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Kevin Scott | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

Usage Notes - Week 6
10/15/19

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 6:

Running Back

  • Nick Chubb: Chubb continued his trend over the past few weeks of playing virtually every snap (86%). He was the only running back to receive a carry for the Browns. Whether that will change in a few weeks when Kareem Hunt is available is up in the air. For now, ride Chubb no matter the matchup.

  • Le’Veon Bell: Not only was Bell’s snap percentage the lowest on the season (82%), but he also only received 1 target in the passing game (to go with 14 carries). Sam Darnold, far more talented than the quarterbacks the Jets have been playing with in his absence, is likely to look downfield more often – which should limit Bell’s receiving upside.

  • Devonta Freeman: Freeman saw an uptick in snap percentage, seeing 72% of the team’s snaps. He seems to be the preferred option in the passing game, as the Falcons are almost always in comeback mode and they want him on the field in those situations. He did average 4.6 yards per carry, far better than his average the last few weeks, but he saved his fantasy day in the passing game with two receiving touchdowns.

  • Adrian Peterson: After Jay Gruden was fired new head coach Bill Callahan decided to ride Peterson in Week 6. He played 63% of the snaps and received 23 carries for 118 yards (5.1 average). Those excellent numbers may be a one-week experience, since the Redskins were playing the lowly Dolphins, but it seems likely Callahan will keep trying to run the ball.

  • Dalvin Cook: Even though Cook has been one of the top fantasy running backs in the league, he has been below an 80% snap count in every game this season. In Week 6 he was at 63%. The Vikings are a run-first offense so it hasn’t hurt his overall numbers but keep Alexander Mattison in mind, whose snap count hit 30% for the second time this season.

  • Jordan Howard: Howard’s snap count by week: 23% - 22% - 33% - 53% - 43% - 63%. The coaches have decided to give Howard the lion’s share of the work in recent weeks as he has been more effective than Miles Sanders on the ground. Howard should be a reliable RB2 for the foreseeable future.

  • Carlos Hyde: Hyde received over 60% of the snaps for the second consecutive week, and has shown to be a legitimate fantasy starter. The Texans trust him, and he is producing (26-116-1 in Week 6). As long as the Texans treat him as their starter, he is a worthy RB2 play.

  • Royce Freeman: Freeman played 61% of the snaps, while Lindsay only played 47% of the snaps. Those snap count percentages very closely mirror what we saw in Weeks 4 and 5. Freeman received more work in the passing game (5 targets to 3), while Lindsay received 15 carries to Freeman’s 11. The clearest thing about this backfield is that it is a committee. Lindsay has been more productive, but both seem to be set for significant weekly usage.

  • Melvin Gordon: Gordon snap percentage rose from 46% in Week 5 to 60% in Week 6. Austin Ekeler’s snap count percentage has gone from 72% in Week 4 to 66% in Week 5 to 45% in Week 6. As Gordon gets fully up to speed I envision around a 65%-35% split in snaps and touches, seriously limiting Ekeler’s upside.

  • Alvin Kamara: Kamara played a season-low 59% of snaps, due to both an ankle injury and a knee tweak he suffered during this week’s game. He received 18 touches to Latavius Murray’s 11 touches. Look for Murray to get more work as long as Kamara is banged up.

  • Tevin Coleman: In his second game after a return from an ankle injury, Coleman received 55% of the team’s snaps – after 34% last week. Breida’s snaps fell to 36%, so seemingly Shanahan is serious about making Coleman the lead back in this committee. Adjust accordingly.

  • James Conner: Conner saw his snaps decrease from 80% in Week 5 to 50% in Week 6. Benny Snell saw 48% of the snaps because the Steelers built an early lead and Conner left late in third quarter with a quad injury.

  • Joe Mixon: Mixon’s snaps fell to 48%, and he could do very little with the snaps he did play (8 carries for 10 yards, 2 receptions for 29 yards). Mixon is a player to avoid whenever possible, with how poorly the Bengals offensive line is playing. Keep an eye on whether the return of A.J. Green helps the overall offense, which will help Mixon as well. If not, this is probably a lost season for the talented back.

