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Usage Notes: Week 10

By Kevin Scott | 11/16/21 |

The craziness that is the 2021 NFL season continued strong in Week 10, with the Browns getting shellacked by the Patriots, the Ravens losing to the Dolphins, the Cardinals losing to the Panthers, and the Bucs losing to the Washington Football Team. Oh, and the Lions didn’t get their first win, but they did tie the Steelers.

The fantasy results were also quite surprising, with many players disappearing in what looked like good spots, and others outperforming what we thought was possible. This season has been incredibly challenging, but if you’re still reading this article, you know it’s not over. Now is crunch time, and some key moves can push you over the top and get you into the playoffs. Below I’ll cover the most important data points for running back, wide receiver, and tight end, pointing out players to consider adding, trading for, or moving on from.

Running Back

  • Devonta Freeman and LeíVeon Bell again split snaps, 58% to 42%. But Freeman got 14 touches to Bellís 3, and he looked far better (58 total yards to Bellís 1). With Latavius Murray likely returning in Week 11, Bell has been released.

  • Myles Gaskin played on 61% of snaps and finished with 15 touches, but he only went for 45 total yards. This offensive line has really struggled, and Gaskin will need to be more involved in the passing game to return value. In Week 10 he received only 2 targets (1-14). Still, heís playing most of the snaps in this backfield.

  • Cordarrelle Patterson was injured in the first quarter (ankle sprain) and ended up playing only 15 snaps. This seemed to shatter the Falcons offense, and they finished with only 3 points. Mike Davis played on only 37%, and it was Wayne Gallman who took over, finishing with 43% of snaps. It is hard to know if Gallman played more than Davis only because the Falcons were getting blown out, but Gallman might be worth a speculative pick-up in case he leads the backfield while Patterson is out. Still, the offense has been ugly most weeks, so itís not an exciting addition.

  • Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard split snaps relatively equally, and they both finished with 17 touches. Pollard remains a nice weekly flex option due to his involvement, particularly in the passing game (6-56 on 7 targets in Week 10). Elliott is getting the majority of the early-down work and the goal line work, as well as some receiving work, so he is a must-start running back every week.

  • James Robinson returned from injury in Week 10 and played on 59% of snaps. He finished with 12-57-1 on the ground and 4-27 through the air, so he was quite effective. He is an every-week starter, even in this poor offense.

  • Jonathan Taylor played on 84% of snaps, his highest mark of the season. Nyheim Hines played on 28%. Taylor received 27 touches, going for 126 yards and a score, and Hines got 4 touches, going for 29 yards. Hines is a desperation running back play and Taylor needs to be started every week.

  • Without Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, DíErnest Johnson was the workhorse for the Browns. He played on 88% of snaps and finished 19-99 on the ground and 7-58 through the air, on 8 targets. He was the lead receiver and rusher for the team. This was a nice stat line, even though the Browns got destroyed by the Patriots. Watch the practice reports carefully to see if Chubb, Hunt, or both will return for Week 11. With Lions on the docket, whoever gets the most work will be a great play.

  • With Damien Harris out due to a concussion, it was Rhamondre Stevenson who stepped in as the starter. He excelled in the role. On 55% of snaps he went 20-100-2 on the ground, and interestingly he also received 5 targets, more than Brandon Bolden (3) and far more than Harris normally gets. He caught 4 of them for 14 yards. Stevenson needs to be rostered everywhere due to this upside, but you cannot count him as the starter moving forward. That job still likely belongs to Harris, and we also have no idea what Belichick will do. For dynasty, you have to be excited if he is on your roster.

  • Matt Breida had 3 carries and 3 receptions, for a total of 50 yards and two scores! Amazingly, he only played on 8 snaps. That type of ridiculous efficiency will likely not happen again, but then again Breida might have played himself into more snaps. Zack Moss played on 48% of snaps and Devin Singletary on 38%, and both scored on the ground. It is most likely that the timeshare just got a bit murkier, hurting the value of everyone.

  • Michael Carter only played on 52% of snaps, but he dominated the carries with 16. He finished with 39 yards and a score on the ground, against a very tough defense. Tevin Coleman worked back into the rotation and got 4 carries and 3 targets, and totaled 33 yards on 6 touches. He played on 22% of snaps. And Ty Johnson played on 32%, and totaled 7 touches for 38 yards. The involvement of all three hurts the value of all three, particularly Carter. Still, he is playing the most snaps and getting the most touches, making him a nice weekly option.

