NFL Snap Count Breakdown: Week 3
Andrew Cooper breaks down the NFL snap counts from Week 3 and highlights players that need to be on your radar.
WR: Brandon Aiyuk flashed this week - he and Kendrick Bourne played the biggest snap share but there’s no question that Aiyuk is the more interesting of the two. The 49ers didn’t commit to anyone else using Trent Taylor in the slot at times (17 slot snaps), Sanu primarily outside (18 wide, 2 slot), and a mix of tight ends outside. The real question is what happens when Deebo Samuel returns - some may picture him as a slot guy but he actually only played 23.7% of his snaps at the slot last year while Bourne played 52.7% of his there (Emmanual Sanders led the team in total slot snaps with 175. Our prediction is that it will be Aiyuk and Samuel in two wide receiver sets with Bourne coming in to play slot when needed.
RB: McKinnon had the better usage playing the bulk of the pass snaps but Jeff Wilson does what Jeff Wilson does, plodding for 15 yards on 12 carries while vulturing a TD. With McKinnon supposedly cracking a rib Wilson is poised to continue stealing short yardage work but McKinnon is the more attractive fantasy start until Mostert returns. You have to remember that Shannahan is a “hot hand” coach so it’s not outside the realm of possibility that McKinnon earns himself a bigger role if he continues to produce.
TE: We don’t predict injuries that haven’t happened yet - it’s just not a realistic way to play this game. That said, Jordan Reed getting hurt on the Metlife turf is as close to predictable as you can get. At first glance you may assume that the narrative is that George Kittle is the pass catching TE while Dwelley is the blocking TE but that’s actually untrue - in fact, last season Kittle blocked on a higher percentage of pass plays (16.4%) than Dwelley (11.7%). He’s taken on more of a blocking role this season in Kittle’s absence but, if Reed and Kittle are both out for this week, Dwelley actually could be a sneaky stream or DFS play.
WR: The real WR news here is obviously the Nick Foles will be taking over as quarterback, immediately bumping the value of all pass catchers. Allen Robinson is locked in. Beyond him the Bears have been non-committal to a second receiver but there is a clear trend. Anthony Miller almost exclusively plays slot when he comes in - through three weeks he’s play 92 snaps at slot and only 7 split wide. Darnell Mooney plays primarily outside (31 snaps) but also lined up at some slot with 15 snaps this week. Both Mooney and Miller are tough starts but worth watching to see what the offense looks like with Foles.
RB: Tarik Cohen unfortunately tore his ACL and is done for the season. Nagy has seemingly always wanted a one back system and now he has an excuse to run it. With the QB change and injury to Cohen, the arrow is pointing way up for David Montgomery . Ryan Nall is the backup.
TE: We predicted that Jimmy Graham would be featured heavily in this offense this offseason, if only because both Matt Nagy and GM Ryan Pace have their jobs on the line and they needed to justify giving Graham 2 years $16 million with $9 million guaranteed and a no trade clause. Well so far this season, even while playing 58 snaps at tight end, he’s played 89 snaps at WR which is only 10 fewer than Anthony Miller has played. So he’s playing tight end while also playing just as much WR as their 2nd leading snap getter at WR. Told ya so.
WR: Questions were answered here and in a good way - John Ross was a healthy scratch and Tee Higgins seized on the opportunity. From that we got a fairly consolidated snap share featuring AJ Green outside, Tyler Boyd in slot, and Tee Higgens on the outside. Delving even further into it, AJ Green lined up at left WR 32 times while Drew Sample lined up at tight end on the right 34 times (only 9 times on the left). This tells us that the Bengals were willing to line AJ Green up at split end where he was tethered to the line going toe to toe with the jam of Darius Slay which allowed Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd to line up off the line and roam free as flanker and slot. Green won’t get Slay every week so I would not give up on him yet.
RB: Gio Bernard continues to factor in pretty much only on passing downs (17 of his 18 plays were pass plays). Mixon himself played 35 pass plays though and obviously handled all the running duty. Running is typically the luxury of the winning team so we may need a better game script to see better production from Mixon.
WR: The name that jumps out to you is rookie Gabriel Davis but he likely saw extra snaps related to a calf injury John Brown suffered. If Brown’s injury is deemed to be long term Gabriel could be mildly interesting but the guys to own are likely just Diggs and Brown unless that happens. Beasley is what he is - low aDot/low YAC combo JAG.
