompson 41%  2 (11%) 4 (50%) 8.9% 27 .542-7-0 — 3-20-1
  • Laviska Shenault also got five carries, taking eight snaps in the backfield, per PFF. So it might be more accurate to say that Robinson got 70 percent of the backfield carries, not 89 percent. But for now, we'll keep it to the players listed as RBs. Maybe we make an excpetion for 'Viska next week.
  • Robinson's snap share was down from 68 percent in Week 1, but he actually got more snaps (38-34), more targets and the same number of carries, because the Jags ran far more plays overall. Robinson is on pace for 256-1,312-8 rushing and 32-368-0 on 40 targets. Maybe Devine Ozigbo (hamstring) or Ryquell Armstead (reserve/COVID-19) eventually join the mix and steal some work, but Robinson has solidified the lead role.
  • Thompson scored a TD and saw a large increase from 24 percent snap share in the opener, but he's still at only six targets and two catches through two games. He's really only playing in obvious passing situations.

  

Titans

 Snap ShareCarriesTargetsTarget ShareRoutesRoutes/DB Stat Line
Derrick Henry 71% 25 (86%) 2 (100%) 8.5% 14 .5225-84-0 — 0
 Jeremy McNichols18%  2 (7%) 0 6 .222-7-0 — 0
  • McNichols had an 8-3 advantage over Henry in third-down snaps, including 6-0 when the Titans needed five or more yards for a conversion. I can say goodbye to my dream of Henry staying on the field for obvious passing situations.
  • Henry got 41 of 46 snaps on first and second downs, with McNichol getting three and Senorise Perry getting two (and taking two carries for nine yards).
  • Henry had six carries in the red zone and two in goal-to-go situations, but it was the Tennessee passing game that did all the scoring.

 Los Angeles Rams  (37) at Eagles (19)

Rams

 Snap ShareCarriesTargetsTarget ShareRoutesRoutes/DB Stat Line
Malcolm Brown  54% 11 (42%) 0018 .5311-47-0 — 0
Darrell Henderson 42% 12 (46%) 3 (100%) 11.1% 9.2612-81-1 — 2-40-0
Cam Akers4%  3  (12%) 0 0 0 03-13-0 — 0
  • Akers got the start and the first three carries, but a rib injury knocked him out of the game after the opening drive.
  • Henderson got more carries and targets, but the route and snap numbers show that Brown is the one Sean McVay trusts on passing downs, at least for the time being.
  • Henderson and Brown had two goal-to-go carries apiece, with Henderson adding a target. Akers also had a carry inside the Philly 10-yard line in his brief bit of action.
  • PFF charted Henderson with five avoided tackles on rushes, tied for third-most among RBs on Sunday.
  • Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods combined for a 5-38-1 rushing line. McVay's use of WRs in the running game might cost the RBs a few carries, but it also seems to help the offense in general, and it can force defenders to be more cautious on the backside of run plays.

  

Eagles

 Snap ShareCarriesTargetsTarget ShareRoutesRoutes/DB Stat Line
Miles Sanders 77%  20 (83%) 7 (70%) 16.3% 31.70 20-95-1 — 3-36-0
 Boston Scott18%  4 (17%) 3 (30%) 7.0% 8 .184-19-0 — 3-24-0

Panthers (17) at Buccaneers (31)

Panthers

 Snap ShareCarriesTargetsTarget ShareRoutesRoutes/DB Stat Line
 Christian McCaffrey64%  18 (95%) 5 (38%) 11.9%20 .43  18-59-2 — 4-29-0
 Mike Davis33%  1 (5%) 8 (62%) 19.0%16 .34 1-1-0 — 8-74-0
  • McCaffrey injured his ankle on a seven-yard TD run early in the fourth quarter. He's been diagnosed with a high ankle sprain and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.
  • Mike Davis with a 8-74-0 receiving line on 16 routes reminded me of last December when the Panthers were repeatedly dumping off to McCaffrey to get him the RB receptions record and the 1,000-1,000 season. Anyway, seven of Davis' eight catches came in the fourth quarter.
  • Carolina's No. 3 RB is Trenton Cannon, who strictly played special teams. It's entirely possible — though not guaranteed — that we see Davis get McCaffrey Lite usage in the coming weeks. It probably won't be 18 carries and eight targets per game, but 15 and six could happen.

