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 9. Hat-tip to ProFootballFocus for a lot of the snap info found below.
1. Devin Singletary makes his move
In Week 8, Singletary out-snapped Frank Gore 40-17. But that was in a game where the Bills trailed most of the way against a stout Eagles front, so there still was some skepticism as to whether the rookie had left Gore in the dust. But in Week 9, Singletary backed that usage up by dominating the work in a game the Bills were winning all day. Over the past two weeks, Singletary has seen 81 snaps compared to 38 for Gore and 0 for everyone else. Gore won’t completely go away, but Singletary’s ability in the screen game and extra juice is rising fast. He gets the Browns and Dolphins next.
2. Jamaal Williams not going away
Aaron Jones was one of the highest-owned players on Sunday’s main slate at $7,000. That was a product of his recent game log, not his underlying usage. While Jones is an excellent player in both the run and pass game, the Packers repeatedly have shown they love Williams. He was hurt for a bit, which made some people forget, but over the past three weeks Williams has played 44% of the snaps and seen 14 targets. Jones has seen only 16 targets during that span. It’s almost a 50/50 timeshare like Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay, but with far more upside thanks to offensive environment and scoring opportunities.
3. Buccaneers finally promote Ronald Jones
It’s official: Jones is the Bucs’ feature back. He started Sunday and touched the ball 18 times on a career-high 53% of the snaps. Peyton Barber was demoted to an afterthought, seeing a season-low four carries on 14% of the snaps. It’s an exciting development for Jones, but note he hasn’t been featured in the pass game, will lose pass-down reps to Dare Ogunbowale and this run scheme has a scary floor. We’ll have to be careful here.
4. Jaylen Samuels, pass-catching specialist
Trey Edmunds, an h-back type, surprisingly handled 12 carries in James Conner’s (shoulder) absence. Samuels only got eight carries. But Samuels had by far the more valuable role, playing on 40-of-62 and running a route on 31 of Mason Rudolph’s 37 dropbacks. Samuels racked up an outrageous 13 targets for a 37% share, which is unsustainable but fits his style. He now has 52 catches on just 366 career snaps. In other words, he’s averaging a catch on 14% of his snaps — an eye-opening rate. If Conner misses again in Week 10, Samuels will come armed with a 4-7 catch projection.
5. Zach Pascal is the clear No. 1
With TY Hilton (calf) out indefinitely and Devin Funchess (IR/return) still not ready, Zach Pascal emerged as the Colts’ No. 1 wideout. He played on 66-of-70 snaps Sunday, well ahead of Chester Rogers (46), Parris Campbell (43) and Deon Cain (20). Note that Campbell is out as well due to a hand injury and Jacoby Brissett (MCL) is questionable. Regardless of the QB situation, Pascal is worth discussing because the Colts have a home game against the Dolphins in Week 10. And no matter who is under center, Pascal is likely to have the best usage among the wideouts.
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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.