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Usage Notes: Week 11

By Kevin Scott | 11/23/21 |

With only a handful of weeks to go before the fantasy football playoffs start, everyone should be in a focused, do-whatever-it-takes-to-win mode. If you are still in the playoff hunt, or perhaps comfortably in the playoffs due to your careful weekly reading of this article, congratulations.

Below is the most important data for running back, wide receiver, and tight end. At this point in the season this data may not help you add many of these players off the waiver, but it can certainly help you in knowing who to start or who to target in trades.

Rhamondre Stevenson

Running Back

  • If you were hoping for big things for Rhamondre Stevenson, the Patriots were again a fairly equal three-way timeshare when it comes to snaps on Sunday. Damien Harris played on 39% of snaps, Stevenson on 34%, and Brandon Bolden on 27%. However, Stevenson did lead the way with 12 touches, and was very effective on those carries (69 yards). Harris was 10-56. There is still hope that Stevenson moves into a full-time starting role, but it looks unlikely. Still, both are flex options down the stretch.

  • Mike Davis and Qadree Ollison split snaps on Thursday, each playing 48%. Neither did anything with their opportunities, and the only back worth rostering on this team is Cordarrelle Patterson.

  • Jonathan Taylor played over 80% of snaps for the second week in a row, and if the Colts coaches are smart they will keep doing that. Everyone saw the 5 touchdowns, but may have missed that he took 32 carries for 185 yards on the ground. Taylor is one of the top backs in the league, perhaps the top back, and you should ride him the rest of the way with confidence. Nyheim Hines played on only 13 snaps, and he cannot be started. He should be rostered as insurance only.

  • We now have a three-way timeshare at running back in Buffalo, which makes all of their running backs irrelevant. Devin Singletary led the way with 38% of snaps, Matt Breida played on 32%, and Zack Moss played on 29%. Singletary and Breida received 6 touches and Moss received 3. None can be started unless you are desperate.

  • Antonio Gibson played on 49% of snaps, and J.D. McKissic played on 46%. Gibson handled 19 carries (95 yards) and McKissic handled 7 (46 yards). McKissic caught 1 pass for 4 yards, and Gibson didn’t get a target. This sort of split is terrible for fantasy, especially since neither of them are getting targets. It is best to avoid this whole backfield if you are able.

  • Christian McCaffrey played on 90% of snaps, and is back to his workhorse role. Cam Newton will certainly take some of his carries away, as McCaffrey only had 10 for 59 yards. But he got 8 targets and went 7-60-1 through the air. He is one of the best starting options the rest of the way due to this usage.

  • Devonta Freeman played on 58% of snaps on Sunday, and got 16 carries and 6 targets. Latavius Murray played on 37% of snaps, and got 10 carries and 2 targets. It certainly looks from this one week that Freeman has grabbed the No. 1 spot in this backfield. He will remain a low-upside option the rest of the season, since he does not have much burst or power left. But he will be involved on a Lamar Jackson-led offense, giving him value. Unless his snaps increase next week, Latavius Murray can be dropped.

  • D’Andre Swift had 3 receptions on 4 targets, for 0 yards. That’s the kind of day it was for the Detroit offense. He also only had 14 carries, but he broke a 57-yard touchdown run, which saved his fantasy day. He is best avoided until Jared Goff returns, as Tim Boyle did not look like an NFL quarterback. Swift played on 73% of snaps, even with Jamaal Williams back, so assuming Goff returns he should be a nice play for the fantasy playoffs.

  • Nick Chubb returned and split snaps with D’Ernest Johnson. Chubb played on 57% and Johnson played on 35%. However, Chubb dominated the backfield work, taking 22 carries for 130 yards and adding 2 receptions for 14 yards and a score. Johnson got only 5 carries. When Kareem Hunt returns, he is likely to resume taking around 40% of the work, but for now it is Chubb’s show. It’s too bad that the offense is sputtering right now and that Baker Mayfield is playing poorly.

  • With no Elijah Mitchell, Jeff Wilson (58%) and Trey Sermon (35%) split snaps at running back. Deebo Samuel also worked in as a running back, taking 8 carries. It certainly looks like Shanahan trusts Mitchell far more than his other options, so Mitchell should remain a solid starting option for the home stretch, particularly on an improving 49ers team.

