Update – All 16 Week 1 games are now added
The Premium Stats here at Pro Football Focus are as unique as you’ll find on the web. One of the main highlights in that Premium stat section is the snap counts. Instead of working with carries, targets, and receptions, we allow you to take it a step further by reviewing overall snaps and pass routes.
The purpose of this weekly article will be to review each fantasy-relevant offensive player’s snap counts in search of trends that will help you to your league title. With that, let’s begin with Week 1:
Packers 42, Saints 34
Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley played most of the offensive snaps, but that’s not a surprise. What did stand out was Donald Driver (46) playing significantly more snaps than Jordy Nelson (27), despite Nelson beating him by one in the target department. James Jones had a quiet night, but was out there for 20 snaps, 13 more than rookie sensation Randall Cobb. Andrew Quarless seems like Jermichael Finley’s handcuff…for now. He and Tom Crabtree each played 15 snaps, while DJ Williams saw 9. James Starks is the man to own in the Packers backfield, playing 47 snaps to Ryan Grant’s 17. John Kuhn was asked to block on 15 of his 22 snaps.
Devery Henderson had the better Fantasy day, but Robert Meachem actually played eight more snaps. This is important to note considering that Marques Colston, who played 68 of the team’s 76 offensive snaps, is out for a month or so. If Lance Moore is out again this week, expect to see Meachem and Henderson on the field almost every down. Adrian Arrington will be the slot man in 3WR sets, but Jimmy Graham will fill in at the Y, as well. Speaking of Graham, he handled 62 snaps to Dave Thomas’ 29. Mainly because the Saints were playing from behind, Darren Sproles led the backfield in snaps with 32, but Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram weren’t far behind at 26 and 19, respectively. Expect that committee to continue. Note that Ingram carried the ball on 13 of his 19 snaps and Sproles ran a pass route on 27 of his 32. (wink wink, nudge nudge defenses).
Bears 30, Falcons 12
Aside of the offensive line and Jay Cutler, it was new tight end Kellen Davis leading the skill position players in snaps. Earl Bennett led the mess at wide receiver, playing 50 of a possible 67 snaps. Devin Hester played 45, while Roy Williams and Johnny Knox tallied 35 and 26, respectively. Knox is not a player you can start right now, but he’s worth a bench stash. Matt Spaeth played 22 snaps as the No. 2 TE.
Roddy White played every snap, but Julio Jones wasn’t far behind at 68 of 73, missing only one pass play. Harry Douglas is the clear No. 3 wideout, playing well over half the snaps. Because the Falcons were behind all day long, Jason Snelling (36) played six more snaps than Michael Turner. Turner, however, did handle 10 of the team’s 14 runs and was very effective. Jacquizz Rodgers tallied 21 snaps, 14 of which were pass routes. Eric Weems (6) was ahead of Kerry Meier (1) on the wideout depth chart. Michael Palmer (10) was the only tight end not named Tony Gonzalez with more than one snap played. He is the add if Gonzalez goes down.
Texans 34, Colts 7
Houston dominated from the onset, which meant plenty of rushing attempts down the stretch. Owners were disappointed with Owen Daniels’ performance, but don’t overreact. He played more snaps (55) than any other player at a skill position. Fullback James Casey was second in that department at 47. No. 2 Tight End Joel Dreessen played 47 snaps as part of a heavy dose of 2-TE sets. Derrick Ward and Ben Tate were splitting the snaps at tailback until Ward left with an injury. Tate ended up racking up 24 runs on 42 snaps. Kevin Walter handled 24 snaps before going down with an injury that will cost him a few weeks. Jacoby Jones (36) will step into the No. 2 job. Bryant Johnson (4) barely played, but is now the No. 3. He’s not worth adding in 12 team leagues. Underused Steve Slaton played just five snaps and is unlikely to make an impact in 2011.
Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon combined to play all but one of the team’s 57 snaps. The Colts featured a 2-TE set a lot more than usual, which was good news for Dallas Clark (57) and blocking TE Brody Elridge (20), but not for Austin Collie (33). Still, Collie was in on 23 pass plays, which was just 12 fewer than Garcon/Wayne. Joe Addai played 25 more snaps than Delone Carter and is the clear feature back. Donald Brown did not play and 2010 handcuff sensation Jacob Tamme saw just four snaps.
