In relation to fantasy football injuries, Week 2 of the 2020 NFL season will go down as one of the most catastrophic in recent fantasy football history. Saquon Barkley and Christian McCaffrey , the presumptive number one and number two overall picks in preseason drafts, went down with injuries (Barkley’s is season ending). Fantasy players also will have to navigate Week 3 without two big pieces of the 49ers backfield as well. In short, Week 2 proved that you can never roster too many fantasy RBs.

The following is an in-depth look at how some specific teams have managed their backfields thus far this season. We’ve also included analysis’ of how the Giants, Panthers and 49ers backfields might be structured moving forward in post-apocalyptic Week 3 in the NFL.  We hope that the following will help you to better manage your fantasy football team(s).

Carolina Panthers

While he’s telling anyone who will listen that he’ll be back sooner, Christian McCaffrey is expected to miss four to six weeks of the season due to the dreaded high ankle sprain. While very few fantasy RBs can come close to the level of production we’ve come to expect from CMC, Mike Davis , who’ll be starting in his place has shown that he can play at a high level when called upon. In a six game spurt for the Seahawks in 2018 he averaged 4.57 YPC, just over three catches per game, and scored four TDs. Last week he caught eight passes for 74 yards. Should Davis go down next man up would be Trenton Cannon . After that it would be up to Reggie Bonnafon , currently on the team’s practice squad.

Cleveland Browns

Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt are both top 12 fantasy running backs based on total fantasy points and fantasy points scored per game per Fantasy Football Today. The Browns, who are wisely leaning on Chubb and Hunt, are tied for having rushed the ball the sixth most times this season. Apparently Kevin Stefanski and offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt have devised an offensive scheme that will take the pressure off of third year and still developing QB Baker Mayfield who has thrown the 19th fewest passes in football thus far. Sometimes the best way to improve your passing game is to make your running game a bigger part of your overall offense.

Detroit Lions

We’re going to need to be more patient when it comes to the three headed monster comprising the Lions backfield. Week 2 snaps played percentages were as follows: Adrian Peterson 25%, Kerryon Johnson 32%, and D’Andre Swift 34%. Peterson took four of the Lions’ red-zone carries in Week 1, and none in Week 2. Kerryon Johnson had three red-zone carries in Week 2 after having none in Week 1 and Swift had one red-zone carry each in Week 1 and Week 2. The one thing that is clear is that for now, with 10 targets and eight catches Swift is the Lions’ pass catching specialist. However, he’s too talented not to develop into the team’s lead back by the end of the season.

Los Angeles Chargers

There continues to be an interesting distribution of the workload in the Chargers’ backfield. With Justin Jackson nursing a quad injury and inactive in Week 2, Austin Ekeler and rookie Joshua Kelley just about played an equal share of the Chargers’ offensive snaps. Ekeler played 47 snaps (57%), and Kelley played 43 snaps (52%). On the field Kelley carried the ball 23 times compared to 16 for Ekeler. More importantly for our purposes, the two backs are basically running neck and neck when it comes to fantasy points scored per game (FPPG). In PPR scoring formats Ekeler is averaging 14.3 and Kelley is averaging 12.7 FPPG. Kelley may be able to narrow that gap in the coming weeks as he leads Chargers RBs with eight red-zone carries. 

New York Giants

Faced with the monumental task of trying to find a RB who could replace Saquon Barkley for the rest of the season, the Giants chose Devonta Freeman . As this article is being written, the expectation is that he’ll sign a one year contract with the Giants. Some believe that Freeman’s days as a productive RB are behind him and if true, that’s bad news since he’ll be running behind what has been one of the worst offensive lines in football this season. Barkley’s -3 rushing yards before contact demonstrates that there have already been far too many plays where he was getting stopped behind the line of scrimmage. How much of a role Freeman will have in the Giants’ offense in Week 3 depends on his conditioning and how quickly he can learn the basics of the Giants’ playbook. Once he’s up to speed Freeman will likely work as the Giants’ early down back with Dion Lewis serving a change of pace role as well as a third down pass catching option. If Freeman can only fill a limited role this week look for Lewis and possibly Wayne Gallman to split the workload out of the Giants’ backfield. The Giants also have the option of activating Rod Smith off of their practice squad if they choose. 

