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Kevin Scott | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

Usage Notes - Week 15

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 15:

Todd Gurley

Running Back

  • Todd Gurley played on a season-high 96% of the snaps. It seems the Rams really were saving him for the stretch run. However, the Rams were thoroughly whipped by the Cowboys, who shut down Gurley aside from his two scores. The Rams’ playoff hopes are shot unless they win out and the Vikings lose out, but because there is a shot, Gurley should continue to see heavy snaps in Week 16.

  • Devonta Freeman played on 79% of the snaps but only received 14 touches, gaining 55 yards. However, they were playing the 49ers’ stout defense and get the Jaguars in Week 16. He is a worthy flex option in that matchup.

  • Kenyan Drake received 23 touches and was extremely effective, scoring 4 times on the ground. David Johnson received only 3 touches. Drake is a worthy championship play against the Seahawks.

  • Ezekiel Elliott played on only 71% of the snaps, since the Cowboys got up big against the Rams. He still received 24 carries and 4 targets, and was very effective. Tony Pollard also ran effectively in garbage time, gaining 131 yards on only 12 carries.

  • With Guice out, Adrian Peterson played his highest percentage of snaps since Week 9, 60%. He produced 16-66-1 and 3-25, and is a very solid play in championship week against the Giants.

  • In his return, James Conner played on 58% of the snaps and scored the team’s only touchdown on a reception. In all he received 12 touches, which seems low, but it led the team in a terrible offensive effort. He did produce 5.3 ypc, making him an interesting Week 16 play against the Jets.

  • Josh Jacobs returned and played his usual allotment of snaps (57%) but his 24-89 was a disappointment against a soft Jaguars defense. He gets a challenging rush defense in Week 16, the Chargers, but there’s concern the Raiders may choose to sit him out with his shoulder injury.

  • Nick Chubb’s snaps fell to their lowest level of the season in Week 15 (50%). This was likely due to the Browns being in come-back mode for most of the game, and they prefer Kareem Hunt on passing downs. Chubb was very effective on his carries, gaining 127 yards and a score on only 17 carries. He also caught 3 passes for 21 yards. Hunt, meanwhile, received 12 touches and recorded 76 yards – but played on 61% of the snaps.

  • Myles Gaskin of the Dolphins saw his snap share increase to 48%. His previous high had been 25%. He outproduced Patrick Laird, who also played on 48% of snaps. Gaskin produced 72 yards of offense while Laird only produced 54 yards, and Gaskin received 3 fewer touches. It would be unwise to trust either of them in your championship match.

  • With the injury to Dalvin Cook, Mike Boone played on 32% of snaps and was effective (13-56-2). Watch the news carefully this week to see if Boone or Alexander Mattison will get the start against the Packers in Week 16. If Cook is out, either of them is a worthy start, assuming it is clear who will be the lead back.

  • Boston Scott played on 45% of the snaps for the Eagles and produced 6-26, 7-39. In a PPR format he is a worthwhile start if you are needy at the RB position.

  • Phillip Lindsay played on only 39% of the snaps against the Chiefs, in what many thought would be a plus matchup. He produced 7-32 and did not catch either of his two targets. He is very difficult to trust in Week 16, although the Broncos do get the Lions at home, which is certainly an excellent opportunity.

  • Darwin Thompson (35%) and Spencer Ware (40%) were the two primary backs for the Chiefs, with Thompson receiving a team-high 8 carries to Ware’s 7. LeSean McCoy (25%) received 6 carries. This is a timeshare similar to the one in Tampa Bay, meaning all of these backs must be avoided.

  • James White’s snaps fell to 38%, though he did salvage his day with a receiving score. White is only worth a play in games where the Patriots are fighting to stay competitive, or trailing, so keep that in mind for Week 16. If you think the Bills will challenge them, it might be worth starting White. Otherwise, steer clear.

Wide Receiver

  • Robby Anderson played on 100% of the snaps and finished with 4-66, but was playing against a very solid Ravens secondary. He is a potential flex play in Week 16 against the Steelers.

  • Emmanuel Sanders played on 95% of the snaps but only received 4 targets (2-9). The Falcons had a great plan but against the Rams in Week 16, Sanders should find a bit more room.

  • Anthony Miller’s climb continues, as he played on a season-high 94% of the snaps and produced 9-118-1. He has become an excellent complement to Allen Robinson and his usage should remain high for the rest of the season. Against the Chiefs’ stingy pass defense in Week 16, Miller is a tough start. But he is an option due to his upward trajectory.

  • Devante Parker returned from his concussion and was not eased in. He played on 94% of the snaps and scored twice. He is officially in must-start territory, and is a great play in championship week against the Bengals.