  • DíAndre Swift played on a season-high 93% of snaps. Amazingly, other backs scored the two rushing touchdowns, on a few of the snaps he happened to be out of the game. But he was very effective, taking 33 carries for 130 yards and also catching 3 of 6 targets. He is a must-start every week he is active.

    Mark Ingram

  • Mark Ingram, filling in as the starter for Alvin Kamara, took on a workhorse role for the Saints. He played on 85% of snaps and got 14 carries and 7 targets. He finished with 18 touches and went for over 100 yards and a score. For as long as Kamara is out, Ingram is a solid weekly option.

  • The Titans continue to seem unsure of how they want to approach replacing Derrick Henry. For now, itís a fairly equal three-way timeshare. Interestingly, Díonta Foreman played the most snaps (35%), while Jeremy McNichols saw his snap share fall sharply, to 27%. Foreman also got the most carries (11), while McNichols got 4 carries. Adrian Peterson, who played on 33%, got 8 carries. Foreman got 2 targets (2-48) and McNichols got 3 (1-1). It looks like we could be seeing a shift toward Foreman as the primary back, but weíll have to wait and see how it shakes out. He needs to be added in any leagues where he is on the wire.

  • Leonard Fournette remains heavily involved for the Bucs. He played on 65% of snaps on Sunday, while Ronald Jones played only 1 snap. Fournette played 31 total snaps and got 11 carries (47 yards) and 9 targets (8-45). He needs to be in lineups every week until something changes in the pecking order.

  • Antonio Gibson played on 63% of snaps on Sunday and got 24 carries. He finished with only 64 yards, but scored twice. It is very hard to trust him because Washington will be trailing so often, and in losses Gibson can put up very few points. Many expected J.D. McKissic to get more action than Gibson in a likely negative game-script against since the Bucs. The NFL is tough to predict.

  • Christian McCaffrey played on 59% of snaps, while both Ameer Abdullah and Chuba Hubbard played on 21%. Hubbard and Abdullah both got 9 carries and McCaffrey got 13 carries, but McCaffrey was far more effective, rushing for 95 yards (7.3 yards/rush). McCaffrey also led the team with 10 targets and caught them all for 66 yards, showing again why he has been the No. 1 overall choice in fantasy for the past couple seasons. Start him with confidence moving forward, even if Hubbard and Abdullah combine for 40% of snaps again.

  • With Chase Edmonds out, James Conner played on 82% of snaps. But with the Cardinals struggling on offense, he only received 13 touches, going for 64 yards and a score. Even in a bad week, he produced well, meaning he should be an excellent play when Kyler Murray is back under center.

  • Jordan Howard got 12 carries for the Eagles on Sunday, going for 83 yards. Boston Scott got 11 and went for 81 yards, and Scott also caught two passes for 24 yards. They played on 38% and 31% of snaps, respectively. With Kenneth Gainwell working in on 31% of snaps, it is really tough to trust any of them. Miles Sanders should be back very soon, muddying the waters even more.

  • It took a Melvin Gordon fumble, but Javonte Williams finally played more snaps on Sunday (57% to 43%). Still, they finished with 10 touches each, and about the same number of yards. This timeshare likely is not going away.

  • Aaron Jones was injured on Sunday and will likely be out the next week or two. Before he went out he got 11 touches and took them for 86 yards, but then AJ Dillon entered and stole the show, going for 128 yards and two scores on 23 touches. Dillon becomes one of the top starting options over the next two weeks, as he gets the backfield largely to himself. If youíve been stashing him all season, this is your opportunity.

  • Darrel Williams had an explosion game on Sunday, going 11-43 on the ground and also catching all 9 of his targets for 101 yards and a score. It is unclear whether Clyde Edwards-Helaire will work back into the rotation, take the job, or take a backseat to Williams. For now, Williams looks like a solid option.

  • Josh Jacobs remained very involved in the passing game on Sunday night, catching all 5 of his targets for 20 yards. However, he only got 7 carries (16 yards). With both Kenyan Drake and Richard working in, none of them make an especially good start.