Eagles 31, Rams 13
DeSean Jackson did most of the damage on the Fantasy Football scoresheet, but it was Jeremy Maclin – once questionable for the opener – who led the wide receivers with 63 snaps. Brent Celek led all skill position players, handling 70 of a possible 71 snaps. Of course, he blocked on 15 of the 45 pass plays, meaning he saw close to a dozen fewer pass routes than Jackson and Maclin. LeSean McCoy reinforced that he’s not in a committee attack with Ronnie Brown by handling 57 snaps compared to just 10 for Brown and 4 for Dion Lewis. Brown was in on 8 run plays. Jason Avant (46) was the clear No. 3, as Riley Cooper and Steve Smith combined for just 13 snaps.
Brandon Gibson led all skill position players with 64 snaps played, 45 of which were pass routes – also a team high. Mike Sims-Walker was not a full timer, but played just over half the offensive snaps. Danny Amendola handled 40 before leaving the game injured, but Greg Salas picked up where he left off with 13 down the stretch. With Steven Jackson lasting only 2 snaps, Cadillac Williams handled 64 and Jerious Norwood (7) spelled him a few times. Despite blocking TE Billy Bajema playing a hefty 54 snaps, the new 2-TE Josh McDaniels offense allowed rookie Lance Kendricks 63 snaps in his debut. Of all skill position players, only Gibson and Williams were on the field more often and only by one snap.
Jaguars 16, Titans 14
No skill position player handled more than 51 of the team’s 74 offensive snaps and that player was unsurprisingly Mike Thomas. Because the Jags led throughout, they relied heavily on the run, which allowed Thomas just 26 pass routes. Heavily targeted on those plays, he remains a strong WR3. Jason Hill was the clear No. 2 WR, handling 47 snaps, while rookie Cecil Shorts (32) handled the third wideout duties. With Jarret Dillard out of action, Jamar Newsome was the No. 4 WR over Kassim Osgood. Marcedes Lewis managed just 38 snaps before leaving with an injury. Zach Potter, filling in as the No. 2 with Zach Miller out of action, stepped up and handled 38 snaps of his own. He ran just nine pass routes and is not a Fantasy option, even if Lewis misses time. Deji Karim handled a healthy 36 snaps, which was three more than Maurice Jones-Drew. MJD was on the field for only six pass plays, which is notable for those of you in PPR leagues. Fullbacks were busy, as Greg Jones and Brock Bolen combined for 51 snaps.
Kenny Britt (48 snaps) and Nate Washington (47) were the clear 1-2 punch at wide receiver for the Titans. Damian Williams played just 30 of the team’s 53 snaps, but he was third on the depth chart ahead of Lavelle Hawkins (18) and Marc Mariani (5). Don’t fret Jared Cook owners – Cook was on the field for all but 10 of the team’s offensive snaps, 35 of which were pass routes for the young tight end. The Titans didn’t run too many 2-TE sets, as Craig Stevens played just 15 snaps. Chris Johnson wasn’t used much in the run game, but he did play 44 snaps, 29 of which were pass routes. He’ll bounce back in Week 2. Jamie Harper was on the field for nine plays.
Lions 27, Buccaneers 20
Brandon Pettigrew will continue to have fantasy value as long as he’s on the field as often as he was on Sunday. He handled 72 of the team’s 75 snaps. 40 of those happened to be run plays, as Detroit was ahead all day long, but note that they love to throw the ball. He could be in for a huge season. Receiving Tight End Tony Scheffler was in on 28 plays, while blocker Will Heller handled 23, 19 of which were run plays. Calvin Johnson led the wideouts with 68 snaps played, while Nate Burleson confirmed he was second in line with 49. Titus Young (42), however, was right on his tail, running just five fewer pass routes. Jerome Harrison (11) and Maurice Morris (9) split the snaps behind Jahvid Best, who was the clear workhorse at 54 snaps. Note that Harrison came in the game to run (8 run plays), while Morris entered to catch (5 pass routes). Versatile Stefan Logan played just one snap. Rashied Davis had a tiny edge on Maurice Stovall for No. 4 WR snaps, but neither played more than a dozen snaps.
