Snap Count Observations from Week 3 (Fantasy Football)
The further we get into the NFL season, the more important you will start to see snap counts become. For the most part, the more a player is on the field, the more opportunity he is going to have to make an impact in fantasy football. Now, whether or not a player takes advantage of that opportunity is an entirely different story. The best we can hope for is to earmark the players in a position to succeed and hope for the best. Let’s see who those players were, and weren’t, in Week 3.
Every week I highlight any RB/WR/TE that plays every snap for their team in the previous week. Week 3 makes it three straight weeks of just one player making this list and it’s another WR. This time it is New Orleans’ Tre’Quan Smith playing as the team’s WR1 in Michael Thomas‘ absence. Smith isn’t exactly setting the world on fire but he seems to be securing a role for himself once Thomas is able to return.
Week 3 Snap Count Observations
Arizona WRs (DeAndre Hopkins 61, Larry Fitzgerald 56, KeeSean Johnson 46, Andy Isabella 26)
There will be a mad dash to add Andy Isabella on waivers this week and you can look at that in one of two ways. On one hand, he did secure four balls and score two TDs while playing the fewest snaps of the four active WRs for Arizona. On the other, he saw very little playing time while Christian Kirk was out and is likely to see less once he returns. This seems like a “Don’t chase last week’s points situation” and you don’t want to blow a lot of FAAB on Isabella heading into Week 4.
Atlanta RBs (Todd Gurley 35, Brian Hill 23, Qadree Ollison 9, Ito Smith 6)
So, we knew they weren’t going to overwork Todd Gurley but just 35 snaps while playing in a four-player committee seems…excessive. Gurley did manage 80 yards and a TD on 14 carries but was only targeted twice in the passing game. Brian Hill saw three targets, ran for 58 yards on nine carries, and scored a TD of his own. This is looking like a very split backfield and this may be the best time to trade Gurley.
Cincinnati WRs and TEs (Tee Higgins 57, Tyler Boyd 55, AJ Green 54, Auden Tate 25, Drew Sample 64)
Rookie Tee Higgins came in and dominated snaps right away as the Bengals chose to make John Ross a healthy-scratch just before the game. Higgins had nine targets, 2nd on the team, and scored two TDs for Joe Burrow. Boyd is still a target monster and even AJ Green stayed involved, though ineffective. Higgins’ emergence all but erased Drew Sample from the gameplan though. Sample played more than any WR but was only targeted once after seeing nine targets in Week 2.
Dallas WRs (Michael Gallup 70, Amari Cooper 65, Ceedee Lamb 49, Noah Brown 29, Cedrick Wilson 24)
We knew that Dallas WRs would get busy in this game against Seattle…we just guessed the wrong ones. The Seahawks are allowing insane production to WRs on the year and Dallas had already involved Cooper, Gallup, and Lamb a ton coming into this game. So of course it was Cedrick Wilson to lead the team in fantasy scoring. Wilson, who had five catches as a 2019 rookie, oddly enough all in one game, caught five balls in this game, his first receptions of the season. Based on last year’s performance, he is done working for the year and can stay safely in your league’s waiver pool. The big-3 still had solid games, with Gallup topping the group in Week 3, and all three have bright 2020’s ahead of them.
Detroit RBs (Adrian Peterson 40, Kerryon Johnson 20, D’Andre Swift 6)
What. A. Mess. After Peterson looked like the workhorse in Week 1, then gave it back to Kerryon in Week 2, he takes the role back in Week 3. Stranger still is Swift only seeing six snaps on the game after playing 34 in Week 1 and 20 in Week 2. Swift still leads the group in targets with 12 on the season and might be a buy-low candidate right now. Peterson has already rushed for 200 yards in three games and looks primed to keep Kerryon Johnson frustrated and frustrating fantasy managers for the entire season.
Indianapolis TEs (Mo Alie-Cox 36, Jack Doyle 32)
If you’ve listened to a few episodes of The Fantasy Footballers Podcast, especially in the last week, you’ve likely heard mention of “Gigantor”. Mo Alie-Cox‘s emergence has been a long time coming and the hosts are here for it. Alie-Cox went over 100 yards with Doyle out last week and scored a TD with Doyle back this week. He is a mountain of a man at 6’5″, 265 lbs and is going to be tough for defenses to handle as his playing time increases.
LA Chargers RBs (Austin Ekeler 56, Joshua Kelley 23)
One thing that almost no rookie RB has when he enters the league is a coach’s trust. We learned this when JK Dobbins was benched for missing a block last week and see it again after a Joshua Kelley fumble in Week 3. What should have been a solid game against Carolina’s porous rush defense was instead 10 total touches for 25 total yards, plus -2 fantasy points for that fumble. There will be better days ahead for the rookie you spent a ton of FAAB on last week, but we all need to be conscious of how fast rookies can end up in the doghouse.
LA Rams RBs (Darrell Henderson 34, Malcolm Brown 34)
Same snap count, two very different stat lines. After a stellar Week 1, Brown has taken a firm backseat to Henderson. Brown rushed seven times for 19 yards and could not secure either of the two targets sent his way. Henderson, on the other hand, dominated for the 2nd week in a row. He rushed for 114 yards and a TD on 20 carries and added a six-yard reception. It is his 2nd touchdown in as many weeks and Henderson looks like the RB to play in LA as long as Cam Akers is missing time.
Minnesota WRs (Adam Thielen 61, Justin Jefferson 51, Chad Beebe 22)
So much for Olabisi Johnson having a crack at the WR2 job. Rookie Justin Jefferson exploded into the “Stefon Diggs” role this week and it seems unlikely he’ll be giving it up anytime soon. Jefferson was targeted nine times, four more than Adam Thielen, and caught seven balls for 175 yards and a TD. Thielen added a TD of his own and will certainly one-up the rookie in the coming weeks but Jefferson should have some real value as the WR2 in Minnesota.
Tampa Bay RBs (Ronald Jones 35, Leonard Fournette 25, LeSean McCoy 11)
Last week, I declared Fournette the winner of this backfield…turns out, we’re all just losers in Bruce Arians’ eyes. Arians does not care about your fantasy team and went right back to RoJo in Week 3. Neither back looked particularly good, with Jones hitting 53 yards on 14 carries and Fournette getting just 15 yards on seven carries. All three backs, Shady McCoy included, added two receptions, proving that Brady still loves throwing to his RB, it just doesn’t matter when they spread it around. It is impossible to trust Arians or any member of this trio until someone proves themselves…or someone gets hurt.