Using snap counts and targets, we’re going to see who was on the field most to pinpoint position-by-position who’s legit and who’s fool’s gold when it comes to picking up players to start or stash on your bench. These players are available in 40 percent or more of ESPN leagues. Your league mates chase yards and touchdowns, we’ll chase sustainability.
As a point of reference, snap count and target data is derived from Pro Football Reference and Fantasy Pros, respectively. In addition, players below scored inside the top 12 at QB/TE week 7 and the top 36 at RB/WR, so in a perfect world, all players would’ve been started in a 12-team league. Lastly, here are last week’s receipts.
Players we were right on in week 7: Peyton Barber, Frank Gore, Torrey Smith, (Fool’s Gold). Marlon Mack, Raheem Mostert, Cole Beasley, Chris Godwin, O.J. Howard, C.J. Uzomah, (Legit)
Players we were wrong on in week 7: Duke Johnson, Ito Smith, Jermaine Kearse, Taylor Gabriel, Willie Snead, Ricky Seals-Jones (legit), Tyrell Williams, Chris Herndon (fool’s gold)
Mack’s snap count percentage jumped from 35 percent week 6 to 56 week 7, pacing all Colts running backs. More importantly, Mack out-touched Nyheim Hines, 21-6, with 19 carries for 126 yards and a touchdown, and two catches for 33 yards and a touchdown. Based on ADP and Mack missing the first few games of the season, Mack could be your flex, based on roster construction, but weeks 6-7 Mack’s RB7. Consider Mack a legit high-end RB2 rest of season.
Since returning in Week 6, Marlon Mack has 31 carries for 215 yards. On those 31 carries..
27 have gained positive yardage (6th)
18 have gained 5+ yards (2nd to Gurley)
7 have gained 10+ yards (2nd to Gurley)
12 have resulted in a 1st Down (2nd to Gurley)
— Rich Hribar (@LordReebs) October 22, 2018
Hines is a strong handcuff, but otherwise can be dropped if you’re not the Mack owner.
Bibbs played on 38 percent of snaps week 7, second in the backfield behind Adrian Peterson, after playing on 37 percent week 6 in Chris Thompson’s absence. In week 6, Bibbs had a measly three touches for 17 yards (two carries for 11 yards and a catch for six), while in week 7 Bibbs’ touches doubled (two carries for 13 yards and a 4-43-1 receiving stat line).
Without scoring, Bibbs would’ve had less than double-digit fantasy points, playing in less than half of his team’s offensive snaps as a back up averaging less than five touches a game. Bibbs is fool’s gold. Fade.
Ware played on 31 percent of snaps week 7, rushing for 59 yards on eight carries with a 3-30 receiving stat line. In addition, Ware’s 59 rushing yards was carried by a 34-yard run. Due to the Chiefs being up big in the fourth quarter against the Bengals, Kareem Hunt was rested, paving the way for Ware to see more playing time. Simply, don’t expect the Chiefs to win 45-10 every week and for them to be in a position to rest Hunt. Consider Ware fool’s gold.
Mostert paced the Niners’ backfield week 7 in snap count percentage and touches, playing on 38 percent of offensive snaps commanding 11 touches. Matt Breida was injured early, but came back, though he was limited to five touches. For the second straight week, Mostert had double-digit touches.
Mostert was utilized early and often in this contest, leading me to believe Breida’s injury had little to do with his second straight week of increased usage. Clearly, Mostert’s jumped Morris in the pecking order. If Breida’s out week 8, consider Mostert a breakout candidate going up against the worst fantasy defense against running backs, the Cardinals.
Still, Mostert’s a legit flex option in PPR leagues, averaging double-digit points the last two weeks with Breida and Morris in the mix.
In the absence of Theo Roddick, Kerryon Johnson had a breakout game, Johnson had a 19-158 rushing stat line and a 2-21 receiving stat line. However, it was Blount that scored (10-50-1 stat line). In addition, Blount played on 33 percent of snaps week 7, second among backs to Johnson. Without the two-yard touchdown run, Blount would’ve had less than 50 rushing yards, or five fantasy points.
All of us: "Kerryon Johnson is so good, he should be getting all the work."
