• Looking at the trends behind the numbers that can help uncover fantasy value.
By Mark Deming
September 25, 2019

A rule to adhere by in fantasy football is not to get too high or too low about your team. As we enter a critical Week 4, it’s time to buckle down and focus on creating deep and talented rosters. Let’s dive into some Running Back By Committees (RBBCs) and WRs waiting in the wings that could help bolster your roster. Depth is critical in fantasy football in 2019.

Texans RBs are active

Running back depth is a weakness in most fantasy rosters. For example, take a look at the team that has Saquon Barkley in your league, hows their RB depth looking? That being said, even if all your running backs are healthy, you should always be looking to bolster depth on your roster, especially at RB.

Week 3 Texans RB snaps: 

Carlos Hyde: 52% 
Duke Johnson: 48%

Texans Week 3 RB opportunities (carries + targets): 

Carlos Hyde: 10 
Duke Johnson: 5

Week 2 RB snaps for comparison: 

Carlos Hyde: 61%  
Duke Johnson: 39%

Summary: Let's approach the Texans RB situation as potential waiver claims and affordable trade targets. Remember it's a long season and depth in fantasy football is more important than ever. With QB Deshaun Watson's ability to extend plays, Texans' skill position players are valuable. If you already own one of the two RBs in Houston, consider adding or acquiring both. If Johnson or Hyde were to get exclusive run at the RB position due to injury, the numbers and production could be immense. Traditionally in Bill O'Brien's offense, the main RB gets 20 carries per game. Both Johnson and Hyde are affordable trade targets, and Hyde may be on your wire still. Learning to anticipate ahead of the game is key to building a dominant roster in fantasy football.

Ready to take a gamble on a Colts WR?

Two different observations make the Colts WRs crafty pickups and show potential for a player to emerge: Frank Reich is an underrated play-caller, and T.Y. Hilton enters Week 4 a question mark. Hilton is not the biggest cat in the jungle, and health is always a concern for the star WR. Hilton missed the second half of Week 3 and here's how it shook out for WRs:

Week 3 Colts WR snaps & targets:

Deon Cain: 56% snaps and three targets
TY Hilton: 52% snaps and ten targets (TD receiving)
Parris Campell: 45% snaps and four targets
Zach Pascal: 44% snaps and three targets (TD receiving)
Chester Rogers: 41% snaps and 0 targets

Summary: As we already knew, and can see from the numbers, Hilton is the alpha WR in the Colts offense. With the potential to miss all of Week 4, or to be active but not play every snap, Hilton is a risk. If you roster Hilton or are seeking WR help/depth, roll the dice on a different Colts WR in free agency this week. With all the Colts WRs being in such a tight bunch, go with your gut. My gut says Parris Campbell. Some of my co-workers are on Cain. But either of them could be an upgrade over whoever is on your bench. The underrated Colts rank fourth in the NFL with 7 TD receptions.

One emerging Broncos RB 

Denver is committed to the run. The Broncos have also been in every game they have played and arguably could be 2-1 rather than 0-3. The Broncos had robust 37 carries from the RB position in Week 3 vs. the Falcons.

Broncos Week 3 RB opportunities (carries plus targets):

Phillip Linsay: 26
Royce Freeman: 20

Summary: In Week 2, Freeman had a 52% RB snap rate compared to Lindsay's 48%. But in Week 3 we see an edge with Lindsay not only in snap/target data but also production. Two glaring stats: Obviously the two rushing TDs for Lindsay. Is Lindsay the clear cut goal line back? According to Week 3, yes. But the target and production numbers from the Packers game are more important. Each running back had five targets. Freeman hauled in four receptions for 10 yards with a 2.5 average.

Meanwhile, Lindsay caught four of his five targets and generated a 12.5 yard average, turning them into 49 receiving yards. Lindsay is a trade target, and maybe the owner gives him up for cheap after one solid game, so play that angle. I've seen several “Sell Lindsay” articles this week, but I'm going the opposite direction. Conservatively acquiring both Broncos RBs is a doable task and if one gets full run at the RB position via injury, they will be huge as the Broncos are committed to the run, and the Denver rushing attack is on the rise.

Eagles RB taking flight

Take a close look at the metrics and production in the Week 3 Eagles box score and you might not see much but a RBBC. That’s why it's important to watch the games for yourselves and evaluate the numbers. I watched this game closely and have some thoughts on these:

Week 3 Eagles RB snaps: 

Darren Sproles: 36% 
Miles Sanders: 34% 
Jordan Howard: 33%

Week 3 RB opportunities (carries + targets): 

Miles Sanders: 17 
Jordan Howard: 12 
Darren Sproles: 3

Summary: Because of injuries, mainly at the WR position, the Eagles were somewhat forced to play the cards they were dealt. For my money, rookie RB Miles Sanders stands out and is an ideal trade target. First off, yes Sanders had two fumbles, and lost one, and was pulled from the game for Jordan Howard. Howard then dropped a crucial pass (his only target), and Sanders got his second chance. Some Philly beat writers were talking before Week 3 about the hope that Sproles would be active in the passing game because of the injuries at WR. Sproles had one target and zero receptions.

Meanwhile, Sanders led the Eagles in receiving yards with 73. Sanders led the Eagles in rushing attempts with 13 and averaged 4.1 YPC. In my opinion, Sanders will emerge as the standout RB in time. Sanders has zero TDs on the year and is only averaging 8.33 PPG in PPR leagues, so he can be acquired for under his potential value. In the Eagles’ RB case, you should follow the data.

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