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Fantasy Football Utilization Report: Week 5 waivers, trades and drops

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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Rankings & Projections | WR/CB Matchup Chart | NFL & NCAA Betting Dashboards | NFL Player Props tool | NFL & NCAA Power Rankings


Top Week 4 Takeaways

Waiver Wire
  • RB – Damien Williams is set to handle 70% of the Bears backfield for the next four to five weeks and is worth 30 – 60% of FAB.
  • RB – Latavius Murray has taken over the lead rushing role (62%) in the Ravens backfield and is the preferred SDD back, which will provide scoring opportunities.
  • RB – Semaje Perine will handle most early-down work and half of the passing-down work for any games missed by Joe Mixon (week-to-week with an ankle injury).
  • RB – Kenneth Gainwell has the two-minute offense on lockdown in an offense that throws all the time. He could push Sanders for more as the season progresses.
  • QB – Sam Darnold continues to handle designed rushing attempts and has the weapons to peg the speedometer in the passing game, making him a QB1 the rest of the way.
  • QB – Trey Lance hit big plays in the passing game and, most importantly, scrambled on 23% of dropbacks and has a chance to start in Week 5 and never look back.
  • WR – Laviska Shenault Jr. spiked in TPRR and ADOT, with D.J. Chark knocked from the game.
  • WR – Jamison Crowder returned to the field, and like every other quarterback he has played with, Zach Wilson often targeted him as the underneath option in the slot.
  • TE – Dalton Schultz has separated himself from Blake Jarwin in all the critical utilization metrics. He won't keep up this pace as the receivers return to health, but he can get you through a few weeks allow time to further assess his spot in the pecking order.
Sell High
  • RB – Cordarrelle Patterson is experiencing unsustainable efficiency on utilization that has historically delivered low-end RB2 to RB3 production. If you can sell at an RB1 price tag, get it done.
Buy Low
  • TE – George Kittle's utilization is at astronomical levels. You need to get him before the incoming blow-up game that reminds us of his greatness.
  • RB – Darrell Henderson is an every-down back with top-six RB upside in a great offense.
  • RB – Chase Edmonds is as low-key as an RB1 can get. He is second in the NFL in target share, and big days are coming in this offense.
  • WR – Courtland Sutton has had two down weeks at the box office, but his utilization says good days are coming.
  • WRs – Stefon Diggs, Calvin Ridley, DeAndre Hopkins and CeeDee Lamb may not appear available, but recency bias is potent. Shake the tree and see if something falls in your lap.
Upgrades
  • WR – Kenny Golladay hit a season-high in routes-per-pass play, and the chemistry is growing with Daniel Jones in a surprisingly pass-happy offense.
  • WR – Jakobi Meyers has back-to-back top-24 finishes, and his underlying utilization says we can believe.
  • RB – Leonard Fournette took over the LDD work and the two-minute offense with Giovani Bernard out. He is a must-start RB2 until Bernard returns.
  • QB – Jalen Hurts resides in a pass-happy offense and owns the second-highest designed-run rate behind Lamar Jackson. He is a top-six quarterback the rest of the way.
Downgrades
  • Russell Wilson, D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett continue to fend off the worst volume offense in the NFL, but these things have a way of catching up over time. This offense needs to change.
  • In a volume starved offense, Joe Burrow, Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd are in a similar spot to the Seahawks. We need plays to feed these guys, and it isn't happening so far.
  • WR – Brandon Aiyuk was just kidding last week with his 90% routes-per-pass play. He isn't running enough routes and is an afterthought even when in a route. This offense is evolving into a Deebo Samuel and George Kittle funnel.
  • RB – Myles Gaskin has lost the passing-down work (and almost everything else), rendering him unstartable until this nasty RBBC provides more role clarity.
  • TE – Tyler Higbee's routes and TPRR remain below the levels we want at the position, pushing him down to the low-end TE1 / high-end TE2 range.
PFF’s WR/CB Matchup Chart is a fantasy football tool that you can use to help you set the best lineups. You can toggle between showing the Matchup Advantage column against all projected coverage or the individual defenders. Click here for access.

For a complete breakdown across each position group for every NFL team:

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

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 %
12 26 6 27 6 27 1 17 6 32 16

The Cardinals provide a healthy environment for fantasy points averaging the 12th-most plays per game despite leading the third-highest percentage of plays in the NFL. Thanks to Kyler Murray, they run the fifth-most and gobble up time of possession which offsets the low plays-per-minute.

