NFL Snap Count Breakdown: Week 5
Andrew Cooper pores over the data and breaks down the NFL snap counts from Week 5 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 running backs 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.
WR: As we predicted, it was Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk on the outside for most of the game with Kendrick Bourne in the slot. The outside guys are certainly worth owning though Bourne competes with George Kittle for slot snaps making him the odd man out to a certain degree.
RB: Raheem Mostert made his highly anticipated return without much drama - he doubled the other RBs snaps. He not only got the most carries but also played on 17 pass snaps to 15 for McKinnon. McKinnon will still get some passing down work and Wilson may vulture a TD here or there but it seems Mostert is the guy.
TE: George Kittle played every snap. The one knock on him is that they insist on running plays that feature him as a pass blocker. He blocked on 11 snaps which isn’t really to our liking but we’ve seen high aDot, high YAC players do it in the past like Rob Gronkwoski. If you look at the Chiefs, Tyreek Hill runs 49 routes this week and Travis Kelce runs 49 routes. You look at the 49ers, Aiyuk runs 43 but Kittle only runs 34. Those opportunities matter and it’s why Kelce is in a tier all of his own. You still start Kittle every week though.
WR: As we talked about last week, Anthony Miller pretty much only plays slot. This week he played 22 snaps of slot, 2 at WR, and 2 at in-line TE (for some reason). That brings him to 153 slot snaps and 13 snaps out wide on the season. So he basically only comes in for about half the game to play some slot. With that usage, Darnell Mooney is more interesting. And obviously ARob is a stud.
TE: It might not always look pretty, but another game in the books with fantastic usage for Jimmy Graham . He ran 39 routes which was second only to 44 for Allen Robinson , he only blocked on 9 plays, and he lined up at WR for 31 plays (23 slot, 8 split wide) vs 17 at tight end. You can at least count on Jimmy to be part of the attack rather than the protection which can’t be said for many tight ends.
WR: This was an interesting game as they really mixed and matched the wideouts - 5 different guys played at least 22 snaps. For now Boyd plays the slot and AJ Green and Higgins man the outside but they may be hosting auditions for the future outside with Mike Thomas and Auden Tate .
RB: As always, it’s The Joe Mixon Show with special passing down guest Giovanni Bernard making a couple quick appearances. Mixon is the guy.
TE: Drew Sample once again was used to block heavily, blocking on 26 run plays and 9 pass plays. Not worth owning. He never was.
WR: With John Brown out, rookie Taylor Gabriel got a full workload but Brown isn’t expected to be out for the long term. Stefon Diggs is the guy followed by Brown. Cole Beasley plays the slot but runs too shallow of routes to produce consistent production. He will score some sneaky TDs but don’t be fooled.
RB: It sure felt like T.J. Yeldon played a ton but Devin Singletary played more pass play (31 to 21) and got more carries. Singletary is still the guy to own/start though Zack Moss will enter the mix soon to throw another wrench in there.
TE: Though Kroft played 10 more snaps, he also spent 6 more snaps than Knox blocking. Kroft ran 18 routes and Knox ran 14. Neither are relevant with that usage.
WR: Jarvis Landry looked a bit shaken up at one point but apparently he’s fine. It’s Odell and Hollywood Higgins outside with Jarvis in the slot. Only Jarvis and Odell are interesting for fantasy despite the Higgins touchdown.
RB: There was some hype for D’Ernest Johnson to get some running down work but that seemed to be overblown as Hunt dominated all facets. Some teams might be wondering whether it might have been worth snagging Hunt on his restricted free agent tender.
TE: This team is clearly still run first and Austin Hooper is the third fiddle after Jarvis and Odell. To risky to start given this week was probably what a “boom” week looks like.
WR: Mike Evans played the bulk of the snaps as expected. Rookie Tyler Johnson played the Chris Godwin role out fo the slot and Scottie Miller manned the outside. This makes Johnson kind of appealing with Godwin out though Justin Watson could return from injury this week to muddle the whole thing.
RB: Leonard Fournette played one snap and Ke’Shawn Vaughn injured his chest so it was a heavy dose of Ronald Jones . Fournette is back at practice supposedly so maybe he’ll be back in the mix this week. Jones is more trustworthy than Fournette, obviously.
TE: Gronk played the traditional tight end role with Cameron Brate coming in for passing downs, playing 10 snaps at WR (7 slot, 3 wide). Hard to really rely on either but we’d prefer Gronkowski if you must.
