NFL Snap Count Breakdown: Week 4
Andrew Cooper breaks down the NFL snap counts from Week 4 and highlights players that need to be on your radar.
In this article we break down the snap counts of all the fantasy relevant players for each week. Each team has a snap count chart with the percentage of total snaps played and below that you will find notes for each position group on anything that author Andrew Cooper found interesting (which runningbacks played more pass downs, whether tight ends ran routes or blocked on pass plays, which wide receivers lined up in the slot, who might have been injured, etc.). For more analytics driven fantasy takes, follow Andrew Cooper on Twitter @CoopAFiasco.
San Francisco 49ers
WR: Our first look at Deebo Samuel and his usage was as expected - especially considering they let Mohamed Sanu go. 15 snaps out wide, nine in the slot. It should be Brandon Aiyuk and Samuel on the outside with Kendrick Bourne in the slot - Deebo and Aiyuk are the fantasy relevant guys.
RB: Just when Jerick McKinnon settles into a groove with a massive snap share, Raheem Mostert returns to practice to muddy the waters. McKinnon likely earned himself some pass snaps but Mostert, if healthy, is going to get his carries as he’s a threat to take it to the barn at any given time.
TE: It’s the George Kittle show once again. He played nearly every relevant snap.
WR: If it wasn’t clear before, Anthony Miller plays slot. He’s now up to 131 slot snaps and only 11 out wide. On the outsides it’s Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney. The snaps are there so he’s worth an add in deep leagues to see if the talent develops.
TE: Jimmy Graham is playing almost exclusively pass snaps which is typically good for fantasy football. Of his 41 snaps, he ran routes on 32 and only pass blocked once. Holtz, Kmet, and Harris were used primarily for blocking purposes.
WR: This was an interesting game as they really mixed and matched the wideouts - five different guys played at least 22 snaps. For now Tyler Boyd plays the slot and AJ Green and Tee Higgins man the outside but they may be hosting auditions for the future outside with Mike Thomas and Auden Tate .
RB: Gio Bernard continues to factor in pretty much only on passing downs (17 of his 18 plays were pass plays). Joe 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.
TE: Drew Sample played quite a bit and wasn’t particularly relevant. Despite playing 64 snaps, he spent 31 run blocking and 5 pass blocking. Not interesting.
WR: Rookie Gabriel Davis once again logged a decent snap share - Cole Beasley seems to be the one taking a back seat on his behalf as Davis played 26 slot snaps. Stefon Diggs is the guy and John Brown is still there but in dynasty, keeper, or deep leagues Gabriel Davis is becoming a name.
TE: Dawson Knox had the best usage again but the tight end isn’t heavily utilized in this offense. Tyler Kroft belongs on waivers in all formats and Knox is only a dynasty stash.
WR: The Browns have used the same three WRs all year - OBJ, Jarvis Landry , and Khadarel Hodge . Well this week Hodge got injured and Donovan Peoples-Jones took over nearly Hodge’s full snap share. Odell and Jarvis are likely the only fantasy relevant ones but a rookie getting a big work load sure is exciting isn’t it? Maybe a deep league or dyno add.
RB: The real big news here is the injury to Nick Chubb . He’s expected out a minimum of six weeks. Here’s how the split went down. Hunt played 13 pass snaps and 13 running. D’Ernest Johnson played two pass snaps and 15 running. Dontrell Hillard played ten pass snaps, five running. Hunt is an obvious beneficiary with Johnson becoming a positive game script dependent play behind that line. Hilliard likely needs an injury to Hunt to be relevant but keep an eye out.
TE: Austin Hooper’s path to fantasy relevance is an injury to Odell or Jarvis. Plain and simple. He caught a TD pass but he blocked on one of every four pass plays (23 routes, eight blocking snaps). Can’t trust that.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
WR: Mike Evans is banged up and a gametime decision, Chris Godwin is out. Justin Watson manned the slot in Godwin’s absence but Scotty Miller scored the touchdown. Those two are a coinflip if Godwin and Evans are out again. Rookie Tyler Johnson would mix in as well.
RB: With no Leonard Fournette it was heavy Ronald Jones with rookie Ke’Shawn Vaughn finally sprinkling into some pass snaps (13). But Jones played 25 pass snaps himself and got nearly all the carries so Vaughn is still a distant thought.
