NFL Snap Count Breakdown: Week 12
Andrew Cooper pores over the data to bring you the team by team and player by player snap counts following Week 12 of the NFL season.
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.
San Francisco 49ers
WR: With the craziness of this season, these articles have required more clarification than ever before. This offense wants to have Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk on the outside playing flanker and split end with Kendrick Bourne in the slot. With Aiyuk on the COVID list, Richie James played opposite Deebo. Aiyuk is expected back next week and his snaps should come at the expense of Richie James .
RB: Raheem Mostert led the team in snaps and carries but there were plenty of carries to go around this week. Mostert got 16 carries but he only ran nine routes - Jerick McKinnon ran 15 while Jeff Wilson actually ran two. At this point Mostert is probably the only one you can trust to any degree.
TE: Ross Dwelley played 44 snaps but only ran 11 routes - clearly operating in a blocking role. Jordan Reed ran 25 routes on his 31 snaps so he’s clearly the most fantasy relevant, but he had a difficult time hauling in his targets.
WR: This is the same as we’ve seen for multiple weeks. Darnell Mooney and Allen Robinson are your wide guys and Anthony Miller comes in at times to play the slot. Miller is the one who loses snaps to two tight end sets.
RB: Matt Nagy clearly wants to replicate the one back system he used in Kansas City and he’s doing that with David Montgomery . You can find a spot for him in most every line up based on volume alone.
TE: Despite Graham looking better in the box score, Cole Kmet not only played more snaps, but he ran more routes than Jimmy Graham (36 to 18). Kmet also played a season high 27 snaps at WR compared to only 17 for Jimmy. Might be time to stash Kmet in deep leagues - especially keeper leagues - as we may be seeing the changing of the guard
RB: No Joe = Gio. That’s been the formula. The team only ran 49 offensive snaps and spent a lot of time in negative game script (as they should) so Samaje Perine and Trayveon Williams are non-factors in fantasy.
TE: Here is what we said last week:
“Drew Sample wasn’t fantasy relevant with Joe Burrow. Probably won’t be with Allen either but, given how bad he had been, at least a QB change gives him a shot at something new. Maybe Finley decides he really likes slow tight ends, who knows.”
Technically Drew Sample has been playing every snap and running quite a few routes. Brandon Allen looked his way five times and he caught four (fumbling one however). He’s more of a DFS play than a reliable start in fantasy but Allen is the new kingmaker so he decides who gets the ball.
WR: As we mentioned last week, in games where John Brown has been hurt it’s actually been Gabriel Davis stepping into that role, playing 40 more snaps than Cole Beasley during those three games. So, it’s no surprise that Davis led the team in snaps. With no Brown, Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis will man the outside with Cole Beasley in the slot. When Brown is healthy, he and Diggs plays nearly every snap and Beasley and Davis split snaps.
WR: The Browns went full Kevin Stefanski this week with multi-tight end sets as we’ll detail below. As of now, only Jarvis Landry and Rashard Higgins are playing a full snap share and only Landry can really be trusted for fantasy.
RB: We’ve talked about this split in the past - they clearly prefer Nick Chubb in the run game and Kareem Hunt in the pass game. They are a run heavy team, and this game was fairly positive, so Nick Chubb had a monster game. Chubb also caught three passes which may not seem like a lot but he actually only had three catches all season coming into this game. Given what the Browns want to do, Chubb is an RB1 and Kareem Hunt is a viable RB2/flex - especially in PPR formats.
TE: As we alluded to above, the Browns went HEAVY with the multi-tight end sets. They ran at least two tight ends on 61% of the snaps. They ran three tight ends on 24% of their snaps and actually ran FOUR tight ends for a couple. Austin Hooper plays the most snaps and runs the most routes - he needs them to throw more often to really be trustworthy but, with no Odell, he is in the back end TE1 range.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
WR: Same as we saw last week – Mike Evans and Chris Godwin run a full snap share while Antonio Brown is the third man in. Brown has gone from 48% of the snaps to 62% to now 72% so clearly he’,s being ramped up. Godwin and Evans ran 41 routes to 34 for AB so he’s clearly still behind them on that front.
RB: No surprise again – Leonard Fournette is preferred in the pass (29 pass snaps to 10 for Ronald Jones ). This is the second year in a row that Ronald Jones is grading outside the top 100 RBs in pass blocking so that’s not surprising. Jones has been impressive with the ball in his hands so that’s likely the one thing holding him back.
