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The Fantasy Football Utilization Report: Week 8 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 7 TAKEAWAYS

Waiver Wire

RB – Michael Carter has logged a season-high snap count and neared 60% of attempts in three consecutive contests. He will continue to see some company in a rotation, but he carries the most upside of the Jets' backs. He is available in 30-40% of Yahoo and ESPN leagues. FAB: +40%

RB – Kenneth Gainwell could be in for more work if Miles Sanders can't return from his ankle injury in time for Week 8. Gainwell will play a Chase Edmonds-type role, playing 60% or more of the snaps but handling 30-40% of rushing attempts and most passing-down work. FAB: 5-10%

RB – Darrynton Evans returned to action and could play a significant role if something happened to Derrick Henry. FAB: 1-2%

WR – The Green Bay Packers could be without Davante Adams on Thursday night, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (returning from IR) and Allen Lazard would have a shot at 90%-plus of the routes. FAB: 1-2%

Sell High

TE – Noah Fant will likely see a dip in routes when Albert Okwuegbunam returns, which could happen this week. Fant remains a low-end TE1 option, but his consistency and upside will take a hit.

WR – Corey Davisutilization is dwindling in a receiver-by-committee situation in a bad passing offense. He will need touchdowns to continue to stay in the WR3 range. Now is the time to try and sell his two top-20 finishes in the last three weeks.

Buy Low

WR – Calvin Ridley continues to post elite utilization metrics in a passing offense that is improving. His days are coming.

WR – Tee Higgins has 20%, 22% and 43% target shares since his return from a shoulder injury. With the Bengals' passing volume picking up steam, now is the time to buy an upside WR3 who ranks outside the top 50 receivers.

TE – Darren Waller missed Week 7 due to an ankle injury and now heads into a bye. Stack those two events on top of his last three finishes, and it seems like an eternity since Waller has been good to some fantasy managers. However, his utilization remains elite across the board, and he is a top-three option the rest of the way. Give the door of opportunity a knock.

Upgrades

RB – Jonathan Taylor‘s routes are up over the last two games, thanks to the Colts avoiding long-down-distance situations. The Colts are avoiding trailing scripts (only 12% in the previous four games), and Taylor's fantasy finishes are improving despite his role remaining unchanged.

RB – Cordarrelle Patterson saw a season-high in rushing share and has bested Mike Davis in that department in consecutive games. He also lined up as a receiver 17% more than his season average, as this coaching staff is finding ways to keep him on the field and get him the rock.

RB – Chase Edmondsutilization surged back toward his early-season utilization after two weeks of being hindered with a shoulder injury.

WR – A.J. Brown is once again dominating looks in the Titans' passing game with 28%, 38% and 33% of targets over the last three games. Almost half of his targets (47%) are coming on play-action passes, which is 24 percentage points above the league average for receivers.

WR – Ja'Marr Chase continues to do his thing, and the Bengals' passing offensive volume is starting to rise. Their pass rate on neutral first downs is up from 17% to 60%, and their dropbacks per game are up by four over the last three contests.

TE – Mike Gesicki busted through the 80% route barrier and has a 21% targets per route on the season. If he can sustain his routes as the receiving corps gets healthy, he has a shot at a top-six season.

Downgrades

RB – Antonio Gibson‘s routes are down over the past two games as he plays through his shin injury. He is only a two-down back in a bad offense at the moment.

RB – Mike Davis continues to see more snaps from the backfield than Patterson, but the touches are evaporating.

WR – Elijah Moore is in a committee approach at receiver and isn't seeing enough routes to make him worth holding in most formats.

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.
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


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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
13 26 3 30 3 28 17 16 5 16 17

Pass-volume environment: Poor

Run-volume environment: Good

Pass/run tendencies: Pass-balanced

Quarterbacks
Player Week ADOT Adjusted Comp % TTT YPA Play Action Designed Rush Att Scrambles Sacks i5 Att PPR Rank
Kyler Murray 5 8.1 79% 2.60 7.7 38% 27% 0% 6% 0% 23
6 9.7 81% 2.53 7.6 34% 18% 0% 6% 0% 5
7 9.3 85% 3.03 9.3 50% 11% 6% 12% 0% 9
YTD 8.4 82% 2.83 9.0 38% 14% 5% 6% 25% 4

