Fantasy Football Week 6 Workload Watch

Matt Camp@TheMattCampFantasy Football Lead WriterOctober 12, 2017

Fantasy Football Week 6 Workload Watch

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    The Vikings featured Jerick McKinnon over Latavius Murray.
    The Vikings featured Jerick McKinnon over Latavius Murray.Jim Mone/Associated Press

    Last week's journey through the waiver wire yielded mixed results.  

    If you snagged Wayne Gallman, an early appearance and touchdown from Orleans Darkwa seemed ominous, but ultimately Gallman came through with more snaps, carries and targets as the lone bright spot of an otherwise ugly Week 5 for the Giants. While not on the level of Aaron Jones, Gallman's production definitely exceeded expectations. 

    The mess in Seattle remained a mess. The mystery of deciding between Eddie Lacy and Thomas Rawls was basically a wash, as the two players combined for just 63 total yards. The excitement for J.D. McKissic also fizzled after he had just three receptions for 36 yards. 

    Hopefully, you stayed away from using your top waiver priority or a lot of your free-agent budget on Latavius Murray. The Vikings featured Jerick McKinnon over Murray in their Week 5 win over the Bears, which likely led to another rush to the waiver wire this week in leagues where McKinnon was still available.

    To learn more about what's going on in the backfields for the Green Bay Packers, Cleveland Browns, Tennessee Titans, Oakland Raiders, Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, check out the Week 6 BS Meter. This Workload Watch covers eight other RB situations that have the most fantasy implications.

Baltimore Ravens

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    Buck Allen is still the best back to own in Baltimore.
    Buck Allen is still the best back to own in Baltimore.Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    Week 5 Workload Distribution

    • Javorius Allen: 71.2% snaps, 21 carries, 73 yards, 1 TD, 5 targets, 4 receptions, 12 yards, 0 TD
    • Alex Collins: 24.2% snaps, 12 carries, 55 yards, 0 TD, 0 targets

                             

    If you expected a bigger role to eventually come for Alex Collins, there was some good and bad to take away from Week 5. His 12 carries were a season high, and he continues to run well when given the chance. However, without a role in the passing game and no TDs, his production hasn't meant much for his fantasy value.

    Even though Collins had his most carries of the season, Javorius Allen matched his season high with 21 carries and set a new season high in snaps. Plus, Allen stayed active in the passing game, posting his fourth game with at least four receptions and five targets.

    Collins has yet to register a touch inside the red zone, while Allen has 14 red-zone carries and three red-zone targets. Of those red-zone carries, seven are inside the 10 and three are inside the five, so he's getting more chances to score, which is important since the Ravens' weak offense hasn't had a lot of scoring chances.

    It might not be pretty, as evidenced by his 3.5 yards per carry, but Allen's volume makes him a better fantasy option than Collins. Unless there's a dramatic shift, Collins is nothing more than a bench player on your fantasy roster.

Chicago Bears

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    Tarik Cohen's value has dropped in a big way.
    Tarik Cohen's value has dropped in a big way.Stacy Revere/Getty Images

    Week 5 Workload Distribution

    • Jordan Howard: 55.7% snaps, 19 carries, 76 yards, 0 TD, 0 targets
    • Tarik Cohen: 27.9% snaps, 6 carries, 13 yards, 0 TD, 1 targets, 1 reception, -6 yards, 0 TD

                     

    After a promising start to the season, Tarik Cohen is going in the wrong direction, which might put him on the chopping block if you need his roster spot. 

    Cohen had 16 receptions for 102 yards and a TD on 21 targets in the first two games of the season, but since then, he has just nine receptions for 42 yards on nine targets in the last three games. That could be attributed to just 80 pass attempts in the last three weeks from the combination of Mike Glennon and Mitchell Trubisky. Cohen hasn't really had a big role on the ground with 36 carries for 194 yards and no scores.

    Meanwhile, Howard continues to stay afloat with a busy role in the rushing attack. With his 19 carries in Week 5, Howard is up to 82 on the season for 328 yards and four TDs. Because he's not much of a receiver, no one should be surprised at his 10 receptions for 50 yards on 15 targets this year, including a pair of games without a reception. 

    You'd think the lack of talent in Chicago's receiving corps would mean a consistent role for Cohen, but his snap percentage dipped below 30 percent in the last two weeks after he played at least 41.8 percent in the first three games. Howard never dipped below 48 percent and has played as many as 63.1 percent.

    It's clear the Bears want to keep Howard involved to take pressure off their rookie QB, which makes sense, although his fantasy value will be tied to scoring since he doesn't do much in the passing game. Howard may still be a sell-high candidate, while Cohen is just a bench player unless his role gets back to the level we saw in the first two weeks.

