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Kevin Scott | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

Usage Notes - Week 9

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 9:

Running Back

  • Kenyan Drake received an astounding 84% of targets in his first game with the Cardinals. The primary reason, of course, is that both David Johnson and Chase Edmonds were out with injuries. But Drake’s 162 yards on 19 touches against a stout defense may lead to him getting a portion of the workload moving forward when Johnson and Edmonds come back.

  • Although the Dolphins’ offensive line is poor and Mark Walton could not get much going with his 15 touches (12-29, 3-12), he was on the field for 74% of the offensive snaps. Unfortunately, Walton has been suspended 4 games crushing his fantasy value.

  • For the second consecutive week, David Montgomery played on 73% of the snaps. He has officially taken over as the lead back in Chicago, and produced 14-40-2, 3-36 in Week 9. His carries against a great Eagles front is encouraging for his future prospects. He has two games remaining against the Lions, one against the Giants and one against the Chiefs. He could have a very nice close to the season for fantasy owners.

  • Damien Williams may be back. He played on 72% of snaps, and received 14 touches to LeSean McCoy’s 4. He also produced, with 128 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. Though 91 of those yards came on one play, his snap count alone is enough to suggest that Reid has handed the starting job back over to Williams. Trading for him on the cheap might be a good move, and consider starting him if the matchup is right.

  • Devin Singletary played over 65% of snaps for the second consecutive week, and this week he produced big numbers (20-95-1, 3-45). Although it was against the lowly Redskins, it was still an impressive outing and certainly suggests he has overtaken Gore (34%) as the lead back.

  • In James Conner’s absence Jaylen Samuels played on 63% of the snaps and produced in the receiving game in a major way (13-73). He couldn’t get much going on the ground, but with those receiving numbers, owners won’t care. Watch the injury report on Conner to see what value Samuels might have in Week 10.

  • With a hamstring injury to Tra Carson, Ty Johnson returned to playing over 60% of the snaps in Week 9, but he failed to do much with them (9-29, 3-7). The running game is taking a backseat to the passing game in Detroit.

  • For the second consecutive week Nick Chubb ceded 38-40% of the snaps to Dontrell Hilliard. This is extremely concerning for Chubb’s value, and the uncertainty of his workload goes up even more with Kareem Hunt returning from suspension next week. Perhaps Hunt will simply take Hilliard’s snaps, but it is totally unknown how it will shake out. Chubb has been excellent all year, but the coaching staff continues to make serious blunders in his usage. Until they figure it out, he should be avoided when possible.

  • Although Josh Jacobs against played under 60% of the snaps (which has been the case in 6 of 8 weeks), he again got a heavy workload and produced (28-120-2). If he ever became active in the passing game, he would become a top-five back.

  • Marlon Mack is not getting much work in the passing game either, and saw his snap share decrease for the second consecutive week (55% in Week 9). He has been effective on the ground but his value is capped as long as he is not getting any receiving work.

  • Carlos Hyde again saw his usage go up (56% of snaps), and was extremely productive, with 8.4 yards per carry. The Texans running game must be a perfect fit for his skills, and he can be trusted in any game against a middling to poor rushing defense.

  • Ronald Jones saw his heaviest snap share of the season at 53%, and produced a nice game as a result (18-67-1, 2-15). Watch closely in Week 10 to see if Arians rotates to Barber (who played on only 14% of snaps in Week 9). If it is instead a new trend, Jones is a worthy add for the stretch run.

  • Miles Sanders saw his snap share increase to 40%, while Jordan Howard went from 73% in Week 8 to 48% in Week 9. Although Howard still received 19 carries to Sanders’ 10, Sanders had 3 receptions for 31 yards. They may be shifting to a more equal timeshare, limiting Howard’s upside.

  • In a game the Titans were losing, Dion Lewis saw his snap share rise to 47%. He also had 5 receptions and 4 carries. He is only usable, however, in games where the Titans are trailing by multiple scores.

  • Sony Michel received only 22% of the snaps in Week 9. He is not utilized at all in the passing game, and played far fewer snaps than Rex Burkhead (36%). He should be benched until Belichick decides to give him a heavier workload.

