Fantasy Football Week 11 Workload Watch

Matt Camp@TheMattCampFantasy Football Lead WriterNovember 15, 2018

Fantasy Football Week 11 Workload Watch

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    The Lions stuck with Kerryon Johnson despite a lopsided loss to the Bears.
    The Lions stuck with Kerryon Johnson despite a lopsided loss to the Bears.Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

    Other than a handful of players, even your biggest fantasy assets will let you down from time to time. That doesn't mean you need to make sweeping changes to your roster. In fact, overreaction will likely hurt you in the end.

    If you were excited about Jordan Howard's chances against the Detroit Lions in Week 10, you weren't alone. The Lions have struggled to defend the run all season, and when the Chicago Bears jumped out to a big lead, the game flow appeared to be in Howard's favor. Unfortunately, the Bears continued to have success through the air, and Howard wound up as an afterthought in an impressive Bears victory.

    In that same game, the game script wasn't looking promising for Kerryon Johnson, but he was able to have one of his busiest games of the season, including an active role as a receiver. It's an encouraging sign to see that Johnson was still involved despite the lopsided score. 

    That was not the case for Kenyan Drake in Week 10. With the Miami Dolphins trailing the Green Bay Packers for almost the entire game, you'd think they would have featured Drake more in the passing game, but he saw just two targets. Drake's usage has been hard to judge, and that's made him tough to trust.

    To learn more about what's going on in the backfields of the Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, Buffalo Bills, Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins, check out the Week 11 B.S. Meter. The Workload Watch covers eight other running back situations that have the most fantasy implications. 

    Check out Matt Camp on his Fantasy Camp podcast available every Tuesday and Thursday. Click to subscribe or listen wherever you get your podcasts.


Chicago Bears

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    Even with a healthy lead, Jordan Howard didn't get much volume.
    Even with a healthy lead, Jordan Howard didn't get much volume.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Week 10 Workload Distribution

    Jordan Howard: 52.6% snaps, 11 carries, 21 yards, 0 TD, 1 target, 1 reception, 11 yards, 0 TD

    Tarik Cohen: 54.4% snaps, 7 carries, 15 yards, 1 TD, 7 targets, 6 receptions, 29 yards, 0 TD

    Through 10 weeks, the Detroit Lions have allowed 1,108 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns on 211 carries (5.3 yards per carry) to running backs. That total trails only those of the Miami Dolphins (1,228), Oakland Raiders (1,156) and Arizona Cardinals (1,134), but that YPC is the most in the league. Unfortunately, neither Howard nor Cohen contributed much to those stats last week.

    The Chicago Bears quickly jumped out to a 13-0 lead after the first quarter—thanks in part to Cohen's three-yard touchdown run—and had a 26-7 advantage at the half. The matchup already looked like a great one for Howard, and when the Bears went up big at the half, Howard seemed set up for a busy and productive second half. 

    Unfortunately, the Bears would have just one more scoring drive in the rest of the game and coasted to a 34-22 victory. Chicago actually lost the time of possession with 28 minutes to Detroit's 32 minutes, although it didn't matter much since Chicago was so efficient in the first half. Howard tied his season low with 11 carries and set a new season low with 21 rushing yards. 

    Cohen was able to salvage a decent fantasy performance with only his second rushing touchdown of the season. His seven carries marked his second-highest total of the season, but those didn't account for much other than the score. It was the fourth time Cohen failed to rush for at least 20 yards. 

    Howard remains a volume-dependent fantasy option at just 3.4 yards per carry. He has just two games with at least 80 yards and still doesn't have a 100-yard game this season. Cohen has one of the biggest disparities in value between PPR and non-PPR formats because of his small role in the ground game. He has more upside than Howard, but both have unfortunate downside because the team is so deep.

Cincinnati Bengals

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    Giovani Bernard returned to action in Week 10.
    Giovani Bernard returned to action in Week 10.Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    Week 10 Workload Distribution

    Joe Mixon: 67.4% snaps, 11 carries, 61 yards, 0 TD, 2 targets, 2 receptions, 24 yards, 0 TD

    Giovani Bernard: 27.9% snaps, 2 carries, 6 yards, 0 TD, 3 targets, 2 receptions, 30 yards, 0 TD

    Mark Walton: 4.7% snaps, 0 carries, 0 targets

    Mixon has flirted with the RB1/RB2 borderline all season, but he didn't come close to that type of production in Week 10.

