Welcome back to our weekly look at running back and wide receiver committee situations. We’ll try not to overreact about anything because of a couple of games, and we’ll usually avoid injury situations (Hi, Vikings!).
The foundation for this recurring piece will be workload: Snaps and touches for running backs, snaps and targets for wide receivers. As always, we’ll look at five situations per week for each position while trying not to repeat too often. I mean, we could have the Bengals RB situation here every week, but it would get boring pretty quickly.
The workload breakdown was almost identical to Week 1, but this time Freeman gained more yards (93 rushing to Coleman’s 46) while Coleman had a 13-yard rushing touchdown.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted on Sunday morning that the Falcons believe they have a two-headed monster in their backfield and “try for equal touches from their playmakers,” so this type of usage figures to continue. Freeman still looks like the better option – and he’s the better receiver - but both Falcons’ backs are playable next Monday night at New Orleans. I do wish someone would let me know why they didn’t throw the ball to Freeman, though.
Forsett and West have been uninspiring so far, combining for 47 rushes and 152 yards (3.23 ypc) in two weeks. They’ve been rotating throughout games, with no clear difference based on down, distance, etc. Their luck might not change too much on the road against a desperate Jaguars’ team in Week 3.
Rookie Kenneth Dixon could return from a knee injury and take over in a couple of weeks, so any fantasy relevance for Forsett and West might be short-lived. Unless you’re stashing Dixon, stay away from this mess.
Duke Johnson 32 snaps, seven touches; Isaiah Crowell 31 snaps, 19 touches
Crowell ran 18 times for 133 yards against the Ravens, with the highlight being an 85-yard touchdown in the first quarter. With head coach Hue Jackson wanting to establish the run, this leans toward Crowell despite the snap split, right?
Not quite. Crowell wasn’t exactly a chain mover on his other 17 carries, gaining just 48 yards. He’s also on a team that figures to trail in many games -the Browns are a seven-point underdog at Miami in Week 3 - and that will lend itself to Johnson’s receiving skills. Don’t sell your Duke stock just yet, folks.
Getty ImagesRob Carr
Latavius Murray, 36 snaps, 14 touches; Jalen Richard 16 snaps, eight touches; DeAndre Washington 15 snaps, seven touches
Murray’s six receptions and one-yard TD plunge against the Falcons made him the clear fantasy winner here, but he basically split snaps with the two rookies. Also, Richard got the call on a crucial fourth-down play in the fourth quarter.
This doesn’t mean that Murray’s owners should panic. It just tells us what we knew all summer – the Raiders kinda sorta like Murray, but aren’t committed to him as a feature back. Most fantasy RB2s are in similar situations, and that’s the price you paid for Murray on draft day. He’ll be startable even in a tough Week 3 matchup at Tennessee.
Henry is still the clear second banana to an impressive and versatile Murray, but 10 touches puts a back in fantasy flex territory, especially when the bye weeks come along. Henry improved on his five-carry, three-yard performance in Week 1, and could be a sneaky play at home this week against a Raider defense that has allowed 4.5 yards per carry so far.
Murray hasn’t been the workhorse we saw in Dallas a couple of years ago, but PPR owners have to love his dozen receptions in two games. He’s going to be a top-12 play in Week 3.
Mike Wallace 53 snaps, six targets; Steve Smith 53 snaps, six targets; Breshad Perriman 31 snaps, five targets; Kamar Aiken 31 snaps, one target
It looks like Aiken will need an injury or two to get back in the mix here. His success last season mostly came after others got hurt, so we probably shouldn’t be surprised. He’s Just a Guy.
Perriman’s target increase is intriguing, but he’s similar to Wallace in that he’s a speedy deep threat. If Wallace keeps producing, why would the Ravens make Perriman more of a focal point? Keep Perriman benched for now, and don’t be too excited about Wallace. Three TDs in two games are great, but 12 targets and seven receptions aren’t. He’s the most flexy Raven WR for Week 3, though.
You should continue to avoid Smith, despite a better Week 2. Unfortunately for all the Baltimore wideouts, TE Dennis Pitta might be Joe Flacco’s favorite target.
Marvin Jones 73 snaps, 11 targets; Golden Tate 70 snaps, nine targets; Anquan Boldin 67 snaps, seven targets
The Lions played three-wide sets almost exclusively during their faceplant of a loss against the Titans. Jones seems to have emerged as Matthew Stafford’s top option, with 21 targets to Tate’s 16 over the first two games. With Stafford chucking it almost 40 times per game (as usual), you should view Jones as a locked-in WR2. Tate is more of a flex type, and a PPR-centric one at that as the target of so many short passes.
The ageless Boldin isn’t startable right now, but he might be when the bye weeks come along. Any guy who’s on the field that much is bound to catch at least a few passes.
Welcome to the party, DeVante Parker! Parker was a trendy breakout pick early in the summer, but popular opinion flipped when head coach Adam Gase questioned his conditioning in late August. But he was on the field for most of the Dolphins’ snaps against the Pats, and even though his production was helped by a furious, pass-happy comeback, his fantasy owners should be very encouraged. If you want to start Parker against the Browns in Week 3, you won’t get an argument here.
Landry remains an RB2, and Stills should stay off the fantasy radar.
Getty ImagesChris Trotman
Travis Benjamin, six targets; Tyrell Williams, six targets; Dontrelle Inman, three targets
In the Chargers’ first 2016 game A.K. (After Keenan), Benjamin starred with a 6-115-2 line, while Williams produced enough with a 3-61-1 outing. Don’t be alarmed by the low target totals, as the Bolts threw just 25 times thanks to building a 35-0 lead with about 11 minutes left in the third quarter.
The Chargers travel to Indy in Week 3 to face the porous Colts’ pass defense. Benjamin slots in as a fantasy WR2, and Williams is flex-able in the right circumstances. As opportunities go, this one is terrific.
DeSean Jackson 51 snaps, five targets; Jamison Crowder 48 snaps, eight targets; Pierre Garcon 46 snaps, seven targets, Josh Doctson 19 snaps, five targets
The good news: Three of Doctson’s five targets were in the red zone. The bad: Do you see that snap total? You can’t start a guy who’s on the field so infrequently, especially against a suddenly frisky Giants’ pass defense (237.5 ypg, 5.5 ypa).
Jackson seems like a shaky flex start against the Giants, but PPR owners should feel OK rolling with Crowder, who has caught a dozen passes in two games so far.