  • Damien Williams: Williams saw his snap share fall to 38%, while LeSean McCoy’s went up to 50%. The Chiefs poor rushing attack and the defenses inability to stop the opposition on the ground are making both RBs Flex dart throws.

  • Gus Edwards: Edwards played on 41% of the snaps, while Mark Ingram played on only 38%. While Ingram received more touches (15 to 6), Edwards was again very effective (6-34). He is the clear handcuff to Ingram, and may begin to receive more work if he continues to run for 5 yards per carry (5.6 in this game, 4.5 ypc on the season).

  • Chris Thompson: While Bill Callahan gave Peterson more touches, Thompson seems to be the forgotten man, playing on only 22% of the snaps (5 touches). He must be benched until it becomes clear his usage will go back up in more typical Reskins game scripts (i.e. trailing).

Tyreek Hill

Wide Receiver

  • Tyreek Hill: Hill played on only 50% of the snaps and was still the best receiver option for the Chiefs. Look for his snap count to move up toward 100% next week. The other Chiefs receivers came in at Robinson (86%), Pringle (59%), and Hardman (55%). When both Hill and Watkins are healthy, it will likely be a rotation among those three players at the third receiver spot – making them all irrelevant.

  • Robert Woods: He played 100% of snaps, but caught 0 passes on 4 targets. The Rams were thoroughly dominated by the 49ers, so better days are ahead.

  • Brandin Cooks: He also played almost every snap (98%), but only caught 3 for 18. He looked healthy, which is a positive sign moving forward.
    Darius Slayton: Slayton played on 98% of the snaps for the Giants with Golden Tate on the field as well (also 98%). Slayton’s usage will go back down near 50% once Sterling Shepard (concussion) returns, so don’t overreact to his heavy usage.

  • Terry McLaurin: He played almost every snap (97%) and is officially the only Redskins receiver worth owning. He received 7 targets, 3 more than any other Redskins receiver, and caught 4 for 100 yards and two touchdowns. Richardson, Quinn, and Harmon have been unable to become fantasy relevant in this poor offense.

  • Paul Richardson: Richardson’s snap count fell to 59% in his first game without Jay Gruden. His days as a nominal flex option may be over. Trey Quinn fell to 53% of snaps, his lowest of the season as well. It looks like new head coach Bill Callahan prefers to play less 11 personnel (3 receivers), so Quinn’s value likely will also fade.

  • Michael Gallup: Gallup (knee) returned to play virtually every snap, but Amari Cooper leaving with a thigh injury in the first quarter did not lead to a big day for Gallup (4-48). He may need Cooper on the other side of the field to find space to work. Still, the heavy usage is encouraging and reinforces that he is 100% healthy.

  • Tavon Austin: When Cooper went down it was Austin who came in and played every snap. He finished with 5 receptions for 64 yards, leading the team. If Cooper is to remain out for a while, Austin is worth a speculative add.

  • Cedrick Wilson: After Amari Cooper was hurt, Wilson entered the game and played snaps 61% of the snaps. He caught 5 balls for 46 yards, on 6 targets. If Cooper remains out, he could be an option in deeper leagues.

  • Robby Anderson: Anderson played 92% of snaps and showed again what he is capable of with a real NFL QB (5-125-1). He should be in flex consideration with Darnold under center.

  • DeMaryius Thomas: Thomas played 81% of snaps and looked healthy, catching 4 passes for 62 yards. His low ownership makes him a sneaky pick up this week. He could provide excellent PPR value, similar to Larry Fitzgerald at this point in his career, as long as Darnold is healthy.

  • Alex Erickson: Erickson’s snap count percentage took a leap to 79%. His previous high had been 22%. He was the second leading receiver (4-47 and 6 targets). Auden Tate again led the way, playing 90% of snaps and receiving 12 targets (5-91). Since the Bengals are going to be trailing a lot, both are worth keeping an eye on especially until A.J. Green comes back.

    Tyler Boyd: Boyd played 98% of snaps but could not get open against the Ravens defense. He had only 3 catches for 10 yards on 7 targets.

  • Chris Conley: Although Conley led the Jaguars in snap percentage (83%), he did not receive a target. His early-season usage has totally dried up. Westbrook played on 78% of snaps and led the team with 3 catches for 53 yards. D.J. Chark played on 71% of snaps and caught 3 for 43. It was a rough day all around for the Jags against a tough Saints defense. Expect their numbers to improve in future weeks.

