Volume is king in fantasy football, and this report will help you understand which players are due more or less according to their roles. Based on historical data tied to metrics we know drive volume, it is a great way to understand who is over-performing (sell high) and underperforming (buy low).

  • Overall offense: Which teams are enabling winning volume and efficiency across game scripts
  • Quarterbacks: How involved is each QB in the running game, and who is unlocking upside for their weapons
  • Running backs: Which backs are handling early downs, short yardage, and passing downs
  • Tight ends: Who is running enough routes and meeting critical targets per route run (TPRR) thresholds
  • Receivers: Which receivers are in the most routes and operating broadly within the offense

1. Isiah Pacheco has morphed into a near-every-down back.

The former Round 7 NFL Draft selection has commanded a 73% snap share since Jerick McKinnon was placed on IR ahead of Week 16. Over that stretch, Pacheco has bogarted 78% of the rushing attempts and taken over the two-minute offense (83%), enhancing his outlook in the passing game with a 14% target share.

Isiah Pacheco

Clyde Edwards-Helaire is getting most of the long-down-distance work (67%), but those are historically low-calorie snaps. Pacheco is the lead short-yardage back with 83% of the snaps, including the high-leverage opportunities inside the five-yard line. 

Pacheco has averaged 19.7 points per game over the last three outings, with 17.7 attempts and 4.3 targets per contest and that holds up when looking at historical comps. Since 2012, similar backs have averaged 18.5 points with an RB5 finish.

Outlook: Pacheco UPGRADES to mid-range RB1 territory.

You can target Pacheco in Pick'em contests during the Divisional Round on Underdog Fantasy, where you can get a 100% deposit match of up to $100 when you sign up below with promo code LIFE!

2. Nico Collins is dominating the Texans’ passing attack.

Collins has eclipsed 70% route participation in three contests since the loss of Tank Dell to injury. In those games, the third-year WR has taken over Houston’s passing game with a 32% target share and 44% air yards share. 

Nico Collins

Collins’ 3.17 yards per route run (YPRR) ranks second in the NFL, only behind Tyreek Hill and his 26.4% TPRR ranks 10th. Since 2012, WRs with his profile have averaged 17.2 fantasy points per game with a WR11 finish.

Outlook: Collins is a low-end WR1 with high-end WR1 upside.

3. Rashee Rice’s historical comps suggest he is a borderline WR1.

Since taking over a full-time role in Week 14, Rice has averaged 9.2 targets (27%) and 56.4 air yards (29%) per contest. His expanded involvement in the offense has led to 20.2 fantasy points per game with three top-eight finishes.

Rashee Rice

The targets are high-end WR1 material, but his air yards and aDOT are below WR1 thresholds. However, based on the last 12 seasons of data, Rice’s comp group faired well, finishing as the WR13 on average with 16.4 points per contest.

That’s not too shabby. Those WRs have all posted at least one top-12 finish, and most have multiple in their career. Playing in a pass-first offense with Patrick Mahomes, it’s hard to imagine Rice not paying off at least WR2 value next season while offering WR1 upside if he follows the path of St. Brown.

Outlook: Rice UPGRADES to high-end WR2 territory.

4. Aaron Jones has RB1 utilization since returning in Week 15.

Jones has averaged 19.4 attempts and 2.8 targets per contest since re-entering the lineup five weeks ago. He exploded for 32 points against Dallas in the wild card round, upping his average to 18.2 points per game over the five-game stretch.

Aaron Jones

In the last two games without A.J. Dillon, Jones has averaged 25.5 points, which creates some concern for a downturn if Dillon is active next weekend against the 49ers. However, Jones’ utilization has been steady in games with and without Dillon. One potential challenge when Dillon returns will be the potential for a loss of carries inside the five-yard line — each back had two in Weeks 16 and 17.

Aaron Jones

Jan 14, 2024; Arlington, Texas, USA; Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) rushes the ball against Dallas Cowboys safety Markquese Bell (14) in the first quarter for the 2024 NFC wild card game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Using Jones’ utilization since his return to the lineup, he profiles as a midrange RB1. Since 2012, similar backs have averaged 17.4 points with an RB9 finish. Some of the more notable comps are Adrian Peterson (2007), Jonathan Taylor (2021) and Marshawn Lynch (2011). 

Umm… yes, please. Free Aaron Jones!

Outlook: Jones UPGRADES to mid-range RB1 status.

