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The 2010 Ultimate RBBC Report
David Dorey
August 13, 2010
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The reality with runners sharing carries is twofold really. Running backs split the load because that is the offensive scheme employed or because there simply is no known "best" runner for the team. In many cases, the lack of that dominant runner is due to injury or the team has a new set of runners. No coach yanks a hot player from a game just to satisfy a game plan. They will use what works and what wins. For some teams, that means more than one runner. Unfortunately for us in the fantasy world, there is a fundamental change going on in the NFL with so many teams opting to use multiple running backs in each game.

The statistics you will see show who the primary ball carrier was for each team for each game during the last two years. The stats are computed by each game played and which running back had the most plays in that game. Sum it up and you get how many games each player was the primary ball carrier for his team and the averages of all runs and catches of all team rushers in those games. Reviewing this from a per game perspective is much more accurate than merely doing math on total season numbers. For our purposes, I am defining a team to be RBBC if the lead carrier does not receive at least 75% of the rushing plays considering all runners used in a game, including fullbacks.

Let's take a look at what we are likely to see with how running backs are used this season:

Team By Team Review of 2008 and 2009 Primary Carrier Stats and How They Apply to 2010

Arizona Cardinals   % of All RBs in Gm Avg. Rushing Receiving
Gms Plays Runs Rcvs Plays Att Yards TD Catches Yards TDs
2008 Edgerrin James 6 65% 70% 35% 20 18 72 0.5 2 13 0.0
  Tim Hightower 10 62% 67% 47% 13 10 29 0.5 2 15 0.0
2009 Tim Hightower 9 61% 55% 78% 15 10 39 0.6 5 36 0.0
  Beanie Wells 7 57% 66% 22% 17 15 73 1.0 1 16 0.0

The Cardinals have been very consistent in how they use their backfield and the primary back has been right around 65% of the runs but this year will be different with Kurt Warner and Anquan Boldin gone. The intent is a more balanced offense with more rushing and that should only help Beanie Wells. But Hightower has been a very big contributor to this offense and last year was the third down back as well. Wells will have more rushing attempts but there is no pretense that Hightower fades into the background. It looks like the same as last year only with more rushing attempts for Wells.

Atlanta Falcons   % of All RBs in Gm Avg. Rushing Receiving
Gms Plays Runs Rcvs Plays Att Yards TD Catches Yards TDs
2008 Michael Turner 16 70% 78% 9% 24 24 106 1.1 0.4 3 0.0
2009 Michael Turner 9 68% 78% 13% 19 19 84 1.1 1 4 0.0
  Jason Snelling 6 66% 66% 67% 21 18 75 0.7 3 24 0.0
  Jerious Norwood 1 52% 52% 50% 13 11 18 0.0 2 24 0.0

A healthy Michael Turner always had 78% of the runs for the Falcons and when he was out last year, the team went to more of a committee backfield. Turner should be back and healthy again with no need to share. His lack of receptions hurts his fantasy stock and even lowers his overall fantasy impact, but Turner will again be a primary back without a committee. The Falcons have spoken to using Turner less to prevent wear and tear, but his role as a runner is safe on this team.

Baltimore Ravens   % of All RBs in Gm Avg. Rushing Receiving
Gms Plays Runs Rcvs Plays Att Yards TD Catches Yards TDs
2008 Le'Ron McClain 8 57% 62% 15% 21 21 83 1.0 1 4 0.0
  Ray Rice 4 51% 48% 57% 19 14 65 0.0 4 31 0.0
  Willis McGahee 4 58% 62% 30% 24 22 85 1.0 2 14 0.0
2009 Ray Rice 15 66% 65% 70% 21 16 87 0.5 5 44 0.1
  Willis McGahee 1 47% 56% 22% 17 15 79 2.0 2 10 0.0

Ray Rice certainly made good on his opportunities last year though his rushing scores still lagged. He's a well-muscled beast but the Ravens still like to use Willis McGahee in a supporting role and also for short yardage runs. While Rice only had 66% of the plays last year, he averaged five catches per game and was a star in reception point leagues. This remains a committee backfield of sorts but with plenty of opportunities for Rice to churn out stats.

Buffalo Bills   % of All RBs in Gm Avg. Rushing Receiving
Gms Plays Runs Rcvs Plays Att Yards TD Catches Yards TDs
2008 Fred Jackson 2 69% 65% 100% 21 19 90 0.5 2 35 0.0
  Marshawn Lynch 14 70% 73% 57% 20 17 72 0.5 3 21 0.1
2009 Fred Jackson 10 77% 77% 79% 22 18 86 0.2 4 31 0.2
  Marshawn Lynch 6 60% 57% 74% 17 13 42 0.2 4 24 0.0

Fred Jackson took over last year and was a clearly preferred runner when he was the primary back. He had over 75% of both the runs and catches by running backs and would be a good draft pick this year but the Bills drafted C.J. Spiller as the first running back taken in April and he'll at least cut into the workload. This has to be considered a committee now and Spiller may not be big enough to ever take over. A new offensive coordinator in Curtis Modkins throws even more doubt into the equation.