WR: To start last year, the Cardinals used Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk out of the slot primarily in four wide sets. In week 9 that changed with Kirk being moved to the outside (where he scored 3 TDs vs the Bucs). It seems that has carried over to this year as Kirk has now played 153 snaps outside and only 37 in the slot. DeAndre Hopkins has also played 304 snaps outside and 28 in the slot. Larry Fitzgerald has played 241 slot snaps and 54 outside. That currently leaves Andy Isabella and Dan Arnold battling for the remaining snaps. We like Hopkins obviously and, after that, it’s Kirk. The rest are tough to trust.
RB: Drake is playing the bulk of the snaps still but Chase Edmonds had the more impressive day from a fantasy and efficiency standpoint. Perhaps Edmonds is going to be able to push for a more even split.
TE: Not interested.
WR: Michael Gallup quietly led the team in snaps as CeeDee Lamb was the guys who seemed to be all over the place despite playing almost half the snaps of Gallup. Speaking of quietly, Amari Cooper ’s snaps have quietly gone from ~90-95-percent the first two weeks to 75-80-percent the next two to 63-percent this week. Sometimes what happens with the backup is they will form relationships with some of the younger guys and have some plays that worked in practice that will give them a leg up but we can’t be led to believe that they took out Amari Cooper for Cedrick Wilson . Can we?
RB: If you drafted Zeke you have to feel good about it.
TE: We warned you that Dak was on a ridiculous pace which would have shattered the pass attempt record by 100. Coming back to earth would hurt Schultz most as the 4th or 5th target on the team. Well now it’s Andy Dalton . We will have to wait and see who he likes.
WR: Keenan Allen left the game with back spasms after his TD catch. Luckily for him, the Chargers bye week was moved to week 6. Mike Williams and Jalen Guyton are the other guys out wide with us favoring Williams.
RB: Justin Jackson was clearly the favorite in passing situations playing 25 pass snaps to 12 for Kelley. It’s worth noting that Jackson was asked to pass block 5 times with 0 for Kelley. As of now they are both worth a spot start but the backfield is a little more split then we like to see.
TE: Hunter Henry played 94.4-percent of the snaps. That’s what you want to see.
WR: Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins are your every down players with Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson splitting the third wideout 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: 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.
WR: No change in usage from last week. Zach Pascal manned the slot while TY Hilton had his usual flanker role. The Colts used a combination of Marcus Johnson at split end and two tight end sets beyond that.
RB: Based on the usage this week, Jonathan Taylor may not be fully safe from negative gamescripts. Despite playing 10 less snaps, Nyheim Hines out snapped Taylor on pass plays running 18 routes while Taylor only ran 13. Taylor dominated the run work and is the better start but something to store in the back of your mind.
TE: If you are new to the series, check out last week or the week before on the Colts. The short and sweet is that Doyle has the every down role (18 pass plays, 16 run plays this week), Burton has a pass catching specialist role (20 pass plays, 14 snaps at WR), and Mo-Alie Cox has been relegated to third TE (10 run blocking plays, 10 pass plays, 1 pass block). We like Burton best given his deployment but the reality is it may be too congested for anyone to be dependable.
WR: Parker and Williams were your outside guys while Isaiah Ford rotated in the slot with Gesicki. Ford played slightly more slot snaps than Gesicki (21 to 18) but he’s not playing enough to be relevant.
RB: Myle Gaskin is clearly the guy. Breida and Laird got some work in a blowout but they weren’t out there much until it was a blowout.
TE: A better overall week for Gesicki in the box score but he actually played fewer snaps than usual. Last week he played 44 snaps at Wr (32 in the slot and 11 split out). This week he only played 22 (18 at slot, 4 out wide). Hopefully it was just because it was a blowout but he’s difficult to trust at this point despite the nice outing.
WR: Whelp Travis Fulgham came out of nowhere for a big day. Fulgham and John Hightower manned the outsides while Greg Ward was in the slot. It’s tempting to splurge on Fulgham but word from head coach Doug Peterson is that DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffrey will be ramping up in practice soon. It’s hard to predict what happens next but Alshon Jeffrey makes for an interesting stash. Go back and look at his targets last year in his limited sample size.
RB: 83.1-percent of the snaps. Mile Sanders is a ray of sunshine on this cloudy Eagles team.
TE: People are dogging Ertz after two rough outings. But the 49ers and Steelers are tough opponents. It doesn’t get much better with the Ravens next but you can’t drop Zach Ertz and you can’t bench him unless you have another top 5-6 TE. He was one yard away from a touchdown and the interception thrown his way was blatantly defensive pass interference, if that makes anyone feel better.
RB: Todd Gurley is clearly the primary running back and Brian Hill spells him. Gurley played 21 pass snaps and got more carries while Hill played 12 pass snaps. When that’s how the split works, Hill isn’t fantasy relevant but he’s playing enough to be annoying so, as a general fantasy football enthusiast, it would be better if he just went away.
