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The Fantasy Football Utilization Report: Week 9 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 8 TAKEAWAYS

Waiver Wire

QB – Taysom Hill posted QB3, 11, 7 and 9 finishes last season in his four games filling in for Drew Brees. FAB: 15-25%

 QB – Justin Fields finally got going on the ground and has demonstrated an increased willingness to scramble over the past several games. The Steelers, however, provide a tough matchup in Week 9. FAB: 5-10%

 RB – Adrian Peterson will likely handle half of the rushing attempts left behind by Derrick Henry, who is out 6-to-10 weeks with a foot injury. FAB: 50%+

RB – Jeremy McNichols will retain the passing-down duties and chip in to help Peterson on the ground in Henry‘s absence. FAB: 15-25%

RB – Sony Michel is the primary backup to Darrell Henderson in an elite offense and is a must-roster RB5-stash in most formats. FAB: 5-10%

WR – DeVante Parker returned from his shoulder and hamstring injuries to post a 33% target share in an offense that passes in every game situation. FAB: 10-20%

WR – Brandon Aiyuk ran a route on 97% of the pass plays — a season-high — and saw 27% of the targets. FAB: 5-10%

WR – Van Jefferson‘s utilization is climbing due to DeSean Jackson seeking a trade. He is a boom-bust WR4 now with upside, should Kupp or Woods go down. FAB: 2-5%

 Sell High

N/A

Buy Low

RB – Zack Moss is splitting carries with Devin Singletary but has taken over the passing-down and short-down distance work. He is due for a big game.

WR – Keenan Allen‘s targets per route are heating up in a pass-heavy offense.

TE – Darren Waller (re-issue) 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. Still, 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 – Michael Carter ramped up utilization in long-down-distance and the two-minute offense. He is a near every-down back now.

TE – Kyle Pitts saw a season-high in routes (97%) and is the Falcons No. 1 pass-game option with Calvin Ridley out. He is a top-three tight end the rest of the way.

Downgrades

RB – Alex Collins is in a three-way committee on a team that lacks play volume.

RB – Kenneth Gainwell‘s workload came almost entirely in the fourth quarter after Boston Scott and Jordan Howard handled the heavy lifting early.

RB – Antonio Gibson wasn't on the injury report heading into the game, but he saw a season-low in rushing attempts with Jaret Patterson leading the way.

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
15 24 7 29 4 25 16 17 8 17 16

Pass-volume environment: Poor

Run-volume environment: Good

Pass/run tendencies: Balanced (previously pass-balanced)

Finally in a trailing script (41% of plays), the Cardinals were forced to pass more in Week 8 (68%). They played in a similar game in Week 2 when they trailed by four or more on 56% of plays and dropped back to pass on 69% of plays.

Pass rates by game script vs. the NFL average:

  • Trailing by four or more points: -3%
  • Within three points: 0%
  • Leading: 0%

The Cardinals rank 10th in plays per game, excluding overtime. They are fourth in rushing attempts per game and second in rush rate inside the five-yard line (81%).

Quarterbacks
Player Week ADOT Adjusted Comp % TTT YPA Play Action Designed Rush Att Scrambles Sacks i5 Att PPR Rank
Kyler Murray 6 9.7 81% 2.53 7.6 34% 18% 0% 6% 5
7 9.3 85% 3.03 9.3 50% 11% 6% 12% 0% 9
8 8.7 74% 2.55 8.3 27% 26% 3% 5% 0% 23
YTD 8.4 81% 2.80 8.9 37% 15% 4% 6% 23% 5

Downgrade: Murray's designed rushing attempts are down 4% compared to last year; his scramble rate is off by 2% and the Cardinals are on pace to pass at a rate 4.5 percentage points lower. The Cardinals trailed by four or more points on 40% of plays in 2020 and 17% so far in 2021.

Murray is still a top-five QB option, but we aren't getting the boom weeks, and his floor is lower this year. He is dealing with an ankle sprain and is considered day-to-day.

Rest of season: Top-five QB (previously top-three)

Running backs
Player Week Snaps Rush Att Routes Targets TPRR SDD Snaps i5 Att LDD Snaps 2MIN Snaps PPR Rank
Chase Edmonds 6 37% 11% 38% 15% 33% 20% 67% 0% 36
7 69% 42% 77% 8% 8% 60% 100% 63% 88% 27
8 59% 37% 58% 13% 19% 67% 0% 89% 100% 17
YTD 60% 32% 61% 15% 20% 41% 15% 83% 83% 17
James Conner 6 55% 42% 35% 4% 8% 80% 0% 17% 0% 35
7 30% 28% 17% 0% 0% 40% 25% 0% 23
8 37% 26% 30% 0% 0% 33% 100% 11% 0% 18
YTD 42% 40% 25% 2% 7% 63% 54% 14% 17% 22

Overperforming: James Conner ranks as RB22, but an eye-popping 52% of his fantasy point come on touchdowns — 25% more than the average for top-24 backs. The Cardinals are committed to the run, and Conner handles 63% of short-down-distance situations and 54% of attempts inside the five, so he should continue to see high-leverage looks but may not be able to keep up the current pace. Currently, he ranks 12th in points over expected at running back through eight games.

Rest of season:

  • Edmonds: mid-range RB2
  • Conner: touchdown-dependent 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 6 97% 10% 12% 15.3 18% 33% 20% 33% 12
7 97% 27% 35% 9.2 34% 67% 33% 67% 11
8 25% 22% 6% 21.0 16% 0% 14% 0% 49
YTD 88% 18% 19% 13.0 30% 40% 23% 37% 14
A.J. Green WR 6 92% 21% 23% 16.2 38% 33% 10% 50% 14
7 86% 10% 12% 21.0 26% 0% 17% 67% 37
8 95% 23% 26% 11.6 34% 100% 14% 13% 37
YTD 89% 17% 18% 12.7 27% 25% 15% 37% 30
Christian Kirk WR 6 84% 31% 31% 15.1 48% 33% 30% 38% 17
7 74% 20% 19% 13.0 27% 33% 17% 60% 19
8 78% 21% 19% 12.7 28% 0% 0% 17% 48
YTD 74% 20% 18% 13.4 28% 25% 15% 31% 27
Rondale Moore WR 6 54% 22% 15% 0.0 0% 0% 20% 25% 68
7 49% 19% 12% -0.7 -1% 0% 17% 0% 68
8 70% 15% 13% -2.5 -4% 0% 14% 25% 62
YTD 50% 24% 15% 1.5 3% 5% 14% 29% 46
Zach Ertz TE 6 74% 24% 25% 4.3 10% 0% 14% 33% 8
7 54% 21% 15% 10.3 17% 0% 17% 50% 6
8 70% 16% 13% 4.3 6% 0% 14% 50% 12
YTD 15% 20% 3% 7.3 3% 0% 15% 50% 12

Hopkins left the game early after trying to play through a hamstring injury. With Hopkins out and the Cardinals playing from behind, Moore saw a season-high 70% of routes but couldn't do much with them.

Monitoring: Ertz is bumping up against the same 70% route threshold Maxx Williams faced, and his targets per route are a bit low.

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
13 9 19 9 24 11 21 3 22 12 30

Pass-volume environment: Good

Run-volume environment: Average

Pass/run tendencies: Pass-balanced

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