Matt Patricia: *thinking of more reasons to slam LeGarrette Blount into the line* pic.twitter.com/Ntr1o9z3RN
— Yahoo Fantasy Sports (@YahooFantasy) October 21, 2018
In fact, the two games Blount had double-digit fantasy points were games he scored in. That’s not sustainability. Consider Blount fool’s gold.
Jones played on 31 percent of snaps week 7, third among Tampa Bay backs. In the two games combined that Jones was active before week 7, Jones had 11 carries for 32 yards and four catches for 15 yards. Week 7 was worse for Jones, as his near three YPC dropped to barely over two. While Jones had a catch for 15 yards, his 9.8 fantasy point performance can be attributed to him scoring a touchdown.
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) October 21, 2018
Playing time and touches don’t suggest this performance is repeatable for Jones. Though Jones has a nice matchup against the Bengals week 8, Jones is not the main back and will not be in a position to exploit the matchup. Consider Joens fool’s gold.
Brown played on 41 percent of snaps week 7, second among Rams’ backs behind Todd Gurley. In a 39-10 beat down the victory, Brown saw increased action during the second half. Brown had 14 touches (13 carries for 65 yards and a catch for six). No, Gurley didn’t get hurt, but, like with the Chiefs, it’s irresponsible and unpredictable to think and know when the Rams will be ahead big late in a game to give Brown extended work again.
Brown’s potential elsewhere is more intriguing. But, don’t take my word for it:
Yeah that’s a tough one because he’d probably split work but under the terms of your question … 1250?
— Gregg Rosenthal (@greggrosenthal) October 22, 2018
Brown, like Ware to Hunt, is a strong handcuff, but Brown has no stand-alone fantasy value at the moment.
Amendola was a predicted scoring leader for week 7 last week, and he paid dividends with a 6-84-1 stat line (on seven targets). Though it took Albert Wilson and Kenny Stills (the latter scored, too) getting injured, Amendola paced all receivers in snap count percentage, playing on 98 percent of snaps. Well, Wilson was placed on injured reserve and Stills has been ruled out for week 8. In two Brock Osweiler starts, Amendola leads all receivers with 18 targets.
— NFL (@NFL) October 21, 2018
Amendola’s a legit WR2 week 8, and as long as Stills’ out. It would not shock me if Amendola received 15 targets week 8 on a short week (playing on TNF) against the Texans (Osweiler revenge game?). Set it and forget it.
And for DFS, Jakeem Grant (played on 70 percent of snaps and will be the no. 2 receiver week 8) is a cheap boom-or-bust option. Check this out:
Diminutive 4.37 speedster Jakeem Grant was biggest beneficiary of #Dolphins WR Albert Wilson's Week 7 hip injury, recording season highs in snaps & routes run in loss to Detroit.
Grant should be a near-full-time WR on Thursday night @ #Texans.
— Evan Silva (@evansilva) October 22, 2018
Moncrief paced all Jaguars receivers in snap count percentage week 7, playing on 81 percent of snaps. In addition, Moncrief had a 7-76 stat line (on 10 targets). Week 7 was the first week Moncrief had the most playing time among receivers this season, while it was the third game he led all receivers in targets. On the season, Moncrief pacing all receivers with 49 targets, but Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook are both within seven targets.
Considering there’s been one week in which all three receivers had double-digit fantasy performance and the state of qb play in for the Jaguars, even in a juicy matchup against Eagles corners’ Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills, I’m not trusting Moncrief. While Moncrief’s worth a roster spot, Moncrief’s fool’s gold if you expect him to magically become the featured receiver in the Jags’ offense. But this stat is interesting:
No. 1 and No. 2 most targeted pass catchers when their QB is under pressure. pic.twitter.com/uliFmCFyFx
— Pat Thorman (@Pat_Thorman) October 20, 2018
Hogan was third in playing time among New England receivers week 7 (playing on 66 percent of offensive snaps), hauling in six of seven targets for 63 yards. Week 7 was the second straight week Josh Gordon and Julian Edelman paced Hogan in playing time, though Hogan’s tied with Phillip Dorsett at 30 for the team-lead in targets (Edelman was suspended the first four games, Gordon debuted for the Patriots week 4).
