The Usage Report: Week 12

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The Usage Report: Week 12

Hello, and welcome to the Week 12 Usage Report, formerly known as the XFP Report, but for you long-time readers it’s the exact same article with a different name. If you’re unfamiliar with XFP, I’ll get to that in a little bit.

What is this article?

Every week we’re going to be telling you which players are seeing the best volume for fantasy, typically measured by Expected Fantasy Points (XFP). We’ll be telling you who the best buy-low and sell-high candidates are, typically measured by Points Above Replacement (PAR), or the differential between actual- and expected fantasy points. This is an especially effective approach in DFS, where players are typically priced by production rather than volume, though PAR will regress to the mean. And (at the end of the article) we’re going to be telling you who the best volume-per-dollar DFS plays are.

What is XFP?

You can access our full XFP database (which includes other advanced stats like air yards, deep targets, end zone targets) here.

Expected fantasy points (XFP) is flat-out the best and most comprehensive way of measuring a player’s volume. It’s telling you – based on a player’s unique usage – how many fantasy points that player should have scored. It’s telling you how many fantasy points a perfectly league-average RB, WR, or TE would have scored with that same exact volume. It looks at every individual carry by down and distance and distance from the end zone and every individual target by depth of target and distance from the end zone, and then cross-references each carry and target to each carry and target with those specific qualifiers over a multi-year sample to tell you what exactly those carries and targets are worth (historically).

Expected touchdowns (XTD), same thing. RBs score from the one-yard line on 54% of their attempts. RBs score from the 17-yard line only 3.6% of the time. So why ever use “red zone carries,” which treats both carries the same, as a fantasy stat? I have no idea.

Why doesn’t everyone point to XFP in their fantasy research? I have no idea. Once you have XFP and XTD you can contrast that with a player’s actual fantasy points or actual touchdown total to tell you how efficient a player has been (PAR). This is especially useful in highlighting regression candidates, buy-low targets, and mispriced players for DFS.

Through 11 weeks of action, here are the top-30 players in expected fantasy points (XFP) per game:

The Top 30

Click here to see the full list.

Garrett Wilson, WR, New York Jets
[FPG: 11.0, XFP: 11.4, Diff: -0.4]

Through the first three weeks of the season – and despite the handicap of not yet being a full-time player (64% route share) or the further disadvantage of this being the first three games of his career – Garrett Wilson ranked 9th in targets (32), 4th in first-read targets (27), and 15th in fantasy points per route run (0.48). Since then his route share has jumped to 88%, but he’s fallen to just 44th in targets (39), 32nd in first-read targets (34), and 54th in fantasy points per route run (0.30).

What changed?

Well, isn’t it obvious?

A potential Zach Wilson benching would be unfathomably massive for Garrett Wilson’s fantasy potential.

Over his last three games, Garrett Wilson averages 73.0 YPG. And this comes despite the fact that Zach Wilson averages just 195.3 YPG over the same span. In other words, Garrett Wilson remains an alpha WR1 – he ranks 8th among all WRs in yardage share over this span (37.4%), in between Tyreek Hill (38%) and Amon-Ra St. Brown (37.1%). The problem is, this passing game isn’t gaining very many yards because, to put it simply, Zach Wilson is terrible.

Zach Wilson averages just 182.7 passing YPG this season. But Joe Flacco averaged 300.3 YPG over his three starts this season – a 64% increase. Further, Flacco averages 42.7 catchable passes per game this season, in contrast to Wilson’s 21.7 per game – a 97% increase.

Basically, it’s not unreasonable for me to think you could just double Garrett Wilson’s projection this week if Flacco starts. And indeed, if that is the case, then Garrett Wilson will probably be my highest-owned player in DFS this week, priced as just the WR42 on DraftKings ($4,300).

Tony Pollard, RB, Dallas Cowboys
[FPG: 16.3, XFP: 11.3, Diff: +5.0]

Here’s the good news on Tony Pollard:

He’s freaking awesome. This season out-scored his XFP by a whopping 44%, the most by any player at any position. Among all 32 RBs with at least 100 rushing attempts, he ranks: 2nd in YPC (5.9), 1st in explosive-play percentage (10.2%), and 1st in yards after contact per attempt (4.4). Unbelievably, he ranks 11th in FPG (16.3) despite ranking just 27th in XFP/G (11.3) and 29th in snap share (52%).

