Fantasy Football Week 6 Workload Watch

Matt Camp@TheMattCampFantasy Football Lead WriterOctober 11, 2018

Fantasy Football Week 6 Workload Watch

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    Mark Ingram quickly asserted himself after a four-game suspension.
    Mark Ingram quickly asserted himself after a four-game suspension.Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    If you practiced patience with Mark Ingram, you were rewarded with his successful Week 5 return. Immediate satisfaction for Ingram owners also brought on total overreaction for Alvin Kamara owners, many of whom suddenly have major concerns about his role. Despite Kamara having his worst game of the season, he's still the No. 1 fantasy running back. 

    The Miami Dolphins provided some satisfaction for patient Kenyan Drake owners, although those who bailed before Week 5 were justified. Was Drake's performance and role against the Cincinnati Bengals a sign of things to come? Logic says he should remain an active part of the offense in multiple roles, especially since the team lacks top talent at every position.

    Logic might be winning out for the Seahawks. Chris Carson is clearly their best back, so it was encouraging to see him leading the way after returning from his hip injury in Week 5. While the rest of the league takes to the air with record-setting success, the Seahawks are running the ball more than they are throwing it. That might not be the ideal philosophy to be competitive in 2018, but it's great for Carson's fantasy value.

    To learn more about what's going on in the backfields of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Arizona Cardinals, Philadelphia Eagles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons, check out the Week 6 B.S. Meter. The Workload Watch covers eight other RB situations that have the most fantasy implications. 

                 

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Baltimore Ravens

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    Alex Collins battled through a knee injury in Week 5.
    Alex Collins battled through a knee injury in Week 5.Ron Schwane/Associated Press

    Week 5 Workload Distribution

    Alex Collins: 31% snaps, 12 carries, 59 yards, 0 TD; 4 targets, 1 reception, 7 yards, 0 TD

    Javorius Allen: 57.5% snaps, 8 carries, 34 yards, 0 TD; 8 targets, 6 receptions, 44 yards, 0 TD

    The latest check-in on the Baltimore Ravens backfield reveals yet another lost fumble. But unlike in previous weeks, Allen was the guilty party this time. It was his first fumble of the season, which is perhaps why he didn't suffer any reduction in snaps.

    Allen had nine touches after fumbling early in the third quarter, including three on the next drive, and he was involved in key situations in the fourth quarter and overtime. Allen had his busiest workload of the season with 14 total touches, and he set a season high with his snap share. Prior to Sunday, Allen had no more than 12 touches in any game this season, while his previous high in snap percentage was 54.2 in Week 3.

    Collins came into Week 5 with a knee injury, which might explain why he had to come in and out of the game so often. He missed practice Thursday but was back at work Friday, so there wasn't serious concern about his availability. The knee was enough of a problem to limit him to his lowest snap share since Week 1, but his 12 carries and 59 yards represented his second-highest totals of the season, and he had his most efficient performance with 4.9 yards per carry.

    Through five Weeks, Allen and Collins rank 17th and 27th, respectively, at the running back position. Allen's two-touchdown performance in Week 3 is the main cause for separation between the two, so they're both in the RB3/flex conversation. Barring a major injury, they'll remain there until further notice.

Denver Broncos

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    Whether you like it or not, Phillip Lindsay is leading the way in Denver.
    Whether you like it or not, Phillip Lindsay is leading the way in Denver.Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    Week 5 Workload Distribution

    Phillip Lindsay: 37.7% snaps, 12 carries, 61 yards, 0 TD; 4 targets, 3 receptions, 20 yards, 0 TD

    Royce Freeman: 39% snaps, 5 carries, 31 yards, 0 TD; 4 targets, 3 receptions, 16 yards, 0 TD

    Devontae Booker: 28.6% snaps, 0 carries; 6 targets, 5 receptions, 59 yards, 0 TD

    It's more of the same for the Denver Broncos running backs, much to the chagrin of Freeman's fantasy owners. He has been unable to overtake Lindsay, even though he's averaging 5.1 yards per carry. Granted, Lindsay also continues to play at a high level, as he's averaging 5.8 YPC. Through five games, the Broncos rank third in the NFL with 137 rushing yards per game, so there's no reason to mess with what's working. 

