Fantasy News & Analysis

NFL Week 17 Fantasy Football Recap: Immediate takeaways from Sunday's games

Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) runs with the ball against the Carolina Panthers in the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Evans ends slump: Evans scored two touchdowns of 50-plus yards each after averaging just under 50 receiving yards a game over November and December. He added a third touchdown of 30 yards for good measure.

D’Andre Swift saves his best for last: Swift scored two touchdowns for the first time all season and gained 100 yards from scrimmage for just the third time all season.

Daniel Jones is a league winner: Jones threw for two touchdowns and added more than 90 yards and two touchdowns on the ground to help all of the fantasy managers who took a chance on starting him.

PFF's fantasy football recap focuses on player usage and stats, breaking down all the vital information you need to achieve fantasy success in 2022.

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Indianapolis Colts @ New York Giants

Richie James Jr.: 7 receptions, 76 yards, 1 touchdown

Daniel Jones: 19 for 24, 177 yards, 2 touchdowns, 11 carries, 91 yards, 2 rushing touchdowns

Monitor Nick Foles’ health: Foles suffered a ribs injury near the end of the first half after taking a sack, and he was ruled out by halftime.

  • Foles was ineffective in the first half prior to his injury, going 8-of-13 for 81 yards and an interception.
  • He was replaced by Sam Ehlinger, who threw a touchdown pass, but it was too little too late for the Colts’ offense. He completed only nine passes for 60 yards.
  • Indianapolis could stick with Ehlinger next week or potentially go back to Matt Ryan.
  • They play the Houston Texans next week, with the result having top-five draft pick implications for both teams.

Giants continue to find their rhythm: New York has found its core skill players and has stuck with them down the playoff stretch.

  • Isaiah Hodgins secured a full-time role as an outside receiver in the past few weeks. He’s scored a touchdown in four of the past five games.
  • Richie James Jr. has been the Giants' slot receiver most of the season but has saved his best work for the past few weeks. He gained more than 60 receiving yards for the third time in the past four weeks after failing to reach 60 yards in every prior game this season.
  • Daniel Bellinger finished third on the team in receiving yards. He had played 98%-plus of offensive snaps the past two weeks, and he failed to reach that mark this week only because the Giants took out their starters.
  • Darius Slayton hasn’t played as well in recent weeks with other players stepping up, but he remains a full-time receiver who could play a big role in the playoffs.
  • It seemed like this could be a big need for the Giants in the offseason, but with each passing week it seems like New York might keep more of these players as starters next season.

Arizona Cardinals @ Atlanta Falcons

Tyler Allgeier: 20 carries, 83 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 reception, 12 receiving yards

Trey McBride: 7 receptions, 78 yards, 1 touchdown 

Monitor James Conner’s health: Conner suffered a shin injury late in the third quarter and didn’t return.

  • Conner took the clear majority of snaps over the first three quarters, consistent with his workload in recent months. He ran the ball 16 times for 79 yards and gained another 31 yards on three catches.
  • Keaontay Ingram had been serving as the Cardinals' primary backup running back since Week 10. He played 53 offensive snaps from Week 10 to Week 16, while all other backups combined for five snaps in that time.
  • Corey Clement surpassed Ingram on the depth chart before the game. He took 17 snaps over the first three quarters and 15 snaps in the fourth quarter after Conner’s injury.
  • Ingram’s only offensive snap was in the middle of the fourth quarter.
  • If Conner misses next week, we can expect Clement to be the lead rusher.
  • Conner is under contract for one more season, but Arizona will likely invest at running back this offseason. They should aim to acquire a better backup as well as a player for the future.

Monitor Robbie Anderson’s health: Anderson suffered a back injury early in the second quarter and didn’t return.

  • Anderson started the game, taking on DeAndre Hopkins’ role. Hopkins showed up on the injury report Friday with a knee ailment and was ultimately inactive.
  • The Cardinals continued to use Marquise Brown on the outside and Greg Dortch in the slot, as they did last week.
  • Dortch started seeing more playing time in two-receiver sets after Anderson’s injury.
  • Andre Baccellia took over Anderson’s spot in three-receiver sets. These injuries didn’t impact A.J. Green’s playing time.
  • Arizona may need to dig deep down the depth chart again next week with nothing to play for.
  • They will ideally have a healthier wide receiver room next season with Hopkins, Brown and Rondale Moore all under contract, and Dortch is an exclusive rights free agent.
  • Anderson is very likely to be released later in the offseason based on his contract, while Green is a free agent.

