Fantasy Football Utilization Report: Week 4 waivers, trades and drops | Fantasy Football News, Rankings and Projections | PFF

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Fantasy Football Utilization Report: Week 4 waivers, trades and drops

Fantasy football production occurs at the intersection of talent and opportunity. This weekly piece explores the underlying utilization drivers that impact opportunity.

  • 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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Top Week 3 Takeaways:

Waiver wire: Chuba Hubbard played in every situation and is an RB2 with RB1 upside each week Christian McCaffrey misses.

Waiver wire: Zack Moss took the lead in the Bills backfield and is available in 60% of home leagues.

Waiver wire: Rashod Bateman could return in Week 4, and the Ravens passing attack suddenly has more balls to go around.

Buy-low: Robert Woods is still the WR2 for the Rams and will soon be posting WR2 fantasy finishes in the best offense of his career.

Buy-low: Kyle Pitts continues to hit critical thresholds in routes-per-pass play and is due for a big game.

Upgrade: Odell Beckham Jr. jumped into a funnel role in the Browns offense in his first week back from injury. He is a WR3 with WR2 upside starting next week.

Upgrade: Saquon Barkley‘s utilization is back to every-down elite status, and he is a top-six RB the rest of the way.

Upgrade: Brandon Aiyuk experienced a jolt in utilization, but there are many mouths to feed in the Niners' run-heavy attack making him a WR4 with WR3 upside.

Downgrade: Mecole Hardman‘s snaps and routes are declining, and now the Chiefs added Josh Gordon. Hardman is slipping into WR5 territory.

Trend: Christian Kirk is the second receiver to roster in the Cardinals offense, not Rondale Moore. He is a WR3 with WR2 upside and is available in many home-league formats.

Trend: Aaron Jones has seized most of the passing-down work vacated by Jamaal Williams, and he is the RB4 the rest of the way.

Monitoring: The Ravens offense is throwing the ball more in 2021, which could unlock new value for Lamar Jackson.

Monitoring: Leonard Fournette could see a boost in the passing game if Giovani Bernard misses time.

For a complete breakdown across each position group for every NFL 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

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

ARIZONA CARDINALS

Team Ranks
Plays per Game Plays per Minute Time of Possession Pass % Run % Trail Pass % Close Pass % Lead Pass % Trail Run % Close Run % Lead Run %
19 28 6 21 12 25 3 16 8 30 17

The Cardinals are one of the slowest teams from a play-per-minute perspective, but their time-of-possession numbers keep the offensive volume flowing. Only five teams have led a more significant percentage of plays than Arizona, so they could open it up more when needed.

Quarterbacks
Player Week ADOT Adjusted Comp % TTT YPA Play Action Designed Rush Att Scrambles Sacks i5 Att PPR Rank
Kyler Murray 1 9.1 72% 2.91 9.0 25% 13% 3% 6% 100% 1
2 8.3 88% 3.03 11.1 39% 16% 5% 7% 0% 1
3 7.9 88% 2.78 9.9 44% 15% 10% 0% 20% 12
YTD 8.4 83% 2.91 9.9 36% 14% 6% 4% 33% 2

Murray drops one spot in the season-long ranks after a down-day passing but is still my QB2 for the rest of the season. No quarterback combines more upside in passing and rushing categories outside of Josh Allen. Murray currently ranks fifth in designed rushing attempts rate and ninth in scrambles per dropback.

Rest of season: Top-three quarterback

Running backs
Player Week Snaps Rush Att Routes Targets TPRR SDD Snaps i5 Att LDD Snaps 2MIN Snaps PPR Rank
Chase Edmonds 1 58% 34% 68% 14% 16% 0% 0% 75% 100% 18
2 64% 42% 62% 15% 19% 40% 0% 100% 100% 19
3 65% 41% 69% 24% 30% 40% 20% 100% 100% 24
YTD 62% 38% 66% 18% 22% 33% 17% 89% 100% 16
James Conner 1 49% 50% 24% 0% 0% 100% 0% 25% 0% 46
2 39% 42% 21% 0% 0% 60% 0% 0% 0% 58
3 38% 41% 21% 3% 13% 60% 40% 0% 0% 13
YTD 42% 45% 22% 1% 4% 67% 33% 11% 0% 40

After three weeks, we have a crystal clear picture of the Cardinals' intentions at running back. Each of the backs will get around 40% of attempts each week, with Conner leading the way in SDD situations while Edmonds locks down most of the passing-down work.

