A Curse in Fantasy Football: Running Back by Committee

There isn’t a worse acronym for a Fantasy Football player to hear than RBBC. For those of you who are new to Fantasy Football, it means Running Back by Committee. In a nutshell, RBBC’s occur when a team either has several good options or several terrible options at running back and everyone shares the workload.

It can be tricky to determine whom to draft in a RBBC, but it’s likely that one or two of the players in the committee will be drafted. There are rules you should follow when drafting someone in a RBBC:

  1. Understand roles of the players in the RBBC – It’s not just looking at a depth chart and seeing whom the team has ranked number one, you need to understand what each player brings to the team. If you’re in a standard league, you’re looking at the player who is going to score the most touchdowns. In a PPR league, the first person drafted from the committee may be the one who catches the most passes. It’s important to look beyond the depth chart when determining whom to draft.
  2. Determine which player the coaching staff talks about the most – If you listen to or read interviews with the coaching staff they tend to favor one of the players in the committee. It’s not a guarantee that the player they talk about will always get the most work, but you have a better shot at potentially having the starter if the committee dissolves for one reason or another.
  3. Watch the pre-season to see how the players are performing – I know that pre-season football can be painful to watch, but it’s important! You see how players are performing and how their coach uses them in a game. Reports from training camp can be useless because you are only relying on what other people are saying. Seeing it for yourself allows you make the determination first hand.
  4. Finding the value in the draft – Don’t reach on any player in a committee. If one of them falls to you in the right spot, take them and see how it pans out. Don’t take someone earlier than where you think you can get them. If you reach you’re probably not going to get a return on your investment.

You are probably asking yourself “which teams have a RBBC?” Let me discuss the ones that are going to have the biggest impact in Fantasy Football this season:

Baltimore Ravens: Justin Forsett, Kenneth Dixon, Terrance West & Javorius “Buck” Allen

The Baltimore Ravens are a disaster right now, and there truly is no telling who will be the starter. My money is currently on Justin Forsett, but he is an older running back with an injury history. Kenneth Dixon is the rookie that everyone is talking about and Terrance West is turning heads in camp. Javorius Allen had a decent year last year in relief for Forsett. It’s going to take some time this season for the dust to settle on this backfield.

New England Patriots: Dion Lewis, LeGarrette Blount, James White & Brandon Bolden

I could have realistically named all of the running backs currently playing for the Patriots because you truly never know what Bill Belichick will do each week. They paid Dion Lewis and they love LeGarrette Blount. Brandon Bolden and James White are also running backs who could end up scoring the most fantasy points in a given week. Belichick doesn’t care about your Fantasy Football team and I believe he tries to mess with owners every week.

Chicago Bears: Jeremy Langford, Jordan Howard & Ka’Deem Carey

Jeremy Langford proved last year that he can be a featured back. When Matt Forte missed games because of an injury, Langford was a beast! Ka’Deem Carey is a running back that the Bears tried to get involved last year, but he proved he was terrible. Yet, John Fox still talks about how they want to get him involved. Finally, Jordan Howard is a rookie who was okay in college and is unproven in the NFL. The Bears however are talking him up. This is a backfield that hopefully finds clarity in the pre-season.

Detroit Lions: Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick, Stevan Ridley & Zach Zenner

Last season, Ameer Abdullah was supposed to be the running back savior for the Lions. Unfortunately that never materialized and the Lions plugged and played a lot of different running backs. Theo Riddick is a pass catching running back, as he caught 80 last season. Stevan Ridley has been a number one running back in past and Zach Zenner has been turning heads in the pre-season.

Washington Redskins: Matt Jones, Chris Thompson and Keith Marshall

Matt Jones looked to be the future for Washington’s backfield after Alfred Morris wasn’t re-signed. However, during the pre-season so far, both Matt Jones and Keith Marshall have been sharing reps with the ones, and Chris Thompson has also been looking good and is the best pass catcher of the bunch.

Cincinnati Bengals: Jeremy Hill & Giovani Bernard

Both players can be the number one running back for their team. Giovani Bernard is the better pass catcher for the Bengals, but Jeremy Hill can also catch the ball well. Hill will get more goal line opportunities, but Bernard’s been known to punch it in too. It’s tough to know who will be the best option each week in this backfield.

Other notable committees to watch (although I did bold the player that I think has the most value to draft):

  • New York Jets: Matt Forte, Bilal Powell & Khiry Robinson
  • Tennessee Titans: DeMarco Murray, Derrick Henry & Dexter McCluster
  • Philadelphia Eagles: Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles & Wendell Smallwood

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