  

Bucs

 Snap ShareCarriesTargetsTarget ShareRoutesRoutes/DB Stat Line
Leonard Fournette 43%  12 (60%) 5 (36%) 14.3% 12 .34 12-103-2 — 4-13-0
Ronald Jones 34%  7 (35%) 2 (14%) 5.7% 9 .26 7-23-1 — 2-4-0
LeSean McCoy18%  1 (5%) 7 (50%) 20.0% 9 .26 1–5-0 — 5-26-0
  • Jones got the start and had a seven-yard TD on the Bucs' second drive, but Fournette got hot in the second quarter with 5-18-1 rushing and a 12-yard reception, with his TD coming from the 1-yard line. Jones didn't completely disappear, but it was Fournette who served as the fourth-quarter closer.
  • Fournette got nine of the 13 RB snaps in Q4, taking five carries for 84 yards and a TD. The touchdown was a 46-yarder after an onsides kick, but it did have some real value because the Panthers still had two timeouts with 1:56 remaining in the game.
  • Fournette finished with three of the four RZ carries and two the three RZ targets that went to Tampa running backs, though it was only his first TD that came in a goal-to-go situation.
  • McCoy somehow drew seven targets on nine routes, finishing with five catches and two drops. Bruce Arians must really like his pass blocking, because Shady doesn't seem to be helping otherwise.
  • It looked like Fournette captured the lead job from Jones, but Bruce Arians hasn't exactly been reliable or predictable with backfield usage. And Jones outplayed Fournette while taking a 19-6 touch advantage Week 1, so it's hard to say exactly how this will play out.

Broncos (21) at Steelers (26)

Broncos

 Snap ShareCarriesTargetsTarget ShareRoutesRoutes/DB Stat Line
Melvin Gordon 79%  19 (86%) 3 (100%)7.7%  30 .64 19-70-0 — 2-14-1
Royce Freeman 21%  3 (14%) 0 0 8 .17 3-20-0 — 0
  • With Phillip Lindsay (toe) out, Gordon handled a hefty role that included 12 of 18 snaps on third downs. He got all the red-zone work (two targets, one carry), but the Broncos never had a goal-line situation. Gordon's TD catch was from 16 yards out.
  • Lindsay had a 7-to-5 carry advantage over Gordon at one point in the Week 1 contest, FWIW.

  

Steelers

 Snap ShareCarriesTargetsTarget ShareRoutesRoutes/DB Stat Line
James Conner 77% 16 (84%)  2 (40%) 4.9% 25 .6016-106-1 — 2-15-0 
Benny Snell15%  3 (16%) 1 (20%) 2.4% 5 .123-5-0 — 1–4-0 
 Jaylen Samuels8%  2 (40%) 4.9% 4.10  0 — 1-4-0
  • Rumors of Conner's demise appear to have been exaggerated. He got the start, scored a goal-line TD in the first quarter, played more than three-quarters of the offensive snaps, and iced the game with a 59-yard run shortly after the two-minute warning.
  • Meanwhile, Snell lost a fumble in the fourth quarter and finished with one yard on four touches.
  • Conner got 12 of 15 snaps in the first quarter, 15 of 17 in the second quarter, 11 of 16 in the third quarter, 12 of 17 in the fourth quarter. He had each of Pittsburgh's five carries in the red zone, plus a six-yard catch that brought his team to the Denver 5-yard line. Conner even got nine of 12 third-down snaps, while Samuels only took three.

Washington Football Team   (15) at Cardinals (30)

WFT!

