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Top 10 Fantasy Football Takeaways from Week 7 Usage

By Jared Smola 9:33am EDT 10/25/23

1. Coming Soon: Javonte Williams Breakout

Snap rate Route Rate rush Attempt ShareTarget Share
Week 1 45% 32% 59%18%
Week 2 45% 26% 52%9%
Week 3 42% 31% 55%8%
Week 635%17%43%0%
Week 753%39%60%14%

We were ahead of the Breece Hall breakout, highlighting his growing role two weeks before his huge game vs. the Broncos.

Williams is the next young back coming off a serious knee injury to pop. He's now over 12 months removed from shredding his knee, and it looks like the Broncos are ready to ramp up his volume.

Week 7 brought season highs in:

  • Snap rate (53%)
  • Route rate (39%)
  • Rush attempt share (60%)

I also noted prior to last week that Williams posted season highs in Pro Football Focus rushing grade and yards after contact per attempt in Week 6.

He set new season highs in both categories again in Week 7. In fact, Williams led all 29 RBs with 10+ carries last week in rushing grade.

His performance and usage are both on the rise. The breakout is coming. Swing a trade for Williams before it happens.

 

2. Two-Man Show in Rams Backfield

Week 7 Darrell Henderson Royce Freeman
Snap Rate 57% 43%
Route Rate 39% 24%
Carries 18 12
Targets20

The GOAT Adam Schefter nailed his Sunday morning report that Henderson and Freeman would lead the Rams' Week 7 backfield. RB Myles Gaskin was a healthy scratch, and RB Zach Evans didn't play a single snap.

Henderson started the game and wound up leading in all major categories. It's worth noting, though, that Henderson and Freeman rotated series throughout the game.

It's also worth noting that Freeman was the more effective runner. He beat Henderson in:

  • PFF rushing grade (80.3 to 60.4)
  • Yards after contact per attempt (3.8 to 2.4)
  • Elusive Rating (127.8 to 0)

That's all to say that it wouldn't be surprising to see Freeman lead in carries in Week 8.

Henderson's lead in passing-game work makes him the better fantasy play vs. the Cowboys on Sunday. But this backfield is still likely a fluid situation.

 

3. Brian Robinson Losing Lead Job?

rush attempt share
Week 1 68%
Week 2 78%
Week 377%
Week 450%
Week 540%
Week 645%
Week 742%

Robinson dominated Commanders carries early this season but has been losing work lately, failing to hit a 50% rush share in three straight.

Week 7 was particularly worrisome. Robinson out-carried RB Chris Rodriguez just eight to seven.

It's certainly possible that a similar split continues going forward considering Robinson hasn't been very effective. He's averaging 3.8 yards per carry on the season and hasn't topped 3.2 in any of his last four games.

Among 41 RBs with 40+ carries this season, Robinson ranks:

  • 21st in PFF rushing grade
  • 19th in yards after contact per attempt
  • 21st in Elusive Rating

Fine, but nothing special.

Albeit on a sample of just 14 carries, Rodriguez leads Robinson in yards per carry, yards after contact per attempt, and Elusive Rating.

Robinson, of course, continues to do next to nothing in the passing game. So he needs all the rushing volume he can get.

If you can still sell him off at a RB2 price tag, do it.

  

4. George Pickens Breakout

Ranks among 84 WRs with 20+ targets
Yards per target 14th
Yards per route 12th
PFF receiving grade 20th

Pickens is in the midst of a second-year breakout.

He ranks top-20 among 84 qualifying WRs in yards per target, yards per route, and Pro Football Focus receiving grade. He sits WR16 in PPR points per game.

A lot of that damage came with WR Diontae Johnson sidelined.

But Johnson returned for Week 7 ... and Pickens still delivered a 5-107-0 line.

Pickens out-targeted Johnson eight to six in that one, which feels significant. It happened in just two games all last season.

I like Pickens' odds of out-scoring Johnson in all fantasy formats the rest of the way.

  

5. Rashee Rice Still Rising

Route RateTarget Share
Week 1 25%14%
Week 2 15%5%
Week 351%19%
Week 444%15%
Week 523%13%
Week 652%11%
Week 763%15%

We looked at Rice's growing role after Week 4. Let's check back in on the rookie.