Carolina Panthers   % of All RBs in Gm Avg. Rushing Receiving
Gms Plays Runs Rcvs Plays Att Yards TD Catches Yards TDs
2008 DeAngelo Williams 13 61% 62% 63% 20 18 98 1.2 1 10 0.2
  Jonathan Stewart 3 51% 54% 33% 15 15 86 1.3 0 1 0.0
2009 DeAngelo Williams 12 61% 61% 58% 20 18 92 0.6 2 21 0.0
  Jonathan Stewart 4 65% 66% 48% 25 24 140 1.0 1 9 0.3

Sure, this is a committee backfield and also one of the most devastating rushing attacks in the league. This remains a sharing situation but if either Williams or Stewart are injured, then monster stats can be expected. As it is, this is still plenty productive to consider both runners to have significant fantasy value.

Chicago Bears   % of All RBs in Gm Avg. Rushing Receiving
Gms Plays Runs Rcvs Plays Att Yards TD Catches Yards TDs
2008 Matt Forte 16 80% 81% 76% 24 20 77 0.5 4 30 0.3
2009 Matt Forte 16 80% 79% 84% 20 16 58 0.3 4 29 0.0

On the plus side, Matt Forte has been one of the rare heavy-use backs. The bad news though is that he wasn't really that good and the Bears now have a new offensive coordinator in Mike "throw it again" Martz and have added Chester Taylor to the offense - a very good third down back at the least. While at San Francisco, Martz did not use a committee and relied rather heavily on Frank Gore. But Forte has not been effective and Taylor was brought in for a reason. You have to assume a committee here and the coaches have said as much. The two have been splitting reps in camp though Forte should hold on to most of the rushing duties at the least.

Cincinnati Bengals   % of All RBs in Gm Avg. Rushing Receiving
Gms Plays Runs Rcvs Plays Att Yards TD Catches Yards TDs
2008 Cedric Benson 10 85% 89% 57% 22 20 71 0.2 2 19 0.0
  Chris Perry 6 80% 80% 71% 18 16 42 0.3 2 8 0.0
2009 Cedric Benson 12 81% 88% 34% 26 25 102 0.5 1 9 0.0
  Bernard Scott 2 55% 55% 63% 19 17 76 0.0 2 27 0.0
  Larry Johnson 2 54% 53% 33% 17 16 73 0.0 1 -1 0.0

No doubts here - Cedric Benson gets the heavy load as a runner. Bernard Scott has been impressive at times, but Benson is one of the few workhorse backs in the league and like the others, he doesn't add much as a receiver in this offense. No committee here but also an offense that does not throw to the running backs much.

Cleveland Browns   % of All RBs in Gm Avg. Rushing Receiving
Gms Plays Runs Rcvs Plays Att Yards TD Catches Yards TDs
2008 Jamal Lewis 16 73% 81% 35% 19 17 63 0.3 1 11 0.0
2009 Jamal Lewis 9 66% 74% 20% 17 16 56 0.0 1 10 0.0
  Jerome Harrison 6 83% 83% 72% 30 27 128 0.8 4 26 0.3
  Chris Jennings 1 69% 74% 0% 20 20 73 1.0 0 0 0.0

HC Eric Mangini and OC Brian Daboll said that they would stick with the primary runner as they did with Thomas Jones in New York and they kept they word at least until Lewis was injured. At the end of the year, Jerome Harrison had an incredible workload and turned in three monster games but the offense remains below average and perpetually rebuilding. The Browns also addled Montario Hardesty but he had a knee sprain and there's also James Davis and Chris Jennings vying for playing time. This has not been a committee backfield but who the starter will be remains to be determined and it could change throughout the year. And outside of those final few games when Harrison beat up a few soft defenses, the Browns backfield hasn't been very productive for years.

Dallas Cowboys   % of All RBs in Gm Avg. Rushing Receiving
Gms Plays Runs Rcvs Plays Att Yards TD Catches Yards TDs
2008 Marion Barber 11 84% 83% 86% 24 20 76 0.5 4 32 0.2
  Tashard Choice 5 73% 74% 66% 18 15 76 0.4 4 34 0.0
2009 Marion Barber 13 59% 60% 47% 16 15 62 0.5 2 14 0.0
  Tashard Choice 2 64% 63% 71% 21 16 58 0.5 5 42 0.0
  Felix Jones 1 55% 52% 75% 18 15 91 1.0 3 3 0.0

Once upon a time, Marion Barber was considered the primary back and he had a huge chunk of the workload. But Tashard Choice proved to be an effective runner and Felix Jones added a very fast change of pace at least in home games last year. There is no pretense here that this is anything but a three man rotation and the Cowboys feel they are more successful that way. Expect plenty of sharing.

