Fantasy Football

Fantasy Football Running Back Depth Chart


Week 3 Update: Week 3 of the NFL Season kicks off tonight with the Jaguars hosting the Titans on Thursday Night Football. Hopefully, this game is not another major disappointment like the first two Thursday Night games, but I’m not optimistic with these two teams. Instead, you should probably just check out the latest news/notes for the Running Back position below!

Earlier in this decade, the running back position in Fantasy Football saw a fairly sharp decline in importance. The following factors contributed to this decline:

  • The steep rise in popularity of PPR and Half-PPR scoring formats, which also bred the Zero-RB Theory draft strategy
  • An increase in season-ending injuries and/or lengthy contract negotiations/holdouts by top running backs
  • The NFL’s overall transition to more backfields implementing a Running Back by Committee approach to the game

PPR and Half-PPR scoring really leveled the fantasy playing field between wide receivers/tight ends and running backs. It forced managers to take much harder looks at the top receivers and tight ends earlier in drafts. The higher point output for wide receivers/tight ends also led to managers implementing the Zero-RB theory draft strategy. For those not familiar with this theory, it simply means managers wait numerous rounds before drafting their first running back.

Alas, PPR and Half-PPR scoring eventually allowed pass-catching running backs to gain more value in fantasy leagues. This, again, widened the gap in scoring between running backs and wide receivers/tight ends. Fortunately, this return-to-glory for running backs has conversely led to less use of the zero-RB theory draft strategy. Although, this strategy has not completely disappeared…yet.

The second and third factors listed above actually go hand-and-hand with each other. More-frequent injuries to lead-backs and contract holdouts during the preseason necessitated running back committees to become the new norm. However, the emergence of more workhorse running backs in recent years has helped buck that trend. If anything, running back committees are typically only implemented during the season when major injuries occur to starters.

So, where does that leave us for 2019? Well, even with the apparent shift back to prominence, the running back position still carries a level of volatility. Because of this, fantasy football managers need to be more in-tune with running back depth charts. These charts track the starters and handcuffs to own for each NFL team. They also provide insight on specific teams that have transitioned into a committee. This is beneficial for both drafting, as well as in-season roster adjustments.

To remain up-to-date throughout the season, we are bringing you the 2019 Fantasy Six Pack Fantasy Football Running Back Depth Chart! Here is the explanation of our chart:

  • Starter: These are the running backs who are most likely to start each game for their team. Please note that this does not always mean that running back will get the most touches.
  • Handcuff(s): These are players who are likely to take over if the starter comes out of the game for any reason. They are especially valuable to target if a starter suffers a major injury.
  • Passing-Down Back(s): These are the players who are likely to get the bulk of the work in the passing game. These backs are good to stash in PPR/Half-PPR leagues.
  • Goal Line Back(s): These players are likely to get the bulk of the carries near the goal line.
  • RBBC: If the touches will be split between multiple running backs, we will mark the Running Back by Committee box.

