Between the Lines: Week 14 Snap Count Analysis
In fantasy football, one way to gain an edge over opponents is to look beyond the box score and examine player snap counts. While a quick scan of player stats can tell us who actually performed and produced, snap count data can give us an indicator of guys who are seeing the field on a consistent -- or inconsistent -- basis.
After all, opportunities breed fantasy points, and snap counts are one of the more predictive metrics for fantasy football performance. This makes sense, intuitively, as the more a player is on the field, the more opportunities he'll have to touch the ball, and the more opportunities he'll have to score fantasy points.
In each of these weekly articles, I'll evaluate each position by looking at snap count, opportunity, and efficiency trends. All data, unless otherwise noted, comes from numberFire's Snap Count page, where you can find more in-depth details about player snap usage.
- During the Tampa Bay Buccaneers bye week, Bruce Arians professed that he would get Ronald Jones 20-plus touches. He came very close as Jones totaled 19 touches this past week. However, Jones' snap share stayed relatively modest at 67 percent despite Leonard Fournette being a healthy scratch against the Minnesota Vikings. Fournette's absence gave LeSean McCoy an opportunity to play more, and Shady logged a snap share of more than 30 percent for the first time since Week 6, getting five total opportunities (second-most in a game for McCoy this season). Ke'Shawn Vaughn remains an afterthought and complete bust in the fantasy football world as he's failed to eclipse a 25 percent snap share in a single game this season. Jones is now reportedly dealing with a potential pinky fracture that could limit his usage, which could open the door back up for Fournette to be active again.
- The Buffalo Bills struggled to get much going on the ground this past week, but that doesn't mean all is lost in the backfield. For the fifth time in the Bills' last six games, Zack Moss led the Bills' backfield in snaps, but Devin Singletary has a slight 73-62 lead in opportunities over that span. Singletary's lone game with a higher snap share came in Week 13, when Moss coughed up an early fumble in the first quarter of the game. To the benefit of fantasy football managers, Moss and Singletary are the only two weapons in this backfield, but that still doesn't make them all that valuable on a weekly basis. Neither Singletary (RB31 in half-PPR) nor Moss (RB49) offers a high weekly ceiling unless one of them is out as the duo has only one game above 12 half PPR points in games that both are active.
- A couple of weeks ago, around the time when the Philadelphia Eagles signed Jordan Howard, head coach Doug Pederson proclaimed that he'd move forward with more of a running back committee approach. It looked that way for a couple of weeks, but, hopefully, this past week has proven that Miles Sanders doesn't deserve to be in a committee. Sanders had an 81 percent snap share this past week, which was the second-highest rate of the season for him (highest since Week 5) and nearly reached 20 total opportunities. The aforementioned Howard hasn't made a dent at all as he's logged 11 total snaps since joining the Eagles. Boston Scott continues to have some involvement to the tune of a 32 percent snap share since Sanders returned from injury Week 10, but Scott has been given just 28 opportunities in those five games. Sanders' opportunity looks as solid as ever, and he should confidently be played as a low-end RB1 for the rest of the season.
- The Pittsburgh Steelers' wide receiver core has been pretty steady for most of the year, but that changed a little bit on Sunday Night Football. It's been no secret that Diontae Johnson has struggled with drops, leading the league with 10. This finally impacted his playing time as he got a 49 percent snap rate, which was a season low (not counting any games with mid-game injuries). James Washington was the biggest beneficiary of Johnson's misfortune as Washington eclipsed a 75 percent snap share for the first time all year with a season-high 81 percent snap rate. Finally, Chase Claypool stayed in a steady role, jumping back up to a 67 percent snap share following his first game since Week 2 with a snap rate under 50 percent.
- This past week, Drew Lock had one of the best games of his career thanks to the efficiency of his receivers. Tim Patrick has been the main guy for Lock and has played on more than 80 percent of snaps in all but one of the last five games he's played. On the other side, once presumed to be the lead receiver, Jerry Jeudy has experienced a major drought with just 10 catches for 152 yards in his last five games combined. This all happening while the rookie has four straight games under a 75 percent snap share is not a great sign for Jeudy, who looked to be having a second-half breakout. Lastly, K.J. Hamler led the team in receiving yards on Sunday while scoring on each of his two receptions. This efficiency likely isn't sustainable for Hamler, who has played a nice 69 percent snap share since Week 10. But he's certainly proven to have a high ceiling.
- It's another lost season for the Detroit Lions. The Lions once again find themselves on the outside of the playoff picture looking in. Unfortunately, a part of the reason why this is the case is that Kenny Golladay has played in just five games this season. Let's look at the bright side, though, as this has opened up opportunities for some other receivers to flash. Marvin Jones is as steady as she goes -- yet to play on fewer than 80 percent of the team's snaps in a single game this season. After his Week 1 breakout performance, Quintez Cephus took a backseat when Golladay returned but has since increased his snap share in each of the last four games, with a 49 percent snap rate the past week. The only other somewhat fantasy-relevant wide receiver is Danny Amendola, but he hasn't reached 100 receiving yards nor has he scored this season.
- This season, the wide receivers have largely stolen the show in the Seattle Seahawks' passing attack. But a couple of tight ends have recently found the end zone, so it's worth a quick peek at which one might be the most valuable if you're in a pinch at the position. Will Dissly has been the main guy from a playing time perspective with a snap rate of 63 percent since Week 12 (the first week that Greg Olsen missed). However, Jacob Hollister has out-targeted Dissly 10 to 7 at a snap rate of 55 percent in that same stretch. Like I said, neither of these guys should really be used unless you're in a bind or are throwing a dart in DFS, but I'd have more confidence in Dissly, who has demonstrated a decent ceiling in past seasons.
- It has now been six weeks since George Kittle went down with an injury, so it's about time we revisit the San Francisco 49ers' usage of their remaining tight ends. The competition is primarily being held between Ross Dwelley and Jordan Reed. Though Dwelley (61 percent snap share since Week 9) has a sizeable lead over Reed (41 percent snap share) in playing time, Reed has been used a lot more heavily when on the field, seeing 23 targets since Week 9, compared to just 11 for Dwelley. Reed has also managed to find the end zone, so I'd trust the guy who has been targeted at a higher rate despite not seeing the field as much.