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The Fantasy Football Utilization Report: Week 16 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 15 TAKEAWAYS

Waiver Wire

RB – Ronald Jones is the top priority for Week 16 at running back, with Leonard Fournette likely to miss some time with a hamstring injury. Ke'Shawn Vaughn will take the passing-down work, but Jones posted RB14, RB4, RB4 and RB14 finishes in games where Fournette didn't play or was limited in 2020. He is a high-end RB2 with the upside to help you ice a fantasy championship. FAB: 95%+

RB – Justin Jackson led the Chargers by handling 53% of snaps in Week 15 with Austin Ekeler recovering from an ankle injury. Ekeler is questionable for Week 16 (COVID-19), and Jackson could see up to 50% of the rushing attempts and lead the way on passing downs, which he already demonstrated against the Chiefs. FAB: 75%

RB – Duke Johnson Jr. could be a one-week wonder, but anything is possible in the Miami backfield. The veteran's outcomes moving forward ranges from healthy scratch to lead back. FAB: 50%+

RB – Samaje Perine has flex appeal value thanks to his passing-down role, but he becomes a solid RB2 option this weekend if Joe Mixon can't play (ankle). FAB: 10-20%

RB – Craig Reynolds will likely see a reduced role with Jamaal Williams removed from the COVID-19 list for Week 16. However, he could continue to see up to 50% of the work if the Lions shift Williams to the passing-down role. FAB: 5-10%

WR – Russell Gage has three top-15 finishes in his last four games and is a low-end WR2 moving forward. FAB: 95%+

WR – Amon-Ra St. Brown is amazingly still only rostered in 70% of leagues. He has over 30% of the Lions' targets in three consecutive games and is a low-end WR2 the rest of the way. FAB: 95%+

WR – Gabriel Davis came through in a big way filling in for Emmanuel Sanders, posting a top-five finish. He is a WR3 with a massive upside in the Bills' pass-happy offense moving forward. He is the second-most targeted Buffalo receiver on a per-route basis against man coverage (24% TPRR). FAB: 95%+

See more waiver recommendations below under each team.

Upgrades

RB – James Robinson bogarted 84% of the snaps, 72% of rushing attempts and was in a route on 67% of the Jaguars' dropbacks in the first game without Urban Meyer. Of course, Carlos Hyde was also inactive, but the Jacksonville coaching staff followed through on their commitment to Robinson as a lead back. He is a high-end RB2 the rest of the way.

 RB – Devin Singletary is dominating snaps in the Bills backfield over the last two games with 81% and 93% and has posted RB14 and RB6 finishes. Buffalo will remain a pass-heavy attack, but with the work consolidated from three backs down to one, Singletary is a viable RB2 in the fantasy playoffs.

 WR – Antonio Brown is a low-end WR1 the rest of the way, with Chris Godwin out for the season. If Mike Evans (hamstring) also can't go this weekend, Brown has No. 1 overall upside.

WR – Christian Kirk is the Cardinals' best passing threat with DeAndre Hopkins done for the season. In games without Hopkins, he has WR17, WR30, WR69 and WR4 finishes and is a low-end WR2 moving forward.

See the team summaries below for more upgrade news.

Downgrades

RB – James Conner gave up the passing-down work with the return of Chase Edmonds. The veteran back is a touchdown-dependent RB2 heading into Week 16.

RB – Alvin Kamara split the rushing duties three ways with Taysom Hill and Mark Ingram on Sunday night against the Buccaneers. His utilization in the passing game remains strong, but the run-heavy nature of the Saints attack is problematic. As a result, Kamara hasn't eclipsed six targets in three games, making him a low-end RB1 down the stretch.

WR – Chase Claypool moves to WR boom-bust territory after failing to eclipse 70% of routes in three consecutive games. He can still make big plays, but his lack of playing time makes it tough to deliver consistent results.

See more waiver recommendations below under each team.

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Data notes and acronyms:

  • 1st/2nd = first and second downs
  • LDD = long down and distance (third and fourth down with three or more yards to go)
  • SDD = short down and distance (second, third and fourth down with two or fewer yards to go)
  • i5 = inside the five-yard line
    2MIN = two-minute offense (hurry-up offense)
  • Close = score within three points
  • Lead = leading by four points or more
  • Trail = trailing by four points or more
  • Plays = penalties included for utilization splits and rates
  • Pass Play = all dropbacks (i.e., attempts, sacks and scrambles)
  • ADOT = average depth of target
  • Air Yards = ADOT multiplied by targets
  • TTT = average time to throw
  • PA = play action
  • PA Targets = percentage of player's targets that came using play action
  • Fantasy finishes = through Sunday night game
  • YPRR = yards per route run
  • TPRR = targets per route run
  • EZ = end zone
  • TOP = time of possession
  • Pass vs. Run Splits = based on the percentage of time a team throws or passes
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 | WFT

ARIZONA CARDINALS

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
14 20 8 24 9 18 12 19 15 21 14
  • Pass-volume environment: Poor
  • Run-volume environment: Good
  • Pass/run tendencies: Balanced (previously run-balanced)

The Cardinals' offense has trailed by four or more points on 67% and 96% of its plays, leading to 78% and 73% drop back rates.

