Using snap counts and targets, we’re going to see who was on the field most to pinpoint who’s legit and who’s fool’s gold when it comes to picking up players to stash on your bench. These players cleared waivers in the majority of leagues and you’ll have the opportunity to pick them up before Sunday. Your league mates chase yards and touchdowns, we’ll chase sustainability.
Let’s get to it.
McDonald debuted week 2 playing on 45 percent of snaps week 2, catching three of five targets for 26 yards. In week 2, McDonald upped his snap count percentage to 48, with a 4-112-1 stat line on five targets. Most of McDonald’s production came on a 75-yard score and he was paced in snap percentage by fellow tight end Jesse James 50-48.
— Rob Lowder (@Rob_Lowder) September 25, 2018
More importantly, James, who had one catch for seven yards week 3, had a similar stat line to McDonald week 2 with a 5-138-1 stat line on five targets. As of now, the playing time is too evenly split among tight ends to call on the guy. With Ben Roethlisberger averaging over 300 passing yards a game and him having back-to-back three passing touchdown games, waiting and seeing if a tight end can emerge is worth it. For now, McDonald’s fool’s gold.
Goedert’s snap count percentage ballooned to 67, after playing on 22 and 24 percent weeks 2 and 1, respectively. Well, the Eagles said they needed to get Goedert more involved, and with injuries to both starting outside receivers Alshon Jeffery and Mike Wallace, the team did. Not only did Goedert play more, he commanded seven targets, second to Zach Ertz, producing a 7-71-1 stat line.
— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) September 20, 2018
Yes, Jordan Matthews is in the fold, but he played on 40 percent of snaps week 3 in his return catching all both of his targets for 21 yards. The status of Jeffery is what you should watch when it comes to picking up Goedert. Jeffery was cleared for contact and has a chance to play week 4, but if he can’t go, at least for this week with Jordan Reed on bye and the Greg Olsen owner more than likely playing tight end roulette, Goedert’s a legit option.
BREAKING: Eagles WR Alshon Jeffery is CLEARED from shoulder injury / surgery
— Jeff Skversky 6abc (@JeffSkversky) September 26, 2018
Eifert’s snap count percentage jumped from 41 week 1 to 64 week 2 and evened out at 65 last week. While C.J. Uzomah played on 54 percent of snaps last week, Eifert’s led all tight ends in playing time back-to-back weeks. And with the most playing time, Eifert produced the most. On eight targets, Eifert put up a 6-74 stat line. For perspective, Eifert had five catches 67 yards the first two weeks combined. It helps that he’s making plays like this below.
On the bright side, I'd say Tyler Eifert is back to 2015 form. pic.twitter.com/84FNUlozeW
— Josh Kirkendall (@Josh_Kirkendall) September 23, 2018
Eifert’s a legit tight option this week against a Falcons secondary without their starting safeties.
Ellison came in relief for an injured Evan Engram week 3, catching two of three targets for a 3-39-1 stat line. In addition, Ellison played on 87 percent of snaps. However, while Engram is out 2-4 weeks, the Saints haven’t allowed a touchdown or 55 yards to opposing tight ends.
The #Giants called TE Evan Engram week-to-week with his MCL sprain, and it sounds like it’s a moderate sprain. Roughly 2-4 weeks is the estimate, and NYG promoted TE Garrett Dickerson from the practice squad yesterday.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 26, 2018
Also, there’s a possibility Engram’s targets get spread out among the receivers and running backs. Ellison’s fool’s gold going into this week with a tough matchup and an uncertainty in expected volume. Sterling Shepard owners should be jumping for joy with the potential of a spike in targets.
Stats since the Giants drafted Sterling Shepard in 2016:
Shepard: 31 games, 216 targets, 142 receptions, 1629 yards, 11 TD (7.5 YPT)
OBJ: 24 games, 254 targets, 154 receptions, 1968 yards, 13 TD (7.7 YPT)
— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) September 26, 2018
Owned in less than 55 percent of ESPN leagues, through three weeks Boyd’s established himself as the Bengals no. 2 receiver behind A.J. Green. In week 1, Boyd played on 88 percent of snaps, behind only A.J. Green, but his stat line was 3-26. Well in week 2, Boyd continued to pace all receivers except Green in snap count. That week, he produced a 6-91-1 stat line.
