Here we stand, on the eve of the final bye week. No more need to carry junk players “in case you need them”. If do or die time isn’t here for your team it will be fast approaching so it is time to cut the fat and consolidate down to the guys you trust for your championship run. The rest of your roster can be filled out with handcuffs or a carefully planned defensive schedule but there is no longer room for pretenders. And the fastest way to weed them out is to look at how these NFL teams are treating them in terms of playing time because that’s what translates to fantasy success. So let's get to it.
The Ross Dwelley fun is over with the return of George Kittle – not only did he take a backseat but he took a seat in the way back playing less snaps than Garrett Celek . He’s droppable in all formats as long as Kittle is playing.
Tevin Coleman is still the guy but they clearly are in favor of lightening his load when they’re up big like this week. Neither Mostert or Jeff Wilson are particularly interesting with Coleman around.
Deebo Samuel and Manny Sanders were clearly the two guys once again. With Kittle playing there is no room for a third fantasy relevant wide out.
We typically analyze the position players in this article but it’s worth noting that right tackle Bobby Massie was seen in a walking boot after the game. With him missing time, Kyle Long , TJ Clemmings, and Trey Burton on IR, and Adam Shaheen banged up, the Bears offensive line is in a pretty sad state which does not bode well for David Montgomery .
Anthony Miller showed some rare signs of life but still not enough to make us consider potentially using him in any format given the offense. Same goes for Ben Braunecker despite decent usage snap-wise. Allen Robinson is pretty much the only guy worth starting at this point unless you are desperate.
|Stanley Morgan Jr.||11||19.3%|
Well that was a quick “look”. The Bengals have announced that, now that they have a safe two game lead on the last pick, Andy Dalton will be back in to play QB. This bodes well for everyone in the offense really as Finley wasn’t doing much. Mixon wasn’t targeted at all this week so his owners get a least some sort of change, however desperate.
Despite an injury scare last week, Auden Tate was back out there in three wide receiver sets with Tyler Boyd and Alex Erickson . AJ Green apparently practiced this week and John Ross is eligible to play against the Browns week 14 so Tate and Erickson can be dropped wherever they may have still been held.
Not much interesting news at wide receiver – Isaiah McKenzie seemingly has a hold of that third wide receiver spot but there’s not enough action for him to be relevant.
Dawson Knox continues to handedly outsnap Tyler Kroft , especially in the passing game. The same can be said for Devin Singletary over Frank Gore with an emphasis on the passing game as Singletary ran 21 routes to Gore’s three. Now that Frank Gore has passed Barry Sanders for third on the all time rushing yards list, we suspect a bit of pressure is off the Bills to use Gore heavily compared to the younger back.
You have to start wondering when Drew Lock is going to get a shot to show what he can do. Until then these articles essentially are going to say “these guys are playing a good snap share but it doesn’t matter with Brandon Allen at QB”.
Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant are the realistic fantasy assets in the passing game if there ever is a passing game again in Denver. Hamilton and Patrick the clear favorites for snaps but probably won’t be enough targets at any point this year.
As step back this week for Lindsay in the timeshare battle as he was not trusted to pass block while Freeman pass blocked on five snaps. As of now, Lindsay is the second worst pass blocking running back in the league based on Pro Football Focus grades at running back 132. Only Brian Hill has graded out worse in terms of protecting the quarterback. There likely isn’t enough time left to correct this issue so expect the timeshare to continue.
|Odell Beckham Jr.||74||98.7%|
The Browns offense showed some life for the first time in awhile (granted, against arguably the worst team in the league). This finally highlights what we had mentioned – the Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry consolidated snap share really does work in their favor in weeks where the volume is there. Like Mike Evans and Chris Godwin , they are head and shoulders above the rest.
If every game were against the Dolphins we’d tell you this backfield could sustain two running backs. But it isn’t. Clearly Chubb is the favorite son but Kareem Hunt (28 routes run) once again was sent out there for more passing opportunities than Nick Chubb (19 routes). It’s fine in games like this but there is concern that a negative game script game could see less Chubb than we’d like.
It was Chris Godwin who dominated the box score but, as we alluded to in the Browns right up, he and Evans are both must start every week anyway.
OJ Howard played 50 snaps – he spent 32 blocking and only 18 running routes. Breshad Perriman on the other hand played 25 snaps and ran 15 routes. Anyone that tries to tell you coaching philosophy does not affect fantasy production needs to see what is happening here. Bruce Arians has essentially turned OJ Howard into Jermaine Gresham .