RB: With Zack Moss out it’s the Singletary show. As we saw when Moss was healthy though, they want to split that backfield up. Could be a sell high opportunity for Singletary.
TE: Tyler Kroft scored 2 touchdowns. He’s also blocked on 1 of every 4 of his pass snaps this year. Don’t even think about it. Dawson Knox is still the better Bills TE for fantasy and he belongs on waivers too.
WR: Same story as last year. Same three receivers. Not enough volume. OBJ and Juice are the guys worth potentially using but would not blame you if you had other options.
RB: Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt are still splitting things down the middle which is annoying because Chubb is a monster out there. 13 pass snaps for Chubb, 13 for Hunt. 20 carries for Chubb, 16 for Hunt. Either one would get a huge boost from an injury to the other.
TE: Austin Hooper blocked on 34 snaps and only went out for 20 passes. He’s droppable in all formats given his usage. If Odell and Jarvis aren’t getting dependable targets, he certainly isn’t.
WR: So Godwin came back and promptly got hurt again. This time more seriously it seems. Mike Evans will play every snap and Scotty Miller is likely to take over for Evans in the slot where he could be worth a spot start here or there. With no Justin Watson , the rookie Tyler Johnson out of Minnesota would be next man up.
RB: Nothing like a nice split backfield. This time Ronald Jones looked better so he’s probably the “hot hand”. Mike Evans took both goal line touchdowns so hard to say there. These guys are on a “start if you must” basis until something changes.
TE: Perhaps last week’s comments about tight end were a big smoke screen as Gronk was featured heavily this week. Gronk is now back on the menu in deeper leagues but I wouldn’t trust him as a start just yet.
WR: As expected it was a lot of K.J. Hamler and Tim Patrick outside with Jeudy in the slot. The big curveball of course is that Bretty Rypien will now be starting on a short week on Thursday night football. Yowza.
RB: Melvin Gordon is the guy to start obviously but the offense needs positive game script for that. Playing the Jets might be your best bet.
TE: If there is anything on this team that is locked in, it’s Noah Fant. Monster snap share and he ran 42 routes while only blocking on 2 pass plays. If the QB situation can be figured out the upside is massive.
WR: DeAndre Hopkins , Larry Fitzgerald and KeeSean Johnson played the most snaps but it was second year player out of UMass Andy Isabella that stole the show this week. Well besides the 10 catches for 137 yards Hopkins had but that’s business as usual for him. Perhaps Isabella has earned himself more snaps? For the long term I still rank them Hopkins, Kirk, Larry, Isabella but it’s those flashes that intrigue you.
RB: Drake was the dude once again but Kyler Murray snagged the red zone TD once again. Drake will have his days but the annoyance is noted. Edmunds is no more than a handcuff.
TE: Dan Arnold took a backseat snap wise. Given the amount of 4 WR sets this team uses, a fantasy relevant tight end was a long shot anyway.
WR: Ah yes our favorite team. Highly consolidated snap share between Cooper, Gallup, and Lamb. Beautiful. Let’s keep it that way.
RB: Tony Pollard somehow played even less than he did the last two weeks. Zeke played 80 of 82 snaps. You love to see it.
TE: Rounding out this beautifully consolidated snap share is Dalton Schultz . Unfortunately he was asked to block on 14% of his pass snaps which might not seem like a big deal but, when you are the 4th or 5th option in the passing game, it is. His ceiling is low so he might be a “safe” start but, if he’s you starter, you should be on the prowl for high upside stashes.
WR: Mike Williams ’s already injury plagued campaign continues with him picking up a hamstring injury. Jaylen Guyten saw a full workload along with Keenan Allen - if Williams were to miss time he could be a sneaky DFS play but might not be enough targets with Allen, Ekeler, and Henry.
RB: In a more negative gamescript while trailing the entire game, the split wasn’t nearly as friendly to Joshua Kelley as it’s been in past weeks. Ekeler played 43 pass snaps and 13 run plays to only 15 pass snaps and 8 run plays for Kelley. That tells us that Ekeler is a start every week and Kelley is likely only useful against bad run defenses or when the Bolts are heavily favored.
WR: Sammy Watkins and Tyreek Hill are going to be out there every play but there was a little twist this week - Sammy actually played 36 slot snaps in a “big slot” role which is a bit unusual for them. It was a massive game vs. the Ravens so not surprised to see them deploy a little wrinkle. With Sammy in the slot someone needed to have their foot tethered to the line at split end and that choice was obvious in the bigger Demarcus Robinson . Hardman is the more exciting fantasy asset but he simply isn’t getting enough deployment to be trusted. An injury to Hill and he’s owned in 99% of leagues overnight.