2019 Fantasy Football Running Back Depth Chart

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TeamStarterHandcuff(s)Passing-Down Back(s)Goal Line Back(s)RBBCNotes
Arizona CardinalsDavid JohnsonChase EdmondsDavid JohnsonDavid JohnsonJohnson was forced from the field briefly in Week 2 with a wrist issue. Thankfully, it turned out to be minor, and DJ was able to finish the game. The takeaway is that Chase Edmonds is the clear handcuff if something were to happen to Johnson again.
Atlanta FalconsDevonta FreemanIto Smith- Ito Smith
- Brian Hill
Devonta FreemanAs expected, Freeman ended up with nearly 2/3's of the snaps in Week 2's Win against the Eagles. We expect him to remain the leader of this backfield, barring injury.
Baltimore RavensMark Ingram- Justice Hill
- Gus Edwards
Justice Hill- Mark Ingram
- Justice Hill
Mark Ingram still dominated the touches for Baltimore in Week 2, but his overall production was not as helpful to his fantasy owners compared to Week 1's outburst.
Buffalo Bills- Devin Singletary
- Frank Gore
T.J. YeldonDevin Singletary- Devin Singletary
- Frank Gore
XWhile Devin Singletary was the main man in Week 1, Frank Gore was the go-to-guy for Week 2, netting nearly 60% of the snaps for Buffalo. We're switching this backfield to a committee until there is a clear-cut leader for the Bills.
Carolina PanthersChristian McCaffreyJordan ScarlettChristian McCaffreyChristian McCaffreyCMC was completely shutdown by Tampa Bay in Week 2, but he still saw 100% of the rushing work for Carolina.
Chicago Bears- David Montgomery
- Tarik Cohen
Mike DavisTarik Cohen- David Montgomery
- Mike Davis
XWeek 2 did not dispel the notion that Chicago is working in a committee fashion, but the roles definitely flipped last week, with Montgomery getting the majority of the snaps/carries.
Cincinatti BengalsJoe Mixon - Giovani Bernard
- Trayveon Williams
Giovani BernardJoe MixonMixon suited up in Week 2, but the snap percentage was nearly split evenly between him and Gio Bernard. Granted, Mixon still had nearly double the carries, so it's still his backfield in our eyes.
Cleveland BrownsNick Chubb- Dontrell Hilliard
- D'Ernest Johnson
- Kareem Hunt (S)
- Dontrell Hilliard
- Nick Chubb
Nick ChubbWith Dontrell Hilliard out in Week 2, Nick Chubb stepped up and had a nice outing. Hilliard has been cleared from the concussion protocol, though, so he should step back in as Chubb's lead backup in Week 3.
Dallas CowboysEzekiel Elliott Tony PollardEzekiel ElliottEzekiel ElliottZeke had a very productive Week 2, gaining 120 total yards on 25 touches. This is clearly his backfield again.
Denver Broncos- Phillip Lindsay
- Royce Freeman
Devontae BookerPhillip Lindsay- Phillip Lindsay
- Royce Freeman
XThe Denver backfield continued to be a nearly-even split in Week 2, with Freeman actually getting the higher number of snaps, but Lindsay had two more carries on the week.
Detroit LionsKerryon Johnson- Ty Johnson
- Paul Perkins
- J.D. McKissic
Kerryon JohnsonKerryon JohnsonC.J. Anderson was surprisingly released by Detroit on 9/18 after the team claimed Paul Perkins off waivers. Ty Johnson, Perkins, and J.D. McKissic figure to be the back-up machine to Kerryon Johnson.
Green Bay PackersAaron JonesJamaal WilliamsJamaal WilliamsAaron JonesJamaal Williams was on the field for nearly 50% of the rushing snaps, but only received 9 carries to Aaron Jones's 23 in Week 2.
Houston TexansDuke Johnson, Jr.Carlos HydeDuke Johnson, Jr.Carlos HydeXThe backfield split in Houston favored Hyde over Duke Johnson in Week 2.
Indianapolis ColtsMarlon Mack (Q)- Nyheim Hines
- Jordan Wilkins
Nyheim HinesMarlon Mack (Q)Mack is currently Questionable leading into Week 3. Look for Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins to split touches if Mack doesn't play this weekend.
Jacksonville JaguarsLeonard Fournette- Ryquell Armstead
- Alfred Blue (IR)
Leonard FournetteLeonard FournetteArmstead is a fine handcuff for Fournette owners, but he is fairly irrelevant otherwise.
Kansas City Chiefs- Damien Williams (Q)
- LeSean McCoy (Q)
- Darwin Thompson
- Darrel Williams
LeSean McCoy (Q)Damien Williams (Q)XDam-Will (knee) and Shady McCoy (ankle) are both currently Questionable for Week 3, but Shady was at least a limited participant in 9/19's practice.
Los Angeles ChargersAustin Ekeler- Justin Jackson
- Melvin Gordon (H)