Rest of season: Top-three QB

Running backs
Player Week Snaps Rush Att Routes Targets TPRR SDD Snaps i5 Att LDD Snaps 2MIN Snaps PPR Rank
Chase Edmonds 5 61% 23% 49% 14% 24% 50% 0% 88% 60% 45
6 37% 11% 38% 15% 33% 20% 0% 67% 0% 36
7 69% 42% 74% 8% 8% 60% 100% 63% 88% 26
YTD 60% 31% 62% 16% 20% 38% 17% 82% 79% 19
James Conner 5 48% 38% 31% 4% 9% 100% 100% 25% 40% 33
6 55% 42% 35% 4% 8% 80% 0% 17% 0% 35
7 30% 28% 17% 0% 0% 40% 0% 25% 0% 22
YTD 43% 41% 24% 2% 8% 67% 50% 15% 21% 21

Upgrade: Edmonds may be over his shoulder ailment. He handled his highest rushing share in three games.

Rest of season:

  • Edmonds: low-end RB2 in PPR and half-PPR until we see attempts rise; RB3 in standard
  • Conner: 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
DeAndre Hopkins WR 5 100% 26% 32% 18.4 73% 67% 43% 44% 15
6 97% 10% 12% 15.3 18% 33% 20% 33% 12
7 97% 27% 35% 9.2 34% 67% 33% 67% 11
YTD 98% 18% 21% 12.6 32% 42% 23% 39% 12
A.J. Green WR 5 89% 7% 7% 10.5 9% 33% 0% 100% 102
6 92% 21% 23% 16.2 38% 33% 10% 50% 14
7 86% 10% 12% 21.0 26% 0% 17% 67% 36
YTD 88% 16% 17% 12.9 26% 21% 16% 43% 33
Christian Kirk WR 5 51% 28% 18% 5.2 11% 0% 14% 0% 42
6 84% 31% 31% 15.1 48% 33% 30% 38% 17
7 74% 20% 19% 13.0 27% 33% 17% 60% 18
YTD 73% 20% 18% 13.5 28% 26% 17% 33% 22
Rondale Moore WR 5 57% 30% 21% 4.5 12% 0% 29% 33% 28
6 54% 22% 15% 0.0 0% 0% 20% 25% 68
7 49% 19% 12% -0.7 -1% 0% 17% 0% 65
YTD 47% 26% 15% 2.1 4% 5% 14% 29% 47
Zach Ertz TE 5
6
7 57% 21% 15% 10.3 17% 0% 17% 50% 6
YTD 8% 20% 2% 10.3 2% 0% 16% 50% 12

Monitoring: Ertz filled the role of Maxx Williams, underwhelming in routes but registering a solid TPRR. The veteran tight end will need more time on the field to sustain his TE6 finish.

Rest of season:

  • Hopkins: low-end WR1
  • Kirk: boom-bust WR3
  • Green: low-end WR3
  • Moore: stash WR5
  • Ertz: high-end TE2

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
8 7 12 11 22 14 23 2 19 10 31

Pass-volume environment: Good

Run-volume environment: Average

Pass/run tendencies: Pass-balanced

Thanks to the 11th-most play-action passing (29%) and an enhanced vertical attack, the Falcons have developed into a fruitful atmosphere for fantasy production. Over the last three games, ADOT is up from 4.9 to 10.6. They continue to face long-down-and-distance situations too often (third-most) but push the tempo with the fourth-highest rate of two-minute offense snaps.

Quarterbacks
Player Week ADOT Adjusted Comp % TTT YPA Play Action Designed Rush Att Scrambles Sacks i5 Att PPR Rank
Matt Ryan 4 11.5 69% 2.33 6.7 23% 0% 2% 2% 0% 3
5 8.0 81% 2.46 7.6 42% 3% 0% 0% 0% 12
7 9.5 73% 2.73 8.4 26% 10% 2% 2% 0% 13
YTD 7.3 76% 2.56 6.8 29% 4% 2% 4% 0% 20

Upgrade: With the improved play in the new scheme and development of Kyle Pitts and Cordarrelle Patterson, Ryan is a viable high-end QB2.