Since a blip in Week 5, Rice has set season highs in route rate in each of the last two weeks. He's finished second among Chiefs WRs to only clear-out specialist Marquez Valdes-Scantling in routes in both games.

Rice hasn't seen a corresponding boost in targets the past two weeks, but that should be coming. He's remained super efficient, catching nine of 10 targets for 132 yards and a score in his last two outings.

The rookie continues to creep toward weekly WR3 status.

  

6. Buy Low: David Njoku

Route RateTarget Share
Week 1 69%10%
Week 2 90%10%
Week 373%12%
Week 474%19%
Week 684%12%
Week 785%24%

After a slow start, Njoku has been busy lately

He's totaled 20 targets on a 19% target share over the past three weeks. He ranks ninth among TEs in expected PPR points per game and 13th in actual PPR points per game during that stretch -- despite not scoring a TD.

It's worth noting that QB Deshaun Watson has thrown just five of the Browns' 107 passes over their last three games. But expect Njoku to remain similarly involved regardless of who's under center.

Cleveland has done a better job featuring him lately, lining Njoku up in the slot or out wide on 37% of his snaps over the last three weeks.

Njoku once again looks like the lower-end weekly TE1 he was drafted as.

  

7. Rachaad White Reclaims Workhorse Role

Week 6 Snap Rate Route rate Rush Attempts Targets
Rachaad White 79% 72% 7 4
Ke'Shawn Vaughn 21% 12% 6 2
Week 7 Snap Rate Route rate Rush Attempts Targets
Rachaad White 75% 75% 13 6
Ke'Shawn Vaughn 25% 17% 3 1

After finishing uncomfortably close to Ke'Shawn Vaughn in touches in Week 6, White was back in a workhorse role in Week 7. He handled 83% of backfield opportunities (carries + targets).

While the rushing efficiency remains ugly, White is at least delivering volume-based RB2 production. He's finished as a top-24 PPR RB in four of six games this season, including two top-12 finishes.

  

8. Drake London Hogging Targets Again

TARGET share
Week 1 6%
Week 2 25%
Week 316%
Week 423%
Week 524%
Week 626%
Week 728%

I can't tell you what happened to London in the opener.

But he's been Atlanta's alpha in the six games since, soaking up 23% of the team's targets. London ranks 19th among WRs in expected PPR points per game and 24th in actual PPR points per game over that span.

The Falcons' run-leaning offense and QB Desmond Ridder's inconsistency will prevent London from a true breakout this year. But he's settled in as a comfortable weekly WR3 with upside.

    

9. The Cardinals Are Trolling Us

emari demercado Snap rate route rate carriesTargets
Week 6 43% 54% 21
Week 7 81% 65% 135

Demercado was the hot post-Week 5 waiver add. He proceeded to finish third among Cardinals RBs in touches in Week 6, score 2.7 PPR points, and get sent back to the waiver wire in plenty of fantasy leagues.

So of course the Cardinals use Demercado as a workhorse the very next week.

Will that usage stick in Week 8? Impossible to know for sure.

Demercado has been better than Keaontay Ingram and Damien Williams, though, so he belongs in the lead role.

And It's worth noting that, even in Week 6, Demercado easily led Arizona RBs in routes. So, worst case, he's at least a decent target bet with the Cardinals 8.5-point underdogs vs. the Ravens on Sunday.

   

10. Big Opportunity For Trey McBride

Ranks among 34 TEs with 15+ targets
Yards per target 8th
Yards per route 2nd
PFF receiving grade 8th

McBride has been sneaky good this year, especially in the context of a subpar Cardinals offense.

TE Zach Ertz has out-produced McBride -- but he ranks 25th or worse in yards per target, yards per route, and Pro Football Focus receiving grade.

That makes McBride a relatively intriguing TE option with Ertz out for at least the next four games with a quad injury.

Cardinals TEs have combined to average 9.9 targets per game on a 30% target share through seven games.

If McBride can even capture two-thirds of that -- and maintain something close to his current efficiency -- he could push for TE1 production.

He's also expected to get QB Kyler Murray back within the next 2-3 weeks.

  

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