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Fantasy Football Utilization Report: Week 10 waiver, trade and drop candidates

  • Panthers WR Terrace Marshall has a 95%-plus route participation in each game since the departure of Robbie Anderson, and the former second-round pick has target shares of 26% and 20% over the last two games.
  • Over the last two games, Amon-Ra St. Brown has 95% and 100% route participation marks and target shares of 26% and 43%
  • Dalton Schultz has played through an MCL injury all season but has shown signs of life over the last two games with 31% and 33% TPRR outings.
Estimated reading time: 60 minutes

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
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Week 9 Takeaways

Waiver Wire

To make the waiver wire section of this column, a player must be rostered less than 50% of the time in typical leagues like Yahoo or ESPN. If players are trending upward in utilization or performance and are over that threshold, they will be found under the upgrade or buy-low section.

WR – Terrace Marshall Jr.

Marshall has a 95%-plus route participation in each game since the departure of Robbie Anderson, and the former second-round pick has target shares of 26% and 20% over the last two games.

Week Routes TPRR Targets ADOT Air Yards EZ Tgts 3rd/4th Down Targets PA Targets PPR
7 96% 13% 14% 21.3 36% 0% 17% 33% 5.1
8 95% 25% 26% 10.7 21% 60% 30% 0% 12.7
9 97% 19% 20% 12.3 37% 50% 14% 17% 14.3

The Panthers’ offense will have its challenges, but the target tree is narrow, with only Marshall and D.J. Moore as options. The young WR has had fantasy-relevant games with both P.J. Walker and Baker Mayfield at QB. 

Rarely do we get the opportunity to add a young talent with a big upgrade in opportunity so late into the fantasy season. This makes Marshall a priority add as an upside WR4 that could provide WR2 value in the fantasy playoffs. He is available in 94% of Yahoo! Leagues.

  • FAB: 10-20%
WR – Isaiah McKenzie

McKenzie registered a season-high in route participation at 70%, separating from Khalil Shakir (19%). The Bills use three or four WRs on 75% of snaps and pass the ball more than the NFL average in leading, close, and trailing game scripts. 

That combination is a good one for McKenzie, who also doesn’t face fierce target competition outside of Stefon Diggs. The slot receiver has a higher TPRR (17%) than Gabe Davis (13%) and Dawson Knox (12%). The missing ingredient is more routes, which could be trending upward.

If news breaks that Josh Allen is going to miss time due to the UCL injury, McKenzie moves down in priority. Assuming Allen is good to go, McKenzie is an upside WR4 and is available in 61% of Yahoo leagues.

  • FAB: 5-10%
QB – DeShaun Watson

Watson will return to action in Week 13 against the Texans. If you personally aren’t comfortable adding Watson due to his off-the-field conduct, that is completely understandable. 

Strictly speaking from a fantasy football lens, he offers top-six QB upside in a season where the position has been as challenging as ever. Watson averaged 25.0, 21.7, 22.0, and 23.8 points per game over his first four seasons.

With the Justin Fields train leaving the station two weeks ago, Watson is the last remaining waiver-wire option that could offset Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes in the fantasy playoffs. He is available in 72% of Yahoo leagues. Don’t be shy about going over the recommended FAB below if QB is your weak link — just plan accordingly for bye weeks.

  • FAB: 5-10%

Sell High

RB – Joe Mixon

Mixon had a monster outing in Week 9 with over 200 total yards and five TDs (55 fantasy points). He was due for a big game considering his underperformance versus utilization.

Week Snaps Rush Att Routes Targets TPRR SDD Snaps i5 Att LDD Snaps 2MIN Snaps PPR
1 73% 93% 56% 16% 21% 86% 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% 75% 0% 9% 30% 11.8
6 72% 67% 58% 15% 21% 67% 0% 14% 0% 16.8
7 72% 81% 53% 8% 13% 60% 50% 29% 0% 18.1
8 72% 80% 63% 25% 32% 50% 0% 22% 78% 12.9
9 65% 56% 40% 14% 29% 83% 75% 25% 60% 55.1
YTD 72% 72% 56% 14% 21% 76% 75% 18% 56% 19.1

However, his underlying efficiency data remains terrible for the season, and there is a chance Mixon returns back to his lackluster ways.

