I'm a projections guy. Every offseason, I build out projections for the upcoming season to see who has an immediate path to fantasy upside. It can be an extremely helpful exercise, not just for the results but for the process that it forces the projector to follow. The act of building projections can lead you to identify players and situations with ambiguous upside or clear pathways to volume.
Fortunately, I get to build projections during the season too! While I've added some shortcuts to speed up my process, I basically have to tear down last week's projections and rebuild them with the news and notes from the current week. While this can be a bit tedious, it forces me to go back through every data point from every team across the league to identify emerging trends. This article looks at some of the most interesting developments around the NFL.
Routes run and dropback data in this article is from Pro Football Focus. I prefer to focus on the percentage of routes run which is simply a player's routes divided by the team's total dropbacks. Terms: RMS = Rushing Market Share, TMS = Target Market Share, RR% = Routes Run percentage (of dropbacks)
With this being a holiday week, time is short. These are the things that really stand out this week.
Running Back Rotations
- Atlanta Falcons: The train-wreck that is the Falcons offense went further off the tracks in Week 11 thanks to the absence of their only consistent playmaker - Cordarrelle Patterson. In Patterson's absence, practice squad running back Qadree Ollison was inserted into a premium role, overshadowing Mike Davis (who is officially unplayable in any format). Let's hope Patterson can return soon.
- Baltimore Ravens: Latavius Murray finally returned to game action and Le'Veon Bell was released earlier in the week. This resulted in a pure two-man committee between Murray (37% snaps) and Devonta Freeman (58%). Ty'Son Williams did not see the field on offense. If this rotation can remain limited to two players, we will see Murray and Freeman find fantasy value somewhat sporadically.
- Buffalo Bills: Matt Breida has laid claim to a role in this offense following his uber-efficient Week 10. This creates a three-man platoon in Buffalo along with Zack Moss and Devin Singletary making it a true nightmare for fantasy managers.
- Tennessee Titans: Just when we thought we had this backfield figured out, a concussion for Jeremy McNichols opened the door for Dontrell Hilliard who ran as the lead back throughout much of this game with a backfield-high 63% snap rate. Adrian Peterson and D'Onta Foreman split the remainder. Hilliard's usage may have sparked due to the scoreboard as the Titans trailed 12-0 at halftime to the Texans.
- Dallas Cowboys: A concussion to CeeDee Lamb and a COVID list sentence for Amari Cooper means the wild west is opening up for the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. Stepping up in place of these injured alphas are Michael Gallup (who becomes the team's number one outside playmaker), Cedrick Wilson (slot specialist), and Noah Brown who played just as many snaps as Wilson in Week 11. Dalton Schultz should see his targets increase as a consistent middle-of-the-field option.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: Jamal Agnew is done for the season unfortunately and the Jaguars will look for a new starting WR. That job will most predictably go to Laquon Treadwell, the former practice squad member who will join Laviska Shenault Jr and Marvin Jones Jr. Treadwell played a season-high 72% snaps in Week 11.