Wide Receiver

  • It looks like Marquise Brown and Rashod Bateman are the top two receivers for the Ravens moving forward. Brown played on 75% of snaps and got 13 targets (a 30% target share), going 6-37. Bateman played on 55% of snaps and got 8 targets (a 19% target share), going 6-80. The fact that Bateman was more productive is interesting, but probably not noteworthy. Both should be solid starts the rest of the way, with Brown likely the better option most weeks. Sammy Watkins is being phased out (32% of snaps) and can be dropped.

  • Albert Wilson came from nowhere and played on 55% of snaps, and finished with 4 receptions on 5 targets, for 87 yards. However, he was only in the game because of injuries to other receivers, and most of his yardage came on a 64-yard reception on a broken coverage. I would not pick him up. Itís the same situation with Isaiah Ford, who finished with 4 receptions for 84 yards. He played on only 11 snaps and was in the game due to injuries to DeVante Parker and Will Fuller. Both should be avoided for now.

  • Wide receiver snaps for the Falcons: Russell Gage 65%, Tajae Sharpe 57%, Olamide Zaccheaus 43%, Christian Blake 31%, and Frank Darby 22%. Zaccheaus led the way with 7 targets (2-22), and Darby and Gage both had 3. None of them are exciting options, and it appears that without Calvin Ridley this passing game is going to be pretty awful. But Zaccheaus and Darby are names to watch over the next few weeks, to see if one emerges.

  • Michael Gallup returned from his injury and got involved right away, playing on 53% of snaps and getting 5 targets (3-42). It appears to took some of the targets that had been going to Amari Cooper, who finished with 4 targets (4-51). This will likely hurt the value of both Cooper and Schultz moving forward, even if it helps the Cowboys.

  • Neither Marvin Jones nor Laviska Shenault seem to be able to get on the same page with Trevor Lawrence. They played on 85% and 77% of snaps respectively, but Jones caught only 2 of his 6 targets and Shenault caught only 3 of his 8 targets, and they only totaled 50 receiving yards together. Both should be avoided until we see signs of life.

  • Michael Pittman Jr. played on 87% of snaps and caught all 5 of his targets for 71 yards. Many were curious how the return of T.Y. Hilton might affect Pittman, and it doesnít appear that it will. Hilton did receive 5 targets on 61% of snaps, but caught only 1 for 5 yards. It looks like he took the snaps of the secondary receivers and did not affect Pittmanís usage.

  • The answer to who would replace Odell Beckham Jr. for the Browns turned out to be ďno oneĒ in Week 10. Landry led the way with 4-26 on 5 targets, but the whole offense looked out of sorts. Donovan Peoples-Jones caught only 1 of his 5 targets, and did not appear able to get open. I would avoid all Browns players except for the backs.

  • From the box score it appears that perhaps Kendrick Bourne has taken over as the No. 1 wide receiver for the Patriots, but the data tells a different story. Jakobi Meyers played on 72% and Nelson Agholor on 70%, while Bourne played on 43%. However, Bourne has been very involved of late, and caught all 4 of his targets for 98 yards and a score. Agholor caught only 2 of his 4 targets, for 21 yards. Keep an eye on whether the snap share shifts toward Bourne in the coming weeks.

  • Stefon Diggs finally had a huge target day, finishing with 13 targets (a 46% target share!). He caught 8 for 162 yards and a score. Of course he is a must-start every week. Meanwhile, Emmanuel Sanders saw only 2 targets (2-27), as did Beasley (2-15). The most interesting piece of data here is that Cole Beasley only played 9 total snaps. Gabriel Davis played on 30 (52%). This was likely due to Beasleyís rib injury, but keep an eye on how this shakes out.

  • Corey Davis returned and played on 84% of snaps, leading the way for the Jets receivers. He got 7 targets, catching 5 for 93 yards. Jamison Crowder played on 83% and got 6 targets, catching 3 for 20. Elijah Moore was next with 56% of snaps. Moore did finish with 3-44-1 on 6 targets, but right now his upside is being seriously limited by the insistence of the Jets coaches on playing more receivers (similar to their backfield). Keelan Cole played on 42% of snaps, Braxton Berrios on 29%, and Jeff Smith on 13%. If they just let their top three receivers play all the snaps, they could all provide so much more value. For now, Moore remains a risky play due to the limited opportunities, though his upside is showing weekly.

