Snap Count Observations from Week 16 (Fantasy Football)
What a run! It is safe to say that 2020 will not be a year soon forgotten and that holds true in fantasy football. I hope you all won at least one #FootClanTitle so that you have fond memories of this season. Over the last few weeks, we’ve been highlighting the teams with the best fantasy playoff schedules, but now that the season is over (Sorry, Week 17 Championships should be banned), let’s look elsewhere. For most of this season, rookie RBs and their playing time was the most interesting topic for this article. With the season basically in the books, let’s end where we started. The nine teams we highlight this week all featured rookie RBs heavily at some point this season and their Week 16 usage may give us a glimpse of their futures. I’ve left Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Cam Akers, and James Robinson (plus a few less notable rookies) off the list since they all missed Week 16 with injuries.
Every week, I like to highlight any RB, WR, or TE that plays every offensive snap for their team. The lists have been small this season, but Week 16 brought a virtual plethora of players hitting the 100% mark. For the NY Jets, Breshad Perriman played every down of the Jets upset of the Cleveland Browns, and for the Washington Football Team, WR Cam Sims and TE Logan Thomas played all 71 offensive snaps in their tough loss to the Carolina Panthers. Then on Monday night, both Damiere Byrd and Jakobi Meyers played every snap at WR for the Patriots with Gabriel Davis matching their effort for Buffalo Bills. That’s seven total players at 100%, by far the most in a single week this season. Unless something crazy happens in Week 17, no RB will have hit the 100% in any game in 2020.
Snap Count Observations from Week 16
Baltimore Ravens RBs (JK Dobbins 35, Gus Edwards 34)
The story has been the same for the last few weeks, with Mark Ingram out of the picture, Gus and the rookie Dobbins are splitting time almost down the middle. Dobbins has typically seen more volume but this week it was Edwards’ turn. Both backs scored about the same amount of fantasy points, with Dobbins scoring a TD on 4 fewer carries. On the season, Dobbins played almost 45% of the snaps for Baltimore. Not a huge number but with Ingram expected to be gone in 2020, there is room for growth.
Buffalo Bills RBs (Zack Moss 36, Devin Singletary 35)
Fitting that a backfield that was basically split 50/50 all season (when both backs were healthy), ends the season with a 50/50 split. While the two also split touches in this game, the rookie, Moss, outperformed Singletary on the back of a rushing TD. Overall, Singletary played three more games and 218 more snaps but scored just 30 more fantasy points. Both of these RBs will be back next season and you can expect another split-backfield headache.
Detroit Lions RBs (D’Andre Swift 36, Kerryon Johnson 11, Adrian Peterson 6)
As the season hit its half-way mark, Swift started to take over this backfield and, outside of injury, he never gave it away. While he didn’t have a great game in Week 16, or a stellar season altogether, he flashed talent on a rebuilding team. The Lions will have a new coach in 2021 and that will likely play a big factor in Swift’s 2nd-year value, but the future does look bright. He played just 37% of his team’s snaps this season and finished as the RB21 overall.
Green Bay Packers RBs (AJ Dillon 38, Aaron Jones 25)
AJ Dillon has scored just 39 fantasy points in his rookie year…25 of them came in this game. This was the first game where he saw significant playing time and he delivered. He finished the game with 21 carries for 124 yards and two TDs. Some of that was due to the weather, some was due to Jamaal Williams missing the game and Aaron Jones getting hurt during the game, but regardless, Dillon looked good. With Jones and Williams both able to walk in free agency next season, this may have just been a glimpse of things to come in Green Bay.
Indianapolis Colts RBs (Jonathan Taylor 40, Nyheim Hines 29)
The most significant development in this backfield over the last few weeks has been the fact that rookie Jonathan Taylor has made Jordan Wilkins disappear. For two straight weeks, Wilkins did not see the field and Taylor continued a streak of great games dating back to Week 11. He is still splitting snaps with Hines and is losing out of passing work because of it but he is dominating the carries. His early-season usage was maddening but Taylor finished with 45% of the snaps on the year and was the RB7 after Week 16. It remains to be seen what will happen with Marlon Mack in the offseason but it appears this backfield now belongs to Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines.
Miami Dolphins RBs (Myles Gaskin 48, Salvon Ahmed 15)
It was going to be interesting to see how the Dolphins worked Gaskin back into action after his rookie backup, Ahmed, had played well in his absence. Ahmed saw some early work in the game but it eventually went right back to Gaskin as the full-time back. Gaskin finished the game with 169 total yards and two TDs, Ahmed had three total yards on seven touches. There is speculation that Miami will add an RB with one of their many draft picks this offseason but Gaskin’s play this season, along with Ahmed’s during his injury, may make that unnecessary.
NY Jets RBs (Frank Gore 31, La’Mical Perine 19, Ty Johnson 18)
This entire team has been a mess this year and now they’ve even ruined getting the 1st pick of the draft. When the Jets added Gore, many joked that it would be the end of Lev Bell with the Jets. Those jokes quickly ended when Bell was released early in the season. Gore took over at age 37 but for a while, it looked like he would split time with rookie La’Mical Perine. Perine then got hurt and it was Gore and Ty Johnson. This was Perine’s first game back, and Gore got hurt, but Perine did see 10 total touches to Gore’s 15 and Johnson’s two. Guessing the future for the Jets is a fool’s errand but it seems unlikely Gore will return. If they keep Adam Gase (WHY?), Perine would likely start 2021 as the lead-back for the Jets.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers RBs (Ke’Shawn Vaughn 35, Leonard Fournette 25, LeSean McCoy 13)
There was so much hype for Vaughn when the Bucs drafted him that it’s hard to imagine that this was just his 2nd game of significant playing time this entire season. The rookie has played just 98 snaps this season and more than 1/3 of those came in this game. With Ronald Jones missing a 2nd straight week, Vaughn was the primary backup to Leonard Fournette and ending outsnapping him in a blowout. Vaughn finished with 15 carries for 62 yards and did well to create excitement for his 2nd season, when Fournette, Jones, or both could be gone.
Washington Football Team RBs (JD McKissic 49, Antonio Gibson 21, Peyton Barber 4)
It was clear to those that watched the Football Team this season that this is Antonio Gibson‘s backfield. The rookie looked good in both the running and receiving game, and that was with him splitting passing game work with McKissic all year long. This was his first game back from a significant toe injury, so don’t let the snap counts fool you, Gibson is the RB of the future for Washington. On the year, he played just 36% of the snaps but finished as the RB13 in fantasy football. McKissic may or may not be back next year but if he is in Washington, he will hold some PPR value.