If you play in a Fantasy Football league with a three-week playoff, then you're down to the last three weeks of the regular season to try to make a push. Weeks 11, 12, and 13. That's all that's left. If you're 8-2, hey, no sweat. You could lose all three and still trip into the playoffs. But not everyone's so lucky, and it feels like there's more teams clumped together in my leagues than ever before. For instance, in one of my home leagues, I'm one of two 7-3 teams, and then there are seven teams 5-5 and two more at 4-6. Three weeks left in the regular season and 11 out of the 12 teams are still fighting for one of six playoff spots. In a 14-team league I'm in, every single team is within one game of a playoff spot.
That's a byproduct of a season with so many injuries and so much uncertainty from week to week. It's harder to run the table, and it's hard to ever really be out of it. These next few weeks will decide your fate, so let's try to get this right. Today, the Fantasy Football Today Newsletter is focused on trying to figure out where every single backfield stands heading into Week 11. I went through each team, breaking them down by the ones where we know there is a true lead back, the ones where we know there is a true committee and the ones we know are a true mess, even now. There's value to be found in even the latter if you know where to look, so that's what I'm trying to help with today.
Plus, we've got the latest on the biggest injuries and news from around the NFL, along with our Week 11 preview content from Dave Richard, Jamey Eisenberg, and Heath Cummings, including Heath's previews for quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end. He has breakdowns of the top matchups, key numbers to know, DFS plays and more to get you ready for Week 11. Plus, if you need any trade or lineup help, shoot me a message at Chris.Towers@CBSInteractive.com with the subject line "#AskFFT" and I'll try to help -- and if you're looking to make a trade, don't miss Dave's Trade Values Chart here.
Now, here's how every backfield in the NFL looks heading into Week 11:
Breaking down every backfield
As the playoffs draw near, I thought it would make sense to take a step back and see where every backfield stands around the NFL. Whether you're trying to make sense of which backups are worth stashing or looking for some potential late-season diamonds in the rough, knowing the hierarchy in each backfield will be a big help. I'm breaking them down into three categories -- team's with one true lead back, teams with a true committee (with defined roles), and teams that don't really have much rhyme or reason to how they use their backs most weeks. It's the latter group you want to avoid having to rely on.
One lead back
- Falcons -- Todd Gurley is the lead back, receiving at least 18 touches in five straight before the Falcons bye, with at least 15 in each game this season. Brian Hill has flashed as the primary backup, and could be a significant Fantasy asset if Gurley goes down.
- Bears -- Cordarrelle Patterson got 14 of 19 Bears running back touches in Week 10, but David Montgomery had played at least 80% of the team's snaps in each game since Week 4 before his concussion in Week 9. He's the unquestionable lead back, and Patterson showed Monday he doesn't have much upside even when Montgomery is out.
- Panthers -- When Christian McCaffrey is healthy, he plays nearly every snap and gets nearly every touch. When he's not, Mike Davis does. Simple as can be.
- Bengals -- When Joe Mixon is healthy, he's the lead back, and he was playing around 75% of the snaps in three games before his injury. When Mixon is out, Giovani Bernard has averaged 16 touches per game while playing more than 60% of the snaps in all three starts. He's one of the better handcuffs once Mixon returns.
- Cowboys -- Ezekiel Elliott has seen his snap share decrease as the season has gone on, but he has just one game with fewer than 20 touches. Tony Pollard is worth rostering as a good handcuff or desperation start.
- Lions -- Hopefully, it wasn't just a one-game thing. It shouldn't have been. D'Andre Swift started, played 73% of the snaps and got 21 touches in Week 10 against Washington. He shouldn't have to split time with Adrian Peterson or Kerryon Johnson again -- and neither has given much reason to think they are worthwhile handcuffs.
- Packers -- This one is sort of a committee, except that Jones gets a huge workload every week even while playing right around 65% of the snaps most weeks. Jamaal Williams is a star when he gets the chance to start, and is a viable low-end starter even when Aaron Jones is around, but there's a clear hierarchy here, and Williams isn't just a specialist. He's just a busy backup.
- Texans -- Duke Johnson plays plenty, but David Johnson is the clear lead back here when healthy. Unfortunately, he won't be until at least Week 13 after he was placed on IR with a concussion last week. Duke Johnson will play a ton of snaps, but probably isn't more than just a decent No. 2 RB with David Johnson out.
- Jaguars -- Jaguars running backs have 212 touches this season. Jacksonville running backs not named James Robinson have 28. Enough said.
- Raiders -- You could maybe argue this is more like a committee, but that would be unnecessarily pedantic. Josh Jacobs is the clear lead back here, averaging 22.8 touches per game, despite playing around 60% of the snaps most weeks. Devontae Booker has shown enough in this offense to think he would be a must-start option if something happened to Jacobs.
- Dolphins -- When Myles Gaskin was healthy, he had no competition for work. Salvon Ahmed played 76% of the snaps and got 22 touches in Week 10. They want one guy to dominate work, and that'll be Gaskin when healthy. It seems to be Ahmed for now, but we'll see if they mix Matt Breida in if he's healthy enough to play this week.
