WATCH: LINEUP REVIEW – WEEK 14
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 14. Hat-tip to ProFootballFocus for a lot of the snap info found below.
1. Kenneth Dixon Makes His Move
The Ravens have used a running back committee for the entire season, mixing in Terrance West, Justin Forsett, Buck Allen and rookie Kenneth Dixon. Well, Forsett was cut a while ago and Buck Allen has been a healthy scratch the last few weeks. That left just two backs and it became clear on Monday night which one the Ravens prefer – at least when they’re trailing as they were Monday night. Dixon out-carried West 11-2, out-targeted him 11-4 and out-snapped him 42-14. The versatile Dixon now has at least four catches in three straight games and is averaging 10.0 carries per game during that span. We can conservatively project a 12-touch floor with upside for a lot more ahead of the Week 15 game against the Eagles, where Dixon costs just $3,800.
2. Sammy Watkins a Full-Time Worker
Here are Sammy Watkins’ snap rates in the three weeks since he returned three games ago: 45.5%, 68.1% and then 94.2% on Sunday. So even though he’s still taking it a bit easy in practice, he’s back to a full-time role in games. That only resulted in a 4-54-1 line on six targets against the Steelers, but part of that can be chalked up to the snowy conditions and a neutral matchup. With a much, much better matchup in Week 15 (vs. CLE) and hopefully better weather, Watkins will be set up far better. He’s still underpriced relative to his talent level at $5,900.
3. LeSean McCoy Holds Off Gillislee
A lot of talk last week centered around Mike Gillislee stealing reps – especially red-zone reps – from LeSean McCoy. As it often goes with this kind of talk, when the chips are actually down it’s hard for coaches to take their best player off the field. McCoy ended up out-snapping Gillislee 43-7 and out-touching him 18-2. That included three red-zone targets for McCoy and two red-zone rushing attempts (one of which he converted three yards out). Gillislee had zero red-zone touches or targets. So perhaps the Bills will go to Gillislee if they get to the 1-yard line and there’s a stoppage in play, but overall we only have to lower McCoy’s touchdown expectation a little bit. Similar to Watkins, McCoy is in an elite spot at home against the Browns this week.
4. Jordan Reed Limited Severely
Jordan Reed was able to play through his separated shoulder Sunday and didn’t have any setbacks, but he logged just 10 snaps. Vernon Davis and Derek Carrier were the main tight ends. Reed will likely be healthier this week, but we’re unlikely to know exactly how much the Redskins plan to use him now that they’ve shown a willingness to have him dress for a limited role. Considering he’s priced up at $5,500 for Monday night’s game at Carolina, there’s going to be a lot of risk here.
5. Jags Lean on Yeldon With Ivory Out
With Chris Ivory (hamstring) sidelined Sunday, T.J. Yeldon again stepped into a featured role. He played on 53-of-67 snaps and handled 85.7 percent of the Jags’ RB touches. Note that Ivory has now missed three games this year and Yeldon has averaged 6.3 catches per game in them to go with 15.0 carries. He’s not going to be efficient and the Jags do not run in the red-zone, but Yeldon’s floor is higher than we give him credit for when Ivory sits. He remains priced down at $4,100 for this week’s game in Houston.
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