Denver Broncos   % of All RBs in Gm Avg. Rushing Receiving
Gms Plays Runs Rcvs Plays Att Yards TD Catches Yards TDs
2008 Selvin Young 5 44% 46% 34% 10 9 49 0.0 1 3 0.0
  Peyton Hillis 3 76% 74% 83% 18 16 82 1.3 2 16 0.0
  Michael Pittman 3 78% 85% 60% 17 16 67 0.0 2 12 0.0
  Tatum Bell 2 80% 79% 83% 13 10 69 1.0 3 24 0.0
  Ryan Torain 1 57% 57% 0% 12 12 68 1.0 0 0 0.0
  P.J. Pope 1 40% 35% 60% 10 7 51 0.0 3 24 1.0
  Andre Hall 1 36% 37% 0% 10 10 61 0.0 0 0 0.0
2009 Knowshon Moreno 13 64% 66% 56% 19 17 68 0.5 2 17 0.2
  Correll Buckhalter 3 55% 50% 76% 12 8 29 0.0 3 15 0.0

Josh Daniels ushered in a new offense last year but the committee approach took over and saw both Moreno and Buckhalter get use in every game. This year there's Moreno and Buckhalter again, but with Lendale White and Justin Fargas added as well. Both Moreno and Buckhalter have been injured in the preseason but adding White and Fargas was more than mere camp bodies. No reason to expect Moreno to become a workhorse back when McDaniels background has never produced as much and there are more options this year than last.

Detroit Lions   % of All RBs in Gm Avg. Rushing Receiving
Gms Plays Runs Rcvs Plays Att Yards TD Catches Yards TDs
2008 Kevin Smith 14 77% 79% 60% 19 16 64 0.6 3 20 0.0
  Rudi Johnson 2 77% 78% 67% 18 16 61 0.0 2 26 0.5
2009 Kevin Smith 13 74% 77% 54% 20 17 57 0.3 3 32 0.1
  Maurice Morris 3 80% 83% 77% 22 17 76 0.3 5 35 0.0

This should be interesting. Under OC Scott Linehan last year, the Lions continued to use a primary back with only marginal sharing. They have since soured on the oft-injured Kevin Smith though and added Jahvid Best from the draft this year. Best is blazingly fast and great in open space but he weighs just 195 pounds and may not be up to a heavy load. Linehan used Steven Jackson as a workhorse in St. Louis but mixed and matched Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams in Miami. This probably will be a committee with Best and Smith at least until Best can outright earn a heavy load.

Green Bay Packers   % of All RBs in Gm Avg. Rushing Receiving
Gms Plays Runs Rcvs Plays Att Yards TD Catches Yards TDs
2008 Ryan Grant 16 75% 84% 27% 21 20 75 0.3 1 7 0.1
2009 Ryan Grant 15 74% 80% 39% 20 18 80 0.7 2 13 0.0
  Ahman Green 1 38% 41% 0% 12 12 42 0.0 0 0 0.0

Ryan Grant continues as the primary back with a heavy load and the Packers have added no one that will challenge him for playing time. The only downside of Grant at all is that his situation smacks of Rudi Johnson in Cincinnati who also churned out the same stats every year before falling off a cliff. Grant is young enough that should not be an issue this year. The Packers really don't have anyone else to use anyway.

Houston Texans   % of All RBs in Gm Avg. Rushing Receiving
Gms Plays Runs Rcvs Plays Att Yards TD Catches Yards TDs
2008 Steve Slaton 15 72% 73% 62% 21 18 85 0.6 3 24 0.1
  Ryan Moats 1 35% 47% 0% 7 7 34 0.0 0 0 0.0
2009 Steve Slaton 8 66% 67% 73% 19 15 50 0.3 4 44 0.4
  Ryan Moats 4 64% 71% 29% 18 16 63 0.8 2 16 0.3
  Arian Foster 3 63% 66% 42% 20 17 83 1.0 2 27 0.0
  Chris Brown 1 56% 69% 33% 14 11 36 0.0 3 17 0.0

What a mess. Offensive coordinator Rick Dennison came from Denver where there wasn't committee so much as a constant change to who the starting tailback was. He has been with the Texans the last two years when Steve Slaton was a workhorse of sorts until last year when the wheels came off and the Texans had a carousel in the backfield. Now Steve Slaton is back but after his neck surgery, he won't be the starter again. The Texans drafted Ben Tate who has been "up and down", have Arian Foster as the apparent starter and also have Chris Henry who has had a very strong camp. This all smacks of 2009 and will be a committee. Barring injuries, it may be a changing situation for most of the year.

Indianapolis Colts   % of All RBs in Gm Avg. Rushing Receiving
Gms Plays Runs Rcvs Plays Att Yards TD Catches Yards TDs
2008 Joseph Addai 9 73% 77% 54% 18 16 57 0.6 2 15 0.1
  Dominic Rhodes 6 80% 79% 70% 22 18 60 1.0 4 31 0.2
  Lance Ball 1 48% 59% 14% 14 13 83 0.0 1 5 0.0
2009 Joseph Addai 14 72% 71% 76% 19 15 56 0.6 4 24 0.2
  Mike Hart 1 75% 71% 100% 12 10 28 1.0 2 16 0.0
  Donald Brown 1 73% 71% 100% 16 15 22 1.0 1 12 0.0

Have to like consistency. The Colts used the primary back for 71% of the carries no matter who he was last year. Donald Brown never did make the inroads to more playing time that was expected by some but he has been progressing this offseason and the coaches want to see more of him. Addai is in a contract year and could be gone in 2011 so the the Colts will need to know what they have in Brown by the end of the year. Addai is still attractive at least for now but the backfield has already morphed into a committee that will only grow bigger this year. Expect sharing unless a back is injured or Brown really flops.

