Every week Committee Meetings breaks down some top storylines from the league's most head-scratching backfield committees in hopes of gaining some clarity for fantasy owners. If you're wondering about a backfield that's not discussed below, feel free to Tweet @MattFranchise for some additional advice.
» It made SO MUCH sense that Jonathan Stewart (20.6 fantasy points) would have his best game of the season (86 total yards, 2 TDs) against a Seattle defense that had allowed the least fantasy points in the entire league to running backs over the previous four weeks. NOT. Stewart defied all logic and posted nearly 46 percent of his fantasy points for the season in a single game. But he was probably on your bench.
» In his return after sitting out with a hamstring injury for two games, LeSean McCoy played well despite the fact that his team was dominated by the Bengals in a 34-21 loss. Having the backfield all to himself probably helped (Shady played on 81 percent of Buffalo's offensive snaps). He averaged 5.3 yards per carry on his 17 attempts and managed a garbage time TD in the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach. Fantasy owners will take that.
» We're happy to welcome Lamar Miller (17.8 fantasy points) back to fantasy relevancy. Following a coaching staff overhaul coming out of a bye, Miami committed to the run game early, and was successful in doing so. For the first time this season, Miller came through for fantasy owners with 119 yards, a touchdown and saw 21 touches in the game. If this is the kind of volume we can expect from Miller going forward, he'll be a must-start each week.
» The Chiefs' backfield was a huge disappointment (I'm looking at you Charcandrick West 1.90 fantasy points] and [Knile Davis [2.50 fantasy points]) for owners who fell victim to any of the following situations:
A) Suffered a the loss of Jamaal Charles last week
B) Spent a chunk of their FAAB or waiver priority on either West or Davis prior to Week 6
C) Started either one of aforementioned RBs this week in hopes that one would step up in Charles' stead, which simply did not happen
» Since Matt Jones was listed as inactive with a toe injury, Alfred Morris owners may have had a glimmer of optimism on Sunday morning, even against a tough Jets run defense. But that hope was squashed with authority as Morris collected just 21 yards on 11 carries (that's 1.9 YPC). Chris Thompson also got some work again with 11 touches, but even he couldn't get much going with just 38 total yards. Just a bad day all around (or really a bad last few weeks) for the Washington backfield.
Bengals split success
Jeremy Hill | Giovani Bernard // Bengals
On the season, Giovani Bernard has far out-snapped Jeremy Hill by a count of 237 to 165. But in Week 6 it was Hill who saw the majority of the snaps. Not like it mattered as both running backs got into the end zone in a rout against the Bills. Still, Bernard was more efficient with his touches than Hill was, and has been extremely consistent for fantasy owners, with double-digit fantasy points in four of six games this year.
As a fantasy asset, Hill remains extremely touchdown dependent (56 percent of his 59.9 total fantasy points have come from TDs) while Bernard can still put up usable points even when he's not scoring. On the other side of their Week 7 bye, the Bengals face some decent RB matchups where both Bernard and Hill will be startable options with upcoming games against Cleveland and Houston in Weeks 9 and 10.
The Lions backfield is a mess
Ameer Abdullah | Theo Riddick | Zach Zenner | Joique Bell // Lions
Through six games, the Lions rank dead last in the NFL in rushing yards per game, averaging a paltry 66.5 per game. Things have gotten so bad that there are 10 individual running backs that have more total rushing yards this year than the Lions do as a team. To make matters worse, preseason fantasy darling Ameer Abdullah fumbled for the fourth time in six games. He was able to recover the ball, but apparently injured his arm on the play which led to more reps for Theo Riddick and Zach Zenner. Unfortunately, Zenner suffered a season-ending rib/lung injury in the game and was placed on IR on Monday.
That leaves Riddick as a very appealing waiver wire pickup heading into Week 7. Riddick saw 42 snaps on Sunday against Chicago and had more rushing attempts, seven, than he's had all season. For now though, this backfield is a mess that should be avoided at all costs in standard scoring leagues, though Riddick should get consideration in PPR formats, where he's currently the RB14. That's about it.
Chris Johnson ineffective
Chris Johnson | Andre Ellington | David Johnson // Cardinals
No surprise here as Chris Johnson led the backfield in terms of volume once again. But this week against the Steelers, Johnson had some trouble with efficiency averaging just 2.9 yards per carry. The biggest knock against CJ2K this season, even though he's dominated Arizona's backfield carries, is that he has just two touchdowns all year, both of which came in the same game back in Week 3. Still, if you're going to start one of these guys, C. Johnson is the best weekly option over Andre Ellington and David Johnson who combined for just seven touches. Clearly, last week's question of whether or not all three Cardinals RBs were every week fantasy starters has been answered.
The answer is no, in case you weren't following along.
Turbin taps in
Isaiah Crowell | Duke Johnson Jr. | Robert Turbin // Browns
While rookie Duke Johnson continued to lead the way in playing time out of the Browns backfield, the big news this week for Cleveland was the addition of another runner. Just what we need, right? Former Seahawks RB Robert Turbin, who has been out since suffering a high ankle sprain during the preseason, made his 2015 debut on Sunday. The Browns leaned on Turbin late in the game and he came away with 10 carries for 27 yards against a tough Broncos defense.
If there's a job that Turbin is threatening here, it'd be Crowell's and not Johnson's. This is a backfield we're going to need to keep an eye on in the coming weeks to see if Turbin can make a run for a bigger role, but from what we've seen so far, it seems like Johnson's passing-down niche will remain and he should continue to play on more snaps than both Crowell and Turbin. That volume is what keeps Johnson a more relevant fantasy play than the other two.
Gordon spends second half on sidelines
Danny Woodhead | Melvin Gordon | Branden Oliver // Chargers
In a game where Philip Rivers attempted 65 passes, it's no surprise that the Chargers RBs had a collectively disappointing game. Melvin Gordon, Danny Woodhead and Branden Oliver each had seven rush attempts and combined for just 60 yards on the ground. Woodhead at least gained 63 receiving yards on five catches, somewhat salvaging his day for fantasy owners, especially in PPR formats. But Gordon was a complete bust, with two fumbles, (one lost) in the first half. The rookie was in the doghouse after that and didn't touch the ball once in the second half (he also suffered a foot injury). Oliver got the nod over Gordon, but with the Chargers playing catch-up the entire game, Woodhead was the playing time leader. Gordon has now lost three fumbles this season, hasn't scored a single touchdown and has yet to post a double-digit fantasy outing in standard scoring leagues. That leaves Woodhead as the only safe RB to play in this backfield going forward.
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Matt Franciscovich is an associate fantasy editor at NFL.com. He wants you to know that this My Morning Jacket "Compound Fracture" remix by Giorgio Moroder & Roman Luth is straight fire. Hit him up on Twitter **@MattFranchise** for music recommendations and fantasy advice.