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Week 8 Snap Counts and Opportunities: RBs

aaron jones week 8 snap counts

Running backs can’t score fantasy points if they aren’t on the field, so this weekly article will provide impressions by analyzing snap counts, percentages, and touches. Here we go with the Week 8 snap counts and opportunities for running backs.

Fantasy football is all about opportunity, and the NFL players who have higher snap counts have a higher probability of scoring more fantasy points. I provide fantasy football snap counts here with some context and impressions to help you make fantasy transactions and gain an edge on your competition. Looking at context will involve analyzing carries and targets and whether running backs were able to convert opportunity to yards gained. Be sure to also read TFA’s Target Analysis article to see the full picture of all the week’s action.

Dallas and Baltimore were on BYE during week 8, so you won’t find them in the report below.

As you have noticed, this article is getting a bit repetitive. As such, I am going to focus on the biggest changes and ignore consistency, unless consistency is notable. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter (@NateHenryFF) for instant reactions to running back usage!

Fantasy Football Snap Counts and Reactions

Arizona Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 David Johnson 0% -5% 0 0 0
RB2 Chase Edmonds 61% -33% 7 4 13

Chase Edmonds pulled up lame with a hamstring injury more than halfway through the game. Not like it mattered, he was horribly inefficient whenever he was playing. So many fantasy experts were excited about Edmonds this week, but I didn’t see it against a strong NO defense. Nevertheless, I got suckered into playing him, and I paid the price. The big news of the week is that Kenyon Drake is headed to town. Edmonds is out “a few weeks”, and David Johnson isn’t likely to play in Week 9, so there could be big opportunity for Drake if he can pick up the playbook quickly. I think I am moving on from Edmonds even though I paid big FAAB to get him.

Atlanta Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Devonta Freeman 80% 8% 13 8 102
RB2 Brian Hill 14% -17% 3 0 29

No Ito Smith meant big snaps for Freeman. He’s still far more efficient through the air than the ground, but he is looking like a solid RB2 moving forward. A coaching change could happen at any second, so move on from him if you can get something equivalent, yet safer.

Buffalo Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Frank Gore 29% -25% 9 0 34
RB2 Devin Singletary 68% 29% 3 6 49

Big snap counts for Devin Singletary in a game where weather conditions suggested a more conservative, ground-and-pound game plan. I don’t quite understand how he only got three carries while playing over 2/3rds of the snaps in a game, but we have a little bit of a Lamar Jackson issue here because Josh Allen steals 5-10 carries from the running backs per game. Even so, you love to see 6 targets, high snap counts and lots of routes run. Game script likely dictated the low carries and high snaps, as Buffalo lost big at home. Play Singletary and Gore next week against Washington!

Carolina Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Christian McCaffery 78% -19% 14 5 155

Ho-hum, only 78% snap counts for the ultimate workhorse in the NFL. CMC is undoubtedly the fantasy MVP so far this year.

Chicago Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 David Montgomery 73% 27% 27 5 147
RB2 Tarik Cohen 21% -34% 4 3 46
RB3 Mike Davis 13% 13% 2 1 8

You’d have to be an idiot to only run it 7 times in a game, so I guess Matt Nagy is proving he’s not an idiot. Nagy took over the play-calling duties and made Montgomery the center-point of the offense. These numbers point to big things for Montgomery. Too bad everybody is a week late in buying him but I’d still give it a try. Nevertheless, his TD numbers are bound to lower his ceiling in a low-scoring, Bears offense.

Cincinnati Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Joe Mixon 51% -3% 17 4 77
RB2 Giovani Bernard 40% -7% 3 2 45

Mixon had some success against LA and saw a bit more work through the air, but you still want to avoid this backfield. He got 4 targets but didn’t run any more routes than his season average, so this game isn’t really something to get excited about. Just keep praying Mixon finds the endzone at an unsustainable rate. That’s the only way he returns value on his draft cost.

Cleveland Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Nick Chubb 63% -23% 20 1 138

Chubb was outstanding against a tough NE defense. We are really getting close to Kareem Hunt time. Chubb is playing too well to come off the field. Maybe the Kareem Hunt narrative lowers his price! Try now or try again in a week. I am buying Chubb.

Denver Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Phillip Lindsay 49% 9% 14 5 76
RB2 Royce Freeman 51% -12% 12 2 45

Another 50-50 split; another week where Lindsay was more dynamic. Interestingly, Freeman had all the goal-line carries, so both backs are limiting each other. There is nothing actionable about this backfield.

Detroit Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Ty Johnson 40% -24% 7 4 38
RB2 JD McKissic 25% 0% 1 3 1
RB3 Tra Carson 30% 30% 12 0 34

Detroit tried everybody this week by playing 5 halfbacks and fullbacks in an effort to replace Kerryon Johnson by committee. Carson got the most carriers and the start, but Ty Johnson saw the most snap counts, routes, and targets. This backfield looks like a muddy mess, so I hope you didn’t blow your budget on Ty Johnson because he clearly isn’t getting Kerryon’s role. Nobody looks particularly efficient (even Kerryon wasn’t great when healthy) so look elsewhere for fantasy wins. Matt Stafford is carrying this team, and that won’t change. That said, I’d expect the Lions to move forward with only Carson, Johnson, and McKissic, in which case Ty Johnson is the only player worth rostering simply because he offers the most upside as a pass catcher.

