O.J. Howard

Week-to-week player performance can be volatile. The worst thing we can do is miss out on a fluky big day and then chase it the following week, when that player is both more expensive and more owned.

So by examining usage instead of performance, we can cut through some of the noise and figure out what’s sustainable. Here are the most important usage notes I saw in Week 10. Hat-tip to ProFootballFocus for a lot of the snap info found below.

1. OJ Howard returns to full-time role

Howard (hamstring) played Sunday for the first time since Week 6. And he had a better role than he’s seen at any point this season. Howard played on 82-of-83 snaps, ran 47 routes on 55 Jameis Winston dropbacks and saw a season-high seven targets for a reasonable 15% share. Howard capitalized with a 4-47-1 line. Of course, he somehow was wide open on his touchdown as the Cardinals’ defense continues to defend tight ends at arguably the worst rate in NFL history. So we can expect the efficiency to turn down going forward. But at least Howard’s usage is back at elite levels.


2. David Johnson dusted by The Drake

Johnson might not be fully healthy, but there’s no doubt Kenyan Drake is a better back right now. And the Cardinals know it. On Sunday, Drake out-snapped DJ 43-29, out-routed him 26-18, out-targeted him 7-1 and out-carried him 10-5. Predictably, talk of Johnson playing slot WR while Drake lined up in the backfield did not materialize as Johnson lined up in the slot or out wide just five times. On top of all that, Chase Edmonds (hamstring) should be back soon. There’s a role for Johnson on this team, but it’s likely a specialized one — not the workhorse one we once expected.


3. Aaron Jones, touchdown machine

Yes, Jones scored 27.3 fantasy points Sunday. But he did so on just 32 snaps and 13 touches. Jamaal Williams predictably also played 32 snaps and had 13 touches but finished with 6.3 fantasy points. Jones does have the advantage of being the back GB prefers around the goal line — he has scored 14 TDs this year on just 170 touches. He also has the advantage of being very #good at football. But he is overproducing massively relative to his usage. I also would add that, as noted by Ian Hartitz, Jones only has a 9% target share this season when Davante Adams plays. Without Adams, that was up at 21%.


4. Damien Williams surges ahead

LeSean McCoy was a surprise healthy scratch Sunday, leaving only Damien Williams, Darrel Williams and Darwin Thompson as active Chiefs RBs. When the dust settled, Damien racked up 24 touches compared to three for Darrel and two for Thompson. And that was despite Damien losing a bad fumble midway through the game. Damien Williams’ pass-game ability and usage in that role with Patrick Mahomes makes him an elite weekly option anytime we’re confident he has a path to 20 touches. So while McCoy reportedly was scratched for load management, Damien has taken this valuable backfield by the horns.


5. Alvin Kamara healthy, unleashed

Yes, it was an Kamara game flow Sunday as the Saints fell behind early and shockingly never recovered at home against the Falcons. But the usage still was very encouraging. Kamara out-snapped Latavius Murray 52-16 and saw a monster 23% target share. With his injury clearly behind him and a solid share of the early-down work plus all the pass-down work, Kamara’s floor/ceiling combo is appetizing going forward.


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is adamlevitan) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.