TE: Rob Gronkowski played 43 snaps with ten at WR (seven slot, three split end). Cameron Brate only played 23 snaps, but he played 12 of them at WR (one slot, one wide) Gronk’s blocking ability is partially why he ran 29 routes on 43 snaps while Brate ran 21 on 29 snaps. The connection with Tom Brady and his red zone prowess is what keeps Gronk in the TE1 mix the elite fantasy tight ends have a route participation of ~90% while Gronk is closer to 60.
WR: With practice squad WR Kendall Hinton playing QB this game was a wash for pass catchers. In a normal game you will see Tim Patrick and Jerry Jeudy on the outside for most snaps with KJ Hamler in the slot.
RB: Not only did Melvin Gordon dominate the snaps this week but Phillip Lindsay tweaked his knee. Early reports are that Phillip Lindsay has a minor meniscus injury which makes him likely to miss this game at least. That makes Gordon a tantalizing game this week as he’s averaged 16.8 PPR points in the five games where he got 15 or more touches, per Jamey Eisenberg of CBS.
TE: With a normal QB, Noah Fant is the guy you want, and he has top five TE upside week to week given his usage. The other TEs are used mostly to block.
WR: DeAndre Hopkins and Christian Kirk played their usual roles on the outside with large snap shares. With no Larry Fitzgerald this week, we got a glimpse of the possible future with Andy Isabella playing his workload in the slot. If Larry is out again, Isabella is a deep league/DFS play.
RB: As we discussed last week, they had been using Kenyan Drake for run duties and leaning more towards Chase Edwards on pass plays. That was technically true again this week with Edmonds playing 24 pass plays to 17 for Drake but Edmonds spend a lot of those pass blocking so it was actually 16 routes run for Drake to 17 for Edmonds. Of the two Drake is the only one you can trust in fantasy since Kyler Murray prefers to run it himself rather than dumping down to the RB.
TE: Maxx Williams played 52 snaps and only ran 16 routes. Dan Arnold only played 26 snaps but ran 23 routes. Neither are relevant for weekly fantasy - if you want a deep dart throw in DFS it would be Arnold.
WR: This is the most predictable WR group in the league. Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup on the outside with CeeDee Lamb in the slot. On the season Lamb has played 479 snaps in the slot and only 44 outside so that’s where he lives. In fact, it’s so predictable that maybe they should try switching things up sometimes since, if we know it, defenses know it.
RB: At one point the Cowboys had perennial pro-bowlers Travis Frederick , Tyron Smith and Zack Martin and Ezekiel Elliott was unstoppable. Frederick has since retired, Tyron Smith is out for the season, and Zack Martin got injured on Thursday and will miss multiple weeks. Oh, and Cameron Erving , who had been playing left tackle for Smith, will also miss multiple weeks. With no Dak Prescott and no line, you can’t expect Zeke to be the same Zeke he’s been. Throw in the fact that he’s fumbling, and the situation is kind of dire. He still has the usage to be a flex/RB2 and you might not even have anyone else so you might just need to throw him in there and pray.
TE: Dalton Schultz continues to have good usage in terms of snaps and routes run - 34 routes matches Amari Cooper . It’s the QB play that is the issue and he doesn’t have the speed for YAC so he’s really only an option in full PPR or tight end premium leagues.
Los Angeles Chargers
WR: Keenan Allen rarely left the field, per usual. In three wide sets it was Allen in the slot with Mike Williams and Jalen Guyton outside at split end and flanker. In two wide it was Allen and Williams.
RB: Austin Ekeler triumphantly returned and looked fully healthy. He dominated in the passing game with an absurd 16 targets. Joshua Kelley pitched in some short yardage/breather work but all other RBs on the team are now irrelevant for fantasy purposes until further notice.
TE: Hunter Henry played 78 of 83 snaps which is awesome TE deployment but an issue we talked about in Week 10 reared its ugly head. Hunter Henry was on the field for 57 pass plays which is actually more than the 56 for Keenan Allen . But Henry was asked to block on nine pass plays so he only ran 48 routes which is in the Williams and Guyton range. It might seem like nitpicking because 48 routes are great, but they ran 83 plays, 59 pass plays. In Week 10 they ran 63 plays and 36 pass plays (which is still a decent amount) and Henry was asked to block on 8 pass plays that week as well. Except when you play 33 pass plays and block on eight now you are running 25 routes. See the problem?
Kansas City Chiefs
WR: Tyreek Hill , my goodness. They moved Hill all over with a mix of snaps from both the slot (34) and out wide (33). In fact, Sammy Watkins managed to play more slot snaps (31) than split snaps (25) so they were moving both of them all over. Demarcus Robinson played mostly split end as the third WR with his foot tethered to the line so everyone else could go in motion.
