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. Nico Collins enters WR1 territory with an injury to Tank Dell.

Collins erupted for 34.1 fantasy points in Week 13, and with the loss of Dell for the season, he is the clear-cut No. 1 in one of the best passing attacks in the NFL. The third-year WR ranks No. 11 on the season with 17.7 points per game and is on a target tear, averaging 10.7 since returning from a calf injury that caused him to miss Week 10. 

Nico Collins

On snaps without Dell, Collins’ target share climbs from 20% to 31%, and his air yards share balloons from 25% to 41%. While he won’t likely sustain a 31% target share, it is in the range of outcomes, and any increase from his current 22% could push him into mid-range WR1 territory.

Based on 12-year utilization and efficiency data, the average for a WR with Collins’ profile is 19.8 points with a WR5 finish — assuming he takes a small step forward in target share. If his target earning doesn’t take a step forward, the comp group average is WR20 at 14.3 points.

Collins draws tough matchups against the Jets and Browns but has two juicy outings against the Titans over the next four games.

Outlook: Collins UPGRADES to low-end WR1 status.

2. Bijan Robinson’s three-week workload trend is RB1-worthy.

Every year, there are a few situations where we have to disregard the utilization percentages because a player’s workload is touch-count driven rather than snap-count driven. While Robinson’s underlying percentages have remained turbulent over the last three games, his opportunities have stabilized, averaging 18.7 attempts and 4.3 targets per game.

Bijan Robinson

This hasn’t been a byproduct of games with more plays, either. The Falcons have 65, 62 and 65 snaps over this span — in line with their 65.8 play-per-game average on the season.

So now we have one of the most efficient backs in the NFL, getting the workload we have been waiting for all season. He currently ranks as the RB16 with 14.4 points per game but profiles much more like a mid-range RB1 moving forward. 

Bijan Robinson

Dec 3, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Atlanta Falcons running back Bijan Robinson (7) runs with the ball against New York Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner (1) during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The average finish for similar-profile RBs since 2012 is RB6, with 18.7 points per game — precisely in line with his three-game average. The top comp was 2019 Dalvin Cook (21.2 PPG), and the bottom was 2017 LeSean McCoy (16.6 PPG).

Of course, we must exercise at least a modicum of restraint in our exuberance for Robinson because Arthur Smith still roams the sidelines in Atlanta. On any other team, I would upgrade him to high-end RB1 status, but I have been fooled too many times by Smith.

Outlook: Robinson UPGRADES to mid-range RB1 status.

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

3. De’Von Achane returned to lead the Miami backfield in a blowout.

Achane delivered 25.3 fantasy points on his second-highest opportunity total (21) of the year with 17 attempts and four targets. With the Dolphins trouncing the Commanders 45-15, it was a very similar game script to the one we saw in Week 3 against the Broncos (70-20) when Achane had a season-high 22 opportunities and exploded for 51.3 points.

De'Von Achane

The electric rookie only had three fantasy points at halftime, playing 41% of the snaps and accounting for only 21% of the rushing attempts in the first half. However, in the second half, he dominated, handling 77% of the snaps and 70% of the carries.

The Dolphins coaching staff clearly isn’t concerned about Achane’s health, or they wouldn’t have risked playing him in a game where they didn’t need him to win. We can’t read too much into the lack of snaps in the first half, but it is something to monitor in the coming weeks. After another strong performance, we are likely looking at a close split between Achane and Raheem Mostert.

Achane is averaging 31.3 points in contests where he reaches a 40% snap share. Despite averaging only 13.5 attempts and 3.3 targets in those affairs, he has still produced elite numbers. His comps have averaged 14.5 points with an RB15 finish based on the last 12 years of data — a number Achane is more than doubling. 

So, while we should expect regression, the rookie’s unique skillset, plus the nurturing nature of the Dolphins' offense, keep him in the RB1 conversation. Achane could regress by 10 fantasy points per game and still be a top-12 option.

Outlook: Achane is a mid-range RB1 with high-end RB1 upside.

4. A rash of RB injuries creates four playoff waiver wire targets.

Ezekiel Elliott

Rhamondre Stevenson suffered an ankle sprain as the latest hip-drop tackle victim. X-rays were negative, but this looks like a dreaded high-ankle injury, which could force Stevenson to miss multiple games. At a minimum, we should consider the third-year back doubtful for a Thursday night matchup against the Steelers in Week 14.

Elliott stepped into a full-time role after Stevenson went down, scoring 13.2 fantasy points on 17 carries and five targets.