Ronald Jones was the big winner, especially as he played almost three times as many snaps as Dare Ogunbowale in the passing game which is a welcome change. Jones is looking like a reasonable fantasy play after all.
In injury to Eric Ebron suddenly makes Jack Doyle an interesting add and a potential start – especially week 13 in the first round of the playoffs as the Buccaneers are not great against the tight end. Half man, half mountain Mo Allie Cox did not run a single route on his 20 snaps so Doyle will likely be the guy there.
With T.Y. Hilton back we don’t trust any of these other wideouts in the passing game.
Chart update coming shortly.
A brutally rainy day in New England led the Cowboys to veer from their typical consolidated snap share in favor of two tight end sets with Blake Jarwin at the expense of Randall Cobb . In greener pastures you can expect the typically grouping of Gallup/Cooper/Cobb to resume.
Zeke played a fairly full snap share but Pollard still got a couple looks. Pollard is only interesting if something were to happen to Zeke.
The Dolphins backfield roll was split between rusher and pass catcher as some anticipated with Ballage handling the rushing duties and Patrick Laird handling the pass catching or vice versa, we may have been interested in the pass catching back on a team that plays from behind almost always. Alas, it was split down the middle (Ballage 25 snaps, 13 routes vs. Laird 24 snaps, 14 routes). Not interested in half of a bad backfield.
DeVante Parker playing every single snap makes him a startable WR3 or flex for a lot of teams. Gesicki’s 57 snaps consisted of 45 routes, 11 run block, one pass block which is ideal usage if they could just get him the ball.
This team is an unmitigated disaster right now. Let’s start at wide receiver. Amid rumors of secret Twitter accounts and potential backstabbing, both Nelson Agholor and Alshon Jeffrey were held out due to injury despite both being seemingly healthy enough to play. If Jeffrey plays he’s a potential nightmare flex but Agholor is out of the question. Jordan Matthews led the team in snaps and then was cut shortly after the game so, if those guys don’t play, you basically have JJAWs, Greg Ward , and Mack Hollins (who played three snaps and has also been atrocious). Yikes.
If you read the paragraph above you can expect a lot of two tight end sets like we saw this week which will have Ertz as a high end TE1 and Goedert as a back end TE1.
Reports are consistently saying that Jordan Howard ’s injury is worse than just a stinger. Miles Sanders gets the passing work and has outsnapped Ajayi so he’s the better start but Ajayi could certainly play vulture.
Matt Ryan was a unanimous slam dunk start this week and he let his owners down in a spectacular way, eventually leaving the game for Matt Schaub due to an ankle injury. He’s expected to play Thursday and some people may have no option but to start him again.
Neither running back played well but Qadree Ollison got the score. As long as Brian Hill is getting the snaps and the passing work, he’s the guy until Freeman gets back. As of now, Freeman is expected to practice but he’ll also be a risky start coming off of injury.
Julio Jones scared us all by leaving though he did return. Russell Gage seems to have picked up the slack left by Hooper and Sanu but he is more of a daily fantasy play at this point compared to Julio and Ridley. Jaeden Graham saw good usage as the pass catching tight end and managed to make a huge 50 yard play but did not see the targets you would hope from that size snap share.
|Darius Slay ton||51||85.0%|
With the return of Sterling Shepard the Giants ran one of their more consolidated snap counts of the year with the starting 11 players all playing 83% of the snaps or higher.
The absence of both Evan Engram and Rhett Ellison allowed Kaden Smith to play a ton of snaps at tight end and even reel in five catches, including a touchdown. He’s a tough start in any format given he’ll be competing with Shepard, Slayton, Tate, and Saquon for targets but, if Engram and Ellison are out again, he could be a cheeky bargain bin DFS play.
|D.J. Chark Jr.||71||84.5%|
With Josh Oliver to IR, it’s hard to believe any fantasy relevant tight end might emerge from this team with enough confidence to be worth owning. The snaps were fairly evenly split but clearly O’Leary actually made a couple catches if you’re desperate.
The Jags once again mixed in a good chunk of four wide sets with Keelan Cole playing the second slot but we wouldn’t trust anyone outside of Chark or Westbrook to produce.