  • With Aaron Jones out, AJ Dillon played on 75% of snaps and went 11-53 on the ground. He also caught all 6 of his targets, for 44 yards. He has a tough matchup against the Rams in Week 12, but the Packers might lean on him with Rodgers injured. Then the Packers get a bye in Week 13, after which Aaron Jones is likely to return. For now, Dillon is a solid play in Week 12 and after that a lower-end flex option.

  • Myles Gaskin played on 74% of snaps in Week 11, his highest mark of the season. It coincided with Salvon Ahmed a surprise inactive and Malcolm Brown still on IR, but it is still encouraging. Gaskin got 23 carries (89 yards) and 3 receptions (7 yards and a score). Duke Johnson got his first snaps as a Dolphin, playing on 8% of snaps, so this is something to watch. If the coaching staff gets enamored with their new player, Johnson could push Gaskin out of some snaps. For now, Gaskin will be a good but not great start for the next few weeks.

  • Michael Carter injured his ankle Sunday, and by the end of the game each of the Jets three running backs played on 33% of snaps. This leaves Tevin Coleman and Ty Johnson as the healthy backs with Carter out for a few weeks, and leaves those who roster Carter in a tough spot. If Ty Johnson is available in your league, he is a nice addition.

  • Mark Ingram again had a nice game in Week 11 on 72% of snaps. He went 16-88 on the ground and also caught 6 of 8 targets for 25 yards. While Kamara is out, Ingram is a very nice weekly option. Once Kamara returns, Ingram will shift to a deep-league flex option.

  • Miles Sanders returned on Sunday and moved right into the new run-heavy game plan of the Eagles. He played on 46% of snaps, sharing with both Boston Scott (37%) and Jordan Howard (17%). But Sanders got 16 carries, while Howard got 10 and Scott got 6. He took those 16 carries for 94 yards, including a 25-yard run. Howard was also effective, taking his 10 carries for 63 yards. With Howard out with a knee injury, I anticipate Scott will stay involved but Sanders offers the most value for the rest of the season.

  • I give up with the Texans backs. The musical chairs continued on Sunday, with Rex Burkhead leading the team in carries and going 18-40. He played on 42% of snaps, while David Johnson played on 55% and went 13-18. Phillip Lindsay had 1 carry for -3 yards. I am done trying to guess, and you should be too. It’s time to move on.

  • It was also a terrible day for those who started Adrian Peterson (19% snaps) or D’Onta Foreman (19% snaps, as both were significantly outsnapped by Dontrell Hilliard (63% snaps), who was just activated from the practice squad. The only explanation is that the coaches see Hilliard as a third-down back, and they were in comeback mode most of the day. He finished with 7-35 on the ground, and 8-47 through the air. So Hilliard or McNichols will likely be useful when the Titans trail, and one of the other two backs will be useful if they lead. With so much up in the area, I’d avoid them all.

  • Joe Mixon got to be a workhorse on Sunday as the Bengals blew out the Raiders. He got 72% of snaps, while Samaje Perine and Chris Evans shared the rest. Mixon rushed it 30 times for 123 yards and two scores, although he didn’t see a target. I thought Perine might share the carries more evenly, but not in this one. He got only 2 carries for 3 yards.

  • With the Raiders playing so poorly, it will be very hard to trust Josh Jacobs for your playoff push. He is still playing relatively well, but got only 9 carries (37 yards) as the Raiders defense couldn’t stop anything. He continues to get pass-down work (5-24 on 7 targets), which is saving some of his value. But it is best to avoid all Raiders other than Darren Waller if you are able.

  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire returned from injury and started. He played on fewer snaps than Darrel Williams (32 to 36), but got 12 carries to Williams’ 5. CEH finished with 76 yards and a score, while Williams only had 26 scoreless yards. The Chiefs have a hard time committing to the run, but with this team on the upswing, CEH again looks like a nice option for the stretch run.

  • James Conner remained an every-down back for the Cardinals with Chase Edmonds out, playing on 82% of snaps and going 21-62-1 on the ground. He also caught 5 of 6 targets for 37 yards. He needs to be started for as long as Edmonds is out.

