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Top 10 Fantasy Football Takeaways from Week 3 Usage

By Jared Smola 9:26am EDT 9/27/23

1. Seattle’s Evolving Backfield

SNAP RATES Ken Walker Zach Charbonnet
Week 1 65% 24%
Week 2 61% 28%
Week 3 49% 44%

You probably haven't noticed because he's been scoring so many fantasy points, but Walker has been ceding more playing time to Charbonnet each week.

A lot of Charbonnet's work has come on passing downs, particularly in the two-minute drill. But the rookie also registered a season-high 27.3% rush-attempt share in Week 3, while Walker finished at a season-low 54.5%.

This shouldn't come as a major shock considering the Seahawks spent the 52nd overall pick of this spring's draft on Charbonnet. His role was always likely to grow over the course of the season.

I'm not expecting Charbonnet's playing time to continue trending up and ahead of Walker. What we saw in Week 3 is likely a good blueprint for the backfield going forward.

You don't need to panic-sell on Walker, who's still an explosive lead back on a good offense. But if you can get top-5 RB value in return, trading him could be profitable.

 

2. First Look at Browns’ Chubb-Less Backfield

Jerome Ford Kareem hunt pierre strong
Snap Rate 56.3% 19.7% 11.3%
Route Rate 58.5% 11.4% 2.4%
Carries 10 5 6
Targets330

Ford owners weren't happy to see Hunt and Strong get Cleveland's first two carries in Week 3.

But when the dust settled, Ford was the team's top back, leading in snaps, routes, carries, and targets.

His role was even a bit better than the final numbers suggest. Strong got the final five carries of the game in mop-up time. Prior to that, Ford had handled 10 of 16 RB carries.

Most encouraging was his passing-game role. A 58.5% route rate and 9.1% target share are strong marks.

It's possible that Hunt's role grows going forward as he settles back into this offense. But, for now, Ford looks like a rock-solid RB2.

 

3. Eagles Go Back to Committee Backfield

D'ANDRE SWIFT KENNETH GAINWELL
Snap Rate 53.8% 46.3%
Route Rate 50.0% 42.9%
Carries 16 14
Targets22

After leaning heavily on Gainwell in Week 1 and Swift in Week 2, the Eagles went with more of a committee backfield in Week 3.

It's certainly worth noting, though, that eight of Gainwell's 14 carries came on Philly's final drive, when they were up by 14. Those carries score fantasy points -- but aren't as reliable as we project forward.

Swift was also the more effective runner, averaging a big 8.1 yards per carry to Gainwell's 3.1.

Swift is the top fantasy play in this backfield until further notice -- even if he won't get the monster workload he did in Week 2.

 

4. Bears Remember Justin Fields Can Run

DESIGNED RUNS
Week 1 2
Week 2 3
Week 3 7

The passing remained ugly, but Fields at least got more encouraging rushing usage in Week 3.

His seven designed carries and 11 total carries were both season highs. For perspective, Fields averaged 5.9 designed carries and 10.7 total carries per game last year.

If this Week 3 usage continues, Fields can still deliver top-10 fantasy production. He did so last year, in spite of poor passing production.

 

5. Miles Sanders The Focal Point

Sanders rank among RBs
Snap Rate 61.6% 15th
Route Rate 50.3% 15th
Rush Attempt Share 63.1% 6th
Target Share15.5%2nd

Sanders has been the focal point of Carolina's offense through three weeks. It's not a big surprise considering they gave him a four-year, $25.4 million deal in free agency.

In terms of raw volume, Sanders ranks:

  • 15th in carries (41)
  • 1st in targets (20)
  • 2nd in catches (12)

Sanders' rushing and receiving efficiency has been poor in a struggling offense behind a struggling offensive line. But he's a good bet for at least RB2 production going forward, on what's been RB1-level usage.

