Each week, we take a deep dive into the box scores to provide some insight on workload distribution and what to make of it for the week that was. Ultimately, this is a view to rest of season player valuation with some insight into weekly waiver wire plays. With that in mind, this week’s top story has significant waiver implications.
Touches and Targets: Week 10 NFL Review
Terrance West dominated the rushing workload with 21 carries against a soft run defense, but managed just 65 yards. Meanwhile, rookie RB Kenneth Dixon looked electric against the Browns. He finished with six carries for 38 yards, adding five catches on seven targets for an additional 42. While Baltimore has gotten back on the right track in recent weeks, Dixon looks like the spark they need to keep moving in the right direction. On the season, he has just 21 carries for an unimpressive average, but I’d expect him to continue to take on a larger share of the workload, ultimately unseating West. If he remains available in your league – and as of today, he’s up for grabs in more than 80% of Yahoo! leagues – he’s worth a roster spot down the stretch.
For his part, Dixon thinks he’s up to taking on more work, per the Baltimore Sun:
“I feel like I’m back 100 percent, and I’m ready for the workload that the team gives me,” Dixon said Thursday in the locker room underneath M&T Bank Stadium. “Everything that they give me, I just want to take advantage of. We have two great running backs out there. In the game, it gets a little tight. So I’m just waiting for my moment and taking advantage of it.”
The Score’s Justin Boone and I agreed on Dixon’s value in a recent waiver ranking for FantasyPros.
For the rest, we’re on to the bullets:
- In the aftermath of a mess of a game for Green Bay, no one is paying attention to the backfield workload… but, it’s worth noting that James Starks led carries 7-3-3 vs. Aaron Ripkowski and Ty Montgomery in his return to action. With Green Bay playing catch up, he also had four targets vs. just two for Montgomery. I’m expecting Green Bay to continue to favor the pass moving forward, but to the extent that I’m willing to extrapolate from a one week sample it seems that Starks’ return to health spells an end to Montgomery’s utility. Jordy Nelson (18), Davante Adams (9), Randall Cobb (8) and Richard Rodgers (7) all finished comfortably ahead of Montgomery in overall opportunities this week.
- You’d have hoped for a better rushing average against a poor Saints run D, but for all the talk that both Devontae Booker and Kapri Bibbs would garner carries this week, Booker out-carried his backfield mate 23-7, and was targeted twice to Bibbs’ one. Nothing to see here.
- You get the sense that a QB change is in the offing in Los Angeles… and after another week without a TD it should be… but, at the moment, Kenny Britt remains a must-start. He had 10 targets again this week, netting seven receptions and 109 yards, and has drawn six or more looks in all but one of LA’s games so far this year. If and when the change comes, you’ll want to see how usage, chemistry and overall offense (can’t get much worse…) look with Goff, but until then,deploy freely and happily.
- Naturally, Ryan Mathews went off for Philadelphia after consecutive weeks of five carries or fewer and a declaration that Darren Sproles was the “number one”. Sproles saw plenty of work in the passing game (10 targets, eight receptions) but it seems that the experiment with him as a primary ball carrier is behind us. I wouldn’t count on another week with 19 carries for Mathews moving forward, and I’d further note that Wendell Smallwood worked his way into the mix this week as well, carrying the ball 13 times. In short, if you can avoid this situation.. do so. And, if you’re counting on Sproles as a standard league starter, don’t count on carries.
- Taylor Gabriel will be noticed because he caught a 76 yard TD this week, but I’m more interested in the four balls he didn’t catch. Overall, he had five targets in Week 10 and continues to see regular use for the Falcons. You’re relying on a score to put you on the board for fantasy purposes, but at a minimum Gabriel is worth a look in GPP’s in the right matchup.
- Doug Martin had 16 ineffective carries (33 yards) in his return to action while Peyton Barber pitched in with 13. That said, Martin was heavily involved early and the final numbers don’t tell the story. With a big lead, they didn’t need a big contribution from Martin down the stretch. 10 of Barber’s carries came in the 4th quarter. Moving forward, it’s safe to deploy Martin as you regularly would.
- Cameron Meredith‘s Hail Mary TD helped to bolster anyone who was left starting him after a strong run mid-season but otherwise his day was very quiet. He drew just one additional target and in each of his last three games, two of which come with Jay Cutler at the helm, he’s had two total targets. The run appeared to be over, but with news that Alshon Jeffery will miss the next four games it’s conceivable that Meredith could find himself back in the 10 target/week range… at a minimum, he’s worth a hold to see how Cutler (assuming he stays at the helm) shares the targets between he and teammate Eddie Royal.
- With Matt Jones as a healthy scratch this week, Rob Kelley carried the ball 22 times and posted a solid 4.4 YPC average against a tough Vikings’ front. Assuming Jones works his way out of the doghouse and onto the active roster, he’ll likely chip away at Kelley’s total in the weeks ahead, but that is a lead back’s workload and it certainly looks like Kelley will be treated that way down the stretch.
- With DeSean Jackson inactive, Pierre Garcon drew a healthy 10 targets this week. Jamison Crowder was next, with six (and a score).
- Tyreek Hill is Kansas City’s TD leader and has been a sneaky player of interest for much of the season, but should certainly be on your radar now after being featured in the second half against the Panthers. Overall, he drew 13 targets and caught 10 balls for 89 yards, adding 12 yards on a carry. Those 101 total yards and 14 opportunities come with Jeremy Maclin out of the lineup, but he had 11 total looks in the two prior contests and is carving out a role as part of the KC offense. Deep leaguers, take note. Chris Conley had an underwhelming three targets.
- DeVante Parker led Miami in targets with eight, catching five balls and topping 100 yards while Kenny Stills had just three looks. Overall, Miami’s passing game looked strong against the Chargers but Parker’s effort has earned him some additional looks. I’d want to see another week with a significant target load before I trusted him in my lineup, mind you.
- Philip Rivers‘ 44 pass attempts were more than he’d like in a given week, but it should be noted that a healthy nine targets went to Dontrelle Inman with Travis Benjamin out, including a number with the game on the line. A tidbit to file away in the right matchup, if Benjamin misses more time.
- While Pittsburgh funneled almost all of their offense through Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell, it should be noted that Eli Rogers was effective on his five targets this week. He caught four balls, and found the endzone.
- I received a text from a friend during the Patriots game that read “I thought that Brady’s return would spell the end for LeGarrette Blount“… I’m still not sure if it was a direct shot at me, or a general shared observation, but I do know that I’ve expressed that sentiment in this space before. And yet, here we are five weeks later, and Blount is averaging 1.6 TDs a game and he’s had fewer than 18 carries just once. With 21 of those and three scores this week, he remains very much a part of the picture. James White worked in as well (two carries, four receptions on four targets) but Blount is the man in the backfield. Brady, White, nor the return of Dion Lewis appears set to change that at the moment. Carry on with Blount. But you didn’t need this post to tell you that.
- C.J. Prosise had seven catches on seven targets for 87 yards and looked great as both a receiver and a rusher (adding a healthy 17 carries for 69 yards). Ultimately, with Christine Michael and Thomas Rawls both expected to return to health those 17 totes are unlikely to be sustained… and his limitations around the goal line and in pass protection with both evident on Sunday Night, but it was a great display to watch all the same and Prosise looks like he’ll be worth regular use in PPR leagues.