Green Bay Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Aaron Jones 64% 7% 13 8 226
RB2 Jamaal Williams 46% 6% 7 3 36

This backfield is still close to a 50-50 split, but they are trying to find ways to get both of them on the field together. Both are dynamic in both the passing and running game. If either goes down, the other will win you a fantasy championship in the playoffs. The numbers love this backfield, especially with Aaron Jones doing big-time damage in the passing game. Hold or buy both players.

Houston Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Duke Johnson 45% -15% 3 5 34
RB2 Carlos Hyde 52% 12% 19 1 83

Game script dictated more Duke Johnson, but Hyde was still relatively efficient. Keep in mind, this efficiency came against Oakland, so take it with a grain of salt.

Indianapolis Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Marlon Mack 61% -10% 19 1 90
RB2 Nyheim Hines 28% 16% 4 3 46
RB3 Jordan Wilkins 9% -9% 2 0 5

Marlon Mack is still the only player you want in this backfield, and he still continues to dominate touches even if he isn’t truly “dominating” snaps. He ran more routes that Hines too, so Mack is truly the only fantasy relevant Colts running back.

Jacksonville Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Leonard Fournette 79% -11% 19 7 136
RB2 Ryquell Armstead 21% 12% 6 0 7

Touchdown regression is bound to hit Fournette soon. I don’t think you can buy him, but if you have him, have faith in the law of averages.

Kansas City Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Damien Williams 42% 13% 7 0 30
RB2 LeSean McCoy 39% -4% 9 4 63
RB3 Darrell Williams 15% -13% 2 0 10

Good grief. In a game where KC was playing catch-up, Damien Williams played the most snaps, yet somehow didn’t get a target in the role he was on the field to perform. I hate this backfield. Do what you can to avoid starting anyone one of these backs.

LA Chargers Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Austin Ekeler 53% -6% 3 3 22
RB2 Melvin Gordon 56% 3% 8 3 34

The Bears played better against the run, which might be a result of Melvin Gordon just lacking talent at this point in his career. Also, the Chargers look terrible; and so does Phillip Rivers. They only ran 44 plays as a team, with 5 3-and-outs. This is a low-ceiling offense, which does not bode well for these two players. A bit of the poor efficiency can be attributed to an above-average Bears defense, but not all of it. The numbers are also really low due to the really low number of total snaps as a team. I am still worried about Gordon’s future prospects.

LA Rams Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Todd Gurley 52% -9% 10 1 44
RB2 Malcolm Brown 0% 0% 0 0 0
RB3 Darrell Henderson 48% 14% 11 3 69

Gurley keeps losing snaps to Henderson, and now he’s losing targets. The Rams offensive line is not great, and if he isn’t dynamic in the passing game, that’s a huge problem. Thankfully, he salvaged his day with a touchdown, but Cincinnati is the worst run defense in the league, and Gurley only managed 40 total yards. That’s concerning, especially considering LA was in firm control of this game. I think the game score meant more Henderson, allowing Gurley to rest a bit more. Watching the game essentially confirms this suspicion considering that Gurley didn’t play the entire 4th quarter and missed half of the 3rd after scoring his touchdown. This means that Gurley played about 75-80% of snap counts in the part of the game that mattered. I am guessing that McVay felt the game in hand after Gurley extended the league and gave Henderson some additional snap counts to show what he’s got. However, this is a concern because if Gurley isn’t getting any garbage-time work, his ceiling is much lower.

Miami Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Mark Walton 87% 45% 11 6 54
RB2 Kalen Ballage 17% 12% 3 1 19

Walton played big snap counts, but big snap counts in this offense doesn’t mean a whole lot. Miami almost never has a lead, so much of Walton’s usage is limited to the first half. The good news is that Ballage does not appear to be part of the game plan now that Kenyon Drake is with Arizona. Maybe in a better matchup Walton could be useful, but I don’t foresee many touchdowns in his future.

Minnesota Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Dalvin Cook 71% 1% 23 6 171
RB2 Alexander Mattison 26% -3% 13 2 64

Dalvin Cook is a monster, and he took it to a bad Washington defense. Mattison got extended run again because the Vikings dominated. You can’t count on Mattison every week, but you should have him on your bench.

New England Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Sony Michel 41% 3% 21 0 74
RB2 James White 41% -13% 2 5 79
RB3 Rex Burkhead 19% 19% 3 1 13

Sony was fine, but he blew his touchdown load last week. That said, he didn’t lose out any goal-line carries to either White, Burkhead, or Bolden. I guess NE gave up trying to involve him in the passing game… Hopefully, this isn’t a trend

New Orleans Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Alvin Kamara 0% 0% 0 0 0
RB2 Latavius Murray 82% -1% 21 12 157

This is likely the last week of Top-5 Latavius, so I hope you enjoyed it. Nevertheless, I’d bet he gets extended run even after Kamara returns due to his elevated play for the last two weeks (most broken tackles of any player in Week 8). He will be in flex consideration when Kamara returns. If you need RB help, this could be a decent buy-low due to the impending return of Kamara.