Cincinnati Bengals

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    Joe Mixon finally found the end zone in Week 5.
    Joe Mixon finally found the end zone in Week 5.Gary Landers/Associated Press

    Week 5 Workload Distribution

    • Joe Mixon: 54.5% snaps, 15 carries, 51 yards, 1 TD, 0 targets
    • Giovani Bernard: 33.3% snaps, 2 carries, 2 yards, 0 TD, 2 targets, 2 receptions, 30 yards, 0 TD
    • Jeremy Hill: 16.7% snaps, 4 carries, 16 yards, 0 TD, 0 targets

                    

    Even though Joe Mixon is clearly the lead back in Cincinnati, the Bengals start each game the same way. The first RB to touch the ball in every week has been Jeremy Hill. Is this some sort of ceremonial move to motivate Mixon or just stubbornness to not officially anoint Mixon as the starter? 

    Hill had his lowest carry total and second-lowest snap total in Week 5, so maybe the Bengals are finally moving away from him for good, as they should with Mixon and Giovani Bernard as a better combination. Despite Andy Dalton throwing a season-high 36 passes, it was an oddly quiet day for the Bengals backfield in the passing game, with Mixon failing to register a catch or target for the first time this season.

    Luckily, Mixon made up for his lack of production as a receiver with his first NFL TD, so he wound up with a decent fantasy performance. He's still struggling to get anything going on the ground despite at least 15 carries in each of the last three games, so his value is still tied to volume. The hope is that Mixon will eventually become a strong RB2, but for now he's more of a RB3.

Indianapolis Colts

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    The Colts need to get Marlon Mack more involved.
    The Colts need to get Marlon Mack more involved.AJ Mast/Associated Press

    Week 5 Workload Distribution

    • Frank Gore: 51.3% snaps, 14 carries, 48 yards, 0 TD, 4 targets, 3 receptions, 38 yards, 0 TD
    • Marlon Mack: 22.4% snaps, 9 carries, 91 yards, 1 TD, 1 target, 1 reception, 2 yards, 0 TD
    • Robert Turbin: 27.6% snaps, 4 carries, 6 yards, 0 TD, 2 targets, 2 receptions, 13 yards, 0 TD

                     

    The preseason hype for Marlon Mack quieted down when the rookie had just 21 yards on 16 carries and two receptions for 32 yards in his first two games, followed by two weeks on the sidelines thanks to a shoulder injury. The hype picked back up in a big way when Mack returned to action in Week 5.

    Mack saw his highest snap total since playing 34 percent in Week 1, and he rewarded the Colts with the best performance of his young career. Mack's 91 yards also gave him the best output from any Colts RB this season, with Frank Gore topping out at 57 yards in Week 3 against the Browns. Of course, Gore needed 25 carries to hit 57 yards, while Mack needed just nine carries in Week 5. 

    Even though Gore leads the backfield with nine red-zone carries, he trails both Mack (three) and Robert Turbin (three) in carries inside the five, with Gore's lone tote going for a TD. The presence of Turbin near the goal line is an annoyance, but it's telling the Colts showed trust to Mack in that spot over Gore. 

    According to Andrew Walker of Colts.com, head coach Chuck Pagano said of his rookie runner, "I think it'd be wise to try to find ways to get him the football and get him more involved. I think that would've happened by itself had he been available the entire time. But it's good to have him back."

    While it's hard to see the Colts totally phasing Gore out of the mix, the veteran is averaging just 3.2 yards per carry behind a bad offensive line. He can't create the way Mack does, and the Colts need to get more out of their rushing attack regardless of who is playing QB. Mack's fantasy value is on the rise.

Minnesota Vikings

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    Latavius Murray was a predictable disappointment.
    Latavius Murray was a predictable disappointment.Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Week 5 Workload Distribution

    • Latavius Murray: 31.4% snaps, 12 carries, 31 yards, 0 TD, 2 targets, 2 receptions, 12 yards, 0 TD
    • Jerick McKinnon: 67.1% snaps, 16 carries, 95 yards, 1 TD, 6 targets, 6 receptions, 51 yards, 0 TD
    • C.J. Ham: 8.6% snaps, 1 carry, 0 yards, 2 targets, 1 reception, 11 yards, 0 TD

                     

    Those who lost an RB and were left with a hole in their fantasy lineup may have been a little too desperate to find a replacement, so they used their top waiver priority or a lot of free-agent money to snatch Murray. After one week, the Murray owners can't be happy. 

    The shifty McKinnon clearly gave the Vikings offense more of a burst. While Murray got the start and was used early, McKinnon eventually worked his way into the mix and became the featured back. His production alone was able to make up for the loss of Cook, and that was important since the Vikings had to turn back to Case Keenum when Sam Bradford reinjured his knee.

    While Murray won't completely disappear, McKinnon did more than enough to prove he should be leading the way until further notice. Expectations shouldn't get too high for McKinnon after just one great performance, but he's definitely in the RB2 conversation as long as he stays healthy. Murray is just a depth option and should only be used as an emergency starter.