    Freeman is failing to produce more fantasy points in part due to his minor role in the passing game. The receiving numbers he had in Week 5 were all season highs after he came into the game with only one reception for five yards in the first four games. Freeman's best game as a receiver accompanied his lightest workload on the ground and also marked his first game without a score since Week 1. Leading the backfield in snaps was a good sign, but it didn't lead to fantasy production.

    Booker remains an annoyance for both Lindsay and Booker owners. He has no role as a runner, yet he continues to eat up valuable snaps and targets. He has 13 receptions for 113 yards on 17 targets. Lindsay and Freeman have a combined 12 receptions for 86 yards on 18 targets. Booker has enough of a role to hurt the values of Lindsay and Freeman, but not a big enough role to have individual fantasy value. Lindsay remains in the RB2 conversation, while Freeman is an RB3/flex.

Detroit Lions

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    LeGarrette Blount didn't go far, but he scored twice in Week 5.
    LeGarrette Blount didn't go far, but he scored twice in Week 5.Duane Burleson/Associated Press

    Week 5 Workload Distribution

    Kerryon Johnson: 46.8% snaps, 12 carries, 70 yards, 0 TD; 2 targets, 2 receptions, 15 yards, 0 TD

    LeGarrette Blount: 29% snaps, 12 carries, 22 yards, 2 TDs; 0 targets

    Theo Riddick: 30.6% snaps, 3 carries, 3 yards, 0 TD; 3 targets, 2 receptions, 20 yards, 0 TD

    Last week's Workload Watch covered Matt Patricia's delight with the snap distribution in the Detroit Lions backfield. The difference in snap percentage between Johnson and Blount widened in Week 5, but that wasn't the stat that mattered the most when the game was over. 

    The Lions gave Blount the ball four times inside the 10-yard line, and he turned two of those carries into one-yard touchdowns. Johnson, meanwhile, didn't have a single carry in the red zone. Johnson and Blount finished with the same number of carries, although the former had significantly more yards than the latter for the third straight week. 

    Even though he led the backfield in snaps and touches, Johnson missed time in Week 5 due to an ankle injury. That has to be a concern even if Johnson is healthy enough to play after the bye since the Lions were already being careful about how much they use him. Blount's presence coupled with Riddick's role in the passing game is limiting just how high fantasy owners can get on Johnson.

    Through five weeks, Johnson is the No. 26 RB at 54.4 fantasy points (10.9 fantasy points per game). That makes him a great RB3/flex who would be in the RB2 conversation if his role ever expands. 

Green Bay Packers

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    The Packers won't fully commit to Aaron Jones.
    The Packers won't fully commit to Aaron Jones.Duane Burleson/Associated Press

    Week 5 Workload Distribution

    Aaron Jones: 27.2% snaps, 7 carries, 40 yards, 0 TD; 3 targets, 2 receptions, 19 yards, 0 TD

    Jamaal Williams: 40.7% snaps, 6 carries, 33 yards, 0 TD; 4 targets, 2 receptions, 18 yards, 0 TD

    Ty Montgomery: 35.8% snaps, 4 carries, 15 yards, 0 TD; 3 targets, 1 reception, 23 yards, 0 TD

    Much like Matt Patricia in Detroit, Mike McCarthy doesn't have a problem with his running back usage for the Packers, as covered in the Week 5 B.S. Meter. But unlike Patricia, McCarthy isn't giving his best running back a snap and touch share that is putting him out in front. 

    At first glance, it would be easy to blame Jones' dip in snaps and carries on the 24-0 deficit the Packers had to overcome at halftime of their game against the Lions. However, that doesn't explain why Williams played more snaps and had only one less carry than Jones. Playing Montgomery the most out of this backfield would have made sense considering the score, yet he had only three targets. 

    In three games, Jones has 24 carries for 147 yards (6.1 yards per carry) and a touchdown with four receptions for 41 yards on five targets. That gives him an average of 9.3 touches per game. Williams has 195 yards on 53 carries (3.7 YPC) and seven receptions for 47 yards on 13 targets. He has yet to score, but he averages 12 touches per game. Since Jones returned from a two-game suspension, he has only two more carries than Williams.