Rest of season: high-end QB2 with low-end QB1 upside

Running backs
Player Week Snaps Rush Att Routes Targets TPRR SDD Snaps i5 Att LDD Snaps 2MIN Snaps PPR Rank
Cordarrelle Patterson 4 30% 22% 29% 13% 42% 75% 0% 36% 25% 1
5 59% 48% 51% 19% 33% 43% 0% 60% 20% 16
7 73% 67% 64% 11% 14% 100% 100% 58% 46% 19
YTD 45% 38% 39% 14% 31% 50% 33% 39% 27% 7
Mike Davis 4 67% 48% 67% 5% 7% 50% 0% 79% 75% 32
5 64% 45% 41% 9% 20% 57% 100% 90% 90% 26
7 60% 19% 60% 0% 0% 0% 0% 83% 69% 61
YTD 65% 46% 57% 10% 15% 55% 33% 74% 79% 36

Upgrade: Patterson played a season-high 73% of snaps and led the team with 67% of rushing attempts. The multi-faceted weapon grew his snap share with more playing time at receiver despite the return of Russell Gage. Patterson lined up as a receiver on 52% of his snaps, a 19 percentage-point increase over the first five games. His TPRR dropped, but he made up for it with the additional rushing attempts. This coaching staff is adamant about finding Patterson touches.

Downgrade: Davis' snaps and rushing attempts are heading in the wrong direction. He continues to handle most of the RB alignment snaps (32 to 21) and the LDD and two-minute situations, but he has a new floor after this RB61 finish.

Rest of season:

  • Patterson: mid-range RB2
  • Davis: mid-range 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 4 96% 30% 33% 15.1 44% 0% 43% 31% 26
5
7 79% 27% 24% 5.2 13% 100% 33% 22% 28
YTD 75% 26% 22% 9.9 30% 31% 27% 27% 41
Russell Gage WR 4
5
7 60% 24% 16% 12.8 22% 0% 22% 17% 14
YTD 31% 18% 6% 7.2 6% 8% 7% 13% 102
Kyle Pitts TE 4 78% 26% 23% 10.3 21% 25% 21% 22% 18
5 78% 29% 23% 10.7 31% 100% 20% 50% 3
7 79% 27% 24% 18.6 47% 0% 33% 33% 2
YTD 80% 21% 19% 11.3 29% 23% 20% 30% 7
Hayden Hurst TE 4 55% 21% 13% 10.8 12% 25% 7% 20% 25
5 53% 19% 12% 13.6 20% 0% 13% 60% 7
7 60% 16% 11% 7.5 9% 0% 0% 25% 21
YTD 50% 15% 9% 8.7 10% 8% 8% 35% 29

Buy-low (re-issue)/Monitoring: Ridley posted another strong utilization performance with a 27% TPRR and 24% target share. His routes dipped below 80%, and, one play aside, he wasn't on the field for the game-winning drive. The Falcons used 13 personnel (three tight ends) on 50% of plays on the final drive.

Don't buy: Gage posted WR14 finish but was only in a route on 60% of plays in his first game back. With Patterson expanding his role as a receiver, Pitts playing outside and Ridley locked in as the WR1, routes may continue to be hard to find.

Upgrade: Pitts has been shattering TPRR data points over the past three games. If he can keep up these rates, he has a shot at a top-three finish and could surprise with more.

Rest of season:

  • Ridley: Top-10 WR
  • Pitts: Top-three TE
  • Gage: low-end WR5

BALTIMORE RAVENS

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
10 24 5 20 13 27 16 10 6 17 23

Pass-volume environment: Average (upgrade)

Run-volume environment: Good (upgrade)

Pass/run tendencies: Run-balanced

Jackson is now dropping back on 61% of of plays, up a whopping 11% versus 2020. They rank ninth in dropbacks per game over the last three games.

Quarterbacks
Player Week ADOT Adjusted Comp % TTT YPA Play Action Designed Rush Att Scrambles Sacks i5 Att PPR Rank
Lamar Jackson 5 7.2 90% 3.13 10.3 21% 37% 13% 4% 67% 2
6 7.9 80% 3.20 6.2 45% 14% 9% 9% 0% 20
7 15.7 52% 3.48 8.3 38% 33% 14% 12% 0% 8
YTD 11.3 75% 3.17 8.6 36% 24% 11% 8% 50% 5

Jackson didn't play the final three drives with the game out of hand. He could have had another top-five day.

