The Seahawks backfield has been in constant flux over the last few weeks. Christine Michael had a firm grasp on the job for most of the season before it was apparent he was on the decline with the snap rates going down each week and the return of C.J. Prosise. Then he was cut with the return of Thomas Rawls. Just two weeks ago, Prosise was heading in the direction of the back to own in Seattle and then it got murky with the return of Rawls last week. It's clear now that Rawls will be the back to own going forward after Prosise suffered a shoulder injury that will keep him out for several weeks. Rawls looked good in his return last week against the Eagles. Rawls had 14 carries for 57 yards and caught three passes for 31 yards. The Seahawks offense is clicking now, and Rawls is looking at 15-20 touches per week. Alex Collins will be the backup to Rawls.
Green Bay Packers
James Starks is the lead back again after returning from knee surgery in Week 10. Ty Montgomery hasn't been used in the backfield as much with Starks back and the Packers recently signed Christine Michael, who didn't suit up last week. Starks is the guy to own here, but he's not very exciting. The Packers defense has been atrocious over the last several games. They can't stop anyone. They fall behind and become pass heavy. Starks had ten touches in Week 10 and 14 in Week 11. He had 16 carries and eight receptions in those games and scored a receiving touchdown in each game. Starks is nothing special and lacks elusiveness. Montgomery has 12 touches over the last two games. Don't expect Michael to become relevant in the next few games.
This backfield has been a headache all season. When coach Doug Pederson said Ryan Mathews is the lead back, Mathews played less than ten snaps. When Pederson said Sproles was the lead back, Mathews had 19 carries for 109 yards and two touchdowns. Mathews injured his knee last week, and we have no detailed update. Based on his injury history, I guess he won't play in Week 12, and unfortunately, the Eagles play the Packers Monday night. Sproles fractured a rib last week and is expected to play in Week 12. Wendell Smallwood should be the early-down back if Mathews is out. Smallwood should be added in all leagues. In the limited sample we have seen Smallwood this season, he has looked good. With a fractured rib, logic would say not to use Sproles between the tackles too often, and that would lead to more touches for Smallwood. Kenjon Barner could get more touches, too.
New England Patriots
For much of the season, the chaos for the Patriots backfield has been as silent as the "g" in lasagna. Fantasy players haven't been able to trust this backfield for the last several seasons. For most of the year, it has been a lot of LeGarrette Blount and James White. We knew where the touches were going. Blount had at least 13 carries in nine of 10 games and scored a touchdown in eight games. White has at least nine points in PPR formats in six of 10 games. Now, the chaos is back. Dion Lewis made his season debut last week and looked good. Last week, seemed like the perfect spot for Blount against the 49ers, who have been abysmal against the run. Blount had 19 carries for 124 yards, but as usual didn't have a reception and didn't find the end zone. He played on 45 percent of the snaps. White played 31 percent of the snaps, and Lewis was at 27 percent. White had no carries and caught six passes for 63 yards with a touchdown and Lewis had five carries for 23 yards and caught three passes for 26 yards. Blount would seem to be safe, but with fewer snaps ahead and him being so touchdown dependent, he's not as a lock as he has been. White has been excellent, but Lewis was a RB1 when he played last season. The Patriots offense is one of the best. If there is any team that can allow three running backs to have value, it's this team, but they all won't produce every week. Keep in mind the Patriots didn't have Rob Gronkowski last week.