Quarterback Utilization Bytes

  • C.J. StroudThe Browns are a top-five pass defense, allowing only 5.5 yards per attempt, and the rookie QB dusted them for 13 yards per attempt with 274 yards and three TD passes. Excluding Week 14, when Stroud left with an injury, he has averaged an impressive 286 yards and 1.7 TDs, with 19.6 fantasy points per contest. Since 2006, only Justin Herbert delivered more yards per game (289) in his rookie campaign. Stroud ranks seventh in the NFL in fantasy points per dropback (0.53) and is a mid-range QB1 with high-end QB1 upside.
  • Jordan LoveThe Packers have leaned on their run game more over the last four contests with a minus-5% DBOE, but Love has offset that via efficiency. Love has delivered a salivating 9.3 YPA with a 76% completion rate over those games, unlocking 266 yards and 2.5 TDs per outing. Love now ranks sixth in fantasy points per dropback with 0.54 and is a mid-range QB1.

Running Back Utilization Bytes

  • David MontgomeryIn a game where the Lions never trailed, Montgomery operated as the lead back with 56% of the snaps and 56% of the rushing attempts — including 100% of the work inside the five-yard line. Montgomery remains a TD-dependent RB2.
  • Devin SingletarySince taking over the full-time role in Week 14, Singletary has averaged 16.8 attempts and 2.8 targets per contest. He has averaged 13.9 fantasy points over that stretch, but his historical comps suggest there is room for more — especially given his recent domination of the work inside the five-yard line. Based on the last 12 seasons of data, the comp group averaged 14.4 points with an RB16 finish. Singletary is a mid-range RB2.
  • Emanuel Wilson: Wilson returned from IR to handle 24% of the rushing attempts, including one tote inside the five-yard line. Wilson looks like the replacement for A.J. Dillon rather than Patrick Taylor, who was limited to only 9% of attempts. Wilson is an RB5 option until Dillon returns.
  • Jahmyr GibbsThe rookie played a slightly smaller role with a 33% snap share in the first playoff game, with the Lions leading from wire to wire. However, he still tallied 16.8 fantasy points thanks to a rushing TD and four receptions for 43 yards on his 44% TPRR. Gibbs remains a low-end RB1.

Wide Receiver Utilization Bytes

  • Bo MeltonWith the return of Christian Watson to the lineup, Melton’s role was reduced in the wild card game. Melton enjoyed 71% and 74% route participation marks in the two preceding games but tumbled to 33% against Dallas. On a positive note, he still registered a 29% TPRR and has averaged 30% since joining Green Bay. Melton DOWNGRADES to WR5 territory but could shine again with more routes.
  • Christian WatsonWatson returned to action with a 38% route participation and a 5% target share. He rotated behind Dontayvion Wicks, who had a 62% route participation and a 10% target share. As he gets healthier, Watson could work his way back up the depth chart, but Wicks and Bo Melton have played well. That could limit the ceiling for Watson’s route participation — the Packers have a lot of bodies and like rotating all of them. Watson is a boom-bust WR4 but offers WR2 upside if he regains a full-time role.
  • Jameson WilliamsWilliams earned a season-high 87% route participation with Kalif Raymond out of the lineup. Unfortunately, it didn’t translate to fantasy points (3.9), with Williams only able to demand an 8% target share and 25% air yards share. Williams’ 16% TPRR is stronger than Josh Reynolds at 13%, but Reynolds had the better first game without Raymond. Williams is a boom-bust WR4 with WR2 upside in games without Raymond.
  • Jayden ReedThe Packers had a monster offensive performance, but Reed came up empty with zero fantasy points. Reed only had a 52% route participation, slightly below his season average of 61%. With a significant lead, the Packers utilized 12 personnel on 48% of snaps — a season-high. Reed remains a low-end WR2 but can be subject to ups and downs due to his role as slot WR and the number of players the Packers want to get playing time.
  • Jaylen WaddleWaddle finished the season with a whimper, only scoring six fantasy points. Overall, it was an underwhelming campaign for the third-year WR, who averaged 13.6 points per game. He battled through multiple injuries, but his underlying data remained strong, with a 26% TPRR and a 2.52 YPRR. Waddle still profiles as a strong WR2 with WR1 upside.
  • John MetchieMetchie finished second on the team in route participation (68%), with Noah Brown knocked out of the game on the first drive. Robert Woods (36%) and Xavier Hutchinson (32%) rotated with Metchie, which is the likely scenario moving forward with Brown placed on IR. However, the second-year WR has a chance to be the No. 2 behind Collins. Metchie UPGRADES to WR4 status.
  • Josh ReynoldsWith Kalif Raymond out of action, Reynolds commanded a 24% target share and 45% air yards share on a season-high 97% route participation. The seventh-year WR accumulated 13 fantasy points with 80 yards on five receptions. Reynolds UPGRADES to WR4 territory if Raymond misses more time.
  • Mecole HardmanHardman accounted for 22% of the Chiefs’ air yards thanks to his enormous aDOT (20.0). He and Mahomes missed some big plays that would have made the day much bigger for both. Kadarius Toney and Justyn Ross didn’t play, so it’s hard to say if Hardman’s involvement will continue in the offense, but his 44% route participation ranked fourth on the team on Super Wild Card Weekend. Hardman is a boom-bust WR5.
  • Puka NacuaNacua finished his historic rookie campaign with a bang, setting the record for most receiving yards in a playoff game by a rookie with 181. The first-year WR averaged the fifth-most fantasy points per game with 18.4, and all his underlying data points suggest it wasn’t a fluke. He ranked 10th in target share (29%) and fifth in YPRR (2.75). Nacua is a mid-range WR1 and should be a Round 1 pick in 2024 fantasy drafts.
  • Romeo DoubsThe second-year WR popped for 27 fantasy points against the Cowboys with a 29% target share and 41% air yards share. On the season, Doubs still has the profile of a WR4, averaging 5.5 targets and 70 air yards per contest. Similar profiles averaged 9.9 points per game with a WR52 finish based on historical data back to 2012. However, the improved efficiency of Jordan Love has enhanced the ceiling of all the Packers receivers. Nine out of 51 comps were top-36 options, so Doubs has a chance to approach WR3 territory, but he is best thought of as a WR4.

