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 8:
In Week 8, with Ito Smith out, Devonta Freeman again
played 80% of the snaps. He took 13 carries for only 39 yards,
but he received 8 targets and caught them all. His involvement
in the passing game is keeping him relevant.
Christian McCaffrey played only 78% of the snaps
in Week 8 because the game got out of hand, with the 49ers
blowing out the Panthers. He was extremely effective even
against a premier defense, and continues to cement his standing
as the No.1 player in fantasy going forward.
David Montgomery played 73% of the snaps, his highest
percentage to date. His touch count was even more encouraging,
receiving 27 carries and 5 targets (caught 4). He turned those
31 touches into 147 yards and a touchdown. If that usage continues,
and Cohen continues to see a decreasing workload, Montgomery
might become a usable player in fantasy after all.
Many will be excited about Miles Sanders’ good
game in Week 8. He rushed for 74 yards and a touchdown, and
caught three balls for 44 yards. Although that is an excellent
week, he only touched the ball 6 times, and only played on
18% of snaps. Jordan Howard meanwhile, received the vast majority
of carries (23) and had 111 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown
himself. He also played in 73% of snaps. While fantasy owners
could play either player, Howard remains the superior option
with the usage he is getting.
Devin Singletary’s usage jumped in Week 8 playing
on 68% of the snaps. Although he only received 3 carries,
he saw 6 targets (4-30-1). The utilization in the passing
game suggests the Bills’ coaches see him as superior
option there. Gore still saw 9 carries, but played on only
29% of the snaps. This may represent a changing of the guard
and since Singletary did not do too much against a strong
front, now would be an ideal time to trade for him in dynasty
Aaron Jones saw his snap share rise for the second
consecutive week. In Week 8 he played on 64% of snaps. With
both he and Williams healthy, it is clear he is their top
option and Williams is spelling him to keep him fresh.
Todd Gurley and Darrell Henderson split snaps in Week
8 almost equally, 52% to 48% in Gurley’s favor. Interestingly,
Henderson out-touched Gurley 14 to 10, and out-gained him
69 yards to 44. Whether this has now turned into a full-time
RBBC or not remains to be seen, but this is not good news
for Gurley owners. Although Gurley saved his day with a touchdown
run, it is clear the Rams do not trust him to carry a full
load, or are protecting him for a playoff run. Both players
are only flex options at this point.
Tevin Coleman produced 118 yards and 4 offensive
touchdowns (3 rushing, 1 receiving) on only 48% of the snaps
and 13 touches. Meanwhile, Matt Breida received 12 touches
but only produced 50 yards, with no touchdowns. He played
on 28% of snaps and left early with an ankle injury.
Sony Michel and James White each played 41% of the
snaps. Generally Michel is getting the carries while White
is getting the targets, making both risky weekly plays.
Matt Patricia seems to have learned how to handle
his running backs from Bill Belichick. The snap shares of
the Lions backs in Week 8 were 40% (Ty Johnson), 30% (Tra
Carson), 25% (J.D. McKissic), and 10% (Paul Perkins). After
many fantasy owners spent over half of their FAAB budget to
acquire Johnson, this was disappointing to say the least –
though it should not have been too surprising as Patricia
never gave Kerryon Johnson the work he should have when he
was healthy. It would not be wise to start any Lions back
until one of them is getting over half the snaps and touches.
Rashaad Penny’s snap share rose to 30% in Week
8, and he received 8 carries (Carson had 20). He ran well,
so watch to see if his snap share continues to rise, which
would likely only hurt Carson’s value and make each
of them dart throws in a given week.
Emmanuel Sanders played on 82% of snaps for the 49ers
days after he joined the team. Samuel (70%) and Kendrick Bourne
(48%) were the other receivers who saw significant playing
time. Dante Pettis (30%) seems headed for the bench for the
foreseeable future and can be dropped with confidence in redraft
and in the majority of dynasty leagues.
Robert Woods played on 98% of the snaps, yet only
received 2 targets (2-36) against the lowly Bengals. This happened
even though Brandin Cooks left early with a concussion. Cooper
Kupp had 7 catches for 220 yards, on 10 targets. Woods is on
a cold streak and can be benched until he works things out with
Josh Reynolds took over for Brandin Cooks (concussion),
playing 89% of the snaps and producing 3-73-1. Cooks has now
had multiple concussions this season and is in danger of seeing
a prolonged absence. Reynolds is likely to be a hot waiver
wire add this week.
Julian Edelman and Phillip Dorsett played 96% and
93% of snaps in Week 8. Newcomer Mohamed Sanu played 54% and
Jakobi Meyers played 36%, seeming to share snaps. It is uncertain
whether Dorsett will continue to play virtually all the snaps
or whether Sanu will begin eating into his playing time. If
the snap counts stay at this level, both Dorsett and Sanu
are worthy flex options.
D.K. Metcalf played his highest percentage of snaps
of the season, 92%. He received 5 targets (second most on
the team) and scored two touchdowns, continuing his dominance
in the red zone. He is a risky play, as often Seattle will
control the game and by running the ball, but in close games
Metcalf has lots of upside and is a high-ceiling start.
Zach Pascal’s big Week 7 got him a huge increase
in his opportunity in Week 8. He received a career-high 92%
of the snaps. Unfortunately, the Broncos completely shut down
the Colts’ receivers, holding Hilton to 2-54 and Pascal
to 1-6. However, if Pascal remains the starter on the other
side of Hilton moving forward, he could be a very important
waiver addition for the playoff push.
Tyrell Williams returned from injury and played in
89% of the snaps for Oakland. He finished with 6 targets and
had 3 catches for 91 yards and a touchdown. When healthy he
has been a solid WR 2.