 Snap ShareCarriesTargetsTarget ShareRoutesRoutes/DB Stat Line
Antonio Gibson65%  13 (59%) 2 (100%) 6.1% 20 .5313-55-1 — 1–3-0 
J.D. McKissic 44%  8 (36%) 0 0 11 .29 8-53-0 — 0
  • Peyton Barber played a single snap, converting a 4th-and-1 in the second quarter. He took 17 carries in the season opener, but it appears he's just a short-yardage specialist now.
  • Gibson and McKissic got two red-zone carries apiece.
  • McKissic had an 11-to-3 edge in third-down snaps, while Gibson dominated (40-to-16) everything else. If that continues, the rookie could see more targets than the veteran even if McKissic handles the obvious passing situations.
  • Through two games, McKissic has blocked on eight of 40 pass snaps (20 percent), while Gibson has blocked on only four of 32 (12.5 percent), per PFF. Neither number is huge, but it does help show why Gibson's snaps can be so much more valuable than McKissic's for fantasy production (talent, of course, is also a factor).
  • PFF charted Gibson with five avoided tackles on rushes, tied for third-most among RBs on Sunday. He's No. 4 in PFF elusive rating through two weeks, with nine avoided tackles on 25 touches.

  

Cardinals

 Snap ShareCarriesTargetsTarget ShareRoutesRoutes/DB Stat Line
Kenyan Drake65% 20 (87%) 2 (33%) 5.3% 18 .42 20-86-0 — 2-9-0
Chase Edmonds 35%  3 (13%) 4 (67%) 10.5% 20 .47 3-4-0 — 3-9-0
  • This was a little different from Week 1, when Drake had a smaller carry advantage (16-to-6) over Edmonds but a sizable edge in routes run (27-to-15, 0.41 routes per dropback). Granted, Edmonds still had a 5-2 target advantage in the opener, so really the pass-catching outlook for Drake hasn't been too good either week.
  • Edmonds got 9-of-17 third-down snaps, though he only took 4-of-9 when there were four or more yards to go. In other words, it's too early to say Drake is the runner and Edmonds the receiver. It's probably more accurate to say Drake is the starter and Edmonds the backup, with both trusted to handle a variety of situations.
  • Drake got four RZ carries to Edmonds' one, but Kyler Murray also took three (one TD), plus the QB scored a second TD from just outside the red zone (21 yards).

Ravens (33) at Texans (16)

Lord Baltimore

 Snap ShareCarriesTargetsTarget ShareRoutesRoutes/DB Stat Line
Mark Ingram42% 9 (43%)  3 (75%) 12.5% 13 .41 9-55-1 — 2-22-0
Gus Edwards 31% 10 (48%) 0 03 .09 10-73-0 — 0
J.K. Dobbins 31%  2 (10%) 1 (25%) 4.2%14 .442-48-0 — 1-13-0 
  • This looks pretty rough for anyone who drafted Ingram or Dobbins. Both guys have played well, but so has Gus Edwards, and the Ravens aren't coming out at the beginning of games running the ball on 12 consecutive snaps the way they sometimes did last year.
  • Ingram did get most of the work before halftime — 17 of 32 snaps, 4 of 5 carries, 3 of 3 targets (including two RZ targets).
  • Edwards got nine of the team's 16 RB carries after halftime, but none of them was truly in garbage time (he got his final touch on the second-to-last drive, which Ingram also saw work on). It was Dobbins who boosted his stat line with a 44-yard scamper on the final drive.
  • Ingram's TD came from 30 yards out on a direct snap on 4th-and-1. Turns out the Ravens are equally unstoppable when Lamar Jackson plays wide receiver instead of quarterback.
  • Jackson hasn't put up big rushing stats yet, but he's averaging 11.5 carries per game, just a tick shy of last year's 11.7. There's likely a middle ground to be found between last year's league-high 6.9 YPC and his current 2020 mark of 4.3.
  • Dobbins ran the most routes for a second time in as many weeks, taking eight of12 snaps on third downs where the Ravens needed four or more yards to convert.