  • Saquon Barkley played on 62% of snaps and looked healthy. That’s the good news. The bad news is that he only got 12 touches (6 rushes and 6 receptions). You should continue to play him because of his ability to break off long runs and receptions, even though the Giants are struggling.

  • While it might be tempting to be excited about Ronald Jones scoring in Week 11, the truth is that he only played on 15 snaps (19%). Leonard Fournette remains the workhorse in this offense, and he is getting virtually all of the passing-down work as well.

Wide Receiver

  • Nelson Agholor and Jakobi Meyers remain the top two wide receivers for the Patriots, despite the nice stat lines for Kendrick Bourne. Agholor and Meyers played on 77% and 88% of snaps respectively, while Bourne was down at 45%. None are great plays due to the low passing volume of this offense.

  • Michael Pittman Jr. played on 75% of snaps and was targeted 5 times, good enough for a 25% target share. But the Colts only threw it 20 times, in a sloppy game. Better games are ahead for Pittman, so don’t worry too much about this result.

  • Josh Allen is struggling, which has seriously impacted his receivers. Still, Stefon Diggs went 4-23-2 on 6 targets, salvaging his day for fantasy. You have to keep playing Diggs, but Emmanuel Sanders and Cole Beasley are best left on your bench until the Bills start playing better.

  • D.J. Moore looks to be clicking with Cam Newton already, and went 5-50-1 on 7 targets (26% target share). He might have to take a short or intermediate throw a long way to rack up yardage, but that is possible with his open-field skills. Moore is a solid weekly start through the rest of the season.

  • Meanwhile, Robby Anderson did not score but stayed very involved with 6 targets (5-30). He is less likely to take a short throw the distance, but can be serviceable flex option.

  • Rashod Bateman disappointed in an opportunity as the No. 1 receiver, with Marquise Brown out. He played on 70% of snaps and got 6 targets, but only went 3-29. Don’t take much from this game, since Tyler Huntley is no Lamar Jackson. Watch to see how he performs over the next couple weeks before inserting him into any lineups for your stretch run or playoff matchups.

  • Darnell Mooney, with Allen Robinson out, got a ridiculous 16 targets – a 50% target share! He caught only 5, likely because he was playing with Andy Dalton and Justin Fields at QB. Still, he produced 121 yards and a score. He should be started in your upcoming matchups, unless you have a very deep and strong wide receiver group.

  • Brandon Aiyuk played on 93% of snaps for the 49ers, while Deebo Samuel played on 80%. Aiyuk caught all 7 of his targets for 85 yards and a score, while Samuel caught 1 of his 2 targets for 15 yards. Samuel made up for his lack of receiving involvement by taking 8 carries for 79 yards and a score, but Aiyuk was the clear top option in the passing game. With Elijah Mitchell unavailable, Shanahan decided to use Samuel more out of the backfield and enable Aiyuk and Kittle to handle the receiving work. It worked. I still believe Samuel is Garoppolo’s favorite target and that he’ll get more targets going forward, but this muddies the water. If you have Aiyuk, he is a fine flex option the rest of the way.

  • For those in super-deep leagues, Laquon Treadwell is likely to get a lot of snaps for the Jaguars the rest of the way. Jamal Agnew went down with a season-ending injury Sunday, and Treadwell ended up playing outside opposite Marvin Jones, on 72% of snaps. This should move Laviska Shenault inside to the slot for basically every snap, since Agnew was taking some of those reps. This team is very bad, but Treadwell was once a top prospect and could have a bit of value the rest of the way.

  • With Allen Lazard inactive on Sunday, Marques Valdes-Scantling played on 81% of snaps and led the team in targets, with 10 (30% target share). He finished with only 4 receptions, but caught a long, 75-yard touchdown and finished 4-123-1. He is worth rostering, and will likely be a solid play whenever the Packers have to throw to win games. Still, he will lose some snaps when Lazard returns.

  • Justin Jefferson looked like one of the best receivers in the league in Week 11, and was dominant from the start. He finished with 8 receptions on 10 targets, for 169 yards and two scores. He narrowly missed a third score. He and Adam Thielen are both playing virtually every snap and getting around a 30% target share, making both great weekly options. Jefferson is the higher-end option due to his ability to beat defenders deep.

