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Fantasy Football Utilization Report: Latest player trends for NFL divisional-round DFS and player props bets

Tampa, Florida, USA; Dallas Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz (86) reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first half during the wild card game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Editor's note: This year, PFF collaborated with Matthew Berry's Fantasy Life to bring readers the NFL Fantasy Football Utilization Report.

Volume is king in fantasy football, and this report will help you understand which players are due more or less according to their roles. It is a great way to know who is overperforming (sell high) and underperforming (buy low) based on historical data tied to metrics we know drive volume.

  • Overall offense: Which teams are enabling winning volume and efficiency across game scripts
  • Quarterbacks: How involved is each quarterback in the running game and who is unlocking upside for their weapons
  • Running backs: Which backs are handling early downs, short-yardage and passing downs
  • Tight ends: Who is running enough routes and meeting critical targets per route thresholds
  • Receivers: Which receivers are in the most routes and operating broadly within the offense

Get access to the full Utilization Report, all the data tables, and team-by-team analysis by subscribing to PFF+

Wild Card Weekend Takeaways

Upgrades

QB Daniel Jones, NEW YORK GIANTS

From Week 1 to Week 10, the Giants trailed by four-plus points on 43% of their plays. Yet, they opted to pass only 55% of the time. Since Week 11, their average pass-play rate is 64% despite trailing less (36%).

Jones’ performance is a key component of the Giants’ willingness to throw the ball more since Week 11.

Time Frame PFF Pass Grade YPA Comp % Big Time Throw %
Weeks 1 to 10 62.3 (22) 6.7 (20) 66% (12) 0.8% (29)
Weeks 11 to Wild Card 79.9 (7) 7.1 (12) 69% (3) 1.8% (19)

The veteran signal-caller averaged 26.3 passing attempts through Week 10, but that jumped to 33.8 over his last eight games. 

On wild-card weekend, the Giants deployed Jones in the designed-run department a season-high 42% of the time, well above his already solid 16% on the season.

  • When Jones clicks in both phases of the game, he carries high-end QB1 upside.
QB BROCK PURDY, SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Purdy has averaged 257 yards and 2.5 TDs over the last four games after a 332-yard and three-TD eruption in the wild-card round. 

The rookie QB is surrounded by arguably the best skill-position weapons in the NFL, and Kyle Shanahan’s scheme keeps defenses guessing. This passing attack wins via efficiency — Purdy averages 8.0 yards per pass attempt — and has additional upside if forced to open things up.

There is always a chance much of the 49ers' scoring comes via the ground game, thanks to the fifth-highest rush rate inside the five-yard line (63%), but the seventh-round rookie still has outs thanks to the big-play nature of the offense.

  • Purdy profiles more like a low-end QB1 moving forward.
RB TRAVIS ETIENNE, JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

Etienne shared more of the backfield than usual in Week 18, with JaMycal Hasty taking 48% of the snaps. However, in the first round of the playoffs, the Jaguars erased any doubts about Etienne’s status as an every-down workhorse.

Week Snaps Rush Att Routes Targets TPRR SDD Snaps i5 Att LDD Snaps 2MIN Snaps PPR
16 71% 63% 54% 10% 15% 71% 67% 50% 83% 14.2
17 38% 34% 35% 11% 27% 60% 0% 20% 50% 22.5
18 56% 50% 38% 7% 17% 100% 0% 40% 0% 5.4
WC 86% 95% 75% 2% 3% 86% 0% 78% 81% 13.1
YTD 62% 52% 51% 7% 12% 58% 38% 58% 77% 12.3

The former first-round selection handled 86% of snaps and 95% of rushing attempts, and he posted a sweet 75% route participation. He regained the majority of LDD (78%) and two-minute work (81%). 

  • Etienne is back to low-end RB1 status.
WR JA’MARR CHASE, CINCINNATI BENGALS

Chase has led the Bengals in target share every game since his Week 13 return from injury. Over that span, the second-year WR has averaged a 34% target share, which is 16 percentage points ahead of Tee Higgins (18%). 