Considering Hogan’s losing playing time, it’s remarkable he’s put up back-to-back double-digit fantasy point performances the last two weeks, but Hogan’s on borrowed time, and fool’s gold. Rob Gronkowski did not play week 7, while week 6 was a shoot-out game for the Patriots against the Chiefs. Factor in James White and Hogan’s the fourth option is the passing game for Tom Brady. The smart money’s leaving Hogan on the waiver wire.
Remember when Hogan was WR10 weeks 1-8 last season? Me neither.
Chris Hogan. Let’s go Josh Gordon, though. https://t.co/Mbv8yxONl3
— JJ Zachariason (@LateRoundQB) October 23, 2018
Roberts played on 30 percent of offensive snaps, second among tight ends, for the Lions week 7. After missing the previous three games due to injury, Roberts hauled in all three of his targets for 48 yards and two touchdowns. In fact, Roberts, in his last game played, had another touchdown week 2. Defying efficiency odds, Roberts has three touchdowns on four targets this season. The second-year tight end possesses upside Luke Wilson simply doesn’t have.
Matthew Stafford hit Michael Roberts on a 15-yard touchdown pass on the Lions first drive of the game. pic.twitter.com/rpDYCU0oYm
— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) October 21, 2018
Consider Roberts a legit speculative add, as hopefully, his playing time will steadily increase. In three games, Roberts snap count percentage were the following (in order): 20 (week 1), 9 (week 2), 30 (week 7). Still, Roberts has a long road before you start him, as the Lions fifth option in the passing game.
Another TD for Michael Roberts of the Lions!
Roberts is the star of our $50K Bargain Bin Jackpot so far today. He was available for the minimum $4,000 TE salary in the Sunday Million and is <1% owned—and he just scored his 2nd TD of the day. ? pic.twitter.com/ic21dOvH0Y
— FanDuel (@FanDuel) October 21, 2018
Watson played on 51 percent of offensive snaps, second among tight ends behind Josh Hill, week 7. In addition, Watson had a 6-43-1 stat line (on six targets). After playing on 80 percent of snaps weeks 1 and 2, Watson’s snap count percentage dove down to 57 percent week 3. Week 7 was the least amount of playing time Watson had all season. It appears the Saints are slowly phasing Hill in, while phasing Watson out.
For at least week 8, Watson’s a fine streaming option, but if you already had Watson I’d look to sell high. Consider Watson’s long-term value fool’s gold.
Goedert played on 55 percent of offensive snaps, second among Eagles tight ends, week 7. On five targets, Goedert had a 4-45-1 stat line. The touchdown was Goedert’s second of the season and the first for Goedert in four weeks. In the three games prior to week 7, Goedert didn’t have 14.3 fantasy points combined, which is what his output was week 7.
With Alshon Jeffery back and Zach Ertz in the middle of a historic season, there’s nothing that suggests Goedert’s due for an uptick in playing time or targets. From time to time, the athletic second-round rookie will make plays and score, just not consistently enough to call him legit. Consider Goedert fool’s gold. But, check this out:
Shot 2 – I find new reasons to be impressed with #Eagles rookie TE Dallas Goedert on a weekly basis. He's going to be a good one. Naturally smooth pass catcher, good athlete, good blocker. He's a three-down player #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/ZAf4km9h4i
— Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) October 23, 2018
Herndon was called fool’s gold last week, then proceeded to have a 4-42-1 stat line week 7 on seven targets playing on a season-low 34 percent of offensive snaps, third among Jets tight ends. With Quincy Enunwa banged up and Tyrelle Pryor released prior to week 7, Herndon, alongside Jermaine Kearse, had the opportunity to be fantasy-relevant, and Herndon took advantage. Herndon’s seven targets were more than his target total the three games prior combined.
Consider Herndon a legit speculative add (with upside), but the Jets signed receiver Richard Matthews Tuesday. Also, Herndon’s playing time needs to at least stabilize, but preferably increase, instead of decreasing like it has the last few weeks. Still, as we saw week 7, the upside is there.
Chris Herndon among TEs last two weeks
9 targets (13th)
6 catches (13th)
98 yards (9th)
2 TD (1st)
16.3 Y/R (2nd among 22 w/5+ targets)
Doing that playing 37% of offensive snaps.
Small sample size promise #Jets
— Michael Nania (@Michael_Nania) October 22, 2018
Notable Snap Count Trends: Finding Week 8 Scoring Leaders