Sets, Snaps and Stats: Week 4

Pat Thorman examines the fantasy impact of up-tempo offenses and other emerging trends after four weeks of NFL action.

| 4 years ago

Sets, Snaps and Stats: Week 4

brian-hoyerThe weekly Sets, Snaps and Stats report is a summary of participation, formation, target and other data mined by PFF’s game charters. Used with PFF Fantasy’s own signature stats, our aim – as always – is identifying relevant trends to provide out subscribers with a competitive advantage.

Taking Tempo-Ture

Week 4 was relatively slow for up-tempo teams around the NFL. Very few teams committed to it throughout their games and the one contest that promised to top the week in snaps only saw one of its combatants make the top five.

Denver looked like they might be able to snap it 90 times against Philadelphia, but two special teams touchdowns limited their possessions and the Broncos got off just 71 offensive plays. 48 of them were run from the hurry-up, which was less than the Eagles’ 52, and accounted for 75 percent of their snaps.

Both Baltimore and Buffalo bumbled their way to 142 total plays but ran the no huddle on a smaller percentage of them than they had done heading into the week. Atlanta (35.2 percent of snaps) tried to use the hurry-up against the formerly up-tempo Patriots, but were largely unsuccessful. A handful of late game miscues made the score appear closer than the contest actually was. New England skipped the hurry-up entirely against the Falcons. A ho-hum week indeed.

*- please note that bye weeks have begun, and snap per game averages will now be used to account for disparities in total snaps due to differing numbers of games played.


Week 3 Snaps

2013 Snaps (Avg/Gm)

Opponents (Avg/Gm)


Houston (88)

Houston (74.8)

Buffalo (74.5)


Buffalo (79)

Buffalo (72.3)

Philadelphia (74.5)


Pittsburgh (77)

New England (71.8)

Minnesota (73.0)


Tampa Bay (75)

Denver (71.0)

NY Giants (70.5)



Cleveland (69.5)

Cleveland (69.8)

Minnesota is allowing their opponents to run a lot more plays than they have themselves (45). They have also given up the third most points to fantasy tight ends, and the fifth most to running backs. The Eagles and Bills surrender the most fantasy points to wideouts, and probably not coincidentally have allowed the most plays to their opponents (298).


Week 3 Snaps

2013 Snaps (Avg/Gm)

Opponents (Avg/Gm)


Minnesota (51)

NY Giants (59.8)

New Orleans (56)


Jacksonville (54)

Oakland (59.8)

Houston (58.3)


Dallas (56)

San Francisco (60.5)

Indianapolis (59)


Miami (58)

Miami (61)

Carolina (61.3)


Seattle (58)

Minnesota (61.8)

Tennessee (61.5)

The Cowboys have run fewer snaps each successive week, and the shackles they have put on Tony Romo to keep his turnovers down have produced a 6.7 average depth of target (aDOT) that beats only those noted daredevils Alex Smith and Blaine Gabbert. Romo’s historical aDOT range is between 8.0 and 9.5. Dallas should have shredded a San Diego pass defense that surrenders the most points to fantasy quarterbacks. This is a disturbing trend for a fantasy relevant squad, and warrants close monitoring.

The Saints’ defense continues to perform above expectations, and New Orleans has allowed snap totals of 55, 56, 55, and most recently 58 to the Dolphins on Monday Night Football. In this space last week, while observing that matchup through a snap count lens, this is what stood out:

“The Saints have run the seventh most plays, and the Dolphins have allowed the eighth most. The Dolphins have logged the eighth fewest snaps, and the Saints have allowed the fewest. It can’t be that simple, can it?”

The resulting three touchdown trouncing of previously unbeaten Miami makes it tempting to see if another matchup can be forecast based purely on seasonal snap totals. This is where we get cocky and wind up looking really stupid. Enjoy.

That game will be listed with other Week 5 matchups notable for their tempo/snap count implications, followed by the rest of this week’s notes, after the jump:

Buffalo Bills at Cleveland Browns

The Bills top the snaps surrendered list and have run the second most plays, thanks in large part to their up-tempo approach. More surprising is that the new look Browns have tallied the fourth most snaps. They still give up the fifth most plays, and that could help make what looked like your typical dumpster fire of a Thursday Night Football game into an actual barn burner.

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Please note that penalty plays are removed from the snap totals and will differ from what is posted in our Premium Statistics game logs.

Pat Thorman is a Lead Writer for PFF Fantasy. You can follow him on Twitter at @Pat_Thorman


Pat Thorman is a lead writer for PFF Fantasy and a Fantasy Sports Writers Association award winner.

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