Snap Count Observations: Five Transactions for Week 6 (Fantasy Football)

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I mentioned last week that any massive snap-count swings we were going to see would very likely to be a result of injuries, not coaching decisions. Most of the offensive schemes have settled in by this point in the season, even if they appear to be a complete mess (I’m looking at you, Pittsburgh). We’ve seen a lot of waiver wire pickups that have made a significant impact for fantasy managers, but the players that randomly emerge from your bench and become every-week starters are few and far between. Handcuff running backs and young wide receivers are going to dominate the waiver conversation from here on out, so that’s where we should be focusing most of our time going forward.

Through these first four weeks, I’ve called on the #FootClan to trade for James Robinson before he climbed back up the fantasy football mountain, I suggested Terry McLaurin as a target before he re-established himself as scary Terry, and I told you to go steal Najee Harris right before he became an absolute stud. I also recommended that you add Michael Pittman, Dalton Schultz, Emmanuel Sanders, and Michael Carter at least one week prior to their ownership rocket ships taking off. Last but not least, I also recommended that you add Darrel Williams last week. I’m not going to celebrate an injury to an exciting running back like CEH, but the potential for that to happen was a big part of my desire to be early on Williams off the waiver wire. He’s relevant every single year, and it looks like 2021 will be no different. I don’t always love tooting my own horn, but this series has been a slam dunk so far and I’m excited to continue it. Usage trends always point to fantasy success or failure, so I hope those of you that read this weekly have seen the value of this exercise. Now that I’ve patted my own back, let’s move on to Week 5.

The Buffalo Bills Running Backs

Zack Moss: 73%% Snap Share, 40% Rushing Share, 16.7% Target Share
Devin Singletary: 26% Snap Share, 21.4% Rushing Share, 8.3% Target Share

After Week 1, I noted that Devin Singletary was the only show in the Buffalo backfield, but I also discussed how quickly this could (and likely would) change. Zack Moss has essentially taken over the 1A role in one of the best offenses in the league, and his usage is steady. He saw a season-high 73% snap share this week and maintained his typical role as the primary ball carrier. The unexpected development for Moss is his increased usage in the passing game. Over the past three weeks, he’s seen eight targets to Singletary’s five, and he’s caught six of them for a total of 86 yards. Based on these steady upward trends for an explosive offense, Moss should be viewed as a rock-solid RB2 going forward and could be a very useful asset during the onslaught of bye weeks.

Conclusion: Trade FOR Zack Moss

The New England Patriots Running Backs

Damien Harris: 32% Snap Share, 46% Rush Share, 0% Target Share
Rhamondre Stevenson: 34% Snap Share, 36% Rush Share, 0% Target Share
Brandon Bolden: 37% Snap Share, 6% Rush Share, 14% Target Share

Damien Harris made the biggest mistake a Patriot running back can make this past weekend when he fumbled away a goal-line carry. Harris barely saw the field after that, and to add injury to insult – he left the game for good in the second half with a rib injury. The postgame reports indicated it shouldn’t be anything that lingers for too long, but it could be just long enough for someone else to step up in a somewhat unstable situation. Rookie bruiser and preseason darling Rhamondre Stevenson may have had a fumble of his own earlier this year, but this is a perfect chance for the rookie to reestablish himself as someone that should see the field. Stevenson was electric in the preseason and does everything well, albeit nothing too exceptional. If Harris continues to miss time for various injuries this year, then his rookie backup could become a valuable asset down the stretch. His touchdown upside is worth a speculative add on its own, but he’s also more useful in the passing game than people realize.

Conclusion: Add Rhamondre Stevenson

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The New York Giants Wide Receivers

Kadarius Toney: 54% Snap Share, 35% Target Share
John Ross: 60% Snap Share, 13% Target Share

Toney had a pretty insane Week 5 in more than one way, as he literally punched his ticket to the top of your waiver target list. He’s going to be a polarizing discussion for the next couple of weeks as Sterling Shepard returns to the field and Daniel Jones‘ status is still up in the air. Toney was the butt of a lot of jokes in the offseason but he’s far surpassed expectations already as he broke the single-season receiving yardage record for the Giants franchise in only his fifth career game. He’s now commanded a ridiculous 25% and 35% target share over the past two weeks, and his breakout this past Sunday can’t be ignored. The health of both Sterling Shepard and Daniel Jones will have a significant impact on his overall performance going forward, but the questions about his ability to perform on an NFL field have already been put to rest. If Toney can continue to command a steady target share when Shepard returns, he could be a late-season league winner. The Giants won’t ignore something as impressive as Toney’s Week 5 performance, even if his antics between plays were somewhat concerning. He should be a primary add for any team that needs additional flex options during the bye weeks.

Conclusion: Add Kadarius Toney

The Denver Broncos Pass Catchers

Courtland Sutton: 90% Snap Share, 31% Target Share
Tim Patrick: 95% Snap Share, 25.7% Target Share 

This recommendation might be a short-term one as Jerry Jeudy returns to the field soon, but Tim Patrick is sneakily performing well as a flex/WR4 option in all formats. His target share is healthy and he’s essentially functioning in the Jerry Jeudy role without the same level of talent. Starting in week six, there is a significant portion of players on bye, and Patrick will provide a higher floor than most of the options that will be available. Teddy Bridgewater prefers players with skill sets similar to Patrick and Jeudy, and Courtland Sutton should continue to free up space in the middle of the field for both Patrick and Noah Fant to operate. He may not be the prettiest add of the week, but he should be an effective one.

Conclusion: ADD Tim Patrick

The Chicago Bears Running Backs

Damien Williams: 48% Snap Share, 43% Rush Share, 15% Target Share
Khalil Herbert: 53% Snap Share, 48% Rush Share

David Montgomery going down was one of the painful early-season injuries that you truly hate to see. Thankfully it wasn’t season-ending, so we should see Monty back on the field in a few weeks. In the meantime, his primary handcuff Damien Williams is the next man up. Williams had a solid outing on Sunday but the eye-popping usage was seen by his backup running back, Khalil Herbert. The rookie running back from Virginia Tech actually saw more snaps than Williams, and lead the team in rushing attempts. He wasn’t involved in the passing game at all, but Herbert’s usage on Sunday was very similar to David Montgomery‘s usage earlier in his career. The conclusion drawn from this shouldn’t be that Herbert is Montgomery, but that Herbert is filling a role in Matt Nagy’s offense that David Montgomery had at one point. The two backs should continue to split work and Herbert should be the favorite for goal-line touches if Nagy’s history holds up. Williams may have the higher ceiling in games where the Bears need to score, but Herbert could easily be the better option when the Bears are controlling the clock. I wouldn’t start Herbert right away, but I’d absolutely add him after waivers have cleared or if you can get him for cheap. Herbert will be useful in games with low implied totals, or where the Bears are significantly favored.

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Conclusion: ADD Khalil Herbert

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