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Week One Snap Counts: Pass Catchers

Darren Waller

NFL players can’t score fantasy points if they aren’t on the field, so this weekly article will provide impressions by analyzing snap count percentages[1]. Fantasy football is all about opportunity, and the NFL players having higher snap counts have a higher probability of scoring more fantasy points. Here are the week one snap counts with some context and impressions to help you make fantasy transactions and gain an edge on your competition. Be sure to also read TFA’s Target Analysis and Rapid Reactions articles to see the full picture of all the week’s action.

Fantasy Football Snap Count Numbers and Reactions

Arizona
WR1 Christian Kirk 93%
WR2 Larry Fitzgerald 96%
WR3 Damiere Byrd 88%
WR4 Keesean Johnson 76%
WR5 Andy Isabela 8%
TE1 Maxx Williams 25%

The important thing to note is that the Air Raid offense defaults to 4 WR sets. As such, Arizona TEs are going to be irrelevant, which at least partially explains why the team cut Ricky Seals-Jones. Despite the draft hype, Andy Isabela has been relegated to special teams work. Keesean Johnson is interesting in deep leagues (he received 10 targets in week 1) because this team intends to spread the ball around with 4 WRs on the field.

Atlanta
WR1 Julio Jones 68%
WR2 Calvin Ridley 78%
WR3 Mohamed Sanu 85%
WR4 Justin Hardy 28%
WR5 Russell Gage 17%
TE1 Austin Hooper 79%

Julio’s snap percentage is a bit concerning, but he is coming off an injury. Austin Hooper is constantly on the field, so he should be a decent streaming option in a good match-up. Sanu saw six targets while playing nearly the entire game, but Minnesota absolutely dominated Atlanta’s offensive line. Sanu could be an interesting pick-up later in the year if he continues to play this many snaps.

Baltimore
WR1 Seth Roberts 68%
WR2 Willie Snead 65%
WR3 Chris Moore 42%
WR4 Miles Boykin 23%
WR5 Marquise Brown 18%
TE1 Mark Andrews 42%

Marquise Brown certainly made the most out of his limited snaps! His limited snap number likely stems from the pre-season injury and the out-of-hand nature of this game. Or, Baltimore may be comfortable using him as a gimmick because his world class speed can still beat shifted coverage. Andrews’ will also likely play more snaps in games that aren’t decided after the first quarter. Snead and Roberts were listed on the depth chart as starters, and their snap count numbers reflect the depth chart. Brown’s recovery may change the depth chart quickly, but Snead might have sneaky appeal if Baltimore continues to keep Jackson in the pocket throwing down the field.

Buffalo
WR1 John Brown 86%
WR2 Cole Beasley 70%
WR3 Zay Jones 42%
WR4 Robert Foster 22%
WR5
TE1 Dawson Knox 55%

John Brown is clearly the WR to own in Buffalo. His speed vibes with Josh Allen’s big arm, and his snap count reflects a WR1 status. Robert Foster is battling an injury and could see his snaps increase. Beasley will remain a slot guy, on the field a lot. Looks like the WR talent has overshadowed the TE talent, so Knox is not a name worth monitoring.

Carolina
WR1 DJ Moore 94%
WR2 Curtis Samuel 93%
WR3 Jarius Wright 60%
WR4 Chris Hogan 7%
WR5
TE1 Greg Olsen 94%

Carolina’s base set includes Olsen, Moore, and Samuel. These are the only pass catchers worth owning. Greg Olsen continues to battle injuries, so Moore and Samuel might see more targets in week 2.

Chicago
WR1 Allen Robinson 96%
WR2 Anthony Miller 22%
WR3 Taylor Gabriel 92%
WR4 Cordarrelle Patterson 27%
WR5 Javon Wims 29%
TE1 Adam Shaheen 47%

Anthony Miller’s low snap counts disappointed fantasy players who drafted him late. I am not selling or dropping him yet because he also is recovering from injuries. Miller is a TD threat once he gets healthy, but I need to see a higher snap count before I feel comfortable even thinking about starting him. Wims and Patterson likely played additional snaps due to the absence of Trey Burton. Regardless, I don’t believe Mitch Trubisky can support multiple pass-catchers in this offense yet, so I am not starting anyone other than Allen Robinson.