    For some reason, Montgomery is averaging four carries per game, but only 3.6 targets and 2.4 receptions. He isn't being used to the best of his abilities, which makes the touches he's getting on the ground and through the air seem like nothing more than ways to keep him in the mix without any true plan or role.

    If you've seen Aaron Rodgers' reactions to what's going on in this offense, specifically after Week 4, he's clearly frustrated. Green Bay feels like a team without any offensive identity or direction. Jones is the only fantasy-relevant back of this group, but you can't trust him as anything more than an RB3/flex because the team doesn't know how to get the most out of this backfield.

Miami Dolphins

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    The Dolphins got Kenyan Drake going in the passing game.
    The Dolphins got Kenyan Drake going in the passing game.Gary Landers/Associated Press

    Week 5 Workload Distribution

    Kenyan Drake: 64.1% snaps, 6 carries, 46 yards, 0 TD; 11 targets, 7 receptions, 69 yards, 1 TD

    Frank Gore: 40.6% snaps, 12 carries, 63 yards, 0 TD; 0 TD, 0 targets, 0 TD

    Did last week's workload watch shame the Miami Dolphins into a bigger role for Drake? Probably not, but at least we can talk about Drake in a positive light for the first time in almost a month. 

    In Weeks 3-4, Drake carried only eight times for six yards and caught three of six targets for 20 yards. His performance in Week 5 easily blew those numbers away, making one wonder why he wasn't more involved in the first place. Drake opened the season with 25 carries for 101 yards (4.0 yards per carry) and a touchdown in his first two games, yet Gore has led the team in carries ever since and appears to be keeping that lead after his best rushing performance came in Week 5. 

    For now, we may have to accept Drake playing a secondary role to Gore in the ground game, but that's a lot easier to swallow if he stays busy as a receiver. Drake's Week 5 receiving numbers make him the team leader in targets (25) and tied with Albert Wilson with 17 receptions. That means Drake is the only Dolphin to average five targets per game, which is an indictment of how bad Miami's receiving corps is this season.

    Reality is hitting the Dolphins, who have dropped the last two games following a 3-0 start. They have no top-tier players at any position and tout one of the worst receiving corps in the league. That means Miami has every reason to keep Drake busy in the passing game while he plays a complementary role on the ground.

    You might be surprised to find out Drake is the No. 21 running back on the season. You should treat him as an RB3/flex on a bad team, yet he has significant upside since he's arguably the Dolphins' best player.

New Orleans Saints

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    Week 5 was a rare down week for Alvin Kamara.
    Week 5 was a rare down week for Alvin Kamara.Kelvin Kuo/Associated Press

    Week 5 Workload Distribution

    Mark Ingram: 54.5% snaps, 16 carries, 53 yards, 2 TDs; 3 targets, 2 receptions, 20 yards, 0 TD

    Alvin Kamara: 47% snaps, 6 carries, 24 yards, 0 TD; 4 targets, 3 receptions, 15 yards, 0 TD

    Taysom Hill (QB): 21.2% snaps, 5 carries, 23 yards, 1 TD; 0 targets

    The Week 5 win for the New Orleans Saints couldn't have gone better. Drew Brees set the NFL's all-time yardage record, Ingram had a successful return and the team had an easy time defeating the Washington Redskins, 43-19.

    However, some Kamara owners are panicking after his disappearing act Monday.

    Kamara came into the game as the No. 1 fantasy back with 136.1 points (34 fantasy points per game). He left Week 5 as the No. 1 fantasy back at 143 fantasy points (28.6 FPG). Kamara followed up a career-high 19 carries for 134 yards and three scores in Week 4 with only six carries for 24 yards and three receptions for 15 yards on four targets. It was his first game this season without at least five receptions, six targets and 47 receiving yards. 

    Considering Ingram was coming off a suspension rather than an injury, he was predictably fresh and busy. Even the biggest Ingram backers would have to admit touchdowns saved his fantasy value for the week. Besides the game being Ingram's debut, the other reason to feature him was Kamara's minor knee injury. It wasn't enough to keep him off the field, but he was limited in practice. Why would the Saints push him after a busy and productive opening month to the season while they had Ingram and a comfortable lead? 