  • Will Fuller returned (again) and played on 94% of the snaps. He received 7 targets and produced 5-61. He gets to face the hapless Bucs secondary in Week 16, making him an intriguing boom-bust play.

  • With D.J. Chark out, Dede Westbrook played on a season-high 93% of the snaps, but struggled to produce against the Raiders (2-14 on 4 targets). The whole offense struggled, but Westbrook’s poor showing with Minshew at the helm makes him a very poor play in Week 16.

  • Cooper Kupp, after playing on only 29% of snaps in Week 14, played on 92% in Week 15. He caught all 6 of his targets for 41 yards and a score. Since the Rams must win out to make the playoffs, Kupp is a worthwhile play in Week 16.

  • With Mike Evans out, it was Breshad Perriman who picked up the slack for the Bucs, playing on 89% of the snaps and producing 5-113-3. Since Godwin also was knocked out of the game, both Perriman and Justin Watson are interesting plays against the Texans in Week 16.

  • With Calvin Ridley out, Julio Jones played on a season-high 88% of the snaps and received a whopping 20 targets! He caught 13 for 134 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is a must-start option against the Jags in Week 16.

  • With Marvin Jones out, Danny Amendola played on a season-high 86% of the snaps and received a team-high 13 targets. He produced 8-102. He has a tough matchup in Week 16 against the Broncos on the road, but he can be started if you need a wide receiver.

  • Mohamed Sanu’s snaps jumped up to 86% in Week 15, but he caught only 2 of his 8 targets. He and Brady do not appear to be on the same page, which will have to change fast if the Pats are going to make another postseason run.

  • Albert Wilson looks healthy and played on 80% of the snaps for the Dolphins. He received a team-high 8 targets and produced 5-59. He is worthy of consideration for a Week 16 matchup with the Bengals, if you’re desperate.

  • Marquise Brown continues to trend upward in usage, playing on 75% of the snaps in Week 15. He caught all 4 of his targets for 45 yards and a touchdown. He could easily catch a long touchdown in Week 16 against the Browns, but the Ravens prefer to be run-heavy making him a risky play.

  • Cole Beasley saw his snap share fall from 97% in Week 14 to 69% in Week 15, and he barely figured in the box score despite 6 targets (1-6). The Steelers’ defense stopped the Bills from getting going in this game, although John Brown did record 7 catches for 99 yards. Beasley will have a hard time bouncing back in Week 16 against the Patriots, meaning he is only a desperation play.

  • Julian Edelman’s snaps were scaled back in Week 15, possibly due to his ongoing injuries. He played on only 62% of snaps and only recorded two receptions. It will be tough sledding again in Week 16 against the Bills, but in a must-win game I anticipate he will get more action.

  • Adam Thielen played on 51% of snaps in his return. The Vikings controlled the game throughout, so the passing game wasn’t a priority. He did catch all three of his targets, so I anticipate he will get much more action in Week 16 against the Packers.

Tight ends

  • Kaden Smith of the Giants played on 100% of the snaps. He caught all three of his targets for 38 yards, and has been a decent replacement for Evan Engram.

  • George Kittle played on 95% of the snaps and received an outlandish 17 targets (13-134). He is always a smart start, and Week 16 against the Rams is no different.

  • Travis Kelce (91%) similarly received an amazing 13 targets (11-142). He is the most consistent tight end in the league, and Andy Reid has shown he will not pull his starters until very late in the regular season, so he can be trusted in Week 16.

  • Darren Waller (88%) has become a top-five fantasy tight end due to his weekly involvement in the game plan. In Week 15 he caught 8-122 on 10 targets, and in Week 16 he gets the Chargers.

  • Gerald Everett was out again for the Rams, and Tyler Higbee continues to ball out in his absence. After his third straight huge game (12-111 on 14 targets), it will be difficult to take Higbee out of the game plan. He looks like a Travis Kelce type, with game-breaking after-the-catch ability. Watch for Everett’s status, but either way Higbee is a worthy play.

  • With the Eagles still short on wide receivers, Dallas Goedert played on 84% of the snaps and produced 5-55. He is a solid TE option for Week 16 against the Cowboys.

  • Austin Hooper seems to be back to full health and played on 82% of the snaps. However, he only had 3 receptions for 20 yards. Still, in this tight end landscape he is a good play for championship week.

  • Jonnu Smith (81% of snaps) finally was a part of the game plan in Week 15, and caught all 5 of his targets for 60 yards. He also had a rushing attempt that went for 57 yards. It is very tough to trust him with the way the Titans depend on the run, but they may need to pass to stay close in Week 16 against the Saints.