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Top 10 Fantasy Football Takeaways from Week 6 Usage

By Jared Smola 8:42am EDT 10/18/23

1. Jonathan Taylor Gains Ground

Week 5 Snap Rate Route rate Rush Attempts Targets
Zack Moss 80% 66% 23 2
Jonathan Taylor 15% 13% 6 1
Week 6 Snap Rate Route rate Rush Attempts Targets
Zack Moss 50% 41% 7 7
Jonathan Taylor 42% 35% 8 6

Zack Moss has been really good this season.

But Jonathan Taylor is inevitable. If his talent doesn't ensure that, his new $42 million contract will.

After Moss kept a stranglehold on the backfield in Week 5, Taylor basically pulled even in Week 6.

It's worth noting that Moss still beat Taylor in yards per carry, yards after contact per carry, and Pro Football Focus rushing grade in the loss to the Jaguars.

But I'd still expect the snaps and touches to continue moving in Taylor's direction.

In fact, we're projecting Taylor to lead Moss in carries and targets in Week 7.

       

2. Jaxon Smith-Njigba Gets Post-Bye Boost

Route Rate
Week 1 64%
Week 2 65%
Week 3 61%
Week 4 73%
Week 6 78%

We often see rookies claim larger roles coming out of the bye week.

That was the case for Smith-Njigba, who registered a season-high route rate in Week 6. In fact, he ran just two fewer routes than WRs D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett.

Smith-Njigba also tallied a season-high 7.4-yard average target depth. That's still low -- but up considerably from his laughably low 3.3-yard aDOT over his first four games.

It's worth noting that the Seahawks' offensive line is getting healthier, which might be freeing them up to player fewer two-TE sets and more three-WR sets, getting Smith-Njigba on the field.

If this type of usage continues, he's capable of working his way into the WR3 mix.

    

3. Ken Walker Back in Workhorse Role

Week 6 Snap Rate Route rate Rush Attempts Targets
Ken Walker 77% 55% 19 3
Zach Charbonnet 23% 25% 2 2

A post-bye rookie bump was not in the cards for Charbonnet, who registered season lows in both snap rate and share of rush attempts (8%) in Week 6.

Walker, meanwhile, saw season highs with:

  • 77% snap rate
  • 76% rush-attempt share
  • 55% route rate

We'll see if Charbonnet regains some work going forward. He remains worth stashing on fantasy benches, as a Walker handcuff if nothing else.

But if Walker maintains this role, he's a locked-in RB1 with upside into the top 5.

  

4. Jaleel McLaughlin Isn’t Going Away

Week 6 Snap Rate Route rate Rush Attempts Targets
Jaleel McLaughlin 40% 39% 7 2
Javonte Williams 35% 16% 10 0
Samaje Perine17%19%02

Williams returned for Thursday night's game in Kansas City, but McLaughlin didn't go anywhere.

In fact, the rookie led Denver in both snaps and routes. Most of his work came in passing situations, but McLaughlin also got another seven carries.

The Broncos seem committed to getting McLaughlin 10 or so touches per game. He's tallied 10, 11, and nine opportunities (carries + targets) over the last three weeks.

That's not enough volume to make him a comfortable fantasy play. But it's enough to make him startable in most fantasy leagues considering the state of the RB position.

Perine was the odd man out, setting season lows in snap rate and route rate. He's droppable in standard-sized fantasy leagues.

 

5. Did Rachaad White Lose the Lead Role?

Week 6 Snap Rate Route rate Rush Attempts Targets
Rachaad White 79% 72% 7 4
Ke'Shawn Vaughn 21% 12% 6 2

A quick look at the box score makes it look like Vaughn moved into an even timeshare with White.

That wasn't exactly the case. In fact, White's playing time was right in line with where it'd been the previous four games.

The difference was that he handled just 54% of the RB carries after hogging 69% over Tampa Bay's first four games.

It's difficult to figure out where the backfield goes from here. The playing time remains encouraging for White. But if the Bucs want to take work away from White and give it to Vaughn, they can do it even without giving Vaughn a ton of snaps.

White, as you probably know if you own him, has not been good this year. Among 48 RBs with 30+ carries, he ranks:

  • 45th in rush yards over expected per attempt
  • 24th in avoided tackles per attempt
  • 37th in yards after contact per attempt

But Vaughn has been even worse in avoided tackles and yards after contact per attempt. (He doesn't have enough carries to register in rush yards over expected.)

