Snap Count Observations from Week 1 (Fantasy Football)
At this point, I’m sure every intro paragraph you’ve read has been about how great it was to have football back…and every one of them is right! It was an awesome Sunday and I hope it went well for your fantasy teams as well. For anyone new to this series, I will look over the snap counts of some of the more confusing situations in the league and let you know the fantasy ramifications that their playing time had for the week. The early season conversation is often dominated by rookie RBs, but we’ll look into a few WR groups, TEs, and players returning from injury too. I tend to avoid blowouts (looking at you, Baltimore) because they will skew snap counts and may not provide meaningful data.
Each week, I will highlight any RB/WR/TE that plays every offensive snap for his team. Last year, Christian McCaffrey was a staple on this list but, while he led all RBs in snaps played in Week 1, CMC only clocks in at 97% snaps played in his game. There was only one player to see every snap his team played in Week 1 and you’d never guess by his 3 fantasy points that it was New York Jets WR Breshad Perriman.
Week 1 Snap Count Observations
Buffalo RBs (Devin Singletary 51, Zack Moss 39)
While Singletary led the charge, Moss almost matched his touches and scored the only TD, a pass from Josh Allen. Both backs had nine carries but Singletary out-produced Moss 30-11 in yardage. This will be a tough situation all season long because Josh Allen is still the best runner on this team, especially in the red-zone. Inside the 20, Moss had eight of his nine carries but only managed four yards…he really is playing the Frank Gore role! The fact that they also split the RB targets means it will be hard to trust either of these guys for the time being.
Dallas WRs (Michael Gallup 69, Amari Cooper 68, Ceedee Lamb 59)
Not much too see here but it needs to be noted that Lamb is already playing just about every snap. With Blake Jarwin likely out for a considerable amount of time, Lamb is going to be a major part of this offense as a rookie. Cooper led the bunch with 14 targets but Lamb had one more target Michael Gallup in game 1, 6-5.
Green Bay WRs (Davante Adams 70, Allen Lazard 68, Marquez Valdez-Scantling 42)
While there is debate over how much being Aaron Rodgers‘ WR2 still matters in fantasy football, it seems clear that Allen Lazard has won the job. MVS did score one more fantasy point than Lazard in Week 1, but the Lazard King was on the field for almost every offensive snap. All three WRs scored a Week 1 TD but Adams unsurprisingly paced the group with 17 targets for a 14/156/2 stat line. Valdez-Scantling and Lazard both caught four balls and one TD but MVS had 33 more yards in Week 1.
LA Chargers RBs (Austin Ekeler 50, Joshua Kelley 18, Justin Jackson 11)
The two main storylines coming out of this game are concerns for Ekeler as a pass-catcher and hype for Kelley as the 1b in this offense. Both are warranted but the snaps tell a slightly different story. Ekeler was the clear RB1, and the other two were competing for 2a and 2b. Kelley did far more with his limited time, touching the ball on 66% of his snaps and scoring a TD but he will not fill the void left by Melvin Gordon unless those snaps come way up. Jackson was a ghost despite seeing the field almost as much as Kelley and you have to wonder if his recent rash of injuries played into that usage. There is every bit the chance that Jackson can still hurt Kelley’s value once he is back to 100%. The larger concern is Ekeler’s usage in the passing game…or rather, lack thereof. Ekeler was targeted 108 times in 2019 and finished as an RB1 for his effort, but that was with Philip Rivers at QB. Game 1 with Tyrod Taylor produced a much different result to the tune of just one target for three receiving yards. He did receive 19 carries and turned them into 84 yards, but without receptions or TDs, it will be hard for Ekeler to live up to his ADP.
Detroit RBs (D’Andre Swift 34, Adrian Peterson 24, Kerryon Johnson 20)
It may be time to declare Kerryon Johnson over. D’Andre Swift spent most of the preseason hurt and Adrian Peterson has only been with the team for a week and both out-snapped Johnson. To make matters worse, Johnson touched the ball on 35% of his snaps, more than Swift, but only managed 14 yards on seven touches and was not targeted in the passing game. It’s a sad day but Johnson is droppable in all formats.
LA Rams RBs (Malcolm Brown 44, Cam Akers 24, Darrell Henderson 5)
There was plenty of hype surrounding Cam Akers this offseason. Even Darrell Henderson got some love. The man left out if the cold looks like he may have been the right choice. Malcolm Brown went undrafted in most fantasy leagues and will undoubtedly be a big Week 2 waiver target after his 18 carries for 79 yards and two TDs. He was also the most used back in the passing game with three receptions on four targets. Henderson was still hurt and his snap count reflects that injury. Akers may supplant Brown at some point this season but right now the veteran is doubling his snaps and is the RB to own for the Rams.
Philadelphia TEs (Zach Ertz 58, Dallas Goedert 54)
In case you were wondering if 2019 could repeat itself, where both Eagles TEs were fantasy TE1s, the answer looks like yes. Goedert far outproduced Ertz in this game but both TEs were heavily involved, Goedert just made more of his nine targets, finishing with 101 yards and a TD. Ertz was targeted seven times, catching just three balls for 18 yards but a TD saved his fantasy day. With the lack of a proven WR1, both of these TEs will be on the top-10 fantasy radar all season long, and if one gets hurt, the other will be a top-4 weekly option.
San Francisco RBs (Raheem Mostert 37, Jerick McKinnon 19, Tevin Coleman 6)
The outlook of this backfield is muddy as ever but there were some interesting developments. Mostert is the RB1 and will be a fantasy RB1 as long as he hangs onto that role. He turned 19 touches into 151 total yards and a TD while doubling up his RB2 in snaps. Surprisingly, after missing two years of football, it was Jerick McKinnon who played the RB2 role. He turned six touches into 44 yards and a TD and will likely see more snaps as the season progresses and he finds his legs. Slightly more surprising than that was the fact that Tevin Coleman was all but ignored, though a pre-existing condition and the poor air quality may have been a factor. He played just six snaps and touched the ball four times. This backfield’s usage can change with the wind but for now, Coleman will need an injury to have fantasy relevance.
Tampa Bay RBs & TEs (Ronald Jones 33, LeSean McCoy 25, Leonard Fournette 9) (Rob Gronkowski 54, OJ Howard 37, Cameron Brate 7)
Two big groups here but the stories are worth telling. At RB, Jones dominated the snaps and touches. He looked solid running the ball and was the only real good-looking part of this offense on Sunday. Despite being 2nd in RB snaps, Shady did almost nothing and Fournette managed just six touches on nine snaps played. At TE, Gronk was on the field A LOT after missing all of 2019 in retirement. He did next to nothing with the playing time while OJ Howard was targeted six times and scored a TD, despite playing 17 fewer snaps. As expected, Cameron Brate was left in the cold and needs traded or an injury to have any impact in fantasy this year.
Washington RBs (JD McKissic 31, Peyton Barber 29, Antonio Gibson 18)
While rookie hype looked warranted for Clyde Edwards-Helaire, JK Dobbins, and even Jonathan Taylor to an extent, it let us down with Antonio Gibson. The rookie was a distant 3rd of the group in snaps but did touch the ball 61% of the time he was on the field. McKissic out-snapped the bunch but only managed 3 carries and one reception on five targets. Barber solidified his power-back role in the offense with 17 carries for just 29 yards but two GL TDs. He will be an interesting fantasy option over the next few weeks while the other two find their place in this offense.