Ezekiel Elliott

The veteran back isn’t what he once was, averaging only 3.8 yards per carry — 35th out of 45 RBs with at least 70 attempts — but he is in line for a 20-plus touch workload in games without Stevenson. Even on an offense that ranks third-worst in TD drive percentage (12%), Elliott is a near lock for 15 fantasy points and has a 20-point upside if he punches in a score.

Spears offers more upside if you just need one week, but Elliott is the more likely option to take over a primary role for multiple weeks. The Patriots should have a solid game script against the Steelers on Thursday night and a juicy matchup against the Broncos in Week 16.

Elliott is available in 60% of leagues and is a priority waiver wire target.

FAAB recommendation: 30%+

Outlook: Elliott UPGRADES to RB2 status in contests without Stevenson.

Antonio Gibson & Chris Rodriguez

Brian Robinson left the game with a hamstring strain that could force him to miss multiple games.

After Robinson exited the game, Gibson handled 66% of snaps, 44% of attempts and had a 73% route participation as the lead back. Rodriguez played 35% of snaps, accounted for 44% of the attempts and had a 7% route participation.

Gibson is the top waiver-wire option, but he might have a weaker grip on the backfield than the Week 13 utilization suggests due to the massive trailing game script. We could see Rodriguez carve out more of the early-down work, with Gibson securing a slight uptick in carries while retaining the passing-down work after the Commanders’ Week 14 bye.

Spears and Elliott are the preferred waiver options over Gibson and Rodriguez due to the Commanders' Week 14 bye — there is a chance Robinson will be ready by Week 15.

Gibson FAAB recommendation: 25%+

Rodriguez FAAB recommendation: 5-10%

Outlook: Gibson enters low-end RB2 territory, and Rodriguez becomes a low-end RB3 if Robinson misses time.

Tyjae Spears

Derrick Henry left Sunday’s game after entering the concussion protocol. However, coach Mike Vrabel indicated the team checked Henry on Sunday night and Monday morning and the star RB is not in the concussion protocol.

However, it was a reminder of the type of role Spears could garner if Henry misses time – making him the top handcuff remaining on fantasy waiver wires. 

Spears was already the passing-down specialist in Tennessee but found himself in an every-down role on Sunday after Henry left the game. The rookie received an impressive 22 opportunities with 16 totes and six targets on his way to 12.8 fantasy points.

Tyjae Spears

Out of all RBs with at least 150 routes this season, Spears ranks seventh in targets per route run (TPRR) at 21% — which could make him more valuable than Henry as a starter. Losing game scripts have thrown Henry off track multiple times this year, but Spears has the skill set to remain on the field and pile up targets in those scenarios.

In addition to his prowess as a pass catcher, Spears has been electric on the ground, with 16.7% of his carries going for 10-plus yards — well above the RB1 threshold of 11.5%. His 31.8% missed tackles forced rate ranks No. 1 out of all backs with at least 60 attempts.

Spears is only rostered in 40% of leagues and while Henry looks likely to play next Monday, the rookie is worth adding to your roster if you need an upside RB bench stash.

FAAB recommendation: 15%+

Outlook: Spears would upgrade to high-end RB2 territory and offer mid-range RB1 upside if Henry were out, thanks to a skillset similar to Kyren Williams.

Quarterback Utilization Bytes

  • Jordan Love: Love has averaged 22.5 points over the last four outings. Unlike early in the season when his completion percentage told us it couldn’t last, he has a 64% mark with an 8.8 aDOT over that span. Love UPGRADES to high-end QB2 status.
  • Russell Wilson: Excluding kneels, Wilson averages 6.2 rushing attempts between designed looks and scrambles over the last five games. He averages 27.8 yards rushing and has two rushing TDs over that span. Unfortunately, Wilson has thrown for over 200 yards only four times this season, averaging only 199 yards per contest. However, if the Broncos somehow find their rhythm in the passing attack, Wilson could make noise in the fantasy playoffs. Wilson remains a mid-range QB2.

