It was a strange Week 1 with injuries popping up before the action
even started, sidelining important players like Courtland Sutton,
Kenny Golladay and Miles Sanders. Coupled with the fact that there
was no preseason action, it felt like driving blind in many respects.
This season is going to be strange so it is important to remember
not to get too up or too down from one week. Itís a grind,
and whether you won or lost in Week 1, you still have a long road
We now have 1 out of 16 data points from which to learn, make
assumptions, and strategize. While most will go only off what
they saw on the screen or what they see in the box scores, this
article aims to take it a step further, diving into the actual
player usage. How often was a player on the field, and how often
were they targeted? That often tells you much more about their
future fantasy potential than how many yards they may have produced
in a given week.
We will go through the three primary positions Ė running back,
wide receiver, and tight end Ė and see what we can learn that
others might miss. And hopefully what you glean will enable you
to make the right moves on your path toward winning your league(s).
Just like last season, Christian
McCaffrey played 100% of snaps in Week 1. It looks like
the new coaching staff doesnít see a need to take him off the
field. This is obviously gold for fantasy purposes, and even
though he didnít explode, production is all but guaranteed if
he stays healthy.
Some feared we would see a more even split between Ezekiel
Elliott and Tony
Pollard this year, and that was certainly not the case in
Week 1. Elliott saw 63 of 69 snaps, and Pollard played on 10.
Pollardís opportunities may increase, but for now he is not
playable unless youíre desperate.
On the other hand, we saw an interesting split between the
Arizona backs, with Kenyan
Drake playing on 74% of snaps and Chase
Edmonds playing on 36%. Edmonds being on the field that
often, and his involvement in the game plan, makes him a solid
flex option, or as an option to start at running back in a pinch.
On top of that, he could be a league-winner if Drake gets injured.
If heís available in your league, you should grab him.
Singletary played on 63% of snaps, while rookie Zack
Moss played on 48% of snaps in Buffalo. Both got 9 carries
and Singletary was targeted 7 times to Mossí 4. Clearly the
coaching staff wants both of them involved, and the snap share
could start to slant toward Moss if he can be more effective.
For now, both are viable options, but neither is a great option
as long as there is such an equal split.
Ekeler was a disappointment in Week 1, only receiving 1
target. It seems he only caught so many balls last season because
Rivers loves to throw to his backs. He did get 19 carries, but
it was noteworthy that rookie running back Joshua
Kelley got 12 carries himself. Kelley got those 12 carries
on only 18 snaps, so when he is in the game heís in there to
pound it. Kelley is a great pick-up for those in need of a running
back option, even though Ekeler is still clearly the No.1 option
(and played on 70% of snaps).
Edwards-Helaire played on 69% of snaps for the Chiefs, and
was extremely effective. Current back-up Darrel
Williams played on 34%. CEH was far more effective, and
I anticipate his snap share increasing as he gains comfort in
played on 45 snaps and Latavius
Murray played on 23, so about a 2-to-1 split is what we
saw. I think weíll continue to see such a split moving forward,
so Murray should retain flex value (and lots of potential upside
in the case of a Kamara injury).
Brown may have been the surprise of the week, playing on
61% of snaps and showing great effectiveness. He got 18 carries
and 4 targets, and totaled over 100 yards from scrimmage. Meanwhile,
played on only 33% of the snaps and was far less effective.
Brown is another great waiver wire add if he is available in
In a trend that was solidly established last season, Aaron
Jones played on only 55% of the snaps for the Packers. He
was clearly the main back in the rushing game and contributed
4 receptions, so it isnít something to worry about for fantasy
owners. The Packers coaches truly do want to work multiple backs
in the system. While that limits Jonesí potential upside, heíll
still get plenty of opportunities.
only played on 59% of the snaps, while Giovani
Bernard played on 30%. This is concerning for Mixonís owners,
as his main path to a potential breakout is if he is more involved
in the passing game. This is something to keep an eye, and needy
owners may want to consider picking up Bernard.
In the shocker of the week, Nyheim
Hines played the most of any Colts running back, getting
39 snaps. Marlon
Mack was injured, so itís difficult to tell how many he
would have gotten, but Jonathan
Taylor only received 26. It was clear even prior to the
injury that the Colts want to involve Hines, and he is very
dynamic with the ball in his hands. He is worth your largest
waiver bid of the week in PPR leagues, particularly with Mack
done for the year with an Achilles tear.
In another shocker, Myles
Gaskin of the Dolphins played on 39 of 58 snaps, playing
ahead of Matt
Breida. This could be that Breida just needs more time to
learn the system, but itís very concerning for his owners nonetheless.