  • Jaylen Waddle was the top wide receiver for the Dolphins on Sunday, with DeVante Parker still out. He played on 72% of snaps and got 9 targets (8-65). He also scored on a 1-yard rush. Watch carefully to see if Waddle’s snaps decrease when Parker returns. If he continues getting 70%+ of snaps, he will remain a good weekly starting option in PPR leagues.

  • Elijah Moore was the best receiver on Sunday for the Jets, catching 8 of 11 targets for 141 yards and a score. He also got a carry for 15 yards. Moore played on 80% of snaps with Keelan Cole, Braxton Berrios, and Jeff Smith all under 25% (finally). With Joe Flacco looking much more competent than the other QB options, Moore has some serious upside over the course of the fantasy playoffs. Even if Zach Wilson returns, Moore should produce solid numbers.

  • Meanwhile, Corey Davis played on 93% of snaps but got only 7 targets (18% target share), catching 3 for 35 yards. Davis doesn’t have Moore’s run-after-the-catch ability, so he will likely need to score to return value the rest of the way. That is a tough requirement since this Jets offense is not very good (and will now be without its top back for a few weeks).

  • Tre’Quan Smith has moved into the No. 1 wide receiver role for the Saints. He played on 95% of snaps and caught 5 of his 8 targets (20% target share), for 64 yards. It is still hard to get excited for any Saints player right now, but he is worth rostering.

  • A.J. Brown has been one of the bigger disappointments for fantasy this season. On Sunday, with no Julio Jones and with the Titans behind the whole way, he produced only 5-48 on 9 targets. He also got banged up and played on only 52% of snaps. If you are totally desperate and willing to take a gamble on another Titans receiver, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine would be the best option. He played on 67% of snaps and finished with 7 receptions on 8 targets, for 107 yards.

  • Snap share for Bengals receivers: Ja’Marr Chase 92%, Tee Higgins 80%, and Tyler Boyd 70%. However, Boyd finished with the most targets (8) going 6-49. Chase got 6 targets, going 3-32-1. And Higgins was a huge disappointment again, going 2-15 on 3 targets. Joe Burrow only passed it for 148 yards on the day, as the Bengals didn’t have to throw that much. But still, Higgins’ lack of involvement has been concerning. He is best benched until we see the offense commit to getting him more targets.

  • Without Amari Cooper unavailable, and with CeeDee Lamb leaving with a concussion, Michael Gallup was the top receiver for Dallas. He played on 94% of snaps and got 10 targets. He caught only 5 for 44 yards, but this shows that he should be very involved in the Thanksgiving game against the Raiders.

  • Mecole Hardman played on the fewest snaps of his career on Sunday (12), and got only 3 targets (2-25). Byron Pringle played on 40 snaps (59%), but he got only 2 targets (1-37). I continue to say you should not play any Chiefs receiver other than Tyreek Hill. Hill and Travis Kelce will remain the top two options in the passing game, and rightfully so.

  • Rondale Moore caught all 11 of his targets (25% target share), for only 51 yards. He is being used as a gadget receiver near the line of scrimmage, but in PPR leagues he still scored 16 points. However, the underlying data shows that he only played on 32 total snaps (39%). Even with DeAndre Hopkins out, he simply cannot get enough work to be an attractive play. In fact, Antoine Wesley stepped in and played on 76% of snaps, leading the receiver group. It seems that Kingsbury simply doesn’t want Moore playing on very many snaps. I don’t think he is a good starting option the rest of the way as a result – unless you are desperate.

  • DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett played on 92% of snaps, and Lockett had a 48-yard reception to salvage his day. But Metcalf, despite a 31% target share, could do almost nothing. He finished with 4-31 on 8 targets. This Seahawks offense is terrible, and they refuse to pass even when trailing. Russell Wilson finished with only 26 passes. I do not know what to tell you if you have these receivers, but likely you need to continue to play them in case the offense figures things out.

  • Diontae Johnson continues to be a target monster, finished Sunday night with 13 targets (7-101-1). Despite Ben Roethlisberger no longer being a top quarterback, Johnson is a must-start due to the number of targets he is earning. Chase Claypool also got 9 targets as the Steelers tried to come back, catching 5 for 93 yards. They both played on 91% of snaps and are the top two options in this passing game. Still, Claypool is much less dependable and is more of a flex option in the right matchups.