TE: Same story as always. Hayden Hurst has good usage but is too low in the target pecking order. He can safely be dropped.
WR: Once again, Darius Slayton manned the outside while Golden Tate switched from slot to flanker depending on what they were doing with Evan Engram . C.J. Board and Damion Ratley mixed it but did not play enough meaningful snaps..
RB: As we said last week, Devonta Freeman is the guy. He split pass work fairly evenly with Dion Lewis (17 snaps to 18 for Lewis) but he got the vast majority of the touches out of the backfield. Freeman should be owned in all leagues.
TE: Evan Engram played a full snap share with ideal usage as usual - he played 23 snaps at WR (17 slot and 6 out wide). Daniel Jones simply cannot seem to get him the ball - he scored on an end around and then had a ~40 yard touchdown called back on a fake field goal. Washington and Philadelphia are currently the 3rd and 4th worst teams vs the tight end. Four of his next five games are against them. Would be silly to stick with Engram this long only to abandon ship now.
WR: Shenault and Chark on the outsides with Cole in the slot. This one seems to be pretty clear cut.
RB: This game as fairly one sided so Chris Thompson shared the passing down burdon - James Robinson played 30 pass snaps, pass blocking on 8 and Chris Thompson played 27 pass snaps, pass blocking on 2. Clearly, positive game scripts are better for Robinson..
TE: Tyler Eifert is running around out there the way you’d want him to. He’s top 10 in the league in routes run for tight ends. He’s just not getting the looks. In really deep leagues or as a DFS stab, maybe, but he hasn’t shown us any reason why you’d use your one TE slot on him.
WR: Jamison Crowder has quietly been on of the most consistent fantasy producers when healthy. He’s playing the vast majority of his snaps from the slot (130 in slot vs. 35 outside). That leaves the Jets to figure out who will play outside for them long term. Chris Hogan is dealing with a high ankle sprain and Denzel Mims and Breshard Perriman are now back at practice. Jeff Smith has carved out a role so it’s between Braxton Berrios , Denzel Mims, and Breshard Perriman for the other spot (or maybe Smith takes a backseat too). Perriman probably the most safe but the 2nd round rookie Mims is the most interesting stash.
RB: The big news of the week - LeVeon Bell released. Per Adam Gases’s comments, Frank Gore will get work and rookie LaMichael Perine will also get a bump. He mentioned Ty Johnson and Josh Adams as afterthoughts.
TE: For once Chris Herndon didn’t pass block on a single snap. But that’s mostly because Ryan Griffin started and Herndon’s role was diminished. In typical Gase fashion, Griffin played 26 pass plays and blocked on 6 of them. No fantasy assets here until Gase gets fired and a new playbook is in place.
RB: Mike Davis dominated the snaps again.
TE: Ian Thomas and Chris Manhertz split the tight end snaps but it was not an event split and not just because Thomas got 10 more snaps. Thomas was out there for 29 pass plays and blocked on zero of them. Chris Manhertz played 15 pass plays and blocked on 5 of them. Ian Thomas is the pass catching TE here but his upside is capped by his spot down the target totem pole.
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.
RB: Jalen Richard did not take a good chunk of snaps this week like he did the week prior. Jacobs outsnapped him in a big way including 24 to 9 on pass plays. It’s all Jacobs.
TE: Ideal usage for Darren Waller , per usual. Jason Witten spent 29 snaps blocking and only ran 9 routes. People though the addition of Jason Witten might be bad for Waller but it’s actually allowed Waller to pass block on a lower number of snaps freeing him up to run routes. Which is nice.
RB: This time share continues to confuse. Darrell Henderson played the most snaps this week and got the most carries while Malcolm Brown played more pass snaps (18 to 14). I thought Malcolm was the gritty downhill guy and Darrell was the 3rd down type guy? One thing seemed clear - Cam Akers wasn’t deployed on many passing downs (2).
TE: Tyler Higbee played 26 pass snaps but blocked on 10 of them. He still shows up as like TE9 in a lot of formats because of that three touchdown game so, if you can move him, do it now for anything. Otherwise he’s droppable. Gerald Everett actually might have the higher upside at this point though he’s not getting enough snaps. Both of them are behind Woods and Kupp anyway so it might not even matter.
WR: As always, Marquise Brown is the only one here you can consider starting. The rest of the guys don’t play enough or get enough targets. Devin Duvernay is the most interesting of the bunch if he ever earned a real snap share.
RB: The obnoxious snap share continues. Gus Edwards (17 and JK Dobbins (15) played far more pass snaps than Ingram (7) but Ingram got the most carries. At least a pattern is forming and Gus Edwards oddly has the most even usage.
TE: Andrews is the man, Boyle is the blocker. Start Andrews every week.
