Snap Count Observations for Week 2 (Fantasy Football)

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After what was widely described as a pretty strange opening weekend of NFL football, Week 2 did not do much to clear things up. Rookie RBs not named Josh Jacobs are still in major timeshares, as the Bears and Eagles continue to give equal playing time to their rookie, veterans, and pass-catchers. For a while, Buffalo looked like it was going to hand the reins to Devin Singletary, but a hamstring issue has brought Frank Gore back into to the fold.

While some situations seemed to clear up a bit, like the WR corps for the Chiefs and Patriots, further RBBC use muddies up the waters even further for fantasy owners. For Week 2, we’ll dig into these situations and more by examining the snap counts of the some of the more intriguing depth chart battles and trying to find the fantasy relevance in the usage.

100% Club

Every week, I will highlight the non-QB players that play every snap for their team. Week 2 saw three players accomplish the feat, two of which did it last week as well. At RB, for the 2nd straight week, Christian McCaffrey did not miss a play for the Carolina Panthers. The other two players were both TEs, with Philadelphia’s Zach Ertz playing every snap against the Falcons and Minnesota’s Kyle Rudolph playing every down for the Vikings for a 2nd straight week. Rudolph and CMC are the only non-QBs to play every snap this season.

Week 2 Snap Count Observations

Baltimore Ravens WRs – Marquise Brown 51, Willie Snead 44, Miles Boykin 38
After his Week 1 explosion, the main story around Marquise Brown was that he did what he did (28 fantasy points) on fewer than 20 snaps. This week, those concerns were put aside. Brown again looked like the Baltimore WR1 and saw the field more than any other WR. His fantasy production was far more pedestrian (12 fantasy points), but Hollywood looks like a player with weekly WR1 potential.

Denver Broncos RBs – Royce Freeman 43, Phillip Lindsay 39
After Lindsay finished his rookie year as the RB12, hopes were high coming into 2019. The story this offseason quickly crushed those hopes as it was said that we should expect a 50/50 split with Royce Freeman. Week 2 brought those fears to life. In Week 1, Lindsay edged Freeman by four snaps. In Week 2, the tables turned, with Freeman on the field for four more snaps. They sit at an exact 50/50 split on the season and neither is performing as a fantasy RB2 this season.

Green Bay Packers RBs – Aaron Jones 43, Jamaal Williams 35
Speaking of hopes, they could not have been higher that Aaron Jones would finally have a coach that would use him as a true RB1 this season. Not so fast, my friend. After two weeks, Williams has played 44% of the snaps, only 14% fewer than Jones.  Jones has doubled Williams’ fantasy production and out-touched Williams 41-19. This has put Jones at the RB14 spot, so it seems that Williams is just coming in as a change of pace/breather for Jones. Once his conditioning improves, Jones could easily take over is backfield and is a buy-low candidate right now if you have a nervous owner.

Kansas City Chiefs WRs – Sammy Watkins 70, Demarcus Robinson 69, Mecole Hardman 56
With Tyreek Hil set to miss about six weeks, this may be the most important WR corps to monitor. Watkins was the overall WR1 after Week 1 but was much quieter in Week 2. He did see 13 targets but only converted six receptions to 49 yards. Meanwhile, while Oakland focused on Watkins, Robinson and Hardman went off. For the 2nd straight week, a Chiefs WR is the overall WR1, as Demarcus Robinson went B-Nanas with six catches for 172 yards and two TDs. Mecole Hardman could have had an equal game, he finished with four catches for 61 yards and a TD but had a 72 yard TD called back. After two weeks, two things are clear: 1. Patrick Mahomes is not regressing and 2. You want a piece of this offense.

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New England Patriots WRs – Julian Edelman 66, Josh Gordon 57, Phillip Dorsett 35, Antonio Brown 24
Nobody was exactly sure what to expect with the addition of Antonio Brown to this high-powered offense. What we got was a lot of targets in not that many snaps. Brown on played 17% of the plays but brought in four balls on eight targets for 56 yards and 1 TD. His usage did not affect Edelman or Gordon’s playing time as much as feared but their production took a huge hit. Part of that could be the result of yet another blowout, but the situation is worth monitoring. Brown’s usage could push Dorsett into a fantasy black hole starting in Week 3.

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San Francisco 49ers RBs – Raheem Mostert 34, Matt Brieda 21, Jeff Wilson Jr 15
What. A. Mess. When the season started, it seemed like a safe bet that, while healthy, Matt Brieda and Tevin Coleman would be splitting snaps in the 49ers backfield 50/50. “While healthy” last approximately 1 quarter and now we have a 3-headed fantasy nightmare. Mostert led the backfield in snaps, touches, and fantasy points, but had two TDs vultured by Jeff Wilson. Brieda was not 100% but still saw 13 touches on his 21 snaps. Interestingly, all three backs had more than 13 fantasy points but every week will not be a blowout win.

Washington Redskins RBs – Chris Thompson 28, Adrian Peterson 18, Wendell Smallwood 16
While everyone chased Adrian Peterson on waivers, the pass-catching Thompson looks like he may be the better grab, especially in PPR formats. With Derrius Guice on the IR, Thompson has seen 55% of the team’s snaps while the 2-down guys split the other 45%. Adrian Peterson was given nearly all of the carries in Week 2, but Thompson was in for most of the passing downs and had more total yards than Peterson and Smallwood combined.

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