    By halftime, the Cincinnati Bengals trailed the New Orleans Saints 35-7. Any chance of Mixon carrying a heavy workload wasn't happening, so his only chance of salvaging fantasy production was through the air. Andy Dalton attempted just 20 passes, as the Bengals had a 20:14 time of possession. You can't blame Mixon when his team barely had the ball. 

    Bernard's return to the lineup marked his first action since Week 4 and was only the third time this season both he and Mixon have played in the same game. Bernard proved himself to be a quality backup for Mixon in both fantasy and reality when Mixon missed Weeks 4 and 5, so Bernard must be owned if you have Mixon. 

    Bernard could also have some value independent of being Mixon's handcuff since he's been an active part of the passing attack when healthy. In five games, he's racked up 16 receptions for 108 yards on 24 targets. With A.J. Green sidelined, the Bengals are weak at receiver, which might force Bernard into a big enough role to give him RB3/flex value. 

    Mixon should continue to hover around the low-end RB1/high-end RB2 level for the rest of the season and should be considered a good asset if you have him.

Detroit Lions

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    The Lions need to feature Kerryon Johnson.
    The Lions need to feature Kerryon Johnson.Quinn Harris/Getty Images

    Week 10 Workload Distribution

    Kerryon Johnson: 70.5% snaps, 14 carries, 51 yards, 1 TD, 6 targets, 6 receptions, 38 yards, 1 TD

    LeGarrette Blount: 11.5% snaps, 6 carries, 4 yards, 0 TD, 0 targets

    Theo Riddick: 59% snaps, 0 carries, 7 targets, 6 receptions, 60 yards, 0 TD

    In last week's Workload Watch, we examined why the Detroit Lions were foolish to limit Johnson in their loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Riddick is a talented receiver out of the backfield, but Johnson has proved he can be an effective on the ground and through the air. Limiting his role makes no sense considering he's arguably been the team's best offensive player this season. 

    Maybe the Lions took the suggestion because Johnson's role was expanded in Week 10. Initially, it looked like Johnson's chances of a good fantasy day went up in smoke when the Lions felt behind 26-7 at the half. He scored the team's sole first-half touchdown on a one-yard run, but that wasn't the end of his scoring. 

    The fact that Johnson matched Riddick in receptions is a very positive sign, and based on the snap counts, the Lions were smart enough to put both players on the field at the same time. Riddick can be moved around the formation and may need to be more often with Golden Tate gone and Marvin Jones Jr. battling a knee injury. Riddick won't have much more than RB3/flex value, but at least it's something.

    Johnson now has 15 receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown on 19 targets over the last three games. In the first six games, he had just 18 targets with 15 catches, 89 yards and no scores. The last three games show Johnson can contribute as a receiver even if he struggles on the ground and/or the team is playing from behind.

    As long as Johnson is averaging 15-plus touches per game, which he's done over the last three weeks, he can stay in the RB2 conversation. He has the upside to be even more than that, but a consistent role in the passing game raises his floor.

Miami Dolphins

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    Kenyan Drake didn't have much to work with last week.
    Kenyan Drake didn't have much to work with last week.Stacy Revere/Getty Images

    Week 10 Workload Distribution

    Kenyan Drake: 50% snaps, 8 carries, 27 yards, 0 TD, 2 targets, 2 receptions, 11 yards, 0 TD

    Frank Gore: 42.6% snaps, 13 carries, 90 yards, 3 targets, 2 receptions, 12 yards, 0 TD

    Kalen Ballage: 7.4% snaps, 0 carries, 1 target, 1 reception, 6 yards, 0 TD

    You might be surprised to hear that Drake leads the Miami Dolphins backfield in snaps this season. If only the Dolphins decided to use him more when he's actually on the field, we might have a reliable RB2 on our hands. Instead, we get games like last week's that make no sense whatsoever.

    The Dolphins hung with the Green Bay Packers into the third quarter. They were down by as much as 14-3 at the start of the second quarter, but after three field goals, the lead was cut to 14-12 with 11:43 to go in the third. The Packers would go on to score 17 unanswered points en route to a 31-12 victory. Even though the Dolphins trailed for nearly the entire game, they didn't feel the need to feature Drake.