We are still dealing with a limited sample size, but Chase now carries a 25% TPRR versus 19% for Higgins. The second-year phenom has ascended to clear No. 1 status for the Bengals, rather than a 1A/1B situation with Higgins.

  • Chase and Stefon Diggs are battling for the title of No. 1 WR remaining in the NFL playoffs.
WR DEEBO SAMUEL, SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Samuel has underperformed this season thanks to a crowded run-first attack and injuries, but his 28.5 fantasy points on wild-card weekend are a reminder of his upside.

The veteran WR dominated with a 36% target share and pitched in with three rushing attempts for 32 yards. For the season, he leads the team in TPRR (24%) and points per game (14.3).

Samuel has plenty of competition for targets in San Francisco, especially with Christian McCaffrey battling for looks underneath against zone coverage. However, his knack for spike weeks is undeniable, making him a boom-bust WR2 with WR1 overall potential on any given Sunday.

WR GABRIEL DAVIS, BUFFALO BILLS

Davis has target shares of 24%, 32%, and 24% over the last three contests and came through with a top-five WR fantasy performance of 23.3 points on wild-card weekend.

The third-year WR had a similar run in the middle of the season, with 30%, 15%, 25%, and 28% target shares from Week 8 to Week 11, but subsequently fell off and was only able to register one top-30 WR performance. At this point, we must be careful chasing target share data for Davis – his 16% TPRR is in line with his historical rates, making him a tertiary weapon on most offenses.

Week Routes TPRR Targets ADOT Air Yards EZ Tgts 3rd/4th Down Targets PA Targets PPR
1 100% 13% 16% 16.4 36% 0% 50% 40% 18.8
3 96% 9% 11% 11.0 20% 33% 7% 17% 6.7
4 98% 7% 9% 8.3 11% 0% 0% 0% 2.3
5 85% 18% 18% 28.0 36% 25% 25% 33% 32.1
6 96% 12% 14% 17.6 31% 0% 33% 20% 16.4
8 88% 27% 30% 13.6 30% 0% 75% 14% 5.5
9 98% 12% 15% 24.4 31% 0% 25% 0% 5.3
10 98% 20% 25% 15.7 41% 50% 30% 20% 21.3
11 94% 25% 28% 13.6 46% 0% 33% 14% 11.8
12 89% 11% 14% 12.6 19% 0% 33% 20% 7.8
13 90% 21% 21% 16.1 39% 67% 9% 14% 9.5
14 95% 13% 15% 7.5 14% 0% 0% 50% 6.1
15 100% 15% 19% 16.9 27% 0% 22% 29% 9.6
16 92% 21% 24% 18.2 38% 100% 20% 50% 13.5
18 84% 33% 32% 18.2 39% 43% 50% 10% 6.8
WC 82% 23% 24% 21.0 32% 25% 13% 33% 28.5
YTD 87% 16% 18% 16.7 30% 24% 21% 23% 12.3

Perhaps the more notable trend we should care more about is the uptick in ADOT over the last four games, with 16.9, 18.2, 18.2, and 21.0 yards. With Josh Allen nursing an elbow injury, he registered an ADOT below 16.0 in four of five games after Week 9 (the week Allen was injured). 

  • Davis remains a boom-bust WR3 profile, but the boom is back with more downfield targets.
WR T.Y. HILTON, DALLAS COWBOYS

Hilton’s route participation has climbed each week since he arrived in Dallas, and in the Wild Card game, he surpassed Noah Brown as the No. 3 option with a 51% route participation. 

His 25% TPRR is extremely impressive and is at a level Michael Gallup and Brown haven’t been able to accomplish. He still isn’t in an ideal role, but for those playing in postseason contests, some won’t know Hilton has ascended the depth chart. 