— NFL (@NFL) September 24, 2018
And with Green leaving week 3’s matchup with an injury, Boyd paced all receivers in snaps with a 6-132-1 stat line. Check out this tidbit. While you should never advocate for an injury, it’s clear that if Green were to miss time Boyd would become the new sheriff in town. However, Boyd’s demonstrated he can be productive with Green in the lineup. Boyd’s a legit flex play, especially with a slew of bye weeks on the horizon, including this week.
"Who does he trust, where does he turn when he's in trouble."
— Evan Silva (@evansilva) September 23, 2018
With Travis Benjamin out the last two weeks, Williams has made the most of his increased playing time. After playing on 54 percent of snaps week 1, Williams on 70 and 67, respectively, weeks 2 and 3. Shockingly, Williams had two targets week 2, after commanding six week 1, but he produced a 2-27-1 stat line. In week 3 with seven targets, Williams had a 4-81-2 stat line.
In addition, Tyrell Williams has paced Mike Williams in snap percentage in every game this season. Mike, while he has a high upside, is a touchdown-dependent flex. On the season, Williams has five red zone targets, so as long as Phillip Rivers is looking for him down there and he commands 6-7 targets a game Williams has a decent chance to score most weeks.
Mike Williams gave his defender a piggy-back ride into the end zone
— Bleacher Report NFL (@BR_NFL) September 23, 2018
Still, while flex-worthy, Mike’s low number of catches (5, 2, 4) scares me away from crowning him legit (for now). Half of Mike’s catches the last two weeks have been touchdowns, all of them combined account for less than 100 yards. Mike isn’t fool’s gold, but he’s not legit either. Push.
MIKE WILLIAMS!!!! pic.twitter.com/eSiBqxD4GQ
— Daniel Stebbins (@dstebbs) September 23, 2018
Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant
Wilson and Grant played on 23 and 20 percent of snaps, respectively, week 3. Wilson had a 2-74-1 stat line on targets while throwing a 52-yard score to Grant, too. Grant, targeted three times, produced a 2-70-2 stat line. Both receivers were behind Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker and Danny Amendola in playing time. In addition, these players don’t have the volume, in addition to playing time, to warrant roster consideration. They’re fool’s gold.
Kirk played on 85 and 69 percent of snaps, respectively, weeks 1 and 2, but the problem was the Cardinals offense didn’t score a threw the air. While a receiver has yet to score, the rookie Kirk has jumped from two targets week 1 to a sturdy eight week 3 playing on 74 percent of snaps. Everything’s pointing in the right direction for Kirk and the insertion of fellow rookie Josh Rosen in the lineup can only help him.
Going into week 4, Kirk’s worth a speculative add. He’s not full-fledged legit, but he’s not fool’s gold. Wait and see on Kirk.
Allison played on 75 percent of snaps week 3 and has been behind Davante Adams and Randall Cobb in playing time every game this season. In addition, Allison tied Cobb for targets week 2 with six but has been behind the aforementioned two every other game, too. In fact, most of Allison’s week 3 production came on his 64-yard score, a play where he was wide open. On four targets, Allison’s stat line was 2-76-1 o.
Geronimo Allison (great name, by the way) lined up against Josh Norman bottom of your screen.
Norman passed him off to a Safety who didn't exist, meaning Allison was wiiiide open.
64 yard Packers TD. pic.twitter.com/Gd6Zaj2YeV
— Chad Ryan (@ChadwikoRCC) September 23, 2018
While Allison will have weeks of production, he’s firmly behind Adams and Cobb in the pecking order, and, on some weeks, Jimmy Graham, too. However, on a late fourth-quarter drive, Cobb fumbled the ball around midfield with the Packers attempting to cut into the Redskins 28-17 lead. There’s no indication the fumble has Cobb in the doghouse, but it’s slight hope for Allison, moving forward.
As for now, he’s fool’s gold if you’re expecting him to be more than a bye-week replacement.
While there are no backs worth nothing to stash on your bench, below are players that could end up on the list after week 4 with a nice stat line.
Allen paced in Alex Collins in snap count percentage week 3 54-49, has scored in every game this season. In addition, Allen’s paced Collins in catches every game this season and has split goal-line work. Allen is on the rise.
Gore’s firmly behind Kenyan Drake in playing time, but he had five fewer carries than Drake week 1, two less in week 2 and one more than him week 3. Watch to see if Gore can earn more playing time, which would lead to the potential to more carries, and catch opportunities.