Jacksonville Jaguars   % of All RBs in Gm Avg. Rushing Receiving
Gms Plays Runs Rcvs Plays Att Yards TD Catches Yards TDs
2008 Maurice Jones-Drew 10 71% 68% 71% 18 14 58 0.6 4 38 0.2
  Fred Taylor 6 53% 62% 25% 16 15 52 0.0 2 11 0.0
2009 Maurice Jones-Drew 15 86% 89% 68% 24 20 92 0.9 3 23 0.1
  Rashad Jennings 1 43% 50% 0% 9 9 53 0.0 0 0 0.0

In this era of committee backfields and the death of the workhorse back, Jones-Drew proved to be a delight last year when he took over without Fred Taylor and basically shouldered the entire load. He had 89% of the rushing plays and 86% of all plays by a running back including the fullback. Jones-Drew will be at it again this year and the Jaguars did not add anyone that will challenge him. This has been a designed committee for years but 2009 was everything but a committee. WIth such good results, no reason to expect them to dramatically decrease Jones-Drew workload.

Kansas City Chiefs   % of All RBs in Gm Avg. Rushing Receiving
Gms Plays Runs Rcvs Plays Att Yards TD Catches Yards TDs
2008 Larry Johnson 11 73% 83% 31% 18 17 79 0.5 1 7 0.0
  Kolby Smith 2 63% 73% 46% 13 11 18 0.0 2 10 0.0
  Jamaal Charles 2 54% 47% 80% 13 11 62 0.0 2 11 0.0
  Dantrell Savage 1 78% 75% 100% 14 12 44 0.0 2 0 0.0
2009 Jamaal Charles 9 77% 80% 62% 21 19 112 0.8 3 20 0.1
  Larry Johnson 7 70% 77% 41% 21 19 54 0.0 2 11 0.0

When Jamaal Charles took over, he rose above the 75% mark to be a heavy use back but that was as much about them giving up on Larry Johnson and having no one else to use in a rotation. Charlie Weis is on the scene now and that will impact the offense along with the addition of Thomas Jones. When Weis was in New England, he used Corey Dillon as a primary back who shared very little in 2004. Prior to that was a four year stretch of a committee led by Antowain Smith or Kevin Faulk. But before that in New York with the Jets was Curtis Martin as the lone back. Weis is more about using what he has been given and if one back gets the job done, then he doesn't share much. If he is only a piece of the puzzle, then it can be a full blown committee. All indications are that while it is an open competition in training camp (wink), that Charles will be the primary and Jones will support him with short yardage and possibly goal line. This could be a harder scenario to read thanks to the ex-Pats brain trust that will intentionally be hard to read and reveal little. Safest bet here is a committee of some measure but it mostly depends on whether any runner really shows up the other.

Miami Dolphins   % of All RBs in Gm Avg. Rushing Receiving
Gms Plays Runs Rcvs Plays Att Yards TD Catches Yards TDs
2008 Ronnie Brown 13 53% 56% 35% 16 15 63 0.7 2 14 0.0
  Ricky Williams 3 49% 52% 40% 15 11 54 0.7 4 29 0.0
2009 Ricky Williams 8 67% 73% 41% 22 20 83 0.6 2 10 0.1
  Ronnie Brown 8 54% 56% 30% 18 17 71 0.9 2 10 0.0

This is always a committee and only an injury to Ronnie Brown temporarily changed that last year. As long as both are healthy, this plays out as nearly a 50/50 scenario. There are usually enough carries and yards to make both have some fantasy value but it is effectively cut in half for each person. The only glimmer of hope here is that Brown is returning from yet another injury and both players are getting old. They will have to "till the soil" as early as 2011 but that means nothing for this season.

Minnesota Vikings   % of All RBs in Gm Avg. Rushing Receiving
Gms Plays Runs Rcvs Plays Att Yards TD Catches Yards TDs
2008 Adrian Peterson 16 71% 79% 23% 24 23 110 0.6 1 8 0.0
2009 Adrian Peterson 15 71% 77% 47% 23 20 89 1.1 3 29 0.0
  Albert Young 1 32% 37% 0% 10 10 40 0.0 0 0 0.0

There is an interesting development here. Obviously Adrian Peterson is an elite runner and is not merely part of a committee. ANd Peterson even stepped up with more receptions last year. Now Chester Taylor is gone and the best man behind Peterson is the rookie Toby Gerhart. Either Gerhart is going to have more work than most realize or Peterson is facing what could be his busiest year.

