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A Deeper Look Into Snap Rates

Hello everyone Coach Craig back at it again! In today's article I want to look further into snap rates between Weeks 1 and 2. I will be splitting this article up into 3 main sections: crowded backfields, players to be concerned about and players looking upward.

Crowded backfields:

The 3 crowded backfields I want to look further into are the Baltimore Ravens, Detroit Lions, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Baltimore Ravens:

The team with the most rushing attempts in 2019 surely should have a RB you want to start most weeks right? Through the first 2 weeks of the season that answer is looking like no.

Mark Ingram played on 36% of snaps in Week 1 and 42% in Week 2. J.K. Dobbins played on 39% of snaps in Week 1 and 31% in Week 2. Gus Edwards played 25% of snaps in Week 1 and 31% in Week 2. Mark Ingram saw 10 carries in Week 1 and 11 touches (9 carries) in Week 2. JK Dobbins saw 7 carries in Week 1 and 3 touches (2 carries) in Week 2. Gus Edwards saw 4 carries in Week 1 and 10 carries in Week 2.

I know 2 weeks is a small sample size, but what we can gather from these numbers is the following: there is about 20-22 carries available for Baltimore Ravens RBs, all 3 of these RBs will see time, and none of them should be trusted in fantasy at this time. Both Ingram and Dobbins should be owned as bench stashes. You can leave Edwards on waivers.

Detroit Lions:

The Lions struggles at RB are nothing new. Many of you probably already know that the Lions have had just one 1,000 yard rusher (Reggie Bush 2013) since Barry Sanders retired. This year's backfield features Kerryon Johnson, D'Andre Swift, and future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson.

Adrian Peterson was productive Week 1 playing on 31% of snaps, but saw a dip in snaps in Week 2 to 25%. D'Andre Swift has led the way playing 44% of snaps in Week 1 and 34% in Week 2. Kerryon Johnson played on 26% of snaps in Week 1 and 32% in Week 2. This backfield is quite the mess!

It looks like Swift will see the majority of the passing down work. While Peterson has carved out a role on the early downs. Lastly, Kerryon Johnson appears to be a change of pace back between the two. Until further notice none of these RBs should be started in fantasy. Swift is the player to watch out for if he becomes more involved in the offense. Consider Swift a bench stash, Peterson and Johnson can be left on waivers.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

Bruce Arians has been known to shuffle RBs almost at will. This makes things even more difficult for fantasy owners. Ronald Jones seemed to be the guy going into the year before they brought in Leonard Fournette.

Ronald Jones played on 47% of snaps in Week 1 and 34% in Week 2. Leonard Fournette played of 13% of snaps in Week 1 and 43% in Week 2. LeSean McCoy also chipped in for 36% in Week 1 and 18% in Week 2. McCoy appears to be the pass catching back, seeing 7 targets in Week 1 and 1 target in Week 2. Jones saw 19 touches (17 carries) in Week 1 and only 9 touches (7 carries) in Week 2. Fournette saw 6 touches (5 carries) in Week 1 and 16 touches (12 carries) in Week 2.

Jones was benched in Week 2 after a botched handoff that caused a fumble. This opened the door for Fournette to take over. Consider Fournette a solid RB3/FLEX play moving forward. Jones should also be stashed in case he regains more of the workload. McCoy can be left on waivers for now.

Players to be Concerned About:

In this section I will look at players whose snap rate is lower than expected or that saw a concerning difference between Weeks 1 and 2.

Joe Mixon

This one pains me as I am probably one of the biggest Joe Mixon truthers in the fantasy football community. Mixon played on 59% of snaps in Week 1 and only 50% in Week 2. Head Coach Zac Taylor and company still insist on using Gio Bernard as the pass catching back. Mixon is a fully capable pass catching back in his own right. Consider Mixon a low end RB1 until his snap rate goes up.

Nyheim Hines

One of the biggest waiver wire additions after Week 1 was Nyheim Hines. However, he played on only 12% of snaps in Week 2. Imagine spending $35+ worth of FAAB on Hines and for him to put up ONLY 1.4 PPR points in Week 2! As a fantasy owner I am very concerned about Hines going forward. Consider him a bench stash until further notice.

Mark Andrews

After playing playing on 71% of snaps in Week 1, Mark Andrews only played 58% of snaps in Week 2 against the Texans. This one was a little odd to me. Nick Boyle saw his rate increase by about 12%. It appears the Ravens used less 2 TE sets and preferred using Boyle over Andrews as a blocker. Overall, I am not super concerned about Andrews, but it is definitely something to monitor going forward.