RB: Kamara is the guy you want because of the production in the passing game though Latavius Murray quietly gets carries and puts up some okay numbers every game. Murray is a better option than some starters on other teams, no question.
TE: Jared Cook was back to play his normal role of tight end who never blocks and just screams down the seem. He played 28 wide receiver snaps (19 out wide and 9 in the slot). Due to the presence of Kamara and Thomas, he’s a TD dependent start who should finish somewhere amount the back end TE1s.
Taysom Hill : Taysom Hill was used all over the place again, almost to the detriment of the team. Whatever - I’m not a Saints fan myself and it’s fun to watch. 4 QB snaps, 6 in-line TE, 8 slot, 2 at WR, 6 punt coverage, 8 punt return. What is that?
WR: Lockett. Metcalf.
RB: Chris Carson got the important snaps Travis Homer spent half of his snaps pass blocking (a whopping 11 snaps). Carson ran 19 routes while Homer ran 9 so, unless your league does points for picking up blitzes, Homer isn’t doing much for ya.
TE: Greg Olsen continues his spate of amazing deployment with limited production. 31 snaps at WR (27 in the slot, 4 at WR). A lot of WRs don’t play that much WR. Not getting enough targets or providing enough YAC to help you.
WR: JuJu plays primarily in the slot - this we know. Diontae Johnson plays a lot of flanker without his foot tethered to the line. He’s likely going to come back and get a decent snap share based on his play. Considering the rules of the game dictate you need 7 guys on the line every play with the two widest being eligible for passes, that would leave two positions open between Vance MacDonald, Eric Ebron , and Chase Claypool. For fantasy purposes, we would love for it to be Ebron and Claypool on every play but Vance’s blocking will keep him on the field. Can’t go away from Claypool after this week so will be interesting to see how this shakes out.
RB: James Conner dominated the snaps. For now any Snell or McFarland narratives are just wishful thinking.
WR: We made a joke about Brandin Cooks being a ghost last game - well he certainly is going to haunt Jaguars defensive backs after his performance this week. It’s clearly Cooks and Fuller outside with Cobb in the slot.
TE: Darren Fells managed to score this week but only in the absence of Jordan Akins who was out with a concussion. Akins will be back soon and he’s had the better deployment all year. And even then Akins wasn’t really doing enough.
WR: Titans were without starting WRs Adam Humphries and Corey Davis . AJ Brown made his triumphant return and Nick Westbrook played opposite him for pretty much the whole game (who would have guessed?). Kalif Raymond manned the slot. It should be back to Davis, Humphries, and Brown as soon as they get back from their COVID stint.
TE: Jonnu Smith had himself a big 2 touchdown game but, when you pull back the curtain, it’s a little concerning. Despite them running 34 pass plays, he only ran 20 routes. And he blocked on 5 pass plays again which matches his ~20-percent rate for the season. Blocking on 1 of every 5 pass plays might work when Nick Westbrook is the WR2 but soon enough Corey Davis and Adam Humphries will be back. Through the first three games with no Brown, Davis, Smith, and Humphries each had 19-20 targets. With Brown in the mix, the Titans run heavy strategy, and Jonnu’s tendency to be part of the protection rather than the attack, we may need to pump the breaks on crowning him the next top 5 tight end. Guys like Kelce, Waller, even Evan Engram are running 35-40 routes a game. Jonnu is running 21.5.
WR: The Vikings clearly though they could run on Green Bay as they opted to use a lot of two tight end and fullback sets. Adam Thielen was out there the whole game so those snaps came at the expense of Justin Jefferson and Olabisi Johnson. Jefferson played 27 pass snaps which is just behind Theilen (32) and well ahead of Johnson (21) so he’s still the most interesting.
TE: Irv Smith finally saw some targets! The reason we had Irv as a flyer before the season however was that he played 40-percent of his snaps from the slot and had some games with slot snaps as high as 28. This year he’s averaging 5.6 slot snaps and that didn’t change for this week. If this Falcons game happens he’s an interesting flyer or DFS play but his poor usage caps his ceiling.
Washington Football Team
WR: Terry McLaurin played every single snap. Dialed in. Dontrelle Inman was the other outside guy and Isaiah Wright was in the slot. Antonio Gandy-Golden was an interesting name for people as a rookie but just not getting enough work.
RB: Gibson is the guy you want but McKissic once again took a chunk of pass snaps (25 for McKissiv vs. 18 for Gibson). Annoying.
TE: Logan Thomas continues to play WR even though he’s a “tight end” and he continues to do nothing. He played 38 WR snaps (33 slot and 5 out wide) and only 9 TE snaps. That brings him to 202 WR snaps and only 76 TE snaps on the season. Still a stash in deep leagues given the deployment but he needs targets.