With Week 9 in the books, below are 20 of the league’s top producers based on snap and target usage and fantasy scoring. I usually try to omit the obvious standouts like Christian McCaffery (85.9% /4.9% / 44.3) but also reinforce the fact that most players need opportunities to score fantasy points, and according to the data some of these fringe players should be in your lineups regardless of matchups and other determining factors. They might not be the sexiest names but that shouldn’t matter.
The following players are potential season-long starters or flex starters, trade targets and/or FAAB priorities.
Below the data, you'll see my conclusions based on the numbers.
Key: Snap % / Target % / Touch %
Broncos RB Phillip Lindsay: 46 snap percentage / 0 target percentage / 39.1 touch percentage
Bears RB David Montgomery: 73.3% / 12,1% / 51.5%
Raiders RB Josh Jacobs: 58.3% / 4.8% / 66.7
Titans RB Derrick Henry: 53.3% / 7.5% / 40%
Patriots RB James White: 41.8% / 10.7% / 39.3%
Chargers RB Melvin Gordon: 63.4% / 8.9% / 51.1%
Cardinals RB Kenyan Drake: 84.2% / 8.3% / 39.6%
Lions RB JD McKissic: 38% / 14.8% / 25.9%
Bills RB Devin Singletary: 66.1% / 9.8% / 56.1%
Packers RB Jamal Williams: 44.4% / 25% / 33.3%
Chiefs RB Damien Williams: 71.7% / 4.7% / 32.6%
Texans RB Duke Johnson: 47.1% / 15.2% / 36.4%
Broncos TE Noah Fant: 86% / 9.3% / 7%
Cowboys TE Blake Jarwin: 36.6% / 3.8% / 3.8%
Chargers RB Austin Ekeler: 33.8% / 16.7% / 66.7%
49’ers WR Dante Pettis: 29.7% / 4.5% / 4.5%
Redskins RB Adrian Peterson: 70.6% / 2.8% / 52.8%
Buccaneers WR Mike Evans: 86.1% / 23.5% / 17.6%
Buccaneers RB Dare Ogunbowale: 26.6% / 4.8% / 9.5
Buccaneers RB Ronald Jones: 53.2% / 4.8% / 47.6%
The most glaring and defining takeaways from this week’s target and snap report is the domination of the running backs. I didn't include CMC (who was RB4 according to the data) the next 13 players in order to appear on the list and are all RBs. The first non-RB on the list was TE Noah Fant, not even a wide receiver. We haven't seen this kind of RB domination in any week, not even close. If you follow the data, the weather is changing and offenses are leaning on their backfields to not only carry the load but make big plays as well. The data reinforces the demand to acquire as many RBs as possible, especially if you’re thin at the position. Maybe your roster is stacked with wide receivers and you should deal one for an emerging RB.
Since the departure of Emanuel Sanders to the 49ers two weeks ago, the rookie Fant has appeared in the data list twice and has snap percentages of 82% and 86%. If you saw his impressive TD vs Cleveland, the potential for a star TE is evident. Fant is available as a free agent in many leagues.
Peep the top of the list and you’ll find two rookies who look like potential fantasy closers at the RB position. Montgomery and Jacobs have both had their fair share of ups and downs, but their head coaches are starting to lean on them both big-time. Both were impressive players late in the season in college, especially Montgomery. John Gruden has a history of riding one RB and Matt Nagy is finally allowing Montgomery the attempts he needs to be effective. Josh Jacobs’s 66.7 touch percentage (tied with Austin Ekeler) was tops among the 20 players appearing on the list.
Speaking of Ekeler you’ll find him and Melvin Gordon on the list. In my opinion, Philip Rivers is going to be throwing to RBs down the stretch a lot. Ekeler is coming off an under 15 points fantasy game and maybe you can steal him for cheap if you hype up Melvin Gordon. According to the data, both players are still going to get their opportunities.
You’ll also find many Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the list this week, and some of them could come cheap. It's clear that Bruce Arians can coach an offense and the Bucs’ defense is leaky. Also remember that games in Tampa Bay are usually sunny and warm when weather becomes an issue for big offensive performances in many other places.
It was natural for Chiefs head coach Andy Reid to acquire his former RB Shady McCoy just before the season started. And the veteran RB has gotten his opportunities for one last ride, but didn't quite cash in. Damien Williams looked spry and confident last week, and ran for a 91-yard touchdown against the Vikings. You can still acquire Williams for a value and imagine what he could do when Mahomes returns. Also take note that the Chiefs did reward Williams with a contract extension heading into the year, so they know what they have in him.
I don't want to jinx it, but Devin Singletary could be a special fantasy RB. Maybe the fact that he’s paired with Josh Allen opens up additional running lanes. Singletary looks like a difference maker at the position.
JD McKissic was probably dropped in your league, and may still be available. If you look at the usage numbers, he could still produce down the stretch. Remember how much Matt Stafford has thrown dumpers to Theo Riddick late in the season over the last three seasons.
Kenyan Drake's monster game was a big fantasy surprise. We have heard the legend that Drake outperformed Derrick Henry in college, and against the 49ers we saw glimpses of what Drake could do. His athletic skill set is an excellent match for Kyler Murray. Try to leverage the return of Chase Edmonds and David Johnson and see if you can land Drake for cheap. Arizona fantasy players are going to be valuable in upcoming weeks.
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