  • The veteran WR is an ascending WR5 option.
TE DALTON SCHULTZ, DALLAS COWBOYS

Schultz is a name you are probably tired of hearing if you read much of my writing on a weekly basis. But I will write about him anyway because his underlying route participation and TPRR give him a shot to be the No. 1 TE on any fantasy slate. 

The fifth-year TE struggled with an MCL injury early in the season, but since Week 13, his average route participation is 90%, and his TPRR is 21%. He has three top-4 finishes and averages 13 points per game. 

  • Schultz is a high-end TE1 with 25-point potential.

Downgrades

RB JOE MIXON, CINCINNATI BENGALS

Mixon makes the downgrade section of the Utilization Report in consecutive weeks due to a season-low route participation (24%), excluding games with injuries.

Week Snaps Rush Att Routes Targets TPRR SDD Snaps i5 Att LDD Snaps 2MIN Snaps PPR
1 73% 93% 56% 16% 21% 88% 100% 13% 73% 21.5
2 75% 83% 52% 13% 17% 100% 0% 24% 71% 11.3
3 66% 44% 63% 18% 24% 60% 100% 23% 100% 6.8
4 83% 85% 59% 13% 19% 100% 100% 0% 0% 17.4
5 70% 67% 52% 10% 15% 78% 0% 9% 30% 11.8
6 72% 67% 58% 15% 21% 67% 0% 14% 0% 16.8
7 72% 81% 53% 8% 13% 70% 50% 29% 0% 18.1
8 72% 80% 63% 25% 32% 67% 0% 22% 78% 12.9
9 65% 56% 40% 14% 29% 85% 75% 25% 60% 55.1
11 21% 29% 17% 9% 43% 0% 0% 0% 0% 9.2
14 58% 61% 43% 7% 13% 67% 0% 13% 0% 12.6
15 64% 52% 44% 16% 32% 25% 100% 38% 0% 10.5
16 58% 62% 41% 18% 41% 88% 0% 17% 8% 17.8
17 75% 0% 60% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.0
18 55% 55% 48% 13% 23% 71% 100% 0% 0% 17.8
WC 45% 69% 24% 13% 36% 40% 0% 0% 0% 8.6
YTD 56% 55% 43% 12% 24% 63% 58% 14% 35% 16.5

Samaje Perine has 38%, 43%, and 50% marks over the last three games and actually out-snapped Mixon 53% to 45% in the wild-card game.

The 26-year-old Mixon remains the lead option on the ground (69%), but he is looking more and more like a game-script-sensitive back on a team that wants passing to be its identity. The Bengals are the most pass-heavy offense in close game scripts and are No. 4 in first-down pass rate on plays when the score is within three points in regulation play.

  • Mixon is a high-end RB2 but is becoming more and more TD dependent.

Monitoring

RB Bills Committee

Devin Singletary regained the lead role from a snap standpoint (55%), but James Cook held onto the lead role on the ground with 50% of the attempts. Singletary was also the top option on passing downs, with Nyheim Hines stealing a few opportunities.

Cook has now led the way in rush share two games in a row but hasn’t distanced himself far enough from Singletary to upgrade our confidence level.

WR MARVIN JONES JR., JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

In win-or-go-home mode, Jones saw his highest route participation (91%) since Week 4. It is possible the team will remove any snap count restrictions for Jones the rest of the way. 

The veteran WR has taken a step back in TPRR (16%) and YPRR (1.07) this season – both his lowest marks since his rookie season, so we have to hold expectations in check. However, if his route participation sticks, he is a more interesting option in DFS as a punt play or WR5 in best ball heading into the divisional round. 