New England Patriots   % of All RBs in Gm Avg. Rushing Receiving
Gms Plays Runs Rcvs Plays Att Yards TD Catches Yards TDs
2008 Sammy Morris 8 47% 50% 23% 15 14 68 0.6 1 10 0.0
  Kevin Faulk 4 54% 44% 88% 14 9 56 0.3 5 49 0.3
  LaMont Jordan 2 38% 45% 0% 16 16 70 1.0 0 0 0.0
  BenJarvus Green-Ellis 2 64% 68% 8% 21 21 81 1.0 1 4 0.0
2009 Laurence Maroney 10 58% 64% 23% 18 17 67 0.9 1 8 0.0
  Sammy Morris 4 45% 41% 76% 13 11 48 0.5 3 23 0.0
  Fred Taylor 2 45% 51% 7% 15 15 76 0.5 1 2 0.0

There is never any doubt here - the Patriots are the consummate committee backfield that rarely has any running back top a 50% workload because more than two runners are usually relied on. It is always a mess to figure and in the end, there is really not much to figure out. It is a scheme that uses numerous runners. HC Bill Belichick lost his offensive coordinator and has taken over the play calling. No doubt it will not get any simpler to forecast who does what in this backfield.

New Orleans Saints   % of All RBs in Gm Avg. Rushing Receiving
Gms Plays Runs Rcvs Plays Att Yards TD Catches Yards TDs
2008 Pierre Thomas 7 58% 59% 56% 18 14 72 0.9 3 34 0.4
  Reggie Bush 5 62% 60% 68% 21 14 42 0.4 7 71 0.6
  Deuce McAllister 4 58% 63% 41% 17 14 54 0.5 3 22 0.0
2009 Mike Bell 8 47% 56% 9% 17 17 66 0.5 1 2 0.0
  Pierre Thomas 6 55% 55% 58% 16 12 51 0.3 4 35 0.2
  Reggie Bush 1 46% 41% 100% 16 13 64 0.0 3 17 0.0
  Lynell Hamilton 1 29% 32% 22% 9 7 21 0.0 2 10 0.0

This is another committee backfield that works greatly and is served by the differing strengths of Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas. Mike Bell was a surprise last year when he took over for Thomas in some games but in the end, this is a committee since Reggie Bush is never going to be much more than 10 or 15 plays per game and the bulk of the rushing will always go elsewhere. While this remains a committee, this season has Mike Bell gone and Lynelle Hamilton was lost for the season with a torn ACL. Short of bringing on a free agent - and quality running backs are mostly employed this time of year - Thomas should see an up tick in playing time. But - still a committee. Just one on a very productive offense.

New York Giants   % of All RBs in Gm Avg. Rushing Receiving
Gms Plays Runs Rcvs Plays Att Yards TD Catches Yards TDs
2008 Brandon Jacobs 12 51% 56% 13% 18 17 85 1.1 1 3 0.0
  Derrick Ward 4 64% 64% 64% 18 15 63 0.3 3 25 0.0
2009 Brandon Jacobs 11 60% 60% 51% 18 17 61 0.4 1 16 0.1
  Ahmad Bradshaw 5 57% 56% 58% 13 11 42 0.4 2 22 0.0

This is another committee by design and even when both players were injured last year, they still split carries. Now that both players are healthy there is no reason to expect anything less than a 50/50 sharing of duties. This was a much more productive unit before last year so some may be surprised to see them "improve" now that they are healthy. But neither player is going to carry a heavy load short of injuries to the other player. Even then, they have to be knocked from the game.

New York Jets   % of All RBs in Gm Avg. Rushing Receiving
Gms Plays Runs Rcvs Plays Att Yards TD Catches Yards TDs
2008 Thomas Jones 15 72% 79% 46% 21 19 86 0.9 2 14 0.1
  Leon Washington 1 59% 50% 86% 16 10 60 1.0 6 29 0.0
2009 Thomas Jones 15 64% 65% 29% 22 21 90 0.9 1 4 0.0
  Leon Washington 1 52% 50% 67% 16 14 58 0.0 2 18 0.0

This remains a committee even though Thomas Jones has left and Shonn Greene has assumed the primary role. The Jets brought on LaDainian Tomlinson who has been a tremendous pass catcher in the past as well as knowing how to score a touchdown near the goal line. This scheme calls for a sharing of the ball and Greene's hard nose style will need relief each week if he is to remain on the field all year. The Jets also want to pass more this year since they ranked #32 in pass yards in 2009. It all spells a committee scenario that could really get messy of Tomlinson is asked to be the goal line guy. Thomas Jones had a big year in 2009 but the Jets rushed more than anyone. A reduced workload for the running backs will make this committee more apparent.