RB: CEH dominated the snaps once again in all phases. The only concern is the goal-line work but veteran fullback Anthony Sherman also faltered on a 4th and goal from the 1 so he’s no threat either (fun fact: I used to hand the ball to Sherman all through youth football so he could run kids over all across southeastern Massachusetts)
TE: Kelce is still the best. 43 pass snaps, only 2 blocking. 30 snaps inline, 31 at WR (16 slot and 15 split). Don’t even need to tell you that but it’s nice to look at.
WR: Parris Campbell was already out with a brutal knee injury and now rookie Michael Pittman Jr. is out indefinitely after having surgery for compartment leg syndrome. Rough start. Veteran Zach Pascal played almost the whole game in his absence (32 slot and 23 wide). One thing I always like to note when wondering if these things might be permanent is special teams usage as starters on most teams don’t play special teams. Pascal played 7 snaps week 1, 4 week 2, and zero this week so the deployment is likely to stick for now. Daurice Fountain picked up snaps but as of now he’s not rosterable in more formats.
RB: This game was a blowout with the defense carrying the water for most of the day. Ard to just the RBs in a game like that but both Taylor and Hines ran 11 routes, Taylor outcarried Hines. Taylor still the start with Hines considered only if absolutely necessary in negative game script situations or leagues that count kick/punt return yards.
TE: As we mentioned in previous weeks, the Colts were essentially using Jack Doyle in the pass catching role Eric Ebron used to fill while using Mo Allie-Cox in the Jack Doyle blocking role. After his mini-break out this week and seeing how he outperformed Doyle in the passing game once again, you would think that had changed but it strangely didn’t. Doyle played 18 pass snaps (16 routes, 2 blocking) and blocked on 12 run plays while MAC played 9 pass snaps (8 route, 1 blocking) and blocked on 26 run plays. Mo is the more interesting stash but neither is startable just yet.
WR: Outside DeVante Parker , the Dolphins did a good deal of mixing and matching with the tight ends. Preston Williams played almost all of his snaps outside like he usually does (on the season he’s had 147 snaps out wide, 5 in the slot). Isaiah Ford is still splitting snaps at the slot with Gesicki which would be useful if, like Gesicki, he were TE eligible.
RB: Myles Gaskin has taken over a workhorse role for this team. It’s not a good team but there are also few workhorses. Startable.
TE: Mike Gesicki was used selectively this week - he only saw a 50% snap share but almost all of his plays were pass plays (he played 23 of 28 pass plays which was second most behind Parker despite not playing as many snaps). We’d rather he play every snap but Mark Andrews is deployed similarly and he usually does okay.
WR: This one went the distance so there were a lot of snaps to be played. Surprisingly rookie John Hightower led the team in snaps followed by Greg Ward out of the slot. Despite claiming he is healthy, DeSean Jackson continues to play limited snaps and also miss practices. For now, Ward is possibly a desperation play and Hightower and Jackson might be deep league stashes. JJ Arcega-Whiteside is also banged up but he hasn’t contributed much.
RB: Miles Sanders played 71 snaps. That’s all you need to know. Locked and loaded.
TE: Dallas Goedert is expected to miss multiple games - we’ll try to update with a better timetable. In the meantime, it should be Ertz in his usual role and Richard Rodgers picking up Goedert’s blocking role slack. In an intriguing turn of events, the Eagles signed Arizona flame out Hakeem Butler to potentially play some tight end. Given his skill set, if he does pan out, there is an outside chance he would move into Ertz’s pass catching role with Ertz playing more in-line. Ertz is still a start either way but something to think about.
WR: It was the Calvin Ridley show with no Julio. Olamide Zaccheaus manned the other side and Russell Gage was in the slot until he got hurt - then Brandon Powell took over the slot. If Gage is still out when Julio returns, it will be interesting to see if Powell stays in the slot or if they move guys around.
RB: Gurley didn’t have nearly as consolidated of a snap shar as last week and Brian Hill managed to score. As we mentioned previously, Hill is a terrible pass blocker which almost worked to his favor. Gurley ran 14 routes and got 14 carries (pass blocking 6 times and run blocking once). Hill ran 13 routes and got 9 carries while run blocking once and not pass blocking at all.
