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Fantasy Usage Model

2020 Wild Card Round Player Projections

by Hayden Winks
Updated On: January 10, 2021, 3:06 am ET

Doing player projections forces someone to make multiple micro-decisions on how each game will be played out and how each player will do within their matchup. For that reason, I really value the opinion of people around the industry who do the dirty work of building these out player by player. I've done player projections for season-long drafting for years, but I've rarely bothered with doing them on a weekly basis. That changes for the 2020-21 NFL Playoffs. If it goes well, I'll do more research to clean up my process during the offseason and could come back with weekly player projections next year. We'll see.

If you're using these to bet player props, I'd be extra careful betting overs for a few reasons. One, these are mean projections, not median projections. That minor difference can incorrectly skew towards betting overs. Secondly, it's very easy to overlook in-game injury risk. Unless otherwise noting in the comments below, I'm projecting players as if they're going to play and finish the game. Lastly, the market loves to bet overs because they're more fun to sweat, but that also could move their lines too high. This doesn't mean we can never bet overs on player props. We just have to pick our spots. 

Updated: Thursday night. 


QB Projections

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BAL Lamar Jackson24.529.419.12171.80.7
BUF Josh Allen24.237.325.42952.20.6
SEA Russell Wilson19.134.524.22441.80.8
TB Tom Brady18.738.725.02812.10.8
PIT Ben Roethlisberger18.343.328.12812.10.7
TEN Ryan Tannehill18.133.121.52521.70.5
NO Drew Brees17.134.724.52771.70.5
CLE Baker Mayfield16.031.219.12091.70.5
CHI Mitchell Trubisky15.638.524.72391.31.0
IND Philip Rivers15.136.925.02691.40.7
LA Jared Goff14.536.323.82531.10.8
WAS Taylor Heinicke11.836.322.62051.051.42
NO Taysom Hill4.


Tom Brady is projected as if Mike Evans will play through his injury with less efficiency. ... Drew Brees is projected with Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas in the lineup at full strength. ... I knocked Baker Mayfield's efficiency down with LG Joel Bitonio ruled out and the team being unable to practice all week. Coach of the Year Candidate Kevin Stefanski's importance on game day seems worth more than the 0.75 implied points the Browns' line has moved since that news broke. ... I'm projecting Jared Goff as if he's playing the entire game, but I slightly knocked his efficiency with his thumb injury. ... There are reports that Alex Smith and Taylor Heinicke could split reps. I projected Smith as if he was going to play most of the game, albeit at less than full health. ... 

Updated Friday Night: I knocked Alex Smith even more after more reports surfaced that his calf "hasn't loosened up". It's possible Heinicke gets the nod, which would drop Terry McLaurin, Logan Thomas, and J.D. McKissic's projection. Heinicke has 77 career passes.

Updated Saturday Morning: I'm projecting Taylor Heinicke for the entire game.


RB Projections

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NO Alvin Kamara22.213.2620.766.45.0450.31
TEN Derrick Henry21.022.41151.022.71.6100.13
IND Jonathan Taylor18.116.5820.763.12.5220.12
LA Cam Akers16.120.7810.652.41.8190.07
CHI David Montgomery16.013.8540.554.53.5280.15
TB Ronald Jones15.416.0790.652.31.8110.12
BAL J.K. Dobbins15.013.1790.691.81.490.11
SEA Chris Carson14.913.8600.513.52.8200.18
WAS Antonio Gibson14.916.0640.762.62.1130.08
CLE Nick Chubb13.713.2620.751.61.3120.09
PIT James Conner12.812.5520.572.62.1130.13
IND Nyheim Hines12.55.7250.115.84.6340.22
WAS J.D. McKissic11.33.2120.037.25.2350.21
CLE Kareem Hunt11.49.2360.373.52.6190.19
NO Latavius Murray10.18.8370.462.11.6140.10
BUF Devin Singletary9.49.0340.213.02.3160.13
BAL Gus Edwards6.27.9400.
BUF Zack Moss6.26.7250.410.80.640.04
LA Malcolm Brown5.64.4170.202.01.4100.06
TB Leonard Fournette4.43.2120.
PIT Benny Snell4.16.9220.
SEA Carlos Hyde3.33.1120.091.00.840.05
TEN Jeremy McNichols2.12.2100.040.70.520.03
NO Ty Montgomery1.
WAS Peyton Barber0.
BAL Patrick Ricard0.60.720.
BAL Mark Ingram0.
TEN Darrynton Evans0.20.310.
SEA Rashaad Penny0.20.410.
TB Ke'Shawn Vaughn0.


By all accounts, Alvin Kamara is ready to go. I didn't change his projection to account for any COVID-19 reasons. ... Cam Akers was fed in Week 17 despite his high-ankle sprain. I knocked Malcolm Brown's projection down with McVay appearing okay to ride Akers. ... The Ronald Jones vs. Leonard Fournette situation makes their projections fragile. It's reasonable to have a way different projection than what I have. ... I think J.K. Dobbins' play has earned him a slightly higher carry share during the playoffs, especially since his outside rushing ability matches up well with the Titans' weakness at edge rusher compared to defensive tackle (Go watch some DT Jeffery Simmons). ... 

Updated Saturday Morning: I've knocked Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic now that Taylor Heinicke is trending towards starting.


