WATCH: USAGE REPORT – J.J. NELSON
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 10. Hat-tip to ProFootballFocus for a lot of the snap data found below.
1. Darren Sproles’ role gets slashed
In Weeks 8 and 9, Darren Sproles played on 80.8 percent of the snaps and averaged 18.0 touches per game. In Week 10, Sproles played on 39.2 percent of the snaps and got 10 touches (including just two carries). It was a major surprise, but a swift reminder that the Eagles remain a backfield by committee. It was also a reminder that Sproles is 33 years old, 190 pounds and also serves as the Eagles primary punt returner. So for all of Ryan Mathews’ warts, he remains the team’s most talented and powerful back, one that needs work if Sproles is going to stay upright. In certain matchups, coach Doug Pederson is going to ride Mathews and in other ones it will be more Sproles. Adding in Wendell Smallwood (13 touches on 19 snaps) only complicates things further. This backfield is hands-off going forward for me as projecting Pederson’s plans will be extremely difficult.
2. James Starks runs as feature back
The Ty Montgomery as a featured RB thing was fun while it lasted. James Starks came back from his knee injury and immediately handled 55 snaps in his first game since Week 5. Montgomery was still on a rep count as a result of his sickle cell issue and finished with 22 snaps – many of which came in garbage time. That snap count may not have surprised me if the Packers were grinding with a lead all day, but this was a game at Tennessee in which they were getting smoked from the opening whistle. It set up for Mike McCarthy to go back to what has worked so well for the last few weeks – having a RB/WR hybrid in there. But he didn’t, instead sticking with the traditional (and unproductive) Starks. Given this, Starks will at least be in consideration at just $4,200 against the Redskins Sunday.
3. Michael Floyd takes back No. 2 WR duties
Floyd is a talented dude. The former No. 13 overall pick is a physical 6’2/220 with 4.47 speed. So I wasn’t completely surprised that he came out of the bye freed from Bruce Arians’ doghouse, playing on 74.7 percent of the snaps compared to 62.0 for J.J. Nelson – who lost a fumble and had a pass clang off his hands for an INT. Larry Fitzgerald was in for 87.3 percent of the snaps and WR4 John Brown only got 38.0 percent. We never know when Floyd will be sent back to the doghouse and he has a very difficult matchup at Minnesota this week. But he’s at least back on the radar while the undersized/speedy Nelson is GPP only.
4. Redskins have a new workhorse back
If you followed the news closely last week, you saw this one coming. Matt Jones was a healthy scratch in Week 10, leaving Rob Kelley as the early-down workhorse, Chris Thompson in his customary third-down role and special teamer Mack Brown as the backup. It led to the grinding Kelley playing on 66.7 percent of the snaps and handling 73.3 percent of the Redskins’ RB touches. The Redskins like him because he’s more decisive and consistent than Jones – 17 of his 22 runs Sunday were between two and five yards (via ESPN’s John Keim). The problem with using Kelley on DraftKings is he’s not involved in the pass game (three targets on last 85 snaps), doesn’t have explosive playmaking ability, and he’s game-flow dependent. If the Redskins fall behind to the Packers Sunday, Kelley will likely be leaving a big hole in your box score.
5. C.J. Prosise breaks to front of Seahawks backfield
We knew Thomas Rawls (leg) was out, we knew Christine Michael was dealing with a hamstring tweak and we knew the Seahawks had openly talked about getting rookie C.J. Prosise much more involved. So I regret not being higher on Prosise, who has the skill set we look for in a DK running back. The former wide receiver is a machine in the pass game, something that will hold even when Rawls returns and CMike’s hamstring is 100 percent. As for Week 10, it’s important to note that Prosise was arguably the MVP of the wildly impressive win at New England. He played on a season-high 77.1 percent of the snaps and touched the ball 24 times (17 carries, 7 catches) – work that included eight red-zone rushing attempts and one red-zone target. Prosise has earned at least a share of the early-down work plus all the pass-down and two-minute reps even if Rawls returns Week 10. Prosise will deservedly be among the most popular players on DK in Week 11 at $4,200.
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.