JUMP TO A TEAM:

BUF | CIN | DAL | JAX | KC | NYG | PHI | SF


BUFFALO BILLS

Team Ranks
Scoring Drive % TD Drive % Plays (Non-OT) Dropback (Non-OT) Rush (Non-OT) Plays per Minute Neutral Play Clock Time of Possession Trail Pass Close Pass Lead Pass
2 4 7 7 20 8 16 18 28 2 2

Pass-volume environment: Good

Run-volume environment: Below average

The Bills offense is all about the passing game with Josh Allen at the helm. They opt for passing plays the second-most when within three points and throw the ball a league-high 58% of the time on first down in neutral game scripts. Inside the five-yard line, Buffalo passes 58% of the time.

Quarterbacks
Player Week Pass Att ADOT YPA Play Action Designed Rush Att Scrambles Sacks i5 Att PPR
Josh Allen 16 26 11.5 6.6 45% 7% 13% 3% 0% 23.0
17 0 0.0 0.0 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.0
18 31 14.9 8.2 28% 27% 8% 6% 0% 22.7
28 39 16.5 9.0 21% 8% 4% 15% 0% 26.1
YTD 606 10.2 7.7 25% 17% 8% 6% 47% 27.6
  • Monitoring: Allen delivered 352 yards and three passing TDs against the Dolphins on wild-card weekend. This type of game was common early in the season when the superstar QB averaged 330 yards over the first six weeks of the season. However, this was only his third game over 300 since Week 8. The Bills have remained a pass-first offense despite Allen working his way through an elbow injury during the middle of the season that may have contributed to his dip in efficiency.
Rest of season:
  • Josh Allen: high-end QB1
Running backs
Player Week Snaps Rush Att Routes Targets TPRR SDD Snaps i5 Att LDD Snaps 2MIN Snaps PPR
Devin Singletary 16 58% 43% 44% 12% 21% 60% 0% 67% 0% 20.5
17 73% 0% 71% 0% 0% 0% 0% 100% 0% 0.0
18 41% 32% 32% 3% 8% 100% 100% 50% 50% 4.2
28 55% 42% 44% 0% 0% 80% 0% 50% 82% 4.8
YTD 65% 46% 55% 8% 12% 75% 41% 64% 77% 11.2
James Cook 16 41% 39% 36% 8% 17% 40% 0% 22% 0% 17.8
17 27% 0% 14% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.0
18 56% 41% 43% 6% 13% 0% 0% 38% 38% 7.2
28 31% 50% 18% 0% 0% 20% 0% 21% 9% 9.9
YTD 25% 25% 19% 6% 24% 13% 0% 19% 10% 6.9
Nyheim Hines 16 5% 4% 6% 8% 100% 0% 0% 11% 0% 2.1
17 9% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.0
18 5% 0% 5% 0% 0% 0% 0% 13% 13% 0.0
28 14% 0% 16% 5% 29% 0% 0% 29% 9% 1.7
YTD 7% 1% 6% 2% 27% 9% 0% 11% 4% 4.2
  • Monitoring: Devin Singletary regained the lead role from a snap standpoint (55%), but James Cook held onto the lead role on the ground with 50% of the attempts.
Rest of season:
  • Devin Singletary: low-end RB3
  • James Cook: upside RB4
  • Nyheim Hines: stash RB5
Receivers and tight ends
Player Pos Week Routes TPRR Targets ADOT Air Yards EZ Tgts 3rd/4th Down Targets PA Targets PPR
Stefon Diggs WR 16 83% 8% 8% 12.5 9% 0% 0% 100% 4.6
17 100% 0% 0% 0.0 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.0
18 86% 31% 32% 16.7 36% 14% 33% 50% 23.4
28 86% 22% 24% 18.3 28% 25% 38% 11% 18.4
YTD 86% 26% 28% 12.2 34% 39% 25% 32% 19.7
Gabriel Davis WR 16 92% 21% 24% 18.2 38% 100% 20% 50% 13.5
17 86% 0% 0% 0.0 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.0
18 84% 33% 32% 18.2 39% 43% 50% 10% 6.8
28 82% 23% 24% 21.0 32% 25% 13% 33% 23.3
YTD 87% 16% 18% 16.7 30% 24% 21% 23% 12.3
Isaiah McKenzie WR 16 31% 20% 8% 27.5 19% 0% 0% 0% 0.6
17 43% 0% 0% 0.0 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.0
18 73% 12% 10% 7.0 5% 0% 17% 0% 3.9
28 0% 0% 0% 0.0 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.0
YTD 54% 16% 11% 8.3 9% 6% 16% 16% 8.0
Cole Beasley WR 16 11% 33% 4% 5.0 2% 0% 0% 0% 1.9
17 29% 0% 0% 0.0 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.0
18 0% 0% 0% 0.0 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.0
28 48% 22% 14% 6.2 5% 0% 25% 20% 11.5
YTD 5% 28% 1% 6.3 1% 0% 4% 14% 4.2
Khalil Shakir WR 16 42% 8% 4% 5.0 2% 0% 0% 100% 1.5
17 14% 0% 0% 0.0 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.0
18 24% 22% 6% 20.0 9% 14% 0% 0% 3.8
28 38% 26% 14% 20.4 17% 0% 25% 0% 8.1
YTD 23% 14% 4% 13.9 5% 4% 3% 9% 2.7
John Brown WR 16 0% 0% 0% 0.0 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.0
17 0% 0% 0% 0.0 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.0
18 16% 20% 3% 43.0 9% 14% 0% 100% 11.2
28 32% 6% 3% 45.0 8% 0% 0% 100% 0.0
YTD 4% 12% 1% 44.0 2% 2% 0% 67% 2.8
Dawson Knox TE 16 67% 24% 20% 10.4 18% 0% 40% 40% 12.8
17 71% 0% 0% 0.0 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.0
18 73% 8% 6% 4.5 2% 14% 0% 50% 9.3
28 76% 14% 14% 10.8 9% 50% 0% 40% 11.0
YTD 71% 14% 12% 8.3 10% 16% 10% 36% 9.2

