Three more weeks. That is how much time most of the fantasy world has to lock up their playoff spot. Some are playing to get that sweet Week 14 bye, others are just hoping to sneak in, but we all want to make sure we are making the best possible roster moves. Week 10 saw the return of a former RB1 and the possible demise of another. There may even be some rays of light beginning to shine in the void that is fantasy TE. With the fantasy playoffs right around the corner, adding and starting the right players is crucial, and knowing who is, and isn’t, getting much playing time will be instrumental in making those decisions.
Every week, I like to highlight any RB/WR/TE that plays every down for his team. At RB, for the 4th time this season, Christian McCaffrey was in for every down in the Carolina game. At WR, McCaffrey was joined by teammate DJ Moore. For the Rams, Robert Woods played all 77 offensive snaps and for the Bengals, Auden Tate did not miss a play. Keeping with the theme, the Panthers’ Greg Olsen was the only TE to play every snap. The Panthers are the 2nd team this season (Patriots, Week 9) to put three players on this list in a single week.
Week 10 Snap Count Observations
Arizona Cardinals RBs (Kenyan Drake 45, David Johnson 30)
If you saw any of his five carries, one thing was very obvious in this game: David Johnson looks SLOW! He only managed two yards on those five carries and he looked like a shadow of his former self. A 3rd quarter fumble put him on the bench for the entire 4th quarter and his coach spent the post-game talking about the spark that Kenyan Drake provided. The writing appears to be on the wall for David Johnson in fantasy football for 2019.
Cleveland Browns RBs (Nick Chubb 57, Kareem Hunt 38)
People who love Nick Chubb (me) will point to this game as proof that he can be an RB1 and coexist with Hunt. People who hate Nick Chubb, or love Kareem Hunt, will point to the fact that he played 38 snaps in his first game back and that he will likely steal more as the season progresses. After one game, nobody knows who is right. The duo played 28 snaps together on a team that needs playmakers. Both finished with 10+ fantasy points as well. Chubb did cede much of passing game work to Hunt, which is to be expected, Hunt is elite in the passing game, but Chubb won the carry battle 20-4.
Los Angeles Rams RBs (Todd Gurley 57, Malcolm Brown 12, Darrel Henderson 8)
Much ado about nothing, that is how I would describe the narrative around the Rams’ backfield…and also the performance of that backfield. The question leading up this game was ‘How will Sean McVay use his stable of three healthy RBs?” The answer: the exact way he has all season long. The question was fair, especially after Henderson out-snapped Gurley in Week 8 before their bye. Gurley played five times te snaps and doubled any other RB up in carries. Gurley was also the only RB targeted in the passing game, though he failed to catch a single ball. The bigger story coming out of this game may be McVay’s willingness to stick with Gurley despite his ineffectiveness. While Gurley did play in the 4th quarter, he did not receive a single carry.
New Orleans Saints RBs (Alvin Kamara 54, Latavius Murray 17)
There was speculation that we would see more of Murray after he filled in more than admirably during Kamara’s time out with injury. Instead, Kamara played 78% of the snaps and out-touched Murray 12-7. Murray did get one more carry than Kamara, 5-4, but with the Saints behind most of the game, there weren’t a lot of carries to go around and Kamra handled most of the passing game work.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers RBs (Ronald Jones 40, Peyton Barber 22, Dare Ogunbowale 22)
For at least one week, it looks like fantasy owners can trust Ronald Jones. After last week, Bruce Arians said that he deserved more playing time and in Week 10, he got it. Jones split carries with Barber, 11-11, but was targeted eight times in the passing game, more than both Barber (0) and Ogunbowale (3). Unfortunately, Jones also lost a fumble in the game. If he continues to get the passing game work, on a team that passes 5th most in the league, he could a great asset heading into the fantasy playoffs. If he continues to fumble, he’ll be back on the bench before you know it.
Pittsburgh Steelers WRs (Juju Smith-Schuster 55, Diontae Johnson 53, James Washington 37)
The Steelers are a rare situation in the league where snap counts and production are not telling the same story. Over the last two weeks, Washington has led the team in receptions and yards but hasn’t played more than 50% of the snaps in either game. Meanwhile, Smith-Schuster and Johnson, routinely play more than 70% of the game’s snaps but have been coming up short in terms of fantasy football. On a team that doesn’t run a lot of 3-WR sets, it is clear that Washington is stepping in and stepping up when he is needed most, but could easily be game-scripted to nothingness.
Detroit Lions TEs (T.J. Hockenson 48, Jesse James 28, Logan Thomas 18)
Hockenson looked so good to start the season but injuries slowed him down. While he was far from great in this game (three catches for 47 yards) he did play twice as many downs of any other TE. Early on in the season, he was performing great while splitting time. The more he plays, the better chance he has to perform and this game confirms what we’ve seen as of late, he is the lead guy in this group. It seems only a matter of time before we start to see the early-season production again.
Indianapolis Colts TEs (Eric Ebron 43, Jack Doyle 42, Mo Allie-Cox 22)
It appears that all we need to get Eric Ebron on the field is every WR on the Colts to get hurt. With TY Hilton sidelined for four weeks, Ebron played the most snaps he has all season and was targeted 12 times in the passing game. He only reeled in five balls but if that is the type of target-share we can expect over the next three weeks, Ebron is a must add, especially for Travis Kelce owners who will be dealing with a bye next week.
Minnesota Vikings TEs (Kyle Rudolph 59, Irv Smith 56)
With Adam Thielen out, rookie Irv Smith has played a ton of snaps. Rudolph has been the primary beneficiary in fantasy football, putting up his best weeks in 2019. This team would prefer to run the ball anyway, so it is likely that when Thielen returns, both of these guys go back to relative obscurity but as long as Thielen misses time, Rudolph is startable and Smith has fringe playability in deep leagues. If Rudolph were to get hurt, Smith has breakout written all over him.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers TEs (OJ Howard 84, Cameron Brate 15)
There were not many bigger misses in fantasy football this season than OJ Howard. Coming into Week 10, Howard had amassed just 24 fantasy points in 0.5 PPR scoring. This week, he went 4-47-1 and scored 12 fantasy points, a 50% increase to his season total. With Cameron Brate hurt but active, Howard dominated snaps against the worst team in the NFL against fantasy TEs. This performance and all the comments leading up to this game about Howard finally grasping the Arians’ offense are great signs pointing in the right direction. Maybe there is hope for the end of the season.
Snap Count Info from FantasyData.com