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NFL 2024 Usage Trends: Fantasy Football Notes for All 32 Teams

With the 2023 fantasy football season a wrap, we now can measure the usage and touches that happened against what was expected at the start of the NFL season. There were some expected performances, some surprises, and some usage that was just downright wacky. With all of the 2023 data available, what lessons can we learn as we look ahead to 2024?

If you have interesting usage notes, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter/X (@CableBoxScore) and let me know. Let’s dive into the NFL 2024 Fantasy Football usage!

NFL 2024 Usage Trends


Trey McBride for TE1?

Despite having fewer than 10 targets through the season’s first five weeks, Trey McBride finished with a 19.6% target share (seventh at the position) and 100 targets (sixth) through 17 weeks. He is a top-3 TE in 2024.


Clearing Bijan’s Name

Despite all the rhetoric, Bijan Robinson finished ninth among all running backs with 67.9% of his team’s snaps played through Week 17. The problem, of course, is he finished with the same number of fantasy points as Jerome Ford. When is Arthur Smith going to be fired, again?


Lamar Jackson the Passer

Guess what? Lamar Jackson is a pretty good passer. Among quarterbacks with at least 10 games started, Lamar ranked second in intended air yards and fourth in passer rating. His 3,678 passing yards and 67% completion percentage are both career highs.


Diggs Dug a Huge Hole

Over the fantasy playoffs, Stefon Diggs ranked third among wide receivers in target share (32.3%) but just 73rd in fantasy points per game in PPR formats. James Cook and Josh Allen running the ball with abandon didn’t help any, but Diggs owners were likely sunk by these performances.


Chuba’s Chance

In the season’s first 12 weeks, Chuba Hubbard played more than 65% of the Panther’s snaps just two times. From Week 13-17, he did it every week as Miles Sanders dropped to around 25% in that time. Hubbard is signed for just $1 million next season and looks to be the feature back to own on this offense.


Running Fields

Say what you will about Justin Fields, but he elevated D.J. Moore’s game into a full-blown superstar in 2023. Moore was top-15 in yards per route run and had the third-lowest drop percentage among all wide receivers. And contrary to popular opinion, his targets weren’t all screens and dump-offs. His 26 deep targets were seventh-most at the position.


Mixon in the Red

In a Bengals’ season dominated by injury news to quarterbacks and wide receivers, the Bengals consistently turned to Joe Mixon in the red zone. He had 68 opportunities through 17 weeks and no one else on the team had more than 20. Only Christian McCaffrey and Tony Pollard had more rush attempts in that area of the field.


Njoku Unlocked

With David Njoku and Travis Kelce both likely to rest in Week 18, Njoku likely clinched a season with the third-most targets at the tight end position. Only Evan Engram and T.J. Hockenson have more, but neither of them can touch Njoku’s 27% target share since Joe Flacco arrived.


Pollard Fails the Test

Tony Pollard ranked ninth among all running backs in yards after contact this season with 673. That’s the good news. The bad news is it was all volume-based as he was 29th among RBs with just 2.86 yards after contact per attempt. That’s less than guys like Joshua Kelley and Zach Charbonnet.


No Perfect 10 Next Year

Courtland Sutton just had one of the most unsustainable touchdown seasons you will ever see. His 10 scores ranked third at the position despite the fact he was 36th in target share, 33rd in air yards, and 37th in yards per route run. Take the under on whatever his ADP is next year, especially with a rookie or new quarterback under center.


Split the Running Back Pot

Injuries factored in somewhat, but the final running back snap split in Detroit was 57% for Jahmyr Gibbs and 48% for David Montgomery. Gibbs lapped Montgomery in PPR scoring (233 to 197), but in standard scoring, the two RBs were 0.1 points apart.


Reed Option

Christian Watson, Aaron Jones, A.J. Dillon, Luke Musgrave, and Romeo Doubs all spent time hurt this season, which allowed Jayden Reed to flourish as perhaps one of the NFL’s next great playmakers. “Wisconsin Deebo Samuel” finished 13th in fantasy points per target and 12th among all receivers in red zone targets.


Nico Number One Receiver

Only Tyreek Hill and Brandon Aiyuk had more yards per route run than Nico Collins this season (2.81), as he clearly benefited from C.J. Stroud’s aggressive passing style. He is a clear WR2 in fantasy drafts in 2024.


Alec Pierce: 2024 Sleeper

Only DeVonta Smith played a higher percentage of his team’s snaps than Alec Pierce in 2023 (94.8%). Pierce finished the season with just an 11.7% target share, but that number jumped to 16% in the last three weeks.


Calvin’s Climb

Injuries to Zay Jones and Christian Kirk gave Calvin Ridley a lot of opportunity in his first year in Jacksonville. He finished the season top ten in air yards and fourth in red zone targets. However, if everyone is fully healthy next season, he might take a small step back.


