The Fantasy 32 analyzes the NFL from a fantasy perspective, with at least one mention of each of the league's 32 teams. Though efficiency will be discussed plenty, the column will lean heavily on usage data, as volume is king (by far) in fantasy football. Use these tidbits to make the best waiver-wire, trade and lineup decisions for the upcoming week and beyond. Be sure to check back each week of the season for a new version of the Fantasy 32.
Note that data from Monday Night Football may not immediately be reflected in charts.
Seahawks RB Chris Carson suffered a thigh injury and missed all but 10 snaps during Sunday's loss to the Chargers. With Carson out, Mike Davis predictably led the Seattle backfield in snaps (52), pass routes (27), carries (15) and targets (eight). Rookie Rashaad Penny carried the ball four times and was targeted on three occasions on 13 snaps (eight routes). If Carson misses time, Davis will be a strong RB2 option and Penny no more than a weak flex option. Penny, by the way, is averaging 4.7 yards per carry and has caught all five of his targets for 40 yards since Week 7, so don't give up on him in deep and dynasty leagues just yet.
Bengals WR A.J. Green is expected to miss a few weeks with a toe injury. Green has been on the field for 272 of the team's 312 pass plays and has soaked up a 27 percent target share this season. With Green out, we shouldn't expect much of an uptick for Tyler Boyd (23 percent target share this season), but perimeter receivers John Ross (6 percent in five games) and Alex Erickson (5 percent) as well as tight end C.J. Uzomah (8 percent) stand to benefit most. Ross has been a disappointment, but the 2017 first-round pick has enough upside that he's worth a waiver add this week. Erickson is worth a look only in deeper leagues and Uzomah is a top-15 play against the Saints this week.
49ers RB Raheem Mostert broke his forearm against Oakland and is done for the season. Mostert had been on an upward trajectory and had clearly become a threat to Matt Breida and Alfred Morris. Breida still paced the San Francisco backfield in snaps (26), carries (12), pass routes (11) and targets (one) in Week 9. Morris was limited to seven carries and no routes on 10 snaps. With Mostert out, Breida is a bit more solidified as a fringe RB2, whereas Morris is worth a bench spot due to Breida's injury woes.
Throughout this piece, I'll be referencing "OFP" and "OTD." OFP stands for opportunity-adjusted fantasy points. Imagine a league in which players are created equal. OFP is a statistic that weighs every pass/carry/target and converts the data into one number that indicates a player's opportunity to score fantasy points, or his expected fantasy point total. For example, if a player has an OFP of 14.5, it means that a league-average player who saw the same workload in the same location on the field would have scored 14.5 fantasy points. OTD works the same way, except instead of fantasy points, it's touchdowns.
That said, here is the Week 9 OFP leaderboard:
Patriots RB James White cannot be stopped. The passing-down specialist is only nine games into his fifth pro season, but already has broken several career-best marks. He has been the field for 60 percent of New England's offensive snaps -- including 69 percent of pass plays -- he's handling 24 percent of the designed runs and 25 percent of the targets. His previous career-best marks were 37 percent, 49 percent, 10 percent and 16 percent, respectively. For the season, White is now second behind only Todd Gurley in OFP (188) and third to only Gurley and Alvin Kamara in OTD (8.2) among running backs. This suggests that White's 198 fantasy points and 10 touchdowns put him a bit over his head, but by only a small margin. Even with a drop in carries when Sony Michel returns, White will remain a solid RB1.
Buccaneers QB Ryan Fitzpatrick has played four full games this season. Only Kamara has exceeded his 96 OFP during those four weeks. Granted, Fitzpatrick has been a bit over his head (plus-26 FORP), but literally no other quarterback has enjoyed more opportunity to rack up fantasy points than Fitzpatrick when he has been on the field. The Bucs' offense ranks fourth in plays per game (69), fourth in touchdowns per game (3.5), third in pass rate (70 percent) and fourth in passing touchdown rate (82 percent). Fitzpatrick is well-positioned for solid QB1 production.
Now for our weekly FORP update. FORP is the difference between a player's actual fantasy point total and his OFP (or expected fantasy point total).
First, here are the players who have fallen short of their OFP by the largest margin over the past month and are thus candidates to see a rise in fantasy production, assuming they see a similar workload:
Jets WR Jermaine Kearse's volume cannot be ignored. He has racked up nine or more targets during three of his past four games and is averaging 6.3 targets per game during his 24 games with the Jets. Sam Darnold's struggles have been a problem, however, as Kearse has caught only 46 percent of his 48 targets this season for 215 yards (4.5 YPT) and no touchdowns. Kearse is a risky fantasy option, but massive volume keeps him in the discussion.
