Sat, Dec 14, 2019

Week 10 was interesting, with a lot of close games and some wild upsets. We got the big games from some top-end wide receivers who have missed time like Tyreek Hill and Davante Adams, both of whom set season highs in air yards. As for the backs, as Derrick Henry continued his personal crusade against me and everything I believe in, at least had Ronald Jones to lift me up after being dunked on — and David Johnson seems to have gotten benched. Let’s jump into all of what Week 10 had to offer. 

Data is typically courtesy of Pro Football Reference, RotoViz, the RotoGrinders Premium Usage App, airyards.com or PFF. Always feel free to hit me up on Twitter @YardsPerGretch with any questions about anything I covered or to ask my thoughts on something I glossed over. That is some of my favorite feedback, because sometimes it’s something I’ve missed.

Here are some important statistical acronyms to know for Stealing Signals:

Green Zone – Inside the opponent’s 10-yard line.
HVT – High-Value Touches: for running backs, all receptions and all touches inside the 10 yard line. 
TRAP – Trivial Rush Attempt Percentage: for running backs, the percentage of all touches that are not high-value touches.
WOPR – Weighted Opportunity Rating: a metric created by Josh Hermsmeyer, it balances team share of targets and team share of air yards. Because a player’s WOPR is a share of his team’s overall opportunity, it’s important to consider team volume as additional context. 
RACR – Receiver Air Conversion Ratio: also created by Hermsmeyer, RACR is calculated as total receiving yards divided by total air yards. Similar to yards per reception or yards per target, but per air yard instead.

Week 10

Raiders 26 – Chargers 24

  • Snap notes: Jalen Richard: 38% (+10% vs. season average), Melvin Gordon: 62% (-1% vs. Week 9 season high), Austin Ekeler: 45% (+11% vs. Week 9 season low), Andre Patton: 81% (third straight game over 80%)
  • Key stat: Chargers – 68 rushes, 59 passes in two games since offensive coordinator change

Thursday Night Football ended like so many Chargers games, with Philip Rivers trying to mount a late comeback in a two-point game. He seemed a bit more aggressive than necessary with a minute left and three timeouts, sending several passes into double coverage downfield rather than trying to piece together a drive to get into field goal range, and the Chargers came up short, gaining no yards on eight straight incompletions, one of which was nullified by a defensive holding that gave Los Angeles a second set of downs.

Prior to that futile late-game attempt, there weren’t a ton of signals to steal in this one. Game script was fairly neutral throughout, allowing Oakland to feature Josh Jacobs, whose 16-71-1 line could have been a bit higher had the Chargers not won time of possession and run 11 more plays than the Raiders. Jacobs was also targeted five times, a season high, and matched his season high with three catches. 

But Derek Carr threw to all three backs a solid amount. Jalen Richard was in for the hurry-up late, and caught all four targets he saw, while DeAndre Washington also chipped in two catches. That duo had mostly split backup reps down the middle early, but Richard has been the main No. 2 in recent weeks, and he ran 17 routes to Jacobs’ 10, with Washington also running five. That’s not a great route share for Jacobs in terms of maintaining the target boost, which appeared to be more related to the matchup and Carr’s willingness to check down to the backs 11 times overall.

Last week we talked about Tyrell Williams and Darren Waller and their share of the targets, noting “Williams and Waller clearly have more to compete with than they did in the early part of the year.” Each caught three of five targets while Hunter Renfrow also caught four of five targets. Those three and Jacobs saw a four-way tie for the target lead, while Richard had his four and Zay Jones was targeted three times in what was a balanced passing attack. I expect slightly more from Waller and Williams going forward, but that trend appears to be sticking relative to the early part of the season.

Los Angeles was able to control possession early through Melvin Gordon, at least after Rivers looked shaky on the first few drives. Rivers wound up with three interceptions, one of which came on the final drive, but had two more called back in a first half that also featured picks on the team’s first two drives, the latter returned for a score. After that start, the Chargers went run-heavy, following the trend they set last week after Ken Whisenhunt’s firing as offensive coordinator.

Gordon rushed 22 times for 108 yards and a 3-yard score, while the Chargers worked in Austin Ekeler more than last week without sacrificing Gordon snaps. Both backs started, and Ekeler caught a 23-yard pass on the game’s first play, so there appeared to be a conscious choice from the Chargers to incorporate him more. Ekeler ran 20 routes after a season-low 10 last week, and while his overall touch ceiling is clearly limited relative to the earlier part of the season, he still has his pass-game potential and the Chargers will utilize both backs in the green zone, as evidenced by Ekeler’s late 6-yard touchdown reception. He also had a green zone carry just before that touchdown reception and remains a reasonable RB2 in PPR leagues behind Gordon.

