Welcome to the Week 17 Usage Report. This piece is designed to give you a glimpse of both rushing shares and usage rates for running backs, wide receivers and occasionally tight ends. It will help you understand how often a player is involved in his team’s game plan and if those players are susceptible to being faded or emphasized during various game scripts.
tgt_big_lead - Target share when team is leading by 14+ points
tgt_leading - Target share when team is leading by 9-13 points
tgt_one_score - Target share when team is in a one-score game
tgt_down - Target share when team is down by 9-13 points
tgt_down_big - Target share when team is down by 14+ points
Weekly Rushing Share
Tier 1 - Teams with Situations in Flux
The Lions were finally able to get back one of their top two running backs this week, as Jamaal Williams returned to the field. They are still without D’Andre Swift, who has not played since Week 12. Craig Reynolds has filled in admirably in recent weeks, and it remains to be seen if Swift will return in Week 17. If Swift’s absence has lowered his price at all, he’s a strong buy-high candidate in dynasty leagues.
Unfortunately, James Robinson tore his Achilles this week and is out for the rest of the season. Carlos Hyde has already been ruled out for the remainder of the year with a concussion, which leaves Dare Ogunbowale as the starting option for the Jaguars. Ogunbowale has a tough matchup on the road against the Patriots on tap, but he should receive the bulk of the carries and some targets.
Miles Sanders broke his hand in Week 16 and has already been ruled out for Week 17. However, the team does not plan to place him on injured reserve. Jordan Howard suffered a stinger, and his status remains in question heading into this week. Boston Scott would be the biggest beneficiary if Howard is unable to go. Rookie Kenneth Gainwell should also see an uptick in opportunities.
Tier 2 - Teams with Situations worth Monitoring
James Conner missed the Week 16 matchup with a heel injury. Chase Edmonds stepped up in a big way by setting season-high marks in rushing attempts (16), targets (9) and receptions (8). It sounds like Conner could be a game-time decision in Week 17, which means Edmonds could be in line for another significant workload.
Devonta Freeman and Latavius Murray have both totaled 12 carries over the last two weeks. Neither has provided much value in the passing game, and Freeman has the lone touchdown between the two in that span. Lamar Jackson could return this week, but that remains to be seen. If Jackson cannot go, don’t expect either of these players to provide meaningful production.
31-year-old Rex Burkhead is averaging more than 10 carries/game since Week 11. He erupted in Week 16 when he hung 22 carries, 149 yards and two scores on the Chargers. His larger body of work would suggest that this game was an outlier, but it likely pushed a few fantasy managers into the final week if they were brave (or desperate) enough to play him.
Kansas City Chiefs
Clyde Edwards-Helaire is considered week-to-week with a bruised shoulder. If he cannot go in Week 17, Darrel Williams immediately becomes fantasy relevant. When Edwards-Helaire missed five games earlier in the season, Williams was the RB4 from Weeks 6-10 and averaged more than 17 points/game. Derrick Gore would also see an increased role if Edwards-Helaire misses this week.
Los Angeles Chargers
Without Austin Ekeler due to COVID-19 protocols, Justin Jackson carried fantasy managers with his massive workload. He racked up 64 yards and a pair of scores on just 11 carries, and he reeled in eight of his nine targets for 98 yards. Ekeler has been activated, which means Jackson will revert back to his secondary role but could still make a splash with a handful of touches.
Los Angeles Rams
Darrell Henderson suffered an MCL sprain and has been placed on injured reserve. At the same time, Cam Akers has the potential to return this season after recovering from his Achilles injury. It seems unlikely that fantasy managers will benefit from Akers this year, which means Sony Michel will continue to serve as the lead back for the Rams. He has topped 90 rushing yards in three of his last four performances.
A week after posting a career game, Duke Johnson split carries with Phillip Lindsay, as the Dolphins found their way to yet another victory. Myles Gaskin has taken a back seat in the running back room as he works his way back from the COVID-19 list, which means this team could soon have a three-way committee on their hands. This could make it difficult for fantasy managers to make the best choice.