  • Kadarius Toney played on only 60% of snaps for the Giants, behind Kenny Golladay (76%), but he easily led the team in targets with 12. That was a 32% target share. He only caught 7 of them for 40 yards, but clearly the Giants now realize they have a special player and need to use him. It is still a bit uncertain whether he will lose snaps once Sterling Shepard returns, and it is very tough to trust Giants in the stretch run, but this was at least encouraging usage.

Tight Ends

  • Hunter Henry’s snaps were way down on Thursday, as he played on only 50% of snaps. Jonnu Smith played on 52%. Henry went 2-25 on 3 targets, and he remains a risky weekly play. He only tends to return good results when he scores, which he has done often. Smith remains uninvolved in the passing game for now.

  • Strangely, Dawson Knox led the Bills in targets and finished with 10 targets (a 29% target share). He caught 6 for 80 yards. You have to assume Allen wants to be throwing to his receivers more, but perhaps defenses are taking away the long ball like they have been doing against Patrick Mahomes. Be cautious will all of your Bills until they snap out of this funk.

  • Washington cannot quit featuring one tight end. With both Logan Thomas and Ricky Seals-Jones out, they gave 99% of snaps to their third-string option, John Bates. This is just a reminder that when Thomas is back, he will be an every-down player and is a great starting option.

  • Mark Andrews was the de facto No. 1 receiving option with Marquise Brown out of the lineup. He played on 72% of snaps and got 10 targets (8-73). He is an every-week starter, whether or not Brown plays.

  • Cole Kmet was a big disappointment in Week 11, after he had his best game of the season in the Bears’ last game. He played on 90% of snaps but only got 2 targets (1-12), while Jimmy Graham got 3 targets (2-25) on only 20% of snaps. It is not a good idea to trust any Bears over the rest of the season.

  • T.J. Hockenson played on 88% of snaps and got 8 targets, which was a 35% target share! However, starter Tim Boyle only threw for 77 total yards. Still, Hockenson was the offense on Sunday, a nice change from Week 10. It is tough to trust anyone on this horrid offense, and if you have a comparable option for the stretch run, it might be worth looking that direction.

  • Dan Arnold was a massive disappointment on Sunday, finishing with 0 targets despite playing on 65% of snaps. I think this is just one of those bumps in the road and that he’ll recover, but I will say again: in these final, important weeks, lean toward players on good teams when it’s close.

  • Mike Gesicki returned to the box score in Week 11, catching 5 of 6 targets for 50 yards. He received the second-most targets, after Waddle, and an 18% target share. He should stay in lineups due to his upside and involvement. However, his value could be so much higher if the other Dolphins tight ends were less involved. Gesicki played on 71% of snaps, but fellow tight ends Durham Smythe and Adam Shaheen played on 71% and 64% themselves, and soaked up 6 targets between them.

  • Adam Trautman was having the best game of his career on Sunday but was injured during the game. Before he left, he caught 5 of 8 targets for 58 yards and a score, and still managed to finish with 68% of snaps. He has become an every-down player for the Saints and is getting more and more involved.

  • Dalton Schultz finished with 8 targets going 6-53, and should be a nice option for the Thanksgiving game with Amari Cooper still out.

  • Zach Ertz looked like the old Zach Ertz in Week 11, catching 8 of 9 targets for 88 yards and two scores. His targets will likely come back down after the Cardinals bye, when DeAndre Hopkins should be back (with Kyler Murray). But, Ertz should remain a decent option the rest of the way, on a good offense.

  • Pat Freiermuth caught 4 of 7 yards for 11 yards and a score. He played on 57% of snaps, his lowest mark since Week 5. Eric Ebron (knee) was again involved, playing on 46% of snaps and catching all 3 of his targets for 24 yards and a score. If those targets had also gone to Freiermuth it would have been a big day, but for some reason the coaches wanted to Ebron involved.

  • Evan Engram played on 90% of snaps but only got 5 targets (2-12). This Giants offense looks truly awful right now, so do not play Engram in these crucial matchups.

  • Rob Gronkowski returned for the Buccaneers and instantly was very involved. He played on 59% of snaps and was second on the team in targets, with 8 (6-71). If you’ve been waiting, you are now safe to play him for the stretch run.

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.