- Austin Ekeler
- Justin Jackson
Austin Ekeler
Ekeler is still dominating the touches/snap % for the Chargers.
Los Angeles RamsTodd Gurley- Malcolm Brown
- Darrell Henderson
- Todd Gurley
- Malcolm Brown
- Todd Gurley
- Malcolm Brown
Todd Gurley had a much larger role in Week 2 compared to Week 1, and we expect that to continue with Malcolm Brown nursing an ankle injury.
Miami Dolphins- Kenyan Drake
- Kalen Ballage
Mark Walton
Kenyan DrakeKalen BallageXMiami has yet to score on the season, and is in full-on tank-mode. Buyer beware!
Minnesota VikingsDalvin Cook- Alexander Mattison
- Ameer Abdullah
Dalvin CookDalvin CookCook continued his stellar play in Week 2, dominating the carries/snap % for Minnesota.
New England Patriots- Sony Michel
- James White
- Rex Burkhead
- Damien Harris
- James White
- Rex Burkhead
- Sony Michel
- James White
- Rex Burkhead
XSony Michel was the lead back in this messy backfield in Week 2. Who will it be this week? Your guess is as good as ours!
New Orleans SaintsAlvin KamaraLatavius Murray
- Alvin Kamara
- Latavius Murray
Alvin KamaraThings remain status quo for New Orleans, but expect both Kamara and Murray to get a potential boost with Drew Brees slated to miss 6-8 weeks.
New York GiantsSaquon BarkleyWayne Gallman
Saquon BarkleySaquon BarkleyThere is no doubt that Saquon Barkley owns this backfield.
New York JetsLe'Veon Bell- Ty Montgomery
- Bilal Powell
Le'Veon BellLe'Veon BellTy Montgomery had nearly 36% of the rushing snaps in Week 2, but only had 3 carries. Bell is still the Bell-cow in N.Y.
Oakland RaidersJosh Jacobs (Q)- Jalen Richard
- DeAndre Washington
Jalen RichardJosh Jacobs (Q)Josh Jacobs is dealing with a slew of ailments (groin, hip, illness), and is currently Questionable to play on Sunday.
Philadelphia Eagles- Miles Sanders
- Jordan Howard
- Corey Clement
- Darren Sproles
Darren Sproles- Miles Sanders
- Jordan Howard
XSanders and Howard had a near 50/50 split in carries in Week 2, while Sproles only had two touches.
Pittsburgh SteelersJames ConnerJaylen Samuels- Jaylen Samuels
- Benny Snell, Jr.
James ConnerJames Conner injured his knee in Week 2, but practiced in-full on 9/19. He should be fine to start on Sunday, and could see an uptick in usage with Mason Rudolph taking over for Big Ben for the rest of the season.
San Francisco 49ers- Raheem Mostert
- Matt Breida
- Jeff Wilson, Jr.
- Tevin Coleman (Q)
- Raheem Mostert
- Matt Breida
- Raheem Mostert
- Jeff Wilson, Jr.
XSan Fran unloaded in Week 2, with Mostert (13), Breida (12), and Wilson (10) all seeing action in the running game. Expect more of the same if Coleman remains out in Week 3.
Seattle SeahawksChris CarsonRashaad PennyRashaad PennyChris CarsonCarson is still the leader in the Seattle backfield, but he only out-carried Penny by 5 carries in Week 2.
Tampa Bay BuccaneersPeyton Barber- Ronald Jones
- Dare Ogunbowale
Dare OgunbowalePeyton BarberPeyton Barber was the go-to-guy in Week 2, dominating the snaps and carries for the Bucs.
Tennessee TitansDerrick HenryDion Lewis- Dion Lewis
- Derrick Henry
- Derrick Henry
- Dion Lewis
Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis were dead-even in rushing snap percentage in Week 2, but Henry had a 5-1 carry ratio compared to Lewis.
Washington RedskinsAdrian Peterson- Chris Thompson
- Derrius Guice (IR)
Chris ThompsonAdrian Peterson
Adrian Peterson only mustered 10 carries in Week 2, but that was more of a game-flow issue with the 'Skins getting dominated by Dallas.

Visit the F6P Fantasy Football Page for more advice for the 2019 season.

About A.J. Applegarth

A.J. has been in the fantasy sports game for so long, that the first fantasy team he ever managed used football box scores from newspapers to calculate points. Since those days, A.J. has taken home numerous fantasy football and baseball championship titles. He has also taken his talents to a few fantasy basketball leagues and countless DFS games in more recent years. A.J. would openly admit that “luck” has been a factor in his two-plus decade-long success in fantasy sports, but he will also be the first one to tell you, “You can’t teach luck!” Catch A.J.’s witty banter and "Beer of the Week" picks on The Fantasy Six Pack Hour Podcast, and follow him on the Twitter-space @AppleGarthAlgar.

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