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Usage Notes: Week 7

By Kevin Scott | 10/27/20 |

Another strange week in fantasy football. Injuries continue to occur at a rate that seems much higher than normal, in particular injuries to high-profile players. Other players are laying eggs in matchups that seem like good ones. This season is all about rolling with the punches. Below I’ll try to provide some usage-related tips at running back, wide receiver, and tight end to help you keep grinding.

Giovani Bernard

Running Back

  • Boston Scott played on 56 snaps, Corey Clement on 18, and rookie Jason Huntly on 8 for the Eagles. Scott basically took over the Miles Sanders role and played quite well (12-46, 3-46-1 through the air). He should be started everywhere while Sanders is out.

  • While DíAndre Swift did not have the role many envisioned when Patricia said he was going to get more work, he did play the most snaps among the RBs. It was only 45%, but it is still a nice development. He went 9-27-1 on the ground, and also caught 4 balls for 21 yards. The uptick in snaps should lead to increasing value down the stretch.

  • Giovani Bernard played on 76% of the snaps, taking over the Mixon role. He only went for 13-37 on the ground, but did produce 5-59-1 through the air. While Mixon is out, he is a nice option.

  • Devin Singletary and Zack Moss basically split the snaps in Week 7 (54% to 47%). Moss was far more effective, going 7-47 on the ground and 3-25 through the air (Singletary went 8-29 and 2-18). This could be the beginning of a shift toward Moss as the starter, so keep an eye on this situation.

  • LaíMical Perine played on 70% of the snaps for the Jets, while Frank Gore played on only 28%. They both got 11 carries, and although Gore had a higher per-carry average, Perine scored. I avoid all Jets, but if you are desperate for a back, Perine is an option.

  • Ezekiel Elliott played on 66% of snaps but only went 12-45. Until this offense turns things around, he can be benched (although you likely have to start him). Things are getting ugly fast in Dallas.

  • Meanwhile, Antonio Gibson continued to ascend, taking 20 carries for 128 yards and a score. Amazingly, he did that on only 48% of the snaps. The more Washington gives him, the more he produces. He looks like a league-winning choice, if things continue to trend positively.

  • It has been a maddening season for Ronald Jones owners, as Bruce Arians continues to flip-flop between Jones and Fournette. It has always seemed that Arians is more focused on irking fantasy players than in actually coaching. He gave Fournette 56% of the snaps, immediately off of three excellent games in a row from Jones Ė who received only 43%. Jones got 13 carries and did score, but Fournette got 11 carries and 7 targets, taking almost all of the work in the pass game. Neither is a very good play the rest of the way because of Arians.

  • Phillip Lindsay looked fantastic against the Chiefs on Sunday until he suffered a concussion. He had 9 carries for 79 yards in the first half before he was forced out. Gordon looked less impressive, but finished with 17-68-1. If Lindsay is active, play him. If he is out, Gordon becomes an improved play.

  • With Chris Thompson out, James Robinson saw almost all the snaps (90%). He showed extremely well with the extra opportunities, going 22-119-1 and 4-18-1 through the air. Robinson has been one of the top backs in fantasy all season and a great surprise if you were able to get him early on. Devine Ozigbo is back after his hamstring injury, so he may start getting some work, but I donít believe anyone is taking Robinsonís job away.

  • David Montgomery was uninspiring on Monday Night Football, but he had another 5 targets (caught them all), giving him 19 receptions over his past 4 games. He played on 83% of the snaps. With those numbers, he remains a good start in PPR leagues.

  • The Rams continue to use Darrell Henderson (56%, 17 touches) and Malcolm Brown (40%, 10 touches) as their main backs. Cam Akers seems to be in the midst of a redshirt rookie year, just like Henderson had last season. It seems safe to assume this will continue, although itís never totally safe with McVay.

Wide Receiver

  • Sterling Shepard returned from injury and played on 77% of the snaps. He was targeted 8 times and caught 6 for 59 and a touchdown. If he is on your wire, you should scoop him up.

  • Travis Fulgham played virtually every snap and received 11 targets, remaining very involved. He only caught 5 for 73, but if he continues to see WR1 targets, he is a must-play.

  • Rashard Higgins stepped in for Odell Beckham Jr. (ACL) after the injury and played on 85% of the snaps. He produced 6-110, catching all his targets. He is worth a large FAB bid if you are in need at WR, as he should produce relatively well the rest of the way, even on a run-first offense.

  • A.J. Green played on 87% of the snaps and received a whopping 13 targets! He produced 7-82, while his WR teammates Tee Higgins (84%) and Tyler Boyd (80%) both scored. Green is still struggling to produce any huge fantasy weeks, but he continues to play almost every snap and is targeted often, making him a valuable fantasy option.

  • With Aaron Jones out, the Packers focused on getting the ball to Davante Adams. He received 16 targets, a 47% target share! He turned those into 13-196-2 against a poor Texans defense. It looks like he is set to take over the overall No. 1 spot at WR the rest of the way.

  • Randall Cobb led all Texans receivers with 10 targets, turning them into 8-95. Particularly in games where the Texans might trail, he is a solid start.

  • With Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders both out, many expected a big day from TreíQuan Smith. However, it was Marquez Callaway who was the top option at receiver for the Saints. He received 10 targets and went 8-75 on 73% of the snaps.

  • Curtis Samuel returned to relevance in Week 7, catching all 6 of his targets for 48 yards. He also ran in a score for 5 yards. He only played on 48% of the snaps, but the involvement in the flow of the game is the most encouraging part for owners. If he receives 5 or more targets again next week, he might be a solid flex option the rest of the way.

  • D.J. Moore had another nice day in Week 7, catching 2 TDs. However, he received fewer targets than Robby Anderson yet again (5 to 8). Both remain good weekly plays, but donít overreact to Mooreís touchdowns. Andersonís big days are coming as well.

  • In a very strange game against the Jets, Cole Beasley was the best player on the field. He received 12 targets and turned them into 11-112. He is an excellent weekly option in PPR leagues.

  • Denzel Mims returned from injury and played on 79% of the snaps, leading the Jets with 4-42 on 7 targets. There is not much to get excited about with this offense, but he may be worth a flier if you need a receiver.

  • Diontae Johnson finally had the week we all saw coming. He played on 75% of the snaps (and did not get hurt!). He received a ridiculous 15 targets, producing 9-80-2. Chase Claypool was relegated back to minor work (1 target). Johnson is a must-start while he is healthy.

  • JuJu Smith-Schuster also received an amazing 14 targets and went 9-85. I have been down on JuJu this season, but 14 targets got my attention. Of course you play him if you have him, but keep an eye on his usage moving forward, especially as it relates to whether Claypool starts eating into his work.

  • Michael Gallup played on 91% of the snaps and received 2 targets. CeeDee Lamb played on 55% of snaps and received 5 targets. Neither caught any of their targets. Andy Dalton played poorly and was then knocked out of the game. Amari Cooper caught 7 for 80 yards, but this entire offense looks to be dead in the water without Dak. I would bench these players until something changes, if you can.

  • Mike Evans played on 86% of the snaps and Godwin (finger) on 82%. But Evans received 2 targets and Godwin received 9, going 9-88-1. I am not sure why Brady is not jiving with Evans, but it is very concerning if you have him. Itís also very tough to bench him Ė itís an ugly situation. Antonio Brownís addition could negatively impact both moving forward.

  • Scotty Miller also had a big day, going 6-109-1. I think that was the last hurrah for him, as Antonio Brown should take over most of his snaps beginning Week 9.

  • Nelson Agholor played on 78% of the snaps for the Raiders and received a team-high 9 targets, going 5-107-1. I donít know if his usage will continue once Bryan Edwards is healthy, but for now Agholor needs to be owned.

  • The Chiefs made an effort to involve Tyreek Hill after a couple of quiet weeks, but he was again unable to make any big plays. He did score and went 6-55-1 on 10 targets, but the deep plays were covered up. It seems most teams are going to force the Chiefs to beat them with the short stuff, which makes them less fun to watch.

  • D.J. Chark played on 87% of the snaps and got 7 targets, but he only caught 1. I would avoid this whole passing game if possible.

  • Keenan Allen continued his love affair with Justin Herbert on Sunday, receiving 13 targets and going 10-125. He is a top-10 WR the rest of the way with Herbert playing so well. However, Mike Williams disappointed in Week 7, catching only one of three targets. He should be benched until he shows some consistency.

  • Darnell Mooney played on 83% of snaps for the Bears and led the team in targets with seven. They appeared to be working to get him the ball. Allen Robinson appeared to leave with a concussion, so Mooney could be a sneaky pickup this week for those in need of a receiver.

  • Josh Reynolds played on 74% of the Ramsí snaps (just slightly fewer than Kupp and Woods), and led the team in targets with 8. He caught 4 for 52 yards and a score. He is becoming much more integrated in this offense as they move to being a heavy 11-personnel team, so I recommend picking him up if you need extra options at receiver.

Tight Ends

  • Evan Engram was a big disappointment as he dropped what would have been a long reception (and possibly a touchdown). He was targeted 9 times and caught 6 for 46. It is hard to find that sort of usage from a tight end, so continue to play him with confidence.

  • Richard Rodgers took over the top TE spot in Philly with both Ertz and Goedert out, and went 6-85 on 8 targets. He is an excellent pick up in TE-premium leagues this week, but keep in mind Goedert should be back before long.

  • With Austin Hooper out, Harrison Bryant played on 77% of the snaps and produced 4-56-2 on 5 targets. He has been playing well all season, but his upside remains capped since Hooper is likely to return next week (and Njoku is still around as of now).

  • Drew Sample played on 97% of snaps and had another game where he was targeted often (6 times). He produced 5 for 52 yards, which is certainly usable. He is inconsistent, but in this tight end landscape he needs to be rostered.

  • With Dawson Knox out with Covid, Tyler Kroft caught all 4 of his targets for 64 yards, on 78% of the snaps. He is a decent play for as long as Knox is out.

  • Eric Ebron played on 84% of the snaps and received 8 targets (6-50). He remains a must-play at tight end for as long as he gets this sort of usage.

  • Jonnu Smith played on 70% of the snaps but only received 4 targets, catching 1. Those mid-range looks seemed to all go to Corey Davis on Sunday, who had 10 targets. But, Smith remains a solid weekly play.

  • Noah Fant continued to struggle with his ankle on Sunday. He gutted it out and played on 70% of the snaps, but he was far less effective than rookie Albert Okwuegbunam, who played on 40%. Okwuegbunam caught all 7 of his targets for 60 yards, while Fant caught only 3 of his 7 targets for 38 yards. Okwuegbunam needs to be owned everywhere, as there is a chance they will shut Fant down.

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.