  • Missed tackles forced per attempt: 11% (-6.0 vs. NFL average)
  • Average yards after contact: 2.44 (-0.49 vs. NFL average)
  • Rushes of 10-plus yards: 8% (-2.5 vs. NFL average)

Carolina didn’t show up against the Bengals in Week 9. Mixon’s rushing TDs were some of the easiest you will witness this season in the NFL.

  • TD No. 1: no contact until across the goal line on a toss play from the 2-yard line
  • TD No. 2: no contact until at the goal line on a cut back from the 3-yard line
  • TD No. 3: untouched run outside from the 1-yard line
  • TD No. 4: untouched run outside from the 14-yard line

His four explosive rush plays were of a similar variety — little resistance from the Panthers run defense until late in the play. Mixon took advantage of what the defense gave him, which is a credit to him. Unfortunately, you don’t get these types of looks that often. When you do, you end up with four rushing TDs in one game.

Mixon has great utilization on a good offense, so he isn’t a player we want to give away for nothing. Additionally, the Bengals offensive line could be improving, which could provide Mixon with more similar opportunities in the future. However, the overwhelming amount of data we have so far on the season says this isn’t the case — heading into Week 9, the Bengals ranked 22nd in PFF run-blocking grade (57.2).

Mixon now ranks as the RB2 overall in total points and is the RB7 in points per game. If a leaguemate is willing to pay a high-end RB1 price tag, don’t be afraid to move on for the right pieces. It could be a two-for-one type of deal like Dameon Pierce and Amon-Ra St. Brown for Mixon.


Buy Low

WR – Amon-Ra St. Brown

St. Brown hasn't had a top-20 finish since Week 2. He suffered a high-ankle sprain in Week 3 that kept him off the field in Week 4 and limited his route participation to 41% in Week 5. In Week 7, he suffered a head/neck injury on the first drive, only participating in 12% of the routes.

However, over the last two games, he has 95% and 100% route participation marks and target shares of 26% and 43%. 

Week Routes TPRR Targets ADOT Air Yards EZ Tgts 3rd/4th Down Targets PA Targets PPR
1 93% 33% 32% 5.0 20% 0% 27% 33% 20.4
2 89% 36% 35% 6.9 28% 43% 50% 8% 39.4
3 76% 27% 24% 5.2 14% 0% 38% 0% 13.3
4 0% 0% 0% 0.0 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.0
5 41% 38% 20% 3.0 7% 0% 63% 17% 5.8
6 0% 0% 0% 0.0 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.0
7 12% 25% 4% -4.0 -3% 0% 0% 0% 1.4
8 95% 24% 26% 6.8 24% 0% 22% 11% 13.9
9 100% 35% 43% 9.3 77% 0% 38% 33% 9.5
YTD 62% 31% 23% 6.0 16% 14% 36% 17% 14.8

By using TPRR, we cut through the target share noise created by injuries. St. Brown’s 31% is second to only Tyreek Hill (34%). Cooper Kupp (29%), CeeDee Lamb (28%), and Stefon Diggs (27%) are the other WRs in his zip code (minimum 175 routes).

The second-year WR’s 2.16 YPRR also remains top-notch (10th), making ARSB a player to push hard for before your league trade deadline. 

Since 2010, WRs with at least 500 routes and a 28%-plus TPRR and 2.00-plus YPRR averaged 20.0 PPR points per game. On average, they finished as the WR5.

The Sun God is currently the WR26, but has WR1 upside. Go get him right now before it is too late.

TE – Dalton Schultz

Schultz has played through an MCL injury all season but has shown signs of life over the last two games with 31% and 33% TPRR outings. Coming off of the bye, we could see him closer to a full workload in the route participation department, where he hasn’t cleared 65% in his last three games.