Cincinnati
WR1 Tyler Boyd 79%
WR2 John Ross 82%
WR3 Damion Willis 90%
WR4 Alex Erickson 14%
WR5 Pharoh Cooper 10%
TE1 Tyler Eifert 49%

It’s interesting to discover that Boyd was out-snapped by both John Ross and Damion Willis. It’s likely that Willis filled A.J. Green’s role, while Ross and Boyd maintained their previously defined roles. The most important revelation this data indicates is that Cincy intends to frequently use a 3-WR sets and throw the ball (Cincy threw the ball on 60% of plays in a neutral game script). New coach Zac Taylor modernized the offense, which breathed life into the career of John Ross. This offense looks competent! Go see if you can buy A.J. Green on the cheap. John Ross is worth a 10% FAAB bid while Green is sidelined. Also, Eifert played limited snaps (49% to C.J. Uzomah’s 70%), so the Bengals seem intent to only use him on obvious passing downs and goal line situations. He is a TD-or-bust TE and is not worth stashing.

Cleveland
WR1 Odell Beckham Jr. 100%
WR2 Jarvis Landry 100%
WR3 Damion Ratley 48%
WR4 Rashard Higgins 44%
WR5
TE1 David Njoku 90%

Cleveland’s base set is clearly Landry, OBJ, and Njoku. These players basically never came off the field. All other pass catchers are fantasy irrelevant, and the main, three Cleveland pass catchers are buy-low candidates, especially Landry. I doubt Mayfield regressed this much this fast, so Cleveland is an offense to monitor or buy low. Don’t forget that Antonio Callaway is suspended for the first four games. He could be a sneaky pick-up after week 3.

Dallas
WR1 Amari Cooper 76%
WR2 Michael Gallup 78%
WR3 Randall Cobb 71%
WR4 Tavon Austin 37%
WR5 Devin Smith 9%
TE1 Jason Witten 66%

Michael Gallup is poised for a great year. I love Kellen Moore’s new offense (lots of motion, base 3 WR set), and Dak looks determined to prove he’s worth $40 million a year. The most surprising number from this group is Randall Cobb’s 71% snap count. Cobb only got 5 targets, but he should see more simply by being on the field this much. The Giants’ defense looked atrocious, so some of the Dallas offensive numbers may be inflated, but Dallas has a strong roster in 2019. I’d be buying into this offense where you can.

Denver
WR1 Courtland Sutton 89%
WR2 Emmanuel Sanders 89%
WR3 Daesean Hamilton 77%
WR4 Tim Patrick 12%
WR5
TE1 Noah Fant 81%

Denver’s offense is also looking like a base 3-wide set with Noah Fant being the 4th pass catcher in the base set. Some worried about Fant’s blocking abilities out of the draft, but the team seems unconcerned based on these snap count numbers. Fant’s snap counts are encouraging, but can Flacco support three pass catchers? For now, Sanders and Sutton are the only players that can be started with any confidence. Sutton’s performance (8 targets and 120 yards) was very encouraging!

Detroit
WR1 Kenny Golladay 98%
WR2 Marvin Jones 81%
WR3 Danny Amendola 53%
WR4
WR5
TE1 TJ Hockenson 73%

Darren Bevell never played a fourth WR, preferring instead to use multiple running backs and tight ends. Amendola saw a lot of targets (13) in his part-time role. He is a target hog, but 13 targets may very well be his season high. Hockenson is the clear TE1, despite the presence of Jesse James. “Gronk-enson” looked fantastic in his record-setting performance. I don’t think this is an anomaly, and if Hock is available on your waiver wire, grab him! He’s looking like a top 5-6 TE.

Green Bay
WR1 Davante Adams 97%
WR2 Geronimo Allison 50%
WR3 Marquez Valdes-Scantling 66%
WR4 Trevor Davis 30%
WR5 Jake Kumerow 2%
TE1 Jimmy Graham 55%

MVS has clearly surpassed Allison on the depth chart. Allison is a part-time player in a strong offense. You can hold him for one more week, but unless his snap counts increase to 60-70%, I don’t see how he ever finds his way into your starting lineup. Jimmy Graham’s snap count and usage look a lot like Tyler Eifert – passing downs and goal lines only. He’s a TE streamer who you hope scores a TD. I’d rather have Waller or Hockenson.