TE: Hurst’s usage on paper is good considering he played a good chunk of snaps, didn’t pass block much, and played a decent amount from the slot. His place on the target totem pole was always the issue and, if he can’t perform without Julio or Gage, I’m not sure when he will.
RB: It was a fairly split backfield though Dion Lewis (19 pass snaps) and Wayne Galman (13 pass snaps) played the role we would have pegged for Freeman (6 pass snaps). He also just arrived so we expect his share to climb.
TE: Based on what I’m seeing, there are people dropping Evan Engram in leagues. This is a mistake. He played on 37 pass snaps and ran routes on 34. He’s actually played more snaps on the season at WR (90 with 68 in slot and 22 out wide) than in-line (81). Are you really going to be the guy that carries the water for your leaguemate by holding Engram through his matchups with the Steelers and 49ers only to drop him before he plays his 6 division games against WAS, PHI, and DAL (without Leighton Vander Esch ). He was one bad pitch and one terrible pass away from a much better day. Bench him if you must but you would be crazy to drop him.
WR: With no Chark, this one was pretty simple. Keelan Cole in the slot and Chris Conley and Laviska Shenault Jr. outside. When Chark returns, it would be nice for him to just completely replace Conley but Conley is a captain on that offense so we know that won’t happen.
RB: James Robinson has been a pleasant surprise and the value of the year so far. Which is why it might surprise some that he played the same number of snaps as Chris Thompson . Thompson only got 2 carries and played 28 snaps on pass plays but it is still annoying that Robinson doesn’t have the full role.
TE: As we’ve said, Eifert is clearly the pass catching tight end. There will probably be a week where he catches a touchdown or two and he’s considered a big waiver add. As of now he is not doing enough with his pass snaps to consider. .
WR: This team is a mess. Braxton Berrios played slot and is the only one that really showed anything. At this moment, no sense in owning Chris Hogan , Josh Malone , or Lawrence Cager. If you ask me, the most intriguing guys are still Jamison Crowder and mysterious rookie Denzel Mims.
RB: Much more of a mixed bag this week which likely doesn’t matter much with Le’Veon set to be back week 5.
TE: Each week we have said this but Herndon is forced to block on too many pass snaps in Gase’s dumb scheme (he spent one of five pass snaps blocking this week which is actually an improvement over past weeks). He’s only interesting if/when Gase gets fired.
RB: They practically spent a first round pick on rookie DeAndre Swift - he played 6 snaps. Adrian Peterson carried the load but he has never been much of a pass catcher - he spent years hardly being able to hold onto handoffs. Peterson is a start if you must, Swift is a deep stash.
TE: Hockenson’s usage once again was very good - 33 routes run and only 2 pass blocking snaps. He’s a backend TE1.
WR: Whelp, Allen Lazard silenced critics in a big way. MVS played a good chunk of snaps along side him though not that effectively. It should be Davante Adams and Lazard outside with MVS in the slot moving forward.
TE: Robert Tonyan saw decent deployment with 24 pass snaps and only 2 blocking and this time he did a little something. Probably still to crowded when Adams returns.
RB: Wow. Mike Davis was ready to go. I guess handcuffs are a real thing again. Start him if you got him.
TE: Ian Thomas is out there but they just don’t see to want to target the tight end. Not an asset.
RB: James White was out once again with the tragic family issue he’s had to deal with. Rex Burkhead went crazy in his absence but James White is pegged to return this week. This backfield has always been tough for fantasy but Cam Newton makes it impossible.
TE: Izzo blocked on 7 of his 18 pass snaps. Useless. Only hope is for Asiasi to emerge. We’ll let you know.
WR: Don’t really want anything to do with these guys. Just wait for Ruggs and Bryan Edwards. Pick your poison with Renfrow or Agholor if you must in very deep leagues.
RB: In a negative game script Jalen Richard did actually play a good chunk this time - 19 of his 20 snaps were pass plays. Jacobs is the only one worth starting.
TE: Waller had a banged up knee against what is clearly emerging as the worst assignment in the league for tight ends in the New England Patriots. If Waller is playing this week you start him.
WR: The Van Jefferson experiment from week 2 seems like a distant memory as the Rams went back to their old 11 personnel strategy deploying three WRs for almost the whole game. And Jefferson was not one of them.
RB: As we talked about, GM Les Snead said they were going to ride the hot hand this year. Well, Darrell Henderson is clearly the hot hand right now.