 

6. Breece Hall’s Role Steadily Growing

snap rate route rate rush attempt shareTarget share
Week 1 31.5% 18.5% 35.7%9.1%
Week 2 33.3% 25.0% 25.0%7.4%
Week 3 49.2% 28.6% 54.5%5.6%

The Jets offense stunk again in Week 3. That ain't changing as long as QB Zach Wilson is under center.

But at least Hall's role is growing. This past week brought season highs in snap rate, route rate, and rush-attempt share.

We still need the passing-game usage to grow, especially considering the Jets will be playing from behind plenty.

But Hall is certainly trending in the right direction.

He's a tepid buy-low, with the understanding that he won't hit his ceiling in this current Jets offense.

 

7. Brian Robinson in Trailing Script: No Bueno

snap rate route rate CarriesTargets
Week 1 60.6% 45.7% 192
Week 2 52.1% 33.3% 183
Week 3 37.0% 19.5% 100

Robinson delivered RB1-level usage and production in the first two games of the season. He finished 35th among RBs in PPR points in Week 3.

What changed?

Game script.

The Commanders won in Weeks 1 and 2. In Week 3, they fell behind by 10 before the end of the first quarter and never threatened to make it a game.

The result for Robinson: season lows in snap rate, route rate, carries, and targets. RB Antonio Gibson set season highs in snap rate (61.1%) and route rate (70.7%).

Hopefully the Commanders won't get blown out as badly as they did in Week 3 again. But Robinson certainly looks like a game-script-dependent fantasy producer.

 

8. Darren Waller is Gonna Be Fine

Waller rank among TES
Route Rate 70.9% 19th
Target Share20.0%5th

Waller -- like the rest of the Giants offense -- faceplanted in Weeks 1 and 3. Those games came against the Cowboys and 49ers, two of the best defenses in the NFL.

In a better Week 2 matchup vs. the Cardinals, the Giants scored 31 points and Waller finished fourth among TEs in PPR points.

The underlying usage has been strong, too. Even stronger than the numbers you see above, because Waller was pulled early in the Week 1 blowout loss.

He still looks like an easy every-week fantasy starter with top-5 TE upside. Consider buying low this week.

 

9. Who’s the No. 1 WR in Houston?

weeks 2-3 Tank Dell Nico Collins Robert Woods
Route Rate 83.0% 75.0% 88.6%
Target Share 22.1% 15.6% 19.5%
Air Yards Share 37.0% 17.0% 27.0%

Two weeks is obviously a tiny sample size.

But at least over these last two weeks, Dell has been Houston's top WR, leading in targets share and air-yards share.

CBS' Jacob Gibbs points out that Dell also leads the Texans in first-read target share over the last two weeks. (First-read target share is a good indicator of who the team is designing plays for.)

Collins is just a week removed from looking like one of the biggest breakouts of the season. He could certainly retake hold of this WR corps going forward.

It'll be a fascinating situation to watch in what's quickly become an exciting Houston passing game.

Dell and Collins both look like weekly WR3s going forward.

Woods doesn't match the youngsters in big-play ability but still looks like a useful WR4, especially in PPR leagues.

 

10. The Greatest Backfield of All Time?

Raheem Mostert De'von Achane
Snap Rate 50.7% 41.1%
Route Rate 62.1% 37.9%
Carries 13 18
Carries + Targets Inside 10-Yard Line26
Targets74

It's tough to know exactly how much to take from Miami's Week 3 demolition of Denver. (Other than: Dolphins offense very good, Broncos defense very bad.)

We simply don't see NFL teams score 70 points. Or backfields total 441 yards and eight TDs.

Achane will obviously remain a significant part of this offense going forward. You don't put that big-play ability back in the bottle.

But Mostert has been excellent in his own right this season and isn't going away.

Plus, RB Jeff Wilson is eligible to return in Week 5.

This backfield could get messy. But we've reached the point where it's safe to bet on every player in this Miami offense out-producing his volume.

 

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