Snap Count Observations: Transactions to Make for Week 9

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Week 8 was a ton of fun because the stars shined. Big-name players like Derrick Henry, Alvin Kamara, D.J. Moore, and A.J. Brown all had fantastic days. It didn’t feel like a lot of “super weird” stuff happened, which is why this post will be a bit shorter than usual. Teams are becoming predictable, at least in terms of playing time. I keep a running spreadsheet to track all the fantasy-relevant players’ playing time, and about 95% or more of the players had snap count percentages within a standard deviation of their average playing time. However, there were still some notable things that happened in Week 8, so let’s get into it!

Baltimore Ravens

Isaiah Likely Steps Up in Andrews’ Absence

Mark Andrews 13%; Isaiah Likely 67%

Mark Andrews suffered a shoulder injury that knocked him out of the game, after spending all week on the injury report with a knee injury. The shoulder injury is not supposed to be serious, but that’s exactly what they said about D’Andre Swift‘s shoulder injury. The Ravens have a Week 10 bye, so I would not be surprised at all if the Ravens gave Andrews Week 9 off.

Without Andrews, Isaiah Likely played a season-high 67% of snaps and led the team in receiving yards on seven targets (second most on the team). There is no denying that the Ravens run their offense through the running game and through an athletic tight end, which is exactly what Likely is. Likely is a natural fill-in for Andrews, so he should be added wherever you can.

Generally, I don’t recommend carrying two TEs on your redraft roster, but there are like three (maybe?) tight ends better than Likely’s projections for Week 9, should Andrews miss. Likely may not be a long-term add, but he could help your team in Week 9.

Conclusion: Add Isaiah Likely for Week 9

Detroit Lions

St. Brown and Swift Unlock Lions’ Offensive Potential

D’Andre Swift 55%; Jamaal Williams 37%; Amon-Ra St. Brown 95%

After failing to score a touchdown for two straight weeks, the Lions’ offense went back to scoring a ton. In fact, they scored on their first five drives of the game. The reason? The return of D’Andre Swift and Amon-Ra St. Brown. Personally, I think St. Brown is more important to the offense as a whole. Without him, no one else on the offense can get any separation. Swift is also important, although his first game back wasn’t great. He salvaged his fantasy production with a receiving touchdown when matched up against an LB one-on-one. Still, it was surprising to see him struggle so much in the running game while Jamaal Williams performed well. From my perspective, the Lions avoided running Swift up the middle consistently, giving him a lot of tosses and stretch runs to get him out in space.  That was an odd choice, given that the Lions’ strength on offense is their offensive line. The good news is that Swift played more snaps than Williams and ran a lot more routes (27 to 12); the bad news is that Williams got the goal line carries and out-touched Swift 13-10.

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Conclusion: All-in-all, the Lions having two stars on offense is a good thing for all Lions players.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Etienne Show

Travis Etienne 79%; JaMycal Hasty 22%; Snoop Conner 1%

After shipping out James Robinson, the Jaguars continued to ride Travis Etienne heavily, and he still continues to look awesome. Etienne is a top-5 RB for the rest of this season, so congratulations if you’ve been holding him.

Neither backup is particularly relevant. Hasty played more than Conner, and Hasty got a few carries to give Etienne a breather, but this is not a time-share. Neither backup is worth holding except for deep leagues because the Jaguars have moved beyond their timeshare mentality.

Conclusion: Etienne is a top-5 RB now; no other Jaguar RB is worth holding as there no longer appears to be a “James Robinson role.”

Arizona Cardinals

Robbie Anderson Forgotten

DeAndre Hopkins 100%; Rondale Moore 99%; Robbie Anderson 9%

Robbie Anderson has been an Arizona Cardinal for two weeks now, but you wouldn’t know it watching the Cardinals play. Anderson actually played less this week than he did last week, even though he had a full week of practice to learn the offense. Maybe Arizona figured out what Carolina already knew: Anderson is washed. Anderson played behind A.J. Green and Greg Dortch, and I don’t see how that changes anytime soon.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals ran a very concentrated offense, which we love. DeAndre Hopkins looks incredible, and Rondale Moore is being used heavily. Both ran a ton of routes and basically never left the field. Moore is worth a pickup if he’s still available, and Anderson has no business being on any fantasy rosters.

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Conclusion: Drop Robbie Anderson if you haven’t already; grab Rondale Moore if you haven’t already.

New York Jets

Running Game and Passing Game Mysteries

Elijah Moore 17%; Garrett Wilson 88%; Michael Carter 56%; James Robinson 22%

The Jets said we would see more Elijah Moore, but that was apparently a lie. Moore is clearly being punished and could end up being shipped out of town by November 1st, which would be good news for Corey Davis and Garrett Wilson managers. Moore’s attitude wasn’t fixed simply by being activated, and the Jets have moved on. If he’s not traded by tomorrow, I’d drop him.

The running back room was shaken up by the Breece Hall injury and the trade for James Robinson. Unsurprisingly, Michael Carter led the way, with Robinson mixed in sparingly. The Jets also added in a fair amount of Ty Johnson, who mostly ran routes (16 routes and two carries), but he wasn’t targeted, so this may not last. Robinson was not involved in the passing game at all, which was fairly predictable after being traded mid-week.

The fact of the matter is that nobody on the Jets is replicating what Breece was doing. Michael Carter is, at best, probably 60% of the talent Hall was, and that’s probably the best he can perform from a fantasy perspective. The Jets’ offense just doesn’t have much juice with Zach Wilson doing dumb stuff like this:

I don’t have a lot of novel advice here. Garrett Wilson is very good, and back in the startable range with Moore out of the picture. However, Corey Davis sat out of this game, and we still don’t know if they eat into each other. Michael Carter is probably startable if you need a low-ceiling/decent floor play, and James Robinson‘s role should grow as he acclimates to the team, but we have no idea how big that role will be, and whether an increased James Robinson role takes away playing time from Carter or Johnson.

Conclusion: Hold your Jets for now; Elijah Moore can be dropped if not traded (trade deadline is November 1st).

San Francisco 49ers

Christian McCaffrey is RB1 as a 49er

Man, Kyle Shanahan must have been salivating when he saw what McCaffrey can do firsthand, and Shanahan was not afraid to use him a lot. Now that McCaffrey is fully acclimated in San Francisco, he went right back to a bell cow role, playing 81% (the season average for Panthers was 85%). Shanahan got him involved everywhere. He ran the ball 18 times for nearly 100 yards, he caught a touchdown while running 22 routes (second most on the team) as part of a nine-target/eight-catch day, and he threw a touchdown on a fun play.

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McCaffrey is going to absolutely explode in SF. McCaffrey will now be ranked the RB1 every week, but this isn’t great news for Deebo Samuel, Jeff Wilson, and Elijah Mitchell. Wilson was lightly used (36% snaps, four carries), and Deebo didn’t play. I suppose it’s possible that Deebo’s absence increased the reliance on McCaffrey against the Rams, but I think it’s more likely that McCaffrey takes a bite out of Deebo’s usage and playing time.

Also, there is no way Mitchell is fantasy relevant this year without an injury. He may spend the rest of the year on IR for all we know. If you need your IR slot for somebody else, go ahead and move on.

Conclusion: Mitchell can be dropped; Wilson is nothing more than a handcuff, and Deebo’s future prospects look less bright.

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