Keenan Allen (11-8-68) and Hunter Henry (7-4-30-1) dominated the receiving volume in a game where Rivers threw for just 207 yards, his second-lowest passing yardage output of the season. Andre Patton continued his playing time stranglehold over the No. 3 wide receiver position, and finally saw some volume to go along with that as he was targeted four times for 82 air yards.

Patton didn’t catch any and hasn’t been effective overall, but those looks help explain Mike Williams‘ lack of volume, as Williams has been a consistent downfield option. Williams saw just three targets and while his 81 air yards were solid and his 55 receiving yards on two catches isn’t nothing, he’s been hit hardest since the returns of Henry and Gordon. Henry has directly impacted his target share, while Gordon has helped shift the focus of the offense.

  • Signal: Raiders – far more balanced passing game than in September; Mike Williams – biggest loser from increased run focus and Henry’s return
  • Noise: Josh Jacobs – season-high five targets (ran just 10 routes, Richard and Washington combined for 22 routes and six targets)

Buccaneers 30 – Cardinals 27

  • Snap Notes: Ronald Jones: 47% (-8 vs. Week 9 season high), Peyton Barber: 26% (+14 vs. Week 9), Dare Ogunbowale: 26% (-6 vs. season average), O.J. Howard: 99% (first game since Week 6), Kenyan Drake: 64% (-20 vs. Week 9 Cardinals debut), David Johnson: 43% (-21 vs. season average)
  • Key Stat: Ronald Jones — 24 routes (44% of dropbacks), 8 targets

Tampa Bay and Arizona played one of several entertaining Week 10 games, and the way they traded scores meant plenty of tempo and passing. The Bucs ultimately scored last for the win in a game where they ran a season-high 78 plays. Arizona’s 65 plays were right around their own average, but both teams went over 400 total yards in what was the third-best offensive output of the season for each. 

Both Ronald Jones and O.J. Howard had solid games for Tampa, each setting season highs in routes run and also the percentage of dropbacks they ran routes on. Still, there were concerns for each.

Jones only played a 47% snap share, and he notably seems to sub himself out of the game fairly frequently. He also lost snaps after a crucial fourth quarter fumble, as he didn’t touch the ball on the team’s lone drive after that, a drive which ended in a 1-yard Peyton Barber touchdown. 

Jones did score early, and his 8-8-77 receiving line was fantastic, but it was also likely plus variance considering he ran 24 routes overall (44% of dropbacks). That’s solid receiving usage, but doesn’t make this kind of production seem sustainable. 

You might have expected I’d go nuts given Jones had nine high-value touches, but the Bucs as a team had 15 overall, a season high that was influenced by the opponent and game flow. They had previously topped out at 10 back in Week 4. It was definitely a promising performance for Jones, don’t get me wrong — he had just 15 high-value touches all season entering Week 10, so his improved usage was absolutely a positive — but the late fumble and a matchup with a tough Saints run defense next week will have me at least considering other options where I can. I’m still optimistic overall, though, despite the lack of rushing success in this one.

Howard’s season high in routes and route share led to a season-high seven targets, and his 62 air yards were the second most he’s seen this year. He looked good when involved, and yet was mostly quiet, with three of his four catches for 41 yards and his score all coming on the final drive of the first half. The talent is still clearly there, and he entered this game with just 18 targets all season so the seven he saw were very notable, and I’m looking at that more than the sequencing of when his production came. But I wouldn’t fault you for seeing the plus matchup and large stretches where he didn’t appear to be a major option in the offense as evidence his performance in this one won’t carry over. He’s averaged routes on about 65% of dropbacks in active games, after all, so it’s not like his 78% route share was a massive spike. 

Mike Evans and Chris Godwin each had down games by their lofty standards, but their roles are very secure. Each had over 100 air yards, getting there in different ways given their different roles. Evans had six targets for 123 air yards (20.5 aDOT) while Godwin had 12 for 103 (8.6 aDOT) including at least a couple quick hits at the line of scrimmage which are always nice to see. 

Breshad Perriman is well ahead of Scotty Miller in terms of routes in the No. 3 WR role, but Miller actually saw more air yards. I’ve noted those are mostly hollow air yards, but it’s still worth tracking the deep threat role here for deeper leagues given they combined for 108 air yards on seven targets. 