  

Texans

 Snap ShareCarriesTargetsTarget ShareRoutesRoutes/DB Stat Line
 David Johnson95% 11 (100%)  4 (100%) 11.1% 35 .7611-34-0 — 2-16-0 
 C.J. Prosise5%  0 0 0 1 .02 0
  • Prosise managed to play three snaps without suffering an injury.
  • Duke Johnson (ankle) was inactive, leaving David in an every-down role. Looking back to the season opener, Duke got nine snaps, two carries and a target in the first half, while David took 20 snaps, six carries and three targets. It would be interesting to see what David could do with Duke out of the lineup in a less difficult matchup, but it isn't clear we'll have that opportunity.
  • David didn't have much room to run, but he looked fast and strong again — noticeably better than what we saw last year. He's PFF's No. 2 graded rusher through two weeks, behind only Austin Ekeler.
  • Raheem Mostert and Derrick Henry (playoffs) are is the only RBs since Week 4 of last season to score more than 16.1 fantasy points (half-PPR) on the Baltimore defense. The Ravens dominate possession, play solid defense and force their opponents to abandon the run — it's a recipe for RB disaster, even when a guy gets every-down usage like DJ did Sunday.

Chiefs (23) at Chargers (20)

Chiefs

 Snap ShareCarriesTargetsTarget ShareRoutesRoutes/DB Stat Line
Clyde Edwards-Helaire62%  10 (71%) 8 (80%) 17.0%29 .54 10-38-0 — 6-32-0
Darwin Thompson 19%  4 (29%) 1 (10%) 2.1%11 .20 4-21-0 — 0
Darrel Williams13%  0 1 (10%)  2.1% 7 .13 0 — 1-12-0
  • Williams played 10 snaps before exiting with an ankle injury in the second quarter.
  • Edwards-Helaire played 12 of 16 snaps in Q4 and eight of 12 in OT, getting two carries and four targets in that stretch. He also got the team's lone carry in the red zone, where he'd seen nine totes the previous week. He's now at 10 targets and .53 routes per dropback through two weeks, which looks pretty similar to rookie-year Kareem Hunt usage (4.2 targets per game, .52 routes per dropback). Of course, this team has Patrick Mahomes, and that 2017 team had Alex Smith. The Mahomes-era Chiefs won't run as often (yes, Week 1 was a fluke), but they sure do know how to find the end zone.

  

Chargers

 Snap ShareCarriesTargetsTarget ShareRoutesRoutes/DB Stat Line
Austin Ekeler 57%  16 (41%) 4 (57%) 4 (12.1%) 19 .5016-93-0 — 4-55-0 
Joshua Kelley 52%  23 (59%) 3 (43%) 3 (9.1%) 11 .2923-64-0 — 2-49-0 
  • This looked similar to last year's Ekeler/Gordon split, but with fewer passes and exaggerated overall volume in an overtime game where the Chargers ran 79 plays. Gordon played 54 percent of snaps in his 12 games last year, averaging 13.5 carries and 4.6 targets. Ekeler got 52 percent snap share in that same 12-game stretch, averaging only 6.3 carries but 6.9 targets. The carry/target numbers are looking much different in this run-heavy offense, but the general theme of funneling volume to running backs is the same.
  • Justin Jackson (quad) was inactive for this game. He didn't practice last week and was listed as doubtful, so he's probably no better than 50/50 to return for Week 3. It isn't clear if he'll have a role once he returns, but if so, the slice figures to come from Ekeler's pie rather than Kelley's.
  • PFF charted Ekler with a league-high 11 avoided tackles this week, while Kelley only had one. Ekeler averaged 4.6 yards after contact per carry, compared to 1.9 for the rookie. The Chargers can't give Ekeler the ball on every snap, but they have to know that they're losing something whenever they take him off the field. He's not a scatback; he's the total package.

