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NFL Usage Report for Week 6: Notable Shifts in Usage (NFC)

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Michael Dolan

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In this week’s fantasy usage report, I’m performing a team-by-team breakdown and identifying one player from each team who’s seen the most notable change in their usage – either up or down. To make this analysis work across all positions, I’m looking at snap counts to see who’s earned more time on the field. In this week’s breakdown, I’m looking at the NFC, and next week I’ll do the same for AFC.

 

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys – Noah Brown

Michael Gallup’s recovery from an ACL injury opened the door for other Cowboys’ receivers to step up in his absence, and Noah Brown was the primary beneficiary. Brown was on the field for north of 80% of snaps through the Cowboys first three weeks, but he’s yet to hit that threshold since Gallup’s return in week 4. His snap numbers are likely going to continue decreasing as Gallup continues getting ramped up. 

New York Giants – Daniel Bellinger

While the fantasy output hasn’t been there, rookie tight end Daniel Bellinger appears to have claimed the Giants’ starting tight end job. He played no snaps in Week 1, but since then he’s led the Giants in snaps at the position and was on the field for 74% of snaps in week 5. Bellinger’s likely not going to produce many fantasy points this year, but he’s a name to monitor in dynasty leagues because the Giants’ offense appears to finally be trending in the right direction under Brian Daboll.

Philadelphia Eagles – Miles Sanders

Miles Sanders Week 6 Fantasy Football Usage Report

Miles Sanders has been a common name in the usage report in recent weeks and for all the right reasons. Sanders emerged from a committee and is starting to earn lead back treatment in Philadelphia’s high-octane offense. In Week 5, he was on the field for 74% of the Eagles’ offensive snaps and the team continues to show an increased trust in his ability. It may be hard to buy Sanders after his week 4 explosion, but his modest 7.4 fantasy points (0.5 PPR) in Week 5 means the buying window may still be cracked open – acquire Sanders wherever you can.

Washington Commanders – Antonio Gibson

I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t buy into the negative offseason narratives surrounding Antonio Gibson. Yet here we are through five weeks, and he’s only getting less involved in the Washington offense. Gibson has seen his percentage of snaps drop every single week, going from 64% in Week 1 down to just 31% this past week. His fantasy points have followed the same pattern as well, and barring an injury to another Washington back, it appears Gibson will continue heading in the wrong direction.

 

NFC North

Chicago Bears – Dante Pettis

Here’s a friendly reminder that Dante Pettis is still in the NFL. Pettis has emerged as the No. 3 WR in Chicago, and it may not be long before he claims the No. 2 role as well. In Week 1 he logged just 40% of offensive snaps, but that number has increased each week — he was up to 60% in Week 5. Even if he emerges as the clear No. 2 in Chicago’s WR room, you can likely leave him on the waiver wire due to the Bear’s uninspiring passing attack.

Detroit Lions – Craig Reynolds

Craig Reynolds’ name appearing on this list is almost entirely due to D’Andre Swift missing time due to injury. The fantasy points may indicate Jamaal Williams has stepped into a lead back role in recent weeks, but in Week 5 it was Reynolds who led the team in snaps out of the backfield – outsnapping Williams 47% to 33% – and his snap share has gone up week after week. You can’t buy Reynolds and expect immediate fantasy production (Detroit’s on bye this week and Swift may be back in Week 7), but it’s not unreasonable to think he’s got a shot at the No. 2 role in Detroit’s backfield long term.

Green Bay Packers – Allen Lazard

Allen Lazard Week 6 Fantasy Football Usage Report

This offseason, many presumed Allen Lazard would step into Green Bay’s No. 1 receiver role, but it was far from guaranteed. After missing Week 1 with an injury, Lazard has been on the field more than any other Packer receiver every week since, and his last three weeks he’s been above a 90% snap rate. The role of Green Bay’s No. 1 receiver isn’t as lucrative as it’s been in years past, but it still feels like Lazard is being undervalued in fantasy markets.