RB: Clyde Edwards-Helaire is clearly the starter and trusted back right now as he doubled Le’Veon Bell’s snaps in both the pass game (24 to 11) and run game (14 to 7). Bell is in the category of “handcuff+” and is droppable if you need the roster spot.
TE: Travis Kelce played 39 snaps at WR (16 at slot, 23 at WR). This lends back to what I was saying about the Cowboys WRs above. The Chiefs are moving everyone all over the place which keeps defenses guessing while some teams are stagnant in how they are lining up.
WR: Same as it’s been last few weeks - Michael Pittman at split end, T.Y. Hilton at flanker, and Zach Pascal in the slot. The missing snap percentages for the WRs can be chalked up mostly to multi-tight end sets.
RB: Jonathan Taylor missed the game after his girlfriend tested positive for COVID-19. Based on game script, Nyheim Hines played the majority of the snaps with Jordan Wilkins mixing in, primarily in run situations. Taylor should return this week to be the primary running down player with Hines in passing situations.
TE: Jack Doyle started but Mo Alie-Cox seemed to grab a hold of the every-down TE role that mixes blocking and pass catching. Despite playing less snaps, Trey Burton ran routes on 23 of his 27 snaps so he’s clearly the pass catcher there. He’s the best option out of the group but he’s not a full-time tight end running only 23 of 49 pass plays so he has a capped upside.
WR: DeVante Parker played his full role. Mack Hollins got an opportunity this week playing the next most snaps on the outside which is a surprise after Jakeem Grant had been playing a lot of snaps there. Malcolm Perry had been playing a good chunk of slot snaps and he started this game, but he left with a chest injury and didn’t come back. Still no info there but Perry was a fringe DFS guy at best anyway given how much they use Mike Gesicki in the slot.
RB: The winner of the week 12 Dolphins RB lottery was…. DeAndre Washington . The Dolphins do like to use one running back as Washington played more pass snaps (19) and run snaps (15) than any other RB. Matt Breida got the next highest usage, but Myles Gaskin should return soon to reclaim his role.
TE: With Malcolm Perry leaving very early in the game, Mike Gesicki had his best usage since the first four games. He played 48 snaps at WR - 26 in the slot and 22 out wide. He only played two snaps in-line. If Perry misses time, Gesicki could see great usage and be viable but the Dolphins seem to want to run pseudo-tryouts for the future at slot so would not be surprised to see Lynn Bowden get an opportunity as well.
WR: We talked about how the Cowboys used a highly consolidated snap share at WR. The Eagles did the exact opposite, using a mish mash of different WR sets as five different WRs ran at least 19 routes. Greg Ward (39), Jalen Reagor (35), Alshon Jeffery (32), Travis Fulgham (29), and John Hightower (19). Hard to trust anyone given the QB play but the two we like best as bench stashes are Reagor and Alshon Jeffery .
RB: In a negative game script there wasn’t much time to run the ball, but Miles Sanders is obviously favored there. They do like to mix Boston Scott in on pass plays similarly to how the Packers mix in Jamaal Williams , but Miles Sanders is the guy you want.
TE: So last week we talked about how Dallas Goedert wasn’t playing Zack Ertz’s role because he hadn’t been playing much slot - well, this week he played 33 slot snaps to 36 at in-line TE and only pass blocked twice. If Ertz returns this week, it could push Goedert back into his in-line role that Richard Rodgers filled in this week (where they are more of a TD dependent option, as Rodgers did manage to score). If Ertz continues to be out, Goedert has high end upside. When Ertz gets back, he likely becomes more of a TD dependent backend TE1. On top of that there is another curveball in the possibility that Jalen Hurts starts at QB as Wentz is the one who loves throwing to the TE.
WR: Julio Jones was out and Olamide Zaccheaus has been banged up as well, so Christian Blake took the split snaps opposite of Calvin Ridley . Russell Gage played his slot role per usual, playing a massive snap share this week.
RB: With Todd Gurley off the menu it was Brian Hill and Ito Smith splitting the work nearly down the middle with the slight edge to Hill (15 runs and 17 routes for Hill and 12 runs and 15 routes for Ito). We’ve mentioned this before, but Brian Hill was literally the worst graded pass blocking RB last year on Pro Football Focus at RB 164 out of 164. This week he played seven pass blocking snaps and allowed three pressures including two QB hits. That’s the reason they brought Gurley in and it’s hard to imagine they leave him in that role even without Gurley. Hill this year grades out as RB124 of 142 in pass blocking.
