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The Fantasy Football Utilization Report: Week 13 waiver, trade and drop candidates

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 12 TAKEAWAYS

Waiver Wire

RB – Alexander Mattison will be the every-down back in a friendly scheme for at least the next two games and possibly longer. He has RB7 and RB6 finishes in two previous spot starts for Dalvin Cook and can help get you to the championship game. Don't be shy. FAB: 75%+

RB – Jamaal Williams could see more work down the stretch with D'Andre Swift battling a day-to-day shoulder sprain. The Lions‘ offense is terrible, but Williams is a capable pass catcher and should see 75% of the snaps if Swift can't play. Unfortunately, it isn't uncommon for losing teams to shut down injured players for the season, meaning Williams could be a mid-range RB2 the rest of the way. FAB: 50%+

RB – Chuba Hubbard will take over the early-down work with Christian McCaffrey out for the season. However, Ameer Abdullah will be involved in the passing game, and Cam Newton will vulture rushing attempts inside the five. Hubbard is a low-end RB2 and is a more sure thing than Mattison or Williams, but he will likely give us plenty of RB3 performances along the way. FAB: 50%+

RB – Dontrell Hilliard has two top-15 finishes in two games with the Titans. However, he gets a bye week in Week 13, and Jeremy McNichols should return after the break. There is a chance Hilliard hangs onto his change-of-pace role in the passing attack. However, this could also turn back into a three-way committee, or Hilliard could return to the bench. It is a complex situation to read. FAB: 10-20%

RB – Devin Singletary took over the lead role in Week 12 despite being outscored by Matt Breida. The Bills‘ running game is as thin as thin gets, but Singletary could provide some value down the stretch. FAB: 10-20%

RB – Matt Breida is only filling a complementary role in a volatile backfield, but he has done the most with his touches out of all the Bills' backs. If he expands his utilization, he could provide low-end RB2 value. FAB: 10-20%

RB – Rex Burkhead and David Johnson are now splitting what once was a four-way backfield in Houston. The offense is atrocious, and both players are washed, but there is enough volume to fill your RB2 spot in a pinch. FAB: 5-10%

WR – Russell Gage has four top-36 finishes in the last six games and could be a vital component of the Falcons‘ passing game with Kyle Pitts struggling. Gage has performed well against single-man coverage, getting open a ridiculous 60% of opportunities, and Matt Ryan trusts him in that situation – targeting him a team-high 28%. FAB: 20-30%

See more waiver recommendations below under each team.

Sell High

WR – Kendrick Bourne is playing well, but he needs more playing time. Unfortunately, that depends on game scripts and the Patriots‘ week-to-week game plan. He currently ranks inside the top-24 receivers overall and is inside the top-36 in points per game. However, his 67% route participation and 17% TPRR isn't enough to trust in lineups each week, despite his juicy 2.18 YPRR.

Buy Low

RB – David Montgomery (re-issue) has seen better utilization than any other back in the NFL over the last three games. He is a high-end RB2 the rest of the way with upside if the Bears‘ offense can get anything going.

RB – Najee Harris has RB17, RB12 and RB35 finishes in the last three games, but his utilization remains elite. Although the Steelers are struggling on offense, Harris is still a mid-range RB1 at a minimum heading into the stretch run.

RB – Kareem Hunt returned to his usual role in the Browns‘ backfield despite his dud in the boxscore. The Browns have a bye in Week 13, but Hunt should be a solid RB2 moving forward.

Upgrades

RB – Leonard Fournette has assumed more passing down work over the past two games – including the two-minute offense. He is a near every-down back in a top-three attack. Fournette is a set-it-and-forget-it RB1.

WR – Jaylen Waddle is averaging a 26% target share over his last five games and is now starting to flash the explosive playmaking ability we saw at Alabama. He has a top-24 finish in 50% of his games this season and is a mid-range WR2 moving forward.

WR – Odell Beckham Jr. was second in targets with 24% in only his second game with the Rams. He ran a route on 98% of Matthew Stafford‘s dropbacks and is a high-end WR3 with upside the rest of the way.

Downgrades

RB – James Robinson has yet to reclaim the passing-down work for the Jaguars since returning from his heel injury. He dominates the early-down work, but the lack of routes pushes him out of low-end RB1 territory. Instead, he is a high-end RB2.

RB – Aaron Jones' injury probably cost him snaps with A.J. Dillon playing well. The Packers get a bye in Week 13, so Jones should be healthier for the next contest. However, Dillon should be in line for at least half of the rushing attempts, with Jones handling most of the passing-down work. Jones has historically thrived in a similar role when he played with Jamaal Williams, keeping him in the low-end RB1 conversation.