Running Back Utilization Bytes

  • Chuba Hubbard: In the first game without Frank Reich, Hubbard regained the lead RB role in Carolina. He hogged 74% of the rushing attempts in a 25-carry performance that he parlayed into 22.4 fantasy points. The Panthers have morphed into a run-heavy unit over the last three games with -10%, -10% and -15% DBOE marks. Hubbard UPGRADES to low-end RB2 territory.
  • Dameon Pierce: Pierce returned to the lead early-down role in his second game back, notching 15 rushing attempts (54%), including the lone tote inside the five-yard line. Pierce didn’t play much on passing downs, with a 23% route participation — consistent with his role before the injury. The second-year back could receive between 12 and 14 attempts per game in a high-scoring offense. Pierce UPGRADES to low-end RB3 status as a TD-dependent early-down back.
  • Devin Singletary: Singletary’s utilization plummeted in Pierce’s second game back from injury. He handled only 29% of the rushing attempts on a 44% snap share. The veteran remained the top passing-down option, but his 40% route participation was well below the 74% we saw in Week 12. Singletary DOWNGRADES to low-end RB3 territory.
  • James Conner: Conner got an upgrade in Week 11 after dominating the Cardinals backfield in his second game back from injury. After Week 12, he was downgraded after a three-way committee emerged with Michael Carter and Emari Demercado. Naturally, he returned to lead-back status in Week 13, playing 76% of snaps, bogarting 69% of attempts and registering a 56% route participation while delivering 22.5 fantasy points. Demercado left the game early with a neck injury, which might have played a role. Arizona is a problematic backfield to pin down, but Conner is a low-end RB2.
  • Jahmyr Gibbs: Gibbs saw his lowest snap share (46%) since Week 4, with the Lions establishing a sizable lead over the Saints early in Week 13. He also registered his lowest rushing share (27%) and route participation (54%). The rookie averages nine attempts and 5.1 targets in seven healthy games with David Montgomery. Based on data from the last 12 years, the average back with Gibbs’ profile finished as the RB18 with 13 points per game — directly in line with his 13.6 average in games with Montgomery. Gibbs DOWNGRADES to mid-range RB2 status but offers RB1 spike upside.
  • Kareem Hunt: The veteran RB led the Browns with a 52% rush share in Week 13. His route participation remained low at 15%, with Jerome Ford leading the way. Hunt averages one target and 10.3 carries, including half of the work inside the five-yard line over the last four outings. Hunt is a low-end RB4.
  • Kyren Williams: Williams notched his third-highest snap share (94%) and second-highest rush share (72%) as he returned to his full workload. He totaled 26 opportunities with 21 attempts and five targets on his way to 20.2 fantasy points despite a tough matchup against the Browns. Williams UPGRADES to high-end RB1 territory.
  • Tony Pollard: Pollard has turned things around over the last three contests, averaging 19.2 points per contest. However, his raw utilization numbers have fluctuated throughout the season, and his averages align more closely with backs that have averaged 16.6 points and finished as the RB11. Pollard is a low-end RB1.
  • Zack Moss: Moss only managed 7.6 fantasy points, but his utilization was elite. The 25-year-old RB lugged the rock 20 times and collected two targets against the Titans. He averages 24.2 opportunities and 18.3 points per contest in games where Taylor hasn’t reached a 20% snap share. Moss UPGRADES to low-end RB1 status while Taylor is out.