Quarterbacks
Player Week ADOT Adjusted Comp % TTT YPA Play Action Designed Rush Att Scrambles Sacks i5 Att PPR Rank
Kyler Murray 13 4.3 80% 2.92 8.2 29% 17% 24% 5% 50% 1
14 10.7 70% 2.89 7.8 26% 12% 9% 7% 0% 13
15 7.6 66% 2.62 6.3 21% 20% 0% 5% 0% 16
YTD 8.4 78% 2.80 8.4 33% 12% 6% 6% 23% 12

Murray has two duds in two games but still averages the fifth-most points per game (22.6). His increased utilization in the designed run game over the last three weeks will eventually unlock big box scores again.

Rest of season: 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 13 89% 67% 71% 13% 13% 100% 50% 78% 0% 12
14 96% 76% 59% 19% 26% 75% 100% 94% 100% 2
15 44% 40% 33% 4% 12% 50% 0% 13% 22
YTD 58% 48% 39% 7% 16% 72% 64% 44% 44% 6
Chase Edmonds 13
14
15 39% 30% 25% 2% 7% 0% 0% 67% 0% 35
YTD 37% 21% 36% 8% 19% 0% 9% 48% 56% 40

Monitoring: Conner fell back into a time-share situation with the return of Edmonds but appears to possess a slightly more significant role – despite battling an ankle injury.

Before the Cardinals pulled their starters, Conner was on pace for 51% snaps, 42% rushing attempts, 39% route participation, 100% SDD snaps, and 14% LDD snaps.

Conner and Edmonds splits Weeks 1–8:
Snaps Rush Att Routes SDD Snaps LDD Snaps 2MIN Snaps
Conner 42% 40% 25% 65% 14% 9%
Edmonds 60% 33% 61% 42% 84% 78%

Downgrade: Edmonds is no longer a low-end RB2 with Conner's expanded role. He remains the primary passing-down option, but the 20% snap haircut will impact rushing attempts and routes.

Rest of season:

  • Edmonds: mid-range RB3
  • Conner: low-end RB2
Receivers and tight ends
Player Pos Week Routes TPRR Targets ADOT Air Yards EZ Tgts 3rd/4th Down Targets PA Targets PPR Rank
Christian Kirk WR 13 58% 23% 20% 8.0 37% 50% 40% 0% 98
14 79% 13% 13% 22.5 27% 0% 14% 33% 43
15 96% 23% 26% 8.8 33% 25% 15% 33% 4
YTD 79% 19% 19% 11.7 28% 23% 16% 30% 23
A.J. Green WR 13 67% 7% 7% 14.0 22% 0% 0% 0% 78
14 77% 22% 21% 13.2 26% 25% 29% 20% 19
15 69% 22% 17% 10.1 25% 50% 31% 13% 24
YTD 77% 18% 17% 12.6 27% 29% 19% 30% 39
Rondale Moore WR 13 58% 15% 13% -3.5 -11% 0% 0% 0% 86
14 46% 15% 9% 5.3 4% 0% 0% 25% 72
15 29% 19% 7% -3.7 -3% 0% 8% 0% 53
YTD 49% 24% 14% 1.2 2% 3% 13% 28% 51
Antoine Wesley WR 13 8% 0% 0% 0.0 0% 0% 0% 0% 111
14 7% 0% 0% 0.0 0% 0% 0% 0% 138
15 84% 16% 15% 7.4 16% 25% 38% 0% 46
YTD 30% 11% 4% 10.0 5% 3% 5% 39% 140
Zach Ertz TE 13 75% 12% 13% 7.5 23% 0% 20% 0% 40
14 80% 15% 15% 7.7 11% 25% 14% 29% 12
15 91% 23% 24% 9.0 30% 0% 8% 27% 6
YTD 46% 20% 11% 7.2 10% 9% 16% 33% 10

Upgrade: Kirk now has WR17, WR30, WR69 and WR4 finishes without DeAndre Hopkins with target shares of 23%, 30%, 10% and 26%. He is the Cardinals' most prolific receiver (1.92 YPRR) and eclipsed 95% routes per dropback for the second time this season (WR17 and WR4). Rondale Moore left the game after the eighth drive due to his ankle, but Kirk was on pace for 95% with Moore.

Upgrade: Green has WR19 and WR24 finishes in the last two games, but his routes haven't eclipsed 80% since Week 8. His Week 14 and 15 TPRR is encouraging (22%), and he could become a solid WR3 option with more route involvement.