    He did miss some time with a shoulder injury, but as the snaps show, he still led the backfield in playing time. At this point, Gore is expected to get more carries than Drake, but more targets, too? That's indefensible. To Gore's credit, he's averaging 4.5 yards per carry, which is right behind Drake's average of 4.6 YPC. However, Drake is second on the team in targets (49) and receptions (33), while Gore has just nine receptions on the season.

    Gore isn't having a bad season, but he means almost nothing for fantasy. He hasn't scored a rushing TD in any game and is averaging just 7.6 fantasy points per game, which doesn't even put him among the top 50 backs in FPG. At 12.2 fantasy points per game, Drake remains on the RB2/RB3 borderline, but he's clearly capable of being so much more. His inconsistent usage makes it hard to play him as anything more than an RB3/flex, especially on a team that struggles offensively as much as the Dolphins do on a regular basis.

New Orleans Saints

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    The Saints got the most out of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram in Week 10.
    The Saints got the most out of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram in Week 10.Gary Landers/Associated Press

    Week 10 Workload Distribution

    Alvin Kamara: 45.3% snaps, 12 carries, 56 yards, 2 TD, 5 targets, 4 receptions, 46 yards, 0 TD

    Mark Ingram II: 41.3% snaps, 13 carries, 104 yards, 0 TD, 3 targets, 3 receptions, 58 yards, 1 TD

    Taysom Hill: 30.7% snaps, 4 carries, 24 yards, 0 TD, 1 target, 0 receptions

    With a four-week sample size of both Kamara and Ingram playing together, it appeared as if Kamara put Ingram in the rearview mirror in terms of touches and playing time. Week 10 told a different story and showed that both players could come through in a big way at the same time. It felt like a throwback to 2017.

    Ingram notched his first 100-yard effort of the season after four previous games with no more than 63 rushing yards. He had at least 12 carries for the fourth time in five games, so he continued a consistent presence on the ground. Ingram's three receptions tied a season high, and he's yet to have more than three targets in a game. However, his 58 receiving yards make up nearly half of the receiving yards he's had on the season. Ingram's role and touches weren't different from what we've seen, but he was much more efficient.

    Kamara was also able to come through in a big way thanks to a pair of scores. He now has five games with multiple touchdowns and eight touchdowns in his last four games. The only stat to monitor is Kamara's snap percentage. He's gone from 71.7 percent in Week 8 to 57.7 percent in Week 9 to 45.3 percent this past week. It hasn't mattered much to his bottom line, but a dip in snaps means he has to be that much more reliant on touchdowns. 

    Since Ingram's return in Week 5, he's averaging 13.5 fantasy points per game, while Kamara is at 21.8 FPG. That puts Kamara firmly in the RB1 category and Ingram at the low-end of the RB2 category. Based on what we saw from these two in Week 10, the ceiling still remains high for both in arguably the best offense in the league.

New York Jets

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    The Jets might be willing to give Elijah McGuire an extended look.
    The Jets might be willing to give Elijah McGuire an extended look.Jason Behnken/Associated Press

    Week 10 Workload Distribution

    Isaiah Crowell: 33.9% snaps, 7 carries, 19 yards, 1 TD, 2 targets, 2 receptions, 18 yards, 0 TD

    Elijah McGuire: 57.1% snaps, 6 carries, 30 yards, 0 TD, 6 targets, 3 receptions 27 yards, 0 TD

    Trenton Cannon: 23.2% snaps, 4 carries, 30 yards, 0 TD, 4 targets, 1 reception, 5 yards, 0 TD

    The New York Jets fell to 3-7 after an embarrassing 41-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills. Obviously, the Jets are out of contention and don't have much to be excited about when it comes to their offense. Regardless of who's coaching this team in 2019, the team should be evaluating what they have on this roster and who can be part of the improvement next year. 

    That’s where McGuire comes into play. In two games since returning from the injured reserve, he's played 54-plus percent of the snaps and has done well on the touches he's been given. He's carried 12 times for 53 yards and turned 11 targets into six receptions for 64 yards. That's not a lot to evaluate, but because he's done well so far, the team would be wise to increase that workload and see how he handles it.

