Snap Count Observations: Five Transactions for Week 3 (Fantasy Football)
Week 2 was a frustrating week in a lot of ways, but it ended with a phenomenal Sunday Night game and a return to form for the Packers’ offense on Monday. If you had Aaron Jones or Derrick Henry, congratulations on winning your week. If you faced one of them, I’m sorry for your loss. It was great to see King Henry silence the critics (myself being one of them), and it was especially exciting for me since I was concerned about the Titans usage of play-action in Week one. Things are going to regress towards preseason expectations here, but a lot of the under-the-radar usage caught my eye from the second tier of players that will become excellent bye week fill-ins. Don’t forget that this is the very beginning of your roster construction, and don’t overreact to anything positively or negatively. Usage almost always leads to production over the long term, so do your best to monitor snap counts more than production this early. I’ve done some of that work for you and will continue to every single week. Let’s check out five of the Week 2 snap counts that caught my eye the most:
Indianapolis Colts‘ Wide Receivers
I was hoping his production would be a bit more tame so I could snag him off the waiver wire in every league, but sadly we can’t win them all. Pittman had a monster game this week, but his usage and target share was even more impressive than his final stat sheet. He was a popular breakout candidate before Carson Wentz got injured, and it appears like Wentz’ is going to be just fine. The breakout narrative is back in full swing, and Pittman has already started his campaign in a big way. The Colts don’t have a lot of playmakers outside of Pittman and occasionally Zach Pascal, so the targets are there for the taking. As long as Wentz’ can maintain a high level of play, Pittman is going to be a lock for WR3 production with weekly WR1 upside when he finds the end zone.
Conclusion: Add Michael Pittman, Jr (20% FAAB)
The Dallas Cowboys‘ Running Backs
I wasn’t overly concerned about Zeke in Week 1, but Week 2 has at least started the panic meter on my end. Tony Pollard has been the more impressive running back over the past two seasons, but I didn’t think for a second that the Cowboy organization would allow their $60 million dollar investment to go to waste in any way. I have been pleasantly surprised to see a fairly even split between the two, and Pollard showed in Week two why he deserves a large share of the workload. Zeke is still a productive running back, and he will likely remain the 1A barring injury; but the committee has started in Dallas. Those of us who drafted Zeke expecting Dalvin Cook-like usage are in line for disappointment. Zeke is still an every-week starter and should be able to maintain back-end RB1 usage, but Tony Pollard has arrived. He should be added in all formats, and Zeke is a prime trade candidate if you can get top ten running back value in return.
Conclusion: Trade AWAY Zeke (for an RB1 price-tag). Add or trade for Tony Pollard
The Jacksonville Jaguars‘ Running Backs
I may get a lot of heat for this one, but if every trade target were obvious then no deals would get done. James Robinson is disappointing the managers that drafted him, and there’s a good chance they’re open to moving him. Robinson has been quiet this season, to say the least, but his Week 2 usage was substantially better than his opening game. He’s up to a very healthy 73% snap share, which was 8th amongst all running backs in Week two. The Jaguars’ offense, in general, has been abysmal, but it’s clear that Urban Meyer and his staff are trying to get Robinson on the field more. Carlos Hyde is washed, and Robinson has done enough during his time in Jacksonville to warrant the usage he saw this week. The overall positional landscape at running back mirrors Mad Max: Fury Road, so anyone who is seeing constant usage and potential goal-line carries should be on your radar. Robinson can be landed for cheap, and now is the best time to do it.
Conclusion: Trade FOR James Robinson (RB3 Price Tag)
The New York Jets‘ Running Backs
There was a lot of steam for Michael Carter in the preseason, but that train slowed down significantly when we saw how they planned to use their running backs in New York. Tevin Coleman, Ty Johnson, and Michael Carter were all a part of a frustrating committee that caused us to look the other way completely, and for good reason. After two full weeks that committee has turned into a duo, with Tevin Coleman taking a backseat to the younger players on the depth chart. Michael Carter was the only running back to see a target, and he maintained a dead-even split with Ty Johnson on Sunday. Johnson isn’t a bad player, but Carter has both the draft capital and the talent to pull away in this backfield. He’s only rostered in 51% of leagues on ESPN, and the managers that roster him may be dropping him as early as today. They won’t require much in a trade, and any time you can get a young running back with significant draft capital, you should go for it. The Jets won’t be anything special offensively, but if Carter can maintain a significant workload in the passing game then he has upside similar to James White or Gio Bernard.
Conclusion: Add or Trade For Michael Carter
Chicago Bears‘ Wide Receivers
Allen Robinson has been fairly quiet so far, and the Bears pass catchers are going to struggle mightily if Andy Dalton remains under center. His average depth of target is one of the lowest in football, and both Robinson and Mooney are paying for it early. As far as on field usage goes, Mooney’s snap-count skyrocketed in Week 2 and actually surpassed Robinson’s outright. He saw a whopping 34% of targets from Dalton and Justin Fields, but if Fields is going to see more time then Mooney’s skillset benefits greatly. His talent appears to be the real deal, he just needs the right type of targets and has to solidify an every-down role as the Bears WR2. That confirmation started to show itself this past Sunday as Mooney and Robinson were the clearcut top options for Chicago. If Mooney maintains a heavy target share as he did in Week 2, he should skyrocket into the flex conversation on a weekly basis, and Justin Fields will only add to that upside.
Conclusion: Add or Trade for Darnell Mooney