TE: As we suggested, Hayden Hurst was a beneficiary of no Julio Jones with eight targets. In a rare positive game script, he only ran 30 routes but he’s typically out there. If there’s no Julio again, he can safely be deployed, especially in PPR formats. If Julio is back, he’s more of a TD dependent play.
New York Giants
WR: Sterling Shepard and Darius Slay ton played on the outside and Golden Tate played slot but split snaps with Evan Engram . Shepard has now had eight, ten, eight, six, and eight targets in his last five games. He needs to be added anywhere he’s available, though the Daniel Jones injury could change things for this offense if it lingers..
TE: Interesting usage for Evan Engram this week. He played 78 of 81 snaps and only pass blocked four times which is great. And he ran 38 routes which is second only to Sterling Shepard ’s 42. He usually plays a ton of WR and he did have 25 snaps at WR (15 in slot and 10 out wide) but 52 snaps at in-line is unusual for him. That said, he had his best game of the year statistically so we’re on board. Evan Engram has gotten 9+ targets in five games this year including four of his last five. The only other TE who has gotten 9+ targets in five games in Travis Kelce .
WR: It’s been awhile since this team has had everyone healthy. The assumption is that a healthy team would feature D.J. Chark and Laviska Shenault at split end and flanker with Keelan Cole in the slot. Rookie Collin Johnson filled in with no Chark or Chris Conley but either one of them returning likely sends him back to the bench.
TE: Tyler Eifert once again saw serviceable pass game usage running routes on 27 of his 39 snaps. He continues to be an TE2 range guy who is boom/bust based on TDs. Been a lot more bust than boom.
New York Jets
WR: At this point of the season the WR positions are locked down - it’s Breshad Perriman , Jamison Crowder , and Denzel Mims out there nearly every play. Crowder lines up primarily in the slot and comes out for two TE sets but he only ran two less routes than Mims and Perriman.
TE: The usage this week was bad even for Christopher Herndon . He played 30 pass plays and actually blocked on more of them (16) than he ran routes on (14). Not an asset while Adam Gase is there.
WR: With no Kenny Golladay again, it was Marvin Jones and Marvin Hall on the outside. Mohamad Sanu played slot on the opposite of Danny Amendola . Jones will be out there no matter what - the usage of Hall and Sanu will depend on the return of Golladay or Dola.
RB: D’Andre Swift is out so Adrian Peterson resumed his running downs duty and Kerryon Johnson took over the pass down work while mixing in some runs. Swift had just finally earned the full role and he’s optimistic he can return this week, so we’ll have to wait and see.
Green Bay Packers
WR: Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling manned the outside roles and Allen Lazard split snaps in the slot. Despite EQSB playing more snaps, Lazard ran 20 routes to only 12 for St. Brown. St. Brown blocked on 25 plays and most of that came in garbage time.
RB: The final score (41-25) actually makes this one look closer than it was and it still doesn’t look close. It was 41-10 going into the fourth quarter. Aaron Jones is still the guy but when it’s that out of hand there is no reason to beat him up.
TE: It was a route but Robert Tonyan still ran 24 of 33 routes which isn’t bad. He’s a medium floor, medium ceiling play week to week. You still want to look for upside guys to stash for your playoff push, but you can start Tonyan in the meantime. Never be complacent.
WR: This has been one of the most consistent snap shares with D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson on the outside, Curtis Samuel in slot. Towards the end of the game Moore suffered a non-contact injury that looked nasty towards the end of the game. He’s not officially ruled out but if, he is, our guess would be that Brandon Zylstra is the next man up.
RB: Christian McCaffrey is expected back after the bye. The last time he returned, they used CMC in the full capacity, and he got injured again. They will probably do the same but, if they use Mike Davis more this time, it’s no secret why.
TE: It’s been the same story every week. Ian Thomas runs a ton of routes. Ian Thomas doesn’t catch many passes. Maybe not having DJ Moore will lead to more targets but I wouldn’t overdo it - maybe a deep DFS dart.
New England Patriots
WR: I posted a brief thread on Twitter explaining some of the predictability of the Patriots offense. But the gist is that Damiere Byrd pretty much always lines up on the left, primarily at split end, with Ryan Izzo on the right. This allows Jakobi Meyers and N’Keal Harry to move around the formation. Hard to trust any of them the way Cam Newton has been throwing.
RB: This RB situation is much easier to stomach when it’s a two RB operation - Damien Harris on running plays and James White on passing plays. Strangely, Sony Michel was active and played a single snap but got no touches. I think that may be telling us that Harris has won that half of the job.
