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Volume and usage are two areas of Daily Fantasy Football that are key to successful lineup building. The correlation between rushing attempts or receiving targets greatly favor the amount of fantasy points a player receives at the end of the week. We are breaking down interesting team scenarios, trying to get a grip on some of the trickier situations in the NFL. We will be looking at crowded wide receiver cores on a week-to-week basis, as well as split backfields. Some will stay away from uncertainty in NFL, which gives an edge for those willing to take chances on teams with unclear usage. Injuries will also open the door for others, which can be found here. When a WR1 goes down, it isn't always the WR2 who picks up the slack. There is a lot of variance, which is what we will be covering. If there is a team situation that didn't get covered in the article, a comment below or finding me on Twitter (@JGuilbault11) will be the best way get it answered.

Washington Redskins Passing Game

Player2016 Targets Per GameWeek 1 Projected Targets
Terrelle Pryor8.88.3
Jordan Reed7.47.9
Jamison Crowder6.26.5
Josh Doctson34.8

Washington gets a home matchup against Philadelphia, who grade out as a bottom five secondary entering the 2017 season. Philadelphia was also a better home defense, allowing 15.5 points per game at home, compared to 25.9 on the road. Kirk Cousins has proven to us that we can rely on him with the weapons around Washington. This is also an offense that struggled to run the ball last season, and early indicators show that will likely be the case again. Washington ranked inside the top ten in passing play percentage, after being in the bottom half back in 2015. The red zone was the issue for Washington last season, but that is an area I am expecting some positive regression in. The addition of Terrelle Pryor is an upgrade that can swing either way, given he entered the NFL as a quarterback. After a 77-1007-4 line, there is room for upside in the touchdown department. I say that because he played an entire season with Cleveland and their rotating quarterbacks. Pryor saw 140 targets last season, and that number is something that should stay even with a new team. Pryor is extremely underpriced on FanDuel for Week 1, and is a better play than Jamison Crowder, given the half-point PPR scoring. Crowder is also $300 more. There wasn't much to go off of in preseason for this passing game, other than Josh Doctson being hindered by a hamstring injury for most of it. Doctson is currently in question for Week 1, but recent news out of Washington is he is expected to give it a go. Those three targets per game last season game in only the first two weeks of the year, and then was shutdown for the season. Doctson is certainly talent, and is only a second year wideout. If he can stay healthy, Cousins has himself another sizable upgrade at wide receiver.

If Doctson back tracks for Week 1 health-wise, Reed and Crowder would see a tick up in targets. With DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon both out of Washington, there is over 200 targets up for grabs in this offense now. The names not listed above are running backs and Ryan Grant who are non-factors in the passing game this week for DFS. Given the price tags of these wide receivers, the volume should be there in Week 1 and moving forward making them targets for me Week 1.

Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Game

Player2016 Targets Per GameWeek 1 Projected Targets
Antonio Brown10.39.3
Le'Veon Bell7.86.4
Martavis Bryant06.2
Vance McDonald4.5 (With SF)3.1
Eli Rogers5.12.2

The return of Martavis Bryant gives an already elite offense even more firepower. At 6'4, Bryant adds another dynamic threat on the opposite side of Antonio Brown. We also have Le'Veon Bell coming out of the backfield, who could easily be a wide receiver himself. Pittsburgh has already shipped deadweight out of Pittsburgh, sending Sammie Coates to the Browns. Eli Rogers saw the third most targets last season (67), and posted the best completion percentage among Pittsburgh wideouts. Bryant has scored 14 touchdowns in 21 games this season, before missing out back in 2016 due to suspension. Bryant also helps both Brown and Ben Roethlisberger with there numbers, by simply being out there. In 19 games with Bryant, Roethlisberger has averaged 27 completions and 40 attempts to 23 completions and 35 attempts with Bryant out. Yards per attempt go up from 7.9 to 8.4, and passing touchdowns jump from 1.8 to 2.1. The biggest stat is the yardage, going from 275 to 336 with Bryant in. As for Brown, in 21 games with Bryant in, Brown has seen 12.5 targets, compared to 10.1 when Bryant is off the field. Touchdowns stay the same, but receiving yards jump from 93 to 113 per game. Some of this does need to be taken with a grain of salt due to the fact Le'Veon Bell has been in and out of the lineup of the last few seasons with injuries and suspensions, but the Steelers passing game is simply better with Bryant on the field. The only player this could have some negative effect on is Bell. He has seen 5.8 targets per game, compared to 7.1 when Bryant is out. Receiving touchdowns and receptions see a small dip, but nothing that would stop us from playing Bell.

