The Baltimore Ravens were supposed to have J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill this season. Fate intervened, and we ended up with Latavius Murray, Devonta Freeman, Le’Veon Bell and Ty’Son Williams. To say this looks like the running back room of an abandoned dynasty team from 2018 is understating the washed factor of these running backs. Their young, spry guy (Ty’Son Williams) is older than Kerryon Johnson! Is it time we wash our hands entirely of this running back room?
First, I don’t think any singular guy takes the definitive lead in this running back room. Latavius Murray comes the closest, but as the other backs worked their way into the rotation, he fell by the wayside. And what does “taking the lead” even look like in this current iteration of the Baltimore Ravens, the iteration that passes the football more than it runs the football for the first time since Lamar Jackson took the reins? It doesn’t look that great. The RB21 through RB30 (which, let’s be honest, is the range where these guys would love to get to), averages 14.123 touches per game. That sounds like a pipedream to this group of running backs.
As of right now, the group, over the last three games, combines for 21 rush attempts per game, totaling 18, 28, and 17 across the last three weeks. The 28 carries are the outlier here, as the Ravens stomped the Chargers 34-6, and ran the ball down their throats. But, it happened, so we have to consider it as part of their stat line. And yes, I acknowledge that the last three games is an arbitrary endpoint. After all, Latavius Murray had 18 carries four games ago. It was also Le’Veon Bell’s first game, Ty’Son Williams was inactive, and Devonta Freeman’s snap share had not graduated to full-blown part-time status.
And when I say “full-blown part-time” I mean full-blown AND part-time. Over the last three weeks, no Ravens running back has over 50% of snaps in a given game, but among active backs, no back as fewer than 19% of snaps. Over the last three weeks, the Ravens’ average snap distribution among the first, second, and third-most active running backs came out to a 42%-30%-26% snap distribution split. The lead back, when healthy, seems to be Latavius Murray.
But, do we even want to hang onto Latavius Murray, given this snap split and this touch distribution? Latavius, like all part-time backs, has a touch problem. For the season, he averages 10.5 touches per game. He also has just one game over 50% of snaps (62% in week four). But, that was also the only time he totaled over ten touches in a game. The most ardent Latavius Murray supporter can only really look at two games this year; weeks four and five against Denver & Indianapolis. He played 62% and 49% of snaps, respectively. And that’s the high point? Yikes.
As it stands right now, the Baltimore Ravens are one of the more woeful running back rooms in the NFL, averaging just 18.9 fantasy points per game (with two of their six 10+ point half-PPR games coming in week six). The reason for this is simple: touches. The Ravens’ running backs combine for 22 touches per game, the seventh-fewest touches per game in the league. And they’re splitting it, on most weeks, three ways.
I can’t trust the Ravens’ running backs, and neither should you. With the Byepocalypse in the rearview mirror (and with it, over one-third of the league completing their bye weeks already), it’s time to divest of all of them. Latavius Murray could still have trade value (dangle those week four and week six games in front of people) but it’s time to divest from them. We saw the perfect reason why in week six: Latavius Murray, Devonta Freeman, and Le’Veon Bell all scored touchdowns. But, we don’t know who will get those touchdowns from week to week. They’re a split-snap, split-touch low-volume backfield that has sporadic touchdown upside. Move on from everyone, but try to trade Latavius Murray. If you can’t trade him, then go ahead and keep him. But it’s rough sailing ahead for Ravens’ running back fantasy managers.