Trey McBride breaks out: McBride put up his best game of the season, leading the team in receiving yards and scoring his first career touchdown.

  • McBride was the 55th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft but had largely been a disappointment for fantasy managers to this point.
  • He caught only three passes for 24 yards over the first nine weeks of the season as a backup tight end while still seeing significant playing time.
  • He took over as the starter in Week 10 due to Zach Ertz’s season-ending injury. He was held to 22 yards over his first three starts.
  • He began seeing more targets in mid-December, leading to an improved 10 catches for 100 yards over the previous three weeks.
  • His arrow continued to trend upward today.
  • Ertz is still under contract for another two seasons, so it might be another year or two before McBride is a fantasy starter. He might be playing well enough recently to make this more of a two-man committee next season.

Tyler Allgeier shows out for his fantasy managers: Allgeier has been one of the top waiver options in recent weeks, and starting him paid off.

  • He had gained over 100 offensive yards in each of the past two weeks. That didn’t quite continue this week, but he scored his fourth touchdown of the season.
  • Cordarrelle Patterson remained heavily involved in the offense. He scored a touchdown and also caught six passes.
  • Patterson is still under contract next season, and the Falcons can afford to keep him at his cost.
  • Patterson turns 32 in just over two months. The best-case scenario for Allgeier is the Falcons don’t make a change at running back this offseason and that he takes a higher percentage of offensive snaps in 2023.

Miami Dolphins @ New England Patriots

Raheem Mostert: 9 carries, 29 yards, 8 receptions, 62 receiving yards, 1 touchdown

Jakobi Meyers: 6 receptions, 48 yards, 1 touchdown 

Damien Harris’ return: Harris returned to the Patriots’ lineup after last playing in Week 12.

  • The Patriots' backs took on similar roles to previous weeks when Harris was healthy, rotating by drive.
  • Typically, Harris would start the game, but this week it was Rhamondre Stevenson who took the first drive.
  • Harris took the last drive of the first half as well as the first drive of the second half, which contributed to their snaps totals being tighter than usual.
  • They were also more willing to rotate running backs within the same drive than they had been at other points in the season.
  • Stevenson was the primary receiving back, as he’s been all season long.
  • Stevenson will likely be a borderline first-round fantasy pick in August, especially if Harris leaves in free agency as expected.

Monitor Teddy Bridgewater’s health: Bridgewater suffered a finger injury on his right hand late in the third quarter and didn’t return.

  • Bridgewater was having a fine performance, completing 12 of 19 passes for 161 yards with a touchdown and an interception in the first three quarters.
  • Rookie Skylar Thompson took over. He also completed 12 passes with a touchdown and an interception but tallied only 104 yards.
  • Tua Tagovailoa missed this game after suffering another concussion. The Dolphins' playoff lives will be on the line next week, and any one of the three signal-callers could start.

Jeff Wilson Jr. re-emerges as the Dolphins' lead running back: Wilson led the backfield in offensive snaps and touches this week.

  • Miami has gone back and forth between Wilson and Raheem Mostert as their top running back since trading for Wilson.
  • The two seemed close to 50-50 last week.
  • Wilson took a clear majority of snaps both on early downs and third downs.
  • Mostert had the better fantasy performance, as he was the one to score a touchdown.
  • Both players are hitting unrestricted free agency this offseason. Miami could be a prime contender to upgrade at running back either in the draft or free agency.

New Orleans Saints @ Philadelphia Eagles

A.J. Brown: 4 receptions, 97 yards, 1 touchdown

DeVonta Smith: 9 receptions, 115 yards 

The Saints continue to make changes at wide receiver: Marquez Callaway started the season in a rotation with the Saints’ starting wide receivers. He was a healthy inactive in Week 17 despite some of the original starters being out for the season.

  • Undrafted rookie Rashid Shaheed has taken over as one of the starters alongside Chris Olave
  • Jarvis Landry was the third wide receiver, but he landed on season-ending injured reserve after Week 15. He’s an unrestricted free agent and might have played his last snap for New Orleans.
  • New Orleans decided to use Keith Kirkwood as its third wide receiver. He had gone back and forth from the practice squad and active roster all season but last saw offensive snaps in Week 6.
  • Eight different players were targeted in this game, but only two of them were wide receivers.
  • The Saints will again be in the worst salary cap situation this offseason. Michael Thomas could return to their starting lineup next season, but after him playing only 10 games in the past three seasons, New Orleans may release him. This could leave the third receiver spot wide open for the 2023 season.