Houston
WR1 DeAndre Hopkins 99%
WR2 Will Fuller 97%
WR3 Kenny Stills 42%
WR4 Deandre Carter 42%
WR5
TE1 Jordan Akins 70%

For now, Houston is electing to use a 2 WR set with TEs. However, Houston was without Keke Coutee, and Kenny Stills has only been a Texan for a week. Let’s see if Stills’ snap count increases as he immerses himself in the Houston offense. If you bought Will Fuller cheap, he looks healthy and ready for a big year – his snap count reflects no limitations!

Indianapolis
WR1 T.Y. Hilton 89%
WR2 Devin Funchess 57%
WR3 Parris Campbell 29%
WR4 Chester Rogers 40%
WR5 Deon Cain 17%
TE1 Eric Ebron 40%

Funchess got injured in this game, so Rogers’s and Deon Cain’s respective usages are murky. Cain looks like the player filling in for Funchess. He’s worth monitoring, but Brissett’s ability to support multiple pass catchers is still unknown. Ebron remains a pass-catching only TE because Jack Doyle saw far more snaps than Ebron (69% to 40%). Technically, Ebron still saw one more target, but I maintain that neither Colts TE is roster-able.

Indianapolis
Jacksonville Dede Westbrook 83%
WR2 Chris Conley 76%
WR3 DJ Chark 71%
WR4 Keelan Cole 21%
WR5 Marqise Lee 21%
TE1 James O’Shaughnessy 66%

Conley and Chark had big games with fill-in quarterback Gardner Minshew, but I still think Dede is the WR to own in Jacksonville, especially in PPR. Even so, Conley saw the most targets of the group, but I am not spending any FAAB dollars on Conley or Chark with the unknown of Minshew leading the Jaguars’ passing attack. The Jacksonville TEs are glorified offensive linemen.

Kansas City
WR1 Tyreek Hill 18%
WR2 Sammy Watkins 96%
WR3 Mecole Hardman 78%
WR4 Demarcus Robinson 63%
WR5
TE1 Travis Kelce 74%

Tyreek got hurt early in the game. Hardman, as expected, replaced him in the offense. He should have been a waiver wire target for everyone. Robinson played a lot as well, but only saw two targets. This passing offense will continue to run through Watkins, Kelce, and the running backs. I’m ignoring Demarcus Robinson.

LA Chargers
WR1 Keenan Allen 83%
WR2 Mike Williams 64%
WR3 Travis Benjamin 48%
WR4 Dontrelle Inman 42%
WR5
TE1 Hunter Henry 91%

Mike Williams also go hurt, and the Chargers opted to replace him with a committee of Benjamin and Inman. Phillip Rivers moves his offense through Keenan and his running backs primarily.

LA Rams
WR1 Robert Woods 95%
WR2 Brandin Cooks 92%
WR3 Cooper Kupp 90%
WR4 Josh Reynolds 32%
WR5
TE1 Tyler Higbee 52%

No real surprise in LA; this team still prefers to operate almost exclusively in an 11 formation. Kupp, Cooks, and Woods are all great options. It looks like Higbee has surpassed Everett on the depth cart, but neither TE is exciting for fantasy purposes.

Miami
WR1 Devante Parker 76%
WR2 Allen Hurns 70%
WR3 Jakeem Grant 60%
WR4 Preston Wilson 42%
WR5 Albert Wilson 12%
TE1 Mike Gesicki 68%

Yuck. The only notable snap count is Albert Wilson. The team played him sparingly in a game that was almost instantly over. The team may have decided not to risk his health when defeat became inevitable after only 1 quarter. His speed makes him the only exciting pass catcher on this team, but he needs to be on the field.

Minnesota
WR1 Adam Thielen 89%
WR2 Stefon Diggs 60%
WR3 Chad Beebe 26%
WR4 Olabisi Johnson 13%
WR5
TE1 Kyle Rudolph 100%

Take all of these snap counts with a grain of salt considering the team only passed 10 times in the entire game. Diggs will play more in games where the team has to pass it more frequently. Rudolph’s 100% snap count is nothing to get excited about; he only saw 1 target (again, the team only threw 10 times). You can call this game an outlier, but the Vikings’ clearly intend to run the ball more often than they pass, when possible. Diggs and Thielen are sell candidates for me.