• Upgrade: Gabriel Davis has target shares of 24%, 32% and 24% over the last three contests and came through with a top-five WR fantasy performance with 23.3 points on wild-card weekend. The third-year WR had a similar run in the middle of the season, posting 30%, 15%, 25% and 28% target shares from Week 8 to Week 11, but he subsequently fell off and was only able to register one top-30 WR performance. At this point, we must be careful chasing target share data for Davis — his 16% TPRR is in line with his historical rates, making him a tertiary weapon on most offenses. Perhaps the more notable trend we should care more about is the uptick in ADOT over the last four games at 16.9, 18.2, 18.2 and 21.0. With Josh Allen nursing an elbow injury, he registered an ADOT below 16.0 in four of five games after Week 9 (the week Allen was injured). Davis remains a boom-bust WR3 profile, but the boom is definitely back with more downfield targets.

• Monitoring: Isaiah McKenzie didn’t play due to a hamstring injury he picked in practice last Wednesday. In his stead, we saw a committee approach with Cole Beasley (48% route participation), Khalil Shakir (38%) and John Brown (32%). Gabriel Davis pitched in as well by rotating into the slot (26%) more than usual.

• Monitoring: Dawson Knox had a large surge in targets from Week 14 to Week 16, averaging 23% per game. However, over the last two games, that is down to 10%, which is much closer to his 12% on the season. We love access to the Bills’ offensive weapons thanks to the pass-heavy nature of the offense, which can offset lower target shares. Still, they shouldn’t be confused as high-end consistent options — none are consistent target demanders outside of Stefon Diggs and are highly susceptible to hot and cold streaks.

Rest of season:
  • Stefon Diggs: high-end WR1
  • Gabriel Davis: boom-bust WR3
  • Isaiah McKenzie: mid-range WR5
  • Khalil Shakir: low-end WR5 if McKenzie is out
  • Cole Beasley: low-end WR5 if McKenzie is out
  • Dawson Knox: high-end TE2

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