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Usage Notes: Week 3

By Kevin Scott | 9/29/20 |

As we have done after Weeks 1 and 2, we will dive into the usage information after Week 3 to discover what players you should consider adding or acquiring in your leagues. We will consider how many snaps were played by various players, as well as how often they were used in the game – either by being handed the ball or by being targeted in the passing game. Let’s dive in.

James Robinson

Running Back

  • Myles Gaskin is the starting running back for the Dolphins Ė thatís settled. He played on 75% of snaps, while Matt Breida was at 18% and Howard was at 7%. Further, Gaskin got 27 touches! While he only went for 3 yards per carry and 6 yards per reception, he is getting the opportunites and must be on your radar if youíre needy at running back.

  • Meanwhile, James Robinson has cemented his grip on the backfield in Jacksonville. He got 11 carries for 46 yards and 2 TDs, and got all the work inside the 5-yard line. He also received a surprising 6 targets and caught them all for 83 yards. If he continues to get that kind of receiving work (similar to what Fournette got last season), he will offer sustained value this season. In Week 3, he played on 45% of snaps and Chris Thompson also played on 45%, although Thompson looked slow and undynamic (2-3, 5-35). We need to see how the return of Devine Ozigbo impacts Robinsonís snap share.

  • Todd Gurley got 14 carries and was effective (80 yards with a score). He is still not involved in the passing game (only 1 reception for 2 yards). He is a flex option but nothing more until he starts getting targeted more. Brian Hill played on 34% of snaps and had a long touchdown run. Hill finished with 9-58-1 and also had a 22-yard reception. He should be added in deeper leagues if heís on your wire.

  • Darrell Henderson and Malcolm Brown split snaps, but Henderson blew up (20-114-1) and Brown did nothing. This backfield is a total conundrum. There is a chance Henderson has seized his opportunity and is now the starter moving forward, and there is also a chance that Akers (ribs) or Brown becomes the starter within a week or two. Most likely none are available on your wire, but if you can acquire Henderson in shallow leagues he is a high priority add.

  • Derrick Henry played on 75% of snaps and had a nice game (26-119-2). Darrynton Evans got his first action of the season and played only 11% of the snaps, but he did get three carries. If youíre desperate at RB he is worth a look, as I anticipate his snap share will increase over the coming weeks. He may also become the primary back on third downs and the hurry-up offense.

  • Burkhead scored three times on 13 touches, and he received an astonishing 10 targets in the passing tame (7-49). He will likely not have another game like this, but he will be added in every league. If you bid, make it a small one. You do not know who will have a good game from the Patriots backfield, and most weeks it will be Cam who leads the team in rushing.

  • Both Jerick McKinnon (62% of snaps) and Jeff Wilson (30% of snaps) had nice days, and both scored. They had 17 and 15 touches, respectively. Until Raheem Mostert returns, both are worth playing in good matchups and even after Mostert returns, McKinnon should retain a role as a passing-down specialist. McKinnon did injure his ribs late in the game, so keep an eye on his status.

  • David Johnson played on 96% of the snaps. He is an every-down player, even though he isnít doing much (13-23-1, 2-23). This is likely just a rough stretch against two good defenses (Baltimore and Pittsburgh), so better days are likely coming.

  • James Conner played on 66% of the snaps and had a nice game (18-109-1, 4-40). Benny Snell played on 19% and was not good (7-11). Rookie Anthony McFarland Jr. played on 12% of snaps (10 snaps) and had 6 carries and 2 targets (6-42, 1-7). They are clearly trying to get him involved as a change-of-pace option, and he looked good on Sunday. Keep McFarland in mind and consider a small bid in deep leagues.

  • Jonathan Taylor played on 40% of the snaps, Nyheim Hines on 33%, and Jordan Wilkins on 28%. Wilkins comes into the game whenever itís in hand, to bleed out the clock. Typically itís going to be a split between Taylor and Hines, and how many snaps each gets will depend on game plan and game flow. Taylor ran well (13-59-1), but didnít get as many opportunities as we hoped. Hines went 7-21 and had 4-40 through the air.

  • Mike Davis played on 76% of snaps and got a lot of work (13 carries, 9 targets). He produced 13-46 on the ground and 8-45-1 through the air, so it appears he is taking over the vast majority of McCaffreyís workload. He should be an every-week starter for the next few weeks.

  • What is Matt Patricia doing? With two young, dynamic backs on the team, he is choosing to play Adrian Peterson on 60% of the snaps. He gave Peterson 22 carries (22-75), while only giving Kerryon Johnson 3 and DeíAndre Swift 0. Further, Swift played on only 6 snaps. It is completely baffling. The maddening part is that they won the game, so heíll think it was a good plan. Let this be a reminder for all of us: avoid all backs on teams coached by Belichick or Patricia.

