As we head into Week 3 of the NFL season, we fantasy football managers have already been subjected to plenty of flip flopping when it comes to running back utilization. It’s still very early in the season but fluctuating snap counts, number of carries and receiving targets are already making some of us second guess our preseason RB projections and hindering our lineup decisions. It seems that all too often “minor” injuries suddenly cause our anticipated starting RBs to be featured on pre-game inactive lists. Let’s take a closer look at a few of football’s fantasy relevant backfields that you should keep your eye on as you try to anticipate potential future RB usage after Week 2 of the NFL season. 


NFL Week 2 Running Back Usage Report


The Ravens backfield continues to be one to avoid when it comes to fantasy football. Together, Mike Davis (31% of offensive snaps), Kenyan Drake (25%) and Justice Hill (36%) formed a fantasy irrelevant three headed monster in Week 2. Not surprisingly, QB Lamar Jackson led the Ravens rushing ground game with 119 rushing yards. Perhaps J.K. Dobbins, when he finally makes his 2022 season debut, may eventually  become a Ravens RB worthy of being started in fantasy football lineups at some point during the season.


Watch Alvin Kamara’s progress leading up to his Week 3 matchup against the Panthers. He was inactive in Week 2 due to a rib injury that initially wasn’t considered to be too serious. While he was sidelined last week Mark Ingram led the Saints’ backfield with 10 carries for 60 yards while Tony Jones Jr. played more of a passing down role. He lEd Ingram in routes run by a 23 to nine margin.


James Conner suffered an ankle injury during Week 2’s contest against the Raiders. Again, early reports indicated that this won’t be a long-term injury, but should Conner be unavailable for Week 3 we might see a 50/50 split between Eno Benjamin and Darrel Williams. Benjamin had three red zone carries and was targeted four times in the passing game last week. Williams had one goal line carry which resulted in a TD, and he was targeted three times by QB Kyler Murray.



After virtually splitting offensive snaps in Week 1 (40 to 38) Ezekiel Elliott played a significantly higher number of snaps (41) than Tony Pollard (24) in Week 2. Pollard had the better day in fantasy, besting Elliott in fantasy points scored by a 19.8 to 5.9 margin in PPR scoring formats. Pollard had an increased role in the Cowboys’ passing game (7 targets, 4 catches for 55 yards) than Elliott (2 targets, 1 catch), while Elliott had 15 carries to Pollard’s nine. Pollard had the team’s only goal line carry (a reward for grabbing a 46-yard reception that came up just short of the goal line on the previous play). Look for Elliott and Pollard to continue to operate as RB1 and RB1A moving forward. Elliott should continue to get slightly more carries than Pollard, and his above average pass protection skills will ensure that he’ll play a significant number of snaps every week. Although Elliott is also a good pass catcher, Pollard will likely continue to be the back that the Cowboys rely on a bit more in their passing game. 


Raheem Mostert saw his carries more than double from just five in Week 1, to 11 in Week 2. He took over as the Dolphins’ primary early down back against the Ravens on Sunday, replacing the ineffective Chase Edmonds, who carried the ball 12 times in Week 1 and posted a lackluster 2.08 YPC. Edmonds and Mostert each had three targets in Week 2, but Edmonds was the Dolphins back used in a majority of the game’s passing down situations. Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel is certainly familiar with Mostert after spending five seasons as a member of the 49ers coaching staff. Four of those seasons were spent as the team’s run game coordinator. That familiarity may initially help Mostert maintain his expanded role in the Dolphins’ rushing attack, but it should be noted that the 49ers often used a hot hand approach in managing their backfield. In order to continue to get significant reps every week, Mostert will need to be productive on a consistent basis. 


As expected, Jeff Wilson played the majority of the 49ers’ early down snaps in Week 2 with Elijah Mitchell sidelined. Wilson played 37 offensive snaps, carrying the ball 18 times and he averaged 4.67 YPC. Tyrion Davis-Price was also very active, but unfortunately, he wasn’t as effective as Wilson. Davis-Price played 30 snaps, rushed the ball 14 times (two of which were from the seven-yard line or closer), but he only averaged 2.36 YPC. Unfortunately, Davis-Price suffered a high ankle sprain which is expected to keep him out of action for the next few weeks. Look for Jordan Mason and Marlon Mack (who was elevated from the 49ers practice squad) to back up Wilson in Week 3. Full back Kyle Juszczyk may not have much fantasy value, but just like he’s done sporadically in the past, he carried the ball from the Seahawk 1-yard line on Sunday and vultured a potential TD away from Wilson. His occasional use in the 49ers passing game (he had three targets last week) may also cut into Wilson’s fantasy production as well. 


D’Andre Swift was limited against the Commanders on Sunday due to an ankle injury, but he still managed to play 51% of the Lions’ offensive snaps. Should he be forced to miss time due to his injury he has a very capable backup in Jamaal WilliamsWilliams leads the NFL with nine red zone carries on the season. TDs are tough to predict but when a RB like Williams is getting a big chunk of his teams’ short yardage and goal line carries, he has the potential for standalone fantasy value as an RB2 or a flex option in deeper leagues. 


Don’t forget to utilize our Fantasy Football Running Back Handcuff Grid throughout the week. 

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