Rice Keeps Cooking

Only Deebo Samuel (8.8 yards after the catch) had more YAC per reception than did Rashee Rice with his 8.3 in 2023. With a 79% catch rate (others on the Chiefs have been….not that good), Rice is making a push for a top-15 WR spot in 2024.


Adams’ Family

Thanks to a massive 21 targets in Week 17, Davante Adams finishes the fantasy season with a position-leading 33.1% target share. If he can get 13 more in Week 18, he will have a career-high and one has to think the Raiders will come into 2024 with better quarterback play than they had in 2023.


Icky Ekeler

Is Austin Ekeler the fantasy bust of the year? In that same yards-after-contact list where I referenced Tony Pollard, Austin Ekeler was 41st out of 54 running backs (2.66 yards). His 66 targets are also his lowest since he had just 65 in a 10-game season.


Kyren Rollin’ Into Bell-Cow Role

Kyren Williams was just 15th in overall snaps this season due to injury, but he finished with the second-most rushing yards (1,144) and was one of only two players to finish with at least 5.0 yards per rush attempt.


Devon Achane Train Incoming

Among running backs with at least 100 snaps played, Devon Achane ranked first (by a mile) with 56.8 fantasy points per 100 snaps played. The closest back to him was Keaton Mitchell with 45.1. Achane missed six games with injury and played nine total snaps in two other games. If he is healthy in 2024, a top-five season is not out of the question.


Add Addison in 2024

It was an up-and-down season for rookie Jordan Addison in 2023. He got some elite usage with Justin Jefferson missing time, but the quarterback play really let him down. Despite all of that, Addison was 15th among receivers in fantasy points per target and 12th in red zone targets. Give the Vikings a top-12 quarterback and both Jefferson and Addison can be top-24 receivers.


Pop Douglas

Presented without context for when the Patriots have either Drake Maye or Caleb Williams on their roster in 2024:

Yards per route run in 2023: Cooper Kupp – 1:86, DeVonta Smith – 1.79, Demario Douglas – 1.89


Carr Crash

Of the top 14 wide receivers in air yards for 2023, only two did not reach at least five touchdowns in 2023’s first 17 weeks. One was Garrett Wilson (for obvious reasons). The other was Chris Olave, who finished with 1,787 air yards and four scores. He will go into 2024 once again a major sleeper at wherever his ADP lands.


Get Slayton a Quarterback

Darius Slayton ran a route on 100% of the New York Giants’ drop-backs when he played in 2023 and averaged 14.7 yards per reception (top 30 among wide receivers). However, his catchable target rate was just 38th among wide receivers. With a competent downfield quarterback next season, Slayton could jump into the top 25 wide receivers if touchdown luck falls on his side.


Target Monster Hall

Unless something odd happens in Week 18, Breece Hall will end 2023 with the running back lead in targets. He has 93 going into the last game and has firmly put to rest any concerns about the lingering effects of his knee injury suffered last season.


Where’s Brown When You Need Him?

Before the Eagles Week 10 bye, A.J. Brown was second among wide receivers with 18.9 Half-PPR points per game. Since then, he that number is under 10.0 and is outside the top 25 wide receivers. The Eagles have a lot of problems in their four losses in five games, but not giving the ball to Brown as much as possible might be number one.


Pickens Up at the Right Time

In his last three games, George Pickens scored 56 fantasy points in Half-PPR formats, fourth among wide receivers. That exactly the same number he scored in weeks 7-14. That ranked 41st in that timeframe.


Brandon Aiyuk Bounce Back

There are just three wide receivers who are top-15 in average depth of target and yards per route run. Those receivers are Mike Evans, Amari Cooper and Brandon Aiyuk. Combine Aiyuk’s ability with Christian McCaffrey, and then Deebo Samuel’s top-ten yards after the catch, and it adds up to an offense that’s almost impossible to stop.


No Running Back Battle

For the season, Kenneth Walker played 54.5% of the snaps and rookie Zach Charbonnet played 48%. However, Walker more than doubled Charbonnet in fantasy points (176 to 83) because of a top-three yards per reception number (9.4) and the third-most evaded tackles.


White Was Right

After many questioned his efficiency in the offseason and in the early part of 2023, the Buccaneers stuck with Rachaad White and he played 78.3% of snaps, fourth-most at the position. He ended the season with the fifth-most fantasy points in Half-PPR leagues.


Henry Breakdown

Derrick Henry played on only 52.7% of the snaps for Tennessee this year, but he still couldn’t finish among the top-12 running backs in yards after contact per attempt and breakaway rate. With Tyjae Spears the more efficient back this year, the beginning of the end for Henry is underway.


Get This Man a Quarterback

Even with the Sam Howell – Jacoby Brissett quarterback shuffle, Terry McLaurin was second in the NFL in routes run (580) and 15th in air yards. The problem was the quality of targets as he was 10th in unrealized air yards and 77th in catchable target rate. A better QB next year significantly boosts his stock for 2024.

Data Sources: Pro Football Focus, NFL Next Gen Stats, Football Guys Snap Summary, FTN Air Yards, Pro Football Reference, Team Rankings

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