This season is by far the most difficult to succeed in fantasy football
that Iíve ever seen. Games are postponed on short notice,
injuries are happening at a higher-than-normal rate, and it seems
like a good team can become a bad team overnight as a result. Nevertheless,
I continue to say that the key to winning in any season, whether
crazy or more typical, is to continue grinding at this craft Ė
identifying players to pick up before they go off like
Chase Claypool. Thatís a large part of what Iím trying
to do with this article: to help you identify players to add to
your teams based on their usage (snaps and opportunities).
Ronald Jones was extremely effective on the ground again
(17-106), and was the only RB to receive a carry with Leonard Fournette still injured. Jones may remain a flex option even
when Fournette is healthy, although it is very difficult to
trust Arians to make the right decisions in this area.
David Montgomery was predictably poor on the ground against
the Bucsí stout front, but he has taken over a huge chunk
of the receiving work (7-30 on 8 targets) with Tarik Cohen done
for the year. This makes him a much more intriguing weekly start.
Although Todd Gurley had his first excellent day of the season,
he played on only 55% of the snaps, while Brian Hill played
on 31%. Gurley received 18 touches and Hill received 8, and
both were effective against this poor Panthers defense. This
is a reminder that if Hill is available, he should be picked
up. He is playing well and Gurley is fragile.
Giovani Bernard played on only 16 snaps and did not get a
carry. The Bengals are working to get Mixon more involved (6-35
through the air on 8 targets), which is good news for his owners.
Bernard can be dropped.
The Ravens continue to do their darnedest to make sure none
of their RBs have value. Gus Edwards played on 40% of snaps,
Mark Ingram on 30%, and J.K. Dobbins on 29%. Ingram received
11 touches, Edwards 7, and Dobbins 4. Avoid all of them until
this split changes (which it may not).
James Robinson played on only 57% of snaps, but he dominated
the RB touches. He got 13 carries to Chris Thompsonís
2, and 7 targets to Thompsonís 3. The 7 targets in the
passing game means that his prior work there was not a fluke
and cements his value as a top-20 back on a weekly basis.
It seems it is officially time to be concerned about Clyde Edwards-Helaire. He looks fine, but is not getting an opportunity
to shine in this offense. When he gets carries, they are often
straight into the line, and this offensive line is not playing
well at the moment. The positive is that he received 8 targets,
but they donít seem to be designed targets and often happen
when Mahomes is under pressure, resulting in several that are
incomplete. Reid needs to do a better job of designing plays
for CEH so he can get going. You have to continue to start him
when heís getting 60% of snaps in this offense, but it
might continue to be a struggle until they figure out how to
Kenyan Drake played on 67% of the snaps and Chase Edmonds
played on 45%. Drake received 19 touches and Edmonds received
8, but Drake went for 62 total yards and Edmonds went for 92
total yards. This efficiency gap keeps occurring which could
lead to more work for Edmonds. So far Drake is still the lead
back, but I would definitely pick up Edmonds if he is available.
Miles Sanders received only 13 touches, but played on 85%
of the snaps against the vaunted Steelers defense. Donít
worry about him; he is locked in as a top-10 RB if he stays
The Ramsí backs are a full-blown RBBC again. Darrell Henderson played 29 snaps, Malcolm Brown played 26 snaps, and
Akers played 13. Henderson received 18 touches and the other
two received 9 each. So Henderson appears to be the one to own
at the moment, although Akers looked explosive on the ground
(9-61). I am avoiding when possible, until I get some clarity
on how they will be used.
Antonio Gibson played on 56% of the snaps and J.D. McKissic
played on 50%. McKissic led the team in targets (8), receptions
(6), and receiving yards (46). The team desperately missed Haskins,
as both Kyle Allen and Alex Smith struggled mightily. McKissic
saw so much action due to Washington being in catch-up mode,
but he is worth an add if you are desperate.
Myles Gaskin played on 63% of the snaps and Matt Breida played
on 31%. Gaskin received 21 touches and Breida received 10. This
is encouraging if you own either player. Gaskin is still entrenched
as the starter and is producing nicely, but Breida is at least
getting a few more touches and is doing something with them.
Iíd hold them both for now.
Raheem Mostert returned from injury and was again the workhorse,
rushing 11 times for 90 yards and also adding 3 receptions for
29 yards. He is an explosive player and needs to be in lineups
when active. He did all of that on only 48% of the snaps, and
McKinnon played on 25% of snaps (Wilson also played on 23%).
Wilson got only 4 touches and McKinnon only 3, but it is hard
to know how much of that was because of game script.
With Dalvin Cook (groin) forced from the game because of
injury, Alexander Mattison entered and was very effective (20-112,
3-24). If Cook misses Week 5, Mattison will have huge upside
against the Falcons.
