Fantasy football: Making sense of four committee backfields

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Falcons running back Tevin Coleman caught five passes for a team-high 95 yards Sunday against the Buccaneers. | Jeff Haynes/AP

Fantasy football has its own language. There are terms such as “handcuff” and abbreviations such as “PPR” (point per reception). Then there’s this abbreviation, although it might as well be a curse word:

“RBBC” – running back by committee.

Aside from perhaps “touchdown vulture” or “out for the year,” the term RBBC gives fantasy owners the most fits, and it’s more prevalent these days than ever.

Though we have just one week to go off, we have a better idea now than in the preseason how several RBBCs might look. Here are four:


We figured Tevin Coleman would get his share of the action, but a nearly even split in snaps with Devonta Freeman was unexpected. Freeman’s average draft position (ADP) on was 13; Coleman’s was 134. Freeman played only four more snaps than Coleman, 36-32. Both struggled running the ball, but Coleman separated himself in the passing game, catching five passes for a team-high 95 yards. Remember, Coleman was the Falcons’ starting back to begin last season before he got hurt.

Bottom line: Freeman is an RB2 and Coleman a flex play, but a switch is possible.


The murkiest backfield of them all didn’t do us any favors, and it might get worse. Justin Forsett had 10 carries on 34 snaps and Terrance West 12 on 30. And we don’t know who might get the goal-line work given that the Ravens got no closer than the Bills’ 19-yard line. Plus, rookie Kenneth Dixon, who was having a strong preseason before injuring his knee in the third exhibition game, could return in Week 4. The Ravens’ fourth back, Javorius Allen, was inactive.

Bottom line: No one is worth starting yet.


Christine Michael started and had a big edge over Thomas Rawls in snaps, 52-22. Yet, Michael out-touched Rawls only 17-15. Rookie C.J. Prosise, a potential threat on passing downs, had only nine snaps. Rawls, who is returning from an ankle injury, figures to be the lead back at some point, but Michael had such an impressive offseason and preseason that he’ll still get his work. And if quarterback Russell Wilson’s ankle injury becomes an issue, the Seahawks will rely heavily on both.

Bottom line: They’re flex plays who will have plenty of chances in a run-heavy offense.


This backfield isn’t as murky as it is intriguing. Owners figured DeMarco Murray would be the lead back. His ADP was 37 spots ahead of rookie Derrick Henry. But Henry’s stellar preseason had many wondering how much of the load he’d take. The answer: not much. Murray out-touched Henry 18-7 and had a sizable edge in snaps, 50-21. But fret not, Henry owners. He had the Titans’ longest play of the game, a 29-yard catch and run. His time will come.

Bottom line: Murray is an RB2, and Henry is on your bench, for now.

Follow me on Twitter @JeffreyA22.





Chargers WR Travis Benjamin: He takes the No. 1 spot with Keenan Allen out for the year. He had success as the No. 1 for a bad Browns team last year.

Titans WR Tajae Sharpe: The rookie was targeted 11 times, four more than any other Titan, and his 64 snaps were 27 more than the next wideout.


Browns RB Duke Johnson: The pass-catching back was underused with only three receptions while the team was playing catch-up.

Raiders RB DeAndre Washington: Jalen Richard might be passing him for the backup role behind Latavius Murray, whose hold on the job is tenuous.



Giants RB Rashad Jennings: The Saints picked up where they left off last season, when they allowed the third-most points to RBs. They gave up the second-most in Week 1.

Jaguars QB Blake Bortles: Alex Smith’s second-half performance against the Chargers bodes well for the pass-happy Jaguars.


Dolphins RB Arian Foster: Remove David Johnson’s incredible 45-yard run, and the Patriots held him to an average of three yards on 15 carries.

Colts WR T.Y. Hilton: In three meetings, the Broncos have held him to 50 yards per game with no touchdowns.

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