Top 10 Fantasy Football Takeaways from Week 12 Usage
1. Bijan Robinson Still in a Committee
The box score makes it look like Robinson was a workhorse in the win over New Orleans: 16 carries, six targets, 123 yards, and two TDs.
The reality is that he benefitted from positive game script that allowed the Falcons to run on 66% of their offensive snaps.
Robinson handled 16 of the team's 41 rush attempts -- a 39% share that's actually a bit below his season average.
His 63% snap rate was his third-lowest of the season, and his 58% route rate his second-lowest (omitting the Week 7 "headache game").
That all followed encouraging Week 10 usage, so Robinson's role remains a bit of a weekly guessing game.
He's good enough -- and his passing-game role strong enough -- to make him an easy weekly starter going forward. Just don't go believing that you have a workhorse on your hands.
2. Kyren Williams is SO Back
Williams returned from IR and posted a massive 204-yard, two-TD outing in the win over the Cardinals.
His role wasn't quite as strong as it was pre-injury. Williams played 88% of Los Angeles' offensive snaps from Weeks 2 through 6.
But it's worth noting that he was pulled for the final eight minutes of Sunday's blowout win. Prior to that point, Williams had handled 16 of 28 RB carries and all six RB targets.
Don't be surprised if his role now creeps closer to what it was early in the season. Even if it doesn't, Williams looks like a weekly RB1 in what's become a run-leaning Rams offense.
Here are Williams' PPR finishes in his last six games:
3. Roschon Johnson Vaults into Lead Role
Not only did Johnson lead the Bears backfield in Week 12, but he dominated work.
In fact, Johnson's 75% snap rate was the second-highest by any Bears RB this season.
A couple of caveats before we go locking in Johnson as a weekly fantasy starter after Chicago's Week 13 bye:
- The Bears went pass-heavier than usual in this one, throwing on 54.4% of their plays. That could have made Johnson -- a better pass-catcher and protector than Khalil Herbert -- a bigger part of the game plan.
- D'Onta Foreman missed this game with ankle and shin injuries. He got in two limited practices during the week, which likely sets him up to return after the bye and get back into the mix.
Johnson is certainly worth grabbing in any fantasy leagues where he's available. He'll be the top-ranked Bears RB in the Week 14 Rankings and has a shot to score as a top-25 RB the rest of the way.
But let's see him lead the backfield one more time before considering him a locked-in starter.
4. Rhamondre Stevenson’s Post-Bye Bump
The Patriots offense isn't giving us much. But it does look poised to potentially deliver a borderline RB1 the rest of the way.
Stevenson came out of the bye week and recorded season highs in snap rate and carry share (68%).
And he continued to play a huge role in the passing game. Stevenson has now seen 4+ targets in six straight games, averaging 5.3 per game on an elite 16% target share.
If he can add high-end rushing usage to that target volume, Stevenson has a shot to score as a top-12 fantasy RB the rest of the way -- even in a pathetic Patriots offense.
5. Buy or Sell the Pat Freiermuth Breakout?
|First 5 games
|Targets Per Route
Freiermuth TOTALED 14 targets, nine catches, and 60 yards over the first five games of the season.
Then he went for nine catches and 120 yards on 11 targets in the Week 12 win over the Bengals.
So what do we make of Freiermuth going forward?
There's a lot to digest here.
First of all, this was the first game in the post-Matt Canada era. It's certainly possible that co-offensive coordinators Eddie Faulkner and Mike Sullivan are set to make Freiermuth a centerpiece of this offense the rest of the way.
We are, after all, talking about a guy who finished TE13 and TE7 in PPR points in his first two NFL seasons.
But three reasons to tap the breaks on Freiermuth as a weekly fantasy starter the rest of the way:
- The big Week 12 came against a Bengals defense that ranks dead last in adjusted fantasy points allowed to TEs and 30th in TE coverage DVOA.
- Freiermuth still ran a route on just 62% of pass plays. That 48% target-per-route rate is unsustainable. For perspective, he registered rates of 19% and 21% over the previous two seasons.
- The Steelers remained a slow-paced, run-heavy offense under the new OCs.
Freiermuth is certainly worth grabbing where available. And he cracks the top-12 in the Week 13 TE Rankings, with six teams on bye.
But I'm not yet convinced that Freiermuth is here to stay as a weekly TE1.
6. Devin Singletary Stays in Workhorse Role
It didn't necessarily show up in the box score, where Singletary out-carried Pierce just six to five. But Singletary dominated playing time in Pierce's first game back from his ankle injury.
Singletary's 82% snap rate was right in line with his marks with Pierce out the previous three weeks. And his 74% route rate and 19% target share were both season highs.
It's certainly possible that Pierce's role grows as he puts that injury further behind him. But Singletary has simply been the more effective back this season, so I'm expecting him to remain the clear leader the rest of the way.
Singletary's next two games come against the Broncos and Jets' bottom-5 RB defenses.
7. Isiah Pacheco a Bellcow Without Jerick McKinnon
McKinnon's absence turned Pacheco into an every-down back. His 78% snap rate and 68% route rate in the win over Las Vegas were both season highs.
Pacheco turned his 15 carries and five targets into 89 total yards and two scores, finishing fourth among RBs in PPR points on the week.
We haven't heard a timetable for McKinnon's return from his groin injury. But Pacheco looks like an easy RB1 for as long as McKinnon is out.
8. Isaiah Likely Can Be a TE1
|Likely Week 12
|Mark Andrews Weeks 2-10
|Targets Per Route
Likely posted a mediocre 4-40-0 line in the Sunday night win over the Chargers.
His usage suggests that better days are ahead. In fact, Likely basically stepped right into Andrews' role, registering an 84% route rate that matched Andrews' mark in healthy games this season.
We can't expect Likely to draw targets at the same rate as Andrews. And we certainly shouldn't expect Likely to match Andrews' production.
But he has a good shot at lower-end TE1 production if his Week 12 usage rolls into future weeks.
9. Buy Josh Downs
|5 healthy games with MINSHEW
|Targets Per Game
|Catches Per Game
|Yards Per Game
|TDs Per Game
It's been a while since Downs has helped fantasy teams. He was limited by a knee injury in Weeks 9 and 10. He had a bye in Week 11. And he went for just 43 scoreless yards on five catches in Week 12.
But Downs drew another 13 targets last week, tying WR Michael Pittman for the team lead. Downs has now averaged 9.6 targets in five healthy games that QB Gardner Minshew started.
His 14.8 PPR points per game in those contests would rank 18th among WRs on the season.
Downs has a shot to score as a WR2 the rest of the way and should at least be a rock-solid WR3. The rookie is an excellent trade target this week.
10. Dalton Schultz’s Playing Time Plummets
Raise your hand if you had Brevin Jordan as a threat to Schultz. I didn't.
Jordan ran 19 routes (40%) in the Week 12 loss to the Jaguars -- just four fewer than Schultz.
It's worth noting that Schultz had a similar route dip back in Week 4, only to follow it up with a rebound in usage and a big 7-65-1 line in Week 5.
It's definitely possible -- maybe even likely -- that this was another one-week blip.
I wouldn't go dropping Schultz from fantasy rosters, largely because of how awesome this C.J. Stroud-led passing game has been. But I'd also try to not use Schultz in Week 13 fantasy lineups against a much-improved Broncos pass defense.