Only three backs rank higher than Edmonds in targets and target share. Christian McCaffrey finished as RB9, and James White finished as RB7 on similar workloads in 2017 and 2018. Alvin Kamara has two top-five seasons and represents the ceiling if Edmonds can wrestle away a few more of the SDD touches from Conner (or if Conner goes down).

Rest of season: Edmonds is a weekly RB2 in PPR and half-PPR, while Conner is a touchdown-dependent boom-bust RB4 with RB3 appeal in great matchups and game scripts.

Receivers and tight ends
Player Pos Week Routes Targets TPRR ADOT Air Yards EZ Tgts 3rd/4th Down Targets PA Targets PPR Rank
DeAndre Hopkins WR 1 95% 24% 20% 12.1 32% 20% 22% 43% 6
2 98% 12% 10% 12.0 17% 50% 29% 50% 30
3 97% 15% 13% 7.2 14% 0% 30% 0% 67
YTD 97% 17% 14% 10.6 21% 25% 27% 31% 20
A.J. Green WR 1 86% 21% 19% 9.7 22% 20% 11% 0% 89
2 86% 18% 17% 9.7 21% 50% 29% 17% 41
3 87% 18% 18% 17.5 42% 0% 20% 83% 22
YTD 86% 19% 18% 12.3 28% 25% 19% 33% 43
Christian Kirk WR 1 62% 17% 22% 13.2 25% 40% 33% 0% 10
2 74% 12% 13% 24.3 35% 0% 29% 25% 54
3 74% 24% 28% 13.4 42% 100% 10% 63% 20
YTD 70% 18% 20% 15.9 34% 38% 23% 35% 15
Rondale Moore WR 1 76% 17% 71% 4.0 8% 20% 22% 0% 51
2 57% 24% 33% 3.9 11% 0% 0% 50% 5
3 36% 6% 14% -5.0 -4% 0% 10% 50% 95
YTD 88% 16% 58% 2.7 5% 13% 12% 33% 37
Maxx Williams TE 1 59% 3% 5% 24.0 9% 0% 0% 100% 89
2 60% 21% 28% 4.9 12% 0% 0% 57% 4
3 46% 9% 17% 4.3 5% 0% 0% 0% 23
YTD 55% 11% 17% 6.5 9% 0% 0% 45% 17

Hopkins played through a rib injury which may have been a factor in the target-share dip over the past two games. Kirk has two top-20 performances in two weeks and leads the team in endzone targets and air yards. Moore remains the highest targets-per-route option on the team, but his routes are all over the place.

Rest of season: Hopkins remains a WR1 and should see increased targets as he gets healthy. Kirk is a WR3 with WR2 upside, and Moore is a WR5 – don't trust him in your lineups, but he should be on a roster in most formats. Green is a WR4 without upside, and Williams is a low-end TE2.

According to FantasyPros, Kirk is available in 49% of Yahoo leagues and 77% of ESPN leagues. If this is true in your league, pounce now. He is on a roster in 99.6% of Footballguys Players Championship leagues – as it should be.


ATLANTA FALCONS

Team Ranks
Plays per Game Plays per Minute Time of Possession Pass % Run % Trail Pass % Close Pass % Lead Pass % Trail Run % Close Run % Lead Run %
10 12 16 12 21 14 29 32 19 4 1

The Falcons want to run the ball as indicated by their close and lead run-rate rank, but they find themselves in trailing scripts, the fourth-most in the NFL. Nevertheless, the volume is solid enough to support a few fantasy weapons despite the inefficiency.