It appears that Justin Jackson is the back to own for the
Chargers while Ekeler is out. He played on 59% of the snaps,
while Joshua Kelley played on only 35%. But the usage was more
striking, as Jackson received 15 carries and 6 targets, while
Kelley only received 11 carries and 1 target. Jackson was also
far more effective. It may only last a few weeks, but for those
who picked up Jackson it looks like they will be rewarded.
Allen Robinson received a 38% target share in Thursdayís
game (16 targets out of 42 attempts). He finished with only
10-90, but it could have been a significantly bigger stat line.
His value is spiking like we thought it would once Foles took
Tyler Johnson led the Bucs in receiving yards (4-61 on 6
targets). He also played on the second-most snaps among WRs,
at 79% (Evans played on 85%). This is an interesting development,
even with Chris Godwin coming back in a few weeks. There is
a good chance Johnson will grab a hold of a permanent role on
the team, replacing Scotty Miller in three-WR sets even when
Godwin returns. He is worth an add.
While D.J. Moore played the most snaps among WRs and scored
a touchdown, the usage trends for the entire season suggest
that Robby Anderson is the WR1 in Carolina. While it pains me
to say that, it is the truth. On Sunday he again far outpaced
Moore in targets, 13 to 5! He turned those 13 targets into 8-112,
while Moore turned his 5 targets into 4-93-1. If Moore hadnít
scored his 57-yard touchdown, it would have been yet another
poor day. If you drafted him in the third round you likely have
to keep playing him, but we just canít expect high-end
production until he starts seeing more targets.
Tee Higgins led all Bengalsí WRs in snaps, at 81%.
He also led the group in targets, with 8. He ended with 4-62
against a very good defense. At this point, it seems like he
has leaped ahead of A.J. Green on the depth chart, and he should
have legitimate value the rest of the way.
Laviska Shenault led all Jags WRs with 8 targets. He turned
those into 7-79, a very impressive line. He played on 69% of
the snaps, and is certainly worth a waiver claim if heís
still available in shallower leagues.
Brandin Cooks went from a donut in the box score in Week
4 to a huge Week 5. He played on 83% of the snaps (as did Will Fuller) and received 12 targets. He turned those into 8-161-1.
Fuller received 8 targets and finished with 4-58-1. The Jags
are a bad defense, so keep an eye on whether this usage continues.
For now, they are both boom-bust plays.
Donít overreact to the big plays for Henry Ruggs III.
He definitely has speed and skills, but on 64% of the snaps
he only received 3 targets. He certainly needs to be on a roster,
but donít start him until you see him receiving 5 or more
targets on a weekly basis.
Tyreek Hill played on 88% of the snaps and looked great.
But he received just 6 targets and only caught 3 of them, for
78 yards. He salvaged his day with a rushing score, but it could
have been much bigger - he had a 60-yard receiving score wiped
out by a holding penalty. It would be nice to see Mahomes give
him double-digit targets more often.
Apparently Kliff Kingsbury still hasnít figured out
what the rest of us see: itís time to give Larry Fitzgeraldís
snaps to Andy Isabella. Instead, Fitzgerald played on 80% of
the snaps, behind only DeAndre Hopkins, and received 7 targets.
He went for 4-35. Meanwhile, Isabella played on only 31% of
the snaps and produced 2-30 on 3 targets. I recommend holding
Isabella in case this coaching staff does figure it out, but
it might be hard once byes start hitting.
Jeff Smith only had 3-23 with Flacco under center, but he
played all but one snap and had 11 targets. If you are in dire
need of help at WR, consider picking Smith up for cheap and
watching him for a week or two. He could certainly pay off if
he starts turning those targets into receptions.
Many will excitedly bid on Travis Fulgham after he went for
10-152-1 on 13 targets. Just remember that he is playing because
Jeffery, Jackson, and Reagor are all injured. Once those guys
return, I do not see Fulgham getting too many snaps. There is
always a chance the coaching staff decides to elevate him and
he continues to play the majority of snaps, but his targets
would come down regardless when more weapons are available.
Similarly, many will go nuts trying to get their hands on
Chase Claypool. While this one seems more sustainable than Fulgham,
he only took off because Diontae Johnson went down early with
an injury. Because of how great Claypool has looked, though,
it is possible he will continue to play the majority of snaps
and push Johnson and Washington to the bench more often. He
makes a nice speculative add, he is not worth more than 10%
of your FAB in my opinion.
Preston Williams looked good in Week 5, and most assumed
it might take a few weeks for him to get acclimated after his
knee injury in 2019. He led WRs in targets with 5, and produced
4-106-1. They also led the whole game so they didnít need
to pass much in the second half. If Williams is on your wire,
Iíd grab him.
Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel both played virtually every
snap in Week 5. Neither produced much, but they received 6 and
8 targets, respectively. They appear to be the clear-cut starting
WRs, and should be in lineups once this offense starts clicking.
T.Y. Hilton finally showed some signs of life, playing on
95% of snaps and receiving 10 targets. He only went for 6-69,
but thatís his best game of the season. Still, it seems
like Philip Rivers needs to take a significant step forward
for Hilton to have much value.