Gaskin is not an exciting player, but if you need a running
back badly enough, you might need to consider making a bid on
Mostert was the main ball-carrier for the 49ers and played
on 61% of snaps. He also received 5 targets, more than he ever
had last season. McKinnon also got in on 31% of the snaps and
was effective, so he makes another nice pick-up. However, Tevin
Coleman should work into the mix more in future games, so
donít go crazy spending on McKinnon.
and Kareem Hunt
split the snaps on Sunday, in a terrible game for the Browns.
They each played 51% of the snaps. Chubb likely would have played
a bit more had the Browns not been down big in the second half,
but either way it looks concerning for those who drafted Chubb
early. This is a situation to monitor closely.
Swift played on 47% of snaps for the Lions, while Adrian
Peterson played on 33% and Kerryon
Johnson played on 27%. This is a situation to avoid until
it clears up, which may never be the case under Matt Patricia.
To make things worse, Peterson received 14 carries while Johnson
got 7 and Swift got 3. Swift scored the only rushing score,
which helped salvage his day, but starting any of these players
right now is a very risky endeavor.
Robinson started for the Jaguars and played on 72% of snaps!
He was also the only running back to receive a carry and caught
one pass for 28 yards. He is likely not available on your wire,
but if he is grab him now. The cherry on top was that Chris
Thompson only played 12 snaps and had two receptions.
played on 50% of snaps and had 17 of 22 running back rushes.
His share might decrease as Fournette learns the offense, but
for now he is the starter and has the most upside. He also received
3 targets and caught 2 for 16 yards. Fournette only received
9 snaps and McCoy received 25, but Jones was the one they wanted
to run the ball, at least in Week 1.
The Washington backfield looks like another one to avoid
until one back emerges. J.D.
McKissic received 31 snaps, Peyton
Barber 29, and Antonio
Gibson 18. The annoying part is that Barber got the most
touches and scored the touchdowns but was totally ineffective
for the most part, while Gibson was the most effective.
played on 61% of snaps and Alexander
Mattison played on 39%, so it was a much more even split
than many envisioned. This is something to watch carefully,
as Mattison could become a weekly option in your flex if it
played 28 snaps and Carlos
Hyde played 21. It seems they are going to split the early-down
carries fairly evenly, or perhaps that is just for a while since
Carson is coming back from an injury. If it holds, Hyde will
have a real impact in leagues and will offer a decent floor
as an option during bye weeks or due to injuries.
played on 39% of the snaps, Mark
Ingram played on 36% of the snaps, and Gus
Edwards played on 26% of the snaps. Since the Ravens run
it so often, all of them will likely have value, but until either
Dobbins or Ingram emerges as the main ball-carrier on early
downs, all of their values will be capped. Watch this weekly
snap count carefully.
In true Belichick fashion, no Patriots running back played
on more than 19 snaps. Three backs all played on 19 exactly,
with the fourth back playing on 9. Avoid them all until one
begins to play more (or until James
White begins to click with Newton in the receiving department).
Stefon Diggs and John Brown were both every-down players
for the Bills. Gabriel Davis got into the game on 53% of snaps
for the Bills. He is a good-looking rookie receiver and one to
keep an eye on. Even though Diggs and Brown both played every
snap, they clearly want to get Davis involved.
Hopkins also played on all but one snap, and clicked with
Murray in his first game as a Cardinal, catching 14 balls. He
looks like a steal in the late-second round.
Gallup did not do much on Sunday (3 receptions for 50 yards),
he played 100% of snaps for Dallas and will be in line for some
big games as a result. Amari
Cooper played all but two snaps, while Ceedee Lamb played
on 85% of snaps. It seems clear that Dallas wants to play 11 personnel,
and that is even more likely now that Blake
Jarwin is done for the season with an ACL injury.
For the Packers, Davante
Adams played on 70 of 76 snaps, Allen
Lazard played on 68, and Marquez
Valdes-Scantling played on 42 - so they also prefer 11 personnel
a majority of the time. Lazard is the player to pay attention
to here. Since he is playing every down, he should have some very
nice games when teams scheme to take away Adams.
led the Falcons receivers with 88% of the snaps, just ahead of
Julio. They are 1A Ė 1B, and both are great starts weekly.
and A.J. Brown
both played on 85% of snaps, with Humphries playing on 56%. All
three will have value this season, but Davis and Humphries are
likely available on your wire and could be excellent pick-ups
Ė especially if Tennessee continues to focus on the pass.
and Mike Evans
both played on essentially every snap. If things eventually click
with Brady, better days are ahead for both.
played on 65-of-70 snaps, while Steven
Sims played on 58. They are the two Redskins receivers to
own, and if Sims is on your wire he makes an excellent pick-up.