Tight End Utilization Bytes

  • Brevin JordanJordan delivered 15 fantasy points thanks to a 76-yard TD but remained in a limited role with a 36% route participation. Dalton Schultz continues to see the most playing time (64%), and Jordan’s 14% TPRR is not great for the position. Jordan remains a low-end TE2 but offers spike-week upside thanks to his big-play ability and the Texans' powerful passing attack with Stroud.
  • David NjokuThe seventh-year TE finished his season on a strong note, gobbling up 11 targets and delivering 16 fantasy points against the Texans. With Joe Flacco under center, Njoku averaged 18 fantasy points per contest with a 23% target share and 2.41 YPRR — flashing high-end TE1 upside. However, with Deshaun Watson, Njoku only garnered a 16% target share with a 1.14 YPRR — numbers that will have to improve in 2024 for Njoku to reach his potential.
  • Luke MusgraveMusgrave increased his route participation to 38% in his second week back from injury. He made the most of his opportunities with a 38% TPRR, leading to a TD catch and 14 fantasy points. Musgrave could continue to gain more playing time as he gets healthier, but Tucker Kraft will likely remain involved. Musgrave is a low-end TE2.
  • Sam LaPortaThe rookie TE played through a knee injury to post an 80% route participation against the Rams. He couldn’t get much going with a 12% target share, but one of those was for a TD. LaPorta remains a high-end TE1 but might perform more like a low-end TE1 until his knee is right.
  • Travis Kelce: The veteran TE notched a 31% target share — his highest mark since Week 7. Kelce delivered 14 fantasy points, but much bigger days will follow if he remains this highly targeted. Kelce remains a high-end TE1.
  • Tucker KraftKraft saw his route participation (62%) take a hit in Musgrave’s second game back from injury. The rookie has a 14% TPRR on the season, so he needs a full-time role to deliver fantasy points. Kraft DOWNGRADES to mid-range TE2 status.
Utilization Report
Dwain McFarland
Dwain McFarland
Dwain is the Lead Fantasy Analyst and Director of Analytics of Fantasy Life. He is best known for the Utilization Report, which led to his first full-time role in the industry at Pro Football Focus. Dwain’s experience and background have helped him craft a unique voice in the fantasy football community. He has placed highly in multiple national season-long contests, including three top-five finishes at the FFPC. Before beginning his fantasy career in 2018, Dwain led product strategy and data and analytics teams for one of the largest healthcare improvement companies in the nation.