Mike Williams played all but one of the team’s 66 offensive snaps and is the team’s clear No.1 wideout. Arrelious Benn played just over half of the snaps, but barely had an edge on Dez Briscoe (27) and was beat out by Preston Parker (47), who replaced Sammie Stroughter in the slot. LeGarrette Blount disappointed fantasy owners, which is easy to do when you play only 13 snaps. The Buccaneers won’t always be playing from behind like they were Sunday, but his complete removal from the gameplan has to be a concern. Earnest Graham is clearly the team’s option on passing downs, as he handled 46 snaps, 39 of which were pass plays. Kregg Lumpkin (8) was not much of a threat. Kellen Winslow has kept his handle on the top TE job with 53 snaps, but rookie Luke Stocker chipped in with a respectable 20 plays.
Chargers 27, Vikings 17
The Chargers ran a whopping 84 plays on offense in the opener, 83 of which Vincent Jackson was in on. That led all skill position players. Antonio Gates dominated in the targets department, which was helped by his 79 snaps. Reserve TE Randy McMichael handled 52 snaps, as the Chargers used plenty of 2-TE sets. Malcom Floyd did his thing, handling 60 snaps, 47 of which were pass routes. Bryan Walters was the No. 3, as expected, but played just 20 snaps. The battle for the top tailback job went to Mike Tolbert in Week 1, as he handled 48 snaps, compared to 36 for Ryan Mathews. The difference, as expected was on pass plays. Tolbert was in on 34, while Mathews handled 13. He was asked to pass block only once. Fullback Jacob Hester equaled Mathews in snaps.
Visanthe Shiancoe is certainly not in a timeshare with rookie TE Kyle Rudolph, as the veteran handled 42 of the team’s 45 snaps. The team did, however, run enough 2-TE sets to get Rudolph 21 snaps. Bernard Berrian, not Percy Harvin, led the wideouts with 35 snaps. Harvin handled 25, which was also short of the 34 played by Michael Jenkins. Fullback Jim Kleinsasser entered the game to block on 18 of his 20 snaps. Adrian Peterson handled 37 snaps, but the key was his involvement on passing downs. He was in on 16 pass plays, while Toby Gerhart (who played just four total snaps) was in on just one.
Patriots 38, Dolphins 24
Rob Gronkowski has been an every-down Tight End for the Patriots since midway through the 2010 season and that did not change on Monday. He handled 75 of the 80 offensive snaps, which reinforces him as a Top 12 option in Fantasy. Aaron Hernandez can also be considered a TE1 going forward, as he was targeted nine times on 66 snaps. He was in the game to block 28 times, which is a good sign after he saw a dramatic drop in snaps down the stretch in 2010. Among the two tight ends, and Top 3 wideouts, someone had to lose big when it comes to Fantasy Football, as all five could not play regular snaps. The loser was clearly Chad Ochocinco in Week 1, as he played just 18 snaps. Deion Branch was the main beneficiary of that, handling 62 snaps. Wes Welker paced the wideouts with 67, while Julian Edelman and Matt Slater combined for nine off the bench. Danny Woodhead appears to be the team’s lead back, as he handled 57 snaps, compared to just 23 for BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Woodhead handled 40 pass plays, while BJGE was in on just 13. Blocking TE Dan Gronkowski was in on 21 plays.
More than any other team charted so far, the Dolphins really kept their best players on the field in Week 1. Reggie Bush was clearly overused, playing a ridiculous 75 of the offense’s 77 snaps. 57 of those plays were passes, which explains his high target total. His backup, Lex Hilliard, handled only 10 snaps. Anthony Fasano also played 75 snaps and was rewarded with a solid fantasy performance. Brandon Marshall (67) paced the wideouts, but Davone Bess and Brian Hartline only played a handful fewer snaps. Clyde Gates was on the field for 17 snaps, 15 of which were passes. Jeron Mastrud didn’t play much, but racked up 11 more snaps than newcomer Dante Rosario.