The bad news:

As good as Pollard is, it’s clear Dallas remains committed to Ezekiel Elliott. Either they think Tony Pollard doesn’t have the necessary size to withstand a more robust workload, or, more likely, this is due to Elliott’s obscene contract and Jerry Jones falling victim to the sunk cost fallacy.

Through the first three quarters of last week’s game – so prior to Malik Davis’ 9 touches in garbage time to ice the game – Elliott earned 15 of 30 carries and 1 of 7 targets out of the backfield. Elliott averaged just 2.8 YPC to Pollard’s 5.3, and still walked away with exactly as many carries as Pollard.

Across the full season and in games they both played, this has been a near perfectly even committee, with Elliott handling 59% of the carries, 28% of the targets, 62% of the XTD, and 52% of the XFP in contrast to Pollard.

Although it makes me a little nervous to say this out loud, my instincts are telling me to recommend Pollard as a sell-high. But by the same token, if Elliott’s injury lingers or if Jerry Jones finally comes to his senses, Pollard could easily be a league-winner – after all, he averages 18.6 FPG across 5 career starts. And then, even if not, Pollard has been so impressive, I also think it’s possible he may just be the newest iteration of Alvin Kamara or Austin Ekeler. Where it really may not matter if he’s forever capped at just 45-55% of the backfield XFP. But again, my instincts are telling me to recommend him as a sell-high.

Quick Hits (Running Backs)

Latavius Murray is not very good at football. But, luckily, in fantasy football, the RB position is almost totally driven by volume (with few exceptions) and efficiency is merely an added bonus. Last week Murray scored 17.2 fantasy points on a 17.0 XFP (9th-most at the position), despite handling only 56% of the backfield XFP. But now his backfield partner – Melvin Gordon – is no longer on the team. Chase Edmonds is also out for at least a few weeks with a high-ankle sprain. And Mike Boone is at least one more week away… And so, now it looks like Murray is staring at a highest-end bell cow workload up against a Panthers defense that ranks bottom-10 in YPC allowed (4.71) and rushing FPG allowed (15.9) to opposing RBs. For this (crucially) now (Klint) Kubiak-led offense, I’m viewing Murray as a must-start this week. And priced as just the RB28 on DraftKings this week, Murray might be one of the best overall plays of the slate.

Rhamondre Stevenson has cleared a 22% target share in four straight games. Since Week 7, he leads all RB, and ranks 21st among all players (24.8%) in between Chris Olave (25.8%) and Mike Evans (24.7%). Over the same span, he ranks 9th in FPG (18.8) and 2nd – behind only Austin Ekeler – in XFP/G (21.2). Last week, with Damien Harris fully back, Stevenson played on 75% of the snaps (7th-most) with a 70% route share (3rd-most), while handling 65% of the carries and 75% of the targets out of the backfield. As I’ve been saying for a number of weeks now, I think we should be viewing Stevenson as something like 66% LeGarrette Blount plus nearly 100% James White. Or, in other words, we should be viewing him as a must-start fantasy RB1 every week regardless of matchup.

Najee Harris really might be back from the dead. In back-to-back games, Harris has hit season-highs in both touches (20 > 24) and YFS (99 > 116). And his volume last week was basically identical to where he was in 2021, when he led all RBs in snaps and weighted opportunity points. He played on 94% of the team’s snaps (most on the week), earning a 80% route share (3rd-most by any RB in any week this season) and handling 94% of the backfield XFP (most on the week). Add it all up and he turned 22.8 XFP (2nd-most) into 27.6 fantasy points (3rd-most), while earning his highest overall PFF grade of the season… Sure Jaylen Warren suffered a hamstring injury which undoubtedly led to more work, but Warren’s availability is still in question this week. And if he sits out, I think Harris should be viewed as a high-end RB2 this week.

