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Staff Writer

Usage Notes - Week 7

Each week weíll 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 doesnít 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 7:

Chase Edmonds

Running Back

  • Chase Edmonds played the highest percentage of snaps among running backs in Week 7 at 94%. Kliff Kingsbury deserves the blame he is getting from many in the fantasy community after that trick. He knew Johnson wasnít playing meaningful snaps but held that information back. Obviously, Edmonds balled out (27-126-3) and Johnson likely would have too. If this performance gets Edmonds more touches going forward, he could be a useful flex option and also take away some of Johnsonís upside.

  • Chris Carson saw his highest snap count percentage of the season (89%). Either Rashaad Penny remains not fully healthy or the coaching staff in Seattle simply wants Carson on the field the vast majority of the time. For now, ride Carson.

  • Saquon Barkley returned from injury and played 86% of the snaps. Though he didnít do too much with them (18-72-1), he had at least one long gain called back on a penalty. He should remain one of the top fantasy options even in a poor offense.

  • Latavius Murray had a huge game (27-119-2, 5-31), essentially taking Kamaraís role in the offense. His snap share jumped from a previous high of 42% to 83%, and he produced against a good Bears defense. Perhaps the Saints find a way to get him more involved even when Kamara returns.

  • Derrick Henry matched his season-high in snap share at 75%. Dion Lewis, even in a close game, only touched the ball once. Henry seems locked into a workhorse role, and those that took the gamble on him have been paid off. If the offense continues to play better with Tannehill, he could be in for increased production as well.

  • Tevin Colemanís usage continued its upward trend, in part because Matt Breida (concussion) got injured again. In his last three games he has played 34%, 55%, and 66% of the snaps. No one produced in sloppy conditions in Washington, but Coleman did receive 20 carries and 2 receptions.

  • After Kerryon Johnson left with a knee injury, it was rookie Ty Johnson who filled his role, playing 64% of the snaps (10-29, 4-28). Although he was bottled up by the excellent Vikings defense, if Kerryon remains out, Ty could be quite useful for the next two games (vs Giants, at Raiders).

  • Royce Freeman hit a new high in his snap count percentage with 63% on Thursday night. The coaches seem to trust him more than Phillip Lindsay on passing downs. He received one fewer carry but 5 targets to Lindsayís 1.

  • Todd Gurley was back, seemingly healthy. He did find the endzone but failed to produce against an awful Falcons defense (18-41, 1-13-1) on 61% of the snaps.

  • Austin Ekeler played 59% of the snaps while Melvin Gordon played on 53%. Ekeler was used primarily in the passing game, lining up often as a wide receiver. He finished as the leading receiver (7-118-1). Gordon received 11 more carries than Ekeler but produced only 16 carries for 32 yards. It seems that Ekeler will remain the better fantasy option, particularly in negative game scripts.

  • Aaron Jones returned to prominence in Week 7, playing 57% of the snaps compared to Jamaal Williamsí 40%. Jones received 12 carries while Williams only received 3. Overall he out-produced Williams, 83 yards to 31. It seems they will continue to trade off playing a major role, or that the hot hand will continue to be featured. It is a tough situation for fantasy owners, but generally Jones is the RB to own.

  • Mark Walton played on 52% of the Dolphins snaps, while Kenyan Drake played on 41% and Ballage played on 7%. The coaching staff is liking what theyíre seeing out of Walton, and his increased snaps are leading to increased touches (15 touches in Week 7 to Drakeís 9). If he continues to trend toward getting the lionís share of the work, he could be an excellent addition for a late-season push. Waltonís usage the last three weeks have been 25%, 42%, and 52%, showing a nice upward trend.

  • Mark Ingram played on 51% of the Ravens snaps, while Gus Edwards played on 37%. Ingram out-touched Edwards 13 to 8, but had only 18 more yards. Ingram has not been particularly effective on the ground of late, and Edwards has averaged more yards per carry. Keep an eye on whether the Ravens staff might begin to give Edwards additional work.

  • Both Carlos Hyde (40%) and Jordan Howard (38%) saw their snap share decrease due to a negative game script in Week 7. Keep in mind that if the Texans or Eagles fall behind, those runners will see less work. They are best to start in easier matchups.

Wide Receiver

  • Golden Tate and Darius Slayton both played virtually every snap for the Giants, in a game they trailed throughout. Tate received 11 targets (6-80) but Slayton only received 2 (2-28). He is either not ready to take over this number of snaps or QB Daniel Jones is not up to the task of getting him the ball. Either way, Slayton should be avoided while Tate (and Shepard) should see the majority of targets moving forward.

  • Mike Williams played the most snaps of all Chargers receivers (95%). He was targeted 6 times (4-47), while Keenan Allen was targeted 11 times. Until Rivers starts playing better, no Chargers wideout can be counted on with confidence.

  • Alex Erickson saw a season-high snap rate of 94% this week. The usage is now a trend, as his last three weeks have been 22%, 79%, 94%. In Week 7 he received 14 targets and caught 8 for 137 yards and will be a very popular pick up on the wire this week. Since the Bengals will likely be trailing every game, Erickson should be on your radar.