Patriots (30) at Seahawks (35)

Patriots

 Snap ShareCarriesTargetsTarget ShareRoutesRoutes/DB Stat Line
Rex Burkhead 71%  6 (43%) 6 (86%) 13.6% 35 .74 6-2-0 — 4-47-0
Sony Michel 21%  7 (50%) 1 (14%) 2.3% 3 .06 7-19-0 — 0
  • James White missed the game due to a horrible family tragedy.
  • Burkhead essentially handled his own role plus White's usual role, but it didn't add up to much production in a game where the Patriots trailed for most of the second half and ran 66 percent of their offensive plays after halftime. Michel got five carries on the opening drive, but it was Cam Newton's show from that point forward.
  • Newton had an 11-47-2 rushing line that included six red-zone carries. Michel got one RZ carry, while Burkhead got one RZ carry and one RZ target.
  • The stat line Sunday wasn't impressive, but Burkhead would probably be startable as an RB2 — especially in PPR leagues — if White were to miss any more games. The route and target numbers are promising, and he's not nearly as bad a runner as the box score suggests (he's not good, either, to be fair).

  

Seahawks

 Snap ShareCarriesTargetsTarget ShareRoutesRoutes/DB Stat Line
Chris Carson 63%  17 (68%) 3 (60%) 10.7% 21 .60 17-72-0 — 3-36-1
Carlos Hyde 24%  5 (20%) 2 (40%) 7.1% 9 .26 5-22-0 — 2-15-0
Travis Homer 13%  3 (12%) 0 3 .09 3-21-0 — 0
  • Carson bounced back toward last year's usage after starting the season with only six carries, six targets and 45 percent of snaps (but two receiving TDs!) in a win over Atlanta. It appears the Seahawks were just easing Carson back into action in his first game since suffering a major hip injury. His workload Sunday night was more in line with expectations.
  • Homer handled three of the four third downs with four or more yards needed for a conversion. He also played in the two-minute drill at the end of the first half, so we could see him get more work if/when the Seahawks are forced into catch-up mode. However, he's been way behind Carson for routes and targets for two weeks now, so it's pretty clear the role is specialized to the most obvious of passing situations.

Saints (24) @ Raiders (34)

Saints

 Snap ShareCarriesTargetsTarget ShareRoutesRoutes/DB Stat Line
Alvin Kamara 68%  13 (81%) 9 (64%) 23.7% 21 .55 13-79-2 — 9-95-0
Latavius Murray 27%  3 (19%) 2 (14%) 5.3% 9 .24 3-14-0 — 2-19-0
Ty Montgomery 10%  0 3 (21%) 7.9% 6 .16 0-0-0 — 2-25-0
  • Drew Brees targeted a running back on 34 percent of his 38 pass attempts, with Kamara being the only Saint to see more than seven targets on the night.
  • Montgomery's involvement, however limited, eliminates any chance for Murray to have standalone fantasy value that doesn't depend on a Kamara injury. It also suggests Murray won't have the every-down role we saw last year if Kamara does in fact get hurt again.
  • Murray is 67 percent rostered on Yahoo, while Tony Pollard is at 31 percent. I'd rather have the latter than the former, given the better odds for three-down usage in the event his team's starting RB is injured. Zeke has been extremely durable, but so was Christian McCaffrey before Sunday. Anyone can get hurt, and anyone who handles Zeke's workload eventually will get hurt... maybe not this year, but eventually it has to happen.
  • Nine targets on 21 routes (43 percent) is outrageous by any standard, but something around 35-38 percent might actually be sustainable while Michael Thomas (ankle) is unavailable. Kamara was targeted on 28 percent of his routes last season, 31 percent in 2018, and 34 percent in 2017. He averaged 24.6 routes per game last year, and he's at 22.0 this season. He's an every-week starter in all fantasy leagues with one or more teams.

  

Raiders

 Snap ShareCarriesTargetsTarget ShareRoutesRoutes/DB Stat Line
Josh Jacobs 66% 27 (84%)  3 (75%) 7.9% 15 .36 27-88-0 — 3-17-0
Jalen Richard21% 2 (6%) 0 0 10 .24 2-26-1 — 0-0-0
Devontae Booker14% 3 (9%)  1 (25%) 2.6% 6 .14 3–1-0 — 1-6-0
  • Jon Gruden still prefers Richard over Jacobs in obvious passing situations, but an efficient offense hasn't faced too many of those situations so far. While Week 1 may have inflated expectations too high, Jacobs looks like a solid RB1. He's subbed out a bit less often than he was last season, and the Raiders are a better team.
  • Richard scored a 20-yard TD on a 3rd-and-10 in the fourth quarter. Jacobs got the only goal-line carry but was stuffed.

