Snap Count Observations from Week 7 (Fantasy Football)
Week 7 marks the half-way point of the fantasy football regular season. It’s around now that teams will start deciding if they are a contender this year or just playing spoiler for the rest of the season (assuming redraft, you’ll be loading up on draft picks and keepers if you play in a dynasty/keeper league.) If you are playing for a championship, how you navigate these next five weeks will be very important. Getting through the byes as unscathed as possible will be integral to playoff seeding. Choosing the replacements you play during those byes is much easier if you know who is, and isn’t, seeing much playing time. Let’s look at Week 7’s snap counts and see what trends we might be able to use to our advantage over the next month.
Every week, I highlight any RB/WR/TE that plays every offensive snap for their team. Last season, I never once had a week where it did not happen. This is already the 2nd time it has occurred this season. Will Fuller came close with 98%…but close does not count here. This is becoming a very exclusive club in 2020.
Week 7 Snap Count Observations
Buffalo RBs (Devin Singletary 40, Zack Moss 35)
Each of these RBs touched the ball 10 times in what amounted to a very weird game where the Bills never punted once but also failed to score any TDs. The playing time split is a sign of concern for Devin Singletary, who did just about nothing when he had the backfield to himself, but a sign of hope for Moss. The rookie amassed 72 yards on his ten touches, to just 47 for Singletary. If Singletary remains ineffective, Moss may see more meaningful touches as the season progresses and he gets back to 100%.
Cleveland WRs and TEs (Rashard Higgins 44, Jarvis Landry 40, Donovan People-Jones 36, Odell Beckham 2, Harrison Bryant 40, David Njoku 31)
With Odell Beckham out for the remainder of 2020, there will be questions of who to sign in his absence. If you let this game, and in fact, the last three Browns games, tell the story, it will be Higgins picking up Beckham’s mantle. Peoples-Jones will get some hype because he caught the game-winner this week but if the Browns stop running 3-WR sets, it will be Higgins and Landry that stay on the field with the TEs. Speaking of TEs, with Austin Hooper out, rookie Harrison Bryant seems to have taken over as the TE1. He reeled in two TDs in this game and saw two more targets than the veteran Njoku.
Denver TEs (Noah Fant 54, Nick Vannett 35, Albert Okwuegbunam 31)
While a lot of hype will follow Albert O after this game, his playing time says not to expect this very often. Fant and Okwuegbunam both saw seven targets but Fant, and even Nick Vannett, saw the field more than the rookie. Albert caught all seven of his passes and he and Drew Lock played college ball together, so he is likely to be targeted when he does play, but he is impossible to trust until his snaps increase. Noah Fant is still the pass-catcher to roster from Denver.
Green Bay TEs (Robert Tonyan 31, Marcedes Lewis 31, Jace Sternberger 20)
There was hope that a new TE1 had finally emerged to save us from this wasteland but it might just have been a mirage. Aaron Rodgers targeted the TE position just six times in this game and it was Marcedes Lewis, not Robert Tonyan, that led the group in targets and Jace Sternberger that caught the lone TD. Tonyan was hurt coming into this game but he will be hard to trust moving forward.
Kansas City RBs (Clyde Edwards-Helaire 27, Le’Veon Bell 17, DeAndre Washington 10)
It was just Bell’s first game and it was a blowout, but it appears this is definitely heading towards a 50/50 split that will be maddening for fantasy managers. CEH scored a TD and took all of the passing game work this week, but in Week 8, when the Chiefs play the Jets, don’t be surprised if Le’Veon Bell takes “revenge game” to a whole new level.
LA Chargers RBs and WRs (Joshua Kelley 38, Justin Jackson 31, Keenan Allen 69, Mike Williams 61, Jalen Guyton 54)
Kelley and Jackson basically split this game down the middle, even seeing the field together on some plays, but Kelley out-touched Jackson 17-10 at the end of the day. Both RBs were involved in the passing game, each catching five balls and increasing their PPR value, but neither was very effective running the ball, each averaging 2.4 yards-per-carry. How fun, another muddy backfield. One development to note is that the team ran a lot of 3-WR sets and Jalen Guyton played A LOT, almost as much as Mike Williams, and he brought in a 70-yard TD in this game. If Guyton continues to play this much, he might be a nice WR fill-in with sneaky upside for upcoming bye weeks.
Las Vegas RBs and WRs (Josh Jacobs 32, Jalen Richard 19, Devontae Booker 15, Nelson Agholor 51, Henry Ruggs 49, Hunter Renfrow 35)
I’m not sure what’s more confusing: The fact the Richard and Booker played more (combined) than Jacobs or the fact the Nelson Agholor led the WRs in snaps played. You spent a 2019 1st-Round pick on Jacobs. You spent a 2020 1st-Round pick on Ruggs, but you continue to feature their backups? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it over and over again: NFL Coaches do not care about your fantasy team.
New Orleans Saints WRs (Tre’Quan Smith 57, Marquez Callaway 51, Deonte Harris 20)
Look, I don’t even want to allude to the fact that Michael Thomas might miss more time but the reality is that he might, and now, with Emmanuel Sanders on the COVID-IR, the Saints need WRs. Enter Marquez Callaway. Callaway is a UDFA out of Tennessee that scored six TDs as a senior in college. While he didn’t score a TD in this game, he did reel in eight of ten targets for 75 yards. If the Saints’ top two options continue to miss time, Callaway may be more of a fantasy WR3 than anybody would’ve dreamed of heading into 2020.
Philadelphia TEs (Richard Rodgers 69, Jason Croom 9)
With both Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert out, Rodgers stepped into a true TE role and delivered on Thursday night. Only Travis Fulgham and Greg Ward played more snaps and neither had the receptions or yards that Rodgers did. Goedert will likely be back by Week 10 and the Eagles have a Week 9 bye but in Week 8, they get the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys are one of the worst teams against the TE and there is a better than good chance that Rodgers has another great game this week.
Pittsburgh WRs (Juju Smith-Schuster 65, Diontae Johnson 59, Chase Claypool 51, James Washington 18)
For a while, Chase Claypool was the new hotness and Diontae Johnson was looking old and busted. I mean, he’s only 24 years old, so it was more busted than old. It turns out that when he is healthy, Johnson is still a favorite target of Ben Roethlisberger. He was targeted 15 times in this game, Juju saw 14, and Claypool saw just one. As was previously thought, Washington was the odd man out on 3-WR sets, but the fact that Claypool was already getting the WR1 treatment from Malcolm Butler was a sign of respect for Claypool, and a sign of frustration for fantasy managers that blew all their FAAB on Claypool. There will be better days but it does seem that one of these WRs, Johnson or Claypool, might need to fail for the other to succeed.
Tampa Bay RBs (Leonard Fournette 40, Ronald Jones 31, Ke’Shawn Vaughn 2)
The running narrative this entire offseason was that Ronald Jones would do something to upset Bruce Arians or Tom Brady, or both, and that he would find a way to get himself benched. That was before the team even signed Leonard Fournette and only amplified after he was brought on board. In this game, that mistake was a dropped pass that opened the door for Fournette. After Jones has rushed for 100 yards in each of his last three games, it was concerning to see him cast aside so quickly. The temperaments of both head coach and QB makes this a hot/cold situation that will be tough for fantasy managers to navigate while both backs are healthy.