TE: All these injuries make Rob Gronkowski and interesting spot start but you never know with Tom Brady - all he cares about is winning and, if the matchup is there for Cameron Brate , that’s where he goes. This guy threw 10 touchdown passes to linebacker and now Titans head coach Mike Vrabel so he can throw it to pretty much anyone.
WR: Courtland Sutton is out for the year as we know and KJ Hamler has already been ruled out for this week. Based on what we know, it will be Tim Patrick at split end, Jerry Jeudy in the slot, and DaeSean Hamilton at flanker.
RB: Melvin Gordon got the bulk of the snaps but Phillip Lindsay will be returning soon to spoil the fun. Gordon is the better start because he gets the pass down work - Lindsay needs an injury to Gordon or an obviously positive game script to be worth starting, especially coming off a toe injury.
TE: Noah Fant is unlikely to play this week. Hard to trust anyone but Jake Butt was the clear favorite to run routes, running 13 on 34 snaps to Noah’s 18 on 35 snaps. That would be a fun story given the adversity he’s dealt with but Fant won’t be out for too many weeks.
WR: With everyone healthy, DeAndre Hopkins and Larry Fitzgerald led the shoe. Christian Kirk gave up a good chunk of his snaps to Andy Isabella which hurts both of them. What you want to see if four WR sets featuring all of them.
RB: Kenyan Drake has unperformed but all indication from the team and the usage is that he will continue to get the lion’s share of the snaps. Until Chase Edmonds actually gets a bigger snap share, he’s not really a threat to take over that gig.
TE: Once again, just not enough snaps and too many mouths for feed for Dan Arnold to be startable.
WR: Don’t want to jinx this but the Cowboys have the most consolidated snap share still of any team. On the season now, the top three WRs, Ezekiel Elliott , and Dalton Schultz have all played 68.8% or more of the snaps and the guy with 68.8% is Schultz who didn’t even start the first game. Great for fantasy football. .
RB: Tony Pollard played 19 pass snaps in this one but Zeke played 36. Pollard does not have a big enough snap share to matter unless your league does return yardage points.
TE: Dalton Schultz is playing all the relevant pass catching snaps and, despite being fourth on the target totem pole behind Cooper, Zeke, and Lamb, there have been enough targets to go around. Be weary of games that aren’t shootouts though as there will be some.
Los Angeles Chargers
RB: The Austin Ekeler injury should keep him out 4-6 weeks which opens up some opportunity. Joshua Kelley is the obvious beneficiary as he was already splitting snaps but Justin Jackson should also get plenty of opportunity. We expect this split to be more down the middle than the pass catcher vs. running down split Ekeler and Kelley maintained.
TE: Hunter Henry is the guy. A solid start each week.
Kansas City Chiefs
WR: Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins are your every down players with Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson splitting the third wide out snaps when warranted. Hardman is the more exciting one if Robinson or Hill were to get injured but we’ve seen Robinson fill in at split end for Sammy when he’s out so be warned.
RB: CEH has this backfield locked up.
TE: Travis Kelce is the best. This Patriots defense is a tight end killer and he still managed 70 yards. There’s never a time to “buy low” on him but right now might be the closest it gets.
RB: Jonathan Taylor got most of the work and Nyheim Hines sprinkled in some pass work and a couple running downs. And so it shall be.
TE: Last week in this article we gave you a little insight into how the Colts have been handling the tight end position. This tweet breaks down the detailed usage for each player but the short and sweet is that Mo Alie-Cox is in a blocking role and Jack Doyle is trending that way. Trey Burton is in the pure pass catching role it seems and is the most interesting of the three all of a sudden.
WR: Coming into the year, we expected Mike Gesicki to play the “big slot” role in Chan Gailey’s offense. It’s a coveted position as guys like Eric Decker (4th most slot routes in the league under Gailey) and Tony Gonzalez (second most slot routes in league) were incredible fantasy assets in that role. Well so far that role has been split between Gesicki and Ford and each week it seems Ford may be getting a bigger hold on it. Ford almost exclusively plays slot, playing 156 slot snaps and only five at WR on the season and this week all 45 of his snaps came at slot. More on Gesicki’s usage below but, Ford also got nine targets out of the slot this week so, if that trend continues, he might actually be a viable asset. DeVante Parker and Preston Williams play the two outside roles which can be unpredictable week to week in Gailey’s offense.