  • Ray-Ray McCloud played on 70% of snaps and got an astounding 12 targets on Sunday, catching 9 for 63 yards. While Chase Claypool remains out, McCloud is a decent streaming option. However, Mason Rudolph did pass the ball 50 times, which is unlikely to happen often.

  • Although A.J. Brown led the way for Titans receivers with 82% of snaps, he received only 4 targets, catching 1 for 16 yards. Meanwhile, Marcus Johnson played on 63% of snaps and got 6 targets, catching 5 for 100 yards. This was a devastating output for Brown, in a week when those who have him on their roster needed a big week. But in an offense that doesnít throw the ball much, these weeks will occasionally happen. Julio Jones will be out for a couple more weeks at least, so keep in mind that Brown might struggle to produce without a feared threat on the other side. Marcus Johnson is a desperation add in deep leagues.

  • Mike Evans played on every snap for the Bucs on Sunday, but he only received 3 targets. He did catch a 40-yard touchdown, salvaging his fantasy day, but it was concerning how seldom he was targeted, particularly when Leonard Fournette got 9 targets! If you roster Evans you just have to hope it was a bump in the road and gets corrected.

  • Meanwhile, Chris Godwin played on 96% of snaps and got 8 targets, a 24% target share. He caught 7 for 57 yards. So while it was still not a good day for fantasy, at least he was looked to often. Many, myself included, thought I might be a big day for Tyler Johnson. But on 69% of snaps, Johnson only received 5 targets and went 3-17. He has another shot at a big day next week if Antonio Brown is still out, but his chances might be dwindling.

  • Terry McLaurin played on 96% of snaps and had 8 targets (25% target share). He finished with only 6 catches for 59 yards, and that is to be expected in this pedestrian passing game. He should be started in the right matchups, but avoided when possible, due to this less-than-stellar passing attack.

  • DeAndre Carter looks to have taken over as the No. 2 option at wide receiver for Washington. He played on 67% of snaps and was second on the team in targets, with 6. He finished with 3 catches for 56 yards and a score. He will be very hit-or-miss, but in deep leagues he might be worth adding.

  • D.J. Moore played on 79% of snaps and led the receivers with 7 targets (24% target share), but finished with only 4 receptions for 24 yards. We can only hope the poor output was due to backup P.J. Walker, and also can only hope that things improve with Cam Newton under center.

  • Christian Kirk led the way for the Cardinals at receiver with Hopkins out. He played on 85% of snaps, and got 8 targets (40% target share). He caught 7 for 58 yards. Hopkins should be back soon, so take this with a grain of salt. But still it is worth noting.

  • Justin Jefferson played on 11 fewer snaps than Adam Thielen, but he led the way with 11 targets on Sunday (30% target share). He caught 9 for 143 yards, certainly alpha receiver numbers. It is encouraging to see Kirk Cousinsí work to get Jefferson the ball, and if he is on your rosters you just have to hope he starts scoring some touchdowns. Either way, the involvement is very positive.

  • Mike Williams and Keenan Allen both played virtually every snap on Sunday (95% and 93%, respectively). Allen got 11 targets (32% target share) and Williams got only 6. Allen caught 8 for 98 yards while Williams caught only 4 for 33 yards. Williams is playing a ton, but for some reason is not getting targets. Justin Herbert is still young and he will find a way to get Williams going, so stay patient for now.

  • DeVonta Smith continues to have to deal with the meager passing volume of this Eagles offense. On a weekly basis he either disappoints due to lack of opportunities, or thrives due to excellent efficiency on his few targets. In Week 10 he thrived, catching 4 of 6 targets for 66 yards and two scores. The six targets were good enough for a 26% target share, showing how seldom the Eagles are throwing the ball. That sort of efficiency is not sustainable, so he remains a risky weekly play with a high ceiling.

  • There were some strange numbers for the Broncos receivers. Snap share: Courtland Sutton 95%, Tim Patrick 91%, Jerry Jeudy 78%. Targets: Sutton 3, Patrick 6, Jeudy 9. We expected Jeudy to get a lot of looks once he returned, but I did not expect it to equal the disappearance of Sutton. He needs to benched until we see him more incorporated into the offense on a weekly basis.