  • Kenyan Drake continues to struggle, although he again played most of the snaps (68%). He was only able to produce 79 yards of offense on 19 touches, and again did not score. He has played three solid defenses, and I expect his breakout game will come in Week 4 against the Panthers horrid run defense.

  • Ronald Jones led Tampa Bay backs in touches (15), and produced 73 yards of offense. Leonard Fournette only received 9 touches and produced 22 yards. Jones playing on 51% of snaps to Fournetteís 37% does show that Arians has not pushed Jones down to second on the depth chart permanently. Both will be involved, but it will be hard to trust either.

  • Alvin Kamara had a huge game due to his ridiculous 14 targets (caught 13 for 139 yards and 2 touchdowns). He only played on 67% of the snaps and only received 6 carries (Latavius Murray had 12), but when he is so involved in the passing game he is going to be a top fantasy scorer every time. Watch to see how his usage in the passing game is affected once Michael Thomas returns.

  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire played on 69% of the snaps and got 20 carries and 5 receptions. Darrel Williams and Darwin Thompson combined for 6 total touches. This is Edwards-Helaireís backfield, and he has been extremely effective with his opportunities. Unless he gets injured, neither Williams nor Thompson has value.

  • Interestingly, J.K. Dobbins played the most snaps of any Ravens back on Monday night (24 Ė Mark Ingram played on 18 and Gus Edwards played on 13). Dobbins appears to be their third-down specialist and best pass-catcher, so he likely played more than Ingram because the Ravens were in comeback mode. He only received 1 carry (Ingram had 7 and Edwards had 4), but he did catch all 4 of his targets. If the Ravens ever start giving Dobbins a larger share of the rushing workload, he could become a huge asset.

Wide Receiver

  • Allen Robinson finally had a breakout game (10-123-1 on 13 targets). He becomes a potential weekly stud with Foles under center.

  • Due to the Bears being in comeback mode, Anthony Millerís snap count was up to 57% and he had 5 targets (2-41-1 but thatís better than Week 2). Darnell Mooney again played more snaps (62%) as heís playing on the outside, but he only went 2-19. Miller should also be helped with Foles at quarterback.

  • Calvin Ridley had 13 targets with Julio out, but without Julio to take attention away from him, he only caught 5-110. Still, he is a top option weekly, with or without Julio available.

  • Russell Gage left early with a concussion, only catching 2 passes for 26 yards on 18% of snaps. If heís back healthy, heíll stay useful with this atrocious Falcons defense.

  • Josh Reynolds, Cooper Kupp, and Robert Woods all played at least 90% of the snaps. Reynolds had 5 targets, Kupp had 10, and Woods had 6. Reynolds is a guy to consider picking up if you need help at WR, but you should keep in mind that the Rams would rather be a run-first team, and had to pass like crazy because they were in comeback mode.

  • John Brown disappeared in Week 3 (2 targets but no receptions) after suffering a calf injury. He also only played on only 47% of snaps. Gabriel Davis, who Iíve been very high on all offseason, had a very nice game. He finished with 4 receptions for 81 yards, on 74% of the snaps. Keep him on your radar or consider putting in a small bid for him.

  • Cole Beasley had a great game (6-100 on 7 targets) and played on 61% of the snaps. Iíd pick him up as a priority add if heís still available. He is a master at getting open, and itís clear the Bills have changed their approach to being more pass-heavy this season.

  • Justin Jefferson broke out in a big way (7-175-1 on 9 targets). He played on 78% of the snaps, and that should go up. He has completely overtaken Olabisi Johnson, who only played on 5 snaps. Jefferson is a must-add if he is on your wire.

  • Adam Thielen scored but only received 5 targets (3-29-1) on 94% of snaps. It could have been that Tennessee schemed defensively to take him away, but the emergence of Jefferson should keep defenses from doubling either of them too often.

  • Hunter Renfrow played on only 66% of the snaps but led the Raiders with 9 targets (6-84-1). He is difficult to trust on a weekly basis, since the Raiders tend to move toward or away from their skill-position players based on matchups. But, he should be owned in deep leagues and is a flex option.

  • Brandon Aiyuk had a bit of a breakout game. He played on 73% of snaps and got 8 targets (5-70). He also received 3 carries and scored on one of them (3-31-1). He is likely available in shallow leagues and should be owned. However, keep in mind that Deebo Samuel and Kittle will be returning soon, so his targets will be less robust moving forward.

