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Kerryon Johnson Is a Workhorse, and Other Insights from the RotoViz Player Usage App

In the offseason I noted that rookie RBs often outperform their ADPs, especially those drafted in the middle rounds. In the last few weeks, we’ve seen that come to fruition. The new RotoViz Player Usage App gives us a way to visualize this.

An underreported recent trend is Kerryon Johnson’s increased share of Detroit’s RB opportunities.

det rb msJohnson has seen around half of Detroit’s rushing attempts in each of the last four games, and in two of those games he’s been close to 60 percent. He’s also seen a recent uptick in target market share.

det rb trgmsThis is partly because Theo Riddick had to miss games. But even with Riddick back, Johnson has maintained a high target share. Digging a little deeper, we begin to see the reason when we look at the relevant snap shares.

Screen Shot 2018-11-17 at 10.05.47 AMJohnson dominated snaps when Riddick missed time. Yet Johnson did not see his snaps decrease when Riddick returned. Rather than rotate backs, Detroit has Riddick and Johnson share the field, with Riddick filling the role Golden Tate vacated. The loser here is LeGarrette Blount, who has seen his snap share drop below 20 percent each of the last three weeks. The real winners may be football fans. I think with a petition or a well-orchestrated letter-writing campaign, we can get that to zero.

Riddick ran 44 percent of his routes from the slot in Week 10, and only 34 percent from the backfield. Johnson meanwhile ran over 80 percent of his routes from the backfield. In other words, Riddick’s health and presence doesn’t threaten Johnson’s opportunities. Start him confidently. If you don’t own him anywhere, why weren’t you paying attention in the offseason?

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