Sony Michel

2020 has not been very kind to Sony Michel. He entered the season following offseason foot surgery. Many people thought he would start the year on IR. In Week 1 he played on 30% of snaps in a positive game script. James White did not play in Week 2 following the loss of his father. Prayers go out to him and his family. However, this did not help Sony Michel in Week 2 as he only played on 21% of snaps. I would consider Michel droppable at this point if there is a clear better option available.

Anthony Miller

Anthony Miller was a breakout pick for many fantasy football analysts headed into 2020. Head Coach Matt Nagy had other plans. Miller has only played on 42% of snaps in Week 1 and 40% in Week 2. He turned in a solid performance in Week 1 and essentially disappeared in Week 2 despite Ted Ginn Jr. being inactive. Miller has played primarily in 3 WR sets. He could have an impact in Week 3 against the Falcons, but he would be a very risky play. Consider Miller droppable at this point.

Looking Upward:

In this section I will look at players whose snap rate is more than expected or saw a significant increase between Weeks 1 and 2.

Michael Pittman Jr.

The former USC Trojan WR had a door open up for him in Week 2. Parris Campbell is now out indefinitely with a knee injury. Michael Pittman Jr. saw his snap rate go from 53% in Week 1 to 92% in Week 2. With Jack Doyle banged up and T.Y. Hilton struggling early, look for Michael Pittman Jr. to get his fair share of opportunities. He is definitely worth a bench stash.

Russell Gage

Possibly the biggest surprise in 2020 has been Russell Gage. He performed well at times last year after the departure of Mohamed Sanu. Gage has looked like a solid WR3 in PPR so far this year. He has been on the field quite a bit as well, 70% in Week 1 and 83% in Week 2. Julio Jones is banged up once again. If Julio were to miss time Gage would instantly become a must start WR.

Joshua Kelley

One of my favorite late round sleepers headed into this season was Chargers RB Joshua Kelley. He played on 24% of snaps (12 carries) in Week 1 turning in 12 PPR points. In Week 2 he played on 52% of snaps (23 carries) and put up 13.3 PPR points. Look for him to continue to perform in the old "Melvin Gordon" role.

Myles Gaskin

Alright maybe this is an even bigger surprise than Russell Gage. What if I told you coming into the season that Myles Gaskin would be the lead RB for the Dolphins? The average response would likely have been "Who?". Yes that's right not Jordan Howard, not Matt Breida but Myles Gaskin. Gaskin has looked great so far playing on 63% of snaps in Week 1 and 65% in Week 2. He should be rostered in all PPR leagues as a bench stash or fill in FLEX option.

CeeDee Lamb

There is a good reason that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was so excited to make his 1st round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. He knew that CeeDee Lamb was a special talent at WR and he is definitely looking the part so far. Lamb has 11 receptions for 165 yards in his first 2 NFL games. He has also played on about 82% of snaps in both games. Consider him a good buy low candidate and expect good things to come from him moving forward.

Logan Thomas

This might be the year that the former Virginia Tech QB finally breaks out! Logan Thomas has always shown good athleticism. Last season he performed well when given the chance for the Detroit Lions. That helped land him a contract this past offseason in DC. Thomas has become the starting TE and has seen a total of 17 targets so far this season. Even more exciting is that he has played on 74% of snaps in Week 1 and an incredible 91% of snaps in Week 2. He is clearly the 2nd option for the Washington Football Team. Consider him a low end TE1 going forward.

Darnell Mooney

A 5th round pick out of Tulane, WR Darnell Mooney has surprised quite a few people so far. He has 3 catches in each of his first 2 NFL games. He also scored a TD in week 2 while playing on 60% of snaps. That is quite the uptick from the 32% he saw in Week 1. Like I mentioned earlier with Anthony Miller, Ted Ginn Jr. was inactive. This allowed Mooney to see more snaps. Going forward we could see Darnell Mooney become the WR2 for the Chicago Bears. He is definitely worth a stash in deeper leagues and someone to watch out for over the next few weeks.

In conclusion, I would like to say that these numbers are based on a small sample size. With that being said, we need to take this information with a grain of salt. I will be doing a follow up article regarding this topic in about 2-3 weeks. At that time I will recap the snap rates for everyone mentioned in this article. I will also include some new players to be concerned about as well as players looking upward.

I would love to hear your thoughts as well! Feel free to leave a comment on this article or reach out to me on Twitter @CoachCraigSport

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