Week 1 Fantasy Football Market Share Report: Seattle's Backfield Belongs to Chris Carson
Here we are -- after Week 1, when it's normal, but not advised, to overreact to the things we've seen.
Often we come into the season with an idea or a preconceived notion about who these players are and what these teams will do. Mostly, we are in for a big surprise.
How should you approach things after one week of games? Well, there's not an easy answer, but looking at data like market shares and red-zone work are ways to try to figure out what we can expect from players moving forward.
Let's do just that and dig in to some Week 1 numbers.
Running Back Market Shares
Marlon Mack Is The Man in Indy
The Indianapolis Colts may have had a shakeup at the quarterback position, but there’s no disputing the leader in the backfield.
Marlon Mack handed 25 carries (no receptions) for 174 yards and two touchdowns against the Los Angeles Chargers. His 6.96 yards per attempt was the sixth-best mark of the week, and backfield partner Nyheim Hines had eight touches (four carries, 4 catches), totaling 17 yards.
On paper, this was a Hines-type game, with the Colts having to play from behind, so Mack playing 76 percent of the snaps and seeing 25 attempts in this one is extra appealing. Mack's usage -- 75 percent of the rushing duties in this one -- is elite, plain and simple.
Mack has a chance to be an RB1 (top-12) performer this year.
The Seattle Backfield Is Chris Carson's
Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson continued to separate himself from teammate Rashaad Penny with a 21-touch (16 carries, five receptions) game for 81 total yards. Carson’s six receptions for 35 yards reaffirm Pete Carroll’s insistence that the Seahawks would get him involved in the passing game. He actually led the team in targets with seven.
Penny, on the other hand, had six carries for 18 yards, and he didn't see a target.
With 60 percent of the rushing attempts for Seattle, Carson has recorded an early -- and convincing -- victory in the Seattle backfield.
While Seattle might run it enough some weeks for Penny to have some standalone value, he's looking like nothing more than a bench stash. Carson, though, could push for an RB1 season, and it's looking like he was a great value in season-long drafts this summer.
Derrick Henry Is Still Rolling
Any fear that Derrick Henry late-season surge from 2018 wouldn’t continue in 2019 were answered with Henry’s 19-carry, 84-yard effort against the Cleveland Browns. Henry scored a rushing touchdown as well as a receiving touchdown and dominated the backfield split for the Tennessee Titans with a 67 percent rushing market share.
Now, it's worth mentioning that this game played out perfectly for Henry as Tennessee got a lead. In negative game scripts, it's safe to assume Lewis will see more receiving action than the three grabs (on four targets) for six yards that he got in this one. Henry was all but invisible in the receiving game, netting only one reception on two targets -- it just so happened that his one reception went for a 75-yard touchdown.
Still, Henry is looking every bit the early-down monster he was late last season, and in games in which the Titans are favored -- they are 3.0-point favorites versus the Colts this week -- he's safe to start as an upside RB2.
Receiving Market Shares
Sammy Watkins Is Here
He handled a 32 percent target share, according to airyards.com, and he had a 56 percent share of KC's air yards. Watkins, who has the wheels to be a deep-ball star, had an average depth of target of just nine yards, but he was stellar with the ball in his hands, totaling 131 yards after the catch.
Desean Jackson Has Still Got It
A homecoming for former and current Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson led to 142 air yards and an average depth of target of 14.2 yards against Washington. Jackson caught 8 of 10 targets for 154 yards and two touchdowns. He led the Eagles with 26 percent target share in the Philadelphia passing game, and he accounted for 41 percent of their air yards.
With plenty of receiving talent to go around -- Zach Ertz and Alshon Jeffery, who each grabbed five balls apiece, to name a few -- it will be hard for defenses to key in on any of the Eagles' weapons. And all three of Philly's back -- Miles Sanders, Darren Sproles and Jordan Howard -- are capable in the passing game, too.
Jackson can be feast or famine and it may be hard to predict his boom weeks, but his deep-ball ability fills a need on this team and he is worth starting until we have a reason to bench him.
Jamison Crowder Got Peppered With Targets
Brand-spanking new New York Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder stepped right in and dominated the attention of Sam Darnold with 17 targets for a 43 percent target share for the week, the second-best mark (behind only DeAndre Hopkins). It is particularly impressive because this was a positive game script for much of the day for Gang Green.
Crowder caught 14 passes for 99 yards, and he had 67 yards after the catch. The downside here, however, is that his average depth of target was a meager 3.0 yards.
On the Jets, Crowder's nearest competition was receiving-mate Robby Anderson, who was targeted seven times, catching only three of them for 23 yards.
Anderson’s big-play ability opens up space for Crowder, who has immediately made himself a must-start option in PPR formats.
Red Zone Market Share
Christian McCaffrey Is a Beast
We didn't need a reminder of the spectacular player that Christian McCaffrey is, but we got one anyway.
This past Sunday, aside from more than 200 all-purpose yards, McCaffrey handled 80 percent of the Carolina Panthers’ red zone work.
McCaffrey received four carries inside the 20, two inside the 10 and one inside the five. Translation -- the guy is a monster and has a real shot to be the overall RB1 if he can stay healthy.
On Sunday, the Panthers were careful with Cam Newton and not concerned about McCaffrey in the least. The fear in recent years has always been Newton’s running ability near the red zone would steal some touchdowns from CMC. That’s appropriately been renamed the McCaffrey zone, and it’s not changing anytime soon.
Austin Eckler Is the Clear Lead Dog
Against the Colts, Austin Ekeler handled a dominating 60 percent of the San Diego Chargers’ red zone carries. He carried the ball three times inside the 10 and scored one rushing touchdown. He also added three red zone targets (seven targets total) and scored two more touchdowns via the air.
Unless Melvin Gordon ends his holdout and complicates things for the Chargers' running game, Eckler is going to be on the weekly RB2 map.
As of now, Eckler still has that “backup” feel about him. But he's no backup, playing 75 percent of the Bolts' snaps in Week 1.
Touchdowns Are Coming for Travis Kelce
Travis Kelce saw four red zone looks on Sunday, and he continues to be a favorite for Patrick Mahomes near the red zone.
It's not often that Kelce is the third or fourth-most interesting player on his own team. For a week, it was so. But in the red zone, Kelce had four of KC's eight targets against the Jags, and if he continues to get that kind of red zone usage, the touchdowns will come.
Despite Kelce's modest three catches for 88 yards, the Chiefs tried hard to get him the ball in the most fantasy-friendly area.
There's probably not much of a buy-low window here, especially with Hill going down, but if Kelce keeps seeing four red zone targets each week, he'll be the one with a three-score day pretty soon.