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Week 11: Four Complicated Backfields

Senior Fantasy Football Expert Adam Ronis discusses four messy backfields from a Fantasy Football perspective!

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Seattle Seahawks

At least we received some clarity here on Tuesday as the Seahawks waived Christine Michael. It was clear the Seahawks weren't enamored with Michael the last few weeks as his snaps kept trending down. Four weeks ago, Michael played 73 percent of the snaps, and it was down to 15.7 percent in Week 10.  C.J. Prosise took over the backfield against the Patriots Sunday night, and Thomas Rawls is slated to return this week. Prosise had 17 carries for 66 yards and seven catches for 87 yards against the Patriots. He's a better fit for the passing game, but the Seahawks weren't hesitant to use him as the main back. Rawls was impressive last season when he was given the opportunity. He had 905 total yards, five touchdowns and averaged 5.6 yards per carry. Rawls had an ankle injury towards the end of the 2015 regular season, and it lingered into training camp allowing Michael to be the lead back. Rawls played limited snaps in Week 1 before he got injured with a hairline fracture in his fibula. Based on the release of Michael, one would think Rawls is ready to return this week against the Eagles. The Seahawks have a difficult schedule remaining, facing several teams that haven't allowed many Fantasy points to running backs. The Seahawks will face the Eagles, Buccaneers, Panthers, Packers, Rams and Cardinals in Week 16. While the Seahawks have passed more compared to recent seasons, they still want to run the football. Both Rawls and Prosise need to be owned in all leagues. The Seahawks are very high on Prosise, and he will be utilized in the passing game. He might not get as many touches on the ground if Rawls shows he's healthy. This appears to be a split backfield the rest of the way.

Green Bay Packers

The Packers clearly didn't want to ease James Starks back in after missing four weeks due to knee surgery. In his first game back in Week 10, Starks played 71 percent of the snaps. He had seven carries for 33 yards and caught three passes for 11 yards with a touchdown. The Packers were behind the whole game and could have easily rested Starks down the stretch, but they didn't. It's one game, but it seems like the Packers want to go with a more traditional back like Starks instead of Montgomery, who is more of a wide receiver. Montgomery played 28 percent of the snaps in Week 10, his lowest number since Week 5. Many were excited a few weeks back when Montgomery received eligibility at running back on some sites, but right now you can't start Montgomery. Starks is going to get the majority of the touches in the backfield, and with Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams and Randall Cobb at wide receiver, there are not enough touches for Montgomery to be Fantasy relevant.

Philadelphia Eagles

There's no logic to what the Eagles are doing in the backfield. Ryan Mathews is good enough to use near the goal line, yet on third-and-1 they will pound the diminutive Darren Sproles between the tackles. In Week 8, Mathews had four carries for 10 yards with a touchdown against the Cowboys and played eight snaps. The following week, he played eight snaps again and had five carries for 15 yards with a touchdown against the Giants. After coach Doug Pederson had said Mathews was the lead back, before Week 10, he said it was Sproles. So guess what happened in Week 10 against the Falcons? Mathews played 26 snaps and had 19 carries, his most since a season-high 22 in Week 1. Mathews rushed for 109 yards with two touchdowns and caught two passes for 30 yards. Sproles, who played 63 snaps in Week 8 and 60 in Week 9, played 31 snaps in Week 10 and had two carries for 19 yards and caught eight passes for 57 yards. Sproles had 28 carries total between Weeks 9 and 10. As you can see, there is no predictability here. We do know Sproles will be utilized in the passing game, so he's a low-end RB2 most weeks. Mathews is a wild card. He is averaging 4.2 yards per carry and has seven rushing touchdowns on 95 carries, but it's difficult to predict his usage. Mathews can't be started every week and is better used in deeper formats.

Baltimore Ravens

The thirst for the Kenneth Dixon train to get rolling has been there for weeks. Many expected the talented rookie to take over the Ravens backfield once he was healthy eventually. He didn't look great when he first hit the field in Week 5, and he had nine touches his first three games. After the bye for the Ravens in Week 8, coach John Harbaugh said he wanted to use Dixon more. Dixon had nine carries for 13 yards and two receptions for no yards in Week 9 against the Steelers, but starter Terrance West wasn't much better. Dixon looked the best he has all season in Week 10, although it was against a putrid Browns defense. Dixon had six carries for 38 yards and caught five passes for 42 yards on seven targets. West had 21 carries for 65 yards and caught a 12-yard pass. Averaging just over three yards per carry against the Browns isn't encouraging. The Ravens offensive line is part of the problem, and they could be without two starters this week against the Cowboys. Dixon is on the rise and has carved out a role in the passing game. This shapes up as a better week for Dixon and is the running back to own in this backfield going forward. If Dixon is still available, scoop him up.


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