Giants QB Eli Manning has thrown the ball 315 times this season, but has only eight touchdowns to show for it. His career-low 7.1 average depth of throw has led to career-best marks in completion rate (68 percent) and interception rate (1.9 percent), as well as a solid 7.5 yards per attempt. He also has been pressured at a career-high rate (22 percent), leading to a career-high sack rate (8.9 percent). Manning has delivered one top-12 fantasy week this season and though his production should improve, he's not a QB1 option.
And these players have exceeded their OFP by the largest margin over the past month and are thus candidates to see a dip in fantasy production:
Chargers WR Tyrell Williams scored again in what was a great matchup against the Seahawks on Sunday. He has now found the end zone five times in eight games. Of course, Williams is handling only a 13 percent target share and has yet to eclipse five targets in a single game. Williams sports a 2.5 OTD and has managed four end zone targets. He's still not a good flex option.
Much like in 2016, the Falcons' offense has defied logic throughout much of the 2018 season, but RB Tevin Coleman's recent production still fits the bill of unsustainable. As the above chart shows, he has nearly doubled his expected fantasy point total during the past month. Coleman has now scored six touchdowns despite a 3.0 OTD that ranks 57th in the league. Coleman's 91 OFP for the season ranks 24th at running back. Coleman's lead back role in Atlanta's hot offense makes him a solid RB2, but expect a return to earth in upcoming weeks.
Broncos WR Courtland Sutton was targeted only five times, but ran a route on 39 of the Broncos' 44 pass plays on Sunday -- Denver's first game without Demaryius Thomas. Sutton set career highs in both snap share (84 percent) and route share (89 percent). Larger target numbers will come in this expanded role, so Sutton remains in the WR3 mix.
Texans WR Demaryius Thomas, meanwhile, was limited to three targets, but was on the field for 25 of the team's 28 pass plays in his Houston debut. Thomas' playing time was as expected, but it will be intriguing to see how many targets he generates once Keke Coutee returns to action. Thomas is best viewed as a fringe WR3.
Browns RB Duke Johnson Jr. had his best game of 2018 in Week 9, the first game Todd Haley wasn't calling plays. That's probably not a coincidence. Johnson played 31 snaps and caught all nine of his targets for 78 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Johnson carried the ball only once, but his sizable receiving role puts him right back in the RB2 discussion. Last season's No. 11 fantasy RB is a viable starting option against Atlanta in Week 10.
Vikings RB Dalvin Cook was "limited" in his return from injury in Week 9, but still saw the field on 25 of Minnesota's 46 offensive snaps and touched the ball 14 times. Cook looked healthy and showed his explosive play-making ability with a 70-yard run. Minnesota is headed to its bye week, but Cook should be back in the mix for 20-plus touches per game the rest of the way. He'll be in the RB1 discussion against Chicago in Week 11.
Lions RB Theo Riddick returned from injury in Week 9 and quickly played a large role. He was on the field for 38 of the team's 69 snaps, which was the same number played by Kerryon Johnson. Johnson out-carried Riddick 12-0, but Riddick managed an 8-5 edge in targets. Detroit used a handful of two-RB sets, utilizing Riddick as a wide receiver in order to help replace Golden Tate. Riddick still aligned in the backfield on 25 of his 38 snaps, but the new-look Lions offense could allow both Johnson and Riddick to provide RB2 numbers in PPR leagues. Scoop up Riddick if he's on your waiver wire.
Colts TE Eric Ebron was limited to three targets on 14 snaps (10 pass routes) when we last saw him in Week 8. Jack Doyle returned from a five-game absence in the game and saw seven targets on 53 snaps (21 routes). Doyle has easily out-snapped (184 to 63) and out-targeted (22 to 12) Ebron during the three games they played together this season, which suggests Doyle is a solid TE1 and Ebron a touchdown-dependent TE2 moving forward.
Jets RB Elijah McGuire returned from injured reserve and played 36 snaps in his 2018 debut Sunday. He carried the ball seven times and was targeted twice in a role not unlike the one Bilal Powell played earlier this season. Isaiah Crowell is still the lead ball carrier (13 carries and two targets on 23 snaps), but we should expect similar fantasy production moving forward. Consider them both flex options.