Christian Kirk‘s recent volume peaked as he set a season high with 199 air yards on 10 targets — the second-most air yards of any player in Week 10 — and his 6-138-3 was huge for Fantasy managers. He’s been running more routes outside in recent weeks, which paid off in Week 10 after a dud in Week 9. 

Things were spread out behind him. Larry Fitzgerald went 8-8-71 at his typically much lower aDOT (6.8), his first game with double-digit PPR points since Week 6. No other wide receiver ran routes on more than 51% of dropbacks. Andy Isabella went 3-3-78 but saw just 33 air yards on a season-high 38% route share, while Pharoh Cooper (five targets, 148 air yards, 32% routes) and KeeSean Johnson (four targets, 59 air yards, 51% routes) saw more volume. 

David Johnson appeared to get benched, something Kliff Kingsbury confirmed was a coach’s decision after the game:

Both Johnson and Kenyan Drake started alongside one another in a two-back set, and Drake got the first two running back touches of the game for the Cardinals before Johnson touched the ball on the fourth play of the first drive. Drake out-snapped him substantially throughout the game, and while Johnson lost a costly fumble late in the third, it was just his sixth touch at that point; his usage was already very thin. 

One area he did stay involved was the passing game, as he ran routes on 38% of dropbacks compared to 49% for Drake despite Johnson not playing the entire final quarter. It seems the plan was for Johnson to be more of a passing-game option, but he didn’t really find targets while Drake caught six of seven, though for just 6 yards total. 

With Chase Edmonds due back soon, the running back situation will only get more complicated. For now, Johnson does not look like he can be trusted in lineups, and Drake has to be considered the top RB option in Arizona. But Johnson’s path to regaining some value — especially in PPR leagues — is pretty clear, and it would be if he does wind up in a hybrid role where he’s out in routes while Drake or Edmonds are operating as more traditional backs. 

A quick note on Kyler Murray who had one of his better games of the season — early in the third quarter, on a 4th and 1 from the Tampa 23, he threw a perfect ball on a well-designed play where tight end Maxx Williams was wide open for what could have been a walk-in touchdown, but Williams lost the ball in the sun. While it certainly would have impacted the game from that point if they got points there instead of turning the ball over, Murray’s line probably could have been a bit bigger.

  • Signal: O.J. Howard — season high in targets, routes, but also not a massive usage increase over what hadn’t been working earlier; Ronald Jones — more involved in passing game, but also lost snaps late after fumbling; David Johnson — had limited involvement even before being benched for fumbling
  • Noise: Kenyan Drake/Ronald Jones — six and eight receptions (both had solid receiving roles but both shared routes with other backs, ran routes on fewer than 50% of dropbacks, so those reception numbers were a bit inflated)

Titans 35 – Chiefs 32

The Titans won a thriller over the Chiefs in a game where they were they ran just 49 plays and were out-gained by 159 yards, which is pretty remarkable. 

An outcome like that usually requires winning the turnover battle, but both teams turned the ball over just once. Tennessee did get a defensive touchdown, which always helps, as they returned a Damien Williams second-quarter fumble for a score.

Williams had a huge opportunity with LeSean McCoy being declared a surprise inactive in a move that was described as a predetermined rest game for McCoy. Williams’ fumble was costly, but the Chiefs continued to rely on him as the lead back, and he wound up playing another big snap share. He ran routes on 53% of dropbacks and caught five passes, with a sixth catch called back by penalty. He also rushed 19 times for 77 yards, so it was a positive outcome overall for Williams’ value. 

Kansas City only ran one green zone play all day, a 3-yard touchdown reception for Travis Kelce on a shovel pass on the first drive, because they had a couple longer scores. That meant no green zone reps for the running backs, though Williams had a 10-yard carry on the previous play to get down to the 3 and was on the field for the Kelce touchdown. 

All things considered, it was a positive outcome for Williams’ value in that he maintained such a large percentage of the work. The rest explanation for McCoy also rings a little hollow given McCoy played just six snaps in Week 9. If Williams maintains this type of role in the backfield, he’s an every week starter, and his Week 10 output would be on the lower end of his weekly range of outcomes.

