We got a little bit of everything in Week 7. We had a wild weather game, we had RBs returning from hamstring injuries, and we even had a coach put almost the entire fantasy community on tilt while protecting his star RB. In fact, usage of NFL RBs may be the most pestering issue plaguing fantasy owners right now and that continued in Week 7.
Backfields dominate my snap count observations this week, as we try to make fantasy football sense of the downs played. We had a few guys cement their roles and few others seemingly lose their grip. Before we dig in, I want to spotlight Leonard Fournette. Coming into 2019, a common knock on Fournette was that he wouldn’t be able to handle a full workload. After seven weeks, he leads NFL RBs in total snaps played and is behind only Christian McCaffrey on average downs played per game basis. He is still as inefficient as ever, but volume is king and nobody else is near the throne in Jacksonville.
Every week I like to highlight any RB/WR/TE that plays every down for his team. Between injuries and bye weeks, I expected this list to get smaller as the season progressed and Week 7 gave us our fewest players to accomplish this goal: two. Just WR DeAndre Hopkins and TE Daniel Brunskill played every down for their team. Hopkins is no surprise, though the fact that he finally crossed 100 yards again, the first time since Week 1, is cause for celebration. Brunskill has now played 100% in each of the last two weeks as the 49ers look for a replacement for FB Kyle Juszczyk. He has scored exactly many fantasy points as you or I have in those two weeks (ZERO) but kudos to him for seeing the field.
Snap Count Alert
It was announced early this morning that the Falcons would be trading Mohamed Sanu to the Patriots. Sanu leads all Falcons WRs in snaps played this season so this is a significant move. Obviously, Sanu should be owned in all formats but a speculation add might be Falcons WR Justin Hardy. The Falcons offense is just awful this year but they run a ton of 3-WR sets and Hardy is going to be seeing the field a lot more moving forward.
Week 7 Snap Count Observations
Arizona Cardinals RBs (Chase Edmonds 61, David Johnson 3)
To say that fantasy owners felt betrayed by Kliff Kingsbury is a bit of an understatement. After the game, Kingsbury essentially said that he didn’t feel right using Johnson in anything but an emergency role. To quote Adam Sandler from The Wedding Singer: “These are things that could have brought to my attention YESTERDAY” Edmonds dominated the snap count and the Giants defense, finishing with 150 total yards and 3 TDs. The good news for DJ owners is that he did not reaggravate his injury, Kliff Kingsbury just hates you.
Buffalo Bills RBs (Frank Gore 30, Devin Singletary 22)
In his first game back from a hamstring injury, Singletary had a quiet day, which is to be expected. Being that the game was against the lowly Dolphins, it was a bit disappointing to only see him touch the ball 7 times and not be used at all in the passing game. Gore, who was widely picked up after Singletary’s injury, played just 54% of the snaps, which has been about his average even with Singletary out. It appears that this situation will fall in line with most of the other rookie backfields in the NFL right now: an RBBC that will be hard to trust and used best on bye weeks.
Chicago Bears RBs (Tarik Cohen 36, David Montgomery 30)
…like I was saying. While it appears that Mike Davis has been frozen out of the Chicago backfield, there is still no clarity. Not only did Cohen lead in snaps, but he also led in carries, and that was not the expectation of this duo. To be fair, it was three Cohen carries to two for Montgomery, but that somehow makes the whole thing feel far worse. Tarik was targeted another 12 times in the passing game but wasn’t able to make much of his touches in terms of fantasy. Montgomery lost a fumble and rode the pine for most of the game after that. Approach this backfield with caution.
Cincinnati Bengals RBs (Joe Mixon 39, Giovani Bernard 34)
It was bad enough when Joe Mixon was just underperforming every imaginable expectation, but now he may be in a full-on timeshare. The two backs COMBINED for 14 carries and three receptions, so nobody missed out on a relevant fantasy performance, but the frustration for Mixon owners has to be at its limit. Normally, I would suggest a buy-low here…but I’m not sure there is a low enough price to acquire Mixon.
Seattle Seahawks RBs (Chris Carson 64, CJ Prosise 6, Rashaad Penny 2)
After the season’s first two weeks, Penny truthers were abuzz that the second-year RB could finally live up to his 1st Round pedigree. After Week 7, Penny is safely droppable unless you have the deepest of benches to wait out a Chris Carson injury. Penny is fully recovered from his hamstring injury and still spent most of the game as a spectator. Carson had every RB touch but one and looks like he will be a fantasy RB1 from here on out.
San Francisco 49ers RBs (Tevin Coleman 42, Matt Brieda 17, Jeff Wilson 8)
Brieda was briefly out in this game with a possible concussion so the snaps are a bit skewed here, but Coleman appears to be the back to own in San Fran. This game was the ugliest in the NFL as far as weather, so there were no fantasy performances to write home about but Coleman played 65% of the snaps and out-touched the other two RBs combined 22-14.
Tennessee Titans WRs (Corey Davis 48, AJ Brown 39, Adam Humphries 31)
While suggesting you should own any Titans WR is dangerous, AJ Brown has played 50% or more of the snaps in four of Tennessee’s last five games. Rookie WRs are notoriously slow starters but Brown may be about to hit his stride. Week 7 marks the most targets and touches Brown has seen this season. Corey Davis continues to lead this bunch and had a solid fantasy week with a 6-80-1 stat line but this is only the 2nd time this season he has cracked 10+ fantasy points.
Indianapolis Colts WRs (TY Hilton 70, Chester Rogers 41, Zach Pascal 36, Deon Cain 32)
TY Hilton is clearly the big dog in Indy but Pascal is a player to watch. With both Devin Funchess and Parris Campbell out, the Colts have spread the work around but Pascal is the one that continues to perform. In Week 7, Pascal went 6-106-2 and that marks his 3rd game this season with either 50 yards or a TD. Even after Campbell returns, Pascal has proven his worth in limited playing time.
Buffalo Bills TEs (Dawson Knox 29, Lee Smith 23)
The love for Dawson Knox may have been premature. While he was targeted five times, he was only able to reel in two balls for 22 yards. He is nothing more than a TD-dependent, bye week stream that is barely playing more than 50% of his team’s snaps.
Detroit Lions TEs (TJ Hockenson 51, Jesse James 28, Logan Thomas 12)
If Hockenson was dropped in your league, it may be time to add him back to your roster. It initially seemed like he would miss extended time but instead, he has led this group in snaps since their Week 5 bye. The increase in playing time has not led to fantasy relevance just yet but he flashed big talent in the early weeks and increased playing time can only mean bigger and better fantasy weeks.