New England
WR1 Julian Edelman 96%
WR2 Josh Gordon 67%
WR3 Phillip Dorsett 87%
WR4 Jakobi Meyers 11%
WR5
TE1 Ryan Izzo 64%

Without Gronk, this offense will run nearly exclusively through the RBs and WRs. Dorsett is playing the Antonio Brown role, but Brown’s off-field issues might prevent him from ever playing a game for the Patriots. Dorsett is a must-own if Brown gets cut again. Until then Gordon, Edelman and Brown/Dorsett all look like great fantasy options. Izzo is irrelevant (only 2 targets).

New Orleans
WR1 Michael Thomas 89%
WR2 Ted Ginn 74%
WR3 Tre’Quan Smith 64%
WR4 Keith Kirkwood 18%
WR5
TE1 Jared Cook 64%

Again, Ted Ginn, not Tre’Quan Smith, is the 2nd Saints WR to own. But the top two targets for this team remain Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara. Cook had only three targets on a disappointing 64% of snaps. In a game where the Saints were playing catch-up most of the time, I find Cook’s usage somewhat surprising. However, Cook’s inclusion in this strong offense is too exciting to drop at this point.

NY Giants
WR1 Sterling Shepard 99%
WR2 Cody Latimer 88%
WR3 Bennie Fowler 72%
WR4 Russell Shepard 13%
WR5
TE1 Evan Engram 77%

Sterling Shepard left the game with a concussion, but appears to be the only WR on this team worth owning, at least until Eli Manning is inevitably benched. Engram is the most exciting offensive option on this team, outside of Saquon Barkley. He continues to essentially play a WR role because Rhett Ellison is still a pass-blocking TE, who sees a respectable number of snaps.

NY Jets
WR1 Robby Anderson 96%
WR2 Quincy Enunwa 92%
WR3 Jamison Crowder 90%
WR4 Josh Bellamy 8%
WR5
TE1 Ryan Griffin 94%

Enunwa is out of the season, which is great news for Robby Anderson and Jamison Crowder. Crowder already led the team (and the NFL!) in targets (17), so he’s definitely worth owning. The Bills are a better defense than most would expect, so the passing game numbers should improve against more average defenses. Ryan Griffin played a ton and actually ran the most routes of any TE in week 1 – not just Jets TEs, any TE in the NFL! He also caught a touchdown. This bodes well for Chris Herndon when he returns from suspension in week 3. If you need TE help, see if Herndon is available now, before everybody remembers.

Oakland
WR1 Tyrell Williams 95%
WR2 Ryan Grant 71%
WR3 Hunter Renfrow 28%
WR4 JJ Nelson 14%
WR5
TE1 Darren Waller 100%

If you aren’t excited to see 100% behind Darren Waller’s name, then you either lack a soul or played against him in week 1. I love Darren Waller’s potential in 2019. He very well might be the number one Raiders target this year, now that Antonio Brown is no longer a Raider. Tyrell Williams also played a ton, and saw 7 targets in a game where the Raiders didn’t need to throw much (Josh Jacobs got 23 carries). Waller and Williams are the only Raiders worth owning, but they are both start-able, especially Waller.

Philadelphia
WR1 Alshon Jeffery 80%
WR2 Nelson Agholor 80%
WR3 DeSean Jackson 69%
WR4 JJ Arcega-Whiteside 7%
WR5 Mack Hollins 13%
TE1 Zack Ertz 83%

Agholor played more snaps, but Jackson is a far better fantasy player. His snaps may increase after his finger heals completely (hard to block with a splint on your hand). Ertz played plenty and should see better days. It’s worth nothing that Dallas Goedert snap count percentage was 55%, so he is involved.

Pittsburgh
WR1 JuJu Smith-Schuster 90%
WR2 Donte Moncrief 90%
WR3 James Washington 52%
WR4 Ryan Switzer 67%
WR5 Dionte Johnson 36%
TE1 Vance McDonald 71%

Donte Moncrief is the WR2, not James Washington. James Washington is actually the WR4. Washington should be dropped for those of you who guessed wrong. Moncreif had a rough game, but saw 10 targets. I’m holding him and optimistic about his future. Despite pre-season reports, the Steelers increased Vance’s snap count in 2019. This may have been related to the lopsided score, but for Vance has the opportunity necessary to return value on his mid-round draft cost.