Though technically in it still, at 4-7 the Jaguars have a pretty uphill battle to make the playoffs. As soon as it starts getting dire, we would not be surprised to see them see what they have in Ryquell Armstead and perhaps keep some tread on Fournette’s tires going into the final year of his contract. Armstead once again didn’t touch the ball this week.
With Le’Veon Bell getting the bulk of the work once again this team is back to the fairly consolidated snap share we’ve come to expect. With Chris Herndon out, Ryan Griffin is actually a viable option. For wide receivers, we prefer Jamison Crowder but Anderson always has the threat of breaking one deep at any point.
|Marvin Jones Jr.||67||90.5%|
Bo Scarborough once again led the rushing attack proving that he could be a useful asset down the stretch if you managed to land him. Ty Johnson dynasty owners must be fairly disappointed by this point.
Danny Amendola joined Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones with a large snap share which is bad news for TJ Hockenson. Hock still ran 17 plays out of the slot but he hasn’t matched his Week 1 performance when he was the primary slot option.
The Packers couldn’t get much going in a blow out with the 49ers which led to inconsistent personnel groups on the night. It’s hard to trust any of these wide receivers outside of Davante Adams .
The snaps were split pretty evenly between Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones and this time it wasn’t entirely just because of the negative game script. Jones ran it 15 times and ran 21 routes while Williams ran it 11 times and ran 25 routes. We haven’t seen splits this even early in the year so, for Jones owner’s sake, let's hope they were just giving Jones a break in a lopsided game.
We’ve really only seen two flavors of this offense – the one where they run 11 personnel all game and the one where they run 11 personnel half the game and 12 personnel half the game. This was a 12 personnel game with Wright and Manhertz each having half of a snap share but it doesn’t matter much – you have CMC, Olsen, Moore, and Samuel as your fantasy assets that matter and you can always count on them to play a huge snap share. Even with a bit of an injury scare, Moore was above 80%.
N'Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers played alongside Julian Edelman with Mohamed Sanu and Phillip Dorsett out and Harry scored his first touchdown. Harry might be able to hang around if either Sanu or Dorsett are out but Meyers, like many undrafted rookie free agents, is likely not worth holding as the last man on the totem pole.
With the rainy weather and shallow depth chart at wide receiver, Sony Michel was more active than he’s been and had a couple decent runs. The Texans aren’t a bad matchup this week but the more interesting one is against the Chiefs who he carves up for 219 rushing yards and four touchdowns in two games last year.
The Raiders were completely outmatched in this one which led to them abandoning the run early. It is a little concerning for Jacobs owners that they went to Jalen Richard for half the snaps as he’s the better pass catcher. You do not want your guy coming off the field.
It is amazing that Zay Jones can play nearly every snap yet contribute so little. Expect this team so be on the lookout to bring pass catchers in this offseason. It’s worth noting that Tyrell Williams has a contract that pays him $11 million per year but also allows him to be released with zero dead cap every year as well. That’s top 20 wide receiver money so, if he doesn’t start showing that’s what he’s worth, he might find himself on the chopping block as well.
Oof. Ouch. This was about as ugly as it gets for the Rams in what is starting to look like a lost season.
Gerald Everett was caught by the turf monster in the Monday night game against the Ravens and hyper-extended his knee. With the three wide-outs back and him already splitting snaps with blocking tight end Tyler Higbee , he is a difficult asset to trust. In another offense with more opportunity he’d be a much more appealing fantasy start.
Look at a team like the Panthers or Jets then take a look at this team. Night and day. We’ve said it every week but the Ravens truly are doing something unique with their spread of personnel and it’s not just in garbage time. And that’s likely due to their unique offense. Clearly, in terms of overall snaps, there is an emphasis on run blocking ability.
Take Miles Boykin for instance. In many weeks, Boykin has actually out snapped Mark Andrews despite not being productive in the passing game. Boykin played 37 snaps this week to 31 for Andrews though Andrews ran 15 snaps and Boykin only ran eight. And that’s because Boykin was out there to run block for 29 plays to only 15 for Andrews. The same can be said for a lot of their positional dynamics like Willie Snead and Seth Roberts often out snapping Marquise Brown despite Brown having nearly double their targets on the year. In nearly every offense the guys getting the most snaps are the ones getting the most targets but this offense operates counterintuitively to that. In that sense, the snap count analysis for this particular team is not as important as target analysis. Which is not easy to admit as the snap count guy here at Fantasy Alarm. So, with that in mind, I recommend you pop over to check out the weekly target articles written by Steve Pimental every Thursday to get a better handle on this particular team and what to expect. And follow him on Twitter @stevesfantasyad while you’re at it.
|Paul Richardson Jr.||14||24.1%|
Derrius Guice may be the future for this team but they clearly seem hesitant to throw him into a feature role right away. And they honestly have no reason to even though it is a bit disappointing that he hasn’t factored more heavily into the passing game with Chris Thompson on IR once again. The carries were split and Guice ran 11 routes to nine for Peterson so clearly they prefer a balanced attack despite Peterson’s known issues in the passing game.
