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Top 10 Fantasy Football Takeaways from Week 8 Usage

By Jared Smola 10:27am EDT 11/1/23

1. Dalton Kincaid's Breakout

Kincaid Week 8
Route Rate 85%
Target Share 18%

We knew Kincaid would get a role boost with TE Dawson Knox out. We didn’t know it would be this awesome.

Kincaid's 85% route rate was easily a season high and eighth highest among all TEs in Week 8. Only three TEs are sporting a higher route rate on the season.

Kincaid drew 7 targets for an 18% share and came away from the Thursday night win over the Bucs with a 5-65-1 line.

We'll see what happens to Kincaid's role when Knox returns from his wrist injury. But Kincaid looks like an easy weekly starter and a potential top-5 fantasy TE for at least the next three games.

  

2. Jonathan Taylor’s Playing Time Climbs Again

Snap rate route rate Rush Attempt ShareTarget Share
Week 5 15% 14% 18%4%
Week 6 42% 37% 47%11%
Week 7 50% 48% 45%17%
Week 861%59%50%5%

It was an odd, somewhat frustrating Week 8 for Taylor.

He ripped off 94 yards on 11 carries in the first half -- but then carried just once in the second half.

HC Shane Steichen blamed it on "game flow" afterward.

"JT is a big-time playmaker, and he’s continuing to improve every single week – obviously, you saw there in the first half," Steichen said. "We’ll continue to evaluate those things going forward and making sure we have the guy that we want in at the right time."

Taylor still out-snapped Moss in the second half of the loss to the Saints.

And, for the game, Taylor set new season highs in snap rate, route rate, and rush attempt share. He's now trended up in playing time each week since his 2023 debut.

Consider making a trade offer for Taylor this week. This Sunday's game vs. the Panthers' 31st-ranked RB defense is a potential blowup spot.

  

3. Zach Charbonnet is Back

Week 8 Zach Charbonnet KEN walker
Snap Rate 58% 42%
Route Rate 58% 28%
Carries 5 8
Targets22

This was a strange one.

Walker registered 71% and 76% snaps rates and 74% and 76% rush-attempts shares in his last two games with Charbonnet.

So what happened here? Two possible explanations:

  1. Walker practiced just once leading up to the Browns game due to a calf injury. That might have limited his workload.
  2. The Seahawks went extremely pass-heavy, throwing on 71% of their snaps. They've used Charbonnet in passing situations quite a bit throughout the season.

It's worth noting that Charbonnet played just six fewer snaps than Walker back in Week 3. Walker proceeded to out-snap Charbonnet 95 to 30 over Seattle's next two games.

My guess is that Walker resumes clear No. 1 duties going forward. But I'll be keeping a close eye on this backfield this weekend.

  

4. Texans Stick With Committee Backfield

Week 8 DAmeon pierce devin singletaryMike boone
Snap Rate 43% 40%17%
Route Rate 24% 31%31%
Carries 12 101
Targets021

We noted back in Week 6 that the Texans went to a near 50/50 backfield split.

That continued coming out of the bye week, with Pierce and Singletary both tallying 12 opportunities.

And to make matters worse, Boone registered his highest snap and route rates since Week 1.

So we're looking at a three-RB committee -- in what's been a bad running game all season.

Gross.

  

5. Royce Freeman Gains Ground

Week 8 Royce Freeman Darrell Henderson
Snap Rate 53% 47%
Route Rate 47% 32%
Carries 9 12
Targets03

Henderson led the Rams backfield in snaps, routes, carries, and targets in Week 7.

But we noted that Freeman was the more effective runner by pretty much any measure in that game.

It looks like HC Sean McVay noticed. Freeman played more snaps and ran more routes in the Week 8 loss to the Cowboys. And he was once again more effective, beating Henderson in yards after contact per attempt, missed tackles forced per attempt, and Pro Football Focus rushing grade.

Henderson still beat Freeman in carries and targets. But, based on the playing time, it wouldn't be at all surprising if Freeman finished with more touches in Green Bay this weekend.

  

6. Trey McBride is Very Real

MCBRIDE Week 8
Route Rate 84%
Target Share 38%

McBride blew up for 10 catches, 95 yards, and a TD in his first game of the season without TE Zach Ertz, leading all TEs in PPR points.

And it doesn't look like a fluke. McBride got elite usage, running a route on 84% of pass plays and drawing a 38% target share.

We obviously can't bank on that type of target share going forward. But remember that Ertz averaged 6.8 targets on a 22% share over the first five games of the season (before McBride starting cutting into his routes).

McBride is a better player than Ertz at this point of their careers and could certainly match that 22% target share going forward.

He's a weekly TE1 at least until Ertz returns. And if the Cardinals re-install Ertz as lead TE at any point, we riot.

  

7. Taysom Hill Stays Involved in Passing Game

Hill Week 8
Route Rate 48%
Target Share 4%
Carries9
Pass Attempts2

Hill's Week 8 stat line:

  • 44 passing yards
  • 63 rushing yards and two TDs on nine carries
  • 14 receiving yards on one target

The rushing production is awesome. But we'd like some pass-catching usage to lean on if we're going to get semi-reliable weekly production from Hill -- especially in PPR leagues.

One target isn't enough. But it was encouraging to see Hill register a 48% route rate, despite TE Juwan Johnson's return. We have a chance to get at least a few targets per game from Hill if that deployment continues.

Considering the TE landscape, a few targets per game -- plus the rushing upside -- makes Hill worth considering as a TE1 each week.

  

8. Browns Use Three RBs

Week 8 Kareem Hunt Jerome Fordpierre strong
Snap Rate 35% 33%31%
Route Rate 28% 33%25%
Carries 14 910
Targets121

This is a disaster if Cleveland stick with this backfield usage going forward.

But remember that Ford played in this game despite suffering what was reported as a low-grade high-ankle sprain in Week 7.

Ford actually had just two carries and one target through three quarters. But Cleveland leaned on him in the fourth quarter of a tight game, feeding him seven carries and another target.

That has me believing that a healthy Ford remains the Browns' lead back. But we'll need to keep a close eye on the practice reports this week.

  

9. Miles Sanders is Dead

Week 8 Chuba HUBBARD MILES SANDERSRAHEEM BLACKSHEAR
Snap Rate 67% 18%15%
Route Rate 41% 20%11%
Carries 15 23
Targets202

Not only did Hubbard dominate backfield playing time and touches in the win over the Texans, but Sanders barely beat Blackshear in playing time and finished with fewer opportunities.

Then HC Frank Reich subtly called Sanders out for running a wrong route after the game.

It's worth noting that Hubbard was not good vs. Houston, turning 15 carries into 28 yards. He ranked 22nd among 30 qualifying RBs in Pro Football Focus' Week 8 rushing grades.

That at least leaves the light on for Sanders' 2023 fantasy value. I wouldn't call him a drop just yet, but he shouldn't be anywhere near starting lineups right now.

   

10. Brian Robinson is Alive

Week 8 Brian Robinson Antonio GibsonChris Rodriguez
Snap Rate 49% 51%0%
Route Rate 33% 54%0%
Carries 10 20
Targets250

We noted last week that Robinson out-carried Rodriguez just eight to seven. That marked Robinson's third straight game with a sub-50% rush-attempt share.

He bounced back in Week 8 to handle 10 of 12 RB carries and register a 63% team rush-attempt share. And Rodriguez, strangely, didn't play a single snap.

Robinson remains a shaky weekly fantasy start with a minimal passing-game role on a pass-heavy offense with a bad defense. But it at least looks like his job as primary runner is safe for now.

  

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