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NFL Week 8 Usage Trends: Fantasy Football Notes for All 32 Teams

In fantasy football, usage and opportunity are king. Fantasy points can’t accrue on our teams unless our players accumulate the snaps, attempts, and targets that lead to yards and touchdowns.

This weekly piece will look at usage trends from each NFL team from a fantasy angle. We will look at who is gaining and who is losing opportunities in order to make better future roster decisions.

If you have interesting usage notes, feel free to reach out to me on X (@CableBoxScore) and let me know. Let’s dive into the NFL Week 8 usage!

NFL Week 8 Usage Trends


McBride Masterpiece

In the first full game without Zach Ertz, Trey McBride went nuclear with 14 targets, 10 catches, 95 yards, and a touchdown. The 14 targets were three more than any player has had on the Cardinals this season.


Here’s To You Mr. Robinson

In the same week that Arthur Smith trolled fantasy football fans, he also makes us happy by playing Bijan Robinson on 74% of snaps (almost a season-high) and Tyler Allgeier a season-low 22%. Robinson responded with his most rushing yards since Week 4 and his first rushing touchdown.


Gus Bus Chugs Along

The Ravens as a team had nine total opportunities in the red zone on Sunday. Gus Edwards had six of them, turning three into short touchdowns. Meanwhile, Lamar Jackson (17 rushing yards) had the third-lowest rushing total in his career for a full game played.


Dalton Dealing

In his first game with no Dawson Knox as competition, Dalton Kincaid had five catches (seven targets, second-most this year) for 65 yards and a touchdown. He is a clear TE1 the rest of the fantasy season as long as Knox is out.


Miles Away From Playing

Coming off the bye week and installing a new offensive scheme and play-caller, the Carolina Panthers gave Miles Sanders only 18% of the snaps which resulted in two carries for zero yards. With Raheem Blacksher getting five opportunities in the game, Sanders looks like someone who can safely be dropped in standard fantasy leagues.


Bearish on This Backfield

Granted it was a blowout loss, but this backfield looks like an absolute mess for the weeks ahead. Four different rushers (Roschon Johnson, D’Onta Foreman, Khari Blasingame, and Darrynton Evans) all saw between 21% and 36% of the Chicago snaps. Only Evans with 40 total yards and a score was able to do anything productive against the Chargers.


Burrow is Back

Courtesy of Benjamin Solak of The Ringer; he points out that Sunday was by far the lowest rate of shotgun the Bengals have run with Joe Burrow this year. Why is that important? Because it allows him to potentially run if pressured and also opens up receivers due to the ability to run play-action more. The Bengals wouldn’t move in this direction if they didn’t think he was getting healthy.


Another Messy Backfield

This was about as split a three-man committee can be with how the Browns deployed their rushing attack on Sunday. Jerome Ford (33%), Kareem Hunt (35%), and Pierre Strong Jr. (31%) essentially split the game into thirds. If you’re looking for a differentiator, Hunt had three red zone opportunities and the other two combined for two.


In Like a Lamb, Out Like a Lion

After a monstrous game on Sunday, the final tally looked like this: 14 targets (second-most of his career), 12 catches (most of his career), 158 yards (most), and two touchdowns (tied for the most). And he did it without beating coverage for a few busted plays. The 11.0 yards per target were just the 22nd-highest of his career.


Javonte Bellcow Back

With 63% of snaps played, Javonte Williams is moving squarely back into workhorse territory. It was by his highest snap rate of the season and he also set season-highs in total yards and opportunities. Williams also led all running backs with 10 opportunities inside the red zone.


LaPorta Party

Who had the most routes run and targets for the Detroit Lions? No, it wasn’t Amon-Ra St. Brown. It was rookie tight end Sam LaPorta who had 10 targets, eight catches, and 57 yards plus a touchdown. That’s now 43 catches in eight games for LaPorta.


No Love Lost

Jordan Love’s expected completion percentage was 66.8% on Sunday afternoon, but he only completed 58.5% of his passes. That -8.3% difference was better than only Zach Wilson and P.J. Walker this week. Not great company to be in.


Backfield Mess 3.0

Here is another backfield that is becoming very messy for fantasy purposes. Dameon Pierce (43% of snaps) played the same as Devin Singletary (41%). Neither was incredibly efficient as Pierce ended up with 46 empty yards and Singletary had 43.


Downs the Minshew Man

Since Gardner Minshew took over quarterback duties, Michael Pittman (24 receptions) only has one more than Josh Downs over four games (23). Pittman still leads the team in target share with 28% since Week 5, but Downs is coming on strong with Minshew at almost 22%.


Kirk Disappears

For some reason, Christian Kirk’s snaps dropped from an average of over 80% in the last four weeks to 66% in Week 8. It led to his worst week (four catches for 46 yards) since Week 1 even in a game where Zay Jones did not play.