He only produced 3 receptions for 50 yards, but bigger days are
ahead, especially since Washington will often be trailing.
played on 86% of snaps, while Robert
Woods was at 85%. The Rams want to keep Kupp out there even
when they are not in 11 personnel, as Kupp only ran from the slot
on 52% of his plays.
Cephus played on 86% of snaps and received a whopping 10 targets!
He only caught 3 of them, so this was missed by most. But he is
one to keep an eye on. He may only have a large role if Kenny
Golladay or Marvin
Jones miss time, but there is also a chance he begins to play
ahead of Jones at some point this season.
Campbell played the most snaps of any Colts receiver (two
more than Hilton). He was the most effective as well, catching
6 for 71 yards on 9 targets. Hilton only had 4 receptions for
53 yards on his 9 targets. Campbell is a great waiver wire add
if he is available in your league, and makes for a great trade
target as well.
and Tyler Lockett
both played 100% of snaps. They are going to be out there every
play, every week. Since both have built up good chemistry with
Wilson, they are excellent weekly plays.
and Sammy Watkins
both played over 85% of snaps, while the next highest receiver
was at 33%. Mecole
Hardman will be fighting with DeMarcus Robinson and others
to get on the field, making him worth a drop unless you have the
roster depth to hold him.
Tate out, Darius
Slayton had a huge game Monday night playinh on 90% of snaps.
Shepard played on 83%. Slayton looks like he is going to stay
the top option in this passing game, even when Tate comes back.
The Panthers, in their first week under Matt Rhule, played
in 11 personnel 77% of the time. Samuel played on 77% of snaps,
Anderson at 85% and D.J.
Moore at 89%. Donít read too much into Andersonís big day
Ė he will be a boom-bust option weekly, as will Samuel. Moore
will get the most opportunities and targets, even though in Week
1 he only turned his 9 targets into 4 catches for 54 yards. Bigger
days are coming and he is a must-start.
played on 82% of snaps and caught 4 of 9 targets for 69 yards.
If Taylor did one thing well on Sunday, it was throwing some nice
deep balls to Williams.
The Cincinnati receivers surprised with their snap counts on
Sunday. A.J. Green
was the most productive (5-51) but played the least snaps, 67%.
was the next most productive (4-33) and played the second-highest
number of snaps, 82%. And John
Ross played the most snaps of the group (88%) but only produced
2-17. Green looked like he was back to his old self, and should
be a great option for as long as he stays healthy. Boyd and Ross
will likely split having good games, but both could be usable
if Burrow improves as the season goes along.
Perriman played every snap for the Jets, but only produced
3-17 on 5 targets. If you have him he is a hold, as he should
do better in future matchups against easier defenses.
Williams, in his return from a knee injury, played all but
two snaps. He didnít produce much against a good Patriots defense.
Beckham Jr. played 81% of snaps and received 10 targets, but
he only caught 3 for 22 yards. The Ravens simply shut him down
and he looked out of sync with Mayfield.
Johnson and Juju Smith-Schuster both played 86% of snaps,
and both were effective. They are good weekly plays, since Ben
looks to be back to himself.
played on 71% of snaps, got 12 targets and had 9 receptions. Take
this with a grain of salt, since the Falcons were in comeback
mode for most of the game. His targets will often be at 2 or 3,
but if you are desperate for a receiver who is able to put up
good numbers on occasion, he is a worthwhile add.
led Patriots receivers with 81% of snaps (Edelman was down at
58%). Much of that could be a function of the Patriotsí game plan
against the Dolphins, but either way itís good news for Harry.
He looks locked in as the top starter on the outside.
played every only snap (50) for the Vikings. It was amazing how
few plays Minnesota ran, and keep that in mind both for game pace
projections and in the sense that Thielen could have some gigantic
games when the Vikings are forced to run more plays.
For Houston, Will
Fuller played on 47 snaps, Randall
Cobb played on 46, and Brandin
Cooks (quad) played on 31. Those are very confusing numbers,
particularly as it relates to Cooks. Fuller, meanwhile, looks
to have taken over the mantle as the No. 1 option, receiving 10
played on 44-of-59 plays and was effective except for two bad
drops (4-56). It is unclear how much he will be targeted once
Sutton returns, so digest these results cautiously.
played on 66% of snaps for the Bucs (5-73 on 6 targets), and apparently
won the No.3 job over Justin
Watson. He is quick and great in the slot, which Brady loves.