- Vikings -- Dalvin Cook is third in the NFL in rush attempts despite missing a game. Alexander Mattison is one of the best handcuffs in the NFL, but he played 48% of the snaps in his only start this season. He's no Dalvin.
- Saints -- Alvin Kamara only has 14 more carries than Latavius Murray, but there's no question he's the lead back. He's on pace for 120 catches and 185 carries.
- Eagles -- Miles Sanders returned from an injury and played 72% of the snaps in Week 10. He's played at least 70% in every healthy game this season. Boston Scott is a tremendous handcuff.
- Steelers -- James Conner's playing time fluctuates, but he's clearly the lead back here. He just has to play better. Benny Snell is probably the handcuff, but his role has been greatly diminished the past month.
- Titans -- Derrick Henry leads the NFL in rush attempts. He led the NFL in rush attempts last year. D'Onta Foreman is probably the handcuff, though Darrynton Evans was designated to return from IR, so it'll be interesting to see if he looks like the primary backup when healthy.
- 49ers -- Hopefully Week 12 will see the return of Raheem Mostert after the bye, and a return to predictability in the 49ers backfield. They'd love to go with a single lead back, and when Jerick McKinnon, Mostert or Jeff Wilson have proved worthy, they've done just that. A healthy Mostert should return to that role.
- Cardinals -- Kenyan Drake gets most of the rushing work, Chase Edmonds most of the passing work, and it doesn't look like that's set to change as long as everyone is healthy.
- Bills -- Zack Moss has a slight edge in playing time and near the goal-line, while Devin Singletary gets more chances in the passing game. However, with Josh Allen throwing relatively rarely to his backs while serving as the primary goal-line rusher, they are sharing a pretty unappealing backfield.
- Browns -- Both Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt are good bets for 15-plus carries in any given week, with Chubb likely to see more rushes and Hunt likely to see more passes. They are both must-start Fantasy backs in this offense.
- Broncos -- Phillip Lindsay has been the more productive runner in the Broncos backfield, but their lack of trust in him in the passing game limits his upside. Melvin Gordon is the lead back, but in this offense that doesn't amount for a ton either. Lindsay either needs a bigger role, or this offense needs to get a lot better.
- Chiefs -- Since Le'Veon Bell joined the Chiefs, Clyde Edwards-Helaire has maxed out at 53% snap share, so this is clearly a committee. The problem is, it seems to be one where Bell replaces Edwards-Helaire every third drive and Darrell Williams comes in occasionally for passing downs. It's a bit of a mess, but Edwards-Helaire can be relied on to be the primary back. Now they just have to run the ball more often.
- Chargers -- When Austin Ekeler returns from his hamstring injury, he'll be the lead back and either Kalen Ballage or Justin Jackson (when he returns from IR) will work alongside him. For now, Ballage is the lead back, and there isn't anyone else here you need to worry about, really.
- Patriots -- Damien Harris should continue to get the majority of the running back carries for the Patriots, and he should continue to see an almost nonexistent role in the passing game. Unlike in years past, it has been Rex Burkhead thriving alongside the primary rusher, not James White.
- Giants -- At this point, you might be able to call Wayne Gallman the lead back for the Giants, except he hasn't played more than 59% in any of his three starts and Dion Lewis and Alfred Morris are averaging 12 touches per game between them. Gallman is the clear Fantasy priority here, at least for now.
- Jets -- Hopefully the Jets start to feature Lamical Perine down the stretch just to see what they have in the young guys. He has played more than half of the snaps over the last four games, but Frank Gore has still been seeing more touches. There's no point in that, and Perine should be something closer to a lead back moving forward. If only it were in a better offense. Still, if he's out there, he's worth adding.
- Buccaneers -- The Buccaneers have two running backs who get nearly all of the touches, but there aren't really defined roles. Sure, Ronald Jones starts and Leonard Fournette tends to handle most passing-downs work, but who will be the lead back in any given week is often up to the whims of Bruce Arians. Sometimes, he'll bench Jones arbitrarily for a fumble or missed assignment, and sometimes he'll put him right back on the field after a fumble as he did in Week 10. The problem here is predictability, and we've mostly been guessing wrong all year. Jones seems like the better bet in any given week, but that could change this week.
- Washington -- This is one of the more obvious splits in the NFL. Antonio Gibson is the primary rushing option, and J.D. McKissic sees more work in passing situations. I'd like to see that split start to favor Gibson even more moving forward, but you can't bet on it at this point. McKissic is Fantasy relevant, but basically only because of target volume -- he's averaging 4.0 yards per carry and just 4.7 yards per target.
- Ravens -- With Mark Ingram back in Week 10, no Ravens back saw more than 44% of the snaps or seven carries. J.K. Dobbins is the preferred passing down back, but because Lamar Jackson doesn't look for his running backs very often, that isn't a particularly valuable role. This is a mess as long as all three of Ingram, Dobbins and Gus Edwards are healthy.