Seattle
WR1 Tyler Lockett 91%
WR2 D.K. Metcalf 77%
WR3 Jaron Brown 77%
WR4
WR5
TE1 Will Dissly 51%

The Seahawks remain a run-first team. Lockett never leaves the field, but the Seahawks only threw the ball 20 times. Brown and Metcalf have healthy snap counts, but the passing volume likely will not support anyone in this passing game other than Lockett. Dissly looks unlikely to surprise in 2019.

San Francisco
WR1 Dante Pettis 3%
WR2 Marquise Goodwin 74%
WR3 Deebo Samuel 88%
WR4 Kendrick Bourne 25%
WR5 Richie James 38%
TE1 George Kittle 91%

The 49ers have easily the most interesting pass catcher snap counts in Week 1. Presumed and named starter, Dante Pettis only played 2 snaps! Deebo Samuel actually saw the most snaps, and Goodwin wasn’t far behind. Regardless, this 49ers offense primarily runs through Kittle. One of Samuel or Goodwin should emerge, but I am starting to get skeptical, even after I had a lot of pre-season love for Goodwin. This is a group to monitor. Hold Goodwin and Pettis for one more week.

WR1 Mike Evans 86%
WR2 Chris Godwin 91%
WR3 Bershard Perriman 64%
WR4 Jesus Wilson 9%
WR5
TE1 OJ Howard 79%

Arians was true to his word, and Godwin was on the field for essentially the entire game. Evans was battling an illness, so his snap count should exceed 90% next week. Howard looks like the clear third target in this offense. However, Winston needs to stop turning the ball over for these players to really shine.

Tennesee
WR1 Corey Davis 74%
WR2 A.J. Brown 43%
WR3 Adam Humphries 36%
WR4 Tajae Sharpe 49%
WR5 Darius Jennings 8%
TE1 Delanie Walker 48%

A.J. Brown’s snap percentage was significantly lower than Corey Davis’s, but he ran only a few fewer routes. Corey Davis is a lost cause, meanwhile, Brown looks like an up-and-comer. I am surprised with Humphries usage though. I am equally surprised with Walker’s. Jonnu Smith was on the field more (61%), so Walker’s duties may no longer include blocking after last season’s injury. Still, Walker did a lot with his few snaps. He remains a viable streamer.

Washington
WR1 Trey Quinn 97%
WR2 Terry McLaurin 93%
WR3 Paul Richardson 78%
WR4 Kelvin Harmon 22%
WR5
TE1 Vernon Davis 82%

McLaurin has apparently surpassed Paul Richardson the depth chart. His speed is to enticing to keep off the field. I like McLaurin as a pickup. Quinn remains the underneath guy who PPR players should seriously consider. Also, fantasy players should be prepared for the very real possibility that Jordan Reed never gets his job back or retires. 7 concussions is too many for the human brain to sustain. As such, Davis could remain a solid streamer, and might lead the team in targets.

Biggest Takeaways

  • The Cardinals are going to run a ton of 4 WR sets. Keesean Johnson might be a viable starter based on opportunity even as the team’s 3rd option.
  • Marquise Brown’s limited usage can likely be explained by his injury and the enormous point differential.
  • Anthony Miller should see more playing time when he fully recovers, but Trubisky may not be about to sustain multiple receivers.
  • MVS is the clear #2 WR in GB, and Allison is not currently playing enough snaps to justify a roster spot on your fantasy team.
  • Darren Waller played 100% of week 1 snaps and looks like a fantasy stud.
  • James Washington is the Steelers WR4 and should be dropped.
  • The 49ers entire WR core is in flux. Pettis is not receiving any playing time. He might be droppable if the 49ers continue to bench him.
  • Terry McLaurin played a ton of snaps and has the speed to be dynamic. Can Case Keenum find him enough to make McLaurin fantasy relevant? So far, so good.

[1] All snap percentages from https://www.lineups.com/nfl/snap-counts/

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