TE: Ryan Izzo is simply not doing anything to make him worth adding in fantasy. He has 199 yards on the season and a fourth of them came on a 50-yard Hail Mary that he caught and went right to the ground with, ending the game.
Las Vegas Raiders
RB: Josh Jacobs is the guy, but he suffered an ankle sprain leading to more Davontae Booker usage. Jacobs said after the game that the initial reaction was a bit of shock but it’s actually not as bad as it seems, and he hopes to play.
TE: Waller is the man here. He did block on eight pass plays which we don’t love to see but he ran 39 routes. You start him every week.
Los Angeles Rams
WR: Robert Woods and Josh Reynolds on the outside, Cooper Kupp in the slot. Kupp comes out for two TE sets which is why he ran 33 routes while the others ran 37. He’s obviously still a favorite of Goff’s.
RB: Backfield by committee once again. Malcolm Brown led because of the game script - he plays more pass snaps than the others with 21 to nine for Darrell Henderson and seven for Cam Akers. But Brown only got three carries compared to 10 each for the others. They are three point favorites heading into Arizona so hard to predict for sure what kind of a script we see.
TE: Tyler Higbee actually only blocked on one pass play this week which is rare for him. He still only ran 18 routes compared to 19 for Gerald Everett . The reality is that neither can be trusted in fantasy right now. In dynasty leagues I actually prefer Everett as he’s a free agent - Higbee is signed to the Rams who extended both Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods so he doesn’t really have a path to top two target on the team - which you realistically need for elite TE upside.
WR: This week it was Marquise Brown on the outside which has been consistent. Across from him was Dez Bryant which we should continue to see. Devin Duvernay filled in admirably at the slot but they do like Willie Snead there (especially for his blocking) so it should be short lived for Duvernay.
RB: Once everyone is off the COVID protocol it should go back to normal - JK Dobbins preferred on pass plays, Gus Edwards preferred in short yardage, Mark Ingram mixing in sporadically, and Justice Hill mainly on special teams.
New Orleans Saints
RB: And the biggest change is at running back. We talked about it in the past with Kyler Murray and the Cardinals but mobile QBs statistically target the running back far less. Well, Taysom Hill apparently doesn’t target them at all. Just like Zeke, it’s hard to bench Kamara but, in shallow leagues where you have other options, you might need to read between the lines. one catch in two games.
Taysom Hill : We used to track his crazy snap logs here since he’s played about nine different positions each week. Not as fun when he’s the starting quarterback.
TE: Will Dissly played more snaps but mostly for his blocking prowess. Jacob Hollister ran 23 routes to Dissly’s 22 so we prefer him in fantasy if you must.
TE: Eric Ebron continues to play a ton of snaps and run a ton of routes. This week he was fairly heavily featured, but they also ran 52 pass plays. The usage is good, so the only issue is finding targets.
WR: The biggest news of the week - Will Fuller suspended for the remainder of the season. They also released Kenny Stills with some odd timing. Brandin Cooks will be out there with Keke Coutee - we expect a lot of multi-tight end sets to fill the void but Steven Mitchell Jr. out of USC is a real deep name to know.
TE: The Fuller suspension presents a big opportunity for the tight ends - namely, Jordan Akins because he is the best route runner of the bunch. If Akins becomes a fixture as a slot guy, it could open up Fells for the sporadic touchdown as well as he does have some red zone prowess.
RB: Derrick Henry was an absolute monster as usual. Coach Vrabel also hinted that he’s better in the pass game than people think and deserves more looks there. Not sure how many more touches this guy can get when he gets 30 carries.
TE: Even with Geoff Swaim helping out with the blocking duties, Jonnu Smith only ran 16 routes. He wasn’t targeted. Anthony Firkser would only be relevant if he took over Adam Humphries slot duty, but Cameron Batson is taking half of it - Firk only ran 11 routes himself.
WR: Justin Jefferson made a statement this game showing he can operate without Adam Thielen . Thielen and Jefferson are the only two Vikings wideouts you need to worry about. For the most part, this team wants to run.
RB: Dalvin Cook . That is all.
Washington Football Team
WR: Once again, Terry McLaurin played every pass snap. Like clockwork. Cam Sims was the other WR outside and Steven Sims contributed in the slot. Steven Sims is the net most interesting to us after getting back from injury and getting ramped up.
TE: As usual, Logan Thomas played 67 of 69 snaps and ran a route on all 32 pass plays. This time he actually scored but four targets on that kind of usage still feels low. He’s a low floor but high upside play given his usage, but he might have the toughest schedule of any tight end with the Steelers, 49ers, and Seahawks up next.