Snap Count Observations: Transactions to Make for Week 10

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This week’s Snap Count Observations Article will focus on players who changed teams. After the surprisingly active trade deadline, we saw glimpses of what teams might do with newly acquired players. Of the players who got traded early, we typically saw those players brought along slowly. Still, some traded players had surprisingly high usage in Week 9, while others earned impressive volume in limited usage, which indicates bigger days ahead.

Miami Dolphins

Jeff Wilson Eats into Mostert’s Volume

Raheem Mostert 47%; Jeff Wilson 49%

When a player is traded a mere five days before gameday, we generally don’t expect big things from that player. Learning a new playbook, team vernacular, etc. takes time. But Jeff Wilson had an advantage other players changing teams don’t typically have: a familiarity with the coach who traded for him and a familiarity with that coach’s system. Wilson jumped in and surprisingly played more snaps than Mostert, but the distribution was exactly 50-50, with both backs receiving nine carries. Wilson did have a couple of extra opportunities through the passing game, but the number of routes run was 13 for Wilson and 12 for Mostert. Again, 50-50. Because Wilson is already so familiar with this coach and this system, Wilson’s usage won’t increase with increased acclimation or exposure. This is a true, even split.

Conclusion: The days of Raheem Mostert dominating snaps and usage are over. Wilson and Mostert will split opportunities and snaps 50-50.

Chicago Bears

Chase Claypool Brought Along Slowly; Still Makes an Impact

Darnell Mooney 86%; Equanimeous St. Brown 70%; Dante Pettis 36%; Chase Claypool 35%

Unlike Jeff Wilson, Chase Claypool did not have the benefit of previous exposure to the Bears’ system. Also, just generally, it’s more difficult for a wide receiver to change teams than a running back. Look no further than the Arizona Cardinals. In 2019, the Cardinals traded for Kenyan Drake less than 72 hours before the Cardinals’ next game, and yet, he racked up 110 rushing yards on 15 carries and added 52 yards receiving on four catches. Meanwhile, the same team has had Robbie Anderson for three weeks, and it’s taken that long for Anderson to finally exceed 60% of the snaps.

This “bring [Traded Receiver] along slowly” thing was obvious in Chicago. Claypool played, by far, his season low in snaps, and he only ran 16 routes of a possible 35. He likely only knew a few route trees and packages and came in exclusively for those passing concepts. But still, that didn’t stop him from flashing. Mooney led the team in targets with eight, but Claypool was tied for second on the team with six, tying Cole Kmet who ran 15 more routes than Claypool.

Claypool is likely to more than double his snap and route percentages in the coming weeks, which is good news. The better news is that Justin Fields is coming into his own as of late. The team is *finally* letting him throw passes at a reasonable rate (40:31 pass-to-run ratio). Perhaps the Bears were limiting Justin Fields’ passing attempts because their wide receivers were so bad, not because Fields was the problem…

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Claypool should help with all things Bears’ offense. Claypool could be interesting, but I generally believe Claypool’s presence has a bigger fantasy impact on Justin Fields than it does Chase Claypool.

Conclusion: Expect more Claypool involvement in the weeks to come.

Buffalo Bills

Nyheim Hines is a Non-Factor

Devin Singletary 74%; James Cook 23%; Nyheim Hines 6%

“But-but-but, Nate, I thought you just said running backs can easily change teams” – the Voice of Public Opinion.

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Yeah, I did, but that was not the case in Buffalo. But let’s be honest, is Nyheim Hines a high-carry running back? No. He’s essentially a wide receiver who comes out of the backfield, so the traded wide receiver rules probably apply more to Hines than the trade running back rules. As proof, Hines did not see a carry and ran only three routes.

A few weeks back, I explained the trend in Buffalo: when the game is close, they lean hard on Devin Singletary; whereas when the game is a blowout, they give Singletary a breather. This game was close, so the trend of heavy Singletary reliance continued.

Now, the Buffalo Bills did not trade a conditional 6th-round pick for Nyheim Hines to milk time in lopsided victories. I anticipate that Hines will eat more into Singletary’s usage in games that do not occur five days after Hines changes teams. This probably means fewer routes for Singletary, who ran 28 in Week 9 – only eight fewer than Stefon Diggs. That’s a bummer for Singletary’s usage, who derives a lot of value through his passing game involvement, but it’s the most probable outcome.

Conclusion: Nyheim Hines likely sees more usage in the passing game in Week 10 and beyond, eating into Singletary’s giant share.

Minnesota Vikings

T.J. Hockenson Makes A Great First Impression

T.J. Hockenson 91%

I guess tight ends can change teams like running backs?

Not only did Hockenson play a tonΒ of snaps after being traded mid-week, but he also out-targeted longtime Viking, Adam Thielen! Some of this was necessity with Irv Smith hurt, but still, nine targets are fantastic for a tight end. Just listen to the head coach talk about Hock when giving out the game ball.

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The Vikings wanted this guy, and think he can be an impact player. That bodes well for T.J.’s fantasy value.

Now, this game was surprisingly close, especially after an uncalled offensive pass interference penalty on the referee:

It feels like Kirk Cousins doesn’t typically throw the ball 40 times, but that isn’t true. Cousins is averaging 38 attempts per game. An over 20% target share in this offense would be fantastic for a tight end. Hockenson has been very good in 2022, but his trade makes him a more consistent option in a more consistent offense.

Conclusion: The trade to Minnesota is good news for Hockenson’s fantasy value.

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