    Mohamed Sanu

Wide Receiver

  • Mohamed Sanu went from 54% of snaps in Week 8 to 100% in Week 9. It was hard to imagine his workload rising that much from week to week, but apparently the Patriots see him as a 1B to Edelman’s 1A. He received a team-high 14 targets, and caught 10 for 81 and a touchdown. He will likely be a top option for the stretch run, rewarding those who picked him up last week.

  • Although D.J. Chark only had 4 receptions for 32 yards, he played on 96% of snaps and received 9 targets. The Texans defense simply played great and shut down the Jags passing game. Chris Conley had 2 receptions for 32 yards on 7 targets.

  • Robby Anderson also had a poor fantasy day (2-33), but played on 96% of the snaps. If the Jets ever get their offense going, he should benefit. Until then, he must remain on the bench.

  • Emmanuel Sanders played on 95% of the snaps, a season-high, and received 9 targets (7-112-1). He is now rivaling George Kittle as the primary passing option in San Francisco and is a must-start.

  • Zay Jones saw his snap share jump in Week 9 (from 39% to 92%). He did not produce much (3-21 on 4 targets) for the Raiders, but he could be a smart speculative add based on his presence on the field so often.

  • Stefon Diggs only had 1 reception for 4 yards, on 4 targets. With Thielen leaving the game early, it seemed that the Chiefs could focus on taking away Diggs – and it worked. He should be fine, especially when Thielen is back to 100%, and played on a season-high 89% of the snaps.

  • Sammy Watkins is back to full health, and played on 90% of the snaps. He also made a couple of highlight-reel catches and produced 7 receptions for 63 yards on 10 targets. He is a great start moving forward for as long as he remains healthy.

  • Davante Adams returned and played on 83% of the snaps (7-41 on 11 targets). The Packers could not get anything going against the Chargers, and Adams may have been rusty. Bigger games are coming.

  • Marqise Lee is out for the year and Dede Westbrook was inactive, so Keelan Cole saw 82% of the snaps and led the Jaguars in receiving (5-80 and 6 targets). He should continue to see a heavier volume of snaps and is a worthwhile add, although he will likely seldom lead the team in receiving.

  • With T.Y. Hilton out with a calf injury, Parris Campbell played on 62% of snaps and had 5 receptions for 53 yards. Meanwhile, Zach Pascal cemented himself as the top Colts receiver outside of Hilton, playing on 94% of snaps and producing a 5-76-1 line.

  • Marquise Brown returned from injury and had 3 receptions for 48 yards on 4 targets, leading the Baltimore pass-catchers playing on only 57% of the snaps. As his snaps go up, so should his production.

  • Cole Beasley saw his snap share fall to the lowest of the season, 45%. Isaiah McKenzie played on 68% of snaps and received one more target than Beasley. This is worth monitoring, and until Beasley starts getting more targets, John Brown is the only Bills receiver worth starting.

Tight ends

  • Ben Watson played on 100% of the Patriots snaps and produced 4-28 on 5 targets. Although his upside is capped at his advanced age, his presence on the field in a dynamic offense makes him a worthy start in a thin tight end field.

  • Nick Boyle led Baltimore’s tight end group with 84% of the snaps. He also had 5 receptions for 27 yards and a touchdown, while Mark Andrews had only 2-21 on 3 targets. This is worth monitoring closely, as it may spell the end of Andrews’ usefulness in fantasy unless things turn around for him. Andrews saw a season-low 34% of snaps in Week 9.

  • Jacob Hollister played on 80% of the Seahawks’ snaps, compared to only 23% for Luke Willson. Hollister also received 6 targets and scored twice. He is the tight end to own in Seattle.

  • Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz both played on 79% of snaps. However, Ertz was a point of emphasis for the offense as he received 11 targets. Both are startable, but Ertz remains the better player and the better fantasy play.

  • Hunter Henry saw his snap share decrease to 77%, but he still led the team with 10 targtets (7-84). He is a must-start.

  • Jack Doyle played a season-high 77% of the snaps and scored again. He has overtaken Eric Ebron as the tight end to own on the Colts.

  • Ross Dwelley played on a season-high 70% of snaps for the 49ers and produced 4 receptions for 29 yards. Watch to see if his snap share stays that high before considering adding him.