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Week 8 Touches, Targets, Volume & Regression Index: Derrick Henry's Temporary Inefficiency

The Titans star averaged his fewest yards per carry against the Chiefs and still nearly topped 100 yards.

The latest week of NFL action brought plenty of blowouts, standout fantasy performances and confusing stat lines. Read this week's volume report to see which outings were sustainable and which players are due for regression to make sense of it all.

Inefficient Volume Players

RB Derrick Henry, Titans

I'm just as surprised as you are that Henry is on this list, but you get held to a higher standard when you're playing like the MVP. Henry played well below the standard he's established Sunday against the Chiefs. He ran for less than 100 yards for the second time this season; his 29 carries tied for the third-most he's handled this year, and 3.0 yards per carry (YPC) was Henry's worst mark in seven games.

He gets style (and, of course, fantasy) points for tossing a touchdown in the first quarter, but Henry was largely contained on the ground by a soft Kansas City defense. His longest run of the game was 11 yards, and he was kept out of the end zone after scoring seven touchdowns in his last three games. As the Titans keep marching toward an AFC South title, they will continue to lean on Henry close to 30 times per game. More efficient rushing outings are undoubtedly in his future.

WR Tee Higgins, Bengals

Quarterback Joe Burrow was force-feeding Higgins against the Ravens. The second-year wideout saw a career-high 15 targets, a whopping 39% target share. Higgins caught seven of those passes for 62 yards, a season-high. His 46.7% catch rate was his worst this season, and he finished third on the team in receiving yards—rookie Ja'Marr Chase took eight receptions for 200 yards, and tight end C.J. Uzomah went for 91 yards.

Chase has supplanted Higgins as the No. 1 pass-catcher in this offense. Higgins' production may improve as defenses look to key in on Chase, but his volume is unlikely to increase from Sunday's target total.

Atlanta Falcons Calvin Ridley

WR Calvin Ridley, Falcons

Ridley's 10 targets paced Atlanta against the Dolphins. Still, he finished with 26 yards, a season-low. Sunday was the fourth game in a row where Ridley saw 10 or more targets, and he has little to show for it. Kyle Pitts and Cordarrelle Patterson are first and second on the team in receiving yards, albeit with one more game played than Ridley.

Ridley surpassed 100 yards receiving eight times last season—he has failed to do so once in five games this year. He salvaged a truly poor fantasy outing with a touchdown grab. Still, four catches for 26 yards is not cutting it for a wide receiver with a second-round average draft position. Quarterback Matt Ryan has looked better in recent weeks, but Ridley has been unable to make the big plays down the field that inspired confidence in his first year post-Julio Jones.

Limited Volume Efficiency Players

RB Damien Harris, Patriots

Harris surpassed 100 rushing yards for the third time this season and the second game in a row. It was his best outing of the season as he took 14 carries for 106 yards and found the end zone twice. Harris' carry total was tied for his fourth-most this season, but that didn't prevent him from rushing for a season-high 106 yards. He averaged 7.6 yards per carry and added a pair of catches for seven yards.

The Patriots led the Jets 31-7 at halftime and began to get other running backs involved in the second half. Harris handled less than half of the team's snaps but accounted for over 70% of New England's rushing yards. His job as RB1 in Foxborough, Massachusetts, is safe for the time being, and he's ascending as a fantasy starter.

WR Michael Pittman Jr., Colts

Pittman overcame the elements on Sunday Night Football against the 49ers and posted his second 100-yard game of the season. Quarterback Carson Wentz’s favorite target caught a 57-yard bomb early in the game and topped off his night with a 28-yard receiving touchdown in the fourth quarter. Pittman finished with four catches on four targets for 105 yards.

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Pittman brought up his YPR to 14.5 with his big plays against the 49ers. The next thing that needs to increase is the looks he gets from Wentz. Pittman has a healthy lead as Indianapolis' target leader with 50 on the year. Still, he has a case to see double-digit targets every week, which has only happened twice this season.

TE Zach Ertz, Cardinals

Arizona's newest weapon shined in his debut in a red uniform. Ertz caught three of five targets for 66 yards in a blowout of the Texans. That was his highest yardage total of the season, and he scored his third touchdown on a 47-yard reception. The Cardinals led 17-5 at halftime and didn't throw the ball often—Ertz tied for second on the team in targets with Christian Kirk. He also got an opportunity to run the ball, taking his lone carry for four yards.

In his last few games in Philadelphia, Ertz was more involved but wasn’t performing well. In a new uniform with a more accurate quarterback in Kyler Murray, Ertz looked more like the player fantasy managers saw in 2019 than 2020.

Detroit Lions running back D'Andre Swift

Week 7 TTVR Index Performance Recap

Click here for last week's article.

Inefficient Volume Players

D’Andre Swift: Rushing and receiving volume stayed about the same (saw 13 carries once again and receptions jumped to eight from five) while efficiency improved in both facets (3.7 YPC up from 1.8 the week before and season-high 12.0 YPR).

Darrel Williams: Rushing volume fell off dramatically, and receiving volume remained consistent (5 carries down from 21 and three catches on four targets for the second straight week). Efficiency improved to 4.0 yards per carry, but with so few rushing opportunities in a blowout loss, Williams managed only 20 yards.

Robby Anderson: The curious case continues. Anderson's volume remained about the same (nine targets down from 11), but efficiency stayed the same, too, which wasn't a good thing (caught three passes for 14 yards).

Limited Volume Efficiency Players

Jonathan Taylor: Volume increased (season-high 18 carries), and rushing efficiency returned to Earth but was still very strong (5.9 YPC down from unsustainable 10.4).

Donovan Peoples-Jones: Did not play in Week 7 against the Broncos.

Henry Ruggs III: Volume remained consistent (four targets in back-to-back games), but receiving efficiency fell off (season-low 6.0 yards per catch and 24 receiving yards).

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