Quarterbacks
Player Week ADOT Adjusted Comp % TTT YPA Play Action Designed Rush Att Scrambles Sacks i5 Att PPR Rank
Matt Ryan 1 5.2 72% 2.58 4.7 28% 4% 3% 8% 0% 31
2 4.8 82% 2.49 6.5 19% 5% 2% 2% 0% 19
3 4.8 73% 2.82 6.4 34% 5% 0% 7% 0% 17
YTD 5.0 75% 2.63 5.9 27% 4% 1% 6% 0% 25

This version of the Arthur Smith offense looks nothing like the offense he ran in Tennessee and Ryan could be part of the difference. Ryan isn't pushing the ball down the field – sporting the lowest ADOT in the NFL for quarterbacks with at least 50 attempts.

Rest of season: Ryan is a low-end QB2 that shouldn't remain on most rosters.

Running backs
Player Week Snaps Rush Att Routes Targets TPRR SDD Snaps i5 Att LDD Snaps 2MIN Snaps PPR Rank
Mike Davis 1 75% 56% 77% 19% 18% 33% 0% 88% 100% 32
2 64% 45% 54% 15% 25% 70% 0% 50% 91% 18
3 60% 57% 49% 11% 20% 50% 100% 54% 64% 26
YTD 66% 53% 60% 15% 21% 59% 25% 66% 81% 22
Cordarrelle Patterson 1 34% 26% 25% 6% 18% 33% 0% 12% 0% 36
2 33% 35% 31% 15% 44% 40% 50% 36% 9% 4
3 42% 33% 41% 17% 35% 50% 0% 46% 45% 18
YTD 36% 31% 32% 13% 34% 41% 25% 30% 22% 8

Trend: Patterson is taking over more of Davis' snaps, routes and targets each week. Davis remains the lead option on the ground, but he is on his way to game-script-dependent status in an offense that plays behind every week.

Upgrade: Patterson has three top-36 finishes in three weeks. His sustained uptrend in the passing game makes him an every-week RB3 with upside.

Rest of season: Davis is a low-end RB2 trending towards RB3 utilization, and Patterson is an RB3 in PPR and half-PPR formats.

Receivers and tight ends
Player Pos Week Routes Targets TPRR ADOT Air Yards EZ Tgts 3rd/4th Down Targets PA Targets PPR Rank
Calvin Ridley WR 1 95% 25% 19% 11.3 54% 0% 38% 25% 60
2 90% 22% 21% 11.5 51% 100% 17% 30% 17
3 98% 31% 28% 5.2 35% 25% 33% 27% 27
YTD 94% 26% 22% 9.0 47% 43% 30% 28% 25
Olamide Zaccheaus WR 1 18% 0% 0% 0.0 0% 0% 0% 0% 133
2 56% 7% 10% 7.0 9% 0% 8% 33% 80
3 73% 17% 20% 11.0 40% 25% 33% 33% 36
YTD 49% 8% 13% 9.7 16% 14% 14% 33% 80
Kyle Pitts WR 1 80% 22% 20% 6.4 27% 0% 15% 29% 23
2 81% 11% 12% 7.8 17% 0% 17% 20% 7
3 88% 9% 8% 11.7 21% 25% 17% 0% 21
YTD 82% 13% 13% 7.9 21% 14% 16% 20% 13

Trend: Pitts continues to see routes-per-pass play over 80%, which is enormous for tight ends. He is moving all over the formation, with 24% of routes coming inline, 46% from the slot and 24% wide. He has struggled out wide and in line with PFF receiving grades of 57.2 and 54.2 but performed better from the slot (74.9).

Rest of season: Ridley's gigantic target shares will eventually payoff – he is a low-end WR1 in 12-team PPR and half-PPR formats. Pitts remains a top-7 tight end with top-3 upside. The coaches trust him enough to have him in the elite routes-run territory, and the talent will eventually shine through.


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