Rex Burkhead’s touches are bound to fluctuate a ton throughout 2018, making him a difficult player to project in fantasy. (Credit: AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Last week we had some surprises when it came to running back workloads, Cough cough Philip Lindsay. Luckily as the season rolls on we get a better sense of how teams will be handling their backfield’s timeshare. But right when everything is sounding like fantasy owners’ stress levels will come down, we continue to get surprised. Here’s the breakdown of RB touches thus far, sorted from most week two touches to fewest. 

Player Team Week 2 Touches Week 1 Touches Season Total Average
Saquon Barkley NYG 25 21 46 23
Todd Gurley LAR 22 23 45 22.5
Joe Mixon CIN 22 22 44 22
Ezekiel Elliott DAL 22 17 39 19.5
Christian McCaffrey CAR 22 16 38 19
Marshawn Lynch OAK 20 10 30 15
Tevin Coleman ATL 20 10 30 15
Alvin Kamara NO 19 17 36 18
Kareem Hunt KC 19 16 35 17.5
Jamaal Williams GB 19 15 34 17
Derrick Henry TEN 18 11 29 14.5
Carlos Hyde CLE 17 23 40 20
Jordan Howard CHI 17 20 37 18.5
Peyton Barber TB 17 19 36 18
Chris Thompson WAS 17 11 28 14
Lamar Miller HOU 16 21 37 18.5
Alfred Morris SF 16 12 28 14
Melvin Gordon LAC 15 24 39 19.5
Dion Lewis TEN 15 21 36 18
Phillip Lindsay DEN 15 17 32 16
Kenyan Drake MIA 15 17 32 16
Adrian Peterson WAS 14 28 42 21
David Johnson ARI 14 14 28 14
Matt Breida SF 14 12 26 13
Austin Ekeler LAC 14 10 24 12
Isaiah Crowell NYJ 14 10 24 12
James Conner PIT 13 36 49 24.5
Dalvin Cook MIN 13 22 35 17.5
Kerryon Johnson DET 13 8 21 10.5
LeSean McCoy BUF 13 7 20 10
Alex Collins BAL 12 8 20 10
T.J. Yeldon JAX 12 17 29 14.5
Jordan Wilkins IND 12 17 29 14.5
Marlon Mack IND 11 DNP 11 11
Sony Michel NE 11 DNP 11 11
James White NE 11 9 20 10
Corey Clement PHI 11 5 16 8
Bilal Powell NYJ 10 13 23 11.5
Rashaad Penny SEA 10 11 21 10.5
Frank Gore MIA 10 9 19 9.5
Giovani Bernard CIN 10 2 12 6
Royce Freeman DEN 8 15 23 11.5
Jay Ajayi PHI 8 15 23 11.5
Rex Burkhead NE 6 19 25 12.5
Chris Carson SEA 6 10 16 8
Chase Edmonds ARI 6 8 14 7
Nyheim Hines IND 5 12 17 8.5
Kenneth Dixon BAL DNP 13 13 13
Leonard Fournette JAX DNP 12 12 12
Devonta Freeman ATL DNP 9 9 9
Darren Sproles PHI DNP 9 9 9

Trending Up:

Austin Ekeler

Ekeler is looking better and better every week. He is making the most of his opportunities. Week one he had 5 carries for 39 yards and caught all 5 of his targets for 87 yards and a touchdown. Week two Ekeler touched the ball 14 times for 98 yards, a majority of those (77) on the ground. Also keep in mind that Melvin Gordon needed some medical attention in the fourth quarter this past week which led to Ekeler outworking him.  If the Chargers offensive success continues, it is a good possibility that Ekeler is worth a flex play even with a healthy Melvin Gordon. Don’t shy away because Ekeler will lack carries behind Gordon, Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram both finished as top 10 running backs in fantasy last year in the same backfield. I’m not saying that the combo of Ekeler-Gordon is as talented, but it is rare that backfields can have multiple running backs put up great fantasy numbers like you may see here. The Chargers have something very special in these two.

Derrick Henry

After week one I was down on Derrick Henry because of his lack of carries. Week two that changed as he got 18 carries compared to 10 in week one. However, it did not lead to more success like you’d expect. The Titans without Mariota struggle more in the run game as defenses do not need to focus on Blaine Gabbert the way they do Mariota. Henry is not multidimensional in that he is not a good receiving back. This leads to more time on the sideline for Henry and more time on the field for Dion Lewis. I do think that Henry will improve his 2.9 YPC he is currently at but for now, keep him on your bench until you see signs that he can produce on a week-to-week basis.  

Tevin Coleman

Tevin Coleman was a huge beneficiary of Devonta Freeman’s injury. Everyone figured that they would enjoy a nice two weeks of Coleman getting a good bulk of the carries, but it may be even more. Freeman is out with a knee contusion and is not going to be rushed back. At this point it is looking like Tevin Coleman owners will have the joy of his role as the Falcons starter for 3-4 weeks. Coleman received 16 carries this past week compared to 9 carries in week one. With those 16 carries he tallied up 107 rushing yards. Coleman is sitting pretty at 5.0 YPC this season and on a Falcons team already hit with two major injuries on the defensive side of the ball in Keanu Neal and Deion Jones. The Falcons have no other option but to keep the offense rolling if they want a chance at the playoffs. Until Freeman comes back, consider Coleman a fringe RB1.

Trending Down:

Adrian Peterson

AP received 26 carries in week one totaling 96 yards on the ground and a TD. Week two he only received 11 carries as the Redskins offense could not do much. The Redskins went down to the Colts early which made them lean on the passing game more than they had hoped. Peterson is not anything close to the receiver that Chris Thompson is out of the backfield. And regardless of the score, Thompson is always a good bet to steal some significant touches. Those touches just get multiplied whenever the Redskins are down. As great as it is to own AP, it is about the numbers, not the names. And until AP can produce good numbers consistently he isn’t an ideal start in 10-team leagues. View him as a flex or low-end RB2 in 12 team leagues.

James Conner

After week one, James Conner was walking on water. He was a gift from the fantasy gods for those that picked him up. But after getting 31 carries for 135 yards rushing and two touchdowns in week one, he only received 8 carries for 17 yards this past week. This may not be a case where Conner did anything poorly, rather it was about what the Steelers had to do against the Chiefs to have a chance to win. The Chiefs offense was absolutely on fire, the Steelers could not stop them at all. They had no other choice but to counter that by moving the ball through the air most of the day. Big Ben attempted a whopping 60 passes for 452 yards, along with 3 touchdowns. It did not leave Conner excluded as he did get work in the pass game again catching 5 passes for 48 yards. With nobody relevant on the depth chart behind Conner, he is going to get a huge workload until Bell comes back. He is trending down to many people based off the stats but take advantage of this now and maybe make a trade for Conner. People see the drop in fantasy points from week one to two but keep in mind that he still managed to rack up 13 fantasy points. He is a threat to put up 20+ points every week. Buy low and enjoy the RB1 stats that he will provide for many weeks to come.

Rex Burkhead

This is just your typical Patriots backfield, not knowing which running back is going to be the one to start on a given week. Unfortunately for Burkhead, I don’t think he should be someone you start this season unless Sony Michel gets hurt again. Burkhead had 6 carries week two with Michel back compared to his 18 carries he received week one. It was a very tough matchup vs the Jaguars defense but seeing that Michel had a bigger workload than Burkhead in his first NFL game, it tells me that the Patriots have a lot of confidence in their first-round pick. In addition, the fact that the passing game mostly belongs to James White at the RB position makes it even more important to get carries as that is where the points will have to come from. Leave Burkhead on your bench in this loaded Patriots offense.

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