Snap Count Observations: Transactions to Make for Week 7 (Fantasy Football)
The injury bug always seems to hit sometime every year and this time it reared its ugly head in Week 6. The focus of this post will, unfortunately, be on the impacts of some big-time NFL injuries. Let’s get into it.
You Should Stash Jameson Williams
Jameson Williams 23%
I know the intro suggested this post would be all about injuries, and there certainly was a major injury to David Montgomery in this game, but I want to talk about Jameson Williams. Now look, absolutely nothing about Williams’ usage in his first two games of 2023 would be enticing. He played 16 snaps in Week 6, which was actually fewer snaps than his usage in Week 5. But, in only his second game back from suspension, Williams made an impact, catching a 45-yard, deep shot for a touchdown. This is why you roster Jameson Williams:
Jameson Williams , 5 career catches, 2 TD’s. BIG PLAY JAMO! pic.twitter.com/4QRwjGGS8S
— Eazy (@SpeakEZsports_) October 15, 2023
So let’s talk about Jameson Williams, or, as Lions LB Alex Anzalone pegged him, “Mr. Misunderstood.” Williams missed most of his rookie season with a knee injury, then he missed most of his first real training camp with a hamstring injury, and he missed the first four regular-season games due to violating a lightly-known provision of the convoluted NFL gambling policy (fn: The NFL Gambling Policy is brought to you proudly by Draft Duel – official gambling partner of everything). During the suspension, he was not allowed to be with the team in any capacity – not even for rehabbing his injured hamstring. So, for him to see 16 snaps in an important game between two division-leading teams is not surprising.
Dan Campbell has been asked about Jameson Williams by the Detroit media in just about every way imaginable. He seems to have a consistent theme throughout his answers: Jameson has to build up “trust.” You know who does have the team’s trust? Josh Reynolds. Williams will never, in 2023, play above Josh Reynolds, and certainly not above the Lions’ best WR, Amon-Ra St. Brown. The team also won’t take Sam Laporta off the field for Williams consistently. Also, the running backs (Gibbs and Montgomery) are both routinely involved in the passing game. So that makes Williams, what, the fifth option on this offense?
So, yeah, there are pros and cons to Jameson Williams. He could absolutely be a bust. But I guarantee there is not a more talented, healthy player on your waiver wire (Williams is 63% rostered in Sleeper as of this writing). Also, even if Jameson Williams is a glorified gadget player, he might still average five targets and 100 air yards per game. That’s a flex-worthy consideration in most leagues.
Most importantly, I really liked what I saw out of Jameson in this game. On each of his three targets, Jameson was very open. His first target was a 10-yard comeback route, where the CB was so afraid of Williams’ speed that Williams was at least five yards from the nearest defender. His second route was similar – Jameson put his defender on ice using his elite route running skills, but the play resulted in an incompletion due to an underthrow by Goff in the face of pressure. Finally, on the TD pass, Williams generated good space during the go-route. Even though the defender was anticipating the deep route by Williams, he still sped by the defense. Goff’s throw was a bit underthrown, which is why the catch was contested (something Goff admitted to after the game). The point is, he’s getting wide open when given opportunities.
I think the team is developing trust in the player. Jamo’s TD catch occurred on an important third down in a one-score game. Also, it felt like a weight was taken off Jameson’s chest in his post-game interviews and team-related content. I see major positive signs from Jameson Williams, which means he needs to be 100% rostered. If he generates a bit more consistent targeting, he becomes startable.
Conclusion: if you are rostering Jameson, keep rostering him. If he’s available and you have room on your bench, pick him up. He’s a big play waiting to happen.
Jordan Mason Above Elijah Mitchell?
Mason 24%; Elijah Mitchell 11%
In the third quarter against the Browns, Christian McCaffrey was pulled from the game with an oblique injury. Word on the street is that McCaffrey’s injury isn’t particularly severe. He may not miss any time at all, or one to two games at most. Apparently, he even tried to get back in the game.
The fourth quarter of the game was dominated, not by Elijah Mitchell, but by Jordan Mason. Mason scored the touchdown just after McCaffrey was knocked out. Mitchell only had two carries total in the game, with one occurring prior to McCaffrey’s injury.