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ARIZONA CARDINALS

bye week (re-issue of Week 11 data)

Team Ranks
Pace & TOP Pass vs Run Splits Pass by Game Script Run by Game Script
Plays per Game Plays per Minute Time of Possession Pass Rank Run Rank Trail Pass Close Pass Lead Pass Trail Run Close Run Lead Run
11 24 3 29 4 27 15 13 6 18 20

Pass-volume environment: Poor

Run-volume environment: Good

Pass/run tendencies: Balanced

The Cardinals lead by four or more points on a league-high 54% of their plays. They run the ball less than the NFL average in close or leading game scripts, but the sheer number of leading plays is a significant factor in them running the ball on 43% of snaps (fourth-most).

Quarterbacks
Player Week ADOT Adjusted Comp % TTT YPA Play Action Designed Rush Att Scrambles Sacks i5 Att PPR Rank
Colt McCoy 9 3.5 92% 2.36 9.6 41% 16% 3% 7% 0% 14
10 8.8 65% 2.06 5.4 35% 5% 0% 9% 0% 33
11 4.9 90% 2.38 7.5 32% 15% 2% 4% 0% 9
YTD 5.4 85% 2.30 7.6 35% 6% 2% 6% 0% 39

Kyler Murray missed his third consecutive game due to an ankle injury. The Cardinals have a bye in Week 12, giving the third-year quarterback extra time to heal before the next contest.

Rest of season:

  • Murray: top-five QB
Running backs
Player Week Snaps Rush Att Routes Targets TPRR SDD Snaps i5 Att LDD Snaps 2MIN Snaps PPR Rank
James Conner 9 77% 55% 66% 19% 25% 75% 100% 90% 0% 1
10 84% 53% 56% 13% 22% 83% 0% 91% 0% 19
11 82% 64% 64% 14% 20% 100% 100% 87% 100% 7
YTD 53% 45% 35% 6% 14% 70% 65% 38% 27% 8
Eno Benjamin 9 24% 24% 19% 0% 0% 25% 0% 10% 0% 34
10 27% 32% 19% 3% 14% 33% 0% 18% 0% 57
11 22% 18% 20% 2% 10% 0% 0% 13% 0% 48
YTD 7% 7% 5% 1% 9% 9% 0% 4% 0% 95

Monitoring: Chase Edmonds is eligible to return after one more game (Week 14), and it will be interesting to see how this backfield divides. Conner has handled an every-down role in Edmonds absence, posting RB1, RB19 and RB7 performances.

Rest of season:

  • Edmonds: low-end RB2 upon return
  • Conner: low-end RB1 while Edmonds is out, low-end RB2 after
  • Benjamin: stash RB5 while Edmonds is out
Receivers and tight ends
Player Pos Week Routes TPRR Targets ADOT Air Yards EZ Tgts 3rd/4th Down Targets PA Targets PPR Rank
A.J. Green WR 9 0% 0% 0% 0.0 0% 0% 0% 0% 0
10 78% 19% 17% 10.0 23% 50% 14% 0% 98
11 66% 20% 14% 16.3 47% 33% 33% 50% 29
YTD 79% 17% 16% 12.8 27% 28% 17% 35% 39
Christian Kirk WR 9 97% 21% 23% 9.0 45% 0% 0% 33% 16
10 92% 25% 30% 5.0 21% 0% 43% 22% 30
11 84% 10% 10% 8.0 15% 33% 8% 50% 67
YTD 78% 19% 18% 11.4 27% 24% 16% 31% 21
Antoine Wesley WR 9 75% 13% 12% 15.3 38% 0% 0% 100% 37
10 83% 4% 3% 10.0 5% 0% 0% 100% 129
11 72% 12% 10% 6.5 13% 0% 0% 25% 41
YTD 27% 10% 3% 11.6 5% 0% 1% 64% 134
Rondale Moore WR 9 88% 19% 19% -1.0 -4% 0% 33% 40% 48
10 36% 33% 13% 9.5 18% 0% 14% 25% 78
11 48% 48% 26% -1.0 -5% 0% 25% 36% 19
YTD 51% 26% 16% 1.4 3% 4% 17% 31% 42
Zach Ertz TE 9 84% 19% 19% 0.8 3% 0% 33% 40% 29
10 83% 21% 20% 10.2 29% 50% 29% 33% 13
11 82% 24% 21% 6.2 27% 33% 17% 33% 1
YTD 34% 20% 8% 6.4 7% 8% 18% 39% 5

Monitoring: Ertz operated from the slot (68%) in Week 11, helping him get over the 80% route threshold for a third consecutive game. Once DeAndre Hopkins returns, expect Kirk and Moore to operate outside less, with Hopkins playing near 100% of routes, unlike Antonie Wesley, who leaves the field 20-30% of pass plays.