Ron Rivera and the Washington Commanders may or may not have decided to end the Brian Robinson experiment. In Week 11, Antonio Gibson played on a season-high 68% of the team’s snaps (13th-most among RBs on the week), alongside a 64% route share (4th-most among RBs on the week). He turned 18 of 33 carries and 3 of 3 targets out of the backfield into 103 YFS… Gibson averaged 16.1 FPG (~RB11) over his final 5 full games last season (all without J.D. McKissic), handling 60% of the carries and 60% of the targets out of the backfield. So, if this usage sticks (or, better yet, continues to climb) I’d be open to the idea of Gibson returning mid-range RB2 production throughout the remainder of the season.

David Montgomery was a highest-end bell cow in Week 11, finishing the week 6th among all RBs in both XFP (18.7) and fantasy points scored (21.1). He played on a season-high 80% of the team’s snaps (3rd-most by any RB on the week), while earning a 21.1% target share (2nd-most by any RB on the week) alongside a 74% backfield carry share (up from 53%). For clarity, this is easy mid-range RB1 usage, and I do believe we should be valuing him somewhere around there until Khalil Herbert returns from I.R. – (Week 16 at the earliest).

Last week we were drooling over Jonathan Taylor’s Christian McCaffrey-esque usage from Week 10. In Week 11, with Deon Jackson back, Taylor’s snap share dropped to 74% (7th-most among all RBs on the week), and his route share fell to 58% (7th-most). He finished the week with 23 of 27 carries and 4 of 8 targets out of the backfield, good for a 82% share of the backfield XFP (4th-best on the week) and 23.5 total XFP (most on the week)… This is terrific usage. It’s better usage than Taylor saw last year – 18.7 XFP/G, 69% snap share, 50% route share. It’s just a little disappointing, because I was envisioning a world where Taylor would close out the season averaging something absurd like 33.0 FPG. And I didn’t really think Deon freaking Jackson and Zacj freaking Moss would be a serious threat to eat into Taylor’s workload… Anyway, again this is really good usage. And the offense (and especially the offensive line) have looked significantly better under Jeff Saturday than they did all year under Frank Reich. So, yeah I’m viewing Taylor as a top-5 fantasy RB moving forward.

We saw a strict workhorse vs. scatback committee from the Rams in Week 11. Kyren Williams earned a 55% snap share to Cam Akers’ 39%. Williams bested Akers by route share (73% to 14%), but Akers bested Williams by backfield carry share (61% to 30%). Darrell Henderson played on only 6% of the team’s snaps and has since been released from the team… Still, I’m highly skeptical Kyren Williams or any RB from this offense will ever be worthy of your starting lineup. Because – to put it simply – this offense stinks, and the offensive line is generationally bad. The Rams rank worst in team RB fantasy points scored (and worse by a whopping 26%). And they’ve had zero RBs exceed 13.2 fantasy points in any game this season.

Jeff Wilson seems well ahead of Raheem Mostert. After earning 55% of the team’s backfield XFP in Week 9, that jumped to 66% in Week 10 before the bye, with Wilson handling 17 carries and 6 targets in comparison to Mostert’s 8 and 4. For perspective, that was worth 18.0 XFP to Wilson, which ranked 8th-most among all RBs on the week. Based on this good volume, the potency of this offense (which looks easily top-3 to me), and Wilson’s efficiency in this familiar scheme (6.54 YPC over the last two weeks), I wouldn’t be surprised if Wilson returns high-end RB2 value throughout the remainder of the season. At the very least, that’s about where I’ll have him ranked this week, up against a Houston defense that’s given up a league-high 23.2 rushing FPG to opposing RBs (+17% more than next closest).

James Cook, saw a season-high 26% snap-share in Week 11. He earned 11 of 30 carries and 2 of 5 targets out of the backfield, gaining 86 YFS (7.8 YPC). He’s worth a speculative add in deep leagues, and DFS consideration on DraftKings, priced at just $4,400 on the Thanksgiving slate.

Rachaad White’s Week 10 increase in usage was only somewhat injury-related. Sure, Leonard Fournette suffered a game-ending hip injury late in the 3rd quarter. But Jeremy Fowler told us earlier in the week he would see an increased workload and that the team was “really high on the player”, and White did earn the start… White ended the game with 22 of 38 carries, 0 of 2 targets, and 105 YFS on a 4.77 YPC average. Prior to the 4th quarter, White earned 15 opportunities to Fournette’s 16. And I think that sort of 50/50 split will continue in the near term, but I wouldn’t be surprised if White plays well enough to earn an 80/20 split at some point by the end of the season. And if he does, he would offer massive upside.