- Colts -- The way this seems to work now is Jonathan Taylor, Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines will all get work early on in the game, and the Colts will ride whoever gets hot. Taylor still has a chance to break out, but he needs to do something with it.
- Rams -- Cam Akers saw a larger role in Week 10, leading the team in rushes with 10, but he actually played fewer snaps than Darrell Henderson or Malcolm Brown. As in Baltimore, this could be a great situation if even just two of these backs were splitting work; the presence of all three makes it incredibly tough for anyone to stand out, unfortunately.
- Seahawks -- At least for one more week, it looks like the Seahawks are going to be a mess. Chris Carson's eventual return will put him back into the three-down role, but we just don't know when that will be. For Week 11, it might be Carlos Hyde as the lead rusher with Travis Homer handling passing work.
Injuries, News and Notes
Here's the big news you need to know about from around the NFL Tuesday. Wednesday's injury report for the Thursday game between the Seahawks and Cardinals along with the first day of practice for the rest of the league in preparation for Week 11 will give us a much clearer picture of the Fantasy landscape, but here's what we know for now:
- Christian McCaffrey (shoulder) is out for Week 11 -- That makes it eight games missed for McCaffrey, who hadn't missed a game in his first three seasons in the NFL1. Mike Davis will once again start against the Lions, and despite struggling to make an impact lately, he's still worth starting in all leagues against a great matchup.
- Chris Carson (foot), Carlos Hyde (hamstring) both practiced Tuesday -- Hyde was a full participant, while Carson was limited, fitting with what Pete Carroll said earlier this week about Hyde being closer. Carson could still make his return for Thursday's game against the Cardinals, but we'll need to see him get through Wednesday without a setback and then get cleared to play. If he does, he'll be a must-start Fantasy RB; if not, Hyde will be in the low-end RB2 discussion as the Seahawks likely leader rusher.
- Tyler Lockett (knee) did not practice -- That's two days in a row of no practice for Lockett, who is dealing with swelling in his sprained knee. At this point, it looks more likely than not that Lockett will be unable to play Thursday, but it's too early to say. Wednesday will tell us a lot, so keep a close eye on that. Lockett would be a must-start player if he is able to play against the Cardinals, with DK Metcalf likely to face a healthy dose of Patrick Peterson. The last time the two teams faced off in Week 7, Lockett had 15 catches for 200 yards and three touchdowns, while Metcalf was held to two for 23 yards and no scores.
- Drew Lock does not have any fractures in his ribs -- He does have "a pretty severe strain and bruising," per Adam Schefter, and it's still very much unclear if he will be able to play in Week 11 against the Dolphins. Lock wouldn't be a recommended starter in that matchup even if he does play, but his absence would make it tougher to trust Jerry Jeudy, Noah Fant and the rest of the Broncos skill players against a tough Dolphins defense.
- Calvin Ridley (foot) was running off to the side during practice Monday -- That's a good sign coming off the bye, though it obviously isn't everything. Ridley will try to practice Wednesday as the Falcons ramp up for Sunday's game against the Saints, and we'll get our first real sense of his chances of returning then.
- Drew Brees (ribs) may end up on IR -- Brees is getting a second opinion on his fractured ribs and collapsed lung before the Saints make any formal moves, but it seems likely this will cost him at least a few games. Jameis Winston is expected to step up to replace Brees -- he played 34 of 37 snaps in Week 10 after Brees left the game -- but Sean Payton has yet to confirm that. Taysom Hill would be the other option, and both would be viable starting Fantasy options -- assuming Payton doesn't go with some sort of committee approach.
- Matthew Stafford has a partial tear in his right thumb -- That's the throwing hand, of course. The sense at this point is that Stafford will try to play through the injury, and it's entirely possible that's what he'll end up doing. But you can't feel great about that situation. Stafford isn't someone we'll want to recommend against the Panthers.
- Kenny Golladay (hip) was back at practice Wednesday -- That's a good sign for Golladay, who has missed most of the last three games with the injury. It doesn't guarantee he'll be back in the lineup, but if he is, you're probably starting him if Stafford is healthy.
- Allen Lazard (abdomen) was activated from IR -- Lazard has been practicing for a few weeks now, and seemed like he was one the verge of returning in Week 10, so expect him out there in Week 11 against the Colts. I wouldn't start him right away, but I do expect Lazard to re-emerge as the No. 2 option for the Packers passing game once he's back up to full speed, making him a worthwhile stash.
- JaMycal Hasty (collarbone) was placed on IR -- That makes four 49ers running backs placed on IR this season. Kyle Shanahan told reporters Tuesday he hopes to have Raheem Mostert (ankle) and Tevin Coleman (knee) back after the bye. Mostert would resume his starting role once healthy enough to play.
- Chris Thompson (back) was placed on IR -- That leaves James Robinson and Devine Ozigbo as the only healthy running backs on Jacksonville's roster. Robinson has handled every-down work pretty much all season, so Ozigbo will likely have just a small role, if at all. However, if something were to happen to Robinson, Ozigbo would become the starter, so consider stashing him on your bench if you are liking to speculate.