Bills 41, Chiefs 7
One of the burning questions this week is whether or not Bills TE Scott Chandler is the real deal as a Fantasy Football contributor. The statline (5-63-2) says yes. The snap numbers say no. Chandler was on the field for just 37 of the team’s 71 snaps. Although that led Bills Tight Ends, he ran just 10 pass routes. That means he was targeted 50% of the time when he ran a pass route. The league average is closer to 10-12%. He’s due for serious regression. Fellow TE David Martin played 24 snaps and blocked on each one. Donald Jones led skill position players with 63 snaps, even beating out Steve Johnson’s 59. Jones is a strong Buy Low candidate considering his high snap count and the fact that the Bills will be passing more going forward. Roscoe Parrish and David Nelson both played just under 40 snaps and appear to be splitting the No. 3 WR duties. Fred Jackson vs. CJ Spiller is another hot competition. Jackson dominated Week 1 with 55 snaps, 26 of which were on pass plays. Spiller and rookie Johnny White each played 10 snaps and Spiller ran just four pass routes on the day. Utilityman Brad Smith played seven snaps.
Even without Tony Moeaki, the Chiefs are committed to keeping their top Tight End on the field. Leonard Pope played all but two of the Chiefs 57 offensive snaps on Sunday. No. 2 TE Jake O’Connell managed just three snaps. Dwayne Bowe paced the wideouts with 55 snaps played. Week 1 of Steve Breaston v. Jerheme Urban was basically a wash as they played 42 and 41 snaps, respectively, and were equal in pass routes. Dexter McCluster handled 28 snaps, 4 of which were rush attempts and 13 of which were pass routes. Keary Colbert and Terrance Cooper combined for 18 snaps. Jamaal Charles vs. Thomas Jones seems to be a thing of the past. Charles handled 35 snaps compared to just three for Jones. Jackie Battle (five) even eclipsed Jones.
Cardinals 28, Panthers 21
Larry Fitzgerald handled 56 of the team’s 59 offensive snaps on Sunday, which paced all Cardinals skill position players. Andre Roberts gets the clear edge over Early Doucet in the WR2 competition, playing 50 snaps, compared to just 22 for Doucet. This is a sign to avoid Doucet on Waivers this week despite his strong numbers in Week 1. Beanie Wells was the clear workhorse, sitting out for just nine plays. Anthony Sherman was in to block for him on 17 of his 24 snaps. LaRod Stephens-Howling spelled Wells in this game just seven times. This seems to be a Tight End-by-committee attack as Jeff King (39) and Todd Heap (35) shared duties. Rookie TE Rob Housler came in as a situational receiver just once on the day.
Steve Smith was on the field for 69 of the Panthers’ 75 offensive plays, 45 of which were pass routes. Working from the slot, Legedu Naanee was the No.2 option at wideout, handling 66 snaps, compared to just 40 for Brandon LaFell. Greg Olsen handled 65 snaps to lead the Tight Ends, but Jeremy Shockey was involved in several 2-TE sets, racking up 39 snaps, 28 of which required that he block. This is a clear RB committee between two backs, but the slight edge in Week 1 went to DeAngelo Williams, who handled 42 snaps. Jonathan Stewart was in on 30 plays, while receiving specialist Mike Goodson was in on just three plays. Both Williams and Stewart were asked to pass block eight times, but Williams ran nine additional pass routes.
Bengals 27, Browns 17
Jermaine Gresham paced the Bengals’ skill position players in Week 1, handling 65 of the team’s 69 offensive snaps. AJ Green (60) wasn’t far behind and played 10 more snaps than fellow starting wideout Jerome Simpson. Interesting, though, Green ran two fewer pass routes, as he was asked to stay in and run block 12 more times than Simpson. Slot man Jordan Shipley was in on just 34 plays, but very much like Austin Collie’s Week 1 line, he was only a handful of pass routes behind the starters. FB Chris Pressley was in on 30 plays, usually to block for lead back Cedric Benson, who handled 49 snaps, 25 of which were carries. Brian Leonard (18) had a clear edge over Bernard Scott (6) for snaps. Interestingly, Benson ran a RB-high 13 pass routes, while Leonard managed just five. Colin Cochart played 19 snaps to solidify himself as the No. 2 TE.
