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 15. Hat-tip to ProFootballFocus for a lot of the snap info found below.
1. Tom Savage Expands Texans’ Pass Game
The Texans made the long-overdue move to bench Brock Osweiler Sunday. It meant an immediate expansion of the entire offense because Savage actually excels at pushing the ball down the field – somewhere Osweiler was really struggling. Brock ranked 31st in yards per attempt at a pathetic 5.75 and was 29th in pass plays over 20 yards. Savage, who has been in Bill O’Brien’s system for three years, posted a 6.72 YPA this preseason and led all preseason QBs with eight pass plays over 20 yards. He hit three more of those chunk plays in the relief role Sunday.
Having Savage under center in Week 16 against the Bengals is great news for the entire offense, particularly DeAndre Hopkins. As noted by Evan Silva, Savage targeted Hopkins on 15 of his 36 attempts Sunday, leading to a productive 8-87-0 line against a tough Jags secondary. It was the most yards Hopkins has had since Week 2. The matchup with the Bengals isn’t great, but Savage is min-priced and Hopkins is only $5,200.
2. Edelman’s Targets Hold Despite Snap Count Dip
It appears the Patriots are trying to preserve Julian Edelman for the playoffs. He played on a season-low 58 percent of the snaps in Week 15 after being in on just 68 percent in both Weeks 13 and 14. With Rob Gronkowski (back surgery) done, the Patriots are taking it easy on Tom Brady’s favorite target. However, this decline in snaps hasn’t affected Edelman’s volume as he’s seen 12, 15 and 12 targets across the last three weeks. Note that he ran a route on 29 of Brady’s 34 dropbacks against the Broncos. So regardless of the snap counts, Edelman’s PPR floor is secure heading into the Week 16 matchup with the Jets.
3. Taylor Gabriel, Gadget Guy
I don’t like to roster gadget guys such as Tyreek Hill, Taylor Gabriel and Tavon Austin. Yes, they’re explosive – but they also get very little volume and need to break off a huge play to exceed value. Tyreek has seen seven, seven and one touch over the last three weeks. Gabriel has gotten five, four and three. In the long run, regression will catch up to these guys as the long touchdowns evaporate. Gabriel was overpriced at $5,600 last week and now he’s an absurd $6,100 – the 10th-most expensive WR on the main slate. If Julio Jones (toe) sits again, Aldrick Robinson (#preseason) is the far better play in my opinion. He led Falcons WRs in snaps for the second straight week (80.9 percent) and has seen 21.5 percent of Matt Ryan’s targets over the last two weeks. Lord Aldrick has turned that into a 7-153-0 line.
4. Ty Montgomery Now a RB on DraftKings
As discussed on this week’s solo pod, the situation for Ty Montgomery in Week 15 was very unique. Not just because of his projected volume with James Starks (concussion) out and no RB called up off practice squad, but because he was WR-eligible on DK in a very weak week for WRs. This time is a different story, however, as Montgomery is listed as a RB for the Week 16 matchup with the Vikings and he also is priced up $1,100 to $5,900. He’s certainly still “in play” after handling 51-of-61 snaps Sunday and forcing an impressive seven missed tackles, but there’s a lot more opportunity-cost by using a RB spot on him. The good news is we know Montgomery’s sickle cell issue is behind him after he handled all that usage in Chicago’s arctic temperatures.
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.