Quick Hits (Wide Receivers)

In the four games Rondale Moore failed to play on at least 5% of the team’s snaps, Greg Dortch averages 8.3 targets, 13.1 XFP, and 16.3 FPG… Rondale Moore has led Arizona in routes run from the slot in 5 of his 7 healthy games. In those games, he averages 10.4 targets, 16.1 XFP, and 16.1 FPG… If we combine these figures, we’d get 9.5 targets (~WR10), 14.8 XFP (~WR17), and 16.2 FPG (~WR13)… This week Moore ranks as just the WR28 on DraftKings ($5,100) and Dortch ranks as the WR70 ($3,100). Either one would be a top value on the slate, but Dortch would arguably be the best overall play of the slate.

Since Taylor Heinecke took over for Carson Wentz in Week 7, Terry McLaurin ranks: 3rd in target share (32%), 17th in XFP/G (14.1), and 16th in FPG (15.2). He’s priced as just DraftKings’ WR20 on this week’s slate, up against an Atlanta defense that ranks worst in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to opposing WRs (+9.3).

Demarcus Robinson was one of the big surprises in Week 11, catching 9 of 9 targets for 128 yards (3rd-most by any WR on the week). And he’s seen a growing route share over his last three games: 44% < 68% < 87%. Over this span, he ranks 8th in targets per route run (0.31), in between Cooper Kupp (0.32) and A.J. Brown (0.29). And, if he had one additional target in Week 8, then he would have led Baltimore in targets in each of these three games (in spite of his capped route share). He’s priced as just DraftKings’ WR42 this week ($4,300), up against a Jaguars defense that’s giving up the 8th-most schedule-adjusted FPG to opposing outside WRs (+2.6), which is where he ran all of his routes in Week 11.

Heading into Week 9, Christian Kirk ranked 24th in XFP/G (13.9) and 24th in FPG (13.6). After scoring 21.6 and then 31.5 fantasy points, he now ranks 19th (14.4) and 13th (16.2). I hyped up Kirk as much as I could during those games, but that was mostly due to the fact that he had back-to-back perfect matchups. And Kirk has another perfect on-paper matchup again this week; Baltimore ranks 2nd-worst in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to opposing slot WRs (+4.6)… But this matchup may only be soft on paper; Baltimore moved their best CB Marlon Humphrey – 4th-best of 100-qualifying CBs in yards allowed per snap in coverage – back into the slot last week (45%). And if this trend sticks (as Baltimore beat writers are suggesting it will) this shifts to being a bottom-10 matchup.

Pour one out for Wan’Dale Robinson, who caught 9 of 13 targets for 100 yards, before suffering a season-ending ACL injury on the first play of the fourth quarter. He’ll end his season with 1.76 YPRR; a very strong mark for a rookie WR… Since Week 7, Darius Slayton ranks 11th(!) among all WRs in yardage share (33%). And over this span, he ranks 17th(!) in FPG (14.6), despite ranking just 27th in XFP/G (12.2). And indeed, he’s been shockingly efficient this season, ranking top-6 in both YPT average and depth-adjusted YPT over expectation, and apparently also 2nd-best in ESPN’s Open Score… Without Robinson, the Giants literally have no one else to throw to besides the walking corpse of Kenny Golladay and Richie James (who is terrible). So, I’m very open to the idea that Slayton could be “a thing”, and will be adding him in a number of my leagues this week – he’s rostered in just 51% of Yahoo! Leagues.

In Week 11, A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith earned a combined 70% target share. That was easily a season-high, and up from 48% over the prior three weeks, or 53% across the full season. If you can’t tell what I’m getting at it’s this – Dallas Goedert’s prolonged absence will be massive for their fantasy upside.

Over his last four games with Matt Ryan under center, Parris Campbell averages 9.5 targets (~WR9), 15.7 XFP/G (~WR12), and 18.5 FPG (~WR8). To be fair, Campbell has had some excellent slot-funnel matchups over this span, artificially inflating these numbers. But he gets another terrific matchup this week – the Steelers are giving up the 4th-most schedule-adjusted FPG to opposing slot WRs (+2.7). He’s probably just a fringe WR3 moving forward, but I’d start him as a low-end WR2 this week.