Schultz will be a mid-range TE1 similar to Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert once he reaches full capacity. Now is the time to buy if you are in need.


Upgrades

QB – Tua Tagovailoa

Tagovailoa now has three consecutive top-12 finishes. In his five full games, he is averaging 337 yards and 2.8 TDs. 

The Dolphins are a pass-first offense, and the former first-round pick has arguably the best combination of elite talent and scheme. Mike McDaniel utilizes play-action pass the third-most (39%) and keeps defenses in base sets by using two tight ends or a fullback the second-most (45%).

The combination of these two variables sets up a lot of space for track stars Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. Miami leads the NFL in pass plays of 15-plus yards with 66.

Tagovailoa is a mid-range QB1 the rest of the way.

RB – Antonio Gibson

Last week, Gibson made the sell-high section of this column thanks to unreliable utilization. However, the recommendation was to not give him away cheaply because of his talent profile and the possibility of an injury opening up playing time. 

That is exactly what happened when J.D. McKissic missed Week 9 due to a neck injury.

Given the new information, we must pivot quickly, making Gibson an upgrade until McKissic returns. We don’t have a timetable for McKissic’s return. He was supposed to see a specialist last week and the team said it will approach the injury with caution.

Gibson didn’t come up big in the box score with 6.7 fantasy points, but his utilization took a huge step forward with his second-highest snap share (57%) and highest route participation (54%) of the season. The former collegiate WR took 100% of the LDD and two-minute snaps. 

Week Snaps Rush Att Routes Targets TPRR SDD Snaps i5 Att LDD Snaps 2MIN Snaps PPR
1 64% 56% 52% 21% 35% 67% 100% 0% 0% 20.0
2 54% 74% 38% 10% 20% 67% 100% 8% 0% 12.1
3 44% 63% 28% 3% 7% 29% 100% 6% 23% 11.0
4 41% 48% 23% 8% 33% 0% 0% 13% 0% 9.3
5 32% 19% 28% 11% 33% 29% 0% 0% 0% 6.9
6 26% 17% 25% 19% 57% 0% 0% 20% 0% 8.3
7 39% 26% 36% 13% 33% 33% 0% 38% 0% 16.7
8 36% 32% 33% 24% 54% 17% 0% 0% 7% 20.7
9 57% 39% 54% 14% 17% 67% 0% 100% 100% 6.7
YTD 44% 40% 35% 13% 29% 40% 75% 18% 17% 12.4

Gibson has shown an elite ability to demand targets (29% TPRR), and with more passing game work that could lead to some gaudy target totals. His 1.85 YPRR ranks fourth among RBs with at least 200 routes.

Over the last 10 years, RBs with 25%-plus TPRR, 1.50-plus YPRR, and less than 50% of rushing attempts have averaged 16 PPR points per game. Only backs with a route participation between 45% and 65% were included, and on average they finished as the RB11 (minimum 250 routes).

Brian Robinson Jr. has been less effective than the average NFL back in every underlying efficiency metric, which also leaves the door open for a larger workload on the ground for Gibson.

The third-year RB is a mid-range RB2 with RB1 upside while J.D. McKissic is out.


Downgrades

RB – Raheem Mostert

Mostert saw a dramatic downturn in snaps (46%) with the arrival of Jeff Wilson Jr.

The newly acquired RB played 50% of snaps and saw an equal number of rushing attempts (41%) to Mostert. Mostert retained most of the passing down work and attempts inside the five-yard line, but that could also change soon. 

The veteran RB is now a mid-range RB3.

RB – Josh Jacobs

Jacobs left the field on passing downs for the second consecutive game. For some reason, the coaching staff has decided Ameer Abdullah and Brandon Bolden should take over the LDD and two-minute opportunities.

The fourth-year RB continues to dominate looks on the ground, but his fantasy value takes a hit after enjoying a three-game stretch as the every-down workhorse. Trailing game scripts could create volatility in his production.

Jacobs is a low-end RB1 moving forward.