Despite all the hype surrounding Evan Moore, he played only 13 snaps in this one, 10 of which were pass routes. He was targeted on six of those 10 routes, but that 60% has a 0% chance of sustainability. Meanwhile, starting TE Ben Watson handled a skill position player-high 61 of the team’s 73 snaps and is a borderline TE1. Peyton Hillis was the workhorse, as expected, also handling 61 snaps. Montario Hardesty was in on 14 plays, five of which were pass plays. Despite not starting, Greg Little led the Browns’ wide receivers with 57 snaps and 36 pass routes. Brian Robiskie (47 snaps) and Mohamed Massaquoi (41) weren’t too far behind. Utilityman Josh Cribbs was in on 26 plays, 17 of which were pass routes. Slot man Jordan Norwood was a non-factor, playing nine snaps.
Jets 27, Cowboys 24
Santonio Holmes paced the Jets skill position players in Week 1 with 61 snaps played. He was in on 47 of the team’s 49 pass plays. Plaxico Burress had an edge over Derrick Mason for the No. 2 WR job, but it wasn’t by much. Plax played eight more snaps and ran just six additional pass routes. Dustin Keller handled 55 snaps, while back-up TEs Matthew Mulligan (blocker) and Jeff Cumberland (receiver) all but split 38 snaps right down the middle. With the Jets running so little, FB John Conner played just six snaps. Also a result of the team’s pass/run ratio, LaDainian Tomlinson edged Shonn Greene by five snaps in this one. LT was in on 31 pass plays, compared to 20 for Greene. Joe McKnight did not play.
Jason Witten played all but one of the team’s 70 offensive snaps in the Cowboys’ Week 1 loss. Miles Austin was right behind him at 69. Neither of those is a surprise, but third in line among skill position players was TE John Phillips (52). That will change in Week 2 with Martellus Bennett expected back. Dez Bryant suffered through an injury, but still managed 51 snaps. Kevin Ogletree was the No. 3 over Dwayne Harris, handling 29 snaps, compared to none for Harris. Felix Jones was the workhorse, handling 52 snaps, 30 of which were pass plays. Tashard Choice (13) had the edge over rookie DeMarco Murray (5). Nine of Choice’s snaps were pass plays.
Ravens 35, Steelers 7
Ed Dickson led all Ravens skill position players with 64 snaps. He has a clear edge over Dennis Pitta (22) for the top Tight End job. The Ravens ran quite a bit, sure, but Pitta ran just 10 of a possible 33 pass routes. Lee Evans is a good buy low this week, as he actually tied Anquan Boldin for the team lead among wideouts with 29 pass routes. Boldin and Evans each played over 50 of the team’s 66 snaps. With Tandon Doss inactive, Torrey Smith handled 18 snaps as the No. 3 WR. Fullback Vonta Leach was a busy man, handling 43 snaps, 11 of which were pass routes. Expect him to catch a handful of balls this year. Ray Rice’s 38 snaps are likely to be a season low, but he was rested in the blowout. Ricky Williams chipped in with 28, including 15 on pass plays.
Hines Ward was one of only a few skill position players to play 100% of his team’s snaps in Week 1. Mike Wallace was right behind him, handling 60 of a possible 64 snaps. The Week 1 edge for the No. 3 WR gig goes to Antonio Brown (46), who took advantage of Emmanuel Sanders (26) recovery from injury. Expect Sanders to progressively earn his job back as the weeks progress. Heath Miller was busy, handling 59 snaps. In on 42 pass plays, be blocked nine times. Rashard Mendenhall played just 26 snaps, as the team was more focused on playing catch up. Issac Redman and Mewelde Moore combined for just 19 snaps, with a large share of those going to Redman.
Raiders 23, Broncos 20
The Raiders are adamantly trying to make Darrius Heyward-Bey a star and that showed when they used him on 65 of the team’s 70 offensive snaps on Monday. The next closest in snaps among the skill position players was tight end Brandon Myers with 50. Myers was filling in for an injured Kevin Boss. Fullback Marcel Reece handled 46 snaps, 13 of which were pass routes. Darren McFadden carried the load at tailback, handling 44 snaps compared to 26 for Michael Bush. McFadden was in on 15 pass plays, while Bush was in on nine. Jacoby Ford was the No. 2 wideout with 36 snaps played, but rookie Denarius Moore was just six back of him. Moore spent a majority of those snaps blocking, however, and ran just 11 routes. Chaz Schilens played 24 snaps, but like Moore, spent most of it blocking.