The Eagles use a three-back committee: Boston Scott received significant playing time, primarily in the fourth quarter, making this a three-man committee at least for one game.

  • Kenneth Gainwell continued to play in clear passing situations as usual but barely received any snaps on early downs.
  • Miles Sanders was the primary early-down back in the first half, but the Eagles played only eight snaps on first and second downs outside of the two-minute drill in that half.
  • Scott started mixing in more in the second half as the Eagles attempted to pass to catch up.
  • This probably would be the Eagles' normal running back rotation when playing from behind, but we just haven’t experienced that situation much this season.
  • The backfield should return to normal when Philadelphia is close in a game or winning.

Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Mike Evans: 10 receptions, 207 yards, 3 touchdowns

D.J. Moore: 6 receptions, 117 yards, 1 touchdown

Cade Otton secures the top tight end role: Cameron Brate was a healthy inactive for Tampa Bay after starting the season as the Buccaneers’ lead tight end.

  • Brate started the season as the lead tight end, but a concussion followed by a neck injury kept him out for most of October and the start of November. This gave Otton a chance to earn the top role.
  • Brate returned in Week 10 but didn’t regain a clear hold on the starting role. The two players split time in passing situations through November and the start of December.
  • Otton gained control of the job last week, playing a clear majority of snaps. Brate played only eight snaps and was held without a target.
  • Brate being inactive only made it more clear that Otton is the leader in the clubhouse.
  • He didn’t have a great game, with two catches for 17 yards and a drop, but he was still a frequent target.
  • Brate is still under contract for next season but will likely be released to clear salary cap space. Otton should remain the starter next season.

Shi Smith’s best career game: The Panthers' slot receiver caught all four passes thrown his way for 70 yards and a touchdown.

  • The 2021 sixth-round pick started the season as the team’s slot receiver.
  • His playing time has been wildly inconsistent from one week to another, as he and Laviska Shenault have split playing time.
  • Over the past two months, any time a player saw their playing time increase one week, it would decrease the following week.
  • Both players are under contract for 2023 on reasonable contracts. Carolina could look to upgrade in the slot, but there is a chance we see this competition carry on all offseason.

Denver Broncos @ Kansas City Chiefs

Jerick McKinnon: 2 carries, 4 yards, 5 receptions, 52 receiving yards, 2 receiving touchdowns

Albert Okwuegbunam: 3 receptions, 45 yards, 1 touchdown

Monitor Skyy Moore’s health: Moore suffered a hand injury late in the third quarter and didn’t return.

  • The second-round rookie played the third-most offensive snaps among the Chiefs’ wide receivers in the first half. This was a step in the right direction for him, as he had been finishing fourth or fifth.
  • Justin Watson had become the second player on the depth chart over Marquez Valdes-Scantling in recent weeks, but that trend sharply reversed for this game.
  • This put Watson and Moore in a three-man rotation with Kadarius Toney for third on the depth chart.
  • Toney played well on his limited snaps, posting four catches for a team-leading 71 yards.
  • Moore’s injury just left more playing time for Watson and Toney.
  • Mecole Hardman returned to practice recently but suffered a setback and wasn’t ready for this game. There is a chance Hardman could return next week to further complicate the receiving room, or he might not return at all this season.

Monitor Marlon Mack’s health: Mack suffered a hamstring injury, presumably on the opening kickoff, and didn’t return to the game.

  • He was already surpassed by Chase Edmonds on the depth chart last week, and this week’s injury meant more playing time for both Latavius Murray and Edmonds.
  • Denver also ran several plays where both backs lined up in the backfield with one player on either side of Russell Wilson.
  • Both averaged more than 4.5 yards per carry, serving as the Broncos' primary source of offense.
  • Expect this to be a two-man committee for one more week, but ideally Javonte Williams will be healthy by Week 1 of next season.

The Broncos are relatively healthy at wide receiver: The Broncos were the healthiest they’ve been at the position since Week 8.

  • Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy both missed some games over the past two months, but both were back to full-time roles last week.
  • Kendall Hinton missed the past two weeks with a hamstring injury. He was at times among the top two on the Broncos' depth chart, but he returned to being the third receiver in Week 17.
  • Freddie Swain served as the third receiver the past two weeks, but he was a healthy inactive with Hinton back.
  • Undrafted rookie Brandon Johnson saw significant playing time in the past two months due to injuries. He was a healthy inactive last week but returned to fourth on the depth chart for this game.
  • None of the receivers achieved more than 45 receiving yards in this game.
  • It’s possible all of these players return next season, as well as Tim Patrick and K.J. Hamler, leading to a lot of competition at the position.

The Broncos without Greg Dulcich: Dulcich landed on injured reserve after suffering a hamstring injury last week.

  • Dulcich had been the Broncos' primary tight end, playing significantly in both 11 personnel and two-tight end sets.
  • Albert Okwuegbunam has been a healthy inactive most weeks, but he took over as the Broncos’ starting tight end in 11 personnel, playing 26-of-33 snaps from that personnel grouping in this game.
  • He caught only three passes, but that included a touchdown. His 45 receiving yards led the team.
  • Denver stuck with Eric Saubert and Eric Tomlinson in two-tight end sets, so Okwuegbunam didn’t fully take Dulcich’s role.
  • Okwuegbunam is still under contract for 2023, making it unlikely he is fantasy relevant next season unless a team is willing to trade for him or a new coaching staff likes him more than Dulcich.

Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions

D’Andre Swift: 11 carries, 78 yards, 1 touchdown, 4 receptions, 39 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown

Jamaal Williams: 22 carries, 144 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 reception, 13 receiving yards

D’Andre Swift increases fantasy value without an increased role: Any fantasy manager who took a chance on Swift was thrilled with the results, but his role in the offense was the same as it’s been in recent months.

  • Swift ran the ball 11 times, which is more than usual, but that’s only because Detroit was able to spend the game running more than passing while protecting a sizable lead.
  • He scored two touchdowns without having the goal-line role. His rushing touchdown occurred on a 17-yard play, while his receiving touchdown was for 21 yards.
  • Justin Jackson was inactive after showing up on Friday’s injury report with a hip ailment. He had been serving as the third-down back in recent weeks.
  • Craig Reynolds missed most of the past two months with an injury, but he was active in Jackson’s place. 
  • Reynolds played just as much as Swift on early downs and even took a goal-line snap in the first quarter.
  • Both Jamaal Williams and Jackson are unrestricted free agents. Swift could be the clear top back by next season, or he could be in a worse committee than this year, depending on what Detroit wants to do in free agency and the draft.

Chase Claypool returns: Claypool missed the past month of action with a knee injury but was able to return on a limited basis against the Lions.

  • Chicago hasn’t had stability at wide receiver on its depth chart all season, and that was more clear than ever in this game.
  • The Bears used six different wide receivers. All of them received at least one target, but no one had more than 20 receiving yards.
  • Only three completions went to wide receivers in the game.
  • There were times this season when Equanimeous St. Brown was a clear starter, or when Dante Pettis was the clear slot receiver, but neither was true for this game.
  • Darnell Mooney will be a starter if healthy next season, and Claypool will likely be a starter after how much Chicago invested in him.
  • The Bears should invest heavily in another wide receiver to help the offense this offseason.

Cleveland Browns @ Washington Commanders

Amari Cooper: 3 receptions, 105 yards, 2 touchdowns

Nick Chubb: 14 carries, 104 yards, 1 reception, 12 receiving yards 

The Commanders without Antonio Gibson: The Commanders were down two of their top three running backs from the start of the season but still relied heavily on the run game.

  • Jonathan Williams unexpectedly started the game and took every snap on the Commanders’ first drive.
  • Williams rarely took an early-down snap after that point. Washington’s running backs settled into clear roles, with Brian Robinson Jr. playing on early downs and in short-yardage situations while Williams played in passing situations.
  • Robinson ran the ball 24 times but gained only 87 yards. It marked his fourth time surpassing 85 yards in the past five weeks.
  • On one play, he was stopped short of the goal line by one yard and then Washington ran a quarterback sneak.
  • Robinson will likely keep this early-down role next season, but ideally the offense will play better so he can score more touchdowns.

Michael Woods II usurps David Bell on the depth chart: Bell has spent most of the season as the Browns’ third wide receiver, but Woods played more offensive snaps this week.