Dalvin Cook missed the Week 16 contest due to COVID-19 protocols but was activated on Wednesday. Alexander Mattison disappointed relative to expectations without Cook this past weekend and now returns to his backup role. The Vikings face off against the Packers on Sunday Night Football in Week 17.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Ronald Jones got the start with Leonard Fournette heading to injured reserve prior to Week 16. Jones totaled 65 yards and a score on 20 carries, while teammate Ke’Shawn Vaughn had a highlight-reel 55-yard touchdown run. Newcomer Le’Veon Bell also got in on the action with two carries. Jones figures to remain the starter this week with Vaughn mixing in.
Tier 3 - Teams with Stable Situations
Neither Mike Davis nor Cordarrelle Patterson have reached 10 fantasy points in the last two weeks. Patterson remains the viable fantasy option due to his ability to contribute in both the passing and rushing attack.
While Matt Breida and Zack Moss continue to swap seats on the “healthy scratch” list, Devin Singletary has taken full control of this backfield. He has at least 10 carries in four of his last five games and has 14 targets in his last three.
There is minimal value to be found in this backield. Chuba Hubbard hasn’t scored more than nine fantasy points since Week 8. Ameer Abdullah does have four straight games with at least four targets, which makes him nothing more than a desperate option in deeper formats.
David Montgomery has been very balanced with his production over the last month. He’s the primary option on the ground for the Bears and has at least six targets in each of his last four games. He’s a low-end RB2 who needs to find the end zone to really return value, but his involvement in the passing game has provided him with a safe floor.
Joe Mixon, one of the rare workhorse running backs in the league, has at least 17 rushing attempts in six straight games. He’s the RB3 on the year and locked into a critical role on an ascending, exciting offense led by Joe Burrow.
Nick Chubb posted his best fantasy finish since Week 9 and now has at least 90 rushing yards and a score in consecutive weeks for the first time all season. He remains the focal point for this offense.
Ezekiel Elliott saw just nine carries (his lowest since Week 12), but his pair of touchdowns helped both his fantasy managers and the Cowboys, as Dallas routed the Washington Football Team. Tony Pollard remains involved as the 1B but just doesn’t see the needed volume to provide consistent value.
Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams combined for eight rushing yards on 14 attempts in Week 16. The rookie managed to find the end zone, but it was a tough day for both. Better days are ahead, as the Broncos face the Chargers this week.
Green Bay Packers
Aaron Jones has reclaimed his role as the 1A over teammate A.J. Dillon over the last two weeks, but both running backs remain crucial to the success of this Packers’ offense that has its sights set on a deep playoff run.
Jonathan Taylor had a “down game” for fantasy and still topped 100 rushing yards for the third straight week and ninth time in his last 12 games. However, Taylor does not have a reception in his last three games.
Las Vegas Raiders
In the wake of Kenyan Drake going down with a season-ending injury, Josh Jacobs has seen increased usage in the passing game. He has 58 targets, 48 receptions and 319 receiving yards this season which are all career-high marks.
New England Patriots
Damien Harris torched the Bills with three rushing scores and 103 rushing yards in Week 16. Teammate Rhamondre Stevenson did not play but returned to practice on Wednesday, which bodes well for his availability in Week 17.
New Orleans Saints
The Ian Book experiment did not go well for the Saints and their star running back. Alvin Kamara has not topped eight fantasy points in consecutive weeks and heads into a tough matchup against the Panthers. In his first matchup with Carolina, Kamara only mustered five rushing yards on eight attempts. Taysom Hill should be back in Week 17, but keep an eye on practice reports.
New York Giants
Saquon Barkley continues to manage his ankle injury and did not practice on Wednesday. He has received at least 10 carries in five straight games but just hasn’t looked like himself. He also has just one touchdown in that span. Devontae Booker has at least 10 touches in four straight games and has served to limit Barkley’s upside more than provide standalone value.
New York Jets
Michael Carter tied a season-high mark in carries (16) and set a new career-high in rushing yards (118) in Week 16. Tevin Coleman continues to stick around, as the veteran has at least 50 rushing yards in his last four games.
While this might be hard to watch, Najee Harris continues to get it done. The hulking rookie is now the RB4 on the season and remains the lone running back of note for the Steelers.