In games Keenan Allen failed to play fewer than 33% of the team’s snaps, Mike Williams averages 8.6 targets and 19.1 FPG (11 games). In all other games of his career, he averages just 5.3 targets and 8.6 FPG.

In his 7 healthy games where at least one of Keenan Allen or Mike Williams failed to play on at least 10% of the team’s snaps, Josh Palmer averages 15.6 XFP/G (~WR12) and 17.6 FPG (~WR9). Williams is very possibly out this week (ankle), and Palmer ranks as just the WR25 on DraftKings this week ($5,400).

For the first time since Week 4, George Pickens bested Diontae Johnson in XFP. And he more-than-doubled his output, recording 16.9 XFP to Johnson’s 7.3. It’s too early to say for certain, but this could be a well-deserved changing of the guard.

Quick Hits (Tight Ends)

No player in fantasy was less efficient than T.J. Hockenson in Week 11, who fell 9.4 points short of his volume-based expectation. You can call this a disappointment, but, more than anything, I’m encouraged. Since Week 9, Hockenson ranks: 2nd in route share (79%), 4th in target share (23.9%), and 2nd in XFP/G (17.3). Among WRs he’d rank 12th in target share and 6th in XFP/G… Based on this volume I’d say Hockenson has the most Oligarch upside of any TE in fantasy, after Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews. With a legitimate (although unlikely) chance of supplanting Mark Andrews as the overall TE2 throughout the remainder of the season.

Cole Kmet is priced as just the TE8 on DraftKings the week, at only $3,900. And that seems seriously insulting based on what he’s been able to do during Justin Fields’ Exodia run. Since Week 9, Kmet ranks 2nd among TEs or 6th among WRs (tied with Darnell Mooney) in target share (26.6%), averaging 17.3 FPG. To be fair, he’s been overly — and perhaps flukily — touchdown reliant over this stretch (just 50.0 YPG). But this is a position that’s generally overly reliant on touchdowns anyway, and it is at least pretty cool he’s capable of making catches like this… Had Fields never injured his shoulder, I would have strongly considered making him my highest-owned TE this week.

Is Pat Freiermuth the Steelers’ WR1? After all, he’s currently averaging 10.9 FPG, ahead of Diontae Johnson (10.1) and George Pickens (9.9). Last week Freiermuth earned a 32% target share (twice as much as the next-closest receiver), and he’s led Pittsburgh in target share in 3 of his last 4 games. And might he have legitimate Oligarch upside? Because, if we exclude Week 5 due to injury, Freiermuth is averaging (over his last 5 games): 25.7% target share, 9.4 targets per game (with a low of 8), 14.5 XFP/G, and 12.8 FPG. If over the full season, those numbers rank: 2nd-best, 2nd-best, 2nd-best, and 3rd-best.

Heading into last week, David Njoku averaged 7.2 targets and 75.8 YPG over his last 5 healthy games. And keep in mind, that’s despite leaving Week 7 in the third quarter due to injury (ankle). And well, basically, that’s extremely rare usage (7.2 targets per game would rank 5th-most among all TEs) alongside elite production (75.8 YPG would rank 2nd-most among TEs, and 12th-most among WRs)… Last week Njoku admitted to reporters he was on a snap count, playing on only 37% of the team’s snaps and running a route on only 44% of the team’s dropbacks. But, perhaps somewhat encouragingly, Njoku and Harris Bryant combined for 10 targets and a 19.4 XFP, which would have ranked 4th-most by any individual TE in any week this season. He’s a mid-range TE1 whenever he returns to full health, with possible Oligarch-upside should Deshaun Watson look anything like the Watson of old.

Since Week 7, Foster Moreau has played on 97% of Las Vegas’ snaps (most of any TE), alongside a 86% route share (most) and a 14.8% target share (17th-most). Over this span, he ranks 16th in XFP/G (8.1) and 21st in FPG (7.6). Obviously, the lack of volume and production is a little underwhelming relative to his every-down workload. But I like his upside this week, up against a Seattle defense that ranks 7th-best in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to opposing outside WRs (-3.9) but worst against opposing TEs (+5.0).