Oakland Raiders   % of All RBs in Gm Avg. Rushing Receiving
Gms Plays Runs Rcvs Plays Att Yards TD Catches Yards TDs
2008 Justin Fargas 10 62% 69% 21% 19 18 71 0.1 1 5 0.0
  Michael Bush 3 64% 60% 68% 18 15 74 0.7 4 34 0.0
  Darren McFadden 3 48% 46% 56% 18 16 84 0.7 2 28 0.0
2009 Justin Fargas 7 55% 59% 43% 15 13 56 0.1 2 15 0.0
  Michael Bush 5 53% 56% 39% 14 13 72 0.4 1 8 0.0
  Darren McFadden 4 52% 54% 52% 15 12 42 0.3 2 33 0.0

Tom Cable enters his third season with the Raiders and thanks to wasting burning using a first round pick on Darren McFadden, they continue to use a committee. McFadden has given no signs of ever being capable of a heavy workload (he already had injuries in training camp) but Michael Bush will not be given the reins completely because McFadden has to play due to his salary. This remains a committee but a glimmer of hope rides with the release of JaMarcus Russell and adding Jason Campbell as the starting quarterback. And when if McFadden is out injured, Bush might actually get to carry a full load. Justin Fargas is finally gone and can no longer be the guy they always turn to help out. But until McFadden is again injured, this will remain a committee - it should just be a more productive one at least for Bush.

Philadelphia Eagles   % of All RBs in Gm Avg. Rushing Receiving
Gms Plays Runs Rcvs Plays Att Yards TD Catches Yards TDs
2008 Brian Westbrook 13 77% 79% 73% 22 18 71 0.7 4 31 0.4
  Correll Buckhalter 3 74% 76% 63% 20 15 67 0.7 5 51 0.3
2009 LeSean McCoy 8 67% 65% 67% 17 14 58 0.4 3 23 0.0
  Brian Westbrook 7 56% 55% 57% 12 8 37 0.1 4 26 0.1
  Leonard Weaver 1 61% 65% 40% 19 17 52 0.0 2 18 0.0

Brian Westbrook is gone but he was a non-factor in 2009 anyway. While Westbrook commanded a heavy workload while healthy, that fell apart last year and LeSean McCoy was not asked to take a similarly significant part of the offense. Correll Buckhalter was also missing last year and the Eagles just fell into a committee. That is not likely to change short of a dramatic and unforeseen improvement by McCoy. Mike Bell was added to the offense and can reprise that Buckhalter role. McCoy will remain the primary but with a committee in place that won't ask him to do nearly as much as Westbrook used to do.

Pittsburgh Steelers   % of All RBs in Gm Avg. Rushing Receiving
Gms Plays Runs Rcvs Plays Att Yards TD Catches Yards TDs
2008 Willie Parker 10 70% 76% 13% 20 20 75 0.5 0 1 0.0
  Mewelde Moore 6 73% 71% 84% 21 17 72 0.8 4 28 0.2
2009 Rashard Mendenhall 13 75% 76% 67% 20 18 82 0.5 2 19 0.1
  Willie Parker 3 69% 76% 36% 19 17 53 0.0 1 15 0.3

The Steelers do not prefer to have a committee and Rashard Mendenhall came through in a big way in 2009. His role as a runner was already at 76% and he also doubled as a receiver as well. The Steelers added Jonathan Dwyer in the draft with their 6.19 pick but there is no expectation that he will do much this year. Mewelde Moore is another year older and even less likely to command more work. The only concern here is the one month suspension for Ben Roethlisberger and a very tough schedule. But Mendenhall will be getting most of the work here with out a doubt.

San Diego Chargers   % of All RBs in Gm Avg. Rushing Receiving
Gms Plays Runs Rcvs Plays Att Yards TD Catches Yards TDs
2008 LaDainian Tomlinson 15 74% 81% 52% 22 19 68 0.5 3 28 0.1
  Darren Sproles 1 40% 39% 50% 16 14 115 1.0 2 17 1.0
2009 LaDainian Tomlinson 13 63% 73% 23% 18 17 56 0.9 1 11 0.0
  Darren Sproles 2 68% 65% 89% 19 14 34 0.0 5 69 0.5
  Michael Bennett 1 63% 73% 44% 15 11 28 0.0 4 62 0.0

Where fore art thou, LT? The Chargers parted ways with LaDainian Tomlinson who had long been a workhorse back and even last year was nearly to the level above a committee. But Tomlinson was given fewer carries and did less with them. Now that Ryan Mathews has been added, many want to believe "L.T. Jr." will step back into that heavy load that Tomlinson once carried. Sproles has not proven to be anything that special though he may be a bigger factor on passing downs this year to protect Philip Rivers and help compensate for what could be a lengthy holdout by Vincent Jackson. HC Ron Turner has already stated that he wants to give Mathews around 250 carries which means there will be a committee. Mathews is more likely to "take over" in 2011 but for this year, the safest assumption is that he will be in a committee.