  • WR snaps for CIN: Tee Higgins 79%, A.J. Green 76%, Tyler Boyd 75%, Auden Tate 35%, Mike Thomas 22%, Alex Erickson 8%. So Higgins is now the primary player opposite Green on the outside, with Boyd in the slot. Targets: Boyd 13, Higgins 9, Green 6, Tate 4, Thomas 2. Higgins went 5-40-2 and is one of the top waiver options of the week if heís available in your league. If you own Green, you have to hope he keeps playing 75% of snaps and that the targets come his way like they did in Weeks 1 & 2.

  • Greg Ward returned to fantasy relevance with 8-72-1 on 11 targets. DeSean Jackson hurt his hamstring, Alshon Jeffery is still out, and Jalen Reagor is out for a couple weeks. So Ward is worth a look for those hurting at receiver. He played on 84% of snaps.

  • Will Fuller played on 94% of the snaps, Brandin Cooks 87%, and Randall Cobb 72%. Fuller produced 4-54-1, Cooks 3-23, and Cobb 4-95-1. All three are weekly options and should have some big games against more beatable defenses.

  • Diontae Johnson seemed primed for a big game, but left after sustaining a concussion on a 9-yard run. He had zero receptions. If heís back for Week 4, he should be a good play again. JuJu Smith-Schuster has not been impressive, but did score thanks to a broken coverage. Johnson appears to be the Steelers receiver to own for the rest of the season.

  • Itís tough to judge much from a game the Colts controlled from start to finish, but T.Y. Hilton played only 52% of the snaps and went 3-53. He hasnít looked like his old self overall, and the Colts prefer to be a run-first team. Still, with Michael Pittman Jr. now out for a while due to leg surgery, after Parris Campbell was also injured, Hilton should be a good weekly play.

  • D.J. Moore received only 4 targets (2-65) in Week 3, but played on 88% of snaps. The Chargers are a tough secondary, so better days are coming for Moore. However, the Panthers are not a good team and have not been as pass-happy as many had hoped.

  • Justin Herbert passed it 49 times on Sunday, targeting Keenan Allen a whopping 19 times! If you have Allen, you are ecstatic at the quarterback change and want the Chargers to commit to Herbert for the rest of the season.

  • DeAndre Hopkins had another 12 targets (10-137). He appears locked in to be one of the most targeted receivers in the league.

  • Andy Isabella sighting! With Chrstian Kirk out, Isabella had 4-47-2 on 4 targets. He may have done enough to push Kirk below him on the depth chart, and he should also be playing ahead of Larry Fitzgerald. Isabella will be one of the top pickups of the week.

  • KJ Hamler led the Broncos receivers in snaps with 92%, but only produced 3-30 on 5 targets. If he stays on the field that much, his numbers will increase, particularly when Lock returns. Jerry Jeudy, meanwhile, played on 73% of snaps and produced 5-55 while Tim Patrick, replacing Sutton in the starting lineup, produced 4-43-1 on 84% of snaps. Those three will likely remain the starting receivers moving forward.

  • Mike Evans played on 90% of the snaps but only received 4 targets and caught two 1-yard touchdowns. It is surprising they could not get the ball to him more. With Godwin now out with a hamstring pull, Evans is likely to see more targets in the coming weeks.

  • DAL wide receiver targets: Michael Gallup 9, Amari Cooper 12, CeeDee Lamb 6, Cedrick Wilson 7, Noah Brown 2. Wilson surprised the most, taking his 7 targets for 5-107-2. That is likely his biggest game of the year and you shouldnít worry much about it. I will not make a bid on him. It is concerning, though, that he took so many targets away from the top 3 receivers. Lamb especially seemed to lose snaps to him from the slot, so that is something to watch. However, Lamb played 49 snaps to Wilsonís 24.

  • Tyler Lockett & DK Metcalf played on 97% and 96% of the snaps, and both had nice games. With Russell Wilson cooking, they are weekly must-starts.

  • Allen Lazard looked big, fast, and explosive. He had 6-146-1 on 8 targets, and he was Rodgersí deep-ball guy. He will come back down to earth when Davante Adams returns, but I think Lazard is worth a flex play most weeks.

  • Emmanuel Sanders played on 79% of the naps and went 4-56-1 on 5 targets. It is uncertain whether heíll continue producing once Michael Thomas returns, but itís something worth watching.

  • Although Mecole Hardman played on only 39% of the snaps, he produced 4-81-1 on 6 targets. Donít overreact here, as Kelce, Hill, and Watkins remain the primary targets in the passing game and play the vast majority of snaps. Hardman is only a weekly boom-bust play.