  • Dante Pettis: Right when I was ready to give up on Pettis he starts to give us something. Pettis (3-45 on 6 targets) played on 72% of snaps in Week 6, his highest of the year. We are certainly seeing an upward trend, as he has gone from 3% in Week 1, up to the 40s in Weeks 2 and 3, and then to 63% and 72% in the past two weeks. He is worth picking up if you have space for a speculative add.

  • Jakobi Meyers: Meyers got a boost once Josh Gordon injured his ankle, and he produced (4-54). If Gordon remains out, Meyers is worth an add.

  • Antonio Callaway: Callaway played on 68% of the snaps for Cleveland, up from 43% last week, but did nothing with them (2-22). He is not worth owning until he starts showing some consistency.

  • Julio Jones: Jones matched his lowest snap count of the season in Week 6, 68%. He received 9 targets (8-108), so he was very useful, but in a dogfight with Arizona, Julio should not rotating in and out so much. Of course you’re playing him regardless, but watch to see if they change course and get him in for every snap. If so, he could explode.

  • Calvin Ridley: Ridley played a season-low 59% of snaps, also rotating in like Julio. He still produced (4-48-1 on 6 targets). It is unclear why the Falcons coaches are making this move, but if coaches are soon fired, I look for both to play 100% of snaps moving forward.

  • Stefon Diggs: Diggs played 63% of the snaps, but produced in a major way (7-167-3 on 11 targets). The Vikings passing game is impossible to predict week-to-week, but generally Diggs and Thielen should be started, as these blow-up weeks are always a possibility.

  • Miles Boykin: Boykin played his highest snap percentage (56%) of the year for Baltimore, while Seth Roberts saw his share fall to 41%. This may represent a changing of the guard, so keep an eye on Boykin moving forward.

  • Albert Wilson: Wilson finally played, but saw only 38% of the snaps for Miami. He did receive 6 targets, but only produced 5 catches for 15 yards. If this offense ever improves, he may be useful for PPR, so keep an eye on the situation.

Tight ends

  • Ryan Izzo: Izzo played on 98% of the snaps for New England and caught 2 passes for 31 yards on 4 targets. While he did not produce much, his high snap count is notable. He may be worth a speculative add in this Patriots offense that will be missing Matt Lacosse (knee) for a few weeks. Ben Watson has been re-signed.

  • Jeremy Sprinkle: Sprinkle played on 92% of the snaps and was the second leading receiver for the Redskins. Unfortunately that was still only good for 2-24 on 3 targets, but with the other tight ends ailing and a new head coach, keep Sprinkle on your radar.

  • Jason Witten: Witten played his highest percentage of snaps this week (88%). He looks healthy and like the same old Jason Witten. He caught 5-57 on 7 targets, so he is worthy of being rostered everywhere in this poor tight end landscape.

  • Darren Fells: Fells also played his highest percentage of snaps (87%) for Houston and has been trending upward the past few weeks. He caught 6 passes on 7 targets for 69 yards, and led the team in receiving yards. He is hard to bring down, and is serving as an outlet for Watson, mostly on RPO plays. He is also worthy of being owned everywhere, due to his involvement in a dynamic offense.

  • Ricky Seals-Jones: RSJ played on 68% of the snaps, more than doubling his highest percentage before this week. He received 6 targets, tied for second on the team, and looks to have worked his way in as the starter. He produced with 3-47-1. He should be picked up in most leagues this week.

  • Luke Willson: Willson played on 67% of the snaps this week, with Will Dissly exiting with what is feared to be a season-ending Achilles injury. Willson should step into the same role and needs to be picked up everywhere.

  • Hunter Henry: Henry played on 66% of the snaps but produced like he played every one (8-100-2). Owners who held onto him will be rewarded for their patience. If he is somehow available, pay all your FAAB for him.

  • Gerald Everett: Everett’s snaps fell back down to 53% in Week 6, but he has been fluctuating wildly all season so that is nothing new. If you overspent on him after his big performance last week, just know he will still have some big weeks ahead. It is just difficult to know when they are coming.