Tyreek Hill led all players in Week 10 with 237 air yards on a whopping 19 targets, shaking off a brief injury scare to post a huge 11-157-1 line. Kelce had a second score called back by offensive pass interference, but still managed a 7-7-75-1 line. Sammy Watkins saw nine targets but just 77 air yards, turning in a 5-39 line, as the Chiefs mostly maintained their tight target tree from Week 9 even while Patrick Mahomes was asked to throw 50 times. Demarcus Robinson did see five looks as the only other Chief with more than one target, and while Mecole Hardman produced another long touchdown with a 63-yard score early in the fourth, he played just 18 snaps in a rotational role and saw just one target.

Save for a couple pockets of passing production, Derrick Henry was the whole Titans offense. Ryan Tannehill hit Kalif Raymond for a 52-yard pass early in the second, then found No. 2 tight end Anthony Firkser for a 9-yard score three plays later, and he later orchestrated a quick game-winning drive that included an 18-yard scramble, a 20-yard pass to Firkser and a 23-yard touchdown strike to Adam Humphries. But those were the few passing highlights, as he completed 13 of just 19 passes all day for 181 yards, which explains the down games for Jonnu Smith and A.J. Brown. 

Henry rushed 23 times for 188 yards, breaking off his first long touchdown run of the season (he does have long touchdowns in the passing game), which is of course his signature, and later adding a 1-yard touchdown run for his second score. He had just three high-value touches including two receptions for 3 yards, but the matchup and script worked very well in his favor. 

What Henry is doing given his specific touch mix is incredible, but a 247-pound back who can run a 4.54 is also incredible, so I’m probably just wrong in expecting regression. It’s always a tight rope to walk as an analyst between admitting misses and giving forward-looking advice, so my position is: a) I’m wrong; b) If you care about whether I’m personally adjusting, I will keep fading Henry, but see a). Do with that what you will. 

  • Signal: Damien Williams — huge snap share, didn’t get benched for a fumble; Chiefs — very tight target tree even considering elevated volume
  • Noise: Ryan Tannehill — 19 pass attempts (previous season low in three starts — 29)

Browns 19 – Bills 16

The Browns pulled out a late victory over the Bills, and the backs were a big part of the

    story.

Nick Chubb rushed 20 times for 116 yards, looking dominant on the ground against a Bills’ run defense that has had its troubles. Meanwhile, Kareem Hunt made his debut and ran routes on 56% of dropbacks, seeing nine targets but rushing just four times. The two backs played together frequently, and Chubb ran routes on 61% of dropbacks, a substantial increase over his role the past two weeks. Chubb still saw four targets and caught two passes, and while he didn’t score, he racked up seven green zone touches as the Browns’ short-area offense continued to look miserable. 

In other words, the way Hunt was incorporated was a very positive outcome for Chubb, who didn’t lose much work in the backfield and was still involved in the passing game. Per PFF, Hunt lined up in the slot or out wide on 14 of his 38 snaps, which helps explain how he saw nine targets. I’m not sure we’ll see this type of usage from these two every week, but both will be very viable if we do. 

Jarvis Landry had a big day while Odell Beckham dealt with Tre’Davious White all game, with Landry going 10-9-97-1. Beckham had a season-high 168 air yards on 12 targets but posted an inefficient 5-57 line, which was perhaps to be expected as White is a top-level corner. Beckham’s 0.99 WOPR was the highest mark of any player in Week 10. 

Outside Beckham, Landry and the two backs, the rest of the Browns combined for just three targets, with Rashard Higgins catching the game-winner on his lone target. 

Devin Singletary maintained his big snap share for Buffalo, but Frank Gore got the lone goal-line look, getting stuffed (again). Josh Allen rushed for two touchdowns, pushing him to six on the season, but his rushing yardage per game is notably down over 20 yards from 2018 to 30.6 per game. 

Allen’s 266 passing yards in this one represented a career high, which shouldn’t be taken as a positive note given he threw 41 times. At the risk of sounding like a hater (I definitely am one, to be fair), I’ll note he’s produced two total touchdowns in five straight games, and he does tend to get there one way or another, but I still think he’s a pretty meh Fantasy option with a limited ceiling. 

Singletary, then, didn’t find the end zone, and while he was targeted seven times, he caught just three balls for 8 yards. Allen rushed six times and Gore got five carries, which meant just eight for Singletary a week after he got 20. It’s clear his rushing upside can be limited, but he’s caught at least three balls in each of the four games where he’s played at least 50% of the snaps.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: John Brown‘s 11 targets and 155 air yards easily led the Bills, but his efficiency left a bit to be desired as Allen had some accuracy issues, so he wound up at 5-77. Cole Beasley and Dawson Knox both saw six targets and caught four balls, but it’s tough to trust secondary options in this passing game. 

