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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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).
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.