San Francisco 49ers
Elijah Mitchell has not played since Week 13 but has a chance to return for Week 17. In his stead, Jeff Wilson has totaled 48 carries, 211 rushing yards and two touchdowns in his last three weeks.
Rashaad Penny has 311 rushing yards and three scores in his last three games. It might have taken a few years, but his timing couldn’t be better for fantasy managers this season.
Antonio Gibson has three total touchdowns over his last four weeks but has not topped 36 rushing yards since Week 13. He’s reportedly dealing with a hip injury, which is something to keep an eye on heading into the last two weeks of the season.
Lamar Jackson, who has not played since Week 14, returned to practice on Wednesday but reportedly had a pronounced limp. It remains to be seen who will be under center for the Ravens in Week 17, but Mark Andrews has been dominating regardless of who the quarterback has been. He has at least 10 targets, eight receptions, 115 receiving yards and a touchdown in three straight weeks.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Carson Wentz is on the COVID-19 list but will start this week if he clears protocol in time. The new league rules state a player can return after five days (instead of 10) if he is asymptomatic, even if he is unvaccinated. Michael Pittman bounced back in Week 16 and will look to finish his season strong. Pittman is currently the WR19 this season.
San Francisco 49ers
Jimmy Garoppolo has been diagnosed with a grade III sprain and fracture in his thumb. While he has not been officially ruled out, we could see Trey Lance this weekend. Deebo Samuel remains one of the most versatile, lethal weapons in football, while Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle help constitute one of the better trios of players in the league.
Tier 2 - Teams with Situations Worth Monitoring
Sam Darnold will replace Cam Newton as the starting quarterback for the Panthers in Week 17. Newton could still see usage near the end zone, but his remaining fantasy value is now gone. DJ Moore does have double-digit targets in four straight games for the first time this season but has topped 80 receiving yards just twice since Week 4.
Justin Fields missed the Week 16 matchup against the Seahawks with an ankle injury. Nick Foles stepped in and secured the victory for the Bears. It remains to be seen if Fields will suit up in Week 17, so keep an eye on the practice reports in the coming days. David Montgomery gets a slight boost if Fields misses another contest.
Drew Lock, who got the Week 16 in place of Teddy Bridgewater (concussion), is expected to start again this week. Regardless of who is under center, the passing attack has not been great for the Broncos this season. Courtland Sutton’s 33 receiving yards was the most he’s had since Week 8, and his four receptions were the most since Week 7.
New Orleans Saints
Ian Book drew the start in Week 16 after Taysom Hill landed on the COVID-19 list. It was a tough week for all Saints players. Marquez Callaway does have 10 receptions for 158 yards over his last two games, but the entire offense will be better off if Hill can return in Week 17.
New York Giants
Veteran Mike Glennon and sophomore Jake Fromm have both made appearances in the last two games, and both are expected to have a role in Week 17. Daniel Jones has been ruled out for the season and this offense has been wildly disappointing.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tom Brady welcomed back Antonio Brown in Week 16, as both Mike Evans and Chris Godwin were absent with their respective injuries. The Buccaneers were quite balanced in their win over the Panthers and have an encouraging matchup against the Jets in Week 17. Expect another healthy dose of Brown, especially if Evans is unable to suit up.
Tier 3 - Teams with Stable Situations
In the last two games, which did not feature DeAndre Hopkins, tight end Zach Ertz has racked up 24 targets, 14 receptions and 128 receiving yards. Ertz has demonstrated a willingness and ability to be a high-volume tight end throughout his career and should continue to see a significant workload.
Both sides of the Kyle Pitts debate will likely be happy this season. On one hand, he did not return nearly as much value as many were hoping for, but he’s also sitting at 101 targets, 64 receptions, and 949 receiving yards. He should break 1,000 receiving yards this season and remains in consideration for the overall TE1 in dynasty leagues.
Stefon Diggs has either a touchdown or double-digit targets in all but three games this season. He’s an elite talent on a high-powered offense. It’s been fun to see the different ancillary receivers provide value in recent weeks for the Bills.
Joe Burrow & Co. are going to be an exciting team to watch for the next several years. According to Field Yates, the Bengals are the first team in NFL history with a 4,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher and two 1,000-yard receivers all 25 or younger in the same season.