Upgrade: Ertz has TE29, TE13, TE1 and TE6 finishes in games minus Hopkins. His routes are over 80% last two games, and his 20% TPRR is also high for the position.

Target distribution and TPRR vs. man and zone coverage:
Name POS Rts Man Tgt% Zone Tgt% Man TPRR Zone TPRR
Zach Ertz TE 198 19% 16% 18% 19%
Christian Kirk WR 176 20% 16% 22% 18%
A.J. Green WR 174 18% 15% 20% 17%
DeAndre Hopkins WR 118 17% 12% 27% 17%
Rondale Moore WR 72 8% 15% 19% 24%
Antoine Wesley WR 70 3% 4% 9% 12%
James Conner HB 60 4% 8% 13% 17%
Chase Edmonds HB 60 6% 8% 20% 18%

Rest of season:

  • Hopkins: out for season
  • Kirk: low-end WR2
  • Green: low-end WR3
  • Moore: stash WR5
  • Ertz: low-end TE1

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
27 21 22 14 19 23 20 7 10 13 26
  • Pass-volume environment: Average
  • Run-volume environment: Average (upgrade)
  • Pass/run tendencies: Balanced (previously pass-balanced)
Quarterbacks
Player Week ADOT Adjusted Comp % TTT YPA Play Action Designed Rush Att Scrambles Sacks i5 Att PPR Rank
Matt Ryan 13 6.7 85% 2.64 7.2 19% 14% 2% 11% 100% 21
14 8.2 81% 2.64 6.8 32% 11% 0% 0% 24
15 10.1 75% 3.09 7.4 38% 5% 10% 8% 0% 13
YTD 7.5 76% 2.66 7.0 28% 6% 3% 6% 10% 20

Rest of season: low-end QB2

Running backs
Player Week Snaps Rush Att Routes Targets TPRR SDD Snaps i5 Att LDD Snaps 2MIN Snaps PPR Rank
Cordarrelle Patterson 13 48% 55% 39% 13% 26% 40% 0% 50% 13% 21
14 50% 43% 42% 15% 36% 40% 9% 17
15 61% 58% 55% 7% 9% 88% 100% 22% 100% 41
YTD 45% 40% 39% 13% 28% 47% 50% 35% 33% 7
Mike Davis 13 54% 18% 59% 10% 15% 20% 0% 92% 38% 17
14 56% 30% 52% 23% 38% 80% 100% 18
15 46% 32% 45% 4% 6% 25% 0% 78% 30% 50
YTD 58% 35% 52% 11% 18% 49% 20% 75% 67% 35

Downgrade: Patterson doesn't have a top-12 finish in his last three games, but his underlying utilization remains strong. He is the lead back for the Falcons and continues to see plenty of action out wide and from the slot. The early return from the high-ankle sprain could be impacting performance. His explosive run rate (10-plus yards) is 7.6% over the last three games – down from 12% before the injury.

Rest of season:

  • Patterson: low-end RB1
  • Davis: low-end RB3
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 13 84% 30% 30% 8.2 36% 25% 40% 0% 7
14 87% 25% 23% 10.8 31% 0% 18% 33% 47
15 88% 32% 39% 11.2 43% 25% 71% 45% 6
YTD 57% 23% 15% 8.4 17% 12% 18% 17% 47
Tajae Sharpe WR 13 86% 12% 15% 6.3 14% 25% 0% 17% 67
14 87% 8% 8% 18.0 17% 0% 0% 50% 92
15 55% 0% 0% 0.0 0% 0% 0% 0% 113
YTD 55% 11% 8% 9.2 9% 4% 5% 20% 109
Olamide Zaccheaus WR 13 63% 17% 13% 11.0 20% 25% 20% 0% 44
14 42% 0% 0% 0.0 0% 0% 0% 0% 104
15 60% 9% 7% 24.0 17% 0% 0% 0% 38
YTD 55% 14% 9% 10.3 12% 19% 8% 24% 79
Christian Blake WR 13 2% 0% 0% 0.0 0% 0% 0% 0% 109
14 0% 0% 0% 0.0 0% 0% 0% 0% 105
15 13% 20% 4% 9.0 3% 25% 14% 0% 111
YTD 6% 24% 2% 9.4 2% 4% 2% 14% 187
Kyle Pitts TE 13 94% 14% 15% 10.2 23% 0% 10% 50% 14
14 74% 27% 23% 10.2 29% 0% 27% 17% 9
15 85% 21% 25% 12.9 32% 25% 14% 43% 7
YTD 82% 21% 20% 11.3 30% 19% 20% 29% 5

Upgrade/Waiver (re-issue): Gage has three top-15 finishes in four games and has target shares of 25%, 30%, 23% and 39%. He moves into low-end WR2 territory. FAB: 95%+

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