JUMP TO A TEAM:

ARZ | ATL | BLT | BUF | CAR | CIN | CHI | CLE | DEN | DAL | DET | GB | HOU | IND | JAX | KC | LVR | LAC | LAR | MIA | MIN | NE | NO | NYG | NYJ | PHI | PIT | SF | SEA | TB | TEN | WSH


ARIZONA CARDINALS

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
23 19 1 4 19 3 21 13 13 11 24

Pass-volume environment: Above Average

Run-volume environment: Below Average

Quarterbacks
Player Week Pass Att ADOT Adj Comp % TTT YPA Play Action Designed Rush Att Scrambles Sacks i5 Att Checkdown PPR PPR Rank
Kyler Murray 6 37 9.4 71% 2.9 6.0 15% 25% 9% 13% 50% 3% 17.9 12
7 29 7.9 75% 2.6 7.0 28% 24% 3% 6% 50% 3% 14.8 15
8 44 7.2 80% 2.5 7.4 23% 12% 8% 8% 0% 7% 26.6 3
9 35 5.4 85% 2.9 4.9 14% 17% 9% 11% 0% 6% 20.3 6
YTD 360 7.0 77% 2.6 6.0 18% 18% 5% 6% 33% 4% 19.5 6

Rest of the season: 

  • Kyler Murray: mid-range QB1 with high-end upside
Running backs
Player Week Snaps Rush Att Routes Targets TPRR SDD Snaps i5 Att LDD Snaps 2MIN Snaps PPR PPR Rank
James Conner 6 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.0 0
7 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.0 0
8 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.0 0
9 71% 44% 67% 15% 17% 100% 0% 71% 33% 11.4 18
YTD 36% 29% 28% 7% 18% 50% 25% 38% 20% 10.4 41
Eno Benjamin 6 87% 58% 83% 9% 8% 100% 50% 95% 81% 9.4 21
7 74% 41% 75% 18% 21% 50% 0% 91% 0% 21.3 6
8 74% 53% 72% 12% 14% 75% 0% 75% 68% 8.5 37
9 27% 22% 27% 3% 9% 0% 0% 29% 67% 3.7 39
YTD 48% 32% 45% 9% 16% 28% 8% 48% 50% 9.4 30
Keaontay Ingram 6 13% 13% 11% 0% 0% 0% 0% 5% 19% 0.7 66
7 29% 28% 25% 7% 22% 50% 25% 9% 0% 12.1 25
8 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.0 0
9 2% 6% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.2 64
YTD 4% 6% 3% 1% 14% 2% 8% 2% 3% 4.3 90
  • Injury Update: James Conner returned from a rib injury and regained the lead role. Conner gave way to Eno Benjamin on most of the two-minute offense opportunities but still posted a healthy 67% route participation. The veteran RB isn’t going to dominate fantasy box scores on big efficiency, so we need a turnaround by the Cardinals’ out-of-synch offense to access his ceiling – which primarily ties to his TD-scoring ability. He is the lead short-yardage option but only has one score on the season after punching it in 15 times in 2021.
  • Injury Update: Darrel Williams was placed on IR, making Keaontay Ingram the No. 3.

Rest of season:

  • James Conner: mid-range RB2
  • Eno Benjamin: stash RB5
  • Darrel Williams: free agent
Receivers and tight ends
Player Pos Week Routes TPRR Targets ADOT Air Yards EZ Tgts 3rd/4th Down Targets PA Targets PPR PPR Rank
DeAndre Hopkins WR 6 0% 0% 0% 0.0 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.0 0
7 92% 48% 50% 9.2 58% 0% 40% 50% 20.3 8
8 100% 25% 32% 12.8 56% 50% 11% 38% 33.9 2
9 96% 12% 15% 5.8 16% 0% 18% 0% 13.6 21
YTD 31% 26% 10% 10.2 14% 7% 5% 38% 22.6 53
Rondale Moore WR 6 98% 20% 26% 3.3 9% 0% 31% 22% 10.9 35
7 94% 7% 7% 16.0 14% 100% 20% 0% 4.1 71
8 98% 15% 20% 1.4 4% 0% 11% 25% 23.4 6
9 91% 25% 30% 4.2 24% 0% 9% 20% 14.9 16
YTD 59% 17% 13% 4.4 8% 13% 10% 21% 11.7 52
Robbie Anderson WR 6 35% 0% 0% 0.0 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.0 124
7 22% 14% 4% 42.0 19% 0% 0% 100% 0.0 103
8 10% 50% 7% 26.7 27% 0% 11% 0% 0.0 107
9 87% 8% 9% 8.7 15% 0% 18% 0% 0.6 81
YTD 12% 14% 2% 21.1 6% 0% 8% 14% 4.5 82
Greg Dortch WR 6 9% 0% 0% 0.0 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.0 122
7 50% 6% 4% 4.0 2% 0% 0% 0% 7.6 54
8 33% 17% 7% 0.7 1% 0% 22% 33% 3.2 75
9 7% 33% 3% -5.0 -3% 0% 9% 0% 0.8 80
YTD 47% 15% 9% 4.2 5% 7% 8% 24% 6.6 62
A.J. Green WR 6 70% 12% 12% 10.3 13% 100% 23% 0% 2.7 76
7 0% 0% 0% 0.0 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.0 0
8 39% 5% 2% 28.0 9% 50% 11% 0% 0.0 109
9 2% 0% 0% 0.0 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.0 93
YTD 45% 12% 7% 11.8 11% 20% 11% 14% 2.2 130
Zach Ertz TE 6 91% 21% 26% 12.0 34% 0% 23% 22% 14.0 40
7 89% 10% 11% 10.3 14% 0% 20% 33% 4.1 26
8 92% 10% 12% 4.2 7% 0% 0% 40% 13.4 6
9 98% 19% 24% 11.6 53% 100% 27% 25% 15.0 6
YTD 89% 18% 20% 8.0 22% 33% 18% 17% 12.2 3
Trey Mcbride TE 6 19% 0% 0% 0.0 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.0 105
7 39% 0% 0% 0.0 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.0 55
8 16% 0% 0% 0.0 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.0 69
9 16% 0% 0% 0.0 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.0 53
YTD 14% 5% 1% 4.0 1% 0% 0% 0% 0.8 91
  • Waiver/Upgrade: Robbie Anderson took over the WR3 role with an 87% route participation after splitting time with A.J. Green and Greg Dortch in Week 8. Anderson didn’t play well, but he is on the field in an offense that is forced to throw often. He is a boom-bust WR5. FAB: 3-5%

Rest of season: 

  • DeAndre Hopkins: low-end WR1 while Marquise Brown is out; mid-range WR2 after
  • Marquise Brown: mid-range WR2 upon return
  • Rondale Moore: mid-range WR3 while Marquise Brown is out; upside WR4 after
  • Robbie Anderson: boom-bust WR5
  • Zach Ertz: mid-range TE1

ATLANTA FALCONS

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
11 12 30 31 4 31 27 16 32 32 29

Pass-volume environment: Poor

Run-volume environment: Good

Quarterbacks
Player Week Pass Att ADOT Adj Comp % TTT YPA Play Action Designed Rush Att Scrambles Sacks i5 Att Checkdown PPR PPR Rank
Marcus Mariota 6 14 6.1 93% 2.4 9.2 41% 13% 6% 12% 100% 0% 24.2 5
7 13 9.5 73% 3.3 9.5 32% 12% 16% 16% 0% 0% 12.1 20
8 28 10.5 81% 3.1 9.0 61% 14% 3% 6% 0% 14% 24.4 7
9 23 14.9 57% 3.2 5.6 48% 9% 7% 7% 0% 9% 7.6 22
YTD 202 10.6 67% 3.1 7.7 48% 13% 8% 9% 30% 4% 16.1 10

Rest of season: 

  • Marcus Mariota: high-end QB2

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