Eli Rogers will see a downgrade in targets this season, especially given Roethlisberger will have a decent pass-catching tight end in town now. Vance McDonald saw 4.5 targets per game last season, but I am not expecting a tick up for him this year, especially early on. With Bryant back, we can downplay the targets for guys like Rogers and McDonald. Bell saw saw 7.8 targets per game last season, and should be in the 5-6 range for most weeks moving forward. Still higher than most running backs not named David Johnson. The touchdowns in this offense will be a bit more volatile than years passed. The Steelers are back to full strength, and will be a top scoring offense this year. The big takeaways here are the numbers going up for Brown and Roethlisberger, and Bryant being back to a fantasy WR2 to take shots on. 6-7 targets in Week 1 is a pretty good estimate for him.

Tennessee Titans Passing Game

Player2016 Targets Per GameWeek 1 Projected Targets
Eric Decker7.0 (3 Game With NYJ)5.9
Rishard Matthews6.85.1
Corey Davis04.3
Delanie Walker6.85.2
DeMarco Murray4.23.1

There is a lot of exciting names here, but the overall situation has me a bit down on these guys in terms of upside or even presenting themselves with a decent floor. Tennessee ranked 28th in pass attempts last season, and relied heavily on DeMarco Murray in the running game. If a situation came about where Murray went down, Tennessee's game plan wouldn't change much with Derrick Henry back there. The Titans upgraded their wide receiver positions this offseason, adding Eric Decker, and drafting Corey Davis. This was in addition to Delanie Walker and Rishard Matthews being their go-to guys last year. Murray also ranked just outside the top ten for running backs with 4.2 targets per game. This was moving on from Tajae Sharpe, Andre Johnson, and Harry Douglas. Talk about moving in the right direction. At first glance I am looking at Marcus Mariota to be the best piece of this passing game, instead of solely taking one of his targets as a one-off. Stacking Mariota with someone from above is going to come strictly based off matchup, unless a dominant target share shows up early on in the season.

At this point, things look to be fairly spread out Decker has been a relevant fantasy target in the pass, and is coming off a gruesome injury last year. He has looked healthy in the preseason, and is my preferred option in this passing game. Lets not forget Decker's 2015 season catching nearly 60% of his targets, and 12 touchdowns. In 2014, Decker caught 64% of his targets, and had six touchdowns. Decker led both seasons in red zone targets, and is an underrated red zone receiver. While they have a workhorse back in Murray, who had 43 rushes in the red zone, he also had the most red zone receiving targets (18). Matthews and Walker were both behind him with 17. The red zone is where Mariota and this offense put in work. They scored touchdowns on 72% of their red zone appearances last year, which was 4% higher than the next team. Decker's success in the red zone will sustain Tennessee's red zone efficiency, because I am not sure it can go much higher and that is not a knock against them.

Most of Matthews 2016 numbers came in the second half, and is likely in a role for regression this season. The targets will drop, as well as the red zone usage. He doesn't have any appeal for me early on, and likely won't unless someone drops off. In Week 1, Davis is questionable, but likely to play. Given his preseason playing time due to injury, it is hard to see him playing a ton of snaps. 4.3 targets projected might be even a little steep for him, because he will likely be a spot WR3 on the field at times. Davis has a ton of talent, and as a top five draft pick Tennessee will be careful with him. If Davis for some reason sits out, the other three would see a big bump. As for Walker, he is priced around some other guys I would much rather use. There are also cheaper guys with similar floors/upside in Week 1. Overall this offense will put up points, but volume consumption is going to be tricky. Decker and Walker are the early favorites if you are looking to pair with Mariota.

Carolina Panthers Running Game

Player2016 Touches Per GameWeek 1 Projected Touches
Jonathan Stewart18.312.2
Christian McCaffrey013.1

With the fourth highest implied total at the moment (26.8), Carolina will be a team on our radar for Week 1. That is because San Francisco is expected to once again be one of the poorer defenses in the league. While oddly targeting running backs against San Francisco in Week 1 have been lackluster over the last few seasons, we won't be shying away. San Francisco ranked 31st in DVOA against the run, and allowed the most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. A noteworthy stat for Christian McCaffrey is that they also ranked 27th in DVOA against pass-catching backs. We are looking at McCaffrey more as a wide receiver at this point, as Jonathan Stewart will still be in on running downs as well as in the red zone. Overall touchdown appeal goes to Stewart, but overall upside and all-purpose yardage goes to McCaffrey. With that being said, I much prefer taking the shot on McCaffrey in Week 1 over Stewart. Lets not forget that Stewart is 30 years old, and has trended downward in yards-per-carry over the last three season. Stewart has an injury prone past, and anything sort of injury would put McCaffrey on the map for more touches.

The Panthers have a running quarterback that is expected to run less between the 20's, so more of the running backs should see a tick up in usage. The passing game was awful last season, and Carolina has always been a run first team. San Francisco was a team to give up plenty of big plays on the ground, allowing 60 rushes to go over 10+ yards. McCaffrey is an elusive back, and one play could be all it takes for him to take one to the house. The volatility is too high for cash games, but I love the threat in some GPPs. I won't go overboard here on the first week, but I will be avoiding Stewart to go in other directions.



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