  • Woods primarily saw more snaps from plays in two- or one-wide receiver sets.
  • Woods played five snaps in 12 personnel in place of Amari Cooper, while Bell didn’t play in 12 personnel. Woods also took five snaps in 13 personnel, while Bell took two snaps from that group as kneel-downs.
  • Bell held a slight edge in 11 personnel, at 13 snaps to 10, which was still a lot closer than the two rookies had been in recent weeks.
  • Neither receiver saw a target, and neither has gained more than 35 yards in a game this season.
  • The third receiver spot is likely one the Browns will look to upgrade this offseason.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans

Travis Etienne: 9 carries, 108 yards, 1 touchdown, 3 receptions, 32 receiving yards

JaMycal Hasty: 10 carries, 33 yards, 1 touchdown, 6 receptions, 23 receiving yards 

Don’t worry about Travis Etienne: Etienne finished second on the team in carries, but while he scored only one of the Jaguars’ three rushing touchdowns, there is no reason for concern going forward.

  • He played 24 of a possible 31 snaps in the first half.
  • Three of the snaps he missed were in four-wide receiver sets with one tight end. 
  • JaMycal Hasty took the other four snaps and happened to score a five-yard touchdown.
  • The Jaguars had a 21-0 lead at halftime, and they decided to take Etienne out before their other starters. Most other players lasted until the middle of the third quarter.
  • He could have easily scored three touchdowns in this game had he stayed on the field for Hasty’s touchdown and for one more drive.
  • Etienne should be back to his usual role for next week’s game that decides the division.

The Texans continue to struggle at running back: They continued to try different players as their primary rusher, to no avail.

  • Dare Ogunbowale had the first opportunity to be the team’s primary rusher after Dameon Pierce landed on injured reserve. After his ineffective play, Royce Freeman took over.
  • Houston followed that same pattern today. Ogunbowale started the game and took seven of eight snaps on the first drive.
  • He ran the ball five times in the first quarter and only two more times over the rest of the game. He averaged 3.0 yards per carry.
  • Freeman saw his first carry in the second quarter and ended up with the same number of carries as Ogunbowale. He averaged 2.7 yards per attempt.
  • Rex Burkhead remained the third-down back without seeing any carries.
  • Eleven different players ended up with targets for Houston, with no player having more than 40 receiving yards. None of the running backs finished with more than 20 receiving yards.
  • Pierce will hopefully be healthy to start next season. Houston might find a new player to complement him, too.

San Francisco 49ers @ Las Vegas Raiders

Davante Adams: 7 receptions, 153 yards, 2 touchdowns

Christian McCaffrey: 19 carries, 121 yards, 1 touchdown; 6 receptions, 72 receiving yards

Christian McCaffrey dominates snaps: McCaffrey’s role has been a constant topic of discussion, given how much his backups have played at times.

  • McCaffrey played the clear majority of snaps tonight, which is something he has usually done when the game has remained close.
  • The 49ers didn’t have a clear backup, with both Jordan Mason and Tyrion Davis-Price getting used interchangeably to spell CMC.
  • San Francisco continued to call a few designed wide receiver runs, which won’t be stopping anytime soon.
  • He didn’t play very much in goal-line situations tonight, but that was likely because his 37-yard run got the 49ers to the goal line in the first place. The 49ers likely took him out to give him a break after the big play.
  • McCaffrey has played the clear majority of goal-line snaps in past weeks.
  • This game won’t stop fantasy managers from being concerned about next season, when Elijah Mitchell is healthy again, but it at least helped some fantasy managers to the trophy this year.

Darren Waller still hasn’t regained his full-time role: Waller has played three games since returning from injured reserve but has only seen slight gains in his playing time.

  • Waller started the season playing 88% of snaps on third downs in 11 personnel. That has fallen to 65% over the last three weeks.
  • His biggest decline in snaps has come from 11 personnel on early downs. He was playing 78% of those snaps in Weeks 1-4, and that’s been at 38% over the last three weeks.
  • His percentage of snaps in different personnel groupings hasn’t changed much over the three weeks. 
  • The biggest reason he surpassed 50% of offensive snaps this week is the Raiders ran more plays in two-tight end sets than usual.
  • Fantasy managers were still happy after he caught three passes for 72 yards and a touchdown. It could have been more, too, as fellow TE Foster Moreau gained 55 yards on three catches.
  • Waller was a source of trade discussions earlier in the season. There is a chance the Raiders might be fine trading him if they keep using Moreau this much.

