Snap Count Observations: Transactions to Make for Week 11 (Fantasy Football)
I recently listened to an NFL podcast where the hosts invoked the common facetious moniker that the NFL stands for “Not for Long” but instead of this tongue-in-cheek phrase denoting the typically short nature of most football careers, the hosts thought it was a good way to represent how quickly there are shake-ups among NFL teams in 2023. “You have an opinion on a team or player? Not For Long!” Just look at the Minnesota Vikings. Two weeks ago, they were written off for dead among the NFL media. Many among the fantasy community were openly wondering if Justin Jefferson might shut it down for the season without Kirk Cousins and a struggling defense. “Not For Long!” In comes America’s new hero, Josh Dobbs, to save the Vikings’ season. Many forget that at this time last year, Josh Dobbs was on the Lions’ practice squad behind Nate Sudfeld!
It’s a crazy year, but a lot of the playing time is as expected. Still, there were some interesting things to note. Let’s get into it!
Devin Singletary Assumes Bell Cow Role
Devin Singletary 81%
Dameon Pierce sat out this game, but honestly, it feels like the Texans finally got their excuse to give all the work to Devin Singletary. The past weeks have seen his usage creep up and up and up. Now, without feeling any need to appease Pierce, Devin Singletary basically did everything himself. 30 carries for 150 yards is absurd, and he was used in the passing game plenty (56% route participation). He had a great game, but it does not appear that CJ Stroud likes to pass to the running back position. Despite plenty of routes run, Singletary only saw two passes out of the 39 thrown by Stroud. Stroud pushes the ball down the field, so Singletary may not have the incredible ceiling that other running backs see, like Christian McCaffrey or Travis Etienne. Still, this usage cannot be ignored.
Conclusion: Singletary is a must-start in every game missed by Pierce, and honestly, I think he’s a must-start regardless. Houston just likes him more as a football player.
Ty Chandler Is the Pick-up of the Week
Ty Chandler 44%
After Alexander Mattison‘s injury, it was Ty Chandler who led the way. He looked okay or about as good as Mattison, who struggled with efficiency before the concussion. Chandler mixed in a bit before Mattison went down as well, which is notable. The Vikings have basically tried everything they can to not rely on Mattison heavily, including trading for Cam Akers. Chandler had a two-yard rushing touchdown that looked pretty good and had another explosive play called back by a penalty. We can chicken and the egg argument about whether the holding penalty sprung the play or his own talent, but still, he looked pretty good running the ball.
It doesn’t look good for a Mattison return in Week 11. The Vikings already signed Myles Gaskin, which suggests the team isn’t expecting to have their RB1. That means it ought to be Chandler leading the backfield again against Denver in Week 11. That makes him a priority pick-up for the RB needy out there.
Conclusion: Pick up Ty Chandler.
Keaton Mitchell Still Hot, but Limited in Usage
Mitchell is a player I was excited about because he looks explosive, but Baltimore really limited his usage in Week 10. Mitchell was slightly banged up coming into the game against Cleveland with a hamstring injury. Perhaps the team was playing it safe or perhaps the injury reaggravated, because he looked electric early on. His first touch was a 39-yard TD. His second touch was a 32-yard screen pass. Despite these two exciting plays, he only received two more touches in the game and played very limited snaps. Gus Edwards picked up the slack and was fine but nothing exciting.
Mitchell didn’t play much on special teams either, which he typically does. In my eyes, he’s still an awesome late-season option on a very exciting offense. I’ve seen no reports of a reaggravation, so we will need to monitor the injury report.
Conclusion: Based on this performance, I would start him in Week 11 if he’s good to go health-wise.
Jahmyr Gibbs Leads Backfield Even with David Montgomery Healthy
Gibbs 58%; David Montgomery 38%
I told you in this very column after the Chiefs game that it would take some time, but Gibbs would eventually get sufficient usage. Hoooo doggie does it feel good when he does. Gibbs led the backfield and had a fantastic game (14 carries for 77 yards and two TDs plus five targets, three catches, and 35 yards. That’s what you love to see. Especially with a healthy David Montgomery also playing significant snaps.
Montgomery actually outrushed Gibbs with 116 yards, but most of those rushes came on a 75-yard TD run to open the third quarter. Gibbs ended with two more carries, interestingly enough, and even saw a couple of goal line carries, as both of his touchdowns came inside the five-yard line. However, Monty was not involved in the passing game and saw no targets.
This backfield is beautiful. Both running backs complement each other and they run behind a fantastic offensive line that is healthy again. Gibbs looks to be a top-five to top-10 option down the line, if not higher. Montgomery is not a problem for Gibbs, especially if Gibbs leads the way and gets a fair share of the goal line targets.
Conclusion: Gibbs will be RB5-10, if not higher, for the rest of the season.
James Cook Punished for Fumble
It’s been a bit since I’ve gone on an illogical coaching rant, and the Bills’ usage of James Cook is the perfect opportunity. On the first offensive play of the game, James Cook fumbled. It wasn’t the world’s worst fumble, but it wasn’t great either. Probably one an NFL running back shouldn’t lose. But the usage was exciting – the Bills lined up Cook in the slot and threw a screen-type play to him.
You know what happens next, Cook gets the dog-house treatment for the rest of the half. He gets one series in the second quarter but is otherwise MIA. During this time, Buffalo can do nothing on offense and falls behind Denver 15-8. In the meantime, Gabe Davis fails to catch a ball over the middle because he T-rex arms a pass, leading to an interception. Davis receives no dog-house treatment and plays his usual allotment of snaps.
Buffalo keeps their best running back off the field for a large stretch of the game, and the offense struggles. Hmmmmmmm. Eventually, Coach McDermott realizes his mistake and gets Cook back on the field, and Cook promptly rips off a 42-yard gain. Cook ends the game with a decent 12 carries for 109 yards and adds two short receptions.
Why do coaches still do this in the modern NFL? Fumbles aren’t contagious!!!! Fumbling once does not mean he’s prone to fumble again!!! The ball was ripped out by a defender as Cook was falling to the ground. That’s not a mental error or a sign of weakness that he needs to think about on the bench. Quite the opposite. Yet this happens so, so frequently in the NFL. Even after so many offenses falter in response to this archaic line of thinking, they all still do it! Ugh, whatever.
Conclusion: James Cook is good, he just doesn’t score touchdowns. Temper expectations.