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NFL Fantasy Football Utilization Report: Week 3 waiver, trade and drop candidates

  • New Orleans Saints WR Chris Olave has 33% and 34% target shares in the last two games and is heavily involved downfield (62% and 40% of air yards).
  • New England Patriots RB Rhamondre Stevenson pushed his edge over Damien Harris to new heights with 50% of the rushing attempts in Week 3 along with most of the passing downs and all of the two-minute offense.
  • CeeDee Lamb has target shares of 26%, 34% and 41% in the first three games of 2022. He is a mid-range WR2 now and a potential high-end WR1 once Prescott is fully healthy.
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 3 Takeaways

Waiver Wire

RB – Khalil Herbert

Herbert rushed for 157 yards and two touchdowns on his way to 30.9 fantasy points after knee/ankle injuries knocked David Montgomery from the game. Herbert now has RB40, RB11, RB8, RB34 and RB1 finishes in games without Montgomery dating back to last season.

Herbert handled 67% of snaps, 70% of attempts and posted a 68% route participation after Montgomery’s departure. He is a high-end RB2 in any games Montgomery (day-to-day) misses and could use this opportunity to force a timeshare moving forward. The second-year back is available in 50% of Yahoo leagues.

  • FAB: 25-50%
RB – Jamaal Williams (re-issue)

Williams moved into RB3 territory last week, thanks to his role as the lead option inside the 5-yard line on an ascending offense. Now he could find himself as the centerpiece of the rushing attack with D’Andre Swift (ankle/shoulder) in danger of missing the next two games.

Player Week Snaps Rush Att Routes Targets TPRR SDD Snaps i5 Att LDD Snaps 2MIN Snaps PPR PPR Rank
D'Andre Swift 1 67% 54% 66% 8% 12% 50% 0% 100% 0% 26.5 3
2 51% 21% 57% 15% 24% 0% 0% 93% 100% 16.7 6
3 41% 21% 49% 11% 18% 10% 0% 71% 44% 7.6 38
YTD 52% 32% 57% 11% 18% 18% 0% 88% 58% 16.9 4
Jamaal Williams 1 33% 39% 24% 5% 20% 50% 100% 0% 0% 16.0 16
2 34% 50% 16% 3% 17% 100% 100% 7% 0% 7.0 42
3 45% 61% 22% 5% 25% 50% 100% 21% 56% 24.7 3
YTD 38% 51% 21% 5% 21% 59% 100% 10% 42% 15.9 7

The veteran demonstrated an every-down ability in Green Bay in games without Aaron Jones, and that should be our expectation in Detroit. Williams will have standalone value even once Swift returns, making him a high-priority target. He is available in over 50% of ESPN leagues.

  • FAB: 25-50%
RB – Alexander Mattison (re-issue)

Mattison is a borderline RB1 against the Saints in Week 4 if Dalvin Cook (shoulder) can’t play. We have seen Cook play through this injury in the past, so we shouldn’t be as aggressive on Mattison as Herbert and Williams, who offer more value beyond handcuff status once their starter returns.

In four games without Cook in 2021, Mattison posted RB7, RB6, RB9 and RB13 finishes in an every-down role.

Week Snaps Rush Att Routes Targets TPRR SDD Snaps i5 Att LDD Snaps 2MIN Snaps PPR PPR Rank
3 68% 74% 50% 19% 37% 100% 0% 38% 56% 23.1 7
5 66% 86% 42% 23% 44% 100% 0% 33% 0% 28.3 6
13 86% 76% 66% 7% 10% 100% 33% 58% 100% 21.4 9
16 75% 68% 73% 11% 13% 100% 50% 75% 100% 16.0 13
  • FAB: 10-20%
WR – Treylon Burks

Burks is tied for the team lead in target share (18%) and is finally in a full-time role (97% route participation in Week 3). The rookie boasts an impressive 2.02 YPRR and a 23% TPRR – the best on the Titans. A breakout could be in the works for the 2022 NFL first-rounder, and he is available in about 40% of ESPN leagues.

  • FAB: 25-50%
WR – Russell Gage

Gage finally played a full complement of snaps after battling a hamstring injury early this season. He delivered a whopping 33% target share on the way to 26.8 fantasy points. Gage checked some breakout boxes during his last two years in Atlanta and could become a dependable target for Tom Brady.