Rest of season:

  • Hopkins: high-end WR2
  • Kirk: boom-bust WR3
  • Green: low-end WR3
  • Moore: stash WR5
  • Ertz: low-end TE1, could shift back to high-end TE2 when Hopkins returns

ATLANTA FALCONS

Team Ranks
Pace & TOP Pass vs Run Splits Pass by Game Script Run by Game Script
Plays per Game Plays per Minute Time of Possession Pass Rank Run Rank Trail Pass Close Pass Lead Pass Trail Run Close Run Lead Run
30 16 27 11 22 20 18 5 13 15 28

Pass-volume environment: Average

Run-volume environment: Poor

Pass/run tendencies: Pass balanced

Quarterbacks
Player Week ADOT Adjusted Comp % TTT YPA Play Action Designed Rush Att Scrambles Sacks i5 Att PPR Rank
Matt Ryan 10 9.1 53% 2.70 5.6 39% 0% 0% 9% 0% 34
11 5.7 75% 2.68 5.5 25% 0% 0% 13% 0% 30
12 3.8 68% 2.84 6.6 19% 11% 3% 3% 0% 23
YTD 0.0 0% 0.00 0.0 0% 5% 0% 0% 0% 21

Rest of season: mid-range QB2

Running backs
Player Week Snaps Rush Att Routes Targets TPRR SDD Snaps i5 Att LDD Snaps 2MIN Snaps PPR Rank
Cordarrelle Patterson 10 28% 16% 31% 8% 22% 0% 30% 50% 48
11
12 50% 57% 41% 11% 23% 33% 30% 0% 4
YTD 43% 36% 38% 13% 30% 41% 43% 37% 30% 8
Mike Davis 10 37% 16% 41% 4% 8% 33% 70% 100% 60
11 48% 19% 53% 13% 22% 25% 56% 100% 40
12 50% 18% 44% 14% 31% 67% 80% 100% 33
YTD 60% 38% 52% 10% 17% 54% 29% 71% 76% 39
Wayne Gallman 10 43% 60% 24% 4% 14% 67% 20% 0% 34
11 4% 6% 3% 0% 0% 0% 11% 0% 96
12 8% 14% 3% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 62
YTD 7% 11% 3% 0% 7% 8% 0% 3% 0% 99
Qadree Ollison 10 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0
11 48% 56% 24% 10% 33% 75% 33% 0% 38
12 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0
YTD 4% 4% 2% 1% 33% 8% 0% 2% 0% 115

Upgrade: Patterson has handled 50% or more of the snaps in each of his last three healthy games. The veteran phenom has the sixth-most points per game at the running back position. He is the ultimate steal of the 2021 fantasy football campaign as a free agent after week one. He ranks second in explosive runs (ten-plus yards) by running backs with at least 75 attempts at 17% and first in YPRR for receivers with a minimum of 150 routes at 3.13. What the 30-year old is doing is truly unique.

Rest of season:

  • Patterson: mid-range RB1
  • Davis: low-end RB4
  • Ollison: free agent
  • Gallman: free agent
Receivers and tight ends
Player Pos Week Routes TPRR Targets ADOT Air Yards EZ Tgts 3rd/4th Down Targets PA Targets PPR Rank
Russell Gage WR 10 62% 17% 12% 12.7 14% 0% 18% 33% 111
11 87% 26% 26% 7.0 32% 0% 38% 13% 36
12 91% 24% 25% 4.6 30% 0% 25% 0% 14
YTD 49% 19% 11% 7.4 11% 6% 14% 12% 73
Tajae Sharpe WR 10 59% 6% 4% 0.0 0% 0% 0% 100% 100
11 79% 14% 13% 11.5 26% 0% 13% 25% 74
12 91% 10% 11% 8.7 24% 0% 0% 33% 73
YTD 49% 13% 7% 9.1 9% 0% 6% 19% 103
Olamide Zaccheaus WR 10 52% 40% 24% 9.5 22% 0% 9% 0% 69
11 61% 22% 16% 4.6 13% 0% 25% 0% 63
12 59% 11% 7% -0.5 -1% 0% 8% 0% 96
YTD 55% 15% 9% 9.4 12% 24% 9% 29% 83
Kyle Pitts TE 10 72% 33% 28% 10.4 28% 0% 18% 57% 12
11 84% 16% 16% 10.4 30% 0% 13% 20% 25
12 91% 21% 21% 7.3 41% 0% 17% 0% 26
YTD 81% 21% 20% 11.3 30% 24% 21% 27% 7

Waiver/Upgrade (re-issue): Gage has finished as the WR15, WR121, WR20, WR111, WR33 and WR14 over the past six games. He has been in a route over 80% of passing plays in three of the last four games, and his season-long TPRR now stands at a respectable 19%. He got open against single-man coverage 100% of his opportunities in Week 12 and was targeted 50% of the time he faced single-man. He is getting open a whopping 60% against single-man coverage on the season, and Matt Ryan trusts him (28% TPRR vs. single). With Pitts' struggles, he could be the lead target for the Falcons down the stretch. FAB: 20-30%

Downgrade: Pitts' routes and TPRR remain elite, but things just aren't clicking right now. His catchable ball rate (67%) is 10% below the league average and was a lousy 33% in Week 12. Additionally, his contested target rate is 9% above the league average (20%).

Rest of season:

  • Ridley: Top-12 WR upon return
  • Pitts: mid-range TE1
  • Gage: low-end WR3
  • Sharpe: free agent

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