There's not much you can do with White at this point other than to hold, probably keep starting him as a volume-based play, and hope he maintains the lead role.

  

6. First Look at Vikings’ Jefferson-Less WR corps

Week 6 Route rate Target share
Jordan Addison 100% 16%
K.J. Osborn 100% 16%

Matching usage for Minnesota's top two WRs vs. the Bears.

The big change came with Addison's playing time. He'd run a route on 75% of Vikings pass plays with Justin Jefferson over the first five games of the season.

That's a significant bump in playing time that should lead to more fantasy points as long as Jefferson is out.

The next step for Addison is earning more volume. He's drawn a target on an underwhelming 16% of his routes so far this season. That mark should also climb without Jefferson hogging targets.

Consider Addison a WR3 with upside into WR2 territory.

 

7. Evolving Browns Backfield

Week 6 Snap Rate Route rate Rush Attempts Targets
Jerome Ford 50% 34% 17 2
Kareem Hunt 37% 29% 12 3

Hunt captured a bigger piece of the backfield coming off the bye week. He played 20% and 22% of Cleveland's offensive snaps in his first two games of the season, carrying five times in both.

Ford, as you'd expect, saw a dip in playing time after registering 56% and 62% snap rates in his first two full games without RB Nick Chubb.

Most alarming for Ford is the lost passing-game work. He combined for a 61% route rate and 13% target share across Weeks 3 and 4. Those marks dropped to 34% and 6% in Week 6.

Ford remains the best fantasy bet in this backfield for now. But downgrade him to low-end RB2 status if this usage remains.

Hunt could be a RB3 or flex play.

 

8. Devin Singletary Plays Ahead of Dameon Pierce

Week 6 Snap Rate Route rate Rush Attempts Targets
Devin Singletary 54% 55% 12 2
Dameon Pierce 33% 21% 13 0

This one came out of nowhere.

Pierce controlled Houston's backfield over the first five games of the season, playing 53% of the offensive snaps and handling 62% of the rushing attempts.

Week 6 brought season lows across the board: snap rate, route rate, rush-attempt share, and target share.

Houston's offensive line -- largely due to injuries -- has not been good this year.

But Pierce hasn't played as well as he did as a rookie, seeing drops in:

  • Yards per carry (4.3 to 2.9)
  • Yards after contact per attempt (3.28 to 2.25)
  • Avoided tackles per attempt (0.28 to 0.19)
  • Rush yards over expected per attempt (0.2 to -0.61)

Singletary leads Pierce in yards per carry (3.9), yards after contact per attempt (2.67), and rush yards over expected per attempt (-0.05).

HC Demeco Ryans hinted after the win over New Orleans that he wants to deploy a committee backfield going forward:

"Our run game was better. It was that complementary back and forth between DP (Dameon Pierce) and Motor (Devin Singletary). DP had some elite finishes. Motor had some nice runs. Going to continue to balance both guys out."

We'll see what this backfield looks like coming out of a Week 7 bye, but Singletary is worth stashing in fantasy leagues of 12+ teams.

 

9. Isiah Pacheco Dominating Chiefs Backfield

Snap rateroute rateRush Att. ShareTarget share
Weeks 1-3 47%40%51%8%
Weeks 4-6 61%36%70%10%

We talked about Pacheco's growing role after Week 2, but it's time to spotlight him again.

Pacheco has emerged as a borderline workhorse over the last three weeks, hogging 70% of Kansas City's rush attempts. That's a mark that only three RBs have topped over the entire season.

Pacheco is still ceding passing-down snaps to RB Jerick McKinnon but has managed to draw a solid 10% target share in his last three outings.

Add it all up and Pacheco ranks 12th among RBs in expected PPR points since Week 4.

He's at least a high-end RB2 going forward, with upside into RB1 territory considering the high-scoring offense he plays on.

 

10. Michael Mayer Arrives

Route RateTARGET share
Week 1 28%0%
Week 2 38%4%
Week 3 37%2%
Week 4 31%0%
Week 544%10%
Week 6 67%19%

Mayer was unleashed in Week 6, setting season highs in route rate, targets (6), catches (5), and yards (75).

It was the first time this season that he ran more routes than TE Austin Hooper.

It's worth noting that a 67% route rate would still rank outside the top-20 TEs for the season. Mayer's playing time will need to grow if he's going to emerge as a reliable fantasy play. But I expect that to happen considering he was uber-productive at Notre Dame and the 35th overall pick of this spring's draft.

TE-needy fantasy teams should grab Mayer where available this week.

 

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