New York Jets @ Seattle Seahawks

Kenneth Walker III: 23 carries, 133 yards; 1 reception, 9 receiving yards

Tyler Conklin: 6 receptions, 80 yards

Monitor Tyler Lockett’s health: Lockett broke a bone in his finger just two weeks ago but returned to the Seahawks lineup this week.

  • He played 12 of his team's 17 snaps in the first quarter. He usually plays a few more of those snaps, but it was still relatively close to his usual role.
  • The Seahawks veteran then suffered a leg injury, which kept him out for the vast majority of the second quarter and all of the third quarter.
  • He returned for the first half of the fourth quarter, playing 10 snaps. He didn’t play the rest of the quarter, likely because Seattle had a decent lead at that point.
  • Laquon Treadwell took on a full-time role while Lockett was out, while Cade Johnson and Dareke Young also received significant playing time.
  • It will be worth monitoring the injury report this upcoming week before trusting Lockett in daily fantasy or with prop bets.
  • Despite missing most of the game, he still gained 15 yards on two catches, tied for the most among Seahawks wide receivers.

The Seahawks without Will Dissly: Dissly landed on injured reserve with a knee injury this past week, reducing the Seahawks' three-tight end committee by one.

  • Dissly’s snaps went to second-year tight end Colby Parkinson, who took 100% of snaps in 12, 13 and 21 personnel.
  • He also led the team in snaps out of 11 personnel on first, second and third down.
  • The gap in 11 personnel wasn’t that large for most of the game, but it grew in the fourth quarter. This was surprising, considering how well Noah Fant has played this season.
  • Fant ended up leading the tight end room in receiving yards, but Parkinson scored a touchdown.
  • Tyler Mabry became the team’s third tight end. Two of his three snaps occurred in three-tight end sets, including one where he scored a touchdown.
  • Dissly, Fant and Parkinson are all under contract for next season. If all of them stay in Seattle, it will be hard to trust any of them for fantasy football purposes.

The Jets are back to a three-man committee: Ty Johnson was recently phased out of the Jets backfield but strongly rebounded this week.

  • Johnson was the Jets' third down-back from Week 7 to Week 13, but then New York turned to Zonovan Knight on early downs and Michael Carter on third downs for Weeks 14-15. Johnson didn’t play a snap on offense those two weeks.
  • The Jets tried to run a few plays with Chris Streveler at quarterback last week, and Johnson was the running back in those packages. New York kept Streveler in for the fourth quarter last week, which meant significant time for Johnson.
  • It didn’t seem like Johnson was primed for any role in the offense with the team moving back to Mike White, but Johnson surprisingly started the game. He led the team in early-down snaps while also taking most of the passing-down work.
  • He was the most effective rusher on the team, making it likely Johnson sees significant playing time next week.
  • Ideally, Breece Hall is healthy by next season and playing the vast majority of snaps.

Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers

Aaron Jones: 14 carries, 111 yards; 2 receptions, 2 receiving yards

Jalen Nailor: 3 receptions, 89 yards, 1 touchdown

Monitor Christian Watson’s health: Watson was active despite barely practicing this week with a hip injury.

  • Watson played his usual role on the first two drives, but Romeo Doubs took significant snaps from Watson over the rest of the half.
  • Watson took every snap on the Packers' first drive of the second half. He was then rotated in and out again to end the third quarter.
  • He played the majority of snaps on the first drive of the fourth quarter while Allen Lazard was rotated out. The fact that the rookie was still playing in the fourth quarter of the blowout was a good sign his hip wasn’t getting worse.
  • He did get rotated out at the end of the fourth quarter when the rest of the starters were taken out.
  • He ultimately only caught one of his five targets, but he was largely getting thrown uncatchable passes with a 25.8-yard average depth of target.
  • Doubs had been rotating in and out with Randall Cobb in recent weeks, but it seemed like the Packers were preparing for Doubs to play in place of Watson. This led Cobb to remain on the field in three-receiver sets more frequently than in recent weeks.
  • Watson will hopefully be more prepared for next week despite the bad stat line.

Keep an eye on Dalvin Cook: Cook gained 27 yards on nine carries, finishing third on the team in rushing yards.

