Bettings
article featured image background
Article preview

NFL Usage Report for Week 4: The Biggest Changes Since Week 1

NFL Fantasy

Authors

author-image

Michael Dolan

Contributor's Page
Share
Contents
Close

Now that we’ve got a few weeks of data under our belts, there are many more ways we can utilize FTN’s data. Not only can we pick out good or poor individual performances, but more importantly, we can start to identify trends.

 

In this week’s usage report, I used weekly snap share data and target share data to try and find some patterns that have occurred throughout the first three weeks of the season. Which players had week one performances that looked like nothing more than a blip, and which other players appear to be trending in a particular direction – either good or bad. In the grand scheme of things, a three-game season isn’t an outstanding sample size, so everything here needs to be taken with a grain of salt. However, if we wait too long to act on these trends, the buy/sell windows for any players mentioned may close quickly. Don’t be afraid to get aggressive if a guy you like/dislike is starting to show signs of a trend that the rest of your league mates may not be aware of yet.

Risers from Week 1 – RB

The first group I analyzed this week are the running backs who appear to be on the rise. Following Week 1, I talked about the importance of snap shares at the running back position, and once again that’s the primary data point I’m looking at. 

In this week’s instance I analyzed the snap share data for every running back in the league and identified the players who saw an increase in snap share both from Week 1 to Week 2 and from Week 2 to Week 3. This steady increase is hopefully the beginning of a positive trend, and the below players – ordered by percent change from Week 1 to Week 3 – appear to be carving out larger roles in their respective offenses.

Player Team Week 1 Snaps Week 2 Snaps Week 3 Snaps % Change (Week 1 to 3)*
Cam Akers LAR 18% 43% 50% 178%
Justice Hill BAL 20% 36% 48% 140%
Alexander Mattison MIN 23% 31% 39% 70%
Nyheim Hines IND 28% 30% 45% 61%
Jamaal Williams DET 33% 34% 45% 36%
Najee Harris PIT 59% 71% 80% 36%
Raheem Mostert MIA 42% 55% 56% 33%
Jerick McKinnon KC 39% 47% 52% 33%
J.D. McKissic WAS 40% 46% 53% 33%
Leonard Fournette TB 76% 87% 91% 20%
Tyler Allgeier ATL 0% 31% 37% 19%*
Nick Chubb CLE 53% 54% 62% 17%
Miles Sanders PHI 52% 53% 59% 13%
Craig Reynolds DET 0% 15% 17% 13%*
Saquon Barkley NYG 83% 84% 92% 11%

When Week 1 snap share was zero, % change listed as difference between Weeks 2 & 3

The Guy You Should Acquire Everywhere

The biggest knock on Miles Sanders coming into this season was questions about his workload. While the Eagles do utilize a committee, Sanders’ workload has increased every week, and he’s clearly the 1A if not the 1 in that group. The Eagles’ offense looks like a buzzsaw, and acquiring their best back before he has a boom game would be a wise move.

The Guys Who May Have Stolen Someone’s Job

Cam Akers disappointed every fantasy manager with an absolute dud in Week 1. Since then, Sean McVay has actively increased Akers’ role in the offense. This past week he had a dead even 50/50 split with Darrell Henderson for the first time this season. It’s looking more and more like Week 1 was an anomaly for Akers, and you can probably still acquire him for fairly cheap.

Meanwhile, we’re seeing similar situations in Miami and Kansas City with both Raheem Mostert and Jerick McKinnon. Unlike Akers, neither of these two were expected to be starters entering the season, but they’ve earned snaps each week and may be slowly ascending into lead roles. Neither appears poised to take a workhorse job, but being the 1A in these high-powered offenses should provide solid fantasy value. 

To round out this tier, we see Justice Hill, who appears to have beaten out Mike Davis and Kenyan Drake for the short-term starting RB role in Baltimore. With J.K. Dobbins returning, it’s unlikely Hill’s workload is sustainable long term, but he may be the new No. 2 in Baltimore.