Throughout the first 5 weeks of the season, Tyler Higbee ranked 6th in route share (76.3%). Since then: 50% > 33% > 45% > 60% > 86%. It was a rough few weeks, but that 86% route share (most since Week 1), seems to indicate to me that Higbee is back. And back to being a highest-end bell cow TE. That’s also supported by Higbee’s team-high 29.6% target share last week… Again, I don’t think this offense is very good. But, without Cooper Kupp, I think we need to be valuing Higbee as a mid-range TE1 at worst… Minus the three weeks Higbee saw a route share below 60%, he averages: 9.1 targets per game (~TE2), 13.8 XFP/G (~TE3), and 12.0 FPG (~TE4).

Top Regression Candidates

Bell Cow Tight Ends

RB Usage Trending Up (Backfield XFP%)

Fantasy Points Negated by Penalty

1. Travis Kelce, TE (17.9)

2. D.K. Metcalf, WR (16.1)

3. A.J. Brown, WR (15.4)

4. Brandin Cooks, WR (12.1)

5. Amari Cooper, WR (10.4)

6. K.J. Osborn, WR (10.4)

7. Brandon Aiyuk, WR (10.2)

8. Cade Otton, TE (9.5)

9. Evan Engram, TE (9.3)

10. Robert Tonyan, TE (8.8)

Backfield XFP% (The Bell Cow Stat)

1. Saquon Barkley (83%)

2. Alvin Kamara (82%)

3. Christian McCaffrey (79%)

4. Derrick Henry (75%)

5. Joe Mixon (75%)

6. Josh Jacobs (72%)

7. Najee Harris (72%)

8. Dalvin Cook (72%)

9. Leonard Fournette (69%)

10. Jonathan Taylor (68%)

RB Team XFP%

1. Derrick Henry (32%)

2. Christian McCaffrey (30%)

3. Saquon Barkley (28%)

4. Rhamondre Stevenson (26%)

5. Alvin Kamara (25%)

6. Austin Ekeler (25%)

7. Joe MIxon (25%)

8. Jonathan Taylor (24%)

9. Josh Jacobs (23%)

10. Javonte Williams (22%)

WR / TE Team XFP%

1. Tyreek Hill, WR (27%)

2. Cooper Kupp, WR (27%)

3. Davante Adams, WR (26%)

4. Justin Jefferson, WR (26%)

5. DeAndre Hopkins, WR (25%)

6. Stefon Diggs, WR (24%)

7. CeeDee Lamb, WR (23%)

8. D.K. Metcalf, WR (23%)

9. Ja’Marr Chase, WR (23%)

10. Marquise Brown, WR (22%)

XFP per Team Play

1. Tyreek Hill, WR (0.32)

2. Christian McCaffrey, RB (0.31)

3. Cooper Kupp, WR (0.31)

4. Davante Adams, WR (0.30)

5. Justin Jefferson, WR (0.30)

6. Austin Ekeler, RB (0.30)

7. Derrick Henry, RB (0.30)

8. Stefon Diggs, WR (0.28)

9. Joe Mixon, RB (0.28)

10. DeAndre Hopkins, WR (0.28)

DFS Values (DK)

1. Marquise Brown, WR (3.5X)

2. Evan Engram, TE (3.2X)

3. Leonard Fournette, RB (2.8X)

4. Courtland Sutton, WR (2.8X)

5. Joe Mixon, RB (2.7X)

6. Rashod Bateman, WR (2.7X)

7. Garrett Wilson, WR (2.7X)

8. Antonio Gibson, RB (2.6X)

9. Tyler Conklin, TE (2.6X)

10. Tyler Higbee, TE (2.6X)

DFS Values (DK, Last 5 Weeks)

1. Evan Engram, TE (3.3X)

2. Mike Evans, WR (3.1X)

3. Treylon Burks, WR (3.1X)

4. Travis Etienne, RB (3.0X)

5. D.J. Moore, WR (2.9X)

6. Josh Palmer, WR (2.9X)

7. Mecole Hardman, WR (2.9X)

8. Rondale Moore, WR (2.8X)

9. Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR (2.8X)

10. Antonio Gibson, RB (2.8X)

Scott Barrett combines a unique background in philosophy and investing alongside a lifelong love of football and spreadsheets to serve as FantasyPoints’ Director of Analytics and Lead DFS Writer.