  • He didn’t play as much as usual, which was largely due to the Vikings taking out their starters in the fourth quarter.
  • It was also because Alexander Mattison took the majority of snaps in the two-minute drill to end the first half. Cook had played 90% of offensive snaps in first-half two-minute drills prior to this week.
  • All of Mattison’s carries occurred in the fourth quarter or in the two-minute drill.
  • Cook’s PFF grade over the last two seasons hasn’t been nearly as high as the previous two.
  • His role in the Vikings offense will probably bounce back and be fine next week and in the playoffs, but there is at least a chance the Vikings spend a mid-round pick on a talented rookie running back in 2023. If this happens, we could see Cook’s playing time decline somewhat next season.

Los Angeles Rams @ Los Angeles Chargers

Austin Ekeler: 10 carries, 122 yards, 2 touchdowns; 4 receptions, 39 receiving yards

Cam Akers: 19 carries, 123 yards; 1 reception, 10 receiving yards

Don’t worry about Austin Ekeler’s playing time: The Chargers ran the ball 31 times, with Ekeler responsible for just 10 of those attempts. However, this shouldn’t be a cause for concern.

  • The Chargers held a 21-point lead with 12 minutes left in the game, giving them the opportunity to remove their starters.
  • Los Angeles stuck with a two-man backfield for the first three quarters. Ekeler and Joshua Kelley split carries, but Ekeler ran the most pass routes.
  • Larry Rountree III played only two snaps late in the third quarter with the starters. The rest of his snaps came with the backups.
  • Sony Michel used to be part of the running back rotation but was released yesterday.
  • Los Angeles should continue to use a two-man rotation throughout the playoffs.
  • It wouldn’t be surprising if the Chargers upgrade their backup running back in 2023, given the talent available in the draft and free agency.

Van Jefferson with his best game of the season: Jefferson caught all three passes thrown his way for 77 yards.

  • The rest of the Rams players gained 55 passing yards combined.
  • Jefferson started the season on injured reserve. They began easing him into action in Week 8. From there, his playing time started to decline rather than increase until the Rams started to lose players to injury.
  • He was a clear starter once the team lost Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson II.
  • Bennett Skowronek was still receiving more snaps than Jefferson most weeks until he also landed on injured reserve.
  • He seemed destined to be phased out of the Rams offense next season, but this performance helps his odds of being part of the wide receiver rotation.
  • Kupp and Robinson remain under contract in 2023 and are unlikely to be moved. Skowronek and Tutu Atwell remain on manageable contracts, which means Los Angeles will likely have all of their noteworthy receivers back next season.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens

Mark Andrews: 9 receptions, 100 yards

Najee Harris: 22 carries, 111 yards; 2 receptions, 12 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown

Ravens rely on running backs and tight ends: The Ravens use fewer wide receivers per play than most teams, but they pushed this to a bigger extreme tonight.

  • Prior to Week 17, the Ravens had run 124 snaps out of 11 personnel. The league average was 622 snaps. 
  • On the flip side, they had run 317 plays out of 22 personnel, while the league average was just 34.
  • Tonight they ran three plays out of 11 personnel and 27 snaps out of 22 personnel.
  • Demarcus Robinson was the only wide receiver to be on the field for over half of his team's offensive snaps. He caught one pass for 9 yards.
  • In all, 12 of the Ravens’ 14 completions went to tight ends, the most notable resulting in Isaiah Likely‘s third touchdown of the season.
  • Ideally, the Ravens have a healthy Rashod Bateman next season and can upgrade at the other receiver spot to add a new dynamic to their offense.

Jaylen Warren’s career game: Warren recorded a career-high 76 rushing yards and had one of his better games as a receiver.

  • He received double-digit carries for the second time in three weeks. In both games, Najee Harris ran the ball 20-plus times.
  • Warren’s 12 carries were a career-high.
  • He’s graded just as well as Harris all season. He's also generated more yards per carry, a higher first-down conversion rate and a higher rate of forced missed tackles. 
  • Warren continued to be the third down back, as he’s been all season.
  • He was tied for the lead on the team in receptions (three) and put up 22 receiving yards.
  • It wouldn’t be surprising if these two players remained in the top two spots on the depth chart for the 2023 season.
  • There is at least a chance Warren can cut further into Harris’ playing time in the future.

Table Notes

Snaps include plays called back due to penalties, including offensive holding or defensive pass interference. The other three stats have these plays removed.

Targets may differ from official NFL sources. The most likely discrepancy would be from a clear thrown-away pass, where the NFL may give the target to the nearest receiver, while this data will not.

Carries are only on designed plays. Quarterback scrambles won’t count for the total number of carries in the game.


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