    A look at the final fantasy leaderboard from 2017 shows both Kamara and Ingram can be fantasy RB1s. Following the Saints' Week 6 bye, expect to see Kamara and Ingram resumed the same roles they played last year. Kamara will dominate targets while averaging roughly 8-12 carries, and Ingram should see anywhere from 12-20 carries with a consistent role as a receiver.

    Let's just hope we aren't talking about Taysom Hill as a touchdown vulture at the end of October.

New York Jets

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    The Broncos had no answers for Isaiah Crowell.
    The Broncos had no answers for Isaiah Crowell.Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    Week 5 Workload Distribution

    Isaiah Crowell: 40.3% snaps, 15 carries, 219 yards, 1 TD; 1 target, 1 reception, 12 yards, 0 TD

    Bilal Powell: 54.8% snaps, 20 carries, 99 yards, 0 TD; 0 targets

    Suffice it to say, the New York Jets would like to repeat a 318-yard rushing performance from Crowell and Powell every week. The idea of the Jets' ground game leading the way instead of putting too much responsibility on rookie quarterback Sam Darnold with a weak receiving corps makes perfect sense.

    Crowell and Powell have been running close all season, although Crowell's 219-yard explosion put some distance between him and Powell in the yards category. Through five weeks, Crowell has 57 carries for 390 yards and five touchdowns. His massive Week 5 output came a week after he ran four times for zero yards against the Jacksonville Jaguars. As a receiver, Crowell has only six receptions for 36 yards on eight targets. 

    Powell has a team-high 59 carries with 264 yards. He's had at least 12 carries in three of five games, but he has yet to find the end zone as a rusher. Surprisingly, Powell has only 16 targets with 10 catches for 105 yards and a touchdown. That's in part due to Darnold averaging less than 30 pass attempts per game (29.8). 

    With five games in the books, Crowell's lopsided effort in Week 5 propelled him to the No. 11 running back spot for the season with 78.6 fantasy points (15.7 per game). He was 22nd heading into Sunday. Powell entered Week 5 as the No. 27 running back and fell a spot to No. 28 heading into Week 6.

    It's hard to get too excited about either player, and using them may come down to matchup. If the Jets can keep a game close, they should be able to run the ball a lot  to keep it out of Darnold's hands. Those are the games that boost Crowell to RB2 status. Otherwise, it's hard to call either player much more than an RB3/flex since they both need volume to come through for fantasy owners and it may not always be there.

Seattle Seahawks

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    Chris Carson battled his way through the Rams defense.
    Chris Carson battled his way through the Rams defense.Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Week 5 Workload Distribution

    Chris Carson: 58.3% snaps, 19 carries, 116 yards, 0 TD; 1 target, 1 reception, 11 yards, 0 TD

    Mike Davis: 41.7% snaps, 12 carries, 68 yards, 1 TD; 2 targets, 2 receptions, 7 yards, 0 TD

    Rashaad Penny: 0 snaps

    Through five games, the Seattle Seahawks have had three different players lead the team in rushing. Penny had the worst of those games with 30 yards on 10 carries in Week 2, although that was enough to best Carson's six carries for 24 yards and Davis' three carries for three yards. In the last three weeks, Seattle has turned into a true-run first offense with great performances out of Carson and Davis. 

    When Carson racked up 102 yards and a score on 32 carries in Week 3, it looked like he finally had firm control of the lead spot in this backfield. A hip injury put him on the sidelines for Week 4, yet instead of Penny leading the way, Davis got the nod and came through with 101 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. Penny was a solid contributor in that game, adding nine carries for 49 yards. 

    With Carson ready to return in Week 5, there was a real question of which direction the Seahawks would go since this backfield has been unpredictable all season. Luckily, both Carson and Davis came through for fantasy owners, so using either player worked out nicely. Penny's absence raises the question of why the Seahawks bothered to use a first-round pick on him, but for now, they seem to be happy with Carson and Davis as their top two backs.

    The Seahawks are the only team averaging more rushing attempts (28.6) than pass attempts (28.4), which might not be the best formula for winning when the league has the highest pass attempts per team (36.6) since the 1970 merger, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. However, that formula is great for the fantasy value of Carson and Davis. Carson should be considered a solid RB2, while Davis is in the RB3/flex category. Penny should only be kept on rosters in deep leagues.