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NFL Usage Report for Week 8

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Welcome to the Week 8 Usage Report. This piece is designed to give you a glimpse of both rushing shares and usage rates for running backs, wide receivers, and occasionally tight ends. It will help you understand how often a player is involved in his team’s game plan and if those players are susceptible to being faded or emphasized during various game scripts.

(To see more, check out our Weekly Rushing Share and Usage by Situation pages.)

 

 

Definitions:

tgt_big_lead — Target share when team is leading by 14+ points
tgt_leading — Target share when team is leading by 9-13 points
tgt_one_score — Target share when team is in a one score game
tgt_down — Target share when team is down by 9-13 points
tgt_down_big — Target share when team is down by 14+ points

Arizona Cardinals

Weekly Rushing Share

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The Cardinals were never challenged by the lowly Texans in Week 7. This positive gamescript, like most have been this year, allowed both James Conner (10 carries) and Chase Edmonds (15 carries) to see significant usage in the ground game. It was the fourth time this season both backs have reached double-digit carries in the same game. This balanced approach seems to be working. Conner has six rushing scores over his last five games and Edmonds has at least four targets and three receptions in all but one game.

Usage by Situation

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This offense is loaded with talent at every position. Newcomer Zach Ertz made a splash in his debut by reeling in three catches for 66 yards and a score. DeAndre Hopkins continues to find the end zone (seven touchdowns on the year), but it is worth noting he has not topped 87 receiving yards in a single game. His fantasy production is being upheld by touchdowns. Christian Kirk has begun to establish himself as the WR2 as he sits second on the team in targets, receptions, yards and touchdowns.

Atlanta Falcons

Weekly Rushing Share

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A changing of the guard appears to have taken place in Atlanta. Cordarrelle Patterson has been the feel-good story of the season, and it now looks like he is going to get the usage to support his production. Mike Davis has been trending in the wrong direction since Week 3 and, coming out the bye week, the Falcons looked determined to feature Patterson more than they have in recent weeks. There is nothing to suggest that this trend won’t continue.

Usage by Situation

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The volume continues to be there for Calvin Ridley, but the production has not. He is averaging over 10 targets/game but has scored just twice and has only one game over 65 receiving yards. The usage and talent would suggest that a big game, or stretch of games, is coming soon. Rookie tight end Kyle Pitts is officially on historic pace. He has 27 targets, 332 receiving yards and a score over his last three games and looks capable of so much more.

Baltimore Ravens

Weekly Rushing Share

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The Ravens backfield continues to cycle through various options depending on health. Regardless of who is under center, Lamar Jackson is a primary option in the ground game. He has at least seven rushing attempts in each game and has four games with 12 or more attempts. Until a consistent option emerges at the running back position, it’s tough to trust any of them.

Usage by Situation

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The big news is the emergence of rookie wide receiver Rashod Bateman. He’s seen six targets in consecutive games and went for 80 yards this past week. He remains behind Marquise Brown in the pecking order for targets at the wide receiver position, and tight end Mark Andrews will continue to get his. Bateman remains an intriguing addition in redraft leagues and is an excellent trade target in dynasty leagues before he strings together a few solid games.

Buffalo Bills

Weekly Rushing Share

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The Bills were on bye this week but looking back, Zack Moss and teammate Devin Singletary have been about as equally split as possible. Moss (54 attempts, 10 receptions) has had more success through the air and scoring touchdowns compared to Singletary (60 attempts, 13 receptions) and Moss has commanded a much higher rushing share over the last two weeks.

Usage by Situation

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With the bye week behind them, the Bills head into the remainder of their season. Stefon Diggs, Emmanuel Sanders and Cole Beasley are all relevant options, regardless of scoring or format. The Bills continue to deploy three and four wide receiver sets at one of the highest rates in the league.

Carolina Panthers

Weekly Rushing Share

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Chuba Hubbard is guaranteed one more week of having total control over the backfield. Christian McCaffrey is eligible to return in Week 9, but his status will need to be monitored. I would be slightly surprised if McCaffrey garners a massive workload whenever he returns to the field. Hubbard continues to provide weekly value and is startable in all formats for at least one more week.

Usage by Situation

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DJ Moore is averaging north of 10 targets per game on the season and remains the only pass-catching option I am comfortable starting in this offense. Robby Anderson has been historically bad in recent weeks and only has 18 receptions on his 49 targets. He’s essentially droppable in redraft leagues but his continued volume is at least mildly interesting. Terrace Marshall is a trendy addition in dynasty leagues. The quarterback situation for the Panthers needs to be closely followed.

Chicago Bears

Weekly Rushing Share

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The big story out of Chicago is rookie running back Khalil Herbert. He posted 100 rushing yards against the Tampa Bay defense (not an easy thing to do) and caught all five of his targets this week. Herbert has apparently overtaken Damien Williams on the depth chart and has at least 18 carries in three straight contests. David Montgomery is due back soon, but Herbert has shown enough to warrant meaningful touches even with Montgomery on the field.