  • Kenny Stills returned from injury and played 94% of the snaps due to Will Fuller leaving early with an injury (hamstring). Stills was clearly the next man up and finished with 4 catches for 105 yards. Heís worth an add as Fuller is expected to be out multiple weeks.

  • Dante Pettis was a tale of two stats in Week 7. On one hand, his rising usage trend continued, as he played 92% of the snaps. On the other hand, he posted zero catches. The sloppy conditions certainly played a factor but it lack of involvement was very disheartening. Kendrick Bourne was the other starter (89%) and caught 3 passes for 69 yards. While Pettis seems like the more talented player, he is not showing it in the stats column.

  • Auden Tate played 90% of the snaps as Tate, Erickson, and Boyd played virtually every snap. The Bengals stuck with 11 personnel most of the game and it seems likely that if/when A.J. Green returns from injury, Tate will be sent to the bench.

  • Preston Williams played the most snaps among Dolphins wide receivers (90%), and was targeted 8 times (6-82). With Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm, Williams is a decent bye-week fill in.

  • Emmanuel Sanders once again played almost every snap (88%). He caught 5 passes for 60 yards, in a putrid offensive showing by the Broncos. If he can stay healthy and Flacco can come back from this terrible game, he will be useful with that kind of snap share.

  • Tyreek Hill returned to full-time work, playing 87% of the snaps. He will struggle to put up numbers with Matt Moore at the helm, but since he can take any catch to the house, he is still a must-start.

  • The Rams played less 11 personnel than they typically do, so Brandin Cooks led the way among receivers with 78% of the snaps. Woods was at 76% and Kupp was at 62%. The Rams are working to get Gerald Everett on the field more, playing more 12 personnel with both Everett and Tyler Higbee on the field. While that is good news for Everett owners, it hurts the owners of all three Rams wide receivers.

  • Trevor Davis led the way among Raider receivers with a 76% snap share. He only produced 2-26, with Keelan Doss (3-54) leading all wide receivers. Tight end Darren Waller is likely the only receiving option worth owning on the Raiders.

  • Anthony Millerís usage continues to trend higher, as he played 75% of snaps and saw 9 targets (5-64). Taylor Gabriel had only 1 catch for 6 yards, so it seems Miller has jumped over him on the depth chart.

  • Although Larry Fitzgerald had only 1 reception, his usage did not change. The wet conditions in New York prevented the Cardinals from passing much.

  • After Adam Thielen was injured, Olabisi Johnson took his place and played on 71% of the snaps. He received 8 targets and caught 4 for 40 yards and a touchdown. If Thielen remains out, consider giving Johnson a look.

  • Danny Amendolaís snaps jumped up from 34% in Week 6 to 71% in Week 7, likely because he is now fully healthy. He caught 8 balls for 105 yards. The Vikings basically took Kenny Golladay away (only 1 reception), so this sort of production wonít continue, but Amendola is a worthy option in a pinch.

  • We are seeing a downward trend in Cole Beasleyís usage. He played 86% of snaps in Week 4, then 65% in Week 5, and now 55% in Week 7 (bye in Week 6). That is concerning; keep an eye on whether the trend continues or he bounces back up next week. They may have been trying to get Duke Williams (54%) more snaps. If those two are splitting reps, it hurts both of their values.

  • Zach Pascal played on only 47% of the Colts snaps but led the team in receiving (6-106-2). The Colts may have found their No.2 receiver, although Chester Rogers (2-24) still played more snaps than Pascal (54%) and Deon Cain (no catches) played on 42%. If the coaching staff bumps Pacalís snaps up, he could be a very useful player down the stretch.

Tight ends

  • Hunter Henry was back to full-time snaps in Week 7 (91%) and played well (6-97 on 8 targets). He is a premier tight end to own for the rest of the season.

  • Although Evan Engram played on 83% of the Giantsí snaps, he was ineffective, dropping a number of passes and finishing with only 1 catch for 6 yards on 5 targets.

  • Delanie Walker injured his ankle, so Jonnu Smith saw 83% of the snaps and finished with 3 catches for 64 yards. If Walker misses time, Smith could be an excellent pick up for those who need tight end help.

  • Eric Ebron saw only 42% of the snaps while Jack Doyle saw 76%, but Ebron out-produced Doyle. Both are difficult to trust in this ball-control offense with multiple weapons.

  • Ironically Kyle Rudolph saw his lowest snap share of the season (75%), but had by far his best game (5-58-1 on 6 targets). Meanwhile, Irv Smith also saw 6 targets and had 5 catches for 60 yards. Both saw more targets due to Thielen being out, and the coaching staff could include the tight ends in the game plan more going forward.

  • Gerald Everett played on 74% of snaps and has become a great weekly start with the usage heís seeing. The Rams seem focused on getting him on the field more, so he should continue to be a useful option.

  • Jacob Hollister played on 51% of snaps and Luke Willson (whom most assumed would be the starter with Will Dissly out) played on 47%. Hollister received 6 targets (3-20) and Willson only received 1. Both should be avoided until one busts out with a big game.