Blame it on the Flu

Other than Rashee Rice finally seeing more than 60% of snaps against Denver (61%), nothing stands out an unusual for the Chiefs despite them having a game where they did not score a touchdown for the first time in two years. Blame it on the cold weather and Patrick Mahomes’ flu he tried to play through.


Davante Adams Shutout Streak

Since 2015, Davante Adams only has one other streak of at least five straight games without a touchdown (it happened in 2019). It may officially be panic time for the stud wide receiver considering he has just 14 total catches over the last four games.


Quentin Finally Not Quiet

The blowout of the Bears likely had something to do with it, but Quentin Johnston (70% snap share) played more than Josh Palmer (68%) for the first time this year. It did lead to six targets on Sunday which is a strong sign that the team is starting to trust Johnston more.


Skowranek the Spoiler

Wide receiver Brent Skowranek played on 8% of snaps and had 20 yards and a touchdown. Cooper Kupp played on 100% of snaps and had 21 yards with no touchdowns. You explain football to me because I sure can’t.


Hill Now Claiming Goal Line

Even on the day when Jaylen Waddle was formally welcomed to the Dolphins’ scoring party this year (121 yards and a touchdown), it was eye-opening to see that Tyreek Hill is not just a deep threat anymore, but a goal-line threat. He had four opportunities inside the red zone, which led all Miami players.


Kirk Cousins Killer

Jordan Addison, K.J. Osborn, and T.J. Hockenson have combined to average around nine targets per player in the last two games without Justin Jefferson. Each was emerging as a clear-start fantasy option, but that all goes out the window now with Kirk Cousins’ Achilles injury. Unless the Vikings make a trade, their fantasy value all plummets.


Super Demario

With Kendrick Bourne now out with a knee injury, look for Demario Douglas to fill the target void he left behind. Douglas played a season-high 77% of snaps and logged seven targets including two red zone looks.



Since 1990, there have been 10 instances where a receivers had three or fewer catches, 150+ receiving yards, and a touchdown. Rashid Shaheed is the latest to add his name to that list with three catches for 153 yards and a score. The last time we saw it was actually last year when Gabe Davis caught two touchdowns as part of his three receptions and 171 receiving yards.


Passing Deficiency

More fun with Stathead. Since 2000, a team has thrown for less than 10 yards in a game. Somehow, the New York Giants have managed to do it twice in less than two years. On Sunday, they passed for seven total yards, which was light years better than the -6 passing yards the team had on January 2, 2022.


Hall Pass-ing Up Everyone

Breece Hall matched his two-thirds snap rate last week but had 21 total opportunities in this game which led to 93 yards and a touchdown. Much of this game was an affront to the eyes of all who watched it, but Hall becoming a bell-cow back again is a wonderful sight for fantasy managers.


Brown Sets the Record

A.J. Brown set the record for most consecutive games with at least 125 receiving yards with six in a row. He passed Calvin Johnson for the record and the Week 2 outburst on the sidelines that he wasn’t getting the ball enough might as well be from another century at this point.


Johnson Target Monster

Between Mitch Trubisky and Kenny Pickett, there were 40 targets to go around for all the Steelers on Sunday, Diontae Johnson drew a very healthy 14 of those and no other player had more than six. George Pickens caught a touchdown, but his value takes a hit with Johnson healthy.


Kittle Confusion

I can not for the life of me figure out George Kittle. He has three games this year under 20 receiving yards and three games over 75 yards including the 149-yard eruption on Sunday afternoon. He is now up to almost 24% of the targets for San Francisco this year.


Metcalf in the Red Zone

No other receiver had as many red zone targets as D.K. Metcalf’s five on Sunday. He was unable to bring any of them in for a catch, but that is largely just noise that will correct over time if Geno Smith keeps targeting him in that area.


White Rises to the Top

Chase Edmonds and Ke’Shawn Vaughn were both active in this game, but Rachaad White threw them out of the way and seized control of the backfield once again. He had 82% of the snaps (second-highest this year) and joined Christian McCaffrey as the only players with at least 70 rushing yards and 70 receiving yards in a game this season.


Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

I mean, what more can we say about Will Levis? He had three of the top-ten longest touchdown passes in the entire NFL season in his first ever start.


Dotson Returns

All it took was the leaky Philadelphia pass defense, but Washington and Sam Howell found a way to resurrect Jahan Dotson on Sunday. His 10 targets were more than any other game this year and his 108 receiving yards were more than any of his THREE games combined so far in 2023.

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

Week 9 Fantasy Football Rankings: Quarterback | Running Back | Wide Receiver | Tight End | Half-PPR by Position | Flex Rankings | Positional Ranks w/ K & DST | Dynasty | Superflex Dynasty

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