The Studs

Saquon Barkley Week 4 Fantasy Football Usage Report

Seeing Saquon Barkley, Leonard Fournette and Najee Harris with massive workloads just makes sense. These are guys you drafted early for their workhorse roles, and the early weeks of the season should continue inspiring confidence in their respective roles. Not much changes here, but Harris managers in particular can exhale and feel confident in his high-volume workload returning.

Nick Chubb on the other hand is much lower in the workhorse tier, but Cleveland’s No. 1 back has been wildly efficient as he sits as the RB1 in standard and 0.5 PPR formats. There will likely be some ebbs and flows with Kareem Hunt moving forward, but with the way he’s been playing this year, taking Chubb off the field won’t be easy for the Browns’ coaching staff.

The Role Players

Is this the year where the classic “we want to get this guy more involved” in the offense comes true for J.D. McKissic and Nyheim Hines? Neither of these two has the profile to become an every-down back, but if their offensive systems have roles for them this year, these guys should continue to be valuable options in PPR leagues as flex plays or backup RBs.

The Guys Who Benefited From an Injury

Both Craig Reynolds and Jamaal Williams find themselves on this list due to an injury to D’Andre Swift. Meanwhile, Alexander Mattison and Tyler Allgeier find themselves in this tier due to Dalvin Cook and Damien Williams getting hurt. 

Jamaal Williams has been great and is a locked in starter as long as Swift is out. Same old song and dance with Mattison as well — if Cook misses any time, Mattison needs to be in your starting lineup. Reynolds and Allgeier still aren’t worthy of a start, but they do appear to have ascended into No. 2 roles for the time being.

 

Fallers from Week 1 – RB

The inverse of the above group is of course players who have seen their snap shares decrease in each of the past three weeks. There are varying reasons for each of these players’ utilization shifts, but all of them appear to have seen some level of shift in their fantasy value through three weeks.

Player Team Week 1 Snaps Week 2 Snaps Week 3 Snaps % Change (Week 1 to 3)
Kenyan Drake BAL 59% 27% 0% -100%
Rachaad White TB 27% 13% 9% -67%
Isiah Pacheco KC 23% 9% 8% -65%
Zack Moss BUF 37% 19% 17% -54%
Matt Breida NYG 22% 15% 11% -50%
Jaylen Warren PIT 37% 29% 20% -46%
Darrell Henderson LAR 82% 56% 50% -39%
D’Andre Swift DET 67% 51% 41% -39%
Antonio Gibson WAS 64% 54% 44% -31%
Chase Edmonds MIA 63% 51% 44% -30%
Joshua Kelley LAC 27% 25% 21% -22%
Kareem Hunt CLE 56% 46% 44% -21%
Dalvin Cook MIN 77% 69% 61% -21%

The Guy You Should Sell ASAP

Chase Edmonds was paid a handsome amount of money to come in and be Miami’s lead back. So far this season, Edmonds has yet to impress, and it appears his role is shrinking before our eyes. Raheem Mostert is coming for that No. 1 role and may have already obtained it. Sell Edmonds before the rest of your league mates catch on to what’s happening in Miami’s backfield.

The Guys With Major Red Flags

After a surprising 82% snap share in Week 1, Darrell Henderson appears to have fallen back down to reality and no longer appears to be the lead back in Los Angeles. Cam Akers is carving out a larger and larger role for himself and it’s coming at the expense of Henderson whose value is rapidly taking a nosedive.

We appear to be seeing a similar situation with Antonio Gibson who has surrendered quite a few snaps to J.D. McKissic in recent weeks. This may have been game script related, but with Brian Robinson’s return looming, the outlook for Gibson looks bleak.

Kenyan Drake had a chance to fill in as a viable short-term starter with J.K. Dobbins sidelined, but he never impressed and now that window is closed. Drake can safely be cut.