Rest of season: top-three QB

Running backs
Player Week Snaps Rush Att Routes Targets TPRR SDD Snaps i5 Att LDD Snaps 2MIN Snaps PPR Rank
Devonta Freeman 5 27% 5% 30% 7% 19% 0% 0% 13% 82% 44
6 30% 25% 21% 0% 0% 0% 0% 33% 0% 23
7 40% 22% 31% 8% 19% 33% 100% 33% 0% 21
YTD 19% 11% 18% 3% 11% 13% 20% 22% 24% 59
Latavius Murray 5 49% 32% 28% 7% 21% 0% 0% 50% 0% 50
6 38% 25% 30% 8% 20% 100% 0% 0% 0% 21
7
YTD 36% 31% 21% 2% 8% 63% 0% 14% 11% 43
Le'Veon Bell 5 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0
6 32% 22% 27% 0% 0% 0% 100% 67% 0% 37
7 30% 28% 18% 5% 20% 0% 0% 39% 0% 59
YTD 13% 9% 10% 1% 10% 0% 10% 27% 8% 85
Ty'Son Williams 5 19% 21% 19% 5% 20% 0% 0% 13% 18% 54
6
7 29% 11% 25% 5% 14% 67% 0% 22% 0% 40
YTD 28% 17% 26% 5% 15% 25% 10% 27% 54% 57

Murray missed Week 7.

Trend: It doesn't matter which three backs are active, they are all going to rotate.

Rest of season:

  • Murray: low-end RB3
  • Freeman: low-end RB5
  • Bell: low-end RB5
Receivers and tight ends
Player Pos Week Routes TPRR Targets ADOT Air Yards EZ Tgts 3rd/4th Down Targets PA Targets PPR Rank
Marquise Brown WR 5 98% 20% 24% 10.6 35% 50% 20% 10% 3
6 88% 17% 20% 7.8 20% 0% 43% 40% 56
7 96% 27% 35% 23.6 56% 100% 33% 50% 10
YTD 86% 23% 26% 16.5 38% 50% 28% 42% 6
Rashod Bateman WR 5 0% 0% 0% 0.0 0% 0% 0% 0% 0
6 67% 27% 24% 7.7 23% 0% 29% 50% 59
7 65% 14% 13% 13.8 12% 0% 8% 60% 33
YTD 19% 19% 5% 10.5 5% 0% 6% 55% 120
Devin Duvernay WR 5 93% 8% 10% 6.3 8% 0% 20% 0% 52
6 55% 17% 12% 1.7 3% 0% 0% 33% 75
7 55% 4% 3% 11.0 2% 0% 0% 0% 77
YTD 60% 11% 8% 10.7 8% 13% 9% 28% 84
Mark Andrews TE 5 80% 32% 31% 8.7 37% 50% 20% 23% 1
6 70% 26% 24% 13.3 40% 100% 14% 50% 4
7 64% 21% 18% 12.1 15% 0% 33% 29% 18
YTD 79% 22% 23% 10.9 22% 25% 19% 41% 2

Andrews was in a route on 80% of Jackson's dropbacks but left the game in the fourth quarter when Tyler Huntley took over at quarterback.

Monitoring: Bateman was in a route 80% of Jackson's dropbacks and only played one snap after Huntley entered the game. That would have been an improvement over the 65% of plays last week. Sammy Watkins will now get a bye week to recover from his hamstring injury, and we will see how well Bateman has solidified his standing in Week 9.

Rest of season:

  • Brown: mid-range WR2
  • Bateman: upside WR4
  • Andrews: top-five TE
  • Watkins: free agent

BUFFALO BILLS

Bye Week, see Week 7 Utilization Report for more info.

Quarterbacks

Rest of season:

  • Allen: top-three QB
Running backs

Rest of season:

  • Moss: high-end RB3
  • Singletary: mid-range RB4
Receivers and tight ends

Rest of season:

  • Diggs: top-six WR (buy low)
  • Sanders: mid-range WR3
  • Beasley: high-end WR4
  • Knox: low-end TE1

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