NY Giants Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Saquon Barkley 82% -4% 19 10 143
RB2 Wayne Gallman 18% 4% 0 1 20

Barkley very rudely embarrassed the Lions defenders who tried to tackle him in front of their home crowd. In all seriousness, Barkley finally looked 100% healthy and will be a force to be reckoned with down the stretch.

NY Jets Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Le’Veon Bell 85% -8% 9 5 35
RB2 Ty Montgomery 10% -1% 0 0 0

Lev looked awful, but look at the Jets upcoming schedule: Dolphins, Giants, Redskins, Raiders, Bengals, Dolphins. Buy low right now!

Oakland Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Josh Jacobs 55% -1% 15 2 81
RB2 Jalen Richard 30% 7% 1 3 27
RB3 DeAndre Washington 16% -5% 5 1 27

Normal workload for Josh Jacobs even with the injury. He looks solid moving forward. He should feast against the terrible Detroit run defense next week.

Philadelphia Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Miles Sanders 18% -36% 3 2 118
RB2 Jordan Howard 73% 35% 23 2 111
RB3 Boston Scott 12% -1% 5 0 6

118 yards on 5 touches. Do you think that will convince Philly to give him the ball more? Me either. This will remain a frustrating timeshare because its the Eagles. Just expect it. Sell high on Sanders. Notably, Sanders snap counts were lowered by a non-serious shoulder injury (no reason to risk further injury with the game firmly in hand). He will have some value in PPR leagues, but I’d still try to sell.

Pittsburgh Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 James Conner 83% 33% 23 4 150
RB2 Benny Snell 14% -34% 5 0 13

Conner was dominant against the terrible Dolphins defense, who seem more interested in locking up the #1 draft pick than slowing down running backs. Conner did suffer a shoulder injury, so you will have to monitor that. Trey Edmunds is a name to watch with Snell also battling his own injury. Should Conner play, he’s an RB1 because his snap counts and opportunity have been through the roof since Roethlisberger went down.

Seattle Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Chris Carson 69% -20% 20 1 90
RB2 Rashaad Penny 30% 27% 8 0 55
RB3 C.J. Prosise 0% -8% 0 0 0

Seattle gave Penny some extended run in a game they largely controlled. His value is still just tied to being a handcuff.

San Francisco Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Matt Breida 28% 1% 11 1 50
RB2 Tevin Coleman 48% -18% 11 2 118
RB3 Raheem Mostert 21% 21% 9 0 60

Coleman does not like sharing touchdowns with Matt Breida, but touchdown regression will come for both players. That said, Coleman is clearly the back you want to own in this fantastic running situation. Mostert played a bit more in a game that San Fran won by almost 40. Breida suffered another injury, which is essentially like saying the sun rose today. He will probably play next week because he isn’t a real human being.

Tampa Bay Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Peyton Barber 35% 11% 10 3 28
RB2 Ronald Jones 27% 11% 11 4 52
RB3 Dare Ogunbowale 33% -25% 1 3 1

Continue to avoid this backfield. Ronald Jones is the only back that should be rostered, but nobody can consider playing him until Tampa understands that this isn’t their year. Even then, they may not hand over the keys to the kingdom to Jones. I’d want to see a concerted effort to give him the ball and a media announcement naming him the starter. Tampa needs to see what they have in their 2018 2nd round draft choice at some point, but you can’t start him until that intention is clear from the team. It won’t be Week 9. Like I said, continue to avoid this backfield.

Tennessee Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Derrick Henry 67% -8% 16 1 83
RB2 Dion Lewis 33% 6% 0 1 2

Tannehill continues to improve the offensive prospects for Tennessee and Derrick Henry. That’s two weeks in a row where he stayed on the field more than 65% of the time. Things are looking up for Henry, but he’s still just a mediocre RB2. He’s just safer now.

Washington Snaps  +/- Carries Targets Total Yards
RB1 Adrian Peterson 72% 7% 14 2 103
RB2 Chris Thompson 0 0% 0 0 0
RB3 Wendell Smallwood 28% -7% 2 2 20

Peterson did well to get a bit of revenge against his old team. Like I’ve been saying, he’s not a terrible play under Bill Callahan’s run-first offense. He just won’t score touchdowns.

Biggest Takeaways

  • David Montgomery is the center-point of Matt Nagy’s play-calling. It will be tough to pry him from the Montgomery owner, but it’s worth a try.
  • Detroit failed to find a single player who can replace Kerryon, which will be frustrating for fantasy players in 2019. Ty Johnson has some upside, but won’t win you any weeks.
  • Todd Gurley ended his day about 2/3rds of the way through the game when the game was solidly in-hand. This does not bode well for Gurley’s ceiling if he isn’t racking up easy fantasy points against bad defenses during garbage time.
  • Make sure you are stashing Alexander Mattison.
  • Latavius Murray has played well enough to earn more snap counts and your flex consideration.
  • Le’Veon Bell is the perfect buy-low considering his upcoming schedule.

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