Snap Count Observations: Week 1

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Welcome to the 2018 regular season! One of the most important statistics to keep an eye on early in the NFL season is snap counts. Even if one of your top players doesn’t have a fantasy point explosion, watch the snap counts. Players who are on the field more often are more likely to score fantasy points.

Broncos RBs – Royce Freeman 39% / Phillip Lindsay 35% / Devontae Booker 26%

This backfield ended up closer than many Rolls Royce truthers would care to admit. Freeman and Lindsay both carried the ball 15 times for exactly 71 yards, but Lindsay also caught two of his three targets for 31 yards and one touchdown. Freeman still has control of the lead duties for now from a snap perspective. I can’t see 5’8″, 190 lbs Lindsay getting 17 touches every week.

Jaguars WRs – Keelan Cole 75% / Donte Moncrief 68% / Dede Westbrook 49%

The top three wideouts for the Jacksonville Jaguars have been intriguing since Marqise Lee went to IR before the season. As many projected, Cole led the way with a 75% snap share. On Sunday, Westbrook had slightly better fantasy production in .5 PPR, outscoring Cole 7.6 to 6.9. If Cole can solidify his role as the top receiver on the team, look for his production to improve on a week to week basis.

Cowboys WRs – Cole Beasley 67% / Allen Hurns 59% / Deonte Thompson 47% / Michael Gallup 45%

Terrance Williams has been relegated to 5th option for the Cowboys receiving corps. That leaves Beasley and three first-year Cowboys to fight for snaps. Beasley himself caught seven of his eight targets for 76 yards. I think Beasley may be worth rostering based on his reception numbers and previous production. Of the remaining receivers, Allen Hurns is currently slated to be the team’s top deep threat with limited usage and I’d say Gallup is nothing more than a stash candidate.

Colts TEs – Jack Doyle 94% / Eric Ebron 45%

Doyle dominated the snaps for the Colts in Week 1. Ebron had a nice day if you started him, catching 4 of 5 targets for 51 yards and a touchdown. Doyle, however, out targeted Ebron 10 to 5. I think it’s encouraging to see Ebron get used in the red zone, but it will be tough to rely on touchdowns in order to start him. Doyle should get a steady rate of targets from healthy quarterback Andrew Luck going forward.

Dolphins RBs – Kenyan Drake 74% / Frank Gore 29%

It looks like the co-starters weren’t really co-starters after all. Kenyan Drake played the lions’ share of the Dolphins offensive snaps in Week 1. Only nine other running backs played a higher percent of snaps than Drake. Frank Gore proved he’s timeless by rushing 9 times for 61 yards, with only one rush going for less than 3 yards. I imagine Drake’s opportunity and fantasy scores will soon reflect his snap numbers.

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Steelers RB – James Conner 92%

You may notice there’s not a second name after Conner. James Conner was the RB on the field for every play that wasn’t an empty backfield. Le’Veon Bell‘s holdout situation has many question marks, but James Conner’s game didn’t. He toted the rock 31 times for 135 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground. He also was targeted six times, catching five of those targets for 57 yards. So long as Bell is out, James Conner should be in your fantasy starting lineups.

Redskins RBs – Adrian Peterson 53% / Chris Thompson 42%

When AP was on the field, he was being used heavily. He touched the ball on 28 of his 42 offensive snaps. Peterson showed that he could make the most of his opportunities with 131 yards from scrimmage and a rushing touchdown. Thompson also showcased his explosive playmaking ability that he showed last season before missing 6 games due to injury. I think these two RBs will likely continue to split snaps evenly as the season continues.

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Chiefs WRs – Sammy Watkins 91% / Tyreek Hill 71% / Chris Conley 63%

This one might shock you a little bit after seeing Hill score over 40 fantasy points in Week 1. I won’t say that Hill is going to be pushed back to the 2nd option by Watkins, but I think there’s still something left in the tank for Watkins. I still see Hill as a guy who will boom and bust a lot this season. Watkins may not be reliable either, but his snap count is encouraging and the Chiefs didn’t pay him 16 million dollars per year to block. Keep an eye on him.