Mike Evans and Chris Godwin will get their share of looks when healthy, but if the Buccaneers eventually return to a high-volume pass offense, Gage could provide value down the stretch. He is available in about 45% of leagues.

  • FAB: 15-25%
WR – Romeo Doubs

Doubs led the Packers in route participation (95%) with Sammy Watkins and Christian Watson out. The fourth-round rookie repeatedly flashed this preseason and registered another positive data point by leading the Packers in target share (24%) in Week 3 against the Buccaneers.

This situation could devolve back into a rotation when Watkins and Watson return, but he is worth a pickup in most formats due to the weak nature of this depth chart. If someone breaks out in a big way from this mess, it is Doubs (1.90 YPRR). He is available in 80% of leagues.

  • FAB: 5-10%

Sell High

James Robinson and Amari Cooper spat in the face of last week’s sell-high segment, but the underlying logic remains — both are talented players in highly volatile situations. Maybe the Jaguars have turned the page and are a winning organization in 2022, which helps an early-down grinder like Robinson be involved enough to keep scoring fantasy points, but he isn’t involved in the passing attack.

This week we turn our attention to another running back whose underlying utilization screams RB3, yet he is performing like an RB1 in fantasy.

RB – Clyde Edwards-Helaire

Edwards-Helaire has yet to eclipse 45% of snaps, rushing attempts or route participation — substantial red flags for a player touting a top-five fantasy ranking. Jerick McKinnon has demanded more snaps each of the last two weeks.

Player Week Snaps Rush Att Routes Targets TPRR SDD Snaps i5 Att LDD Snaps 2MIN Snaps PPR PPR Rank
Clyde Edwards-Helaire 1 39% 31% 34% 8% 23% 75% 0% 0% 40% 22.4 6
2 44% 44% 38% 13% 29% 43% 0% 0% 75% 15.8 8
3 39% 35% 36% 17% 29% 29% 50% 0% 0% 14.9 15
YTD 40% 36% 36% 12% 27% 44% 33% 0% 42% 17.7 3
Jerick McKinnon 1 39% 15% 41% 10% 24% 0% 0% 83% 60% 7.9 44
2 47% 22% 36% 6% 14% 43% 100% 100% 25% 9.6 24
3 52% 41% 47% 0% 0% 57% 25% 89% 100% 2.0 63
YTD 46% 25% 42% 6% 12% 39% 33% 91% 58% 6.5 45
Isiah Pacheco 1 23% 46% 9% 0% 0% 25% 100% 17% 0% 12.2 22
2 9% 11% 5% 0% 0% 14% 0% 0% 0% 0.6 79
3 8% 18% 4% 0% 0% 14% 25% 0% 0% 0.9 68
YTD 14% 28% 6% 0% 0% 17% 33% 4% 0% 4.6 57

We don’t want to give CEH away — he plays on an offense with a high-caliber QB in Patrick Mahomes, and his role could expand if McKinnon were to get injured. However, if someone in your league is willing to look at fantasy points blindly, now is the time to sell.

Edwards-Helaire would be an extreme outlier if he were to find himself as more than a low-end RB2, given his current and historical utilization trends that tell us he is just a guy.

Buy Low

The buy-low section was popping in Week 2 with CeeDee Lamb, Terry McLaurin and Kyle Pitts coming through. Dalvin Cook was also on his way to a monster game before the shoulder injury. Sometimes fantasy football is easy. This week we focus on two more proven high-end talents and one ascending utilization star.

QB – Kyler Murray

Yeah, we have concerns about Kliff Kingsbury’s ability to design an optimal offense, but it is hard to top a mobile QB in a pass-happy offense. Murray still ranks No. 8 in designed-rush attempts (11%) and should finish closer to 15% on the season. His scrambles are at a career-low 3%, which should also improve as the season progresses.

The Cardinals’ weaponry will improve over the coming weeks with the return of Rondale Moore and DeAndre Hopkins. Now is the time to pounce on a top-six QB.

WR – Elijah Moore (re-issue)

Moore was a buy-low last week:

Moore leads the team with a 91% route participation and possesses a high-end talent profile. As a rookie, he rattled off six top-36 finishes – including three top-10 marks – over seven weeks. His 1.75 YPRR mirrored Jaylen Waddle, and he just missed the 75.0-plus PFF receiving grade. Pounce now.