TE: This week was baddd news for Tyler Higbee . For three and a half years, he spent most of the game blocking while the Rams ran 11 personnel with three wide receiver sets. Last year in two TE sets with no Gerald Everett , he exploded with great usage against bad tight end defenses, Well, this week they reverted back to 11 personnel and he blocked on 34 of 50 plays, including 7 pass plays. Think about Evan Engram ’s usage - they ran 37 pass plays and he ran 34 routes, 20 from the slot. The Rams ran 37 pass plays and Tyler Higbee ran 16 toutes, 1 from the slot. Not good. In that case he goes back to being a TD dependent guy so worth monitoring.
WR: It was Brown, Boykin, and Snead but no one could really get anything going. Hollywood is still the guy to start if you are going to start one.
RB: Split backfields are the worst. J.K. Dobbins played 20 pass snaps but only had 1 carry. Ingram and Edwards didn’t get enough carries to be relevant. Nightmare.
TE: Even Mark Andrews wasn’t safe from the terrible week the Ravens had. At least his deployment was good and the targets were there. Better weeks are on his horizon.
WR: When Mike Thomas returns, there might not be enough targets for anyone else beside him and Kamara. You can flip a coin on Sanders or Smith.
RB: We’ll just repeat what we said last week. Alvin Kamara is the guy.
Taysom Hill : After a full workload last week, much less shenanigans from Hill this week. He took a couple snaps at QB, 8 slot, 2 wide then the rest on special teams. Need more backfield and in-line tight end for the true Hill experience.
WR: Lockett. Metcalf. That’s all.
RB: Chris Carson dominated but left with an injury. Pick your poison on Hyde, Homer, or DeeJay Dallas. We lean towards Homer as the “known unknown” who got the same number of snaps as Hyde but has far less tread on the tires.
TE: Greg Olsen played 41 pass snaps and ran 38 routes which is great usage. He even played 23 snaps at slot and 5 out wide. But, in this offense and given his lack of speed at this point (and therefore lack of YAC), he needs a touchdown to put up an interesting score.
WR: Diontae Johnson left the game with a concussion and Chase Claypool played pretty much the whole game with him out. If he plays, it’s Juju and Johnson for fantasy. If he doesn’t, Claypool is on the radar for DFS.
RB: James Conner .
TE: With the Johnson injury they reverted to a lot of two tight end sets with Ebron playing a monster snap share and running 35 routes. He becomes interesting all of a sudden - especially after finding pay dirt - but he oddly only played 18 snaps out wide and 42 at in-line TE.
WR: Easy one here - Fuller and Cooks outside with Cobb inside. The Texans offense only ran 47 snaps while some teams played upwards of 80 so tough to get a read in a game like this.
RB: With no Duke it was the David Johnson show once again.
TE: Akins is getting great deployment ratio wise (27 pass plays to 5 run plays). Darren Fells on the other hand played 11 pass plays (2 blocking) and 13 run plays. Akins is kind of intriguing.
WR: Last week we explained this mish mash but it’s become pretty clear - this team doesn’t throw enough for anyone to be relevant outside of AJ Brown when he returns and possibly Corey Davis .
RB: Derrick Henry is the dude. And a big dude at that.
TE: Just like Tyler Higbee , we saw Jonnu revert back to a bit of that blocking role he’s had for a couple years now. You have to remember - Jonnu blocked on 20% of his PASS snaps even during the span when Delanie Walker was out. This week he blocked on 23.5% of them. Despite playing 66 snaps, he spent 40 blocking. Not a good trend for the big fella. If that’s his usage, he will need either big plays or TDs to have big days.
WR: Holy Justin Jefferson. They moved him from the slot to the outside and whew lad did he blow up. In weeks 1 and 2 he averaged 27 snaps in the slot and 5.5 in outside. This week he played 45 snaps outside and only 6 in the slot. Good change. Olabisi Johnson took a seat in the way, way back of the station wagon and Chad Beebe is sitting middle seat in the slot.
RB: Dalvin Cook showed this week why he’s one of the best in the business. Start every week.
TE: Despite Jefferson moving outside, Irv Smith Jr. actually played less snaps in the slot this week (5) than he did next week. Rudolph isn’t intriguing so the only exciting tight end situation that could come from this team is Irv Smith in the slot. We’ll keep an eye out for ya.
Washington Football Team
RB: It’s sad for Antonio Gibson owners to see J.D. McKissic outsnap Gibson in a negative gamescript - they clearly value McKissic’s pass catching as he played 27 of his 34 snaps on pass plays. McKissic could be a stash in deep PPR leagues.