  • Both DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett got 8 targets on Sunday, but Wilson had a very hard time getting the offense rolling due to rust or possibly to his injury. Metcalf caught only 3 for 26 yards, and Lockett caught 2 for 23 yards. Better days are ahead.

  • Byron Pringle looks like he has worked his way into third in the receiving rotation, ahead of Mecole Hardman and the others. Pringle played on 61% of snaps and received 5 targets (4-46-1). With so many options in the passing game, it will remain difficult to trust Pringle. But in potential shootouts or very deep leagues, he could be a starting option.

  • Hunter Renfrow remained the most dependable Raiders receiver in Week 10, garnering 9 targets (26% target share). He caught 7 for 46 yards and a score.

Tight Ends

  • Mike Gesicki played on 81% of snaps and was targeted 7 times (19% target share), but finished with zero receptions. I am not too worried about this situation, and most of his struggles were due to concentration or poor quarterbacking (particularly when Jacoby Brissett was in the game). The only concerning aspect for Gesicki is that Adam Shaheen and Durham Smythe both played over 50% of snaps as well, and Shaheen caught 3 of his 4 targets. Still, I expect Gesicki to remain heavily involved; youíll just have to deal with the occasional poor game due to the way this offense runs.

  • Dalton Schultz played on only 66% of snaps. This was his lowest of the season, but some of that was likely due to the Cowboys having a huge lead late. However, more concerning is that his targets went way down, and he finished with only 2. The return of Michael Gallup (5 targets) likely affected him negatively, so this is certainly something to watch. I would shift to another starting option if you have one, until we see Schultz stay involved with Gallup on the field.

  • Dan Arnold remains the best receiving option for the Jaguars, and produced again on Sunday. He finished with 7 targets, a 20% target share, and caught 5 for 67 yards. He seems to be the only receiver clicking with Lawrence and should be a top-10 tight end the rest of the way.

  • Hunter Henry continues to be a primary target in the red zone for the Patriots. On 82% of snaps he got 4 targets and caught them all for 37 yards. He scored twice. He is not getting a high number of targets since the Patriots are a run-first offense, but since heís so involved in the red zone he is a nice weekly option.

  • Dawson Knox returned and played on 84% of snaps. However, he only received 1 target (1-17). He has never been a high-target player, and his early-season success was due to a very high efficiency-per-target, with lots of touchdowns. So he is a difficult player to trust weekly, but in a pinch he is a decent option due to his potential to score.

  • T.J. Hockenson played on 94% of snaps, but only received 1 target. The Steelers schemed to take him away, and it worked very well. Because of the lack of weapons for Detroit, Hockenson is actually a risky play. Still, if you have him on your roster you probably have to start him.

  • Pat Freiermuth stayed heavily involved for the Steelers, even with Rudolph at quarterback. He played on 62% of snaps and received 9 targets (18% target share). He caught only 5 for 31 yards, but the involvement is still positive. Eric Ebron returned to action, but clearly played behind Freiermuth. He played on only 33% of snaps and got only 2 targets. Start Freiermuth with confidence moving forward.

  • Adam Trautman stayed involved for the Saints, as he got 6 targets (5-32), good enough for a 17% target share. He played on 84% of snaps. If the Saints could get better play at quarterback, Trautman could become a solid weekly contributor. For now, he is only an option if desperate, or in very deep leagues.

  • Ricky Seals-Jones was injured on Sunday, and rookie John Bates filled in for him and caught all 3 of his targets for 25 yards. If Logan Thomas is still not ready for Week 11, Bates could be a desperation play at tight end, but he is best avoided.

  • Noah Fant returned from his Covid list and played on 76% of snaps. He led the team in targets with 6 (17% target share), and caught 5 for 59 yards. However, donít miss that Albert Okwuegbunam played on 41% of snaps and caught all 3 of his targets for 77 yards. Okwuegbunam is likely to sap some potential upside from Fant over the rest of the season.

  • Gerald Everett played on 75% of snaps and tied for the team-lead in targets, with 8. He caught them all, for 63 yards. This result could have been because Russell Wilson was not comfortable throwing downfield with his sore thumb, but perhaps the Seahawks will find ways to keep Everett involved more moving forward.

Kevin Scott is a fantasy pro who has made over $100,000 playing fantasy football. Catch his podcast "Grinding the Data" and you can follow him on Twitter @kevinscottff.