  • Signal: Nick Chubb — still had a very valuable role even with Hunt involved; Kareem Hunt — much more of a PPR option and lined up outside a fair amount in two-back sets
  • Noise: Devin Singletary — 8 receiving yards on seven targets; Odell Beckham — 57 receiving yards on 168 air yards (tough matchup, strong 0.99 WOPR)

Ravens 49 – Bengals 13

  • Snap Notes: Ravens: nothing actionable as starters left game very early, Joe Mixon: 76% (+12 vs. previous season high), Giovani Bernard: 24% (season low, left with injury), Alex Erickson: 51% (lowest since Week 5), Stanley Morgan: 51% (+33 vs. previous season high) 
  • Key Stat: Lamar Jackson — 4 total touchdowns in three quarters of action (15/17 passing for 223 and 3, 7-65-1 rushing)

The Ravens took it to the Bengals in Ryan Finley‘s first career start, with Lamar Jackson crushing the Bengals on the ground for the second time this season. Other than a short drive that ended the half, Baltimore scored touchdowns on their other five possessions to begin the game, and because of their own offensive efficiency and two defensive scores, they ran just 46 total plays, 11 of which came in the fourth quarter after Jackson was already done for the day.

Jackson rushed seven times for 65 yards and a score on the filthy spin move you’ve surely seen by now. He also threw three touchdowns despite attempting just 17 passes, as he completed 15 for 223 yards.

Despite the limited passing volume, Mark Andrews had a huge bounce-back performance after a couple of down games, catching six of eight targets for 53 and two scores. Marquise Brown caught all four balls he saw for 80 yards and a score. Nick Boyle had another solid game as well, catching all four targets he saw for 78 yards, and he has some deep league appeal as a streamer tight end given how the Ravens like to utilize multiple tight ends and Jackson likes to look their way. Andrews ran routes on 71% of dropbacks but Boyle was still at 63%, a season high for him, and Hayden Hurst also got in a season high at 58%. 

Mark Ingram was scarcely needed, rushing nine times for 34 and a score, and none of the backs were targeted as Baltimore had no problem getting the ball down the field. You don’t often see a back scripted out because his team is up too much, but that happened here.

Finley flashed a bit, but mostly looked overmatched in his first start. He threw a bad pick-six and averaged just 5.6 yards per attempt, but will get an easier matchup next week in Oakland. 

Joe Mixon got a whopping 30 carries despite the massive negative script, which was a pretty big note. While he only got three high-value touches — two catches and one green zone look — Mixon had previously failed to reach even 20 rushes in a game this season, and had been above 15 just twice. 

Cincinnati basically just packed it in — running heavily while trailing a la Washington since Bill Callahan took over — and that’s good news for Mixon’s value because even low-value touches are better than what he’s been getting, and 30 carries is 30 carries. Part of Mixon’s role was due to Giovani Bernard’s injury, as Mixon easily played a season-high snap share at 76%, so we’ll have to check on Bernard’s status moving forward. But it’s possible the Bengals just let Mixon eat the rest of the way, which would get him back on the Fantasy radar. 

Tyler Boyd led Cincinnati in targets with an 8-6-62 line, and I could see an argument for using him next week against Oakland, but this is mostly a passing game to avoid right now. Auden Tate went 6-3-36 while Alex Erickson gave up a bunch of routes to Stanley Morgan as the Bengals started a rotation in the third receiver role. I’ve harped on Cincinnati’s sticking with three main receivers each week so that’s something to take note of if you’ve considered Erickson in any deeper leagues. 

  • Signal: Joe Mixon — 30 carries (first time over 20 this year)
  • Noise: Ravens — play volume (defensive touchdowns, their own efficiency limited touches for everyone)

Jets 34 – Giants 27

  • Snap Notes: Chris Herndon: 28% (season debut, injured), Darius Slayton: 93% (at least 84% in five straight games)
  • Key Stat: Darius Slayton — 0.92 WOPR (third highest in Week 10)

The Jets pulled one out over the Giants in a battle of the two young quarterbacks in the Big Apple.

Sam Darnold was better this week, if not perfect, throwing for 230 yards on 30 attempts, a 7.7 YPA that was his highest since Week 6. The Jets ran 29 times against the 30 passes despite their backs averaging fewer than 2 yards per carry (still better than what the Giants managed!). 