Week 2 Leaders (doesn't include MNF)

Snap Share

1David Johnson, HOU95%
2Ezekiel Elliott, DAL93%
3Dion Lewis, NYG88%
4Dalvin Cook, MIN80%
5Melvin Gordon, DEN79%
6Miles Sanders, PHI77%
7James Conner, PIT77%
8Derrick Henry, TEN71%
9Rex Burkhead, NE71%
10Jonathan Taylor, IND67%
11Myles Gaskin, MIA65%
12Antonio Gibson, WAS65%
13Kenyan Drake, ARI65%
14Christian McCaffrey, CAR64%
15Todd Gurley, ATL64%
16Chris Carson, SEA63%
17Clyde Edwards-Helaire, KC62%
18Nick Chubb, CLE62%
19Frank Gore, NYJ57%
20Austin Ekeler, LAC57%
21Devin Singletary, BUF56%
22David Montgomery, CHI54%
23Malcolm Brown, LAR54%
24Joshua Kelley, LAC52%
25James Robinson, JAX51%

  

RB Carry Share

1David Johnson100%
2Christian McCaffrey95%
3Joe Mixon94%
4Ezekiel Elliott92%
5James Robinson89%
6Kenyan Drake87%
7Melvin Gordon86%
8Derrick Henry86%
9James Conner84%
10Miles Sanders83%
11Frank Gore81%
12Dalvin Cook78%
13Jonathan Taylor74%
14Clyde Edwards-Helaire71%
15Dion Lewis71%
16Todd Gurley70%
17Nick Chubb69%
18Chris Carson68%
19Leonard Fournette60%
20Antonio Gibson59%
21Joshua Kelley59%
22Aaron Jones58%
23David Montgomery57%
24Devin Singletary56%
25Tevin Coleman52%

  

Team Target Share

1Aaron Jones27%
2LeSean McCoy20%
3Mike Davis19%
4Clyde Edwards-Helaire17%
5Miles Sanders16.30%
6D'Andre Swift15%
7Myles Gaskin15%
8Ezekiel Elliott14%
9Leonard Fournette14.30%
10Rex Burkhead13.60%
11Dion Lewis13%
12Mark Ingram13%
13Austin Ekeler12%
14Christian McCaffrey11.90%
15Giovani Bernard12%
16David Johnson11%
17Darrell Henderson11%
18Chris Carson11%
19David Montgomery11%
20Chase Edmonds11%
21James Robinson9%
22Chris Thompson9%
23Devin Singletary9%
24Derrick Henry9%
25Jonathan Taylor8%

  

Routes per QB Dropback

1Dion Lewis0.87
2David Johnson0.76
3Dalvin Cook0.76
4Rex Burkhead0.74
5Ezekiel Elliott0.72
6Miles Sanders0.7
7Melvin Gordon0.64
8Jonathan Taylor0.63
9Chris Carson0.6
10James Conner0.6
11Clyde Edwards-Helaire0.54
12Chris Thompson0.54
13Antonio Gibson0.53
14Malcolm Brown0.53
15Myles Gaskin0.52
16Derrick Henry0.52
17Austin Ekeler0.5
18Nick Chubb0.5
19Todd Gurley0.49
20Jamaal Williams0.48
21Chase Edmonds0.47
22David Montgomery0.45
23Giovani Bernard0.44
24J.K. Dobbins0.44
25Christian McCaffrey0.43

RB Waiver Targets

It looks like we'll have quite a few choices this week, including some with potential for long-term value. Here are my rankings, though they could vary slightly depending on team need, i.e., do you need a Week 3 starter, or are you grabbing these guys for your bench.

(Edited Tuesday afternoon to account for reports of Devonta Freeman joining the Giants.)