Seattle Seahawks   % of All RBs in Gm Avg. Rushing Receiving
Gms Plays Runs Rcvs Plays Att Yards TD Catches Yards TDs
2008 Julius Jones 9 58% 62% 46% 16 15 67 0.2 1 5 0.0
  Maurice Morris 7 59% 61% 37% 16 15 66 0.0 1 10 0.1
2009 Julius Jones 11 57% 65% 42% 17 14 53 0.2 3 21 0.2
  Justin Forsett 4 73% 74% 56% 18 14 72 1.0 4 38 0.0
  Edgerrin James 1 46% 47% 33% 17 16 46 0.0 1 7 0.0

So much for HC Jim Mora and OC Greg Knapp who relied on a committee and only gave primary backs around 15 carries per game. Now it is the newest iteration of Pete Carroll and OC Jeremy Bates tags along from USC to run the offense. But the team still has Julius Jones and Justin Forsett and also added Leon Washington. Seattle has a really nice rushing schedule this year as well and should produce at least decent overall numbers from their backfield. Most believe Forsett will end up as the starter but Leon Washington could really cut into the workload if his compound leg fracture has healed enough to allow him to participate in training camp and preseason games. But Carroll is very familiar with committee backfields and there is no clear "best " runner. This has to be a committee at least until the runners have a clear cut option better than the others.

San Francisco 49ers   % of All RBs in Gm Avg. Rushing Receiving
Gms Plays Runs Rcvs Plays Att Yards TD Catches Yards TDs
2008 Frank Gore 14 80% 84% 68% 20 17 74 0.4 3 27 0.1
  DeShaun Foster 2 83% 85% 78% 19 15 56 0.0 4 21 0.0
2009 Frank Gore 13 87% 88% 86% 22 18 86 0.8 4 31 0.2
  Glen Coffee 3 92% 94% 67% 23 20 58 0.3 3 18 0.0

Frank Gore remains one of the most heavily used running backs in the league and that even lasted with Mike Martz around. The 49ers went to Jimmy Raye as the OC last year and he actually used Gore even more. And finally the 49ers are going to open a new season with the same offense as the year before. Expect Gore to challenge for the heaviest used back in the league.

St. Louis Rams   % of All RBs in Gm Avg. Rushing Receiving
Gms Plays Runs Rcvs Plays Att Yards TD Catches Yards TDs
2008 Steven Jackson 11 85% 87% 72% 26 22 93 0.6 4 34 0.1
  Antonio Pittman 5 65% 66% 69% 16 13 45 0.0 3 19 0.0
2009 Steven Jackson 15 87% 91% 61% 25 22 94 0.3 3 21 0.0
  Kenneth Darby 1 55% 55% 50% 12 11 40 0.0 1 6 0.0

The new offense by Pat Shumur last year was besieged by injuries but that did not change how much Jackson would be used. He actually saw a bump up in use and with so much work it is no surprise that the big back has only played all 16 games once in his six year career. Jackson is a rarity with his workload and the Rams have no other apparent option in the backfield. This could well be another bad year for the offense but you can be certain that Jackson remains one of the heaviest used backs in the league - if he can remain healthy.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers   % of All RBs in Gm Avg. Rushing Receiving
Gms Plays Runs Rcvs Plays Att Yards TD Catches Yards TDs
2008 Earnest Graham 8 59% 65% 37% 18 16 69 0.4 3 16 0.0
  Warrick Dunn 7 62% 59% 72% 19 16 63 0.1 4 29 0.0
  Carnell Williams 1 55% 52% 63% 17 12 78 2.0 5 37 0.0
2009 Carnell Williams 12 65% 68% 39% 17 15 52 0.3 2 15 0.1
  Derrick Ward 4 55% 58% 46% 14 12 40 0.3 2 9 0.3

The Buccaneers enter the second year of HC Raheem Morris and Greg Olson starts his second season as the offensive coordinator. His results were no different than the previous season other than relying on Carnell Williams. This team has been all about the committee for years. The only difference this year is that there is no pretense that Derrick Ward is going to match what he did in New York and the Buccaneers amazingly are apparently content with broken down Williams as the primary back. This remains a committee and there's not enough stats from the whole group to merit much fantasy attention, let alone from a single player. The committee strips all value from this backfield.

Tennessee Titans   % of All RBs in Gm Avg. Rushing Receiving
Gms Plays Runs Rcvs Plays Att Yards TD Catches Yards TDs
2008 Chris Johnson 13 61% 61% 76% 19 17 74 0.5 3 17 0.1
  LenDale White 3 47% 55% 6% 18 18 77 1.0 0 1 0.0
2009 Chris Johnson 16 82% 83% 69% 26 22 125 0.9 3 31 0.1

Consider Chris Johnson as all-weather because he supplied both the thunder and lightning last year in a season that ended with the sixth time a runner has passed 2000 yards on a season. Johnson already had proven to be highly effective as a rookie but LenDale White had been used for all short yardage scores. In 2009, it was all Johnson, all the time. His workload will drop this year but only to keep him fresh and healthy. There is no committee here any more and we in the fantasy community salute the Tennessee Titans.