RB: The Dolphins might not be the best team but they are no longer looking like the worst. And given the usage of Myles Gaskin, he’s startable for a lot of teams. Jordan Howard may vulture some goal line and Matt Breida will get some pass work but Gaskin is outsnapping both of them in all phases.
TE: We touched on this above but Mike Gesicki isn’t getting the full “big slot” role we had hoped. He has played 116 snaps in slot, 29 out wide, and two in-line on the season which would typically be fantastic usage for a “tight end” but splitting snaps with Ford in the slot dilutes those targets. He may need an injury to Ford or another Dolphins WR to become fully unlocked. He has a tough matchup this week as well vs. the 49ers and the likes of Kwon Alexander and Jaquiski Tartt so he’s a bench stash for now.
WR: DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery have already been ruled out for this week. Jalen Reagor is on IR. JJ Arcega-Whiteside has some sort of calf thing going on and has yet to be relevant anyway. That leaves us with another game of this rag-tag crew. In full PPR, Greg Ward is the best bet for reliable targets out of the slot. Should be John Hightower and Travis Fulgham outside unless JJAWs can go but hard to trust any of them.
RB: Miles Sanders played 75% of the snaps. Very few running backs are doing that. Start him and don’t think about it.
TE: We just mentioned it but the 49ers are tight end killers. Jaquiski Tartt once said that his goal is to erase the tight end. So I wouldn’t bench Zach Ertz after he had four catchenines for yards against the Niners. He’s still the top target on that team and, though he’s always been a little target/TD dependent given his lack of speed, he’s still a guy you start every week.
WR: It’s clear what this team wants to do: Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley out wide with Russell Gage in the slot. Julio is once again questionable after re-aggravating a calf injury though so Olamide Zaccheaus may take over his outside role with Christian Blake mixing in. If Julio is out, Zaccheaus could be a sneaky DFS play in a game that Vegas gives an over under of 54 with a one point spread.
RB: Todd Gurley has been getting all of the meaningful snaps this entire time so hopefully you stuck with him for the two TD game this week. The only thing disappointing is his usage in the passing game but I can’t imagine they don’t find a way to utilize that skill of his eventually.
TE: Once again, good usage on paper for Hayden Hurst . He’s played 93 in-line snaps, 91 slot snaps, 13 out wide, and two in the backfield. But, as the fourth target on the team, he’s relegated to being relatively touchdown dependent. He finally go off of kick return and extra point duty this week so maybe they are starting to consider him a more serious piece.
New York Giants
WR: Darius Slay ton out wide and Golden Tate splitting slot snaps with Evan Engram are your two fantasy relevant guys. The other guys aren’t worth holding or starting and Sterling Shepard comes off IR next week.
RB: Devonta Freeman has established himself as the guy, leading the way in both running and passing work. Worth noting that he let up a sack on his only pass blocking snap but he’s the best pass catcher in the backfield so hard to see him relinquishing the job over something like that.
TE: Evan Engram one again played 30 snaps at WR (22 in slot and eight out wide) with 27 at in-line tight end. He got ten targets. His toughest matchups are now behind him and the teams in his division are pretty bad against the tight end (Washington third worst, Philadelphia fifth worst, Dallas seventh worst). Five of his next six games are against those three teams. Now is where we find out whether Engram is going to do anything for you or not but you should not be dropping him until we see some of these division games.
WR: There was a scare with Laviska Shenault Jr. regarding a hamstring injury but he doesn’t appear on the injury report for this week. It should be DJ Chark and Shenault outside with Keelan Cole manning the slot.
RB: What a snag this guy turned out to be? Despite a little extra passing down work for Chris Thompson recently, James Robinson is tripling his snaps and still doubling his pass snaps (33 to 16). If that Jaguars offense was a little better his usage would put him in RB1 territory but he’s a rock solid RB2 with big time upside in any given week.
TE: Tyler Eifert’s usage is pretty decent - he ran 33 routes this week and got 6 targets. Can’t be trusted to start in seasonal leagues but maybe a sneaky DFS play vs. a team that just fired their coach/GM/offensive coordinator.
