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 smooth 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.”
The conceit of this column is being agnostic about talent. We’re not trying to scout. We’re just trying to capitalize on opportunities, as that’s the single most important thing in our game. No player reflects this more than the No. 1 RB in touch share, Rachaad White. Is he good? Who cares? Is his share diluted by the relatively low play count of the Bucs? Nope. We expect regression in plays more than regression in usage. I understand that the market right now is screaming to sell White because he’s been bad, according to a multitude of stats, especially in Week 3. But the model says you want to be on the buy side given that expected discount.
Zack Moss is similar. Whether he is good or not is like asking how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Who cares? He’s central to his team offense and getting all the snaps.
No. 5 Alexander Mattison is also available for way less than someone who ranks this highly in market share of touches. His managers are skittish about Cam Akers, but is Akers a threat? His former team just gave him away. There are no sure things, but Mattison is a buy low according to this data.
De’Von Achane was No. 7 — pretty damn good. I mean, we’d expect RB7 with average efficiency, but he produced in a hyper-efficient way. Irrespective of points, this model says to bid 62% of FAAB on Achane. Then you factor in 200 rushing yards and four touchdowns and you get up to 100% pretty reasonably. Split the difference if you want: 81% (you won’t get him).
People who have Dameon Pierce (eighth) are irrationally worried about Devin Singletary. Buy Pierce. This is more of a trade week than a FAAB week, actually.
Kyren Williams was 20th, way down from last week but decidedly in the playable range.
Javonte Williams is No. 22 again and his market perception is below that now, I suspect. So that trade window we recommended last week is probably closing fast.
I’ll say it: Get Clyde Edwards-Helaire. He’s 25th. Yes, there was garbage time, but he had early touches. Given the expected touchdowns by the Chiefs, he’s playable generally as a RB3 who gets elevated in deep leagues due to injury/forthcoming byes. But if Isiah Pacheco gets hurt, he is an easy RB2.
Tony Jones Jr. had more usage than the more heralded Kendre Miller. Jones is a power back and a better complement to Alvin Kamara than Miller, who is more like Kamara. I think there’s a decent chance Jones sticks as the secondary back, ahead of Miller. Not saying it’s likely, but it’s not 0% like the market thinks.
Melvin Gordon was ahead of Gus Edwards at a playable 17%. Gordon should be rostered. No running back on the Ravens is clearly better than Gordon, which is damning with faint praise, I know.
Rico Dowdle is the RB you have to pick up just before kickoff. I wrote in the blog article about Tony Pollard’s workload being unsustainable. Pollard cannot handle the 400 touches he’s on pace to get. This is insane. Dowdle will step into everything if anything happens to Pollard.
Again, there are trade targets galore. This model says to get Marquise Brown (seventh). He’s also scoring fantasy points (look it up; I’m not lying).
Sam LaPorta is 80% rostered, so forget about waivers, probably. But if you have him rostered, he’s now an every-week starter (No. 1 TE in Week 3).
Romeo Doubs, ranked 18th, is not widely rostered. Christian Watson has mostly proven he’s injury prone. Sure, Watson had an insane TD rate last year but Doubs looks like a real player to me. I’d actually trade for him if he’s rostered, as there’s a good chance his manager is down on him like the broader market (still penalizing him for their irrational exuberance in 2022).
Tutu Atwell is 20th and is more likely to continue performing at his present level if/when Cooper Kupp returns. Atwell gets almost twice the average air yards as Puka Nacua. My belief is that Kupp and Nacua are vying for the same usage and no one is vying for Atwell’s usage. If I’m wrong, it’s a waiver claim or a trade throw-in that did not work. You’ll live.
Jakobi Meyers may actually be WR21 in PPR and it’s not going to cost anywhere near that to find out. It’s a two-man passing game in Las Vegas.
Tank Dell came in at WR32. That means you play him for sure. But my model says he’s worth only a 12% bid. Anything more is just believing in him, which is fine. That could work. Just know what you’re betting on.
Courtland Sutton (14th) just smashed Jerry Jeudy (48th) again. What will it cost you to trade for Sutton? Not a WR14 price, I guarantee it.
Luke Musgrave is at 52nd, but 10th for TEs. I think he’s worth a bid up to 10%. I think 5% gets him. He was missed for a 65-yard walk in TD last week.
Rookie WR ranks in Week 3:
The get here is Rice.
Joshua Palmer was 67th but is presumably stepping in for Mike Williams (ACL). I’m almost certain Johnston will be more highly coveted, but why? There was 30% market share of targets between Williams and Palmer in Week 3. Maybe Palmer doesn’t get all of it but he’ll get most of it. Bid accordingly.
(Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports)