Snap Count Observations from Week 4 (Fantasy Football)
As the season crosses the quarter-pole and we start getting into bye weeks…and more injuries…it will be important to monitor how playing time is affecting a player’s fantasy value. Just because a guy plays a lot, it doesn’t mean he will have fantasy value. Damiere Byrd is playing 90% of New England’s snaps but is the WR66 on the season. On the flip side, situational players like Mo Alie-Cox and Latavius Murray can far exceed their expected production because they play when it matters, in the red zone. Week 4 gave us plenty to dig into…so what are we waiting for?
A few came close, namely George Kittle, who missed just one snap, but no RB/WR/TE played 100% of their team’s snaps this week. This is the first time this has happened since I took over this article last season.
Week 4 Snap Count Observations
Arizona RBs (Kenyan Drake 37, Chase Edmonds 21)
Drake exited this game late and never came back in, but it was not a serious injury and he should be good to go for Week 5. What is a serious concern is his three fantasy points to Edmonds’ 12 and his non-existence in the passing game. You have to think better days are ahead for Drake but Edmonds’ 35% snap count on the season and his ability to seemingly do more with fewer touches is a major red flag for Kenyan Drake.
Baltimore RBs (Gus Edwards 22, JK Dobbins 21, Mark Ingram 14)
It appears you “sell moderately high” window on Mark Ingram is coming to a crashing close. He scored a TD again this week despite playing just 14 snaps and seeing just eight carries. He was out-carried by Gus Edwards 9-8 and Dobbins also had five carries. Ingram’s upside is limited by a super split backfield and Lamar Jackson‘s own rushing ability. On the season, Ingram has played just 33% of the Ravens’ snaps, down 12% from 2019. If there is an RB-needy team in your league, move Ingram now.
Carolina WRs (DJ Moore 55, Robby Anderson 44, Curtis Samuel 36)
The one shining light of hope for DJ Moore is that he does not come off the field much. Robby Anderson is a transformed player in this new offense and seems to be the clear WR1 for Teddy Bridgewater. Moore is the only Panther RB/WR/TE with a better than 80% snap count on the year and figures to get going eventually. “When?” is a question no one can answer. Anderson is a certified fantasy WR2 at worst and Curtis Samuel still has moderate Flex value while Christian McCaffrey continues to mend.
Chicago TEs (Jimmy Graham 41, Demetrius Harris 23, Cole Kmet 15)
It would appear that the veteran has successfully held off his high-draft capital counterpart for the time being. Graham has played 68% of the snaps for the Bears on the season and Kmet is behind Harris on a weekly basis. With Nick Foles taking over the offense, it also appears that the aged TE might still have some fantasy value. It will be interesting to see how he and Gronk respond to each other in their upcoming Thursday night game. Both were kings of fantasy TEs about five years ago, but have looked like shadows of themselves thus far in 2020.
Cincinnati WRs (Tyler Boyd 58, AJ Green 53, Tee Higgins 43, Mike Thomas 25, Auden Tate 22)
Go. Get. Tee. Higgins. It took just two weeks but Higgins is showing that the future is now in Cincinnati. It helps that Burrow is throwing the ball a ton but Higgins has already relegated John Ross to a weekly healthy scratch and is doing a lot more with the targets that AJ Green did nothing with for two weeks. While he only played 57% of the snaps this week, down from almost 80% in Week 3, he still outperformed all WRs not named Tyler Boyd. The future is bright for the Bengals.
Indianapolis TEs (Jack Doyle 45, Trey Burton 36, Mo Alie-Cox 33)
NFL head coaches make no sense. Mo Alie-Cox looked like he was developing some rapport with Philip Rivers over the last two weeks but then is 3rd in TE snaps played once Trey Burton comes back. Gigantor did grab a TD early in this one, his only reception of the game, but only saw two targets. Burton was targeted five times, catching just two, while Doyle secured his one and only target. Free Mo Alie-Cox.
Minnesota WRs and TEs (Adam Thielen 58, Justin Jefferson 51, Chad Beebe 16, Bisi Johnson 11, Kyle Rudolph 48, Irv Smith 41)
It’s always good to get confirmation on a theory. The theory was that Justin Jefferson is firmly in the WR2 role for the Vikings. After the last two weeks, that is no longer a theory, it is very confirmed. Jefferson has played over 75% of the snaps in each of the last two weeks and had over 100 yards in both. Bisi Johnson has certainly fallen out of favor as have both TEs. After being a focal point of this offense in 2019, the TE position has only seen 14 targets total in the first four games. Both Rudolph and Smith are safely droppable in fantasy football.
NY Giants RBs (Devonta Freeman 37, Dion Lewis 21, Wayne Gallman 10)
It figured to be just a matter of time but Freeman is rising to the top of the Giants’ backfield. It’s a safe argument that he is likely more talented than both Gallman and Lewis but his upside is capped by the abysmal overall offense that the Giants put out every week. Freeman turned 15 touches in 68 total yards, including catching all four balls thrown his way in the game. Gallman looked pretty good, racking up 45 yards on just six carries but it is impossible to trust any member of this backfield for the time being.
San Francisco WRs (Brandon Aiyuk 64, Kendrick Bourne 50, Trent Taylor 37, Deebo Samuel 25, Mohammed Sanu 7)
Kyle Shanahan made it clear that Deebo would not be used like Deebo in his first game back and held true to his word. Samuel only played 34% of the snaps and did not do much in his limited time. Aiyuk looks to be developing into something special and had a TD run that you should definitely look up if you missed it. Bourne is still involved but will fade away as Deebo gets right. Once Jimmy Garoppolo comes back, these two young WRs could make some noise in fantasy.
Washington RBs (JD McKissic 39, Antonio Gibson 31, Peyton Barber 5)
When you’re a bad football team, the least you can do for fantasy owners is give us some clarity. Despite doing far more when he touches the ball, Gibson slides back behind McKissic in playing time for Week 4. On the season, McKissic has played 133 snaps to Gibson’s 118 while Gibson is outscoring him by 30 fantasy points. I imagine Gibson sees the field and ball more and more as the season progresses and is an excellent buy candidate right now.