The first week of the fantasy playoffs saw injuries to some superstars and owners that were lucky enough to be on bye or win are left picking up the pieces. One way to mark a guy for future fantasy relevance is to look at the amount of time he actually gets on the field. Little known fact: You cannot score fantasy points from the sideline. Week 14 seems to have given us some clarity at RB and showed us who to trust when replacing an injured WR, information that will be quite helpful in your push for a #FootClanTitle.
Every week this season, I have been highlighting an RB/WR/TE that played 100% of his team’s offensive snaps. For the 1st week of the fantasy playoffs, no RB or TE decided to join the party, but we did have three WRs. For the Texans, DeAndre Hopkins played all 80 snaps, the 4th time this season that he has made the list. The new WR1 for Indianapolis, Zach Pascal, makes the list for the 2nd time in two weeks, though he was outshined by teammate Marcus Johnson. Finally, for Detroit, Marvin Jones did not miss a play, though you couldn’t tell when looking at his stat line.
Week 14 Snap Count Observations
Arizona Cardinals RBs (Kenyan Drake 39, David Johnson 22, Chase Edmonds 11)
I hate to be the one to say this but…David Johnson may be relevant in the fantasy playoffs. A statement that would have been laughed at for different reasons at different points in the season, I know! Johnson’s 22 snaps were his highest since Week 10 and he scored more fantasy points, with 53 yards and a TD, than he had since Week 6. The downside is that he only touched the ball five times to Drake’s 14, but he was far more effective with his touches and could start to loosen the stranglehold Drake has put on the job.
Kansas City Chiefs RBs (Spencer Ware 31, LeSean McCoy 24, Darwin Thompson 21)
Can we put this Darwin Thompson thing to bed now? Ware led the Chiefs’ RBs in snaps played despite not even being a Chief eight days ago. McCoy ended the game with the most touches (12) but did almost nothing against a solid Patriots defense. Thompson did lead the RB group in targets, receptions, and receiving yards, but is unlikely to see the field enough to be considered relevant in redraft league’s playoffs.
Miami Dolphins RBs (Patrick Laird 59, Myles Gaskin 13)
Sometimes the best ability is availability. In fantasy football, volume is king and Laird looks to be “the guy” in Miami to end the season. Since the Dolphins lost Kalen Ballage in Week 12, Laird has dominated the snaps in this backfield and has been a pretty solid fantasy RB. In fact, since Week 11, Laird is the RB25 and is very likely sitting on your waiver wire right now…unless one of the members of your league has caught on the cult-like following that Laird has amassed on Twitter!
Minnesota Vikings RBs (Dalvin Cook 34, Alexander Mattison 27)
It will be interesting to see what the narrative around Dalvin Cook is to end the fantasy season. If you own him, he is very likely the main reason you are still in the fantasy playoffs…but can you trust him? Week 14’s snap split is concerning, but he still touched the ball 20 times, finishing with 75 totals yards and a TD. Mattison ended with 16 touches for 64 yards. It would seem that Cook is still a “safe floor” play but Mattison is capping his ceiling.
San Francisco 49ers RBs (Raheem Mostert 40, Matt Brieda 12, Tevin Coleman 11)
We saw the beginning of this last week but now it is confirmed: Colonel Mustard has risen through the ranks to be the true RB1 in San Fran. With all four RBs healthy for the first time in a while, Mostert dominated snaps. Jeff Wilson was a healthy scratch, Breida looked like the primary back-up, and Coleman was used purely as “mop-up” duty. It has been a strange season to own a piece of this backfield but at this point, Mostert is a “must start” in every league.
Atlanta Falcons WRs (Julio Jones 58, Calvin Ridley 38, Russell Gage 37)
This week’s big question will be “Who is replacing Calvin Ridley?” The answer is “A little bit of everyone but mainly Russell Gage.” Ridley is out for the year but at least gave fantasy owners one last solid game before his exit. From a snap count perspective, he will be replaced by Gage. Gage’s former WR3 spot will be filled by many, including Justin Hardy and Olamide Zaccheaus. As a writer, I hope that Zaccheaus’ role is small because his name is hard. Gage will not bring the TD scoring potential we saw from Ridley but he should see solid targets every week. Maybe Julio Jones will find the end zone again?
Los Angeles Rams WRs (Robert Woods 69, Josh Reynolds 46, Brandin Cooks 27, Cooper Kupp 20)
As the Rams get back to leaning on Todd Gurley, their WR snaps counts are all over the place. Cooks and Kupp played 61 and 57 snaps respectively in Week 13. They were 3rd and 4th on the team in Week 14. Kupp still found the endzone but Cooks was a ghost. Robert Woods has finally put himself back into fantasy football conversations and there is no way you are benching Kupp but, based on the last two weeks, you also can safely drop Cooks and Reynolds.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers WRs (Chris Godwin 74, Breshad Perriman 65, Justin Watson 43, Mike Evans 18)
Evans rewarded fantasy owners with one beautiful 61-yard TD before bowing out of this game. His hamstring injury looked painful and it appears he will certainly miss Week 15 and there is no way you can put him back into your fantasy lineups for the championship. On a team that throws as much as Tampa Bay, the loss of Evans creates a huge void and the player that fills that void will be an excellent fantasy asset. Unfortunately, we’re not sure if that will be Perriman or Watson. Perriman has been operating as the WR3 and will likely fill the exact role vacated by Evans, but Watson made the most of his Week 14 playing time, reeling in five balls on eight targets for 59 yards and a TD. Perriman scored too, ending with 70 yards on three receptions.
Tennessee Titans WRs (AJ Brown 52, Corey Davis 47)
It has finally happened. Over the last two weeks, Brown has played more snaps than Davis and has scored more fantasy points than him in each of the last three weeks. In Week 14, Brown looked almost unstoppable, taking five catches for 153 yards and two TDs. AJ Brown needs to be rostered and likely started in every league in Week 15.
Houston Texans TEs (Jordan Akins 51, Darren Fells 45)
Those owners who have been hanging onto Fells have been pretty disappointed lately. He did score a TD in Week 13 but that was his first since Week 9 and now he is being out-snapped by Akins again. It is time to look elsewhere for your championship TE.
Carolina Panthers TEs (Ian Thomas 61)
With Greg Olsen missing this game with a concussion, Ian Thomas filled in more than admirably. Thomas was targeted 10 times and caught five balls for 57 yards and a TD. If Olsen misses more time, Thomas is the perfect streamer for owners short on TE heading into the semi-finals.