Christian Kirk is in the same boat. He returned from
his ankle injury and played 86% of the snaps for Arizona,
producing nicely (8-79 on 11 targets).
Sammy Watkins returned from his hamstring injury,
playing on 86% of the snaps. He produced 5-45 on 8 targets
with Matt Moore under center. He looked healthy and his stats
should increase once Mahomes returns.
While Julio Jones’ usage remained virtually
the same the week after Sanu was traded (78% of snaps), Calvin
Ridley saw his snaps go from 65% to 80%. However, Julio was
the biggest beneficiary of Sanu being gone, receiving 12 targets
(10-152). Ridley caught 4 for 70 on 7 targets. The increased
usage was likely due to the Falcons trailing most of this
game, as Matt Schaub threw 52 passes on the day. Russell Gage
and not Justin Hardy took Sanu’s role in the offense,
playing 59% of snaps and receiving 9 targets (7-58).
Cole Beasley’s snap share went from 55% in
Week 7 back up to 79% in Week 8 – behind only John Brown
(92%). Pay attention to the matchup when considering whether
to start Beasley. In close games or games where the Bills
trail, he is a solid start (3-41-1 on 7 targets in Week 8).
Otherwise he is extremely risky.
D.J. Chark and Chris Conley both played 74% of the
snaps for the Jaguars. With Dede Westbrook aggravating his
shoulder injury and Marqise Lee also getting banged up in
Week 8, Conley and Chark are entrenched as the top options
for the Jags for the foreseeable future.
Keenan Allen gave it a go on his injured hamstring
and surprised with 10 targets (7-53). He was clearly not 100%
and was limited to 69% of snaps, his lowest percentage of
the season. That he still found a way to get open against
the solid Bears defense speaks to his excellent route-running.
Marvin Jones played on 87% of the Lions snaps but
returned to earth after his big Week 7. In Week 8 he caught
4 for 22 on 5 targets. Kenny Golladaym played on 83% of the
snaps and put up 6-123-2 on 8 targets while Danny Amendola
played on 67% of snaps and put up 8-95 on 8 targets. Amendola
has now had 8 receptions in back-to-back weeks and has carved
out a nice role in the offense. In PPR leagues he is a decent
Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman have been competing
for time as the third receiver for the Chiefs, and Hardman
made a statement for more playing time in Week 8. Although
he played on only 22% of snaps compared to 64% for Robinson,
he had two receptions for 55 yards and a touchdown. Robinson
has two receptions for 6 yards.
Matt Nagy still cannot decide what he wants to do
on offense. The question marks surrounding his run/pass split
remain, as do questions about personnel. Anthony Miller and
Taylor Gabriel have been switching off as the second receiver
for a few weeks, and it flip-flopped again on Sunday. Miller
went from 75% to 51% of snaps, while Gabriel went from 58%
to 74%. Neither can be trusted until the coaching staff commits
to one of them.
Although Alex Erickson’s snaps fell from 94%
to 60% from Week 7 to Week 8, he still was the most productive
Bengals receiver (6-97). Auden Tate (98%) received an incredible
13 targets but only produced 5-65, while Tyler Boyd (90%)
produced 6-65 on 9 targets. Andy Dalton seems comfortable
with Erickson as he works the slot, which seems likely to
continue, even if A.J. Green returns.
Carter played as Houston’s third receiver (57% of snaps)
over Keke Coutee.
Carter only had 1-46 on 3 targets, and neither he nor Coutee
can be used until they begin producing.
Ryan Griffin of the Jets played on 95% of the snaps
and produced a high-end stat line (4-66-2). Of his seven games,
he has been usable only when he scored a touchdown, which has
been twice. Otherwise he is simply not targeted enough to be
Darren Fells seems to have grabbed the starting tight
end job for the Texans and does not look like he wants to
give it up. He played 90% of snaps in Week 8 and had 6 receptions
for 58 yards and 2 touchdowns. As long as he is the starter
in a dynamic offense, he can be started with confidence.
Zach Ertz played on 90% of snaps but was again overshadowed
by Dallas Goedert (3-22-1; played on 75% of the snaps). The
Eagles offense is still figuring out their identity, and although
Ertz will likely have some big games coming up, he will not
produce this season like he has in the past.
Jonnu Smith stepped in for the injured Delanie Walker
and played the role even better, producing 6-78-1 on 7 targets;
playing on 73% of the snaps. If Walker remains out, Smith
is a great option. When Walker returns, you’ll have
to wait and see what happens before trusting either.
Tyler Eifert saw his highest snap share of the season,
72%. It could have been to drum up interest in a trade, and
it may work. He produced 6-74 on 9 targets.
Luke Willson jumped to 70% of the snaps in Week 8
for the Seahawks. Although he only had 1 reception for 7 yards,
be on the lookout for him to start getting more involved in
the offense in the same way Will Dissly was.
Tyler Kroft returned from injury and seemingly took
over for Dawson Knox in Buffalo. While it is true that Knox
still played on 45% of snaps, he was not targeted. Meanwhile,
Kroft had two receptions for 32 yards on 4 targets, and played
on 58% of snaps. He is another player worth a look for those
hurting at tight end.
Gerald Everett’s rollercoaster season continued
in Week 8, as he played on only 48% of the snaps. Here is
his weekly snap share this season: 39%-71%-88%-57%-81%-53%-74%-48%.
The Rams’ coaches are either changing their game plans
weekly based on opponent or they are unsure if they want to
remain an offense that plays 11 personnel the vast majority
of the time. Everett returned to minimal production with the
decreased snaps (2-15), which is particularly surprising since
Brandin Cooks left early. Everett has huge upside, but banking
on him being heavily used remains a roll of the dice.