Trends from Week 5

by Upperhand Fantasy

Identifying trends in underlying usage can help us stay one step ahead of the competition by not focusing on the box score, but focusing on the roles that drive fantasy production over a large sample.

STOCK UP ⬆️ - WR Chase Claypool, Steelers

While Juju Smith-Schuster hasn’t been too productive through 5 games, his injury does open up about 20% of the target share to be redistributed. Diontae Johnson was already getting his, and he will continue to have 10+ targets in most games. Chase Claypool is the clear beneficiary with the loss of JuJu. In the two games the Steelers were down WRs, Claypool commanded 25% of target share in each one. Claypool was also the only WR to see an end-zone target in each of those games. Expect Claypool to simply run more routes. JuJu was actually on the field for 100% of 11 and 12 personnel packages, while Claypool only came in for 3 WR sets, which the Steelers do mostly run anyway. More routes can only help. Claypool did run more routes out of the slot this past week, but we’ll see if James Washington ends up taking that role over. He was out this past week with a groin injury. Mike Tomlin called on Washington specifically to step up after the injury to JuJu. He’s a sneaky pickup in deeper leagues. Combine all the opportunity with some elite traits, Claypool can be a WR2 for the rest of this year.

Claypool is a buy in dynasty, as well. I’ve always felt as though his career will take off once he’s paired with a better QB, but now that JuJu might have played his last down with the Steelers, Claypool’s value might be the cheapest it’s going to be in a long time. Claypool hit some key metrics in his rookie year that gives him a great chance at being a high-end fantasy WR in the NFL, particularly him hitting 2.00 YPRR combined with all the routes he ran as a rookie. Wheels up for Claypool in all formats.

STOCK UP ⬆️ - RB James Robinson, Jaguars

What was initially thought to be a healthy scratch for Carlos Hyde in Week 4 was actually, or allegedly, a surprise shoulder injury. It led to Robinson playing on 95% of snaps. Hyde was back in Week 5, and Robinson’s playing time was definitely affected. He played on 68% of snaps. Keep in mind that Robinson averaged 65% of snaps from Weeks 1-3. However, Robinson’s touches went up this week, and he had some big plays. Even if Robinson’s snaps don’t go up, but he continues to get a touch at a high rate as he did in Week 5 (at least in the first half), he’ll be an every-week RB2 with RB1 upside. He’ll definitely be a high-end RB2 next week against a Miami defense that has been shredded by RBs this season.

STOCK DOWN ⬇️ - RB Damien Williams, Bears

Not only is Williams unlikely to play on Sunday due to Covid protocol, he wasn't getting the work you had hoped in week 5 when you added him off the waiver wire. Seeing how much Khalil Herbert was on the field in Week 5 isn’t what you wanted to see if you dropped a bag on Damien Williams last week. Williams barely played more snaps, but Herbert had a slightly higher share of rushing attempts. The Bears were up for the entire game and they chose to go run heavy. But instead of letting Damien Williams carry the load, Khalil Herbert got involved as early as the first half. I was a fan of Herbert coming out as a sleeper RB who had workhorse potential, and he looked good with his opportunities on Sunday. This doesn’t look like a Damien Williams backfield while Montgomery is out, and it seems like he’s going to be tough to trust as an RB2 for you going forward. He can end up with RB2 numbers, but this is not RB2 usage unless the Bears continue to run enough plays for both backs to eat. Williams did out-target Herbert 3-0, but he only ran 3 more routes than Herbert did. It is possible that Williams gets a higher share of the backfield opportunities in a closer game, or in a game where the Bears will potentially be fighting from behind like next week against the Packers.

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