Visual learners, this post is for you.

Usage is really important for NFL DFS and is way more predictive of future success than raw production is. Which player would you rather roster the following week?

Player 1: two targets, one reception, 87 yards, one touchdown
Player 2: seven targets, four receptions, 63 yards, no touchdown

Player 1 ‘outperformed’ Player 2 in terms of fantasy points, but it’s much more likely that he simply got lucky and that Player 2 — the one with way more opportunities — will outperform him over the long run.

While I’m a fan of all of the tweets about single players getting a lots of targets or few rush attempts, it personally helps me to visualize the data in a single place. So in this space each week, I will look at both recent and cumulative snap, target, and rush data. For now, here’s Week 1. We’ll break the post into recent/cumulative data in a couple of weeks.

(Note: The graphs are interactive. Hover over for data.)

Snaps

A guy can’t touch the ball if he’s not on the field. Snap data is more important than a lot of people think. If 80 percent of success is showing up, then we want guys who actually show up on the field.

Targets

For targets we’ll use a pie chart, since players are competing for one ball on a per-play basis and there’s only so much of the pie to go around.

Rushes

Here’s the same visual representation except for rushing attempts:

It’s important to remember that market share percentages aren’t created equal: Terrelle Pryor owned a large market share of the Browns’ total targets — 26.92 percent to be exact — but he had only seven targets. It’s important to know both rate and totals: The player’s involvement in the offense and how the offense compares to other offenses in the league. Market share and total volume both matter.

Pass/Run Totals

Speaking of volume: Here’s a graph of Week 1 pass and rush attempts by team:

Wrapping Up

Today FantasyLabs contributor Joe Holka debuted his weekly piece The Forward Pass, in which he discusses notable usage rate trends. This piece can be viewed as a partner of that post: Here’s where you can view how market share is trending in a easy-to-see, easy-to-read way.

Good luck in Week 2.