Darius Slayton is the only Giants player popping off the
screen. He played on 94% of the snaps and produced 8-129 on
11 targets Ė and he looked great doing it. If you can
still acquire him at an affordable price, that is a sneaky move.
Cowboys WR snap percentages: Gallup 97%, Cooper 64%, Lamb
55%. Targets: Gallup 4, Cooper 4, Lamb 11. This is remarkable,
and speaks to how often Lamb is able to shake coverage and get
open. He is a special player and needs to be in lineups every
week, even with Andy Dalton under center.
Keenan Allen started hot but tweaked his back, and then it
was Mike Williams who took over WR1 duties. He logged 77% of
the snaps and received 8 targets, posting 5-109-2. He may be
on your wire and would be a nice pick up, but do not expect
such huge weeks very often. This was due to Allen exiting. Still,
with an upgrade at QB Williams does have some nice upside for
the rest of the season.
Emmanuel Sanders took over the Michael Thomas target share
in Week 5. He appears fully acclimated to the offense now, and
received a whopping 14 targets, catching 12 of them for 122
yards. He also narrowly lost out on a touchdown. Sanders is
likely not available anywhere, and his targets will certainly
come down going forward with Thomas on the field. But he is
a very nice flex option for the rest of the season.
Jimmy Graham played on 76% of the snaps and received 5 targets
(3-33-1). He continues to be a surprisingly steady option at
TE, and if you need someone at this bleak position, he is at
least being targeted in the red zone and is playing lots of
Matt Ryan is playing poorly right now, which ironically makes
Hayden Hurst a trade target. He had another poor day on the
stat sheet, only catching 2 balls for 8 yards. However, he received
6 targets and played on 83% of the snaps. If the offense improves
(which is the hope now that Dan Quinn is out as head coach and
things should be shifting in Atlanta), Hurst retains a lot of
Although he only caught 2 balls and had 2 targets, Drew Sample
played on 94% of the snaps. This was a tough matchup against
the Ravens and the offense did very little, but Sample is a
hold in TE-premium leagues, as better days are ahead.
Though he couldnít do much with them, Tyler Eifert
did receive 7 targets (3-16). He played on 61% of the snaps.
While James OíShaughnessy has been more effective overall
this season (3-20 on 3 targets in Week 5), Eifert continues
to get opportunities and might be worth a look in TE-premium
Zach Ertz played on 95% of the snaps. He got 6 targets and
caught 1 for 6 yards. Since Goedert, DeSean Jackson, Jeffery,
and Reagor are all out with injury, the Steelers just focused
on taking him out of the game. You likely have to keep playing
him unless you have another good option but do not drop him,
since he should get freed up when some of those players return.
Eric Ebron played on 77% of the snaps for the Steelers (more
than any of the receivers), and received 6 targets (5-43). He
has been a very steady option at TE in a year when itís
very difficult to trust anyone at the position.
Tyler Higbee played on nearly twice as many snaps as Gerald Everett (56 to 30). Yet Everett went 4-90 and Higbee went 2-12.
Higbee is shaping up as one of the most disappointing draft
picks of this fantasy season, and the most frustrating part
is that he looks great when he is allowed to run routes. McVay
simply wants to keep him in to block, likely because the offensive
line needs the help. Everettís lack of blocking skill
likely helps him in fantasy, ironically.
Mike Gesicki is another TE itís difficult to know how
to handle. He continues to bob up and down in targets and production.
In Week 5 he led the team in targets with 6, and produced 5-91.
Yet he played only 45% of the snaps, behind Adam Shaheen (57%).
He is likely the best option you have if heís on your
team, but he is anything but dependable at the moment.
Trey Burton played on 45% of the snaps for the Colts but
was the only tight end with a catch for the team. He received
6 targets and went 5-33. Apparently the answer to the Coltsí
pass-catching TE was neither Doyle nor Mo Alie-Cox. Burton is
worth an add in TE-premium leagues, in case this becomes the
Austin Hooperís usage did not decrease with the addition
of David Njoku to the offense. In fact, he saw his season-high
in targets with 10. He produced 5-57. This is very strange,
since both Njoku and Harrison Bryant seem better suited to be
running routes. Keep an eye on this situation, and if Hooper
was dropped in your league, he should be added.
Although Greg Olsen only had one reception, he played on
83% of the snaps and is a decent option in deep leagues. He
seems to get more targets when the game plan calls for it, though
that is admittedly difficult to predict.
Irv Smith finally had a productive day. He played on 68%
of the snaps and produced 4-64 on 5 targets. This offense wants
to be run-heavy that he should still not be a priority add.
Kevin Scott is a fantasy pro who is the co-host for The Lowdown
Fantasy Football Podcast. He plays in over 40 leagues annually and
has made over $100,000 playing fantasy football. You can follow