Tight Ends

  • Mike Gesicki was mostly invisible on Thursday, and has now gone bad game - great game - bad game, which is frustrating for fantasy owners. He is a dart throw when you need someone, but is extremely volatile.

  • Jimmy Graham was the shocker of the day at tight end. He played on 67% of the snaps and went 6-60-2. Donít overreact to this, but donít underreact. If heís available, he needs to be owned. Itís clear this coaching staff thinks he still has some juice, and can put up some very big weeks if his snap rate continues.

  • With Julio out, Hayden Hurst was a HUGE disappointment on Sunday. He only had 3 targets and only 1 reception. It was for a TD, but this is looking bad for Hurst owners. He was out there for 63% of snaps, and in a game where he was needed, he did nothing. Itís very concerning, and Iíll bench him if I have a comparable option until we see some consistency.

  • Tyler Higbee played on 72% of the snaps but received only 2 targets. I donít know if the Bills were scheming to take him away or if it was just a bad game, but Iím going to continue to play him weekly. Everett did also catch 2 passes, but he played half has many snaps.

  • Tyler Kroft caught 2 TDs filling in for Dawson Knox, but donít go nuts picking him up. Knox should be back from his concussion soon.

  • Harrison Bryantís snaps continue to increase (63% on Sunday). Austin Hooper still played more (83%) and he produced more (3-25 compared to 1-3), but Bryant caught a TD. You donít want these players in the Brownsí passing game if you can avoid it, but Bryant is a guy to keep in mind, particularly in dynasty leagues.

  • Jonnu Smith played on 88% of the snaps and had the most targets in the passing game. He is an excellent TE play while A.J. Brown is out.

  • Jordan Reed injured his ankle, which is why he only played on 23% of snaps. Ross Dwelley filled in (81% of snaps) and had 4 receptions for 49 yards. If both Reed and Kittle are out next week, Dwelley could be a desperation play against the Eagles.

  • Evan Engram disappointed along with his teammates (3-22 on 5 targets). Wait for better matchups before playing any Giants.

  • Drew Sample played on 89% of the snaps but only received 1 target, which he caught for a yard. It was a tough game for those who spent big FAB money to acquire him. It will be hard to guess when good days are coming, but donít drop him yet. This will be a pass-heavy offense all year, and heíll have his good games in the right matchups.

  • Dallas Goedert fractured his ankle and ended up playing on only 6 snaps. Ertz gets a big bump in value while he is out, and in this game played 92% of snaps and went 7-70 on 10 targets. Still, the Eagles look like a bad football team, so temper your expectations.

  • Eric Ebron had a big game (5-52-1 on 7 targets) and played on 75% of the snaps. He looked good and seemed to be on the same page with Roethlisberger. He may be available on some wires and would be a nice pick up. He will be a boom-bust option, especially with so many options at receiver for the Steelers.

  • Jack Doyle returned in Week 3 and played on 53% of the snaps, but did not receive a target. Mo Alie-Cox, meanwhile, caught all three of his targets for 50 yards and a score, on 60% of the snaps. Keep an eye on this situation, and consider picking up Alie-Cox if youíre desperate at tight end.

  • T.J. Hockenson played on 82% of the snaps and had 4-53 on 7 targets. This is a big increase in his playing time, and he will be a TE1 if that snap share and target share continue.

  • Rob Gronkowski sighting! He played on 93% of the snaps and got 7 targets (6-48). You had to assume his time was coming, but it will be hard to predict which games he will be involved in.

  • Dalton Schultz played on 67% of the snaps and got 6 targets (4-48). In shootouts he will be viable.

  • Greg Olsen had 6 targets and went 5-61. He played on 67% of the snaps. He was likely dropped in many leagues after his donut in Week 2, so in TE-premium leagues he is a solid pick up. Just keep in mind they wonít throw this much every week.

  • Robert Tonyan & Jace Sternberger split snaps (63% for Tonyan, 32% for Sternberger) and both were effective. Tonyan caught all 5 of his targets for 50 yards and a score, and Sternberger caught all three of his for 36 yards. Keep an eye on how this develops, and in TE-premium leagues both are worth picking up with smallish bids.

  • Adam Trautman played more snaps than Jared Cook (32 to 21), and had 2 receptions for 17 yards as Cook left with a groin injury. Trautman is another tight end to keep in mind for those desperate in deep leagues.

Kevin Scott is a fantasy pro who is the co-host for The Lowdown Fantasy Football Podcast. He plays in over 40 leagues annually and has made over $100,000 playing fantasy football. You can follow him @kevinscottff.