Quarterbacks
Player Week ADOT Adjusted Comp % TTT YPA Play Action Designed Rush Att Scrambles Sacks i5 Att PPR Rank
Kyler Murray 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% 14
4 6.7 83% 2.98 8.1 34% 5% 10% 10% 25% 11
YTD 8.0 83% 2.93 9.4 36% 11% 7% 6% 30% 2

Murray didn't run as much in Week 4 but still owns the seventh-highest design-rush rate for quarterbacks with at least thirty snaps.

Rest of season: Top-3 QB

Running backs
Player Week Snaps Rush Att Routes Targets TPRR SDD Snaps i5 Att LDD Snaps 2MIN Snaps PPR Rank
Chase Edmonds 2 64% 42% 62% 15% 19% 40% 0% 100% 100% 19
3 65% 41% 69% 24% 30% 40% 20% 100% 100% 25
4 67% 32% 76% 17% 16% 67% 0% 92% 73% 12
YTD 64% 37% 69% 18% 20% 44% 10% 90% 83% 12
James Conner 2 39% 42% 21% 0% 0% 60% 0% 0% 0% 58
3 38% 41% 18% 3% 14% 60% 40% 0% 0% 14
4 42% 49% 27% 7% 18% 44% 75% 8% 33% 7
YTD 42% 46% 23% 2% 8% 59% 50% 10% 21% 25

Buy-low: Edmonds continues to post top-25 performances and is now the RB12 for the season without a blowup game – which is coming. The Cardinals back owns the second-highest target share in the NFL at 18%, and the Cardinals will eventually see more close and trailing scripts. That is when Edmonds will shine.

Sell-high: Conner is a game-script-dependent RB3 with boom-bust potential. You can do worse, but moving him on his RB14 and RB7 the last two weeks is the sharp move. Plenty of RB4 games are still in the pipeline, which will make him harder to move later.

Rest of season:
  • Edmonds: high-end RB2 in PPR and half-PPR, low-end RB2 in standard
  • Conner: boom-bust RB3
Receivers and tight ends
Player Pos Week Routes TPRR Targets ADOT Air Yards EZ Tgts 3rd/4th Down Targets PA Targets PPR Rank
DeAndre Hopkins WR 2 98% 10% 12% 12.0 17% 50% 29% 50% 30
3 97% 13% 15% 7.2 14% 0% 30% 0% 74
4 100% 17% 24% 13.0 47% 50% 17% 14% 45
YTD 97% 15% 18% 11.3 26% 30% 25% 26% 22
A.J. Green WR 2 86% 17% 18% 9.7 21% 50% 29% 17% 39
3 87% 18% 18% 17.5 42% 0% 20% 83% 22
4 93% 16% 21% 8.3 26% 0% 50% 33% 17
YTD 88% 17% 19% 11.3 27% 20% 25% 33% 30
Christian Kirk WR 2 74% 13% 12% 24.3 35% 0% 29% 25% 54
3 74% 28% 24% 13.4 42% 100% 10% 63% 20
4 88% 3% 3% 4.0 2% 0% 0% 0% 105
YTD 75% 15% 14% 15.2 28% 30% 19% 33% 29
Rondale Moore WR 2 57% 33% 24% 3.9 11% 0% 0% 50% 5
3 36% 14% 6% -5.0 -4% 0% 10% 50% 102
4 39% 19% 10% -0.7 -1% 0% 17% 33% 64
YTD 43% 26% 14% 2.2 4% 10% 13% 33% 44
Maxx Williams TE 2 60% 28% 21% 4.9 12% 0% 0% 57% 4
3 56% 14% 9% 4.3 5% 0% 0% 0% 26
4 49% 25% 17% 4.6 12% 50% 0% 40% 5
YTD 56% 18% 13% 5.9 9% 10% 0% 44% 12

Buy-low: Despite the disappointing box score, Hopkins bounced back to a 24% target share and led the team in air yards. His utilization keeps him in the WR1 conversation.

Kirk saw a season-high 88% routes-per-pass play but a season-low in targets at 3%.

Williams has two top-5 fantasy finishes in the last three weeks, but his routes and TPRR don't support the production. As a result, he needs a bump in utilization to justify starting.

Moore continues to lag too far behind in snaps and routes to consider in starting lineups; he remains a stash play for now.

Trend: Green's routes and targets are up over the last three weeks, and he now leads No. 3 receiver Kirk by 5% in target share. They rank WR30 and WR29, respectively.