New York Jets
WR: Denzel Mims isn’t even practicing yet and Breshad Perriman is doubtful so it looks like Jeff Smith and Chris Hogan on the outside again with Jamison Crowder in the slot. With Joe Flacco at QB it could be rough sledding for everyone but who knows.
RB: Le'Veon Bell returns this week to be the only fantasy relevant player. Given he’s probably rusty and star rookie Mekhi Beckton is likely out, it’s hard to say how relevant.
TE: Christopher Herndon ran 36 routes this week which is nice but he still blocked on six pass plays. Gase still the problem.
RB: This one is not as clear cut. This week Adrian Peterson led in snaps but D’Andre Swift played slightly more pass snaps (15 for AP and 17 for Swift). Kerryon Johnson and Jamal Agnew each played sporadically with 11 snaps. As fo now, AP is a start in standard leagues and maybe Swift is a start in full PPR but it’s too split for our liking. Considering Matt Patricia is a Belichick disciple and he made the Lions switch to the Patriots Erhardt Perkins system, that isn’t surprising.
TE: T.J. Hockenson with 29 routes run and only three pass blocking snaps is solid usage but he’s still in a tough spot on the target totem pole that could make him TD dependent. Still should manage to be a back end TE1 on the season but needs injuries to some WRs to really have high end upside.
Green Bay Packers
WR: This team is a little odd because they don’t have many clearly delineated slot players. The slot route run leader, Allen Lazard (53) has still played more snaps at WR (99) than slot (79) and he has yet to have a game where he played more slot snaps than wide snaps. The next leaders in slot routes run are TE Robert Tonyan with 37 and RB Tyler Ervin with 35. Darrius Shepherd led the team with 20 this past week. Davante Adams is a lock and Allen Lazard should take his role back when he gets back but after that it’s hard to trust anyone.
RB: This would happen periodically last year as well - Jamaal Williams outsnapped Aaron Jones . No matter though as Jones still put up an impressive day for fantasy. The only slight concern would be Williams playing 24 pass snaps to 17 for Jones but it’s not going to make you bench Jones obviously.
TE: Robert Tonyan has seen good deployment all year and this week was no different with 28 routes run and only two pass blocking stats. The only difference was that he finally capitalized with three touchdowns. As long as Lazard is out he is an interesting play but when Adams and Lazard are both back the targets could be slim. Feels like a sell high candidate if he has another big game after the bye.
RB: Mike Davis dominated the snaps again.
TE: Hey look Ian Thomas scored! He actually got five targets last week and now he faces the worst tight end cover unit in the league. Could be an interesting DFS play.
New England Patriots
WR: Same as last week - Damiere Byrd and N'Keal Harry on the outside with Julian Edelman in the slot. Isaiah Zuber is just a gadget guy as of now and Gunner Olszewski goes in every now and again to do his Edelman impression.
RB: In a negative game script game, obviously James White got the bulk of the snaps. But the interesting thing is the performance of Damien Harris who managed to tally 100 yards on 17 carries. The nature of the Patriots two back system will limit Harris (or whoever is in that running down role) to standard or half point relevance with James White being a PPR asset.
TE: Useless as of now. All of them. Ryan Izzo played 65 snaps but he spent 46 of them blocking, including 12 pass plays.
Las Vegas Raiders
WR: Looking deeper into the stats, Zay Jones has operated primarily out wide, Hunter Renfrow primarily out of the slot, and Nelson Agholor a mix (27 slot snaps, 40 out wide). Given what we know about what the Raiders want to do from the slot, the return of Henry Ruggs would likely push Agholor back to the bench with Jones remaining outside and Renfrow splitting the slot. That’s our best guess - we’ll have to wait and see.
TE: Darren Waller once again massive snap share. He might be the TE2 after Kittle based on his usage.
Los Angeles Rams
WR: Cooper Kupp manned the slot with Robert Woods outside. After using heavy 11 personnel the prior week, they eased up on that a bit with Josh Reynolds only playing 30 snaps and Gerald Everett playing 33 in 12 personnel. Only Kupp and Woods were fantasy relevant anyway.
