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Kevin Scott | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

Usage Notes - Week 13
12/2/19

Each week we’ll review some interesting data points related to player usage; information I consider to be among the most predictive and actionable in fantasy football. The truth doesn’t always lie in the stats but usage tells the story of how a coaching staff intends to utilize a player.

Here are some of the most important usage statistics for Week 13:

Miles Sanders

Running Back

  • With Jordan Howard out, Miles Sanders started and again played the vast majority of snaps (87%). This time he was very productive, albeit in a loss (17-83, 5-22-1). It is unknown what the situation will be when Howard returns, but until that happens you should ride Sanders as one of the few full-time backs in the league.

  • Kenyan Drake (80% of snaps) started over and played more than David Johnson even though neither produced against the Rams. Both will be difficult to trust in the last few games of the fantasy season, as they play the Steelers, Browns, and Seahawks.

  • James White saw his snap share shoot up in Week 13 to 78% (30% in Week 12). He also produced like it was 2018 (14-79, 8-98-2), winning the week for those who had the guts to start him. He might see a similar game script against the Chiefs in Week 14.

  • Raheem Mostert saw his highest snap share (74%) of the season by far. Tevin Coleman (18%) wasn’t injured, but Shanahan elected to ride Mostert’s hot hand. It will be impossible to predict which running back will get the most weekly touches moving forward, making any of them dart throws with upside.

  • Duke Johnson also played his highest percentage of snaps on the season (68%) in Week 13. He also was far more effective on 9 carries than Hyde was on 10 carries (36 to 17 yards). Johnson also saw 6 targets in the passing game and went 5-54-1. If this trend continues, Johnson could be a very usable player in the fantasy playoffs.

  • Kareem Hunt played on 65% of snaps in Week 13, to Chubb’s 59%. Though he had only 7 carries to Chubb’s 16, he was more effective on the ground, going for 6.6 ypc to Chubb’s 3.6. He also had 5 receptions for 19 yards and a score. This is very concerning for Chubb owners moving forward, but quite encouraging for Hunt owners. Both are risky plays down the stretch, though you likely be starting Chubb if you have him.

  • Patrick Laird played on 60% of the snaps for the Dolphins. He was ineffective on the ground just like Ballage has been (10-5), but he did catch 4 passes for 43 yards. He is a low-upside desperation play for playoff teams who have lost a running back.

  • Aaron Jones saw 58% of the snaps in Week 13, but could do nothing against the Giants. He rushed 11 timers for 18 yards (Jamaal Williams ran it 10 times for 41 yards), and had 4 receptions for 13 yards (Williams went 4-26). This timeshare is trending in the wrong direction for Jones owners, who are left very confused about how to move forward during these next few playoff weeks.

  • Phillip Lindsay is now officially on a downward trend. His snap share went from 64% in Week 11 to 54% in Week 12 to 44% in Week 13. Royce Freeman has played on 56% of snaps the past two weeks. However, Lindsay did get 20 touches to Freeman’s 9, and was more effective (62 yards to Freeman’s 24). This is another backfield to avoid if possible.

  • Jaylen Samuels saw his snap share increase to 55% in Week 13 (up from 30% in Week 12). Although Benny Snell received 16 carries to Samuels’ 7, Samuels did get 2 receptions. They simply trust Snell more between the tackles, and see Samuels more as a passing-down specialist.

  • Jordan Wilkins spoiled the Jonathan Williams party in Week 13, playing on 44% of snaps and receiving 3 more carries. He was also more effective (11-47, 2-9). Until Marlon Mack returns it is anyone’s guess how the carries will be split.

  • Lesson number 13 in why all Tampa Bay backs should be avoided: Peyton Barber received 39% of snaps and got the most touches, Ogunbowale received 30%, and supposed starter Ronald Jones received 28%. If you are considering starting any of them in the fantasy playoffs, read this entry three more times.

  • Another backfield that is extremely confusing is in Washington. Peterson played on 36% of snaps, Thompson 36%, and Guice on 30%. Making things more confusing, both Peterson (13-99-1) and Guice (10-129-2) were very effective on the ground. It seems likely the coaching staff will continue to split carries, even though it would make sense to allow Guice to get hot heading into next season. Neither is easy to trust, although you likely have to ride them if you have them.

  • Darrel Williams went down with a knee injury in the Chiefs-Raiders game, leaving McCoy and rookie Darwin Thompson to man the backfield. With the Chiefs way ahead, Reid chose to give Thompson his first real work, and he finished with 11-44-1. If Darrel and/or Damien Williams missing Week 14, there is a chance Thompson could be useful, but it is such a muddled backfield that all should probably be avoided.