Washington Redskins   % of All RBs in Gm Avg. Rushing Receiving
Gms Plays Runs Rcvs Plays Att Yards TD Catches Yards TDs
2008 Clinton Portis 16 76% 81% 43% 23 21 93 0.6 2 14 0.0
2009 Clinton Portis 7 75% 88% 33% 18 17 70 0.1 1 8 0.1
  Quinton Ganther 4 54% 62% 33% 13 11 28 0.8 2 21 0.0
  Rock Cartwright 3 62% 61% 63% 18 14 48 0.0 4 43 0.0
  Ladell Betts 2 57% 63% 20% 22 21 92 1.0 1 15 0.0

The wheels fell off of Portis last year but he was a heavy use back even despite his less effective production. The injury to Portis was merely the first of many, many injuries to the Redskins in 2009 and the committee that was created was mostly because no single runner was up to the task. Now that Mike Shanahan is the head coach and "Little Kyle" is the offensive coordinator, we can expect to see some Denver-style offense. But recall - that is hardly an easy read. Shanahan would settle on one back when he had someone who could get it done - Terrell Davis, Clinton Portis, etc.. In fact he rarely used committees, he just kept changing who the primary back was each year. But Portis is old and most believe has lost a gear (supported by the stats). Larry Johnson is there with a missing gear as well. Willie Parker is also there with a missing gear but may not make it to the start of the season. The Skins even signed Ryan Torain. This will be a committee unless on back shows he can carry the load. That is probably going to be Portis or it will not be any Redskin this year. Consider this not a committee until Portis is injured.

The RBBC Score Card

Team RBBC Likely? New OC
or Scheme ?
New Primary RB?
Arizona Yes No No
Atlanta No No No
Baltimore Yes No No
Buffalo Yes Yes Maybe
Carolina Yes No No
Chicago Yes Yes No
Cincinnati No No No
Cleveland No No Maybe
Dallas Yes No No
Denver Yes No No
Detroit Maybe No Yes
Green Bay No No No
Houston Yes Yes Yes
Indianapolis Yes No No
Jacksonville No No No
Kansas City Maybe Yes Yes
Miami Yes No No
Minnesota No No No
New York Giants Yes No No
New York Jets Yes No Yes
New England Yes No Yes
New Orleans Yes No No
Oakland Yes Yes Yes
Philadelphia Yes No No
Pittsburgh No No No
San Diego Yes No Yes
San Francisco No No No
Seattle Yes Yes Yes
St. Louis No No No
Tampa Bay Yes Yes No
Tennessee No No No
Washington No Yes No

The final score: RBBC 21, Non-RBBC 11
Teams with new offensive schemes: 8
Teams with new primary RB:8 (plus 2 possible others)
Teams returning same primary RB, same offensive coordinator and scheme, and unlikely to use RBBC: 9

Most used RB's # of % of RB's in Gm Avg. Rushing Avg. Per Game Receiving Avg. Per Game
Games Plays Runs Rcvs Plays Att Yards TD Caught Yards TD
Steven Jackson 15 87% 91% 61% 25 22 94 0.3 3 21 0
Maurice Jones-Drew 15 86% 89% 68% 24 20 92 0.9 3 23 0.1
Frank Gore 13 87% 88% 86% 22 18 86 0.8 4 31 0.2
Cedric Benson 12 81% 88% 34% 26 25 102 0.5 1 9 0
Clinton Portis 7 75% 88% 33% 18 17 70 0.1 1 8 0.1
Chris Johnson 16 82% 83% 69% 26 22 125 0.9 3 31 0.1
Ryan Grant 15 74% 80% 39% 20 18 80 0.7 2 13 0
Jamaal Charles 9 77% 80% 62% 21 19 112 0.8 3 20 0.1
Matt Forte 16 80% 79% 84% 20 16 58 0.3 4 29 0
Michael Turner 9 68% 78% 13% 19 19 84 1.1 1 4 0
Adrian Peterson 15 71% 77% 47% 23 20 89 1.1 3 29 0
Kevin Smith 13 74% 77% 54% 20 17 57 0.3 3 32 0.1
Fred Jackson 10 77% 77% 79% 22 18 86 0.2 4 31 0.2
Larry Johnson 7 70% 77% 41% 21 19 54 0 2 11 0
Rashard Mendenhall 13 75% 76% 67% 20 18 82 0.5 2 19 0.1
Jamal Lewis 9 66% 74% 20% 17 16 56 0 1 10 0
LaDainian Tomlinson 13 63% 73% 23% 18 17 56 0.9 1 11 0
Ricky Williams 8 67% 73% 41% 22 20 83 0.6 2 10 0.1
Joseph Addai 14 72% 71% 76% 19 15 56 0.6 4 24 0.2
Carnell Williams 12 65% 68% 39% 17 15 52 0.3 2 15 0.1
Steve Slaton 8 66% 67% 73% 19 15 50 0.3 4 44 0.4
Knowshon Moreno 13 64% 66% 56% 19 17 68 0.5 2 17 0.2
Beanie Wells 7 57% 66% 22% 17 15 73 1 1 16 0
Ray Rice 15 66% 65% 70% 21 16 87 0.5 5 44 0.1
Thomas Jones 15 64% 65% 29% 22 21 90 0.9 1 4 0
Julius Jones 11 57% 65% 42% 17 14 53 0.2 3 21 0.2
LeSean McCoy 8 67% 65% 67% 17 14 58 0.4 3 23 0

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