Le’Veon Bell did catch four passes and converted one of two green zone looks. His six high-value touches were solid, and he wound up with 68 total yards and the score despite the poor rushing efficiency, but his workload continues to be theoretically more valuable than in reality because the Jets offense has just been that bad. Even his touchdown, which came from the 1-yard line, took a defensive pass interference in the end zone to set up. 

Darnold didn’t push the ball downfield much, which meant a light day for Robby Anderson. That was a problem at times last season, and has seemed to resurface, as Darnold is mostly opting for underneath throws. That meant a 9-6-84 day for Demaryius Thomas at a 5.6 aDOT and a 6-5-81-1 for Jamison Crowder at a 10.0 aDOT, which wasn’t exactly light for Crowder but he totaled just 60 air yards overall so it’s not like he saw a bunch of downfield looks either. 

And then the Jets lost Chris Herndon to a fractured rib in his long-awaited return from a hamstring injury, which was just a bummer. Ryan Griffin will continue to be the lead tight end. 

Jones threw for 308 yards and four touchdowns despite a depleted receiving corps, locking onto Darius Slayton early and Golden Tate later, but he also took six sacks and fumbled three times, including a strip-sack Jamal Adams returned to the house. Pocket awareness continues to be an issue for Jones, who is dealing with some offensive line issues, but when he did have time he looked good throwing the ball. 

Slayton posted a massive 14-10-121-2 line with 142 air yards, good for a very strong 0.92 WOPR. Tate also caught two scores, going 8-4-95-2, and while he broke a wide receiver screen for a 61-yard score, he did also see 70 air yards on the day. In other words, while he was unsustainably efficient in terms of yards after the catch, he was also inefficient on the downfield looks he got, which doesn’t totally wash out but is something close to that. 

But the Giants couldn’t run the ball at all. Saquon Barkley gained 1 yard on 13 carries, while catching all five targets he saw for 30 yards. He’s still electric and will surely break big plays the rest of the way, but we have a pretty big sample now that says he needs those big plays to have RB1 value, and that’s not ideal. For most elite backs, the big plays take their performances up a notch — see Christian McCaffrey‘s 40-point games — but they can rely on a consistent level of production even without them. Saquon doesn’t have that solid double-digit floor right now, even despite strong reception totals most weeks. 

Rhett Ellison caught all three targets he saw with Evan Engram out, but depth TE Kaden Smith actually ran more routes, 23 to 15, so Ellison is not a guy I’d stream if Engram misses anymore time. 

  • Signal: Saquon Barkley — reliant on big plays, still has a solid reception floor; Darius Slayton — massive involvement
  • Noise: Saquon Barkley/Le’Veon Bell — any sub-2.0 YPC on double-digit carries is a bit noisy

Falcons 26 – Saints 9

In perhaps the biggest shocker of a wild day, Atlanta’s defense stifled the Saints offense, getting to Drew Brees for six sacks after Saints quarterbacks were sacked just 12 times in the season’s first eight games and the Falcons had generated just seven across their first eight games. Go figure.

The Falcons led throughout, and thus wound up rushing a season-high 34 times, well beyond their previous high of 25. Because Ito Smith went on IR last week and Devonta Freeman left with a foot injury, Brian Hill got 20 of those carries for 61 yards. Hill is a third-year pro who was a workhorse at Wyoming (alongside Josh Allen) but hasn’t done much at the NFL level. He’s not a plus athlete and has just six career catches, though that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s incapable. The Falcons as a team have struggled to run the ball, but he does seem likely to get the lion’s share of the snaps if Freeman misses time. There’s always potential in these situations, but we also might be looking at a situation similar to Kalen Ballage in Miami given Freeman himself wasn’t consistently productive in this offense.

Hill did catch a 10-yard touchdown in Week 10 on one of his two targets, but he ran just nine routes as No. 3 back Kenjon Barner worked in with eight routes of his own. By comparison, Freeman ran 12 in the first half. 

Ryan’s other touchdown went to Austin Hooper, who went 5-4-17-1 but also suffered an injury to his knee that will require an MRI and is expected to cost him some time. Julio Jones led the pass-catchers with nine targets and 118 air yards, and while he caught just three for 78, his volume should be secure the rest of the way given the way the rest of the offense has deteriorated. 

Prior to Week 10, the Falcons had been one of the more pass-happy teams in the league, and the 35 passes Ryan threw were his second fewest of the season. We should also expect more volume and production from Calvin Ridley going forward, though he posted another disappointing 5-3-28 line with 80 air yards. Russell Gage is another name to monitor as he played his second straight full set of snaps since the