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.
*Note: We do not cover the teams where things went according to expectation.
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)
- Arizona Cardinals: It appears that Eno Benjamin earned a one-way ticket to Kliff Kingsbury's doghouse. There is obviously a story here as Benjamin, the Cardinals' RB2 and spot-start option during James Conner's injury, was abruptly released on Monday. With Darrel Williams on IR, it will be James Conner and Keaontay Ingram leading the backfield down the home stretch. James Conner handled a whopping 96% of the team's snaps, the highest number for any running back on any team in the NFL in 2022. With Kyler Murray on the shelf, Colt McCoy drew the start but also went down to an injury which paved the way for Trace McSorley. Robbie Anderson lost significant playing time to A.J. Green, suggesting neither can be trusted in any format of fantasy football.
- Atlanta Falcons: Unfortunately for Cordarrelle Patterson, the Falcons have adopted a full-blown three-headed monster at running back with Patterson, Tyler Allgeier, and Caleb Huntley. Patterson's role has really been squeezed in this run-first attack, as he has seen an underwhelming 5% TMS average on the year. Kyle Pitts, on the other hand, has actually seen reasonable volume (adjusted for the Falcons' run-game propensity). Pitts has topped 28% TMS in each of the past four weeks.
- Chicago Bears: Chase Claypool did not take the next step as I thought he might in Week 10. The return of Byron Pringle ended up being consequential as Claypool finished fifth among Bears wide receivers in routes run on the week.
- Denver Broncos: Jerry Jeudy suffered an injury early in Week 10 against the Titans, which is more salt in the wound of a team that simply cannot stay healthy on offense. Kendall Hinton anchored the offense along with Courtland Sutton as both topped 95% RR on the day. Behind Hinton, Tyrie Cleveland and Jalen Virgil look poised to fight for number three duties.
- Detroit Lions: D'Andre Swift is in his third week back from his injury and has averaged a 34% snap rate over that time. Something will need to change quickly for Swift to gain relevance as he has done little more than serve as a passing down back like Jerick McKinnon or Nyheim Hines.
Continue reading this content with a PRO subscription.
"Footballguys is the best premium
fantasy football only site on the planet."
Matthew Berry, ESPN