Phillip Lindsay 28 snaps (14 carries), Devontae Booker 22 (3 carries), Royce Freeman 16 (8 carries). #9sports
— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) September 17, 2018
Talk about a frustrating situation for those who invested heavily in Freeman on draft day. While his lack of snaps was game flow dependent, it’s clear that he’s not going to assume leadership of the backfield as expected. In fact he’s been out touched and outproduced by Lindsay over the first two weeks:
- Phillip Lindsay – 29 carries for 178 yards (6.1 YPC)
- Royce Freeman – 23 carries for 99 yards (4.3 YPC)
Freeman does have a rushing touchdown, and with Lindsay listed at 5’8″ and 190 lbs. you would think that the former would operate as the goal line/short yardage back. At the same time, if he’s reduced to more of a TD vulture is he going to carry significant value?
Then again, how much will the Broncos be willing to lean on Lindsay? If they do, can he hold up to the workload? Before we draw the comparisons to Alvin Kamara, the Saints’ star is taller (5’10″) and heavier (215 lbs.) than Lindsay, and the Saints have never given him more than 13 carries in a game. Lindsay is clearly a dynamic back who can make plays, but if he’s limited to 8-12 carries per week can he be counted on? Thus far the Broncos have been willing to feed him (14+ times per game), but as the wear and tear builds the Broncos could look to lighten his load in order to keep him healthy.
It’s not like he’s been a significant factor in the passing game, with just 3 receptions for 35 yards. Generally we talk about “boom or bust” in terms of wide receivers, but it’s very possible that the term is an apt description for Lindsay as well. Let’s not forget that he needed a 53 yard run to get to his gaudy Week 2 total of 107 yards. You take out that one run he owned a much more pedestrian 4.2 YPC.
None of this means that Lindsay should be avoided in any way, just know the risk involved. For now we’d consider him more of a FLEX option than a trusted RB2 (though he’s usable, depending on your alternatives). If the Broncos continue to prove willing to pile on the carries, then the outlook is going to change.
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com
Make sure to check out all of our Week 3 rankings: