Week-to-week player performance can be very 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 13. Hat-tip to ProFootballFocus for a lot of the snap info found below.
1. David Johnson a mop-up manThe Cardinals had all three of their running backs active Sunday: Kenyan Drake, David Johnson and Chase Edmonds. But it turns out they only had one workhorse. Drake played on 51-of-64 snaps – a number that would have been higher if not for the blowout. David Johnson didn’t get his second touch of the game until the score was 34-0 and ended up playing just 15 snaps. Edmonds played zero. I’m not completely convinced this will be the usage going forward, but it seems very likely Drake is going to be the lead dog and a game in which he plays 100% of the snaps is well within the range of outcomes.
2. Colts thinned out at WRThe Colts were already without TY Hilton, Eric Ebron and Parris Campbell on Sunday due to injuries. Ebron is out for the rest of the season, and it’s unclear if Hilton or Parris will be back next week. Then one snap into Sunday’s loss to the Titans, Chester Rogers went down with a long-term injury. The three wideouts left were Zach Pascal (70-of-70 snaps), Marcus Johnson 65 and Ashton Dulin. This wouldn’t be too interesting except for the fact that the Colts face the Bucs’ funneling defense Sunday. If Hilton and Campbell remain sidelined, the Pascal/Johnson/Dulin usage will be worth examining further.
3. Jack Doyle turns eliteSpeaking of the Colts, Jack Doyle’s usage predictably turned elite with Eric Ebron done and TY Hilton out. Doyle played on 66-of-70 snaps, was lined up slot or wide 25 times, ran 40 routes on 43 Jacoby Brissett dropbacks and saw a team-high 27% target share. That’s a massive workload and Doyle turned it into a 6-73-1 line. Up next is the high-scoring, pass-funneling Bucs. Doyle’s arrow is pointing straight up.
4. Le’Veon Bell still holding off challengersWe’ve seen Bilal Powell mix in more during recent weeks, but there were some really high total RB-touch games in there. With the Jets involved in a close game Sunday, they stuck with Le’Veon Bell. He played on 61-of-72 snaps compared to 11 for Bilal Powell and four for Ty Montgomery. Of course, Bell’s inability to generate any big plays in the run game continues to haunt him. His longest run this season is 19 yards as the offensive line continues to struggle. All that said, usage against the Dolphins, who the Jets play in Week 14, is extremely valuable. The offenses of the Browns and Eagles both busted out of their respective doldrums the last two weeks against Miami.
5. Tevin Coleman finds the pineWith Matt Breida (ankle) out, some thought Tevin Coleman’s role would be more secure. That hasn’t been the case. Not only has Raheem Mostert/Jeff Wilson simply slid into the Breida role, but on Sunday Mostert’s underrated ability put Coleman on the bench. When the dust settled Mostert was in on 40-of-55 snaps while Coleman played just 10. I do suspect Breida will be back for Week 14, throwing even more questions into this backfield. Expect Kyle Shanahan to give all three chances as he tries to find the hot hand.
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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.