Thursday Night Football: Usage Standouts

Mike Kurland breaks down Thursday Night Football usage and things to monitor moving forward.

Week two is under way and game one did not disappoint. With it still being early in the season, there is still plenty to be watching for and usage can really give us an idea of what we can expect to see from an offense moving forward. Let’s dive into this week’s Thursday night game and see what stood out.

New York Giants

Sterling Shepard, WR, NYG

Can this be the beginning of the breakout of Sterling Shepard? He has been the preferred target of Daniel Jones early on this year and the usage continues to be in his favor.

Shepard leads the team in targets, target share, and receiving yards while playing the majority of the time. He also lines up in the slot 74.4% and Jones has eyes for him. I am completely buying in. The usage and the consistent game scripts in Shepard’s favor could lead him to be a fringe WR2 weekly moving forward.

Saquon Barkley, RB, NYG

Yes, he’s coming off a bad couple of games. However, the snap count dramatically increased from week one to week two and it came on a short week against a good defense. You love to see it.

  • Week one snap%: 47.5%
  • Week two snap%: 84.1%

However, he’s coming off two straight bad games. Last night he broke off an impressive 41-yard run but that was about it. Take that away and looked just plain bad.

There should be a buy-low window right now but with the increased usage already here and the schedule opening up a bit, there’s a strong chance it closes very soon. If you want to get a discount and believe in Barkley, buy now.

Kenny Golladay, WR, NYG

The good news is he has played about 85% of snaps and has had at least six targets per game so far this season. However, he has been unable to get going. I expect better days ahead but it’s clear he is not the number one target in this offense but with those negative game scripts in his favor you can expect volume to be there and there will likely be some big weeks but good luck figuring out when they’re coming.

Daniel Jones, QB, NYG

This is simply a reminder to start looking at Jones for streaming help off the waiver wire. Two straight weeks of solid fantasy production and it’s because he is running quite a bit.

Through 2 weeks, Jones has 15 carries for 122 yards and 2 touchdowns. He will continue to need to run and that will lead to a decent floor and he has Atlanta, New Orleans, and Dallas coming up over the next three games. He is a strong streaming option.

Washington Football Team

Terry McLaurin, WR, WFT

There’s nothing much to say here. McLaurin absolutely torched the Giants and was heavily involved and played 100% of the snaps. He’s a WR1 weekly and obviously a focus of the offense. He should be started without hesitation moving forward.

J.D. McKissic and Antonio Gibson

J.D. McKissic had the red zone carry for the touchdown but that won’t be such a common occurrence. He also was an amazing receiving option last year. McKissic posted the second most receptions (80) and receiving yards (589) in 2020. It is easy to overlook how valuable he was in that role and he showed out this game in said role. McKissic shined and will continue to be a fallback flex option weekly in PPR formats but it’s Antonio Gibson’s backfield. He has dominated the snap share and the rush rate to this point. He has sprinkled in some catches the first couple weeks too so the floor feels pretty safe here.

Antonio GibsonSnap ShareRushesRush%Rush YardsYPC
Week 165.452074.07904.5
Week 260.561359.09695.31

McKissic was great but I would not expect consistency. Antonio Gibson isn’t their bell cow running back we hoped he would be but he is still involved in the passing game in early downs and should still be viewed as a very solid running back. If someone is panicking about Gibson, buy.

Dyami Brown, WR, WFT

He is interesting. Dyami Brown has played the second-most snaps of any other wide receiver on this team behind only Terry McLaurin. However, we saw Adam Humphries snap count jump up 10% this week and he garnered more targets this week (8) than Brown (6).

Not to mention Logan Thomas has played 100% of the snaps two straight weeks and this week he also drew more targets (7) than Brown. This makes it really hard to see a path to added production in the short term. The talent and upside are there for Dyami Brown but I’m curious to monitor the usage and target share moving forward. He’s a bench stash for the time being.

If you want to stay up to date on all usage information, check out the usage chart here!

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