Minnesota Vikings – Dalvin Cook

Don’t look now, but the Dalvin Cook workhorse days may be disappearing right before our very eyes. Through five weeks, Cook’s snap percentage has seen a steady decrease going from 77% in Week 1 down to 57% in Week 5, with each of Week’s 2-4 being in the 60s. Selling Cook after a 25-point outing is hard to stomach, but it also means you’ll likely get the best return for him. He’s the perfect candidate to sell high right before Minnesota’s bye in Week 7.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons – Tyler Allgeier

When Cordarrelle Patterson went down, predicting who was going to step into the Falcons new RB1 role wasn’t super obvious. Tyler Allgeier was the leading candidate, and recent weeks have told us that appears to be the case. After being a non-factor in Week 1, Allgeier was slowly creeping his way into the rotation even before Patterson went down, and then in Week 5 he led the team in backfield snaps with 59%. He’s likely a short-term solution until Patterson returns, but it’s become clear who the next man up is in this backfield.

Carolina Panthers – Terrace Marshall

Terrace Marshall Week 6 Fantasy Football Usage Report

Not much changed in the first five weeks in Carolina, so take Terrace Marshall’s placement on this list with a grain of salt. Marshall saw no snaps in the first four weeks, but in Week 5 he was on the field for 38% of the Panthers’ offensive snaps. With a new regime in charge in Carolina, there’s a world where Marshall makes the most of a second opportunity, but he still belongs on the waiver wire for now.

New Orleans Saints – Mark Ingram

The Saints have been battered with injuries to start the season, so getting a read on there’s a lot of ups and downs in their snap percentages with key guys like Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, Chris Olave, Jarvis Landry and more all missing time. Amidst all the chaos though, one thing we learned was Mark Ingram is clearly the next man up behind Alvin Kamara in the Saints backfield. The problem is, even with Kamara missing time, Ingram has topped out at 48% of snaps this season, so even as a handcuff he holds little value.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Rachaad White

Bucs rookie running back Rachaad White is demanding touches in the Tampa Bay backfield. He saw a fair amount of work in Week 1 (27% of snaps), but then disappeared a bit in Weeks 2-3 (13% and 9%) before seeing an uptick in Weeks 4-5 (38% and 39%). The data suggests that White is getting involved in the offense, and his performance on the field suggests that involvement is warranted. He’s likely not going to be startable in 2022 as long as Fournette is healthy, but it’s clear that he has league-winning upside in the event Fournette misses time.

 

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals – Greg Dortch

Greg Dortch’s early success was a surprise to most. He started off the season heavily involved in the Cardinals passing attack and he was on the field for over 70% of snaps in the first three weeks. As soon as Rondale Moore re-entered the lineup, though, Dortch went back to being an afterthought with just 36% and 3% of snaps these past two weeks. With the return of DeAndre Hopkins coming soon as well, it’s only going to get harder for Dortch to earn snaps.

Los Angeles Rams – Darrell Henderson

Darrell Henderson Week 6 Fantasy Football Usage Report

The Rams don’t use a wide range of personnel, so picking the candidate for them was a bit tricky. After posting an astonishing 82% snap share in Week 1 though, we’ve seen Darrell Henderson float between 50 and 60% these past four weeks. He’s outpaced Cam Akers all five weeks this year so he may still be the 1A in the backfield, but it’s clear that he’s not going to be the workhorse we thought he may be following Week 1.

San Francisco 49ers – Jeff Wilson

Once again, the 49ers are going through a slew of tough injuries in the backfield. This has made for a great opportunity for Jeff Wilson, who has led the team in backfield snaps every week of the season. He’s topped out at 73% and his floor has been 49% so he continues to be a safe start as long as Elijah Mitchell is sidelined. No other trends in the backfield indicate anyone is coming for Wilson’s role as the No. 1 guy.

Seattle Seahawks – Kenneth Walker

It’s easy to point to the Rashaad Penny injury and say that’s the only reason Kenneth Walker has seen an uptick in snaps. Even prior to Week 5 though, Walker’s usage was on the rise. With a healthy Penny, Walker saw 36% of snaps in Week 4 (his highest mark of the season). It’s too early to say how much work Walker will get now that he’s the presumed lead back, but the fact that the coaching staff wanted to get him on the field more even with Penny available is a good sign for Walker moving forward.

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