With the lack of production, this team is one to look at from a dynasty perspective. McLaurin has been your best bet but he’s struggled since OSU teammate Dwayne Haskins took over. Kelvin Harmon looks to have carved himself out a role (or at least is getting an extended look) and is worth a roster spot in deep leagues.
|Ted Ginn Jr.||37||57.8%|
As we mentioned in our snap count article last week and discussed in depth in our pre-season tight end break down, Jared Cook was put in a position to be the third target on an often prolific fantasy offense which makes him a viable fantasy asset. After working his way into a new offense and battling injuries, he finally seems to have emerged as a TE1 option.
Conversely, if Jared Cook is going to be the third option on that team, it doesn’t leave much room for a second wide receiver to be successful – especially with the absolute target monster that is Michael Thomas . We still like Tre’Quan Smith in dynasty leagues but, despite him scoring this past week, he’s no where near startable right now. Merely a handcuff to Michael Thomas .
Rashaad Penny was let loose a bit this week and he made the most of it with 129 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Pete Carroll said that Penny had been doing great in practice all week and he and running backs coach Chad Morton wanted to make sure he got rotated in but there are also some factors that go beyond the coach speak. Chris Carson fumbled on back-to-back plays in this game (the second one might have been credited to Wilson since Carson never got it but Carson clearly did not know the play. Whether you consider it seven fumbles or eight, he leads all non-position players in putting the ball on the turf. Not to mention, in their last game before the bye, Carson let up two sacks in pass blocking. He’s been running well as a bruiser but, two things coaches hate are letting the QB get popped and turning the ball over so the window for Penny is as open as it’s ever been.
It was an unusually windy day which hurt passing in this game – just check out Russell Wilson ’s brutal miss of Jacob Hollister in the end zone. Moving forward, Lockett is a slam dunk start, Metcalf and Hollister are fringe starts if you have no one else, and Josh Gordon likely can’t be trusted as the third or fourth option on a team that doesn’t pass heavily.
|Benny Snell Jr.||35||48.6%|
Benny Snell Jr. carried the water this week and looked good while James Conner is still sidelines. If Conner is out again, there is no reason to believe it won’t be Snell again after posting 4.7 yards per carry.
Vance McDonald played the biggest snap share and tied the team high in routes run at 33 but did nothing with them with the two inexperienced QBs in the game. Juju is a start if he’s healthy but even he is difficult to trust – it he’s out and you need someone it seems that James Washington has emerged as a bit of the favorite.
It likely doesn’t need to be said but Keke Coutee is no longer fantasy relevant whatsoever after being a healthy scratch with the return of Will Fuller . Will Fuller on the other hand looked amazing despite reaching for his oft-injured hamstring multiple times on the night. Hopkins will face shut down specialist Stephon Gilmore this week which gives a boost to Fuller but it’s difficult to bench Hopkins himself anywhere you have him either as it’s unlikely you have that many better wide receivers to have that luxury. Not to mention he’s torched good corners before.
Typically we would recommend the pass catching back in tough matchups but mobile QBs do not target the running back as often as most QBs so we’ll leave Duke Johnson on the sidelines where we can.
Holy Derrick Henry . Once again the big man demolished the Jaguars, busting off his second massive run chock full of stiff arms for the second year in a row. If Derrick Henry were more involved in the passing game he’d be a top-five running back right now but, as he’s only on pace for 20 catches, he is just outside the hyper-elite group. Still, hard to say anyone is running better than him right now.
With Henry going off it was hard to notice AJ Brown quietly having a pretty big day. He and Corey Davis are locked in as starters and with Tannehill rejuvenating this offense, are developing into promising assets. It’s especially hopeful for anyone holding them in dynasty leagues where Davis owners especially were starting to get nervous.