Wide Receiver

  • Zach Pascal played on 100% of the snaps in the absence of T.Y. Hilton, and this time he produced (7-109). Marcus Johnson also played on 93% of snaps and produced 4-55 on six targets. The Colts threw it 40 times on Sunday, unusual for them, so temper your expectations moving forward, particularly since Hilton will likely return before too long.

  • Emmanuel Sanders played on 98% of the snaps in Week 13, by far his highest since Week 9. He received a team-high 6 targets but only produced 4-41 against a solid Ravens defense.
  • Deebo Samuel also played his highest snap share of the season (96%) but produced only 2-41-1 on 4 targets. Although he didn’t blow up, it is still encouraging for his owners, as his upward trajectory continues.

  • Calvin Ridley played his highest snap share of the season (94%) with Julio Jones out injured. He received 10 targets and posted 8-91. Whether Jones is in or out, Ridley has become a good start on a weekly basis. Christian Blake started in Julio’s spot and played on 89% of the snaps, but that is likely just a one-week situation.

  • Alshon Jeffery returned and played on 90% of the snaps. Although the Eagles inexplicably lost to the Dolphins, Jeffery did play well (9-137-1 on a whopping 16 targets). He is their clear-cut No. 1 option for the rest of the fantasy season if he stays healthy.

  • Cole Beasley played on 88% of the snaps, his third week in a row at 81% or above. That three-week trend comes on the heels of him having a few weeks at 45%, 55%, and 65% over the previous 5 games. He is certainly trending up, and is a good start at flex for the fantasy playoffs.

  • With Taylor Gabriel out, Anthony Miller played on 86% of the snaps – and he played very well (9-140 on 13 targets). This could be a changing of the guard even when Gabriel is healthy, which many have been calling for.

  • Kelvin Harmon played on 84% of the snaps for Washington and led the team in receiving (3-51 on 5 targets). Dwayne Haskins is not great, but Harmon seems to have developed a rapport with him. You could do worse than starting Harmon if you are desperate.

  • Tyreek Hill returned after his hamstring tweak and played on 81% of the snaps. He produced modestly but could have had a much bigger day if the weather was better and if the Chiefs did not get out to a big lead.

  • James Washington led the way in receiving for the Steelers and seems to have turned a corner as a pro. He received only 4 targets on 71% of the snaps, but turned them into 4-111-1.

  • Sammy Watkins played on 61% of the snaps, his lowest level of the season when healthy. He was targeted three times but did not make a catch. One could blame the weather in KC on Sunday, but from a larger perspective Watkins seems to be an afterthought in the Chiefs offense. He cannot be trusted regardless of the matchup.

Tight ends

  • The Ravens effectively shut down George Kittle, but he played on 100% of the snaps. He received only 4 targets (2-17), but it was due to the defense scheming to take him away. He should get a chance to rebound against the Saints and Falcons over the next two weeks.

  • Jack Doyle saw his highest snap share of the season with Eric Ebron out. He produced nicely, with 6-73-1 on a team-high 11 targets. He is the top priority pick-up for the fantasy playoffs if you are in need of a tight end.

  • With Gerald Everett out, Tyler Higbee saw his highest snap share of the season at 91%. He also produced against the Cardinals, who do not know how to defend the position (7-107-1). Everett may be back next week and the Rams will not play the Cardinals again, so he is not worth a start beyond this week most likely. But if Everett is out again, he becomes intriguing.

  • Jonnu Smith played on 87% of the snaps with Delanie Walker on IR, but had only 2 receptions – for 0 yards! He is simply not worth playing until the Titans show a desire to make him a part of the offense.

  • We had an O.J. Howard sighting on Sunday. He received 6 targets (5-61) and played on 83% of the snaps. The Bucs seem intent on messing with fantasy owners so that you never know who to start, so he should be avoided despite the nice week (just like all of their backs should be avoided). Even Mike Evans and Godwin did not produce on Sunday despite the big win for the Bucs.

  • Hunter Henry played on 76% of the snaps but received only 3 targets (2-10). With the Chargers imploding, he should be avoided if possible.

  • Mike Gesicki’s snap share decreased in Week 13 to 74% (90% in Week 12), but it didn’t matter. He continued his hot streak, with 5-79-1 on 7 targets. He is a solid start for the fantasy playoffs.

  • Dallas Goedert saw his snap share decrease from 87% in Week 12 to 56% in Week 13, with the return of Jeffery and Agholor. However, he still received the second most targets on the team (7) and produced 6-66. He can be trusted on a weekly basis, as the Eagles have decided to make him an important part of the offense.

  • Greg Olsen played only 52% of the snaps due to leaving early with a concussion. Keep an eye on his status for Week 14. If he plays, he should return to solid production.