Snap Count Observations from Week 8 (Fantasy Football)
No matter how far we get from the beginning of the season, in this case, half-way, the favorite focus of this article always ends up being rookie RBs. This week, five of the ten situations I’ll be digging in to will be following the path of rookie RBs in this turbulent 2020. Normally, we have some clarity by now, but Week 8 did nothing to clear up a few of these situations and even made at least one of them WAY WORSE. The goal of this series is to show you the playing time behind some of the booms, busts, and soon-to-be waiver wire targets from the past week. Use this info to help your decisions of which guys you want to target and which players it’s time to cut loose.
Every week I highlight any RB/WR/TE that plays every offensive snap for their team. Last week, for the 2nd time this season, no one made the list. It is also interesting that we have not a single RB make the list at all this season as we cross the half-way point. That trend continues in Week 8, as New England’s Damiere Byrd was the only player to hit the 100% mark. Byrd actually leads all Patriots’ RBs/WRs/TEs in snaps played this season.
Week 8 Snap Count Observations
Baltimore RBs (JK Dobbins 54, Gus Edwards 26, Justice Hill 2)
I usually try not to focus on situations where a short-term injury skews the results, but this one may have long-term consequences. With Mark Ingram out in Week 8, and presumably Week 9, the Ravens split their work down the middle for their RB tandem. Each had 16 touches, and each put on a good show with those touches. Edwards totaled 87 yards and scored a TD, while Dobbins crossed the century mark with 113 rushing yards. This backfield was almost unplayable as a three-headed monster, but with just two, you might strike fantasy gold. If Ingram were to miss more games or be let go come 2021, this is a backfield worth having a piece of.
Cincinnatti TEs (Drew Sample 62, Cethan Carter 16)
The emergence of Tee Higgins has relegated Drew Sample to a blocker. Sample played as many snaps as any of the WRs but was only targeted once and did not catch it. He was labeled as more of a blocker coming out of college and it seems as Joe Burrow has gotten more comfortable with Tee Higgins and AJ Green, Sample is being left in the cold.
Dallas WRs (Michael Gallup 69, Amari Cooper 59, Ceedee Lamb 37)
The QB situation is bad enough going from Dak Prescott to Andy Dalton to Ben DiNucci. Now we have to guess which WR is going to be the weekly favorite? Fantasy football is hard enough, thank you. This week, Gallup led in snaps and targets, his 12 targets in this game were equal to what he’d seen in his last three games combined, and he caught seven balls for 61 yards. Lamb and Cooper didn’t combine for that this week. It’s a mess and the only clear loser are the managers with a piece of the Dallas Cowboys right now.
Detroit RBs (D’Andre Swift 38, Adrian Peterson 12, Kerryon Johnson 11)
If you just look at snap counts, this is Swift’s backfield now. Unfortunately, fantasy points are not awarded for snaps. This would be a way more popular article if they were. Swift rushed six times…for one yard. Peterson carried five times for a whole seven yards. Swift did see four targets in the passing game but lost out on a TD to Kerryon Johnson. There will be better days against worse defenses, but this is a stark reminder that playing time is not everything.
Green Bay WRs (Davante Adams 71, Marquez Valdez-Scantling 62, Darrius Shepard 19, Malik Taylor 13)
I draw attention to this situation for one reason only. Allen Lazard practiced last week and could be back in the lineup in the next week or two. Based on snap counts, the Packers are running a 2-WR offense and MVS is doing nothing with his playing time. When Lazard comes back, expect Valdez-Scantling to lose most of his snaps, and maybe Lazard can do something with the targets that MVS was wasting.
Indianapolis RBs (Jordan Wilkins 39, Jonathan Taylor 26, Nyheim Hines 16)
Indianapolis TEs (Jack Doyle 45, Trey Burton 39, Mo Alie-Cox 32)
To start, it came out after the game that Jonathan Taylor is dealing with an ankle injury. That will do nothing to calm the nerves of a nation of upset JT managers. This was supposed to be the game where Taylor broke out. Instead, we get 20 carries and a TD from Wilkins and two receiving TDs from Hines. The market to move Taylor has to be minuscule but, with an easy schedule or not, he is impossible to trust moving forward. At TE, after pronouncing Mo Alie-Cox fantasy prospects dead a few weeks ago, the Colts used all three guys and all three played well. Burton ad Doyle found the endzone and Gigantor caught three of four passes for 37 yards. While the Colts WRs continue to do nothing, these TEs might have some every week value.
Las Vegas WRs (Nelson Agholor 56, Henry Ruggs 54, Hunter Renfrow 15, Zay Jones 10)
Clearly, Jon Gruden reads this article. After last week, when I complained about his usage of 1st-Round pick Henry Ruggs, he completely shifts and keeps him on the field for most of the game. The wind in Cleveland tore the passing game to shreds but it was encouraging to see Ruggs play so much and come away with four targets. He is a big-play waiting to happen and if this playing time continues, it will happen sooner than later.
LA Chargers RBs (Justin Jackson 41, Troymaine Pope 25, Joshua Kelley 21)
It does appear that the rookie RBs are bringing us more heartbreak than we’d hoped this season. After a couple of good games and an Austin Ekeler injury, it appeared that Joshua Kelley might be our first rookie breakout. Not so fast. Justin Jackson fits the role vacated by Ekeler much better and Kelley is best used in short-yardage, not a spot the Chargers are finding themselves in very often. This week, Kelley was out-snapped by a guy I didn’t know was on the team and Jackson turned 20 touches in 142 yards. Until Ekeler is back, there is only one RB to roster from the Chargers and it’s Justin Jackson.
LA Rams RBs (Malcolm Brown 57, Cam Akers 20, Darrell Henderson 18)
While snaps counts would make this look like the Malcolm Brown show, touches told another story. 10-9-8.Who doesn’t love sequential numbers, but not how you want to see the carries split among three RBs in fantasy football. Henderson lagged in snaps and touches but has had a good hold on this job up this point. Hard to call him done after one game. Akers finally got involved but did little more than just ruining the fantasy days of the other two RBs. Brown had ten carries and added two receptions but will be TD-dependent moving forward, just as he has been this entire season.
Philadelphia WRs (Travis Fulgham 59, Greg Ward 59, Jalen Reagor 46)
Philadelphia TEs (Dallas Goedert 53, Richard Rodgers 16)
If you take nothing else from this article, please take away that you need to add Jalen Reagor everywhere possible. In his first game back from the IR, he played almost as many snaps as the two guys that have been around, saw six targets, 2nd most on the team, and scored a TD. All this without using his amazing speed we saw displayed earlier this season. The Eagles are on bye in Week 9 but expect Reagor to be even more involved when they come back…to face NYG, CLE, and SEA, three of the fantasy-friendly defenses for WRs. Travis Fulgham is still looking like the WR1 but there is plenty of need for both of these guys to do big things. Dallas Goedert also came off the IR but caught just one target and broke the hearts of the Richard Rodgers streamers.