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 4. Hat-tip to ProFootballFocus for a lot of the snap info found below.
1. Ronald Jones making a moveThere’s a subtle change happening in Tampa’s backfield. After Jones looked like one of the worst running backs in the NFL through his first couple preseasons and last regular season, he appears to have turned a corner. The Bucs have noticed, giving him 59% of the running back carries over the last two weeks and playing him on a season-high 49% of the snaps Sunday. That’s exciting as, at least theoretically, Jones is the far better talent than Peyton Barber. The problem for us is that the Bucs still don’t trust Jones on passing downs, leading to a pathetic three targets through four games. When you’re playing full-PPR and single-week fantasy, it’s really tough to get excited about game-flow and TD dependent RBs. Ask Marlon Mack and Sony Michel.
2. Mark Andrews continues to be limitedI had major concerns about Andrews’ usage coming into the season as the Ravens use both Nick Boyle and Hayden Hurst as primary tight ends as well. But Andrews did have a very clear role as the designated “pass-down TE,” which led to 16-220-2 across the first two weeks. Of course, those were in the two best possible matchups (at MIA, vs. ARI) and now Andrews is nursing a foot injury. He played on just 29-of-69 snaps in Week 4 even though Lamar Jackson dropped back 39 times. Andrews’ natural talent will keep him in play, but the floor is going to be low with this kind of usage and Jackson’s still evolving passing ability.
3. Wayne Gallman not quite a true bellcowGallman smashed his $4600 salary by scoring 28.8 fantasy points against the Redskins. The great news is that he continued to show very well as a pass-catcher, handling 100% of the Giants’ RB targets for a total of seven. He also racked up 18 carries and punched in a touchdown. But, Gallman only played 60% of the snaps and handled 58% of the RB carries – and that wasn’t due to the blowout. Gallman remained in until the final buzzer. So as his price rises to $5400 and the matchup gets significantly tougher vs the Vikings, we need to be careful.
4. Deon Cain is not supermanInjuries to both TY Hilton and Devin Funchess flung the door wide open for some intriguing Colts’ backup wideouts. Unfortunately, none are taking advantage. They went to a four-man rotation with Cain in on 56-of-77 snaps, Chester Rogers 54, Zach Pascal 53 and Parris Campbell 48. Eric Ebron’s role did not change as he only played 27 snaps. Cain didn’t even catch a pass. With the Colts doing everything they can to hide Jacoby Brissett, there’s not a lot to be excited about here.
5. Darrel Williams continues surgeLeSean McCoy appeared healthy Sunday as he practiced in full during the week and wasn’t on the final injury report. He also started the game and was efficient. But when the dust settled, Williams out-snapped McCoy 34-32, saw 11 touches to McCoy’s 13 and was in on the game-deciding drive. In other words, we have an even timeshare here, at least until Damien Williams (knee) gets back. It’s certainly concerning for McCoy’s long-term outlook that he’s unable to separate from Darrel. And it confirms that Andy Reid has no desire to ride a bellcow this season.
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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.