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 6. Hat-tip to ProFootballFocus for a lot of the snap data found below.
1. Spencer Ware Leading the Chiefs’ Committee
Here are the RB snaps from Sunday’s win in Oakland: Spencer Ware 40 of 64, Jamaal Charles 15, Charcandrick West 8. The touches: Ware 26, Charles 11, West 3. Afterward, JC insisted that his reconstructed knee is “healthy” and that it “doesn’t have anything to do” with his limited workload. Coach Andy Reid said otherwise: “Is he ready to carry it every down? I don’t think that’s where we’re at right this minute.”
Reid and Charles can bicker all they want about how healthy JC is, but everyone is assuming a 29-year-old RB coming off a second ACL tear will be his old self. Perhaps the Chiefs know that Ware is the better option at this minute to lead a committee – he is averaging 5.3 yards per carry and continues to show surprisingly well in the pass game. The bottom line is that we can expect Ware to once again out-snap and out-touch Charles in the Week 7 dream spot at home against the Saints.
2. Eagles Back to a Four-Man RB Committee
Prior to Week 5, the Eagles said they wanted Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles as their main two running backs. Then Mathews lost a devastating fumble and sunk to 3.3 YPC on the season. So in Week 6, Doug Pederson went back to the four-man committee. Sproles led the way with 23 snaps, followed by Mathews 11, Wendell Smallwood 10 and Kenjon Barner 8. Touches were Mathews 9, Sproles 5, Smallwood 5, Barner 2. This is a slow-paced Eagles team struggling on the right side of the offensive line with Lane Johnson suspended. There’s barely room for two running backs to eat, let alone four.
3. Vernon Davis Steps in for Jordan Reed
Jordan Reed has sustained six concussions that we know of, so it’s possible he’ll be out a while. Vernon Davis stepped in as the Redskins’ primary tight end in Week 6, playing on 72-of-74 snaps and running a pass route on 35 of Kirk Cousins’ 35 dropbacks. Meanwhile, Niles Paul played just 22 snaps and ran seven pass routes. Davis is 32 years old now and nowhere near the athletic pass-catcher he once was, but this kind of usage is worth noticing. That’s especially true since he’s just $2,900 in Week 7 and facing a Lions’ defense which has given up 19 TDs to tight ends over their last 22 games.
4. Randall Cobb Not the Backup RB After All
One of the reasons I rostered Cobb in my cash-game lineup Week 6 was because I thought he projected for 3-6 carries in addition to a fistful of short pass plays that could be considered an extension of the run game. I was wrong as Cobb logged zero carries and only lined up in the backfield twice. The real winner of the Packers’ messy RB situation was Ty Montgomery, who was lined up in the backfield on a majority of his 36 snaps and racked up 10 catches plus three carries against the Cowboys. The Tuesday trade for Knile Davis shouldn’t affect Montgomery too much, as Davis has just a couple days to learn the system before Thursday night against the Bears. Look for Montgomery to be relied upon heavily again.
5. Hunter Henry Losing Pass Routes to Antonio Gates
With Malcom Floyd retired and Stevie Johnson/Keenan Allen both done for the year, the Chargers can’t afford to completely shun difference-making pass-catchers. So even with Antonio Gates (hamstring) relatively healthy, the Chargers played Hunter Henry on 45-of-66 snaps in Week 6 while Gates played on 31. However, Henry only ran a pass route on 19 of Philip Rivers’ 31 pass routes vs. Gates’ 22 pass routes. It’s a sign that the Chargers will use Gates in passing situations while Henry is now the more all-around tight end. There’s still value here, as evidenced by Henry’s 6-83-1 line against the Broncos last week. But the floor is a little lower than perceived.
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