The ‘Let’s Not Forget You’re a Backup’ Guys

In this tier we see guys who appeared to have earned some significant snaps in week one, just to get relegated to lower volume roles in Weeks 2 & 3. Joshua Kelley, Matt Breida and Zack Moss have been in the league for a while now and have yet to impress. Barring significant injuries to the guys in front of them on the depth chart, these three won’t provide any fantasy value.

Rachaad White, Jaylen Warren and Isiah Pacheco are all rookies who provide a bit more excitement, but White and Warren are stuck behind two workhorses and Pacheco is the clear No. 3 in Kansas City. These are all interesting stashes in dynasty leagues, but for 2022 they shouldn’t be considered anything more than valuable handcuffs.

The Injured Guys

Dalvin Cook and D’Andre Swift find themselves on this list due to injuries they’ve suffered. Not much you can do here other than patiently await their returns, and fire up their backups if you’ve got ’em.

The Kareem Hunt Tier

Kareem Hunt gets his own tier because of his unique combination of skill and his 1B role in the Browns’ offense. Nick Chubb has looked fantastic this year, but Hunt is too good to simply disappear. By now we all know how Cleveland utilizes their dynamic duo, and Hunt’s minor dip these past few weeks shouldn’t be a reason to sound the alarms. He’ll have his weeks.

Risers from Week 1 – Pass Catchers

We now shift our attention to the pass catchers who appear to have valuable roles in their respective offenses. In last week’s Usage Report, I discussed the importance of target share in a respective offense, so similar to what I did with the running back position in this week’s piece, I analyzed which players have seen an increase in their target share each week. Because there’s a bit more volatility in target numbers, the initial list was quite long, so I trimmed it down by filtering to only show players who have logged at least a 25% target share at some point this season.

Player Team Week 1 Target % Week 2 Target % Week 3 Target % % Change (Week 1 to 3)
David Njoku CLV 3% 18% 32% 967%
Robert Woods TEN 6% 22% 34% 467%
Russell Gage TB 7% 18% 32% 357%
Chris Olave NO 9% 32% 33% 267%
DeVonta Smith PHI 13% 22% 35% 169%
Darnell Mooney CHI 17% 18% 37% 118%
Mark Andrews BLT 24% 37% 48% 100%
Marquise Brown ARZ 16% 23% 30% 88%
CeeDee Lamb DAL 26% 36% 40% 54%

The Guy You Should Acquire Everywhere

The Titans’ offense looks pretty gross this year, so there may be an opportunity to buy Robert Woods on the cheap. After a disappointing Week 1, Woods has seen impressive 22% and 34% target shares in back-to-back weeks. He’s not going to have the ceiling that he did in Los Angeles, but that amount of volume can help provide you with solid depth if nothing else.

The Alphas

Only two players started with Week 1 target shares north of 20% and have continued to improve that number each week. Mark Andrews is clearly Lamar Jackson’s favorite target, and getting to plug him into the tight end spot in your starting lineup is just unfair. You’re not selling him if you have him, and acquiring him will be nearly impossible. Congrats to those of you who already have him on your roster.

CeeDee Lamb Week 4 Fantasy Football Usage Report

CeeDee Lamb on the other hand is a much more controversial player. His target share through three weeks has been absurd, but the situation in Dallas makes his fantasy value a bit murky. It’ll be hard to buy him after a big Week 3, but if the owner in your league is still worried about Cooper Rush, I’d gladly buy at a discount.

The ‘Let’s Not Forget About Him Again’ Guys

For whatever reason these guys were non-factors in their offenses in Week 1, but their coaching staffs and quarterbacks quickly learned not to make that mistake again. We can all point to David Njoku’s Week 3 as a breakout, but even the 18% share in Week 2 is a great threshold to hit for a late round tight end.