Usage by Situation

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Darnell Mooney, the speedy sophomore out of Tulane, continues to pace the team in targets, receptions and receiving yards. He has not hurt fantasy managers the same way that Allen Robinson has, based on draft capital. Robinson is WR59 in PPR formats and continues to be at the mercy of an inept offense. Better days are almost certainly ahead for Justin Fields & Co. but it’s hard to trust either wideout right now. On a somewhat more positive note, Cole Kmet has increased his targets, receptions and yards in three of his last four weeks. He’s worth a stash in dynasty leagues, especially those with TE premium scoring.

Cincinnati Bengals

Weekly Rushing Share

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Somewhat surprisingly, the Bengals blew out the Ravens this week, which afforded the opportunity for both Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine to receive double-digit carries. Mixon has done that in each game this season and has scored four times in his last four appearances. Perine has been a fine change-of-pace option, but he is much more dependent on the gamescript. This backfield belongs to Mixon.

Usage by Situation

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Rookie sensation Ja’Marr Chase has officially arrived. His statement performance in Week 7 has all but cemented him as one of the greatest rookie wide receivers ever. Joe Burrow has thrown at least two touchdown passes in each game this season and the Bengals look legit. Tee Higgins continues to see encouraging volume and is a dynasty trade target because of both his lack of production and the Chase’s massive output. Tyler Boyd has fallen down the depth chart and is only worth a look in deeper, PPR formats.

Cleveland Browns

Weekly Rushing Share

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The great story from this past week came Thursday night. Running back D’Ernest Johnson got his chance and made the most of it. Unfortunately for him, Nick Chubb is expected to be available this upcoming week. However, Kareem Hunt is still on injured reserve and Johnson showed enough to warrant additional opportunities alongside Chubb moving forward.

Usage by Situation

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Wide receiver Jarvis Landry returned from a four-game absence in Week 7 to pace the team in targets and receptions. He is reportedly dealing with a new knee issue as of Wednesday of this week and his status will need to be monitored. As for Odell Beckham, it sounds like he is not planning to have surgery on his shoulder until after the season. His production has been disappointing up to this point and fantasy managers may want to try and avoid these pass-catchers if possible.

Dallas Cowboys

Weekly Rushing Share

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It will be interesting to see how the Dallas offense looks coming off the bye week. Ezekiel Elliott remains the clear No. 1 option, but Tony Pollard has gotten more work than in any previous season. Pollard’s ceiling remains capped but he’s a borderline flex-option in most league formats.

Usage by Situation

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CeeDee Lamb continues to make his case as the overall WR1 in dynasty leagues. He’s dominating the target share but Amari Cooper remains a viable option as well. Michael Gallup is due back soon which will shake up the target volume a bit. Surprise option Dalton Schultz continues to post impressive numbers and Elliot is getting just enough receiving usage to push him into that upper tier.

Denver Broncos

Weekly Rushing Share

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It might be time to start looking to next season for Javonte Williams. As obvious as it is that he’s the future of this backfield, and as impressive as he’s been on the field, the Broncos remain committed to featuring veteran Melvin Gordon. Williams could still be a late-season league winner, but he needs to start seeing increased usage sometime soon.

Usage by Situation

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This receiving room is as talented as any in the league, but they are held back by quarterback play. Jerry Jeudy is due back very soon, which provides another weapon for Teddy Bridgewater & Co., but the offense is lacking its true potential without a better option at quarterback.

Detroit Lions

Weekly Rushing Share

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D’Andre Swift is quickly turning into one of the premier running backs in all of football. He’s already racked up 42 receptions in just seven games and remains the focal point of this disjointed offense. A lack of team wins doesn’t impact Swift, and his pass-catching prowess allows him to be immune to negative game scripts. The overall lack of offensive weapons makes him one of the most valuable assets in dynasty formats.

Usage by Situation

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This receiving core isn’t impressive, and it’s not getting any better. Rookie wideout Amon-Ra St. Brown was held without a target in Week 7 after seeing a healthy dose of looks over his previous three games. Kalif Raymond is turning into a semi-legit deep threat and is an interesting waiver add this week. St. Brown is the preferred dynasty trade target if you wanted to peg at least one player.

Green Bay Packers

Weekly Rushing Share

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The increased usage for AJ Dillon has been a positive development for this team that has not lost since Week 1. The Packers do have a tough road game on a short week against the Cardinals and it appears they may be at less than full strength. Except a heavy dose of Aaron Jones in both the ground and passing attack on Thursday night.

Usage by Situation

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Both Davante Adams and Allen Lazard will be missing a crucial matchup this week due to COVID-19 protocols. That means Aaron Rodgers could lean on his old battery-mate Randall Cobb as well as 2020 breakout tight end Robert Tonyan. Lazard was just starting to make his claim as a viable No. 2 option in this passing attack after back-to-back impressive performances.

Houston Texans

Weekly Rushing Share