Target and touch totals are important, but not as important as the market share. “Targets” is mostly a receiver stat (although there are some notable early exceptions). Touches are the currency of the running back.
What we’re doing is really simple. For pass-catchers, market share is targets divided by team pass attempts. For running backs, it is touches divided by team plays from scrimmage (not team touches, to be clear).
Snap counts and depth of target and type of touch (running back receptions are way more valuable than RB carries) are also important but generally will not be discussed here. This is pure market share. Consider this a primary tool for assessing waivers and trades.
Here’s the list. Be sure to select the current week but all the weeks of the season will be archived so you can get a multi-week sample on a player if you so desire. Also note as the season progresses that I gave great thought in doing these stats weekly and not for the season. The objective here is to respond quickly to present trends. Yearly stats just smoothes everything out to a more meaningless middle. Remember, as our Gene McCaffrey so wisely says, “To be very right, you have to be willing to be very wrong.”
There is not much actionable in the RB position this week, I’m sorry to say.
Sure, Zach Charbonnet is slated for more carries if Kenneth Walker is out with an oblique, which seems likely given it’s a Thanksgiving game, especially given that Walker has chronic abdominal issues. But remember that Christian McCaffrey had the same injury and played the next game (albeit with more recovery time).
And, yes, it seems likely that Aaron Jones will give way to AJ Dillon, also due to injury (though it is reportedly not serious, as was initially feared). But these guys are widely rostered.
Instead, let’s talk about the guys who are up and down in expected value going forward, given this data.
Devin Singletary was No. 2 and plays in an offense that can produce points. He’s a RB1, incredibly. Deal with it, America.
Raheem Mostert was supposed to give way to De’Von Achane, but Achane hurt the same knee again and is unlikely to play Friday. Mostert is a top play in Week 12, even against the Jets defense.
Derrick Henry seems fine at No. 8. We’d have taken that. But the Titans ran 38 plays, the fewest since 2017 and just four more than the lowest this century (Raiders — November 2, 2008). This is a disaster. I can’t even recommend rostering Tyjae Spears if he’s available.
I can’t see Alexander Mattison (14th) holding off Ty Chandler (31st), but this is likely to be a 55/45 split either way. Chandler is basically Jaylen Warren in a better offense. We told you to get Chandler the week Cam Akers got hurt. If you did, you scored a sweet zeroRB. If he’s still sitting there, fix that.
I was over the moon for Travis Etienne, but now he’s 20th and in a three-man backfield. I don’t get it. But we have to downgrade him as a result. They may be managing his workload for the postseason as he’s never really been a bell cow. While that stinks for fantasy, it’s smart in reality, we must admit.
Kareem Hunt has been more efficient than Jerome Ford for many weeks and finally got more touches. He also has the goal-line. This is going to be a run dominant team with a running QB who could open up big plays in the read-option game. Hunt is definitely playable and I’d rank him over Ford given the respective projected goal-line equity.
I’m ignoring the Rams because Kyren Williams is back this week, according to Sean McVay. Make sure you play Williams, who’s been incredibly efficient (success rate).
I like Keaton Mitchell, and it could still happen for him, but right now he’s stuck in no-man’s land with 15% touches/plays, with nothing on the goal line and no guarantees on third down. He’s not playable.
Khalil Herbert is not a bell cow so someone else is getting touches for the Bears and it’s probably not D’Onta Foreman (high ankle sprain). Maybe fire up Roschon Johnson if you’re desperate and he’s on waivers.
The most actionable player this week is Justin Watson (19th). Yeah, he dropped passes, though one should not have been thrown given how he would have been leveled by two defenders, and the other at the end of the game was very contested (he was interfered with but they’d never call that there, even for the Chiefs). But even if you think he stinks (and even if he does stink), he’s the No. 1 WR now for Patrick Mahomes. It’s not 100%, but it’s likely. That’s worth something. I’m playing him in a very deep league this week over Amari Cooper and Garrett Wilson in a must-win game.
I know everyone is knocking themselves out for Isaiah Likely with the Mark Andrews injury. I get it. But Donald Parham is a great consolation prize. He’s very receiver-y. He has drop issues but is a big-time red zone target, too. Yes, Gerald Everett could be back this week, but who cares? I think you can get Parham post waivers as a free pickup if you had Andrews and can’t get Likely.
Travis Kelce was 32nd and did not look good. Be honest, he has not looked like the same player all year. He’s talking about retiring and living the Life of Riley with Taylor Swift. He’s still the No. 1 expected target with probably the GOAT QB, so I’m not saying he’s a scrub or not a piece of a championship puzzle. But you had to have drafted really well to have survived that Kelce pick in Round 1.
Brian Robinson, Saquon Barkley and Jahmyr Gibbs are all over that magic 15% target share level for a RB. I’m shocked that Robinson is there. He’s quite valuable now.
Jordan Addison and Amari Cooper are getting less quality targets than we expected given their respective QBs and also less targets overall, as both the Vikings and Browns run their offenses through their running backs now.
Adam Thielen (third) can’t be denied his market share. He should be getting phased out but there is no one to phase in. In PPR, you have to play him.
DeVonta Smith feasted in a very low-volume offense, predictably given the absence of Dallas Goedert (same thing happened in 2022). He’s a must play and a top WR now even when A.J. Brown is fed, too, given that the Eagles should have a much healthier play count most weeks.
Diontae Johnson and Garrett Wilson have playable numbers but you have to look elsewhere given the anemic state of their offenses. The Jets are playing a QB this week who has four TDs and 22 picks in his college and pro career combined.
Odell Beckham (14th) is in play now given the absence of Mark Andrews for the remainder of the season. Beckham may be hurt, too. So be sure to check his status. If he practices fully, he’s a WR2 now, probably.
I can’t really believe Greg Dortch (15th), but the purpose of this model is to tell us things we refuse to believe or just did not see.
Terry McLaurin has the kind of team passing volume we dreamed about and an above average QB, too, at least in a fantasy context. Yet he’s limping around at No. 60 in market share. Last week he was 44th. The week before he was 54th. He’s not a WR2 and probably not even a WR3. I would play Watson over him, and even if you think that’s crazy, how are they not at least in the same tier?
(Photo of Justin Watson: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)