Nothing has changed since Week 2 except the second-year receiver posting season-highs in route participation (95%), target share (21%) and air yards (43%). Talented players like Moore don’t suddenly become bad. He offers WR2 upside when running hot, which will happen sometime soon.

Upgrades

RB – Rhamondre Stevenson

Stevenson pushed his edge over Damien Harris to new heights with 50% of the rushing attempts in Week 3. He also handled most of the passing downs, including all of the two-minute offense, on his way to a pristine 64% route participation.

Player Week Snaps Rush Att Routes Targets TPRR SDD Snaps i5 Att LDD Snaps 2MIN Snaps PPR PPR Rank
Rhamondre Stevenson 1 25% 38% 14% 7% 40% 33% 0% 0% 0% 4.7 56
2 62% 32% 58% 6% 9% 60% 0% 57% 100% 6.1 45
3 62% 50% 64% 16% 20% 60% 50% 60% 100% 20.1 7
YTD 51% 40% 47% 10% 17% 54% 33% 40% 100% 10.3 32
Damien Harris 1 39% 43% 31% 7% 20% 67% 0% 9% 0% 7.8 45
2 40% 54% 25% 6% 22% 60% 100% 43% 0% 16.7 7
3 38% 46% 29% 9% 27% 40% 50% 40% 0% 12.6 21
YTD 39% 48% 28% 7% 23% 54% 67% 31% 0% 12.4 21

His 20.1 fantasy points were not a fluke with this utilization profile. Ty Montgomery (IR) could regain some of the passing work when he returns, but for now Stevenson is in great shape.

This profile is RB1 material, but we always have to be careful with New England, who loves to confuse fantasy managers, making him a high-end RB2 for now.

RB – Breece Hall

Hall (51%) slightly edged out Michael Carter (49%) in snaps for the first time this season. He also hit a season-high in route participation (50%) while bogarting most of the long-down-distance (81%) and two-minute offense (63%).

Player Week Snaps Rush Att Routes Targets TPRR SDD Snaps i5 Att LDD Snaps 2MIN Snaps PPR PPR Rank
Michael Carter 1 60% 56% 42% 16% 31% 100% 0% 68% 0% 17.0 14
2 61% 33% 52% 12% 20% 43% 0% 9% 53% 10.0 22
3 49% 55% 38% 5% 11% 25% 0% 6% 38% 5.6 47
YTD 56% 47% 44% 11% 21% 47% 0% 33% 44% 10.9 27
Breece Hall 1 45% 33% 41% 16% 31% 0% 0% 26% 100% 12.1 23
2 27% 33% 18% 2% 14% 14% 0% 18% 16% 13.0 14
3 51% 40% 50% 26% 41% 75% 0% 81% 63% 15.2 14
YTD 42% 36% 37% 15% 33% 37% 0% 43% 39% 13.4 16

His TPRR (33%) is elite, and he is delivering a 10-plus yard rush on 19% of his attempts — almost double the NFL average of 10.5%. Carter should remain involved, but the better season-long bet is Hall and his second-round draft capital.

Hall offers a low-end RB2 utilization score, but the rookie has a top-12 talent profile and could explode down the stretch.

WR – Chris Olave

Olave is on fire. He has 33% and 34% target shares in the last two games and is heavily involved downfield (62% and 40% of air yards). Michael Thomas left the game with a toe injury, and Jarvis Landry suffered a foot injury. Neither is considered serious, but Olave could be the primary beneficiary if they miss time.

Even with Thomas and Landry back in the mix, Olave’s utilization screams WR2, and he is *THE WR* to roster in New Orleans. Great players earn targets, and the rookie is off to a fantastic start.

WR – DeVonta Smith

Smith didn’t score a point in Week 1 but has registered a WR25 and WR1 overall finish since then. The Eagles aren’t the same run-heavy offense that many fantasy prognosticators feared. Philadelphia has leaned to the run in close scripts but is throwing the ball above the league average in trailing and leading scenarios.

Let this be a reminder — we want to lean into talented profiles and not overestimate our ability to know what a coaching staff will do. The Week 3 WR1 overall has a 24% target share on the season and a 2.13 YPRR.

Things are looking great for everyone involved with the Philadelphia offense, and Smith is a low-end WR2 moving forward.

Downgrades

RB – Javonte Williams

Williams’ snap share regressed in Week 3 (45%) after a strong outing in Week 2 (65%). Melvin Gordon III continues to operate behind Williams, but Mike Boone now has back-to-back games helping out on passing downs.

