Trends from Week 6
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 ⬆️ - TE Hunter Henry, Patriots
There was a lot of ambiguity over which Patriots’ TE was going to be the one to roster this season, but it’s pretty clear now that it’s Hunter Henry.
Henry’s route participation has gone up each of the last few weeks and took a big jump to 78% in Week 6. The target share wasn’t there this week like it was in Week 6, but the trends are moving in the right direction.
Henry’s also Mac Jones’ favorite target in the red zone, specifically the end zone. He’s received every end zone target over the past two games and owns about 70% of them for the season.
Henry isn’t being targeted at a high rate just yet, but his increase in routes is a good sign that it’ll come. He’s at least getting some valuable targets until that happens.
STOCK UP ⬆️ - TE Noah Fant, Broncos
To start the year, Noah Fant wasn’t running enough routes to depend on him as a solid TE1, and was his usage was nowhere near a high-end TE. However, with injuries to both Jerry Jeudy, KJ Hamler, Fant’s routes started to rise in a big way in Week 4, when he ran a route on 85% of Teddy Bridgewater’s dropbacks. As a result, he received a 28% target share that week.
His backup Albert O then suffered a hamstring injury in practice before Week 5, and he was placed on IR. Since then, Fant has run a route on more than 80% of Bridgewater’s dropbacks.
After a low-target game in Week 5, it shouldn’t have worried us, because he ran a route on a whopping 88% of dropbacks. That’s the number that matters most, and it was a queue to keep him in our lineups.
He then came through with the inevitable monster game given the usage. He received 24% of targets that resulted in a 9/97/1 stat line.
In two of the three games, Fant has seen more than 50% of the end zone targets and is now at a 20% target share for the year.
Fant is a high-end TE1 as long as this usage continues. Albert O being on IR definitely helps Fant continue to run at these elite route thresholds, but he did start to do so before the injury.
***Note, this article was written before Thursday Night's game. Fant scored 8.9 points on 7 targets, 5 receptions for 39 yards.
STOCK DOWN ⬇️ - WR Tyler Boyd, Bengals
Tyler Boyd can possibly be the odd man out in the Bengals WR corp.
The Bengals offense started the season extremely run-heavy and with a slow pace. Their passing offense has gotten a bit more fantasy-friendly, with their pace and passing frequency increasing. Sadly, however, it hasn’t been enough to support three WRs for fantasy.
In the four games, all of Tee Higgins, Ja’Marr Chase, and Tyler Boyd were active this season, one WR took a backseat.
In Week 2, Ja’Marr Chase was the one to take a backseat, but since then, he hasn’t done so in any game, and he probably won’t be the one to do so going forward.
The other three games the trio played together was in Week 1, Week 5, and Week 6. His target share in those three games respectively: 15%, 14%, and 7%.
I’m not willing to bet on Higgins and Chase to take the hit very often. Higgins’ target share was at 20% in each of the last two games, and I think that number goes up rather than down as he integrates himself back into the offense. Ja’Marr Chase’s 26% and 22% target share over the last two weeks also seems more indicative of his future given the rapport he and Joe Burrow have shown.
Boyd will definitely have his games, but he might not be as consistent as we’ve been used to. He’s a PPR flex at best until his targets start to increase. That might only come if the offense starts to look like the pass-heavy one we saw at the beginning of last year before Burrow’s injury.