San Francisco is smart; they know they can’t replace CMC with just one guy. So, you did see a bit more Kyle Juszczyk on passing downs, but he only received one target, which also occurred before the McCaffrey injury.
On the final, winning-time drive, it was solely Jordan Mason. That makes him the most likely candidate to be the primary CMC replacement. But, Mitchell and Juszczyk will remain involved, so this does not appear to be a “blow your FAAB” situation. Still, Mason could be very valuable should CMC ever miss an extended period of time, which is entirely possible given his heavy usage.
Conclusion: Prioritize Jordan Mason on the waiver wire.
Devin Singletary Surpasses Dameon Pierce
Pierce 33%; Singletary 54%
Dameon Pierce feels like a guy who doesn’t fit with the 2023 Texans. The team has a new coach and a new, young quarterback. They don’t really need a between-the-tackles bruiser to play heavy snaps. He still gets carries (13 this week), but he only received one more than Singletary. More importantly, Singletary is somewhat involved in the passing game while Pierce is not (two targets to zero). Plus, game script did not play into Singletary’s increased involvement – Houston was ahead or neutral the entire game.
Singletary isn’t a terrible player. He had plenty of decent production in Buffalo, whereas Pierce was a later-round draft pick without a ton of great measurables. He just had a very solid rookie season. The new coaching philosophy probably values a Singletary type over a Pierce type, as most teams in the modern NFL do (see: Pick 12, Jahmyr Gibbs). This trend has been noticeable for a few weeks now, and I don’t see it changing.
Conclusion: Dameon Pierce is someone you could consider dropping if you need roster space.
Jonathan Taylor is Coming for Zack Moss
Moss 50%; Taylor 42%
The playing time and usage between Zack Moss and Jonathan Taylor was as close to 50-50 as you can find. They were both nearly equally involved in the running game (eight carries for Taylor to seven for Moss), equally involved in the passing game (seven targets for Moss to six targets for Taylor), and snaps we nearly equal (six more snaps for Moss). The trend is undeniable, Taylor is coming for this job and will eventually get it.
Taylor didn’t shine in the game: 65 total yards, no touchdowns, but five catches were nice. It’s possible the Taylor manager isn’t paying close attention to these trends and might be willing to trade for less than Taylor is really worth. I would be working trades like that.
Conclusion: Jonathan Taylor‘s playing time is increasing without a corresponding stats splash and should be a trade target.
Lane Johnson Injury Hurts Entire Offense
Lane Johnson 13%
I don’t spend a ton of time on offensive linemen in this article, but when Bill Barnwell calls an injury to a lineman the “most significant injury of the weekend” we have to take note. Now look, midgame injuries to offensive linemen are hard to swallow. If you have a week to prepare, game plans can be adjusted and protection plans can be schemed for. Just look at the Seattle-Detroit game in Week 2 (Seattle was missing both offensive tackles, but developed a quick passing game plan to mitigate the Lions’ pass rush advantage). Losing your best offensive lineman in the middle of the game is much harder. It showed as the Eagles’ offense looked rough against the Jets. Nothing against the Jets – they have a very strong defense, but Jalen Hurts looked like he did not trust his offensive linemen to protect him at the end of the game. Dan Orlovsky broke this down better than I ever could. Even on the game-sealing interception, Hurts threw off his back foot for almost no reason.
Six thoughts on the Jalen Hurts INT that basically lost the game:
1) It looked like maybe he expected to be under pressure and then he wasn't. Maybe because of pass protection all game or maybe pre snap look. But he throws off his back foot for no reason in a clean pocket.
— Eliot Shorr-Parks (@EliotShorrParks) October 16, 2023
There isn’t even real pressure here, but he feels it. A big reason for that is missing Lane Johnson. Some drops by DeVonta Smith certainly didn’t help matters, but missing Johnson will level this Philly offense down. With a week to prepare, they can probably absorb that loss on the OL a bit more, but it’s hard to replace, arguably, the best offensive tackle in the league.
Johnson’s ankle injury is apparently on the “high” side, and he’s already been reported as gunning to play, but we will have to see. Hopefully, he’s back quickly for all those having pieces of the Philly offense.