In on 68 of the team’s 75 offensive plays, Eddie Royal paced the Broncos skill position players. An injured Brandon Lloyd was 15 snaps behind and ran 14 fewer pass routes than Royal. Eric Decker was heavily involved, as well, playing 52 snaps and handling 48 pass routes. Matt Willis handled 24 snaps, 22 of which were pass routes. Daniel Fells led the Tight Ends, as expected, with 57 snaps. Rookie Julius Thomas was in on 36 and that number is likely to increase as the season progresses. Rookie and intriguing H-Back prospect Virgil Green played two snaps. Knowshon Moreno suffered an injury of his own and was limited to 40 snaps. No. 2 back Willis McGahee handled 32 snaps, 28 of which were pass plays.
Redskins 28, Giants 14
The battle everyone is watching in Washington is Chris Cooley vs. Fred Davis. Davis had a huge Week 1, racking up over 100 receiving yards, but how did the snaps stack up? Well, Davis gets the edge here, too. He handled 60 snaps, compared to just 38 for Cooley, who is not yet 100%. Davis ran 32 pass routes, while Cooley was limited to just 14. Meanwhile, saying Tim Hightower dominated the backfield snaps is a major understatement. He handled 63 of a possible 66 snaps. The only other tailback to enter the game was Roy Helu and he was only in for three plays. In fact, fullback Darrel Young also only played a handful of snaps (13 to be exact). Santana Moss led the receivers with 55 snaps, but Jabar Gaffney wasn’t far behind at 47. Anthony Armstrong officially has hold of the No. 3 job with 31 snaps played, compared to just five for Terrence Austin and four for Niles Paul.
Hakeem Nicks might miss Week 2 with an injury, but he handled a skill position player-high 55 of a possible 58 snaps in Week 1. Mario Manningham, who is in for a big boost this week, was in on 51 plays. Domenik Hixon (17) had the edge over Victor Cruz (10) for the No. 3 job. Ahmad Bradshaw played 36 snaps and was in on 21 pass plays, while Brandon Jacobs managed just 16 snaps, 10 of which were pass plays. Bear Pascoe and Jake Ballard handled the Tight End duties with Travis Beckum out of action. Pascoe played 33 snaps to lead the way, but Ballard was just behind at 28.
49ers 33, Seahawks 17
Vernon Davis played all but one snap in this one, handling 56 of a possible 57 snaps. Receiving specialist and No. 2 TE Delanie Walker was in on 24 snaps. Frank Gore played 52 snaps, which is a good sign considering his rough day at the office. He’ll be better. Kendall Hunter played just five snaps off the bench. Moran Norris (38 snaps) leads the battle for fullback snaps over rookie Bruce Miller (DNP). Josh Morgan paced the wide receivers with 41 snaps, but Braylon Edwards was just behind at 37. Michael Crabtree was limited to 18, but that figures to rise as he gets back to 100% health. “Co-starter” Ted Ginn managed just seven snaps.
Newcomer Zach Miller made an impact in his first game as the Seahawks top Tight End, handling 70 of a possible 71 snaps. He racked up 35 pass routes, which will keep him on the Fantasy radar. With Cam Morrah out of action, Anthony McCoy was in on 31 snaps. Mike Williams easily paced the wide receivers with 67 snaps, while No. 2 wideout Ben Obomanu handled 54. Doug Baldwin had a big Fantasy day, but don’t be fooled, as he played just 16 snaps. Meanwhile, Golden Tate was in on 39 snaps, 32 of which were pass plays. Marshawn Lynch’s 37 snaps led all ball carriers, but Justin Forsett was just behind at 25 thanks to entering the game on 20 pass plays. Expected to be ahead of Forsett for passing down duties, Leon Washington played just nine snaps, eight of which were pass plays.