WR Projections

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BUF Stefon Diggs20.510.27.8940.56
NO Michael Thomas20.011.18.1880.53
TEN A.J. Brown18.79.76.4940.49
CHI Allen Robinson18.410.97.4880.38
PIT Diontae Johnson17.211.47.0730.50
TB Chris Godwin17.18.66.7770.46
TEN Corey Davis16.58.45.9810.42
SEA Tyler Lockett16.39.16.9680.43
WAS Terry McLaurin15.910.26.6750.29
LA Robert Woods15.89.86.9710.30
PIT Chase Claypool15.39.25.2730.46
PIT JuJu Smith-Schuster15.39.27.0590.40
BAL Marquise Brown15.08.75.0680.53
IND T.Y. Hilton14.89.25.6720.35
CLE Jarvis Landry14.88.25.8630.43
SEA DK Metcalf14.58.05.1640.51
BUF John Brown14.17.54.8660.45
TB Antonio Brown13.67.85.7580.35
LA Cooper Kupp13.47.95.8620.24
BUF Cole Beasley12.26.04.6550.36
CLE Rashard Higgins11.96.04.3560.33
NO Emmanuel Sanders11.66.14.5540.29
IND Zach Pascal10.46.23.8520.23
TB Mike Evans9.95.53.5430.35
IND Michael Pittman9.55.83.7450.22
WAS Cam Sims9.45.33.5500.15
CHI Anthony Miller8.96.13.9380.21
CHI Darnell Mooney8.25.73.5350.19
LA Josh Reynolds7.54.73.0360.15
BUF Gabriel Davis7.13.82.1360.22
TB Scotty Miller6.93.92.4320.21
SEA David Moore6.53.52.6290.16
BAL Willie Snead6.53.32.3300.20
PIT James Washington6.03.92.1270.19
BAL Miles Boykin5.83.31.9270.20
NO Marquez Callaway5.32.92.2230.14
CLE Donovan Peoples-Jones4.12.21.5210.09
WAS Steven Sims3.52.31.7150.07
BUF Isaiah McKenzie3.71.91.5160.11
TEN Cameron Batson3.62.01.5150.10
LA Van Jefferson3.02.01.2140.06
CHI Cordarrelle Patterson2.
SEA Freddie Swain2.11.40.9100.04
BAL Devin Duvernay1.70.90.770.06
TB Tyler Johnson1.60.80.680.04
WAS Isaiah Wright1.61.10.960.03
BAL Dez Bryant1.40.90.550.06
TEN Kalif Raymond1.30.70.460.03
IND Ashton Dulin0.
NO Lil'Jordan Humphrey0.
CHI Javon Wims0.


I'm expecting Michael Thomas to be at near full healthy. Reports suggest Thomas could've played through his injury, but that the Saints opted to prioritize his health for the playoffs. It should be go time for him. ... Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller are getting tiny bumps with Darnell Mooney probably limited or out. ... Some disagree, but I'm on team CB/WR matchups can matter, especially when the CB is Jalen Ramsey. Tyler Lockett is projected for slightly more targets with DK Metcalf drawing Ramsey. ... Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown are projected higher, as if Mike Evans will be a limited participant on Sunday. Evans went from DNP to limited on Thursday. His efficiency is being turned down a couple of notches. ... All of the Bills receivers are projected with Cole Beasley close to full health. ... Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp are projected as if Goff plays but at a little less than full health. Their efficiency was slightly knocked. ... 

Updated Saturday Morning: I knocked all Football Team receivers with Taylor Heinicke projected to start. ... I took more targets away from Mike Evans and gave them to Scotty Miller, who would play if Evans is compromised. I'm expecting Evans to play, but have a limited role between the twenties and in garbage time.


TE Projections

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BAL Mark Andrews15.48.45.5680.51
WAS Logan Thomas11.07.95.2440.23
TB Rob Gronkowski9.85.93.4450.31
CHI Cole Kmet9.56.94.4370.24
LA Tyler Higbee9.15.13.7440.16
PIT Eric Ebron9.05.73.5350.34
CLE Austin Hooper8.95.73.7320.33
TEN Jonnu Smith8.05.03.2330.25
LA Gerald Everett7.24.73.1320.15
IND Jack Doyle6.94.22.9300.16
CHI Jimmy Graham6.44.52.9260.15
NO Jared Cook6.23.62.2300.17
BUF Dawson Knox5.53.41.8220.24
SEA Will Dissly5.42.82.2230.14
TEN Anthony Firkser4.62.72.0190.13
SEA Jacob Hollister4.43.12.0150.16
CLE David Njoku4.42.51.7170.17
TB Cameron Brate4.12.31.5190.12
SEA Greg Olsen3.82.41.6150.13
IND Mo Alie-Cox3.11.51.2150.06
IND Trey Burton3.02.31.4110.09
CLE Harrison Bryant2.91.91.2110.10
NO Adam Trautman2.71.41.1120.07
TEN Geoff Swaim2.61.71.1100.08
WAS Jeremy Sprinkle1.51.10.760.03
PIT Vance McDonald1.30.90.740.04
BUF Lee Smith0.
BAL Eric Tomlinson0.


The projections for the Seahawks and Colts tight ends are fragile. Lots of moving parts in each. ... All of the Bears pass catchers seem projected for more than expected because of game script and Mooney's potential absence. ... 


Got questions?

Hit me up on Twitter (@HaydenWinks) and roll up to the DFS Building Blocks Show with John Daigle on Friday at 6pm here. A New Year's Resolution of mine is to be more active with my followers, so come hang!