New York Giants

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    The Giants should stick with Wayne Gallman as their lead back.
    The Giants should stick with Wayne Gallman as their lead back.Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Week 5 Workload Distribution

    • Orleans Darkwa: 29% snaps, 8 carries 69 yards, 1 TD, 4 targets, 1 reception, 3 yards, 0 TD
    • Wayne Gallman: 37.7% snaps, 11 carries, 57 yards, 0 TD, 5 targets, 5 receptions, 25 yards, 0 TD
    • Shane Vereen: 33.3% snaps, 5 carries, 18 yards, 0 TD, 5 targets, 4 receptions, 27 yards, 0 TD

                        

    Those who picked up Wayne Gallman expecting him to take over for Paul Perkins were probably angry when Orleans Darkwa started for the Giants and rumbled into the end zone on a 23-yard TD run during the first quarter of the Week 5 game against the Chargers. However, Gallman was far from a casual observer and was leading the way in all categories by the end of the game

    Gallman was getting chances, but it was Darkwa out in front in this backfield until he was hampered by a calf injury. The rookie was pressed into a bigger role and had an impressive game despite such a low snap count. Vereen is part of the reason Gallman's snaps didn't go too high, but Gallman equaling the veteran's targets and having more receptions should be taken as a good sign.

    Obviously, it's been a terrible week for the Giants with the losses of Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall to season-ending surgeries, so with the team still winless and clearly going nowhere, it would make sense to feature Gallman going forward both out of necessity and to see if he's part of the future. Unfortunately, expectations shouldn't be too high for Gallman with a brutal matchup in Denver on tap for Week 6.

San Francisco 49ers

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    The 49ers turned to Matt Breida in Week 5.
    The 49ers turned to Matt Breida in Week 5.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Week 5 Workload Distribution

    • Carlos Hyde: 45.8% snaps, 8 carries, 11 yards, 0 TD, 1 target, 1 reception, 7 yards, 0 TD
    • Matt Breida: 48.6% snaps, 10 carries, 49 yards, 0 TD, 5 targets, 3 receptions, 22 yards, 0 TD

                    

    When Carlos Hyde popped up on the injury report with a hip injury following Week 3, the conversations about his inability to stay on the field started up once again even though he played through the injury in the loss to the Rams. Considering Hyde missed 14 games over the first three years of his career, it's hard to not be worried when he gets hurt.

    To Hyde's credit, he carried 16 times for 68 yards and added five receptions for 27 yards on six targets in Week 4 despite being limited in practice all week. So when Hyde wasn't listed on the injury report heading into Week 5 despite being limited in practice during the week, the concerns seemed to disappear. 

    But they quickly reappeared when the 49ers featured Matt Breida over Hyde in the second half against Indianapolis. According to Daniel Brown of The Mercury News, head coach Kyle Shanahan said using Breida was about "playing the hot hand" and not Hyde's hip injury. If you're questioning Shanahan's honesty, it should be noted that Hyde went through full practice Wednesday and wasn't on the injury report, according to Adam Caplan of SiriusXM.

    While Hyde is averaging 4.5 yards per carry and had been a productive and reliable fantasy back for the first four games, this change in philosophy from the 49ers is a major headache for fantasy owners. Could this turn into what Shanahan did in Atlanta with Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman? That would be ideal since both players had good fantasy value, although it's hard to jump to that conclusion until we see more. For now, Breida is worth rostering, while Hyde has to be downgraded.

Seattle Seahawks

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    The Seahawks didn't get much out of Eddie Lacy or any of their running backs.
    The Seahawks didn't get much out of Eddie Lacy or any of their running backs.Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

    Week 5 Workload Distribution

    • Eddie Lacy: 27.9% snaps, 9 carries, 19 yards, 0 TD, 1 target, 1 reception, 9 yards, 0 TD
    • Thomas Rawls: 47.1% snaps, 8 carries, 20 yards, 0 TD, 3 targets, 2 receptions, 15 yards, 0 TD
    • J.D. McKissic: 26.5% snaps, 2 carries, 0 yards, 0 TD, 5 targets, 3 receptions, 36 yards
    • C.J. Prosise: inactive

                         

    Waiver-wire additions on the Packers, Giants and Vikings provided various levels of positive output. The Seahawks made life confusing with no clear answer on who to grab from Eddie Lacy, Thomas Rawls and J.D. McKissic. They made it even more confusing when none of the three produced anything close to solid fantasy numbers.

    Even with a beatable matchup against the Rams, the Seahawks couldn't get anything going on the ground and decided to split the touches evenly between Lacy and Rawls. McKissic was the third-down back and did see five targets, but he couldn't turn that into the magic we saw in Week 4. C.J. Prosise was expected to return from his ankle injury but sat out for the second straight week. 

    With none of the backs emerging as viable replacements for Chris Carson, it's hard to know where the Seahawks will go when they come off their Week 6 bye. At this point, head coach Pete Carroll's positivity shtick is wearing thin, as he refuses to do anything but praise all of his players, with any potential hints as to who will lead the way meaning nothing. Hanging onto any of the Seahawk RBs might be wasting a roster spot, although if you have to make a pick, Rawls might be the best guess based on his snap count in Week 5.