Wide Receiver Utilization Bytes

  • Adam Thielen: Thielen has a solid 27% target share over the last four games, but Jonathan Mingo is at 26%. Thielen's value takes a hit with target competition increasing and the Panthers' passing offense stuck in reverse. Based on the latest trends, the average finish of his comp group is WR19, with 12.8 points per game. Thielen DOWNGRADES to low-end WR2 territory.
  • Brandin Cooks: Cooks registered his third top-20 WR finish in the last four games with 16.5 points against the Seahawks in Week 13. Cooks is riding the wave of the Cowboys' offense with three TD receptions over that span, but the targets still haven’t come around outside of his Week 10 performance when he had 10. Cooks has eclipsed five targets only twice all season and profiles more like a low-end WR4 than his low-end WR2 status over the last month. Cooks remains a boom-bust WR4.
  • Cedric Tillman: The third-round NFL draft pick averages an 86% route participation since the Donovan Peoples-Jones trade to the Lions. However, the targets haven’t followed (9%). Tillman is a low-salary DFS punt play but remains a WR6 stash option in season-long formats.
  • Christian Watson: Watson was breaking out over the last two contests with 20.4- and 27.6-point performances on the back of 25% and 27% target shares. Unfortunately, he suffered his fifth hamstring injury in two years and could miss multiple games. Watson remains a boom-bust WR3 option if he manages to play in Week 14, but he misses out on what would have been an UPGRADE to high-end WR3 status.
  • Courtland Sutton: Sutton has played admirably, leading the Broncos with a 24% target share. Unfortunately, the team has shifted to a run-first mentality, averaging a -5% DBOE with a 55% dropback rate since Week 7. During that span, Russell Wilson has thrown for under 200 yards in every game except one. While Sutton has remained fantasy-relevant thanks to a 45% endzone target share — leading to nine TD receptions, his historical comps only averaged 11.5 points with a WR37 finish. Sutton remains a mid-range WR3.
  • DeAndre Hopkins: Hopkins commanded an eye-popping 12 targets and 207 air yards, translating to 18.9 fantasy points. The veteran WR continues to earn targets at a high rate, and if he and Will Levis ever get on the same page, we could see a blowup performance. Hopkins is a high-end WR3 with major spike-week upside.
  • Elijah Moore: Moore collected season-highs with 11 targets (28%) and 246 air yards (50%), with Joe Flacco under center and Amari Cooper knocked out of the game with a concussion. If Cooper misses time, Moore becomes a sneaky WR3 option.
  • Greg Dortch: With Michael Wilson out of action, Dortch has averaged an 82% route participation and 19% target share — good for six targets per game. His role could evaporate when Wilson returns, but Dortch could offer borderline WR3 value after the bye week if Marquise Brown (heel) or Wilson miss time.
  • Jalen Guyton: Guyton continues to play starter snaps with Josh Palmer out of the lineup. He only has a 12% target share since taking over a more prominent role but could run into a spike performance. Guyton is a WR6 punt play for DFS purposes until Palmer returns.
  • Jonathan Mingo: Mingo is having a mini-breakout over the four games with a 26% target share — only slightly behind Adam Thielen, who leads the team at 27%. The rookie has 10 and 12.9 fantasy points in the last two games. Mingo UPGRADES to low-end WR4 status.
  • Michael Pittman: Pittman averages 11.1 targets and 18.7 fantasy points in games with Gardner Minshew under center. That average is slightly below his peer group, who averaged 20.7 points with a WR4 finish based on the last 12 seasons. The fourth-year WR UPGRADES to low-end WR1 status.
  • Noah Brown: Brown rejoined the lineup in Week 13 and posted an 86% route participation. He only registered one target (7%), but Brown has flashed big-play upside this year. He erupted for 27.3 and 24.2 points in Weeks 9 and 10 and could be in for a permanent 80%-plus route role in a great passing game. Brown is available in 60% of leagues and is a priority waiver wire target as a boom-bust WR4 with WR2 upside.
  • Packers WRs: Romeo Doubs, Jayden Reed and Dontayvion Wicks all get upgrades if Watson misses time. Love is playing great, and the Packers are in the hunt for a wild card birth with a solid schedule on the way. Doubs has three top-18 finishes in four games, where Watson didn’t reach a 50% route participation in 2023. Doubs re-enters the low-end WR3 conversation, and Reed becomes a high-end WR3 in games without Watson, while Wicks becomes a low-end WR4.
  • Quentin Johnston: Johnston has been so bad that we will take any progress, even baby steps. In Week 13, he demanded a season-high seven targets (19%) on a 79% route participation and delivered 10.2 fantasy points. Johnston could be showing signs of life but remains a WR6 stash play.
  • Tyquan Thornton: Thornton compiled a season-high 27 routes with Demario Douglas out of the lineup. He only has a 17% TPRR on the season, but the Patriots are desperate for someone to step up — their receiving corps is a barren wasteland. Thornton UPGRADES to stash WR6 status.
  • Xavier Gipson: The undrafted rookie free agent has a 78% route participation over the last four games and notched his first fantasy-relevant performance in Week 13 with 12.8 points. It isn’t easy to get excited about the Jets offense, but Gipson is a potential stash play in deep dynasty leagues.  

Tight End Utilization Bytes

  • Dalton Schultz: The veteran TE missed Week 13 with a hamstring injury but could be in for a more prominent role with the loss of Dell. Schultz is a mid-range TE1 with upside when he returns to the lineup.
  • Kyle Pitts: Pitts registered a 90% route participation and a season-high 32% target share with eight looks. It was his first contest to reach 90% since Week 2. Pitts will return to the low-end TE1 range if he holds onto 80%-plus route participation another week.
  • Taysom Hill: Hill accumulated 17 opportunities with 13 rushing attempts, two targets and two dropbacks. He had two carries inside the five-yard line and totaled 15.4 fantasy points. Since Week 6, he averages 11.4 opportunities and 14.3 points per game. Hill remains locked into the mid-range TE1 conversation.
  • Trey McBride: McBride averages a whopping 16.2 points per game since taking over the full-time role in Week 8. He leads the Cardinals with a 32% target share with 8.8 looks per game. The second-year TE UPGRADES to top-three TE status the rest of the way, only trailing Travis Kelce and T.J. Hockenson.
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.