Raiders RB Doug Martin has now played two games as Oakland's lead back this season. The veteran back has been responsible for 24 carries and four targets on 51 of a possible 102 snaps. He has been doubled up in routes (24 to 12) by Jalen Richard, who has four carries and 12 targets on 42 snaps during the same span. Richard is best viewed as a fringe RB2 and Martin a low-ceiling flex option in PPR leagues.
49ers WR Richie James operated as the team's No. 3 wide receiver against Oakland last week, playing 23 of a possible 54 snaps. That was with Dante Pettis (11 snaps) and Kendrick Bourne (12 snaps) both active and Trent Taylor a healthy scratch. James -- a 2018 seventh-round pick -- is not on the fantasy radar just yet, but keep him in mind for a roster spot in deep and dynasty leagues.
Cowboys WR Amari Cooper played 50 of a possible 59 snaps in his Dallas debut in Week 9. As expected, he was joined in three-wide sets by Michael Gallup (47 snaps) and slot man Cole Beasley (44), with Allen Hurns (18) and Deonte Thompson (three) reduced to reserve duties. Cooper racked up eight targets (26 percent share) and should be somewhere in that vicinity each week. He's in the WR2 mix this week in a great matchup against the Eagles' vulnerable perimeter cornerbacks.
Titans RB Dion Lewis has separated himself from Derrick Henry. The former Patriots back was on the field for 59 of Tennessee's 70 offensive snaps (84 percent) against Dallas. That's compared to 14 snaps (20 percent) for Henry, despite the Titans leading through much of the second half. Lewis has now out-snapped Henry in all but one game and has out-carried him in back-to-back games, while playing a substantially larger role as a receiver. Lewis' increased usage puts him squarely in the weekly RB2 mix, whereas Henry is no more than a handcuff.
Should you trade Bears RB Jordan Howard following his big day against Buffalo? Yes! Howard is a tremendous runner (and one of my favorite players to watch), but he's likely at his ceiling right now, so it's a good time to make a move. Howard scored twice on Sunday and has found the end zone four times during his past three games. Unfortunately, that hasn't led to much fantasy production. Howard entered Week 9 having yet to post a single top-15 fantasy week and, even with two scores against the Bills, still finished the week outside the top 10. The reason? A lack of receiving work. Howard has caught one pass during his past five games. He's a safer RB2 play in non-PPR, but remains super touchdown dependent with Tarik Cohen playing a big role in competitive games.
New Eagles WR Golden Tate has caught 25 touchdowns on 501 targets (5.0 percent) while lined up on the perimeter in his career (9.8 average depth of target). He has scored on 13 of 376 targets (3.5 percent) while aligned in the slot (6.7 aDOT). Tate lined up inside on 71 percent of his routes in Detroit, but with Nelson Agholor best served in the slot, the former Lion figures to play outside a lot more in Philadelphia. The adjusted role may lead to a lower catch rate and target share, but more big plays and touchdowns. Consider him a back-end WR2.
Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette is due back from a hamstring injury this week. Fournette should resume duties as the team's clear feature back, but the Jaguars (a) have switched to a pass-heavy offense, especially near the goal line, (b) are playing from behind more often, (c) are scoring less, and (d) will utilize T.J. Yeldon and Carlos Hyde in some capacity. Items A, B and C could change some with Fournette back, but the second-year back is safest as a RB2 in his return.
Remember when Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt wasn't getting targets? Me neither. After handling exactly one target during each of the team's first three games, Hunt is averaging 4.5 targets per game during his past six games. That's actually above his 3.9 per-game average last season. Hunt has been a top-16 fantasy back each of the past eight weeks and his expanded receiving role locks him in as a mid-pack RB1.
Believe it or not, Ravens WR Willie Snead IV actually sits second on the team in targets (70), behind only Michael Crabtree (76) and ahead of John Brown (67). Baltimore's slot receiver sits 23rd at wide receiver in OFP, which trails both Brown (15th) and Crabtree (16th), but it's clear this has developed into a three-headed attack. Snead will be in the flex mix against the Bengals after Baltimore's Week 10 bye.
Dolphins RB Kenyan Drake was out-carried by Frank Gore 20 to 3 in Week 9, but still managed to rack up six targets, which was second most on the team. Drake's usage has been frustrating, but he has now been targeted at least six times during four of his past six games and is enjoying an 18 percent target share for the season. Drake has finished top 12 at the position four times in nine games this season and is an RB2 option against Green Bay this week.