This offense only has consistent value via the ground game. Baker Mayfield has operated adequately within this offensive system but lacks the necessary weapons to truly take the pressure off the rushing attack. Anthony Schwartz and Donovan Peoples-Jones remain intriguing trade targets in dynasty leagues.
If there was any doubt about Dak Prescott being in a rut, those fears have been soundly put to rest. He torched the WFT on Sunday Night Football and sat out the entire fourth-quarter. Aside from the impressive wide receivers on this squad, Dalton Schultz remains one of the fastest-rising tight ends.
Amon-Ra St. Brown has been the story for the last month and for good reason. The fourth-round rookie has at least 11 targets and eight receptions in four straight games and has done it with a revolving door at quarterback.
Green Bay Packers
Davante Adams has seven touchdowns over his last five games and remains one of the best wide receivers in the league.
Brandin Cooks missed Week 16 on the COVID-19 list but was activated on Wednesday. Prior to Week 16, he strung together an impressive two-game stretch that included 15 receptions (on 21 targets) for 203 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
Marvin Jones set season-high marks in targets (13) and receptions (8) in Week 16, and his 74 receiving yards were the most he’s had since Week 6. This team needs a reset after this season.
Darren Waller, who has not played since Week 12, was placed on the COVID-19 list on Wednesday. Quietly, Zay Jones has 17 targets, 12 receptions and 117 receiving yards over his last two games. Hunter Renfrow posted back-to-back games with just three receptions but found the end zone in Week 16.
Los Angeles Chargers
Justin Jackson stole the show through the air in Week 16 by posting a receiving line of 8-98 on nine targets. Keenan Allen had his first game of the year with under 10 fantasy points. Justin Herbert surprisingly struggled against the Texans but still managed to toss for 336 yards.
Los Angeles Rams
Cooper Kupp has topped 90 receiving yards 11 games in a row. He’s hit that mark in all but one game this season and that game saw him post 64 receiving yards.
Jaylen Waddle is having one the quietest, all-time rookie seasons. He’s currently the WR11 on the season and has 96 receptions for 941 yards on 126 targets. That type of volume is encouraging for a young player.
Adam Thielen, who missed essentially three games with an ankle injury, and struggled in his return in Week 16, had surgery on that ankle and will miss the remainder of the season. Justin Jefferson passed Odell Beckham for the most receiving yards through a player’s first two seasons. K.J. Osborn is the biggest beneficiary of Thielen’s absence. Osborn has at least seven targets, 47 receiving yards and a touchdown in three of his last four games.
New England Patriots
Jakobi Meyers is up to 110 targets on the season, easily a new career-high. His lone touchdown as a third-year veteran will always be bewildering, but his role as the primary option in the passing game cements him as a low-end WR3 in PPR formats.
Rookie wide receiver DeVonta Smith scored for the first time since Week 10. His production has been erratic this season, but he remains a top-30 option at the position. Dallas Goedert came crashing down after consecutive strong weeks but is still a rising talent at the tight end position.
It’s not getting any easier to watch the Steelers’ offense, but viable fantasy options remain. Diontae Johnson, WR7, has matched his career-best in targets for a season (144), has a new high mark in receptions (92) and receiving yards (1,079) and tied his season-best in touchdowns (7). If you can acquire any Steelers’ offensive player, including Johnson, Chase Claypool, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Pat Freiermuth, you should do so.
The weather in Seattle wasn’t conducive to a pass-heavy game script in Week 16. DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett combined for five receptions, 71 yards and a touchdown. Gerald Everett has topped 10 fantasy points in five of his last seven games.
The return of AJ Brown was a sight to behold. He corralled 11 of 16 targets for 145 yards and a touchdown. Julio Jones and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine have both been placed on the COVID-19 list, so regardless of what happens in the coming days, Brown will be in line for another massive workload.
Washington Football Team
Ths WFT never stood a chance on Sunday Night Football. Kyle Allen replaced Taylor Heinicke late in the contest and could appear in the Week 17 matchup against the Eagles. Terry McLaurin has not topped 10 fantasy points since Week 11 and has been one of the biggest fantasy disappointments this season.