RB: We’ve warned readers that Les Snead and Sean McVay like the idea of mixing and matching RBs as well as going with the “hot hand”. The good news is that they are at least transparent about how cloudy the backfield will be. Before the season, Les Snead told us that they would use the hot hand. He said they liked Malcom Brown ’s ability to get tough yards, they liked Darrell Henderson in the pass game, and that Cam Akers would get his touches too. After this week’s game, Sean McVay explained essentially Henderson had an injury scare early and it ended up being a gritty game so they went with their gritty downhill runner in Malcolm Brown . Now with Cam Akers back it will be even more convoluted.
TE: Last week Tyler Higbee led in total snaps but he only ran 16 routes while blocking on seven pass plays. This week he ran 19 routes while blocking on seven pass plays. He can’t be trusted for now so, if he has any residual value from that three TD game, try to package him in a trade. Gerald Everett played fewer snaps but ran 15 routes and only pass blocked three times while also scoring on a gadget play. Everett is trending up while Higbee is trending down.
RB: Gus Edwards played the most snaps of any Ravens RB. Cool. It’s honestly just easier to show the usage breakdown than explain but we would lean slightly towards J.K. Dobbins right now based on pass snaps - I guess? The reality is that the Ravens don’t want you to know what they are doing and they are good at it.
TE: We told you last week that Mark Andrews had good deployment and better weeks were on the horizon. I guess the horizon was pretty close. Start him every week.
New Orleans Saints
RB: Up until now we’ve basically just said that Alvin Kamara is the guy but Latavius Murray mixed in this week in a big way and scored a couple TDs himself. Not what you want to see if you own Kamara but he gave you an RB1 day himself so hard to complain.
TE: The Saints went run heavy so blocking TEs Josh Hill and Garrett Griffin got most the work. Hill only ran seven routes on 40 snaps and Griffin was basically an extra tackle as he didn’t run a single route. Adam Trautman had good usage in hjs limited snaps running 13 routes and only pass blocking twice. He’s a dynasty stash only.
Taysom Hill : There’s the Taysom Hill we know. four snaps at QB, four in the backfield, seven at in-line tight end, one in the slot, four at WR, one on kick return, two on punt coverage, and four on punt return. No one is doing what he does. That’s why he gets his own category.
WR: Tyler Lockett . D.K. Metcalf. Let’s move on.
RB: Chris Carson looked like he could miss this week with a neck injury but instead played and dominated the snaps. If he’s playing, it’s hard to even consider anyone else in your lineup.
TE: In the last three games Greg Olsen has played 23, 23, and 22 snaps in the slot while also mixing a couple in out wide. That’s why we had nothing to say at WR after Lockett and Metcalf. At this point in his career he is highly target and TD dependent but would not be surprised to see him be a backend TE1 when all is said and done. If you have to start him, you should be using a bench spot to continue looking for a breakout tight end.
WR: Even Brandin Cooks might be surprised to learn that he played pretty much the whole game. It’s Cooks and Will Fuller outside with Randall Cobb in the slot - who knows what the team looks like now that it is rid of Bill O’Brien.
RB: Well, the fun is over - Duke Johnson came back to muddy the waters by playing on 19 pass snaps to 18 for David Johnson . We still like David Johnson as a potential RB2/Flex play but it was more fun when it was just David Johnson . If only you could just start a player named Texans Johnson.
TE: Jordan Akins suffered a concussion after getting popped by Harrison Smith (who was ejected for the hit and fined $15,000). Akins is questionable but Darren Fells is still a tough start given him tendency to be used to block heavily and his lack of any sort of YAC potential. Another TD dependent play.
WR: Justin Jefferson seems to be here to stay as Olabisi Johnson took a clear back seat. This week they deployed a lot of two tight end sets which also took Chad Beebe out of the equation. It’s just Adam Thielen and Jefferson for fantasy assets.
TE: Too much blocking from both tight ends. The only chance for fantasy relevance here would be a full time move to the slot for Irv Smith Jr. and we just aren’t seeing it.
Washington Football Team
RB: Despite the incredible efficiency of Antonio Gibson so far, J.D. McKissic still seems to be the preferred guy on passing downs with 35 pass snaps to only 16 for Gibson. Hopefully that shifts towards Gibson soon but, if it stays the same, this team should see a lot of negative game script and McKissic would see a lot of the snaps.
TE: Logan Thomas is playing more wide receiver (46 snaps) than most of the wide receivers in the league. And he played 20 snaps at in-line tight end too. Perhaps this QB change will finally unlock him. Worth a stash but he’s a super risky start.