Rest of season:
  • Hopkins: low-end WR1, high-end WR2
  • Kirk: boom-bust WR4
  • Green: low-end WR4
  • Moore: WR5 stash play
  • Williams: low-end TE2

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 %
9 6 16 11 22 15 20 30 18 13 3

The Falcons aren't an efficient offense, but they continue to pump out enough volume for their skill players to remain relevant.

Quarterbacks
Player Week ADOT Adjusted Comp % TTT YPA Play Action Designed Rush Att Scrambles Sacks i5 Att PPR Rank
Matt Ryan 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% 19
4 12.5 67% 2.49 6.5 24% 0% 2% 4% 0% 3
YTD 7.0 73% 2.59 6.1 26% 3% 2% 5% 0% 19

Monitoring: Ryan's measly ADOT was the focus of conversation here last week, and that number skyrocketed in Week 4 to help propel a top-three finish and his highest PFF pass grade (89.8) of 2021. It is only one data point, but this is more like the old Arthur Smith passing attack from Tennessee.

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
Mike Davis 2 64% 45% 54% 15% 25% 70% 0% 50% 91% 18
3 60% 57% 46% 11% 21% 50% 100% 54% 64% 27
4 67% 48% 67% 5% 6% 60% 0% 79% 75% 30
YTD 67% 52% 61% 13% 17% 59% 25% 69% 79% 29
Cordarrelle Patterson 2 33% 35% 31% 15% 44% 40% 50% 36% 9% 4
3 42% 33% 39% 17% 38% 50% 0% 46% 45% 19
4 30% 22% 29% 13% 36% 60% 0% 36% 25% 1
YTD 35% 28% 31% 13% 35% 45% 25% 31% 23% 2

Sell-high: Patterson ranks No. 1 in fantasy points over expected (31.3), almost tripling the closest challenger. Since 2011, five backs have sustained a plus-30% TPRR while playing between 30 and 40% of snaps for a season (minimum 14 games):

  • James White (2020 – RB42)
  • Kenyan Drake (2019 – RB17)
  • Alex Collins (2017 – RB19)
  • Tarik Cohen (2017 – RB33)
  • Darren Sproles (2013 – RB23)

Patterson's rushing attempt percentage is more in line with Drake and Collins. His utilization suggests a low-end RB2 or high-end RB3 – which is excellent considering he went undrafted in most formats. However, if someone in your league is willing to pay the top-six RB price tag, he should be moved. On the other hand, don't sell for cheap – he has value as an RB2/RB3, so price him as a high-end RB1 and concede according to plan, settling at a low-end RB1 or high-end RB2 price tag.

Rest of season:
  • Patterson: low-end RB2, high-end RB3
  • Davis: low-end RB2, high-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
Calvin Ridley WR 2 90% 21% 22% 11.5 51% 100% 17% 30% 17
3 98% 28% 31% 5.2 35% 25% 33% 27% 27
4 96% 28% 33% 15.1 44% 0% 43% 31% 25
YTD 95% 24% 28% 10.9 45% 27% 33% 29% 20
Olamide Zaccheaus WR 2 56% 10% 7% 7.0 9% 0% 8% 33% 79
3 73% 20% 17% 11.0 40% 25% 33% 33% 36
4 84% 7% 8% 15.7 10% 25% 0% 33% 96
YTD 58% 11% 8% 11.2 13% 18% 10% 33% 90
Kyle Pitts TE 2 81% 12% 11% 7.8 17% 0% 17% 20% 7
3 85% 9% 9% 11.7 21% 25% 17% 0% 24
4 78% 24% 23% 10.3 21% 25% 21% 22% 15
YTD 81% 16% 16% 8.8 21% 18% 18% 21% 19
Hayden Hurst TE 2 38% 5% 2% 6.0 3% 0% 8% 0% 56
3 34% 7% 3% 5.0 3% 0% 0% 0% 61
4 55% 19% 13% 10.8 12% 25% 7% 20% 22
YTD 47% 13% 7% 6.8 7% 9% 8% 27% 34

Buy-low: Ridley is a premier target hog. This utilization profile is one of a top-10 receiver – even in this offense.

Buy-low: Pitts stays close to the 80% routes-per-pass play mark we covet at tight end, and Week 4 marked a season-high in TPRR and target share. We need his TPRR to push towards 20% on the season to unlock weekly top-six upside.

Rest of season:
  • Ridley: Top-10 WR
  • Pitts: low-end TE1 with top-six upside

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