This situation is about resetting our expectations in a struggling Broncos offense where three RBs make a crowd. Don’t panic — an elite talent profile like Williams always has outs, and we could still see a shift to him as the lead option or Denver's offense could improve. For now, he moves out of high-end RB2 territory into the mid-range RB2 range.

WR – D.J. Moore

I wish I could put on my brave face and tell y’all to buy low on Moore. Unfortunately, Baker Mayfield and Ben McAdoo make that a challenging statement despite Moore’s strong talent profile.

This offense has 145, 235 and 170 yards passing over the first three contests with only three TD passes. Mayfield owns the lowest PFF passing grade (45.7) out of all QBs with at least 100 dropbacks in 2022. It takes genuinely terrible QB play to hold down a talent like Moore historically, but unfortunately that is where we are, and Sam Darnold doesn’t offer much hope as an alternative.

Moore’s fate rests on the shoulders of Mayfield, pushing him into WR3 territory 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

Regulation play ranks:

  • Plays per game: 71.3 (4)
  • Dropbacks per game: 50.7 (4)
  • Rush attempts per game: 20.7 (23)
  • Plays per minute: 2.46 (2)

Pass-play rate by game script vs. 2021 NFL average:

  • Trailing by four or more points: 72% (+2)
  • Within three points: 73% (+13)
  • Leading by four or more points: N/A

The Cardinals utilize three or more receivers the sixth-most (76%) in the NFL.

Pass-volume environment: Good

Run-volume environment: Below average

Quarterbacks
Player Week Snaps Dropbacks Pass Att ADOT Adj Comp % TTT YPA Play Action Designed Rush Att Scrambles Sacks i5 Att Checkdown PPR Rank
Kyler Murray 1 57 37 34 7.9 76% 2.86 5.7 24% 21% 3% 5% 0% 0% 13
2 87 52 49 5.9 75% 2.43 5.7 17% 11% 4% 2% 0% 8% 10
3 83 62 58 6.0 76% 2.21 5.4 8% 0% 3% 3% 0% 3% 21
YTD 227 151 141 6.4 76% 2.44 5.6 15% 11% 3% 3% 0% 4% 13
  • Hold/Buy-low: Yeah, we have concerns about Kliff Kingsbury’s ability to design an optimal offense, but it is hard to top a mobile QB in a pass-happy offense. The Cardinals’ weaponry will improve over the coming weeks with the return of Rondale Moore and DeAndre Hopkins.

Rest of season: top-six QB

Running backs
Player Week Snaps Rush Att Routes Targets TPRR SDD Snaps i5 Att LDD Snaps 2MIN Snaps PPR PPR Rank
James Conner 1 72% 53% 63% 16% 19% 100% 100% 75% 0% 16.9 15
2 21% 26% 18% 7% 33% 18% 0% 15% 0% 7.1 41
3 60% 65% 35% 9% 23% 89% 100% 71% 46% 8.7 32
YTD 49% 45% 37% 10% 23% 60% 67% 54% 25% 10.9 26
Eno Benjamin 1 34% 21% 26% 9% 25% 0% 0% 33% 0% 9.1 36
2 43% 30% 35% 7% 17% 36% 0% 15% 45% 8.1 35
3 27% 25% 21% 7% 31% 0% 0% 21% 21% 4.3 50
YTD 34% 26% 27% 8% 23% 16% 0% 23% 32% 7.2 43
Darrel Williams 1 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.0 0
2 46% 30% 45% 7% 14% 55% 100% 92% 60% 14.2 11
3 17% 5% 16% 2% 10% 11% 0% 7% 33% 0.7 70
YTD 23% 14% 22% 3% 13% 28% 33% 33% 45% 7.5 54
  • Buy-low: Conner is battling an ankle injury, but his utilization remains worthy of low-end RB1 status. He is always an injury risk, so don’t overpay, but the Cardinals’ offense can’t get any worse than we have seen in the first three games.