He is another excellent add in PPR leagues.
had 7 targets and caught 5 for 81 yards, on 73% of snaps. He is
a player to consider adding if you need depth at wide receiver.
III played virtually every snap aside from when he was getting
checked for a knee injury, and he looked very explosive. If heís
healthy, he is the Raidersí No.1 option and is a great start in
only played 42 snaps, but the Jaguars only had 47 as a team so
bigger days are ahead against softer defenses.
did play 60% of snaps, but could only manage one reception. The
whole Eaglesí offense looked out of sync.
is a player to watch. He played on 70% of snaps and got 4 of Jacksonís
25 targets. Itís not a high-volume offense, but he could have
some very nice games if he is playing a large percentage of snaps
Brown only played 64% of snaps, likely because the Ravens
got so far ahead. He still produced nicely (5-101 on 6 targets)
and is a great start weekly due to his explosive upside.
Anthony Miller shockingly only played on 41% of snaps
in Week 1. He seemed to split WR snaps with Javon Wims and Ted Ginn Jr.. This is extremely concerning, and I would hold off on
starting him until we see his snap share increase.
seemed to answer the questions about whether he was an every-down
player. He played on 90% of snaps. Although he only caught 3 balls,
the Rams went with a very run-heavy game plan in this one. Bigger
games are coming.
played on every snap for the Giants. He only had 2 receptions
for 9 yards on 7 targets, but then the Giants were generally ineffective.
If you own Engram, it might be wise to look for another option
to start until he shows he can click with Daniel Jones.
played every snap for the Patriots. Many were hoping to see Devin
Asiasi get some action, but he played only 10 snaps and did
not have a target. We donít know whether this will continue or
whether it will change with a new game plan, but obviously avoid
Asiasi until further notice.
played on 76% of snaps and had 7 targets, producing 4-36 and a
touchdown. This is a nice start to the Jonnu Smith era, and should
make you feel great about drafting him late.
played 87% of snaps and Goedert played 84%. Both scored, but Goedert
produced a better stat line (8-101-1). If you drafted Ertz you
likely have to play him, but keep a close eye on this situation.
played on 82% of snaps in his first game with the Browns, but
he caught only 2 balls. He is already missing the Falcons.
only had 2 receptions for 11 yards, which is quite concerning.
However, he played on 83% of snaps, and the whole Bucsí offense
looked out of sorts for much of the game. If he keeps playing
a large majority of snaps, he will break out soon.
played on 74% of snaps and had a team-high 8 targets (4-37 with
a touchdown). This was the beginning of what looks like a break-out
from Thomas, and he should be gobbled up instantly in every league.
Jarwin out, Dalton
Schultz played on 72% of snaps. He is not a special talent
and is mostly a blocker, but he might be worth a pick-up if youíre
desperate. I would not be surprised if the Cowboys went and signed
so bid with a bit of caution.
played on 73% of snaps and had 5 targets (4-45). He is another
nice pick-up for those desperate for a tight end.
had a big day (5-81-1) but played on only 73% of snaps. He took
himself out of the game often. If he can get in better shape (or
become a better blocker) and stay in for all of the snaps, his
upside is even higher.
played on 58% of snaps for the Cardinals and had 2 receptions.
He could become a bigger factor down the line, but for now heís
played on 40-of-58 snaps and Will
Dissly played on 25-of-58 snaps. Both were involved, but Olsen
had 4 targets and a touchdown reception. It is tough to know if
heíll stay more involved going forward or if Dissly will earn
more playing time as the season goes on. For now, Olsen seems
like a nice play.
The Jetsí offense looked bad for most of the day, but Chris
Herndon did play on 75% of snaps and had some receptions late
(6-37 on 7 targets). Against a softer defense, Herndon is a good
had only 2 receptions and Irv
Smith had only one, but they each got fewer than 35 snaps
since the team only played 49 total. They are difficult to trust
in such a conservative, slow-paced offense, but both have upside
in the right matchup.
Jace Sternberger is indeed behind Robert Tonyan. Sternberger
played on 12 snaps, while Tonyan played 48. However, Tonyan did
not have a target while Sternberger had one, so who knows? You
should likely avoid both until a breakout occurs.
Gerald Everett played on only 24 snaps (65 for Higbee).
Unless he starts playing more than half the snaps, he should be
Kevin Scott is a fantasy pro who is the co-host for The Lowdown
Fantasy Football Podcast. He plays in over 40 leagues annually and
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