  1. Mike Davis, CAR — Among the injury replacements who will be popular adds this week, Davis has the best shot at a heavy-usage, three-down role. Trenton Cannon is the only other RB on Carolina's roster, and he didn't take any snaps even after Christian McCaffrey (ankle) left Sunday's game. McCaffrey is expected to be out for four-to-six weeks, though other players have returned from high-ankle sprains after only a couple missed games.
  2. Jerick McKinnon, SF — McKinnon looked great in Sunday's win over the Jets, and his next three weeks bring matchups with the Giants, Eagles and Dolphins. However, it isn't clear Raheem Mostert (knee) and Tevin Coleman (knee) will be out beyond Week 3, nor is it clear McKinnon will dominate carries. Kyle Shanahan always has a soft spot for Jeff Wilson, and undrafted rookie JaMycal Hasty had some buzz this summer. McKinnon is the best bet for fantasy production, but the carries could be divided even if the targets and snaps go heavily in his favor.
  3. Myles Gaskin, MIA — Gaskin should've been picked up last week, but in many leagues he wasn't. He's sitting on 16 carries, 11 targets, 148 scrimmage yards and 64 percent snap share through two games, despite facing two widely respected defenses (NE, BUF). The blocking probably won't be great in Miami, but it at least hasn't been the incompetent mess we saw last year.
  4. Devonta Freeman, NYG (soon) - Freeman looked pretty cooked last season, but his competition in New York will be limited to another has-been (Dion Lewis) and a never-was (Wayne Gallman). There's potential here for the same type of volume-based RB2 production we saw in Atlanta last year, though it's more likely it doesn't actually happen.
  5. Joshua Kelley, LAC — I'm a little skeptical of Kelley, in part because I don't think he's that good, and also because his carry numbers have been inflated by a pair of high-volume games for the Chargers offense as a whole (they've run 150 plays, tied for third most). Also, I'm not so sure Kelley will have this same role if/when Justin Jackson (quad) is healthy. We can't ignore a guy who is tied for fourth in the NFL with 35 carries, but he isn't the slam-dunk FAAB target this type of volume normally would dictate.
  6. Tony Pollard, DAL — Pollard is only 31 percent rostered on Yahoo, which puts him behind Kelley (40 percent) and barely ahead of McKinnon (24 percent). That's criminal. Pollard is one Zeke injury away from RB1 status, and Sunday showed us that even the "durable" players get hurt sometimes. It's possible the unusual circumstances of this season put even Zeke at heightened risk of injury.
  7. Rex Burkhead, NE — This is a bit speculative, as we don't know if James White will be away from the team beyond Week 2. Anyway, Burkhead got 71 percent of snaps and six targets in the SNF loss, while Sony Michel was an afterthought. Damien Harris (finger) could be back as soon as Week 4, so Burkhead is probably only looking at one or two more weeks of significant usage, if that.
  8. Dion Lewis, NYG — Lewis got all the snaps Sunday after Saquon Barkley's departure, but that was because the team had Wayne Gallman inactive. Lewis could get a bunch of playing time Week 3, but he'll probably cede some (or even most) of the carries to Gallman, and it could be Devonta Freeman's show before long.
  9. Duke Johnson, HOU — He won't have much value as long as David Johnson is healthy, but Duke is one of the better backup RBs in the league, and his ability to log limited practices last week suggests his ankle injury isn't too serious.
  10. Damien Harris, NE — This backfield is messy, but Harris was oft-discussed as a breakout candidate last month and could be back from his injury as soon as Week 4. He's rostered in only 24 percent of leagues on Yahoo.
  11. Wayne Gallman, NYG — It isn't a great sign that Gallman lost the backup job to a washed-up Lewis. Plus, the Giants reportedly are talking to Devonta Freeman.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jerry Donabedian
Jerry was a 2018 finalist for the FSWA's Player Notes Writer of the Year and DFS Writer of the Year awards. A Baltimore native, Jerry roots for the Ravens and watches "The Wire" in his spare time.
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