Rest of season:

  • Conner: low-end RB1
  • Benjamin: low-end RB4
  • Williams: stash RB6
Receivers and tight ends
Player Pos Week Routes TPRR Targets ADOT Air Yards EZ Tgts 3rd/4th Down Targets PA Targets PPR PPR Rank
Marquise Brown WR 1 96% 14% 19% 18.3 45% 67% 25% 17% 14.3 26
2 95% 20% 23% 10.1 39% 0% 50% 20% 12.8 36
3 95% 29% 31% 8.0 41% 0% 50% 6% 28.0 3
YTD 95% 22% 25% 10.5 42% 25% 44% 12% 18.4 9
Greg Dortch WR 1 96% 21% 28% 6.8 25% 0% 38% 44% 13.3 32
2 75% 10% 9% 4.8 7% 25% 7% 0% 15.5 22
3 86% 19% 18% 3.6 11% 0% 7% 20% 17.1 18
YTD 85% 17% 18% 5.0 14% 13% 14% 26% 15.3 18
A.J. Green WR 1 72% 10% 9% 12.0 15% 0% 13% 0% 3.3 92
2 85% 16% 16% 7.9 21% 25% 14% 14% 4.6 78
3 35% 9% 4% 12.5 8% 0% 7% 0% 0.0 132
YTD 63% 12% 9% 9.7 14% 13% 11% 8% 2.6 107
Andy Isabella WR 1 33% 20% 9% 10.0 12% 0% 13% 0% 2.0 108
2 0% 0% 0% 0.0 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.0 0
3 35% 10% 4% 20.0 12% 0% 14% 0% 2.1 96
YTD 22% 14% 4% 14.0 8% 0% 8% 0% 2.1 128
Zach Ertz TE 1 63% 11% 9% 5.7 7% 33% 13% 33% 9.4 13
2 92% 23% 25% 5.8 25% 50% 21% 9% 15.5 3
3 87% 19% 18% 6.5 20% 100% 7% 10% 10.5 12
YTD 82% 19% 18% 6.1 18% 50% 14% 13% 11.8 4
Maxx Williams TE 1 4% 0% 0% 0.0 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.0 82
2 7% 0% 0% 0.0 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.0 85
3 3% 0% 0% 0.0 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.0 84
YTD 5% 0% 0% 0.0 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.0 97
  • Waiver/Monitoring: Dortch might be carving out a permanent role, but we won’t know until Moore returns. He has two top-24 finishes and is available in 90% of leagues. FAB: 2-3%
  • Waiver/Monitoring (re-issue): Rondale Moore remains sidelined (hamstring), but he could be heavily involved upon return. Dortch has posted two top-24 finishes filling in for Moore. He could be worth the stash if he is on your waiver wire and you have an easy cut. FAB: 2-3%

Rest of season:

  • Hopkins: mid-range WR2 upon return
  • Brown: high-end WR2 with Hopkins out; low-end WR2 when Hopkins returns
  • Dortch: mid-range WR3 until Moore returns; WR5 after
  • Rondale Moore: upside WR4 upon return
  • Ertz: mid-range TE1

ATLANTA FALCONS

Regulation play ranks:

  • Plays per game: 60.7 (21)
  • Dropbacks per game: 31.7 (29)
  • Rush attempts per game: 29 (6)
  • Plays per minute: 2.11 (19)

Pass-play rate by game script vs. 2021 NFL average:

  • Trailing by four or more points: 51% (-19)
  • Within three points: 59% (-3)
  • Leading by four or more points: 55% (-8)

The Falcons utilize 12 or 21 personnel the most (55%) in the NFL and are No. 1 in play-action rate (47%). Only 3% (31st) of their snaps occur with 15 or more seconds on the clock in neutral game scripts.

Pass-volume environment: Poor

Run-volume environment: Good

Quarterbacks
Player Week Snaps Dropbacks Pass Att ADOT Adj Comp % TTT YPA Play Action Designed Rush Att Scrambles Sacks i5 Att Checkdown PPR Rank
Marcus Mariota 1 75 37 33 8.7 63% 2.91 6.5 49% 22% 11% 0% 100% 3% 3
2 61 32 26 8.4 75% 3.19 7.5 31% 8% 9% 9% 0% 0% 17
3 57 26 21 15.7 68% 3.29 10.9 65% 17% 8% 12% 100% 5% 11
YTD 193 95 80 10.4 68% 3.11 8.0 47% 16% 9% 6% 100% 3% 8
  • Note: Mariota ranks fourth in designed-rush attempts and fifth in scramble rate. A tale as old as time, rushing QBs can post top-10 finishes with ease.

Rest of season: high-end QB2

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