Then we come to DeVonta Smith who also exploded in Week 3. A.J. Brown and Dallas Goedert aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, so there’s going to be some competition for targets in Philadelphia that will lead to some volatility. Still, the Eagles offense looks great. and Smith is destined for at least a few more spike weeks when the defense hones in on the other two options.

The ‘Yeah But…’ Guys

Both Russell Gage and Chris Olave were beneficiaries of injuries to the rest of the pass catchers in their offense, which is largely why they made the cut here. Olave may provide some longer-term value as a rookie who has passed the eye test, but Gage’s numbers are likely a blip with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Julio Jones eventually set to return.

Darnell Mooney also finds himself in this tier but for a totally different reason. While his target share numbers have increased marginally week over week, his 18% mark in Week 2 came on two targets because Justin Fields only threw the ball 11 times. This Bears passing attack feels like it should be avoided at all costs.

Rounding out this tier is Marquise Brown. Similar to Gage and Olave, Brown’s numbers are inflated due to absence. As long as DeAndre Hopkins is out of the picture, Brown should continue to see fantastic volume, but Hopkins’ return is looming, and he’ll play a major role in this offense immediately upon his return from suspension.

 

Fallers from Week 1 – Pass Catchers

Finally, the last group we’re going to evaluate is players who have seen their target share decrease in back-to-back weeks. Some of these guys are worthy of concern, while others are stars you can continue to have confidence in despite a negative trend. Once again, to keep this list short, I’ve only included players who have hit a 25% target share at least once.

Player Team Week 1 Target % Week 2 Target % Week 3 Target % % Change (Week 1 to 3)
Pat Freiermuth PIT 27% 21% 12% -56%
Justin Jefferson MIN 35% 26% 16% -54%
Michael Thomas NO 25% 22% 12% -52%
Robbie Anderson CAR 32% 18% 16% -50%
Tyreek Hill MIA 38% 26% 20% -47%
Richie James NYG 28% 18% 15% -46%
Tyler Higbee LA 26% 25% 16% -38%
Brandin Cooks HST 33% 27% 22% -33%

The Guy You Should Sell ASAP

No one in this tier jumps out as an immediate sell. There are guys who may not provide value moving forward, but you’re likely not going to get much in return for them anyway. Continue monitoring this group to make sure trends don’t continue going south.

The Guys You’re Not Worried About

You’re not selling Justin Jefferson or Tyreek Hill based on a few bad weeks. These guys are studs you drafted high, and if 15% and 20% market shares are their respective floors, you’ve got nothing to worry about. Brandin Cooks finds himself in a very similar position. He’s not in the same tier as the other two, but no one should be mad about a 22% target share being his lowest mark of the season.

The Tight Ends

Tight end is such a tricky position. If you’re seeing a 12% and 16% floor for Pat Freiermuth and Tyler Higbee, respectively, you can’t be too upset. Neither of these two will likely have much value in a trade, so you’re riding with them for now unless better options pop up on the waiver wire. Due to the offense he’s tethered too, Higbee is likely the more exciting option here.

The Guys You Can Probably Forget About

Robbie Anderson looks like he’ll have a role in the Panthers offense, but it’s looking like his Week 1 performance was simply a blip on the radar rather than a sign of things to come. You probably don’t want a guy on your team who’s seeing less than 20% of targets from Baker Mayfield.

Richie James is in a similar situation in an uninspiring Giants passing offense. I suppose with Sterling Shepherd going down there’s an opportunity for targets there, but James is nothing more than a bottom of the bench dart throw at this point.

The Injured Guy

Michael Thomas left Week 3 early with a toe injury, and luckily the injury doesn’t sound serious. If this downward target trend continues, it could be a sign that the injury is hampering his play and may be worse than advertised. Consider selling if he plays in Week 4 and disappoints.

Previous Week 4 Fantasy Football Game By Game Breakdown Next NFL Splits Tool, Week 4: Zach Wilson’s Return in New York