San Francisco 49ers

While it wasn’t official as this article is being written, Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman are both unlikely to play in Week 3. Many believe that Jeff Wilson, who has a total of 95 carries in his NFL career will likely be the busiest 49ers RB this week. Wilson joined the 49ers in 2018 and has been fairly effective when called upon. He can get it done on the ground as well as through the air. Jerick McKinnon has resurrected his career after spending the 2018 and 2019 seasons recovering from a torn ACL. He has a rushing and receiving TD on the young season, but his strength is his ability to catch passes out of the backfield. He averaged 47 catches from 2016 to 2017. The 49ers may also choose to promote undrafted rookie Jamycal Hasty from their practice squad. Hasty averaged 5.2 YPC and recorded 79 catches during his four-year college career.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Ronald Jones II era (was it technically an era or an error) is likely officially over. Leonard Fournette rushed for 103 yards on 12 carries, scored 2 TDs and caught 4 passes for 13 yards in Week 2. Two of his carries went for at least 25 yards. He played 26 offensive snaps (43%), while Jones II played 21 snaps (34%). Jones managed to score a TD but will likely have a supporting role behind Fournette moving forward. LeSean McCoy seems to have settled into a pass catching back role. Rookie Ke’Shawn Vaughn hasn’t seen the field in the first two weeks of the season.


TeamPrimary RBChange of Pace3rd Down BackHandcuffIR/PUP/Susp.Note
Arizona CardinalsKenyan DrakeChase Edmonds Chase Edmonds  
Atlanta FalconsTodd GurleyBrian Hill/Ito Smith Brian Hill  
Baltimore RavensMark IngramGus Edwards/J.K. DobbinsJ.K. DobbinsJ.K. Dobbins  
Buffalo BillsDevin SingletaryZack Moss Zack Moss  
Carolina PanthersMike Davis  Trenton Cannon Christian McCaffrey expected to miss several weeks due to a high ankle sprain
Chicago BearsDavid MontgomeryTarik Cohen/Cordarrelle PattersonTarik CohenRyan Nall/Tarik Cohen  
Cincinnati BengalsJoe MixonGiovani BernardGiovani BernardGiovani Bernard Trayveon Williams was inactive Week 1 and Week 2
Cleveland BrownsNick ChubbKareem HuntKareem HuntKareem Hunt  
Dallas CowboysEzekiel ElliottTony Pollard Tony Pollard  
Denver BroncosMelvin GordonRoyce Freeman Royce Freeman Phillip Lindsay will likely be out this week due to a toe sprain
Detroit LionsAdrian Peterson/Kerryon JohnsonD'Andre SwiftD'Andre SwiftD'Andre SwiftBo Scarbrough 
Green Bay PackersAaron JonesJamaal Williams/A.J. DillonJamaal WilliamsJamaal Williams  
Houston TexansDavid JohnsonDuke Johnson Duke Johnson Duke Johnson was inactive in Week 2 due to an ankle injury
Indianapolis ColtsJonathan TaylorJordan WilkinsNyheim HinesJordan WilkinsMarlon Mack 
Jacksonville JaguarsJames Robinson Chris ThompsonJames RobinsonRyquell Armstead/Devine Ozigbo 
Kansas City ChiefsClyde Edwards-HelaireDarrel Williams/Darwin Thompson Darrel Williams  
Las Vegas RaidersJosh JacobsDevontae Booker/Jalen RichardDevontae BookerJalen Richard/Devontae Booker  
Los Angeles ChargersAustin EkelerJoshua Kelley/Justin Jackson Joshua Kelley/Justin Jackson Justin Jackson missed Week 2 due to a quad injury. Watch his progress.
Los Angeles RamsDarrell Henderson/Malcolm BrownCam Akers   Cam Akers suffered a rib injury in Week 2. Watch his progress.
Miami DolphinsMyles GaskinJordan Howard/Matt Breida Matt Breida  
Minnesota VikingsDalvin CookAlexander Mattison Alexander Mattison  
New England PatriotsSony MichelRex BurkheadJames WhiteRex Burkhead/James WhiteDamien Harris 
New Orleans SaintsAlvin KamaraLatavius MurrayTy MontgomeryLatavius Murray  
New York GiantsDevonta FreemanDion Lewis/Wayne Gallman Wayne Gallman/Dion LewisSaquon Barkley 
New York JetsFrank GoreLa'Mical Perine/Kalen Ballage La'Mical Perine/Kalen BallageLe'Veon Bell 
Philadelphia EaglesMiles SandersBoston Scott/Corey Clement Boston Scott/Corey Clement  
Pittsburgh SteelersJames ConnerBenny SnellJaylen SamuelsBenny Snell  
San Francisco 49ersJeff WilsonJerick McKinnonJerick McKinnonJerick McKinnon Raheem Mostert/Tevin Coleman are likely to miss time
Seattle SeahawksChris CarsonCarlos Hyde/Travis Homer Carlos HydeRashaad PennyDallas was a healthy scratch in Week 1 and 2
Tampa Bay BuccaneersLeonard FournetteRonald Jones IILeSean McCoyRonald Jones II  
Tennessee TitansDerrick Henry Darrynton EvansJeremy McNichols/Darrynton Evans Darrynton Evans has been inactive Week 1 and 2 due to a hamstring injury
Washington TeamAntonio GibsonJ.D. McKissic J.D. McKissic/Peyton Barber