    If that happens, Crowell's fantasy value will continue to evaporate. Since rushing for 219 yards in Week 5, he is averaging just 7.3 fantasy points per game in the last five weeks. Crowell needs volume to have any chance of being fantasy-relevant. He hasn't topped 13 carries in the last five games, nor has he run for at least 50 yards. He also doesn't have any games with more than two receptions, and he's registered 20 receiving yards just once.

    McGuire is the only Jet running back worth hanging on to with the hope he gets a closer look from the team down the stretch. This is not a team you want to rely on if you can avoid it.

Philadelphia Eagles

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    The Eagles want to get Josh Adams more carries.
    The Eagles want to get Josh Adams more carries.Matt Rourke/Associated Press

    Week 10 Workload Distribution

    Wendell Smallwood: 33.9% snaps, 2 carries, 4 yards, 0 TD, 3 targets, 3 receptions, 30 yards, 0 TD

    Josh Adams: 30.6% snaps, 7 carries, 47 yards, 0 TD, 0 targets

    Corey Clement: 29.0% snaps, 5 carries, 13 yards, 0 TD, 2 targets, 1 reception, -5 yards, 0 TD

    Darren Sproles: Inactive

    The annoyance of the Philadelphia Eagles backfield continued in Week 10. In a game that never saw a lead bigger than 10 points, the Eagles had just 14 carries divided between Smallwood, Adams and Clement. So the team stuck to its typical philosophy of using all three backs but didn't run it enough to get anything productive out of the backfield.

    For the second straight game, Adams looked like the best back, which has been completely obvious to anyone watching. However, he can only do so much with a limited workload. In the last two games, Adams has 16 carries for 108 yards, so he's been great when given the chance to run the ball, although that hasn't been enough to make him a reliable fantasy option, especially since he has just one reception on the season. 

    Clement isn't doing anything to warrant a spot on your roster, but he's getting enough touches and snaps to limit Adams' potential, and possibly Smallwood's. For the season, Smallwood leads Philadelphia with just 62 carries for 261 yards. That's a very small carry total for the team leader, but it's how this squad operates. That may have worked last year, but at 4-5, the Eagles should think about changing how they use these running backs.

    According to Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer, head coach Doug Pederson said Adams will get more carries going forward. Until that number gets into the double digits and stays there, Adams is nothing more than a bench stash. If Smallwood continues to be the preferred receiver out of the backfield, he could have some value, like this week against the New Orleans Saints, but that's a deep reach at best.

Tennessee Titans

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    Derrick Henry must score to have any kind of fantasy value.
    Derrick Henry must score to have any kind of fantasy value.Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

    Week 10 Workload Distribution

    Dion Lewis: 75.4% snaps, 20 carries, 57 yards, 0 TD, 2 targets, 2 receptions, 11 yards, 0 TD

    Derrick Henry: 23.1% snaps, 11 carries, 58 yards, 2 TDs, 0 targets

    Without looking at anything but the final score of the Tennessee Titans' 34-10 victory over the New England Patriots, you might have guessed it was another strong fantasy outing for Lewis. Once again, he dominated the snaps and touches, but the touchdowns didn't come his way. That's unfortunate, but there are positives to take from that game.

    Lewis saw a season-high 20 carries after setting a previous season-high the week before with 19 carries. At 12.4 fantasy points per game, Lewis is on the RB2/RB3 borderline, but his upside makes him a potential strong RB2 in any game. That's because he's been the Titans' second-best receiver after Corey Davis. He ranks second to Davis in targets (39), receptions (35) and receiving yards (270). Lewis' biggest problem is a lack of touchdowns. He has just one rushing and one receiving score. 

    Touchdowns haven't been a problem for Henry, especially in the last three games. With two scores in Week 10, all four of his touchdowns have come in the last three games. That's the only reason he has any fantasy value. After recording 18 carries in two of his first three games, Henry registered double-digit carries just three times in the last six games and has topped 58 total yards just once this season. 

    Surprisingly, Lewis and Henry are even in red-zone carries (19) and carries inside the 10-yard line (eight), with Henry holding a 4-3 lead inside the 5-yard line. Three of Henry's four scores have come inside the 5. It would be nice to get more scores out of Lewis, but he should be a reliable RB2 for the rest of the season. Henry can only be used with the expectation that he has to score to have any fantasy value.